What Is the Process for Delivering a Proposal For Someone’s Hand In Marriage?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What is the process for delivering a proposal to a family?

If the girl is an illegitimate child and estranged from her father, can the proposal be given to someone else?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

May Allah reward you for your question.

The proposal process is not cast in stone and differs from culture to culture. As long as a given culture does not contradict the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, then there is no problem in adhering to that culture. The following however are important considerations:

1. When a brother shows interest in a sister, the correct procedure would be for him to approach her wali our guardian, either directly or through the medium of someone. The wali is the father, then the grandfather, then the brother and then the paternal uncle.

Note that in many Arab cultures, the mother would go and meet the potential sister and her mother, and would thereafter decide whether she is a suitable spouse for her son or not. Nonetheless,

2. If the brother has not seen or spoken to the sister before and the wali agrees to consider him as a potential spouse for his daughter, he would arrange a meeting between the two of them for viewing and discussion. This meeting may recur until both parties agree to marriage. These meetings should be strictly in the presence of her mahram and usually does not happen more than thrice unless there’s a need.

3. Once the couple reaches an agreement, they would pray Salah al-Istikharah which sort of acts as a rubber stamp. In other words, once the couple has weighed the pros and cons and reached a decision that they would like to pursue the marriage, they would pray istikharah asking Allah that if the marriage is good for them in this world and the next that He realizes it for them; and if it is not good for them, that he turns them away from it. Thus the couple should believe that when the marriage materializes that it came from Allah; and when it does not, it also came from Allah.

4. After the couple agreed to marry, a formal proposal would take place. Here cultures tend to differ considerably. I’m also assuming that your question is directed at this formal proposal. It is acceptable for the suitor to send a representative as how it is fine for him to attend in person. Similarly, the “fiancee to be” may or may not be present. The important thing, and this is where our local culture tends to drift off a bit, is that she should be dressed appropriately and modestly. Also, even though engaged, contact between them is still impermissible and thus holding hands or even a peck kiss, is totally unacceptable. Answering your question, the proposal is delivered to the wali or his representative and the wali would accept the proposal after consulting the sister. Note that when the wali is the father or grandfather, they are not obliged to consult their daughter or granddaughter, it is however recommend.

Your final question regarding an illegitimate father. The father is only considered illegitimate, when the child was born out of wedlock or prior to 6 months in wedlock. When it is established that the fiancee is an illegitimate child in a non-Muslim country, she has one of two options, namely, tawliyah or tahkim. Tawliyah is when she appoints a man of integrity to act as her wali. Tahkim is where she appoints, with her fiance, a scholar as an ad hoc judge to marry her off to her fiance.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Will My Child Be Illegitimate If I Don’t Pay the Dowry of My Marriage?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam’aleykum

Is it true that if someone refuses to pay the dowry of one’s marriage or can’t pay it due to death then the child born of this marriage will be considered illegitimate?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

No, what you have mentioned is incorrect. The dowry (mahr) is a consequence of the marriage contract which is due whether it is contractually stated or not. If the man and woman thus marry, any children that are borne thereof would be legitimate children from a valid marriage contract. The fact that the dowry wasn’t paid, in the case of death or refusal, doesn’t change their being a lawfully married couple. In any case, the dowry remains a debt upon the husband until payment.

Please also see: Some Rulings Related to the Dowry

And Allah Most High alone knows best.


Tabraze Azam.

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Should I Support Financially the Illegitimate Child of My Deceased Father?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Assalam alaykum,

My father has passed away. I came to know that he fathered an illegitimate child with another woman.

Should I inform my family of the situation? Is there any financial obligation on me towards this woman and her child?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

May God have mercy on your father and keep your family together.

Financial Obligations to this Family

The son is not legally considered your father’s son, in that he is not attributed to him for purposes of inheritance and marriage. It follows that you do not have any legal obligation of financial support towards him, or his mother.

Beyond strictly legal obligations, however, it would remain a praiseworthy act to provide financial support if you are able to, especially if your father had been doing so, as cutting off a person’s livelihood is blameworthy.

