Engagement In Islam

Engagement In Islam – Western Complete Guide To Rights And Duties

What does engagement mean in Islam? Is it a party where the fiancé/fiancée exchanges ring?  Actually no, it

What does engagement mean in Islam? Is it a party where the fiancé/fiancée exchanges ring?  Actually no, it is not. Indeed, there are some regulations for engagement in Islam that need to be observed:

How to Get Engaged in Islam?

You may ask how can I propose a girl in Islam? Simply, engagement according to Islamic Shariah starts with the following:

  • A man asks a woman or her guardian for her hand in marriage. It is a proposal for or a promise of marriage.   
  • When more than one suitor proposes to a woman at the same time, her guardian in such a case is entitled to choose the best of them in terms of religiousness and noble morals. He should perform Istikhaarah(the guidance-seeking prayer) and consult righteous people.
  • A suitor is allowed to look (Know how she looks) at the woman’s face to whom he wishes to propose.  According to the hadith, “When any one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, then let him do so.” [Abu Dawood]. 
  • A woman must be asked for her opinion (free to accept or refuse the man) and she cannot be forced in any form. 

Read also:

Is Engagement Haram in Islam?

Engagement in Islam is permissible except for some cases it turned to be impermissible:

A. Marrying a Mahram

If the woman is from those whom a Muslim cannot marry (Maharam) such as a mother, a sister, or an aunt, the rest of the women are forbidden to marry. In the following two verses, Allah the Almighty sets the categories of women that the Muslim man can’t marry:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُمْ وَعَمَّـٰتُكُمْ وَخَـٰلَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِىٓ أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُم مِّنَ ٱلرَّضَـٰعَةِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُ نِسَآئِكُمْ وَرَبَـٰٓئِبُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا۟ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَـٰٓئِلُ أَبْنَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَـٰبِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا۟ بَيْنَ ٱلْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًۭا رَّحِيمًۭا ۞ وَٱلْمُحْصَنَـٰتُ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُمْ ۖ كِتَـٰبَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُوا۟ بِأَمْوَٰلِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَـٰفِحِينَ ۚ فَمَا ٱسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِۦ مِنْهُنَّ فَـَٔاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةًۭ ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَٰضَيْتُم بِهِۦ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱلْفَرِيضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًۭا
“Forbidden to you (for marriage) are:
your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your foster mother who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters, your wives’ mothers, your stepdaughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom you have gone in – but there is no sin on you if you have not gone in them (to marry their daughters), – the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins, and two sisters in wedlock at the same time, except for what has already passed; verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. ۞ Also, (forbidden are) women already married”

[Quran.com 4/23-24].

B. A Woman During Her Waiting Period after Her Husband’s Death:

It is not permissible to get engaged with a woman during her ‘Iddah (waiting period after revocable divorce or death of a prior husband).  

Read: Rules For Widows In Islam – A Widow’s Rights & Status In Islam

C. An Engaged woman to another man

It is prohibited to ask for the engagement of a woman engaged to another man. The Muslim is not permitted to covet what his Muslim brother possesses, afflict him with harm or hurt his feelings.  This is also to prevent the woman from abandoning the first suitor if she is tempted by the proposal of the other suitor.

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ يَخْطُبْ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى خِطْبَةِ بَعْضٍ ‏”‏ ‏.‏
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet said: “None of you should propose marriage to a woman when someone else has already proposed to her.”

(Sahih: Sunan An Nasa’i)

D. Engagement with a Non-Muslim Man

A Muslim woman cannot get engaged or marry a non-Muslim. Allah The Almighty states that rule in the Quran as in this part of the verse:

“… لَا هُنَّ حِلٌّۭ لَّهُمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحِلُّونَ لَهُنَّ ۖ …
“They (Muslim women) are not lawful (wives) for the disbelievers nor are the disbelievers lawful (husbands) for them (Muslim women).”  

[Quran.com 60/10].

Read a full discussion on the topic of engagement of Muslims with non-Muslim

Can You Meet Your Fiance in Islam? Is It Haram to Talk to Your Fiance?

