Ruling on Seeing the Girl to Whom One Desires to Marry
Question: Among the causes of divorce, O honorable Shaykh, is the husband not seeing his wife before the time of the consummation of the marriage (i.e. before they are married), and our Islamic religion allows this (the couple to see each other before marriage). So what comments can your eminence give concerning this matter?
Answer: There is no doubt that the husband not seeing the woman before marriage might be among the causes that lead to divorce if he finds her to look different than how she was described to him. For this reason Allaah, far removed is He from any imperfections, legislated for the husband to see the woman before the marriage if that is possible. Thus, the Prophet (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "If one of you proposes marriage to a woman, then if he is able to look at whatever of her will encourage him to marry her, then let him do so. For verily that will be more appropriate for encreasing the affection between them." This was reported by Ahmad, and Aboo Daawood with a good (Hasan) chain of narration and Al-Haakim graded it authentic (Saheeh) as a narration related by Jaabir (Radhiyallaahu 'anhu). Ahmad, At-Tirmithee, An-Nasaa'ee and Ibn Maajah all reported from Al-Mugheerah bin Shu'bah (Radhiyallaahu 'anhu) that he proposed to marry a woman, so the Prophet (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Look at her, for verily it is more appropriate for encreasing the affection between you two."
Muslim reported in his Saheeh on the authority of Aboo Hurayrah (Radhiyallaahu 'anhu) that a man mentioned to the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) that he proposed to marry a woman, so the Prophet (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said to him, "Did you look at her?" The man replied, "No." The Prophet said, "Go and look at her."
These Ahaadeeth and other reports that have come with the same meaning all prove the legislation of looking at the woman whom one intends to marry before the actual marriage contract. This is because that is closer to what will bring about success (in the marriage) and the good end result. This is from the beautiful aspects of the Sharee'ah (the Islaamic Law) which has come with all that contains the rectification of the servants (of Allaah) and the happiness of the society, both in this life and the hereafter. So glory be to the One Who legislated it, and sanctioned it as law and made it like Noah's Ark. Whoever is firm upon it then he is saved and whoever goes outside of it then he is destroyed.
Source: Al-Fataawaa min Silsilat Kitaab ud-Da'wah, pp. 207-208
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