Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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Proposing to a woman during her waiting period

Is it permissible to propose to woman during the waiting period of a revocable divorce?

Answer

According to scholarly consensus, it is established in Islamic law that it is prohibited to make an explicit marriage proposal to a woman observing her 'iddah (waiting period) after a revocable or irrevocable divorce or after the death of her husband. However, according to the Quran, it is permissible to make an allusive proposal. God the Almighty says, “You will not be blamed whether you give a hint that you wish to marry these women, or keep it to yourselves” (Quran 2:235).

The words "keep it to yourselves" mean to refrain from disclosing the marriage offer either in an explicit or implicit manner. The word 'women' in this verse refers to those women observing their 'iddah of widowhood since it is to them that God refers in the verse preceding the above, “If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten nights before remarrying” (Quran 2:234).

In their most apparent opinion, Shaf'i scholars permit making an allusive marriage proposal to a woman observing the 'iddah of a finalized divorce because the husband's authority to take back his wife has been severed, tantamount to the case of a woman in the 'iddah of widowhood.

An allusive proposal is made using words that are not employed for marriage proposals, literally or figuratively, but which may indicate either a desire to marry or something else—it is the concatenation of circumstance that indicates the intent. Examples include "God will grant you something good", "Who can find someone like you?" and the like.

Scholars have unanimously agreed that a person who proposes to a woman to whom it is unlawful to make an offer of marriage is blameworthy. However, a marriage contract based on such a proposal is valid according to the majority of scholars provided its integrals and conditions are met. A prohibited proposal does not affect the validity of the marriage contract because the proposal is not from among the integrals of marriage or the conditions for its validity.
God the Almighty knows best.
 

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