For the past few years, the RIS convention has included matrimonial sessions as part of the program. These sessions are suppose to offer men and women the opportunity to find a spouse in an ‘Islamic’ manner. The format of the sessions, as outlined on their website, is that men and women go through a series of short, facilitated rotations where they speak and introduce themselves directly to potential spouses. Parents are allowed to attend, provided they buy a ticket, but “they are requested not to interfere with the sessions” [Reference]. After a full rotation, the participants can request further sittings and conversation with potential partners which they find most interesting.
This format of finding a spouse is nothing more than ‘Islamic’ speeding dating, which does not fulfill the Islamic etiquette of finding a spouse.
Islamically, a woman cannot get married to a man except with the permission and involvement of her guardian as Allah says:
فَانْكِحُوهُنَّ بِإِذْنِ أَهْلِهِنَّ
Wed them with the permission of their own folk (guardians, Auliya’ or masters) [4:25]
Shaikh Ibn ul-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy upon him) said:
“And from this benefit comes another benefit which is that a woman cannot marry herself off … we say if she is a free woman (i.e. not a slave) then there are other evidences which prove that she does not marry herself off alone. It is necessary to have a Wali (guardian)” [Tafsir Surah an-Nisaa tape. (11) side A]
So what exactly is intended by the parents not interfering with the sessions? And what will ensure that nothing inappropriate is discussed between the two participants?
Also this format of finding a spouse is not known in the Islamic Legislation.
Shaikh Abdul-Muhsin al-’Abbad (may Allah preserve him) was asked:
“Is it permissible for the one looking at a woman in order to marry her to sit with her and get to know her, in terms of him asking about her characteristics, interests/likes, and other than that which is connected to personality, using the claim of getting to fully know her before proceeding to marriage? And this (sitting) is in the presence of her father or brother?”
“That which is apparent is that expansiveness (in this matter) of him sitting with her and looking at her is not necessary. As for him asking her some questions, then this is not clear [as to what is intended by it]”. End translation. [Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood (no. 19)]
This is in relation to when the mahram is present. What about when they are not?
We asked Shaikh Abdullah bin Lamh al-Khawlaani (may Allah preserve him) the following question:
“We have (with us) here gatherings for the purpose of marriage in which men and women come to get to know one another.
In this gathering, a man may sit with four different women and if he is not pleased with any of them, he comes the next day and does the same types of sittings. After these gatherings, it is stipulated for the Wali to be present/involved and some of these gatherings do not stipulate the Wali to be present/involved.
What is the ruling on attending the likes of these gatherings in order to search for a wife? And what is the ruling on looking and speaking to a number of women for the purpose of marriage?
“This is not Legislated. Rather it is from the newly-invented matters”.
For a conference that seeks to revive the Islamic spirit, they sure are very far from the true teachings of Islam. Is this the type of Islam they seek to revive and promote?
Yet another reason to avoid this convention.
Faisal bin Abdul Qaadir bin Hassan