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Is it considered sinful in Islam for a man to ask a woman, prior to proposing to her, if she is willing to consider him for marriage? I know that Islam frowns upon unnecessary interaction between genders, because of the potential of illicit relationships.

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this doesn't make sense. even if he tells his parents they can just strike a relationship with the girls parents and ask them to wait. i have seen this happening quite a lot of times. Usually the nikah takes place nad the wedding reception is put off till later. –  Ashu Jun 22 '12 at 3:46
    
@Flimzy it is not much localized as many people go through that. He gave cases where he cannot afford marriage or he is still studying (i assumed he meant this when he said he is still a scholar). there can be more cases but the OP hasn't stated that so it is fine. –  Ashu Jun 22 '12 at 5:19
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@Flimzy, I don't know about other religious site in stack. But In other sites of stack people used to ask their specific problems. I think People should be allowed asking there personal problems –  Inshan Jun 22 '12 at 6:23
    
Having discussed and clarified, I think this is a decent question. See discussion in my answer. –  ashes999 Jun 22 '12 at 16:18
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I think the question looks much better now, and doesn't look like a "personal advice/counseling" question any more. –  Flimzy Jun 22 '12 at 16:56
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4 Answers 4

Muslim reported Abu Hurairah as saying that a man came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and told him that he had contracted to marry a woman of the Ansar. “Did you look at her?” the Prophet (peace be on him) asked. "No," he said, "Then go and look at her," said the Prophet (peace be on him)

based on this hadith we can infer that the man was simply going to ask the girls parents for her hand in marrige but instead the prophet insisted that he go look at her before marrying, if he was going to look at her then ask for her hand, isnt that the exact same thing as asking her directly to marry him?

the hadith continues:

"For there is something in the eyes of the Ansar,’ meaning that some of them have a defect of their eyes Al-Mughira ibn Shu’bah said, I asked for a woman in marriage and Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) asked me whether I had looked at her. When I replied that I had not, he said ‘Then look at her, for it may produce love between you.’

the prophet encouraged men to look at the women before marrige for it will create love, this will ultimatly create a longer lasting relationship.

so not only would i belive it is halal, but it was reccomended by the prophet to see the girl during the marrige proposal and not only her parents, but notice that in both the versions of the hadith the parents were present, it may be best to ask the girl directly, but with her parents also present.

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There is no doubt that parents' consent is not a condition in the marriage validity. In other words, your marriage is valid even though your parents do not give their approval since Allah, The Great and Almighty, granted a sane man the full authority concerning marriage, selling, purchasing and all other daily transactions. Thus, if you don't have your parents' consent in such above matters, then this does not constitute any form of ingratitude, because Islamically, you have the right to do so. But, it is better to seek your parents' advice concerning your marriage. This advice, without a doubt, pleases them since your marriage is a family issue that they are more deserving to take part in.

Thereupon, since conditions of marriage such as a guardian of woman and witnesses and the absence of any impediment are all met, then you are not obliged to inform you parents, especially if you fear of committing some Prohibited actions. We advise you to accomplish such a contract and may Allah bless you.

Allah Knows best

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AFAIK, it is normally a condition and depending on the situation it might not be. –  Gigili Jun 22 '12 at 4:35
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you said your parents i belive he is asking about her parents –  NesreenA Jun 22 '12 at 7:10
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You are missing references for the claims. –  Hasan Khan Jun 22 '12 at 9:03
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according to Jafari Fiqh if it is only Marriage proposal and does not contain other sin it is allowed. but Marriage proposal through parents of girl are recommended and direct Marriage proposal to girl is highly discouraged.

ref:

  1. http://makarem.ir/websites/english/
  2. http://www.al-islam.org/laws/
  3. http://moshavereh.porsemani.ir/content/%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%DA%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87

also it causes: 1- daughter find a negative view about boy. 2- daughter should tell to her parents and her parents also find a negative view about boy.

also most of shia scholars (not all) say if the girl is a virgin girl the consent if her father is needed as a condition in the marriage validity.

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I'm going to answer this from a social perspective. Why would a Muslim propose directly to a girl? In Islam, the marriage process (which, generally, most Muslim cultures today follows) is:

  • Find out a bit about each other (through your social network, relatives, etc.)
  • Talk to the girl's wali (guardian) to propose
  • Discuss (family-level)
  • Nikah and beyond

The problem with saying "yes, he can propose directly" is that people may abuse it. They may "propose" to the girl, and then proceed to date her, and pursue an unislamic relationship.

Or, the couple gets married, the parents find out, and all trust is lost. The family breaks. This is actually a very grievous sin, because Allah demands that we keep ties with "silatu ar-rahim," or the ties of blood kinship. Especially parents, who are at an unparalleled level of rights.

Some food for thought.

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Proposing to her directly don't mean to cancel family opinion, What I mean is to ask her first before asking her parents, that if she accepts the next step would be asking both his parents and her parents –  Sameh Kamal Jun 22 '12 at 14:23
    
@SamehKamal maybe you need to update your question. "Propose" usually means "instigate the (official?) process of marriage." Instead of asking her directly, maybe your sister/mom/aunt/someone can ask on your behalf? –  ashes999 Jun 22 '12 at 14:39
    
My English is so bad I think you have understood what I mean, you can make edit to the question –  Sameh Kamal Jun 22 '12 at 15:58
    
Okay, I've completely rewritten your question. Please read it and tell me if it is what you want to know. I can update my answer accordingly. –  ashes999 Jun 22 '12 at 16:19
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I'm not going to vote either way here... I see what point you are trying to make, but I agree with it to an extent. A lot of marriage, although we sometimes don't think about it, is cultural. It seems this answer contains 85% Islam, 15% culture. I like it though. +/- 0 –  Dynamic Jun 22 '12 at 20:47
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