Is it objectionable to marry a woman who cannot have a child? Is there a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prohibiting marrying women that cannot have children? How can we understand whether a woman can have children or not?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Men are advised to marry "fertile/prolific" women. The Prophet’s advice to some of his Companions to marry virgins seems to be related to fertility because age is important for fertility.

It does not mean "never marry women who cannot have children". There is no drawback to marrying them. We think the fertility of a woman means being at an age that can give birth to children. They are generally virgins.

That the Prophet (pbuh) himself married the women that could not have children due to old age proves that there is no drawback to marrying women who cannot have children. Accordingly, it is religiously permissible to marry a woman who cannot have a child.

The Prophet (pbuh) attracted attention to the importance of having children for the continuation of humanity by encouraging people to marry virgin and fertile women. As a matter of fact, the Prophet states the following in a hadith: 

"Marry affectionate/loving and fertile women. For, I will be proud of you in the presence of other ummahs on the Day of Judgment." (Abu Dawud, Nikah, 2; Ibn Majah, Nikah,1; al-Fiqhul-Islami, VII/13)

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