Nowadays our society is getting familiar with the term ta’aruf. Many public figures, and probably people surrounding us, have adopted this way as an effort to know their potential spouse deeper. It’s certainly a good news that more people realize of choosing the path relevant to Islamic values than the one breaking it, which is dating.
We all know dating is totally opposite to shari’ah Islam although a lot of people still consider this phenomenon usual. Dating is close to adultery as discussed in the law of dating in Islam and its verses.
In addition, scholars, ustadz, and communities in social media are trying to introduce everything about ta’aruf frequently so that it’s not peculiar anymore for commoners.
However, just knowing the term is not enough, especially for those who want to implement it. They must know the whole concept, too. An incomplete understanding about ta’aruf will raise misconception as what often happens today.
Ta’aruf is seen as Islamic dating. They’re actually dating but using the better name, for they do not get the point related to the limitations in ta’aruf.
That’s why we should understand the rules of ta’aruf according to shari’ah Islam. Even though there are a lot of things we should be aware of, the main points will be presented below as a warning and reminder for us.
- Recheck Your Intention (Niyyat)
Niat takes the first place in anything we’ll do, including in ta’aruf. It determines what we will get at the end. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab related that he heard the Messenger of Allah, shallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said,
عَنْ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَبِي حَفْصٍ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ:
سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: ” إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إلَيْهِ”.“Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose hijrah was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his hijrah was to what he made hijrah for. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Ta’aruf is a step to find a future spouse. It’s expected that ta’aruf will end up in marriage to complete half of your religion. Therefore, it needs seriousness from both parties.
If in ta’aruf you just want to have an experience without any preparation and intention, you had better go away. Make sure you do ta’aruf with right intention and proper preparation, because it has to do with your own future and others’ feeling.
- Be Honest
In ta’aruf, there will be a step where you tell everything important about yourself to your potential spouse. In this step, don’t ever lie although it’s related to even a simple thing. Make honesty as your principle because there are benefits of honesty in Islam in daily life you should know.
Just tell everything honestly and show the way you are to them. As we know that lie itself is forbidden in Islam, except for some special cases. ‘Abdullah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,
حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ دَاوُدَ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: عَلَيْكُمْ بِالصِّدْقِ، فَإِنَّ الصِّدْقَ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْبِرِّ، وَإِنَّ الْبِرَّ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ يَصْدُقُ حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ عِنْدَ اللهِ صِدِّيقًا، وَإِيَّاكُمْ وَالْكَذِبَ، فَإِنَّ الْكَذِبَ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْفُجُورِ، وَالْفُجُورَ يَهْدِي إِلَى النَّارِ، وَإِنَّ الرَّجُلَ لَيَكْذِبُ حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ عِنْدَ اللهِ كَذَّابًا.
“You must be truthful. Truthfulness leads to dutifulness and dutifulness leads to the Garden. A man continues to tell the truth until he is written as a siddiq with Allah. Beware of lying. Lying leads to deviance and deviance leads to the Fire. A man continues to lie until he is written as a liar with Allah.” (Muslim)
If there are lies in ta’aruf and then it leads to marriage, then the marriage is built on lies and it will decrease barakah from Allah. But here, being honest is not the same as telling your past sin to your potential spouse. You can hide it if you want, because it’s just your past. Be honest when telling about your personality, vision, habit, or family background.
- No Khalwat
In this context, khalwat is being alone with nonmahram. Not just in ta’aruf, khalwat is obviously not allowed in our daily lives. Even though ta’aruf is a process before marriage, you and your potential spouse are still nonmahram. Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
لاَ يَخْلُوَنَّ رَجُلٌ بِامْرَأَةٍ إِلاَّ وَمَعَهَا ذُو مَحْرَمٍ
“No person (man) should be alone with a woman except when there is a Mahram with her.” (Muslim)
So, you need to choose a mediator to accompany you when meeting your potential spouse and deliver your questions to them. Any kind of communication is done by the help of this mediator.
But when you have something urgent to discuss with your potential spouse, you can do direct communication by sending message to them as long as you just focus on that thing you want to discuss and do not talk about unimportant matter. However, we human are weak creature.
We can do sin no matter how hard we avoid it. Therefore, don’t forget to always pray duas to keep away from sin to ask for Allah’s protection.
- The Sooner the Better
The intention to get married is a great thing. When you’ve been ready and sureness has come to your heart, it’s better for you to realize it soon. It’s intended to lower your gaze and guard your chastity. Alqamah bin Qais said,
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَامِرِ بْنِ زُرَارَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُسْهِرٍ، عَنِ الأَعْمَشِ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، عَنْ عَلْقَمَةَ بْنِ قَيْسٍ، قَالَ كُنْتُ مَعَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ بِمِنًى فَخَلاَ بِهِ عُثْمَانُ فَجَلَسْتُ قَرِيبًا مِنْهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ عُثْمَانُ هَلْ لَكَ أَنْ أُزَوِّجَكَ جَارِيَةً بِكْرًا تُذَكِّرُكَ مِنْ نَفْسِكَ بَعْضَ مَا قَدْ مَضَى فَلَمَّا رَأَى عَبْدُ اللَّهِ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهُ حَاجَةٌ سِوَى هَذَا أَشَارَ إِلَىَّ بِيَدِهِ فَجِئْتُ وَهُوَ يَقُولُ لَئِنْ قُلْتَ ذَلِكَ لَقَدْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ”
“I was with Abdullah bin Masud in Mina, and Uthman took him aside. I was sitting near him. Uthman said to him, ‘Would you like that I marry you to a young virgin who will remind you of how you were in the past?’ When Abdullah saw that he did not say anything to him apart from that, he gestured to me, so I came and said, ‘As you say that the Messenger of Allah said, “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding one’s chastity. Whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will diminish his desire.”’” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidzi)
The process of ta’aruf from the first step till the wedding is ideally takes 2 or 3 months. But, of course, the condition faced by each person is different. It can be more or less than that. The point is when you’re not sure and feel like you can’t be with your potential spouse, stop in the midst.
And if Allah guides you to choose them, then arrange the wedding day as soon as possible. Patience is also needed here. In facing uncertain condition, it’s important for you to learn 20 how to be patience in Islam for making a better life. Many cases show that it’s needed quite long time between ta’aruf and the wedding.
For example, you do ta’aruf in this year, but the akad is in the next year. It’s not relevant to the rules of ta’aruf, because anything can happen in that gap time.
- Make It Secret
Ta’aruf doesn’t always end up in marriage. It has two possibilities; you stop in the midst of ta’aruf because of something you can’t tolerate, or both you and your potential spouse decide to marry. So, in this step, getting married still becomes a plan.
That’s why you’re not allowed to tell about your ta’aruf to anyone, except your family. In case you have to stop your ta’aruf, you don’t need to be ashamed as it’s just you and your family who know it. Declare it when your plan is successful, on your wedding day – the starting point when 15 virtues of getting married in Islam is coming to your life.
It’s necessary to understand and follow those rules of ta’aruf. The main reason of doing ta’aruf is implementing shari’ah Islam and hoping for barakah from Allah, so don’t ruin it by doing the opposite of the things above.