I am going to be engaged at the age of 17 and going to get married at 19 would it be acceptable if we started talking and meeting up without the whole marriage thing just to get to know each other?
At the outset, we wish to point out that the western concept of engagement has no basis in Islam. That is the way of the Kuffaar. Rasulullah [Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam] said, ?Whosoever imitates a nation is from among them.?
At most, an engagement is only a promise to marry. It should not be a celebration of a mini marriage as is the norm. Once a boy and girl is proposed to marry, they are still Ghayr Mahram unto one another. Ghayr Mahrams are those people that are not prohibited unto one another in marriage. It is compulsory to maintain the laws of Hijaab for Ghayr Mahrams. It is, therefore, prohibited for you to communicate with your future to be. The reason of getting to know one another has no basis. If there was any merit in that, then such marriages ought to be always successful and prosperous as the decision to marry has been on sound basis.
It is a normal practise in the western world to court before marriage, yet the divorce rate among them is extremely high. In the US, the divorce rate is 4 out of 5. The Darul Ifta has observed and handled many such marital disputes wherein the couples knew one another before marriage for a long time. The relationship suddenly sours after the marriage. In many cases, the spouses have stated that the attitude before marriage was different and changed only after marriage. Surely that synthetic positive approach was just to achieve one’s motive. It is also important to examine this issue from another angle. Everything has its full strength and limits. In such a premarital relationship, couples exhaust much of their natural resources of love and do not have much left when the actual time comes to express that. After marriage, love is an old boring affair and there is not much hope for building a loving marriage. Alhamdulillah, in Islam, individuals have the full resources of love and express it at the appropriate time, thus building a solid foundation of love. The concept of keeping contact with each other before marriage to know one another is incorrect and un-Islamic. There are many couples that have been dumped and abused by the ?faithful? partners.
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai