I'd Like to Keep a Photo of My Fiancé: Is It Forbidden?
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I’d Like to Keep a Photo of My Fiancé: Is It Forbidden?

Questioner

Ahmed

Reply Date

Mar 20, 2019

Question

Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I have been engaged with a Muslim woman. Although I don't have any contact with her, can I think about her and take her photograph with me? Jazakum Allahu khayran.

Mufti

Answer


Can I Keep a Photo of My Fiancée?

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger. 


In this fatwa:

Although you are allowed to look at the woman’s picture before deciding to marry her, you are not allowed to carry her picture around or continue to think or meditate about her until the marriage has been formally contracted.


In his response to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: 

Engagement in Islam is simply a commitment to marry at a future date. Its sole function and significance is to keep other suitors away.

There are virtually no other legal consequences that accrue from the period of engagement.  Thus, engagement does not make what was otherwise considered haram (prohibited) as halal (permitted).

Although you are allowed to look at the woman’s picture before deciding to marry her, you are not allowed to carry her picture around or continue to think or meditate about her until the marriage has been formally contracted.

Engagement in Islam is not considered as a lawful marriage contract; rather, it is simply a promise to be married at a future date, and as such, it does not in any way render anything that had been previously considered unlawful as lawful.

Therefore, as long as you are not married, you are not allowed to carry her picture around. You are, however, allowed to look at her picture carefully in order to make up your mind about marrying her.

This is because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told the Companion who wished to marry a young woman, “Go and look at her first (before deciding), for it might (enable you to) foster your (marriage) relationship.” (Ahmad)

The permission thus given is an exception granted in order to help a person to make a better choice than if he/she were simply marrying someone whom he/she never saw prior to marriage.

On the other hand, members of the opposite sex are forbidden from persistently looking at each other or their pictures, for it might lead to illicit thoughts and desires. According to Shari`ah principle, that which leads to haram (unlawful) is deemed as haram.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.




About Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

Sheikh Ahmad Kutty is a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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