If you are not sure of the partner you intend marrying, it is allowed to get ‘married’ without consumating the marriage in order to get to know the spouse. If you do not get along, you annul the marriage and return half the dowry.
This is to avoid the courting process.
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Nikah is a sacred bond where the name of Allah is taken to join two individuals to each other. It requires that a person does thorough investigation regarding his potential spouse prior to the marriage so that he does not have to resort to divorce later on. Thus, Islam detests divorce. Nabi صلى الله عليه وسلم has said,
حدثنا كثير بن عبيد حدثنا محمد بن خالد عن معرف بن واصل عن محارب بن دثار عن ابن عمر عن النبى –صلى الله عليه وسلم– قال (أبغض الحلال إلى الله تعالى الطلاق.) رواه أبو داود في سننه– )2 / 220(
“The most detested of all permissible actions is divorce.” (Sunan Abi Dawood, 2/220)
Marriage should not be construed as a car; where, if a person is not happy with one he can trade it in for another. Rather, a person should get married with the goal of continuously living with his partner and attaining love and peace from the bond.
The way of getting to know the spouse is by asking the family members and neighbours of the girl; people who knew her throughout her life. They will be able to truly inform you about her personality, habits, ways and customs.
In the scenario which you have suggested, it is obvious that both spouses will not play their exact selves before the consummation. They will try to impress each other and not reveal their true personalities. It is only after consummation when each spouse will find out who their partner really is.
Furthermore, such a ‘marriage’ will place a stigma on the two spouses, and if they decide to divorce, they might have difficulty in finding another spouse later on.
Based on the above, even if it might be permissible to ‘marry without consummation until you get to know the spouse’ if there are no invalid conditions made, it will still not be the ideal. Rather investigate about the girl before marriage so that you can live a life of bliss after marriage.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Ismail Moosa,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah