Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. I have heard that it is haram to look at the faces of women. If so, how can I find a wife? What about if I am not wanting to marry someone, but I see her face?
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
Looking At Potential Spouses Is Permissible
No, it is not haram to look at the face of someone you are considering for marriage. In fact, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised Mughira b. Shu’ba to look at a prospective spouse saying, “It is more likely that there will be an intimate connection between you two.” [Tirmidhi]
Looking At Non-Potentials
As for ladies, one is not intending to marry, such as someone you see on the bus or at the supermarket checkout, merely seeing them is not a sin. A repeated lustful gaze is sinful. As for seeing someone in your field of view or someone you have to interact with, such as a colleague, it is not sinful.
If one fears that there could be some attraction then modest, dignified behavior is needed. One should lower the gaze as much as possible in a dignified way.
Look at how religious, righteous people interact with the opposite gender and base your interaction on that.
May Allah facilitate all matters for you.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani