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20 Islamic Rules for Engagement Before Marriage

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Marriage is a recommendation of the Sunnah that is taught by our Prophet Muhammad SAW to us. Before entering the marriage, there are times to do an engagement. The purpose of a done engaged is to know each other of course with the rules of Islam. Below are 20 Islamic rules for engagement that you should know.


1. Conceal the engagement

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised us to carry out the marriage and conceal the engagement. As explained in the following hadith below.

The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:

“Announce marriage and conceal engagement.” (Ad-Daylami, As-Suyooti – Saheeh)

2. Looking at the woman being proposed to

 Before the engagement, the suitor (male) should be looking at the woman being proposed to. This is to find out whether the woman is engaged to another man or not. Read more about The Law of Women Going Out at Night in Islam

This is the following hadith.

Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah, may Allah be pleased with them, said, “I proposed to a woman from Banu Salamah and I would peep at her from behind palm trees until I saw what encouraged me to marry her, so, I married her.” (Ahmad and Abu Daawood)

3. The man proposes engagement

 The rule number three, there’s a basic rule that the suitor proposes the engagement. This statement is mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah, Allah The Exalted says.

“There is no sin for you in that which ye proclaim or hide in your minds concerning your troth with women. Allah know that ye will remember them. But plight, not your troth with women except by uttering a recognized form of words. And do not consummate the marriage until (the term) prescribed is run. Know that Allah know what is in your minds, so beware of Him; and know that Allah is Forgiving, Clement.” (Verse 2: 235)

4. Preserves the women’s honor

The purpose of doing the engagement is to honor the women and avoid the woman from a man who is not good to marry in the future. Read more about How Women Should Behave in Islam

The Messenger of Allah  ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:

“When one of you proposes to a woman if he could look at for her to see what urges him to marry her, then let him do that.” (Ahmad, Abu Daawood, Al-Haakim, and Al-Bayhaqi)

5. Permissible for a woman to propose a man by sending someone whom she trusts

In the engagement period, the woman is allowed to apply for a man by sending someone she trusts. The woman can send her uncle, or even her father to propose to the man. Read more about How to Choose a Woman in Islam

Below is an example of hadith, the story of a father who offered ‘Uthman bin Affan to marry his daughter, Hafsah.

The husband of Hafsah bint ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with her and her father, died, her father offered her in marriage to ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, may Allah be pleased with him, and said to him,

“I would like to give you Hafsah in marriage, if you so wish.” ‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, replied, “I will think about it.” Days later, ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, met ’Uthmaan who said, “It seems that it is not possible for me to marry at present.” Then ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, met Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, and said to him, “I would like to give you Hafsah in marriage if you so wish.”

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Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, remained silent. Later, the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu  ` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) proposed to her and ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, accepted. When Abu Bakr met ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, thereafter, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, told him that he knew that the Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) had intended to marry her? (Bukhari)

6. Permissible for a suitor to send a woman to look at the future bride

In addition, the suitors (men) are permissible to look at the woman (future bride) and propose the woman by sending someone that he trusts. The suitors can send his aunt, grandma or even his mother to propose to the woman. Read more about Women’s Role in Muslim Society

Below here is the following hadith:

The Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) sent Umm Sulaym, may Allah be pleased with him, in order to look at a woman whom he wanted to take in marriage. He said to her: “Smell her mouth, and look at her ankles.” (Ahmad)

7. The exchanges the rings between the engaged couple

The exchange of rings between the couple during the engagement is not allowed in Islam. The reason because this is an example of a western culture which is of course not recommended in Islam. This prohibition is written in the hadith below.

“You will inevitably follow the paths of those who came before you, handspan by handspan, cubit by cubit until even if they entered the hole of a lizard, you will follow them.” We said, “O Messenger of Allaah,  (do you mean) the Jews and Christians?” He said, “Who else?” (Bukhari Muslim)

8. Not Permissible for the man put the ring on his fiance’s hand himself

The second prohibition, in putting the ring on the future wife at the time of getting engaged, then this should only be done by the mother, aunt or sister of the future wife. The suitors (male) are not allowed to put their own bridal ring in engagement. This is already written in the hadith below.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever imitates a people is one of them.” (Abu Dawood). 


9. Permissible propose widow at the end her period of ‘Iddah

How about proposing for a widowed woman in Islam? The rules in Islam, that a suitor (man) permissible to propose a widowed woman at the end of her ‘Iddah. Here is the Quranic verse that was written about it.

“And when ye have divorced women and they reach their term, place not difficulties in the way of their marrying their husbands if it is agreed between them in kindness. This is an admonition for him among you who believeth in Allah and the Last Day. That is more virtuous for you, and cleaner. Allah knoweth; ye know not. ” (Verse 2:232)

10. Permits an indirect proposal to a widow

Islam is permitted the suitor to submit an indirect proposal to a widow when she ‘Iddah. ‘Iddah is calculated by the day, the total is four months and ten days. ‘Iddah period is not calculated during the menstrual cycle. Below here Allah says in the Quran.

 “Such of you as die and leave behind them wives, they (the wives) shall wait, keeping themselves apart, four months and ten days. And when they reach the term (prescribed for them) then there is no sin for you in aught that they may do with themselves in decency. Allah is informed of what ye do.”(Verse 2: 234)

11. How to proposal widow whom pregnant

 What is the rule in Islam if a suitor (male) wants to marry a pregnant widow? The rule in Islam is if a widow is pregnant, her Iddah will end after giving birth. Allah SWT says in the Quran.

