Is It Better to Have a Long Engagement with Little Interaction or an Early Nikah?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


Is prolonged engagement with regular text/video communication permissible between non-mahrams? Alternatively, what are the implications of considering a celibate marriage closer to the walima with restricted interactions until then? Which option is advisable?


Thank you for your question. I empathize with your concerns, and you are right that a prolonged engagement is less than ideal.


If you remain only engaged, which is just a promise, and nothing else, it will be impermissible for you both to interact, chat or text regularly, as you are not married yet. As such, I highly recommend a katbul-kitab, which is actually a nikah, so that you can remain as you are now, chatting and talking without worrying about sin.


However, given that it would be permissible for you both to be physical, after a nikah, you must be careful. The expectation on both sides of the family is that you should not be physical or be alone until you live together. You can discuss the matter with them. Pray istikhara and use your best judgment on how to get what everyone wants, and keep away from sin.

It comes to mind that I knew a couple who decided to get engaged and then didn’t speak a word to each other until the wedding day, leaving all the preparations to the families. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. Your choices are to be engaged and exercise patience with not interacting with her, or have a nikah (katbul-kitab) and exercise patience with not touching her. Is there an option to get fully married now if the parents agree?

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May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.