Fatwa: # 45987
Category: Basic Tenets of Faith
Country: African Country
Date: 20th August 2020

Title

Is informal interaction allowed to get to know a potential spouse?

Question


السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Dear Shaykh,

I have a few questions regarding the marriage process.

1. Is it permissible for me to get to know a girl with the intention of marriage? (i.e. texting, video calling, meeting in person)

2. My friends say that it is permissible if the girl involves her mehram (i.e. brother) as a chaperon in the process? As example, a WhatsApp group is created and I add her and her brother and then we chat with each other in the group in the presence of her mahram. Or if I meet her in person at some public place (i.e. cafe) and she is accompanied with her brother.

3. If not, what would be the permissible way to get to know someone within the boundaries of Shariah? As some of the parents in the western countries, have no connections in the community, therefor many single people use Muslim marriage apps to find spouse. Where the prospect is totally stranger and it’s difficult to commit in a relationship of marriage without a clear picture.

4. What's the ruling of texting/calling after engagement?

جزاك الله خيرا

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

1&2.) You can formally meet a potential spouse in the presence of her mahram so that you can see her before marriage and she sees you. This much is recommended.  Beyond that, however, you cannot keep meeting her and looking at her, and neither can you chat or text with her.

3.) You cannot know anyone at any deep level without marriage. You can be attracted to someone – but that's “attraction” and not “true love”. The latter only materializes with the blessings of nikah. It is important to differentiate between the two.

A clear picture of who she is will never emerge from informal meetings. Neither will you  nor your potential spouse act your normal self in these informal meetings. If that were the case, you wouldn't have the high level of divorces in societies where dating and pre-marital relationships are the norm. It is only after one is married that the spouses begin to express themselves freely and expose their true personalities to each other.

The ideal way to get to know as much as possible about a potential spouse is to use all available permissible channels to you. For example, female relatives, especially the elderly take much interest in matchmaking and you will find them a very valuable resource.

You are correct that not everyone might have access to a large pool of family members – but  knowing even one or two persons can get the ball rolling. That person will know another person and so on. Additionally, it is not necessary for you to look only in the city you are living in. You can let your relatives and friends know wherever they are that you are looking for a wife.

In your place of work or study there are probably male Muslim colleagues whom you spend time with who can also help you. Let them know that you want to get married and to keep you in mind. Since they are familiar with you and your background they can communicate and vouch for you your character and ethic to others.  

Consider approaching scholars and community leaders in your local masajid. Due to the natural role they play, they would be familiar with many families and would be able to assist you also. Just like you, others might have approached them to keep an eye out for a good husband for their daughter.

You may also consider placing permissible matrimonials, but the way some apps are designed to encourage informal communication is akin to dating and thus not permissible. Seek permissible avenues that you can use to find a spouse.

There are many ways to find a spouse. Before the advent of apps, people without many socials connections also got married. Look at the suggestions given above and utilize them.

4.) The rule for texting, chatting, etc. after engagement is the same as before engagement. An engagement is simply a promise to marry in the future. Until the nikah has actually taken place, you are still a stranger to her and informal communication is not permissible. Any formal issues regarding the marriage that need to be arranged can easily be done through your families.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,

Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant, Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

 

DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
  • Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.
The Messenger of Allah said, "When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Deen."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]