Can I Wish to Marry an Engaged Person?

10 December, 2018
Q Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. There is a person I desired to marry for a long time. This person recently became engaged to someone else. However, I still feel that this person is the one I wish to marry. I know it is not permissible to interfere with their engagement by coming between them, but can I pray istikharah (prayer for guidance) about the feelings I have? Is this considered a bad deed on my behalf because there's something in me that desires that their engagement won't work? Jazakum Allah khayran.


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:

You are not allowed, as a Muslimah, to seek any channel to break the engagement of that man. You should keep in mind that marrying him is not the end of the world, and as long as you are committed to the teachings of Islam Allah will guide you to get married to a righteous person with whom you will lead a happy life, in sha’ Allah. Thus, drop wishful thinking aside for the time being, and make sure that you will be guided to a righteous partner in the future as long as you commit yourself not to do anything unlawful.

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

Once a person has been engaged to another, you are not allowed to contemplate or entertain thoughts of marrying him. This is regardless of the fact that you had cherished the intention of marrying him once upon a time.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one should propose to someone who is already engaged to someone else.” (Malik)

The reason for this is that marriage is a solemn contract; it should not be a source of bickering and dissension. Moreover, such actions will only breed mutual hostilities and ill-feeling, disrupting social harmony and relations.

Furthermore, we would do ourselves a great favor by staying away from interfering in other’s business.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “One of the signs of the excellence of one’s faith is to leave that which does not concern him/her.” (Malik)

So consider this chapter closed. Don’t live in dreams and wishful thinking. Don’t rack your brain by thinking of this person. Wish them well and find your luck elsewhere. Pray to Allah to give substitute someone better.

As for istikharah, I must advise you that it does not apply to the situation you have described, for one should resort to it only when faced with two equally permissible options and he wants Allah to guide us to make the right decision.

In this situation, you are not faced with lawful options, for you are not allowed to entertain thoughts of marrying someone who is already engaged to someone else.

So come back to your senses and be realistic and never wish for their engagement to break up; to do so is sinful on your part.

If, Allah forbid, without your interference, their engagement were to break up, then there is no harm for you to propose to him so long as he has not seriously entertained another proposal.

However, don’t think that your option in life is limited to marrying this person; there are other men out there. So seek the help of Allah to guide you in the right direction and to make things easy for you. You can use the following duaa (supplication):

Allahumma aghninee bi halalika `an haramika, wa bi ta`atika `an ma`siyatika, wa bi fadlika `amman siwaka (O Allah! Make me so satisfied with what You have declared as halal for me so that I don’t need to resort to haram. Make me so satisfied with Your obedience that I am not compelled to disobey You. Make me so satisfied with Your favor that I do not need to crave for the favors of anyone else.)

May Allah make us all satisfied with what He has declared as lawful for us so that we are not compelled to resort to what is haram, amen.

Almighty Allah knows best.

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