Seeing the woman before marriage
Islam has permitted that a prospective bachelor may catch sight of his fiancee before the marriage is consummated. This is conducive to the protection of modesty. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whenever anyone among you (Muslims) proposes marriage with a woman, he should, if possible, catch sight of her.”
Seeing the person is foil of many advantages. It will if the woman is liked, confirm the intention of marriage. It will obviate all chances of criticism of defects, if any, after the marriage. To obtain relevant details about the proposed match is necessary.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) advised Hazrat Moghira bin Shu’ba Radiallahu anhu to catch a sight of the lady he had intended to marry because that would be helpful in connecting mutual relations. According to Imam Tirmzi Rahmatullah alaih, sighting of a fiancee would be conducive to mutual love and regard during the married life.
According to Hazrat Abu Horairah Radiallahu anhu, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) commanded a man to see his proposed bride (who was an Ansaria) and uttered the following words: “Go and see the woman because in the eyes of the Ansar women there is some thing you may not like.” According to Imam Nawawi Rahmatullah alaih, catching a glimpse of the fiancee is advisable. This view is showed by Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik and Imam Ahmed.
As a matter of fact, the seeing should preferably be done without notice and without knowledge of the concerned woman, if possible. If personal sighting is not possible, it may be done by a reliable woman who may report pros and cons of the woman.
Two of the organs, face, and hands may be seen with advantage. These two organs are beyond the Islamic ‘satar’ (fit to be hidden), the face will reveal the beauty and graces and the hands and arms will reveal the standard of physical health and bodily structure.
As against this useful contrivance made permissible in Islam, the western and the non-Muslim usage of courtship is highly objectionable and fraught with moral dangers. This situation is highly objectionable from Islamic viewpoint and it defeats the very purpose of marriage in Islam, which seeks, to protect the modesty and chastity of a female. Before the consummation of marriage a male and a female are strangers to each other and are not allowed even to sit closely together and enter into conversation and discussion. The sighting of a would – be bride has been allowed only as a precaution to obviate chances of criticism by the man about any defects which may become known after the marriage.
Allama Rashid Raza, an Egyptian scholar wrote: “For the last 30 or 40 years I have carried out research on the marital relations between men and women. I have read carefully a lot of literature on this subject and have writtenmany pages in my commentary “Al-Minar.” But I firmly disbelieve when thinkers both in east and west opine that satisfactory marital life and the pleasure attendant on it depend on the pre-marriage acquaintance of a male and a female and on the mutual love developed in the course of their courtship.”
The courtship formula has proved to be ineffective and harmful because initial love is gradually diminished after marriage and, as the Arabian proverb goes: marriage puts an end to the love, which a man and a woman may have before marriage. Sentiments subside when hard realities of life are faced by both man and woman.
The correct attitude which requires to be adopted was taught by Hazrat Umar Radiallahu anhu when an outspoken woman told him (as head of the State): ،I have no natural love for him.” She was wisely advised: “When a woman does not have natural love for her husband, she should not tell him, because sentimental and heart to heart love is rare. Let married couples live in accordance with the teachings of Islam and have mutual regard and respect within the Divine injunctions. Let them discharge the obligations develoving on each and have regard for the mutual rights as fixed by Islam: He added: “Man and wife would be well-advised to express more love for each other than they actually feel. That way their amicable relations will improve with the passage of time and their family life would become happy and satisfactory.”