LOOKING AT POTENTIAL SPOUSES by Karimah bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain & Bell Being Writer
I have sugested through my own expereince to look at how a potential spouse prays, should you get the opportunity or get your mahram to see how a brother who is a potential husband prays. This suggestion was met with the usual ignorant objections to I decided to revise some of the books I study to find the appropriate hadith to back up my opinion.I also got feedback from sistars who said they had asked their dad to look at how a potential husband prays over time.
In his book “the Quest for Love and Mercy ” by Muhammad Mustapha al Jibaly , he says referring to looking at the person who is being courted, he speaks with reference to men looking at woman but obviously in Islam the opposite women looking at men for the purpose of marriage is also permissible, although I am sure there would be some who would disagree.
It is prohibitive to stare at the opposite sex if the person is not mahram to you(father brother, paternal maternal uncle not uncle in law). Looking at a person with the purpose of marrying them is an exception, now at this stage I would have to add, after being taught by Dr Jamal and Imam Raza ,at the Muslim college in Ealing and the Shariah Council, that “the purpose of seeking to marrying someone” and ” definitely going to marry them ” are different.
Having meetings for the purpose of getting to know someone is not the same as a proposal being offered and the proposal being accepted, this is called khitbah/engagement. After this offered and acceptance then the two people should speak exclusively to each other ,another brother cannot propose to this sister after she has accepted a proposal until that proposal may not go through. A sister cannot accept another proposal once she has accepted one proposal.
Back to looking at potential spouses, this doesn’t mean just looking at men or women thinking “Oh I fancy him or fancy her, maybe I will go and talk to her one day.” This is idle gazing a the opposite sex.
The concept of courting has been lost to the last few generations but a thing familiar to my parents, anyone over 60 knows about “courting” it is also an Islamic habit though some cultures frown on it, it is mentioned in the Haddith and a Quest for Love and Mercy.
“Courting” is a form of dating without physical contact, meeting in public places that are witness by other, getting to know each other with a view to finding out more about a person you may or may not want to marry.
The haddith mention courting
Abu Humayd As Sa’idi reported that prophet Muhammad said” when one of you courts a woman, it is permissible to look at her if he only looks because he seeks to marry her…even if she doesn’t know her is watching her “
Recorded by Ahmad and At-Tabarani in Al Kabir, verified authentic by sheikh Albani (as sahihah 97)
Many people put on a good face the first few times especially if the meeting is in the sheikhs office in teh masjid, but put them in a restaurant or lecture theatre and thing maybe different, you can see if they lower their gaze, is the brother chivalrous; opening doors, being attentive ,etc, but that is story for another day.