Chatting, Hanging Out for Courtship: Any Limits? Mahram Presence Necessary?

15 April, 2020
Q Assalamu alaikum, I would like to ask a few questions on a topic that has recently caused me some confusion and it relates to finding a Muslim partner online.Firstly I wanted to ask whether it was permissible to converse with a person of the opposite gender online for the purposes of marriage without the inclusion of a mahram , wali or relative in the conversation ?The other question relates to the dynamics of what one does when they decide to meet a consideration for marriage in person? Is it permissible to meet a girl to discuss marriage in a public place (I.e Restaurant, Cafe) in which there is no Khalwat but without the presence of their wali or mahram, even if their wali or mahram are aware of and approve of the meeting ?Lastly if it is necessary to physically include a wali or mahram in the courtship process of getting to know ones potential spouse , what advice would you give to those who cannot carry out this function for whatever reason (I.e Muslims living abroad from family or reverts who do not have any Muslim relatives )?Wassalam

Answer

Short Answer:

  • Marriage in Islam is a sacred bond. It is the cornerstone of establishing a successful Muslim family. Marriage in Islam is based on love, mercy, and affection.
  • If a man or a woman finds an interesting partner through the Internet and there is a desire to know more about each other in order to get married, then they should involve one’s elders in this matter.

………….

Salam dear brother,

Thank you for your question.

Marriage: A Sacred Bond

Marriage in Islam is a sacred bond. It is the cornerstone of establishing a successful Muslim family. Marriage in Islam is based on love, mercy, and affection. We read in the Quran what means: 

*{And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.}* (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Marriage aims at protecting the person’s chastity by guarding against any illicit relations. Marriage helps spouses build the foundations of a happy family. 

Qualities to Look for in a Spouse

Islam acknowledges that sex is a natural instinct and thus it cannot be repressed. Therefore, Islam made the institution of marriage the only possible channel to fulfill our sexual desire.

On selecting a wife, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“A woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. Select the pious, may you be blessed!”. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In this hadith, Prophet Muhammad stressed the importance of seeking a religious woman. 

In another hadith, the Prophet said:

“The world is but a (quick passing) enjoyment; and the best enjoyment of the world is a pious and virtuous woman”. (Muslim)

On selecting a husband, Prophet Muhammad said:

“When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with comes to you then marry (her to) him. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil (fitnah) in the land and discord. If you do not do so, then there will be turmoil in the land and discord.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if there was something about him?” He said: “When someone whose religion and character you are pleased with comes to you then marry him.” And he (peace be upon him) said this three times. (At-Tirmidhi)

These are the qualities that we should look for in a spouse. 

Seeking a spouse is the most important decision that a Muslim can take. Therefore, seeking a spouse should be done through legal channels. Islam fights evil inclinations and wicked desires. 

Internet Chatting Between the Sexes 

Islam prohibits any pre-marital relationships between males and females. Islam does not permit love letters or intimate conversations between members of the opposite sex who are not married to each other. Males and females should not chat with each other just for socialization or passing time. 

If a man or a woman finds an interesting partner through the Internet and there is a desire to know more about each other in order to get married, then they should involve one’s elders in this matter.

Chatting, Hanging Out: Any Limits? Presence of a Mahram, Wali or Relative Necessary?

Islam does not allow any isolation or hanging out together with a member of the opposite sex unless they are married or they are close blood relations known as mahram.

You can discuss the marriage arrangements with your possible partner in the presence of family members. You should involve your parents at a certain point in the marriage process. Sometimes, their opinion is valuable based on their long experience in life.

Wali: One of the Conditions of Marriage Contract

Prophet Muhammad said,

“No marriage contract can be concluded without the presence of a wali. A Sultan (authority figure) may act as a wali for those without one.” (Ibn Majah and Imam Ahmad)

According to the majority of scholars, it is not allowed to marry a woman without the consent of her legal guardian. 

Scholars held the view that in order to conclude a marriage contract, a Muslim woman must have a guardian (wali) who is usually the father.

In the case of a female convert, her non-Muslim family members cannot act as her guardian. The imam of the Islamic center can act as her guardian. The leader of the Muslim community can act as her guardian. In the worst scenario, any Muslim who is just, respected and of good morals can act as the female convert’s guardian.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Halal Ways for Converts to Find a Spouse in the Modern World?

Meeting a Potential Husband, What to Do?

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/civil-marriage-ceremony-of-new-convert-muslim-man/


About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.