Question: Assalamu ‘alaykum. I have heard that it is haram to look at the faces of women. If so, how can I find a wife? What about if I am not wanting to marry someone, but I see her face?
Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
Looking At Potential Spouses Is Permissible
No, it is not haram to look at the face of someone you are considering for marriage. In fact, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised Mughira b. Shu’ba to look at a prospective spouse saying, “It is more likely that there will be an intimate connection between you two.” [Tirmidhi]
Looking At Non-Potentials
As for ladies, one is not intending to marry, such as someone you see on the bus or at the supermarket checkout, merely seeing them is not a sin. A repeated lustful gaze is sinful. As for seeing someone in your field of view or someone you have to interact with, such as a colleague, it is not sinful.
If one fears that there could be some attraction then modest, dignified behavior is needed. One should lower the gaze as much as possible in a dignified way.
Look at how religious, righteous people interact with the opposite gender and base your interaction on that.
May Allah facilitate all matters for you.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.