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Looking at the Woman Intended for Marriage and its Conditions


Looking at the Woman Intended for Marriage and its Conditions

Shaykh Abdul-Azeez ibn Baaz

Reference: Fatawah Noor ‘ala ad Darb
Category: Women’s Matters

Ibn Qudaamah said:

“Whoever desires to marry a woman then it is permissible for him to look at her without being alone with her. We don’t know any differing amongst the people of knowledge regarding the permissibility of looking at the woman intended for marriage based upon the Hadeeth of Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdullaah that the Messenger, May the Salat and Salaam of Allaah be upon him, said:

“If one of you proposes to a woman and he has the ability to look at her, then he should do so”

For the Prophet ordered us to look and it was left general.

Imaam Ahmad said:

“He is to look at her face and this is not to be done lustfully or out of pleasure. He has the right to look more than once and to observe her beauty because the goal cannot be achieved except through this.”

So there is no difference of opinion amongst the ‘Ulamaa in reference to the permissibility of looking at the face of the woman, and that is because the face is not ‘Awrah, rather is the place where her beauty is gathered and it is not permissible for him to look at what normally shows of the woman. There is a difference of opinion amongst the scholars regarding other than the face like the hands and the feet and other than this which the woman would display normally.

The first: It is not permissible to look at because it is considered her to be her ‘Awrah just like the other parts of the body due to the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullaaah Ibn Mas’ood where the prophet said:

“All of the woman is ‘Awrah.”

This Hadeeth is Hassan. For the necessity of looking at anything else is removed by looking at the face and everything else remains in its legislative origin of impressibility.

The Second: It is permissible to look at other than the face just as Imaam Ahmad said: “There is nothing wrong with looking at her face and at what will encourage him to marry her whether it is the hand or what normally shows and the likes of this.”

Imaam Shafi’ee said:

“He is to look at her face and hands.” Then he mentioned the story of ‘Umar Ibn Al Khataab when he proposed to the daughter of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Umm Kulthum). ‘Ali sent her to ‘Umar for him to look at her and ‘Umar was pleased with what he saw and as she was walking away ‘Umar looked at her shin and she said to him: “If it wasn’t for the fact that you were the Leader of the Believers I would hit you in both of your eyes!”

Al Mughni Vol.7 P.453

Imaam An Nawwawi said after mentioning the Hadeeth of Abu Hurairah where he said:

“I was with the Messenger of Allaah when a man came to him and said: “I married a woman from the Ansaar” so the Prophet said to him: “Did you look at her? For indeed there is something in the eyes of the women of the Ansar.”

“In this Hadeeth is a recommendation to look at the face of the woman that is intended for marriage. This is our Mathhab (as Imaam An Nawwawi followed the Mathhab of Imaam Ash Shafi’ee) and it is the Mathhab of Imaam Malik, Abu Haneefah and the rest of the scholars from Kufah (Iraq), Imaam Ahmad and the great majority of the ‘Ulamaa, that it is permissible to look at the face and hands only because they are not her ‘Awrah and because the face points to her beauty and it’s opposite and the hands point to the richness of her shin or otherwise. This is the Mathhab of the great majority of scholars.

Imaam Al Awzaa’ee said:

“It is permissible for him to look at her without her (over) garment.”

Dawud (Adh Dhahiri) said:

“He can look at all of her body.”

This is a clear misconception and it is in opposition to the foundations of the Sunnah and the Consensus (of the ‘Ulamaa) and in opposition to our Mathhab and that of Maalik, Ahmad and the Jamhoor (great majority of the scholars)” Sarh Sahih Muslim Vol.9 P.214

Ibn Rushd said:

“As for looking at the woman at the time of proposal of marriage then Imaam Malik says it is permissible to look at the face and the two hands only, and Abu Haneefah said the feet the face and the hands as Allaah says:

“And not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (i.e. eyes and hands)” (24: 31)

Bidayah tul Mujtahid Vol. 2 P.114

Shaykh Saaleh Al Fawzaan said:

“It is permissible for the man who desires to propose to a woman to look at her with three conditions:

The First: He is almost positive that he is going to marry her;

The Second: He is to look at what is not considered to be her ‘Awrah, that which is normally apparent;

The Third: This all being done without being in seclusion or alone with her. Based upon the statement of the Messenger:

“If one of you proposes to a woman and he has the ability to see what will encourage him to marry her then he should do so”

Sharh Zaad ul Mustaqni’ Vol.3 P.4383

Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al ‘Uthaymeen was asked:

I am not married but if a pilgrim arrives at Saudi Arabia and he performs the Hajj, is it permissible afterwards for him to look at the woman he has proposed to and wants to settle a contract of marriage with? Is it permissible if I give her half of the dowry but we have not concluded the contract? We desire some clarity from you may Allaah give you success.

The Shaykh replied: Looking at the woman intended for marriage is permissible with the conditions that:

Firstly: You don’t seclude yourself with her, meaning you are not to be alone with her in a place where there is no one other than the two of you;

Secondly: That there is no Fitnah involved;

Thirdly: You looking at her is not to be lustfully nor out of desire;

Fourthly: You are almost positive that she is going to marry you because sitting with her and talking frivolously to her is not permissible, for in that case there is nothing necessitating him to look at her. For there is reason behind looking which is to cause harmony and accord between the two and for him to ultimately marry her based upon sound desire. But just sitting with her and talking to her or to be alone with her then this is not permissible.

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  1. Sara M.
    April 14, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Assalamu alaikum
    JazakAllahu khair for posting this, it was very beneficial. You clarified a few things for me. BarakAllahu feek.
    this is my first time visiting your blog, inshAllah i will back to read some of your other posts!

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