According to a hadith, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped one of his companions marrying a woman who could not have children. Why are barren women rejected? Isn't it a punishment for something which is not under their control?

The Details of the Question
Narrated Ma'qil ibn Yasar: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: I have found a woman of rank and beauty, but she does not give birth to children. Should I marry her? He said: No. He came again to him, but he prohibited him. He came to him third time, and he (the Prophet) said: Marry women who are loving and very prolific, for I shall outnumber the peoples by you. I would like to get further clarification regarding this hadith. Why are barren women punished for something which is not under their control? Why are they denied of love and care how will they be able get married?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Those hadiths should be evaluated as incentives. The hadith does not mean blaming infertility and infertile women. When the fact that the population was few in the first period of Islam is taken into consideration, it can be understood better why Islam encouraged marrying fertile women.

There are judgments like fard ayn, fard kifayah and wajib in the Quran; similarly there are judgments like mustahab and mandoob in the hadiths.

The judgment here is mustahab; it is preferred and liked because it causes parenthood and the increase in the population of ummah and produces the fruit of the family.

On the other hand, there are recommendations to marry People of the Book (Christians and Jews) and not to force them to become Muslims as it is expressed in the following verse: ‘Let there be no compulsion in religion.’

The following is stated in the hadiths: “A man marries a woman for four reasons (it is valid not only for men but also for women; however, since man is the first one to ask for marriage, he is addressed): for her beauty, nobility, wealth, and religion (ethics). Prefer the fourth one.”, and it is recommended that the equality should be preferred in terms of ethics and character.

However, if a woman has all of those things, she will certainly be preferred more because beauty in the character will bring about the others, too. 

It is stated that Christians give importance to the beauty of face, Jews to wealth and polytheists to nobility; Muslims are advised to pay attention to the beauty in character.

If the events that are desired do not take place, it is necessary to show patience and content to predestination.

One should love his/her spouse not in terms of his/her worldly aspect but in terms of the eternal togetherness in the hereafter.

It is something to reject an infertile woman and it is another not to accept her. Everybody will accept that if two women have the same characteristics but one of them is infertile, the fertile one will definitely be preferred. 

However, if it is understood that she is infertile after she has been accepted as a wife, the ways to treat her infertility should be sought, and she should never be rejected.

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