The Hadith Regarding a Man Being Allowed to See The Woman He Intends to Marry (Hadith Narrated by Abu Dawud Number 2.082)

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حَدَّثَنَا مُسَدَّدٌ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْوَاحِدِ بْنُ زِيَادٍ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ دَاوُدَ بْنِ حُصَيْنٍ، عَنْ وَاقِدِ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ يَعْنِي ابْنَ سَعْدِ بْنِ مُعَاذٍ ، عَنْ جَابِرِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «‌إِذَا ‌خَطَبَ ‌أَحَدُكُمُ ‌الْمَرْأَةَ، ‌فَإِنِ ‌اسْتَطَاعَ ‌أَنْ ‌يَنْظُرَ ‌إِلَى ‌مَا ‌يَدْعُوهُ إِلَى نِكَاحِهَا فَلْيَفْعَلْ»، قَالَ: فَخَطَبْتُ جَارِيَةً فَكُنْتُ أَتَخَبَّأُ لَهَا حَتَّى رَأَيْتُ مِنْهَا مَا دَعَانِي إِلَى نِكَاحِهَا وَتَزَوُّجِهَا فَتَزَوَّجْتُهَا. [1]

"Musaddad narrated to us, Abdul Wahid bin Ziyad narrated to us, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated to us, from Dawud bin Hushain, from Waqid bin Abdurrahman, namely Ibn Saad bin Muadz, from Jabir bin Abdullah, who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: 'When one of you proposes to a woman, if he is able to see what attracts him to marry her, then let him do so.' (Jabir bin Abdullah) He said: 'So I proposed to a woman, I secretly saw her until I saw something in her that attracted me to marry her, so I married her.'" (Narrated by Abu Dawud, hadith number 2.082)

The above hadith serves as evidence/guidance allowing a man to see the woman he intends to marry. Similarly, a woman is allowed to see the man she intends to marry. This is because marriage is a worship and commitment that will be lived together, possibly for a lifetime. In marriage, a household ship will be built to navigate through all kinds of difficulties and life's challenges. Therefore, it's crucial for both parties to know each other before marriage.

The conditions for a man to see a woman he intends to marry are:

1. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that a man can only see the face and both hands of the woman he intends to marry. [2] And he should not look at her with improper intentions or see her aura. This is in line with the opinions of Imam Shafi'i, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Sufyan Ats - Tsauri. [3]

2. Some other scholars opine that it's permissible to see the face, both hands, and both feet. As looking beyond that could lead to sin. [4]

3. The time allowed for a man to see a woman he intends to marry is when he has a strong desire to marry and has the capability physically, financially, and mentally.

4. The woman being seen and intended for marriage must not be another man's wife.

5. A woman also has the same right as a man. She can see the man who intends to marry her.

In Islam, a woman's view of a man is crucial because after marriage, a woman is bound and does not have the right to divorce like a man. Therefore, a woman should be cautious in choosing a man who comes with the intention of marrying her. And Allah knows best.

Author : Mushpih Kawakibil Hijaj

References :

[1] Abu Dawud Sulaiman bin Asyats As-Sijistani, Sunan Abi Dawud, (Beirut: Al-Maktabah Al-Ashriyah, n.d.), vol. II, p. 228. Publication date in Maktabah Syamilah is 8 Dhu al-Hijjah 1431 H.

[2] Khalil Ahmad As-Saharanfuri, Badzlul Majhud Fi Halli Sunan Abi Dawud, (Al-Hind/India: Markaz Asy-Syaikh Abi Al-Hasan An-Nadwi, 1427 H), vol. VII, p. 653. Publication date in Maktabah Syamilah is 1 Rabiul Akhir 1440 H.

[3] Abu Sulaiman Hamd bin Muhammad Al-Khattabi, Ma'alimu As-Sunan (Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud), (n.p.: n.p., 1351 H), vol. III, p. 196. Publication date in Maktabah Syamilah is 8 Dhu al-Hijjah 1431 H. 

[4] Dr. Abdul Aziz Muhammad Azzam and Dr. Abdul Wahhab Sayeed Hawwas, Al-Usrah wa Ahkamuha Fi At-Tasyri Al-Islami, translated by Dr. H. Abdul Majid Khon, M.Ag., Fiqh Munakahat: Khitbah, Nikah, dan Talak, (Jakarta: Amzah, 2011), p. 13.