So, you like a girl. What now? How can you move things forward the Islamic way? Luckily for you, this post will highlight some do’s and don’ts of the Islamic marriage proposal.
Why do yo want to Marry??
First, make sure your intention is sincere. Why do you want to get married? Is it because all your friends are married? You want someone to take care of you? Marriage is just the next step? Your intention towards marriage must be sincere- you must be physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually ready for this commitment. Often I see brothers and sisters who are looking for spouses and have a difficult time finding their match. This may be because they are not ready but jump into the searching phase simply because everyone else is doing it or for a myriad of other reasons. Marriage is not just about financial and physical commitments; you must ensure that you are ready to provide for the emotional and spiritual needs of another person. This is no easy task. No one is perfect and if you expect to find someone who is spiritually and emotionally perfect then prepare to remain single forever. Sometimes, brothers and sisters lay down incredibly high expectations for who and what they want their spouses to be. This, in my opinion, stems from the lack of understanding of marriage and perhaps insincere intentions. Allah (SWT) says, “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought” (30:21). Marriage is supposed to be a partnership-find someone who you can seek comfort in, and provide comfort for. Find someone at your spiritual level, or close to your level, with who you can work towards Jannah with.
What to do and what not to do?
Now assuming your intentions are sincere and you are physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually ready for marriage, here is how you dear brother, move forward with a marriage proposal.
Approach the sister’s father for the marriage proposal. Find out what is appropriate for your culture. In some cultures, the man must propose to the father on his own, in others the parents of the man meet with the parents of the woman, etc. Find out what is appropriate for your situation and continue to the next steps.
It is permissible for the man to look at the woman he is considering for marriage. The Prophet (SAW) told an engaged companion, “Go and look at her, for that is more likely to increase love between you two” (Tirmidhi 1087). However please keep in mind certain etiquettes in this regard, especially in the age of technology. If a woman does not feel comfortable sharing her picture, do not be upset. Rather respect her decision. Also, think of the picture as an Amanah (trust) and do not share it with others.
Talk to each other about the things that matter to you most. There may be little things that you may disagree with. But issues like whether you want her to work after marriage, whether you want to live with your parents, your spiritual goals, your expectations, etc. should be discussed during the marriage proposal phase.
Once the girl and family agree, the mahr, wedding expenses and dates must be agreed upon. The mahr should be something reasonable for both the man and woman, and this also varies per customs. Work together to decide what you want. Some people do the proposal and marriage contract in one sitting, some delay the marriage contract after the engagement, and some delay the consummation until after the marriage contract. All of that is permissible. What is not permissible is meeting with your fiancée without a mahram present. An engagement does not mean you are married.
It is important to respect the cultural aspects of marriage, whether you are marrying within your culture or outside of it. Be respectful of each other’s wedding customs and if there is anything that may seem impermissible in Islam, approach the matter with respect.
The Sunnah is to recite Khutbat al-Haajah. It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
“The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us Khutbat al-Haajah, (to be said) at weddings and on other occasions: “Inna al-hamda Lillaahi nasta’eenahu wa nastaghfiruhu, wa na’oodhu bihi min shuroori anfusinaa wa sayi’aati a’maalinaa. Man yahdih Illaahu falaa mudilla lahu wa man yudlil falaa haadiya lahu. Wa ashhadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasooluhu (Verily, all praise is to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Him from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger).
‘Yaa ayyuha’n-naas uttaqu rabbakum alladhi khalaqakum min nafsin waahidatin wa khalaqa minhaa zawjahaa wa baththa minhumaa rijaalan katheeran wa nisaa’an wa’ttaqu-Llaah alladhi tasaa’aloona bihi wa’l-arhaama inna Allaaha kaana ‘alaykum raqeeban (O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship) Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you).’ [al-Nisaa’ 4:1]
‘Yaa ayyuha’lladheena aamanu-ttaqu’Llaaha haqqa tuqaatihi wa laa tamootunna illaa wa antum muslimoon (O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allaah.)’ [Aal ‘Imraan 3:102]
‘Yaa ayyahu’lladheena aamanu-ttaqu’Llaaha wa qooloo qawlan sadeedan yuslih lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum dhunoobakum wa man yuti’ Allaaha wa rasoolahu fa qad faaza fawzan ‘azeeman (O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth). He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hellfire and will be admitted to Paradise)’ [al-Ahzaab 33:70, 71].”
Narrated by Abu Dawood (2118) and classed as Saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood (IslamQA, #88130).
I hope this post answered some questions regarding the marriage proposal. May Allah (SWT) grant us with righteous spouses who are a means to get closer to Him. Ameen.