“And such of your women as despair of menstruation, if ye doubt, their period (of waiting) shall be three months, along with those who have it not. And for those with child, their period shall be till they bring forth their burden. And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, He maketh his course easy for him.” (Verse 65: 4)

12. The law between the suitors

 The women who have been proposed to be engaged to men, other men are not allowed to offer it. The guardians are not allowed to accept the advice of others when the first engagement takes effect. Here is an explanation of the hadith below.

The Messenger of Allah  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:

“A believer is the brother of a believer, so it is not lawful for a believer to outbid his brother nor to propose to a woman who is engaged by his brother unless he leaves [the woman].” (Ahmad and Muslim)

13. When the first suitor leaves the women

However, when the first suitor leaves her, others are permitted to propose to her. Below here is the hadith narrated by our Prophet Muhammad SAW.

The Messenger of Allah  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:

“A man should not propose to a woman who is engaged to his brother until he gives her up or allows him (to propose to her).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

14. Choosing between the suitors

There is a case when more than one suitor proposes to a woman at the same time, her guardian is entitled to choose the best of them in terms of religiousness and noble morals. Below here is the following hadith about choosing the best between the suitors.

Mu‘aawiyah ibn Abu Sufyaan and Abu Al-Jahm proposed to Faatimah bint Qays at the same time, and she went to the Prophet Sallallahu` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) consulting him. The Prophet Sallallahu` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:

Mu‘aawiyah is a poor man without any property, and as for Abu Jahm, he is a woman beater. But Usaamah ibn Zayd…” She pointed with her hand and said disapprovingly: “Usaamah. Usaamah.” But the Messenger of Allah  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said:“Obedience to Allah and obedience to His Messenger is better for you.” She said, “So I married him, and became an object of admiration for having him as a husband.” (Muslim).

15. Engagement for young girl

In Islam’s view, the young girl’s guardian is allowed to approve the engagement of the right man. As they get older,  if they approve their parent’s consent, it will be completed to conclude this marriage. Read more about How to Grow a Loving Heart in Islam

Here is the following hadith.

“The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) married ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she was six years old and the marriage was consummated when she was nine years old.”
(Bukhari Muslim)

16. The Messenger of Allah teaches us Istikharah

Performing Istikhara was organized by the Prophet Muhammad to his companions before making a decision on marriage. Here is the Prophet Muhammad’s advice written in the hadith.

“If anyone of you intends to do something, he should perform a two-Rak‘ah [units] prayer, other than the obligatory prayer, and then say: 


O Allah, I ask You to show me what is best, through Your Knowledge, and I ask You to empower me, through Your Power, and I beg You to grant me Your Tremendous favor, for You have power, while I am without power, and You have knowledge, while I am without knowledge, and You are the One who knows all things unseen.


O Allah, if You know that this undertaking is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter (or he said: If it is better for my short-term and long-term affairs), Ordain it for me and make it easy for me, then bless it for me, and if You know that this undertaking is evil for me in my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter…


(or he said: if it is evil for my short-term and long-term affairs), Let it be away from me and let me be away from it, and ordain (instead) for me whatever is good for me, and make me satisfied with it’}.” (Al-Bukhari)

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17. Mediation in marriage

Islam recommends that Muslims make matches and join men and women in marriage. This is to help them that they are the suitable and the righteous person. This is the hadith about this.

The Messenger of Allah  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said,

“The best mediation is that done for [joining two people in] marriage.” (Ibn Maajah)

18. The Right of Meditation

The suitors are encouraged to mediate with the righteous, reputable or authoritative person. It is unfair to accept a marriage proposal without consulting a woman under her guardianship. Below is one of the hadiths narrated by Bukhari.


The Prophet  Sallallahu  ` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) interceded on behalf of Mugheeth so that his wife, Bareerah, would remain married to him. The Prophet ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) knew how much Mugheeth loved his wife. Mugheeth married Bareerah when they were slaves.


Mugheeth was of a dark complexion and loved her very much. When she was freed and left him, he was looking for anyone who would convince her to return to him. When the Prophet  Sallallahu  ` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) saw him going behind Bareerah with his tears flowing because of his love for her, he said to her:


“Would you return to him? He is the father of your child.” She asked, “Is this an order, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “No, I am merely interceding for him.” She said, “I am not in need of him.” Thereupon, he said to his uncle Al-Abbass: “O ‘Abbaas, are you not amazed by how Mugheeth loves Bareerah and how she hates him?” (Bukhari)

19. Impermissible in touching

In Islam, it is not permitted to see her fiancée. The reason is that the engagement is a mere promise of marriage that can be inferred or not. The relations between the two sides are still non-Mahram (each other). This is the hadith that is spoken by Prophet Muhammad SAW.

“For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not lawful for him.” (At-Tabaraani and Al-Bayhaqi)

20. Breaking off the engagement

 The engagement is only a promise of marriage between two parties, and this is not a binding contract. In Islam, if the suitor gives the dowry when the engagement, and he wants to withdraw. He deserves to take it all back. However, any prize from the suitor is not entitled to be taken back after breaking the engagement. Here is the following hadith.

“It is not lawful for a man to make a donation or give a gift and then take it back, except a father regarding what he gives his child.” (Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Maajah)

We hope, this post can help us as Muslim to know about the 20 Islamic rules for engagement. With the rules that have been described above. Hopefully, the engagement performed can run well and smoothly up to the marriage level.

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