Would it be permissible to meet a potential spouse in a public place to find out compatibility, of course without any touching, flirting, or inappropriate behavior?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being concerned about your religion and for fearing Allah in this important matter.
It is permissible for a couple to meet in a public place to discuss marriage, and the most important criteria here is ‘urf, the custom of the land. It may be seen as inappropriate for a young man and woman to meet outside if they come from a conservative family that is very traditional, while it would be seen as perfectly fine for, say, two working professionals who are in their thirties or even divorced, to meet and talk in a public place.
I recommend that any young suitor or maiden in this position use their discretion and good judgment and get the permission of the girl’s father in any case. Keep in mind that if a couple wants to discuss things alone, there are many ways to do it. A couple may sit in the living room, while the parents converse in the kitchen, or the couple may sit in the backyard, while the family remains inside. Please see the following link and may Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.