This is one of the most ridiculous ideas I ever came across – please be offended, period.
I get to hear stories of singles willing to know each other before the marriage, so they go through a little (read huge) ceremony called Engagement, which allows them to know each other while not taking any risks. Nikkah sounds very serious and it comes with its obligations. People tend to shy away from it and I am almost certain that this has something to do with a severe lack of reliance on Allah Azzwajal.
Particularly, I am referring to Muslims who take a big gap between the Engagement and the actual Nikkah. I am also expecting ourselves to know that an engagement ring does not in any way allow us to party out in privacy with our future spouses. Engagement is ONLY a promise to marry, and I don’t see fiancé(e) as a relationship in our religion!
But it’s so harsh to say what I just said, because perhaps, almost all my people do it … but they must understand what they are up to. I believe it’s an sneaky attempt that is diffused in our culture to halal-ize the process of seeing potential future spouses on every alternative day just to get to know more about them before it’s too late. Then, if things doesn’t work, the engagement can be broken by just one phone call (just a promise), because after all, it was never meant to be serious. Astagfirullah, this is not Islam.
I don’t want to go into details of this getting-to-know-each-other debate, perhaps I need to know a little more to make opinions about it ..
But anyways, Islam has an alternative, Alhamdolillah. Our Prophet Muhammad PBUH practiced it with Ayesha RA. It is called Celibate Marriage (Nikaḥ kitāba). Now from whatsoever I read about it, it seems exactly like an engagement, but it comes with obligations, and it’s not in any way violation of any of the commandments of Allah SWT, Wa Allahu A’lam.
Few resources I referred to:
- Brother Saqib Saab talked about it here.
- The followup discussion thread on Shaykh Yaser’s almagrib lecture here.
- A question about Engagement in Islam answered here.
In sum, we must always try to find alternatives to all the matters in our lives when there is even a slightest chance of committing something harram. None of us is perfect, and we are not supposed to be perfect. But just like a friend said, we should always try to gradually diminish our sinful acts, and leave the rest on Allah SWT, the oft-forgiving, Most Merciful -
“Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy Of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Qur’an 39:53]