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The Restrictions of Suitors’ Relationship

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What are the permissible matters during engagement and within the boundaries of Muslim families' customs and habits earlier than the conclusion of marriage contract at the court? 



All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

It is well known according to Sharia that the relationship between suitors earlier than the conclusion of marriage contract doesn't enjoy any legal ruling due to the fact that the fiancée takes the same ruling of a non-Mahram woman to the suitor; thus, she isn`t lawful to him, he has no guardianship over her, he may not interfere in her affairs and he isn`t allowed to have privacy with her until the marriage contract is concluded.

The point of engagement that it serves as marriage promise and preliminary acceptance; however, it isn`t a marriage contract because the latter must have the following pillars: specific words of proposal and acceptance, presence of Guardian (Wali) and witnesses as stipulated in the Jordanian Civil Status Law, article (3): " Marriage isn`t concluded by engagement, promise of marriage, recital of Al-Fatihah, receiving any sum as part of the bridal gift(Mahr), or the girl`s acceptance of gifts from suitor." 

Consequently, an engagement is no more than a promise of legal marriage ,as well in accordance to people's custom, it doesn't take any legal ruling; as a result, the suitor isn't permitted to have privacy or to look at his fiancée save at her face and at the two palms of her hands, as he remains a non-Mahram to her till the very moment at which the  marriage contract is concluded and only then, she becomes his wife. And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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