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Looking at the woman one intends to marry


Looking at a Woman One Wants To Marry

From Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (Radiyallaahu ‘anhu): “The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) said: ‘If one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at her to see that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, then let him do so.’ I proposed marriage to a young woman, and I used to hide where I could see her, until I saw that which encouraged me to go ahead and marry her, so I did so.'” According to another report he said, ‘a young woman of Bani Salamah. I used to hide from her, until I saw that which encouraged me to go ahead and marry her, so I did so.” (Saheeh Abi Dawood, no. 1832, 1834)

From Abu Hurayrah (Radiyallaahu ‘anhu):  “I was with the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) when a man came and told him that he had married a woman of the Ansaar. The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) said to him, ‘Have you seen her?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Go and look at her, for there is something in the eyes of the Ansaar.” (Reported by Muslim, no. 1424; and by El-Daaraqutni, 3/253 (34))

From El-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (Radiyallaahu ‘anhu):  “I proposed marriage to a woman, and the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) said: ‘Have you seen her?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility be established between you.'” According to another report: “So he did that, and he married her and mentioned that they got along.” (Reported by El-Daaraqutni, 3/252 (31, 32); Ibn Maajah, 1/574)

From Sahl ibn Sa’d (Radiyallaahu ‘anhu): “A woman came to the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I have come to give myself to you (in marriage).” The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallem) looked at her closely, then he lowered his head. When the woman saw that he had not made a decision about her, she sat down.One of his Companions stood up and said, O Messenger of Allaah, if you do not want her, then marry her to me…'” (Reported by El-Bukhaari, 7/19; Muslim, 4/143; An-Nisaa’i, 6/113 bi Sharh El-Suyooti; El-Bayhaqi, 7/84)

What the ‘Ulamaa’ (scholars) Say About Looking at a Woman OneWants To Marry

Esh-Shaafa’i (Rahimahullaah) said: “If he wants to marry a woman, he is not allowed to see her without a headcover. He may look at her face and hands when she is covered, with or without her permission. Allaah says (interpreted to mean): ‘… and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent…’ (An-Noor 24:31). He said: ‘The face and hands.'” (El-Haawi El-Kabeer, 9/34).

Imaam An-Nawawi (Rahimahullaah) said in Rawdat Et-Taalibeen wa ‘Umdatul-Mufteen (7, 19-20): “When (a man) wants to marry (a woman), it is mustahabb (preferable) for him to look at her so that he will have no regrets. According to another view, it is not preferable but it is allowed. The first view is correct because of the ahaadeeth, and it is permitted to look repeatedly, with or without her permission. If it is not easy to look at her, he may send a woman to check her out and describe her to him. A woman may also look at a man if she wants to marry him, for she will like in him what he likes in her. What is permissible for him to look at is the face and hands, front and back. He should not look at anything else.”

Abu Haneefah (Rahimahullaah) permitted looking at the feet as well as theface and hands. (Bidaayah El-Mujtahid wa Nihayyat El-Muqtasid, 3/10)

“It is permissible to look at the face, hands and feet, and no more than that.” Ibn Rushd also quoted it as above.

Among the reports from the madhhab of Imaam Maalik:

He may look at the face and hands only.

He may look at the face, hands and forearms only.

A number of reports were narrated from Imaam Ahmad (Rahimahullaah) , oneof which says that he may look at the face and forearms.

The second says that he may look at what usually appears such as the neck, calves and so on.

This was quoted by Ibn Qudaamah in El-Mughni (7/454), Imaam Ibn El-Qayyim El-Jawziyyah in Tahdheeb Es-Sunan (3/25-26), and El-Haafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath El-Baari (11/78)… The reliable opinion in the books of the Hanbalis is thesecond opinion.

From the above, it is clear that the majority of scholars say that a man is allowed to look at his fiancée’s face and hands, because the face indicates beauty or ugliness, and the hands indicate the slimness or plumpness (literally, ‘fertility’) of the body.

Abu’l-Faraj El-Maqdisi said: “There is no dispute among the scholars that he is permitted to look at the face.. the focus of beauty and the place at which onelooks.”

Shaikh ‘Abdul Azeez Bin Abdullaah Bin Baaz [Raheemahullah] was asked:
Question: If a young man proposes marriage to a young lady is it obligatory that he sees her? Also, is it correct that the young lady uncover her head to show more of her beauty to her proposing fiance? Please benefit us and may Allaah benefit you
Answer: There is no harm (in the man seeing her), however it is not obligatory. Rather, it is recommended that he sees her and she sees him, because theProphet commanded the one who proposed marriage to look at the woman. This is because that is better for causing agreement and harmony between themSo if she uncovers her face for him, and her hands and her head, there is no harm in that according to the correct opinion. Some of the people of knowledge have said that it is sufficient for her to uncover the face and the two hands. However,the correct opinion is that there is no harm in him seeing her head, face, hands and feet, based upon the mentioned hadith (above). However, this is not permissible with him being alone with her. Rather, her father, or brother, or someone else must be with them. This is because the Prophet said, “A man must never be alone with a woman unless there is someone who is a Mahram with them.” (Agreed upon in Saheeh El-Bukhaari and Saheeh Muslim). He also said, “A man must never be alone with a woman, for verily the Shaytaan is their third.” (Et-Tirmidhi and Ahmad)
(Sheikh ibn Baaz, El-Fataawaa ash-Shar’iyyah fil-Masaa’il il-‘Asriyyah min Fataawaa ‘Ulamaa’ il-Balad il-Haraam, pp. 498-499.) 

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