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Last Updated: 2011/10/02
Summary of question
What is the ruling on having a relation with a non-mahram girl before marriage?
question
I am a 23 year old boy and I have become familiar with an 18 year old girl for some time. I am planning to marry her but marriage is not possible at the moment because I am not prepared for marriage now. Nonetheless, I am not able to stop being with her, talking intimately with her, touching her and so on… Is there any way we can avoid sins and become mahram to each other without the permission of the girl's father?
Concise answer

Any form of relationship before marriage, let it be speaking intimately, touching and caressing etc. is haram. If one speaks with a girl with the intention of seeking pleasure or if he fears that he might fall into a sin with her, it is not permissible for him to speak with her. In doing so, it does not make any difference whether you inform her parents or not. However, if you are seriously intending to marry a girl, and you want to speak with her without having the intention to seek pleasure and you are not also likely to fall into a sin with her, there would be no problem in your speaking with her.

You should note that most of the grand jurists allow temporary or permanent marriage with a virgin girl with the permission of her father or paternal grandfather.[i]



[i] - Such statements by the grand jurists indicate that permission of father or paternal grandfather is a necessary prescriptive as well as wadh'ei (situational) condition of the marriage. That is to say marriage without the permission of a girl's guardian is forbidden and void.

Detailed Answer

Islam has introduced marriage as its answer to the needs of men and women, forbidding all other types of sexual relationship between the two genders, let it be intimate speaking, touching and caressing etc.; all of these can only happen after the marriage formula has been executed. Even a boy and girl who are fiancés and are planning to get married in the future, but haven't actually carried out the marriage formula cannot take lustful pleasures in each other, even if it is only limited to intimate speech.[1]

According to Islam, the sexual needs of a man and a woman should be fulfilled within the framework of Shari'ah rules. Most of the grand jurists say that a marriage contract with a virgin girl will not be valid unless her father or paternal grandfather gives permission.[2]

The question which may arise is whether or not it is permissible to have an ordinary relation with a person from the opposite gender. With this question in mind, we will now look at the answers given to some relevant questions by some of the grand jurists:

Question 1: When it comes to a man's conversation with a non-mahram woman, does it make any difference whether he talks to her directly or through telephone or other means?

All grand jurists: No, it does not make any difference; in both cases, if his intention is to seek pleasure and it is feared that he might fall into a sin, there is problem.[3]

Question 2: What is the Islamic law on chatting with a non-Mahram keeping in view that they discuss only ordinary topics?

All grand jurists: If it is feared that their conversation may entail evil and they may end up falling in a sin, it is not permissible.[4]

Question 3: Is it is permissible for a man to greet a non-Mahram woman or vice-versa?

All grand jurists: If one greets a non-mahram individual and he/she does not intend to seek pleasure and he/she is not likely to fall into a sin, there is no problem.[5]

Question 4: What is the ruling on jesting with a non-mahram?

All grand jurists: If a person's intention is to derive sexual pleasure or if it is feared that he will fall into a sin, it is not permissible.[6]

Question 5: Is it permissible for a man to have a friendly relation with a female colleague?

All grand jurists: Friendship between a girl and a boy is not allowed; because they are likely to fall into a sin. However, work-related communication or relation that does not lead them to a sin and which are in accordance with Shari'ah standards is allowed and there is no problem in it.[7]

Question 6: What does Islam say about expressing love and affection to a girl through email? Is it haram for him to send a love message to her?

 All grand jurists: It is not permissible to send a message that creates fitna (mischief) and paves way for sinning.[8]

It can be concluded from the above that any form of relationship before marriage, let it be speaking intimately, touching and caressing etc. is haram. If one speaks with a girl with the intention of seeking pleasure or if he fears that he might fall into a sin with her, it is not permissible for him to speak with her.[9] It does not make any difference whether he inform her parents or not. However, if you are seriously intending to marry a girl, and you want to speak with her without having the intention to seek pleasure and you are not also likely to fall into a sin, there would be no problem in your speaking with her.[10]

Most of the grand jurists allow temporary or permanent marriage with a virgin girl with the permission of her father or paternal grandfather.[11] In case a girl is not virgin or her guardian (father or paternal grandfather) is no longer alive, she does not need any one else's permission."