Meeting your fiance or talking to her is permissible in Islam. However, before the contract of marriage, both are not allowed to be alone together. Rather, you have to be amongst others and behave respectfully. The warning of our Prophet (PBUH) is clear to that effect of relating this matter to the level of belief in Allah and the Last Day :

قَالَ رَسُولُ الله ﷺ: “مَن كان يؤمنُ باللهِ واليومِ الآخرِ فلا يخلوَنَّ بامرأةٍ ليسَ معها ذو مَحرَمٍ منها ، فإنَّ ثالثَهما الشَّيطانُ”.
 “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not stay alone with a non-mahram woman (a woman he can marry); then the third person with them will be the devil (encouraging sin).”

[Sahih: Müsnad Ahmad]. 

How Long Can You Engaged for in Islam?

There is no specific time for engagement in Islam. It’s up to you, your fiance and your families. It is preferred to take a reasonable time to know each other.

What Is the Difference between Engagement and Marriage in Islam?

Are Nikah and Engagement the Same Thing? No, Marriage and engagement are different. The main difference between engagement and nikah is that engagement in Islam is a promise made to express your willingness for marriage. Thus, your fiance is just a foreign person that you’re not allowed to touch or to be alone with. 

There are no marriage rights during this period of engagement. For example, the woman doesn’t have to obey the man during this period, and the man doesn’t have to offer her a dowry or expense.

Marriage or nikah, however, is a totally different case. After the contract of marriage and moving to live together, man and woman have some rights and duties guaranteed by this honourable contract. For more about marriage in Islam, read:

Who Pays for the Wedding in Islam?

Man is entitled in Isam to pay the dowry to his wife. The delivery depends on the time that the two parties agree on whether before the marriage contract or after it. However, it’s a condition for its amount to be set before or at the time of the marriage contract. Dowry is a kind of honour for women.

Learn more:

Do Muslims Celebrate Engagement?

Yes, Muslims can celebrate an engagement, but they should not pay so much attention to the celebration. It’s not supposed to be a celebration of engagement as it’s just a promise for marriage.

However, it’s permissible for the two families to organize a social event considering shariah conditions: 

  • Avoiding mixed meetings between men and women.
  • Avoid showing women adornment for men.
  • Avoiding music and other unlawful songs, like that carrying seductive or improper words.

Read also:

Can One Be Muslim and Gay?

The Gay Gene – Is Homosexuality Genetic? – Full Guide

Examining 5# Islamic Solutions to the Problem of “AIDS” & HIV

Are Animals Gay? – Full Guide to Homosexuality in Animals

Adultery in Islam – Full Guide to Zina in Islam

Quran and homosexuality

What Is Engagement Dua in Islam?

There is no specific dua reported for engagement. However, it’s permissible for both parties to make dua using the general authentic ones narrated in the Quran or Sunnah.

Learn more:

Who Wrote the Quran? – Real Examination of the Authorship of the Qur’an

Was Muhammad A Prophet of God? Or He made it up?!

What does Sunnah mean in Islam?

Breaking Engagement in Islam

Breaking engagement is permissible in Islam if there is a shariah-approved reason. Otherwise, it’s breaking a promise, which is impermissible in Islam. Engagement in Islam is a promise, not a binding contract. 

Conclusion – The Importance of Following Islam in Engagement

To conclude, following Islam’s teachings safeguards honour and at the same time allows introductory steps of marriage which would secure its success. Therefore, engagement is made lawful in Islam as an introductory step towards marriage, so that each of the potential spouses would know the other within the limits that safeguard their honour and protect their modesty. Engagement helps each of them to be ready for the new stage of their life in the light of their being acquainted with each other.

Learn more about Islam:

Our Creator is the All-Knowing and All-Wise. This is clearly shown in the rulings on marriage and other aspects of life. Isn’t it the time to know your Creator and come close?

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About Abeer Eltahan

Abeer El Tahhan is a pediatrician and a Quran and Arabic tutor. Abeer is deeply involved in Islamic studies and dawah activities. She is fluent in Arabic and English.