Question: How Long Is It Permissible To Date a Person Before the Nikah?
Thank you for your question.
According to the western definition, dating means one is actively going out alone with a person of the opposite gender and spending time with them regularly in hopes of finding a committed relationship. This type of dating is not permissible, as one is getting close to a non-mahram in the wrong way beyond the scope of the shari`ah. See the details below:
Getting to know someone before marriage
A person may get to know their prospective spouse as much as they need to before a nikah. They should speak, look at one another’s face and hands, ask questions and get to know their family. This should be done with supervision if they meet in person, and they should not be going out alone together. They may speak on the phone as well, but they should not overdo it, as it doesn’t take long to realize when someone is wrong for you, and one usually can tell the difference between getting to know someone to decide for marriage and simply hanging out.
Once a couple has decided to marry, they should hasten their nikah and avoid long engagements, as this comes with too much temptation and the possibility of problems arising. Please see the resources below:
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 aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.