Virgin or non-Virgin Bride

A hadeeth where our Prophet (ﷺ) asked a newly married Sahabi Jabir (رضى الله عنه) whether he had married a virgin or someone who was married previously, the gist of the hadeeth is as follows: Jabir responded that he had married someone who was previously married. Our Prophet (ﷺ) enquired as to why Jabir had not married a virgin so that he (Jabir) would play with her and she with him. Jabir, who is a young Sahabi responded that he had young sisters to take care of (his father had recently passed away) and that he (Jabir) had chosen to marry an older woman to help him take care of his sisters and not a young girl who would be similar to his sisters and therefore be another person he would have to take care of. [1]

(I understand this to refer to a young girl who would be immature like his sisters, and Allah knows best).

I have heard a narration of this hadeeth where our Prophet (ﷺ), upon hearing Jabir's reason for choosing to marry a woman who was previously married, responded to Jabir that he had chosen rightly. My questions are:

1. is there a sound/good (sahih/hasan) narration of this hadeeth in which Jabir told our Prophet (ﷺ) his reason for marrying a mature woman and our Prophet (ﷺ) indicated that he had done right? I would like to ensure that the hadeeth I am referring to is correct.

2. If the hadeeth ended with our Prophet (ﷺ) approving of Jabir's choice, then this would indicate that a person should choose to marry a virgin or non-virgin based on their situation. Please advise.

3. Is it incorrect to say that there is a preference in our deen to marry a virgin, when the Prophet's (ﷺ) advice indicate that your choice of a virgin / non-virgin bride depends on your situation. Also our Prophet's (ﷺ) life did not show a special preference for virgins as he married a woman who was widowed (Khadija) and he (ﷺ) was a virgin. When he was bestowed with prophethood he (ﷺ) only married one virgin (Aisha) and he (ﷺ) encouraged the sahabah to marry women (both virgins and previously married women).

Please advise, as I would like to understand better and not be mislead, nor mislead others Inshaa' Allah.

When we talked about the ruling of marriage we said that it depended on the person and the circumstances and we found out that for some it is fardh to get married and for some it is haram. The same can be said with regards to marrying a virgin, under normal circumstances it would be better to marry a virgin than a non-virgin, but in other circumstances it will be better to marry a non-virgin . The hadeeth of Jabir [2] in a way shows this because initially the Prophet (ﷺ) advised him and said it was better for him to marry a virgin. Then when Jabir (رضى الله عنه) explained his reasons the Prophet (ﷺ) then told him that he had done the best thing considering the surrounding circumstances.

  1. Yes there is an authentic hadeeth.
  2. Yes it is by choice.
  3. It will be correct to say the preference to marry a virgin is there in our deen considering it is the first advice the Prophet (ﷺ) gave to Jabir then upon knowing the reason Jabir had done otherwise that's only when he approved of what he had done.

It's correct to assume that the Prophet's (ﷺ) life did not show any preference but his words to Jabir in a way shows a preference.

In conclusion it can be said: every situation is unique and requires a unique choice. Sometimes it's best to marry a non-virgin and sometimes it's best to marry a virgin.

And Allah knows best


[1] [Saheeh al-Bukhaari 5367.]

[2] [Saheeh al-Bukhaari 5367.]

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