Marriage is a highly anticipated and cherished institution for people around the world. It is considered the beginning of a blessed union between two individuals. In Islam, marriage is regarded as a sacred institution, and the processes leading to it are well defined.
In Islamic tradition, before marriage can take place, both prospective spouses engage in a process called “ta’aruf.” However, this concept has been misinterpreted by many, with some individuals falsely claiming to be in the ta’aruf phase while actually engaging in dating. This article aims to clarify the meaning of ta’aruf and the proper etiquettes surrounding it.
You are probably familiar with the term “ta’aruf.” But what does it really mean? Ta’aruf involves visiting or meeting someone with the intention of getting to know them. Its primary purpose is to introduce two families and potentially match one member from each family.
It is essential to distinguish between ta’aruf and dating, as dating is not recognized in Islam. However, today, some people mistakenly refer to dating as ta’aruf.
Etiquettes of Ta’aruf
There are etiquettes to be followed while engaging in ta’aruf to ensure that it aligns with Islamic principles and avoids undesirable situations. Here are some of these etiquettes:
1. Sincere Intentions for the Sake of Allah
When embarking on the process of ta’aruf, the most critical step is to maintain a sincere intention for the sake of Allah. Purify your intention to seek Allah’s pleasure and adhere to His commandments. A pure intention will help you navigate the process without compromising Islamic principles.
2. Maintain the Purity of Ta’aruf
Before reaching the Islamic wedding ceremony, it’s crucial to maintain the purity of the ta’aruf process. This involves adhering to rules such as lowering one’s gaze, maintaining modesty, and conducting ta’aruf meetings in suitable, public locations. Moreover, it’s important to maintain confidentiality regarding the ta’aruf discussions. Only close family members and intermediaries should be aware of the impending marriage.
3. Honesty with Each Other
Honesty is of utmost importance before the official wedding contract is signed. During ta’aruf, it’s encouraged to ask any necessary questions about each other, your families, life principles, likes, and dislikes. Honesty is crucial, and lying during ta’aruf is strictly forbidden. Dishonesty could lead to undesired consequences in the future.
4. Accept or Decline Gracefully
Ta’aruf is a process of introduction. If both parties find themselves suitable, the next step is to involve the families. However, if you feel that the potential spouse does not meet your criteria, you should decline graciously. It’s important to respond promptly to avoid any undue waiting or disappointment.
Ultimately, performing ta’aruf should be rooted in faith in the Almighty. This ensures that the process maintains its sanctity and adheres to Islamic guidelines. When both families agree, and both individuals feel compatible, the role of the parents becomes vital, emphasizing the importance of Islamic parenting.
To prevent excessive delays and possible negative consequences, the process of khitbah should be initiated after ta’aruf. But what exactly is khitbah? Here’s a detailed explanation of this step.
After achieving a sense of stability during the ta’aruf process, the next step is “khitbah.” Khitbah refers to the Islamic proposal process. The Prophet Muhammad said: “O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”
This Islamic advice emphasizes the importance of marrying to protect oneself from falling into sinful behavior. Islam places a strong emphasis on adhering to rules to prevent undesirable situations. In Islam, there is no concept of engagement; instead, there is “khitbah” or formal proposal.
In the khitbah process, a man directly proposes to a woman, or a third party (a guardian or intermediary) can act on behalf of the man to propose to the woman. When the proposal is accepted, and the woman’s family agrees, she becomes “makhtubah” or officially proposed.
However, if the woman declines the proposal, the khitbah process concludes without further action.
It is important to note that even after the proposal and acceptance, the relationship between the man and woman is not considered halal (permissible) until the “akad” or marriage contract is completed. The steps leading up to this point must be conducted with purity, in line with Islamic principles, and under the guidance of faith in Allah.
In keeping with Islamic teachings, the time between the khitbah and the akad should not be excessively long. This is based on a verse from the Quran that encourages prompt marriages and suggests that if people are in need, Allah will provide for them. The verse states: “And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” (Quran, An-Nur 24:32).
In conclusion, ta’aruf and khitbah are crucial processes in Islamic marriage that aim to protect individuals from unwanted or sinful behavior. By adhering to the principles of these processes, one can hope to build a strong and blessed marriage in the eyes of Allah.