This question is in relation to Uma's answer to When proposing / before agreeing to marry a woman, how much can a man look at her (body)?. Specifically this snippet:

From Imam Nawawi's Minhaj Al Talibin:

The Sonna has introduced the practice of seeing a woman one proposes to marry, even without her knowing it, and even several times, before demanding her in marriage ; but the suitor must not see any more of his future wife than the face and hands. The law forbids a male adult to look upon the shameful parts of a free adult woman, a " stranger " to him — i.e. not his near relative, wife or slave.

I'm surprised by the wording "demanding her in marriage" and I'm wondering if there's any significance to this other than a language/translation matter.

Question: What did Imam Nawawi mean by "demanding her in marriage" in relation to a marriage proposal?

Presumably it doesn't mean marrying her involuntarily (see: Is it permissible for a girl to reject a proposal?).

2 Answers 2


Its a paraphrased translation from Arabic to French to English (see preface), and an old one at that (1914), so you probably shouldn't read too much into the choice of words.

The Original arabic text in the Minhaj is:

وإذا قصد نكاحها سن نظره إليها قبل الخطبة وإن لم تأذن وله تكرير نظره ولا ينظر غير الوجه والكفين

Source: Scan at archive.org, digitized version here.

قبل الخطبة used in the beginning of the sentence is the only wording which conveys the meaning, and it means before proposing.

Marriage without the consent of the wali and\or the girl (depending on school of thought) is invalid.


It simply means before asking for her hand or asking her wali for the right to marry her or simply making a marriage proposal.

Which means when a man intends to marry a girl -and before any engagement- he is allowed to take a look at some parts of her body or her shape even without her knowledge.

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