Imam Khomeini (r.a) and Sistani say: " If a girl has reached the age of bulugh and is virgin and mature (i.e. she can decide what is in her own interest) wishes to marry, she should, obtain permission from her father or paternal grandfather, although she may be looking after her own affairs. It is not, however, necessary for her to obtain permission from her mother or brother."[12]

Ayatollah Khamenei, Fazel Lankarani, Saafi, Makarem Shirazi, Wahid Khurasani and Tabrizi say: "As an obligatory precaution, she must obtain her father or paternal grandfather's permission for marriage."[13]

Grand Ayatollah Bahjat says: "As a measure of prescriptive (taklifi) precaution, permission is necessary."[14]

Ayatollah Noori Hamedani says: "Based on a stronger opinion of the jurists, father or paternal grandfather's permission is not necessary, although it is better for her not to take action for marriage without their consent or permission. However, a virgin girl who has not become mature and is not capable of discerning her best interest cannot marry without her father or grandfather's permission. If she marries without their permission, the marriage would not be in order."[15]

As you can see, some of the grand jurists do not consider "maturity" as sufficient for marriage whereas others say that it is a sufficient condition.

As was stated in the parenthesis above, a mature girl is a girl who is capable of distinguishing her best interest and who does not decide emotionally. She is mindful of her future and respects her family honor and position. As for a girl who is not mentally mature, and cannot decide for her future and is not able to decide also what is in her own interest or the interest of her family, she is not considered to be mature even though she might be at a high age. Thus, she cannot marry without her father's or paternal grandfather's permission.[16], [17]

 

For further information in this regard, kindly refer to the following indexes:

1. Question 717 (Having a relationship with a non-mahram before marriage).

2. Question 1219 (Chatting between a boy and a girl).

3. Question 695 (site: 743) (Temporary Marriage, the Best Solution)



[1] - Adopted from Question 1407 (website: 1427): Having a relationship with a non-mahram before marriage.

[2] - Such statements by the grand jurists indicate that permission of father or paternal grandfather is a necessary prescriptive as well as situational condition of the marriage. That is to say, marriage without the permission of a girl's guardian is forbidden and void.

[3] - Imam Khomeini, Istiftaat, vol.3, (opinion) question 52; Ayatollah Bahjat; Tawzih al-Masail, issue 1936; Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, Istiftaat, vol.1, question 819; Ayatollah Tabrizi, Istiftaat, 1622; Ayatollah Saafi, Jami' Al-Ahkaam, vol.2, pg. 1673; Ayatollah Noori, Istiftaat, vol.2, question 656; Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani, Jami al-Masail, vol.1, 1718; Ayatollah Khamenei, Answers to Religious Queries, question 1145; Al-Urwah al—Wuthqa, vol.2, al-Nikah issue 3; Ayatollah Sistani, Sistani.org (internet), question 19 and d20; Office of Ayatollah Wahid Khurasani.

 

[4] - Ayatollah Sistani, sistani.org, internet; Ayatollah Tabrizi, tabrizi.org, internet; Office: all.

[5] - Al-Urwatul Wuthqa, vol.2, al-Nikah, issue 39 and 41.

[6] - Ibid, issue 31 and 39; A. Fazel Lankarani, Jami' al-Masail, vol.1, question 1720; Ayatollah Khamenei, Istiftaa, question 782.

[7] - Khamenei, Istiftaa, question 651 and 779; Office: all.

[8] - Imam Khomeini (r.a), Istiftaat, vol.3, miscellaneous questions, q.127; Office: All.

[9] - Extracted from Resaleh Danishjuyee (Student Book of Islamic Laws), office 16, pp.191 – 195.

[10] - Extracted from 1407, site: 1437), (Having a relationship with a non-mahram before marriage)

[11] - Such statements by the grand jurists indicate that permission of father or paternal grandfather is a necessary prescriptive as well as wadh'ei (situational) condition of the marriage. That is to say marriage without the permission of a girl's guardian is forbidden and void.

[12] - Tawzih al-Masail of Jurists, vol.2,pg. 387, issue No.2376.

[13] - Ibid.

[14] - Ibid.

[15] - Ibid.

[16] - Ibid, issue No.2377

[17] - Extracted from question 610 (site: 667) (Temporary Marriage with a Virgin Girl)

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