Q. Engagement in Islam and halal dating, how is it done with modesty?
Time Sent: Tuesday June 11, 2009
A. The engagement process of Islam is not like that of westernized nations. It is more like a ‘booking’ or commitment process between parties. In Islam, an engagement is allowed to ward of other proposals, not as a dating marathon.
One can make a commitment to marry the person they are seeking to marry. Under an ideal Islamic condition, people research the aspects of compatibility, etc. and thereafter proceed with marriage under the banner of simplicity. Islam does not encourage unwanted pomp and show. Thus, officially, Islam does not have the term ‘engagement’ as defined by western societies. The more simplicity one attributes to a nikah, more barakah would be awarded to the couples life (derived from Hadith in kita-bun-nikah- Miskat shareef)
The commitment to marry is not absolute, nor is it binding to the extent that they would have to marry each another. This ‘commitment’ promise does not allow for dating. For, if the engagement breaks, reputations are not tainted.
During this engagement/commitment process, couples from strange lands and communities, persons foreign to each other can use this time to share data between themselves with 3rd party parental/guardian supervision. This supervision must be close by or have direct access to the conversations to note and stand witness that no secret haram matters are taking place.
Allah Certainly Knows Best.