It is reported that Abu Bakr took an oath to cut off the support he had previously provided for Mistah, a companion who he understood to have participated in spreading rumours about his daughter, ‘Aisha (may Allah be be pleased with them). However, he understood the verse that was subsequently revealed, “Those who have been graced with bounty and plenty should not swear that they will no longer give to kinsmen, the poor, those who emigrated in God’s way; let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that God should forgive you? God is most forgiving and merciful [Qur’an; 24.22], as enjoining him to keep up the financial support, despite the transgression.

Moreover, one does not know the reason for the many ways in which God provides for a person. It may be that the reason that God continues to bless you financially because of the support you offer this family. This is the advice that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave to a man who used to work to support both himself and his unemployed brother [Tirmidhi].

Finally, even though this family isn’t legally recognized for specific purposes, many people still consider there to be some qualitative affinity or relationship between the two families. This can afford you, or others in similar circumstances, to continue to provide assistance if able to do so.

Exposing the Misdeeds of another Person

You are not obligated to inform anyone about your father’s affair, unless there are foreseeable ramifications arising out of this that directly involve others. One needs to assess their family and social and legal circumstances to ascertain whether informing others is necessary.

Generally speaking, if one is not required to, exposing another’s faults is blameworthy. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Whoever covers up the faults of another, God will cover up his faults on the Day of Resurrection” [Bukhari, Muslim].

Shuaib Ally

Can I Claim a Child from an Illicit Relationship?

Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala

Question: I grew up with little familial guidance. In my early 20s I had a child from an illegitimate relationship. Ever since I found out about this child I denied it to my family, my wife and my friends. I have two young kids with my current wife. The love and devotion I have for my children has given me a wake-up call to consider my other child’s rights upon me. After 5 years of denial I finally told the truth to my entire family including my wife. I don’t know much about Islamic Fiqh but my wife called this child illegitimate. I refused her to label an innocent child as I don’t believe Allah’s creation can be illegitimate. She says that this child cannot be associated with the children we have together or call her their sister. She also says I can’t give this child my name.

My question is this:
– Can I call this child to be mine? Can I give her my name? Can my children and her be called siblings? Can I attempt to raise her under my roof?

Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

May Allah reward you for your efforts to be a better parent and take responsibility for your child. It is indeed shameful that you denied your own child for so long, but the path to repentance and repairing one’s wrongs begins with the simple act of taking responsibility for one’s actions. May Allah make this path easy upon you.

All Children Are Equal Before God

Firstly, I want to stress that in no way should this child be treated or considered as less equal, illegitimate, or in any way worse than a child born in wedlock. This goes against the clear injunction of Allah in surah al-An`am that none shall bear the burdens of another. [6:164]

Indeed, it is said that A`isha (may Allah be pleased with her), when asked about a child of adultery, responded that the child has nothing of the sin of the parents, and cited this verse as her proof. [Tafsir ibn Abi Hatim]

Therefore, it is vital that this child be treated as a normal and precious human being, meaning that she should be completely free from any of the stigma attached to her parents’ actions. Your current wife is justified in being upset with you for your actions, but there is absolutely no Islamic basis for her or anyone else to extend this anger to the child in question.

The Rights of the Child

Since you did father this child, you can claim her as your own. This would make her and your current children siblings by means of their shared father. This also means that you have to fulfill the responsibilities of being her parent, including providing support and a means for proper upbringing, and also treating her in a nurturing and just manner. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Fear Allah, and be just with your children.” [Sahih Muslim]

Above all, never should your child have to feel the weight of your past sins. It is therefore your duty as a father to not only treat her as one of your own, but to furthermore do your best to right the wrongs of your past. This means that you have to do even more to make her feel loved, accepted, and supported as a child.

While I commend you for finally accepting responsibility, the fact that you rejected her for 5 years is a tremendous mistake. Not only should you seek Allah’s forgiveness, you must fix your relationship with your daughter and her mother, and do all that you can to repair the damage that your neglect has caused them both.

The Rights of Your Current Wife, and the Importance of a Sound Home

That said, it is indeed true that your current wife cannot be forced to raise a child that is not hers. Furthermore, you cannot simply take custody of the child from her mother. Custody is a very complicated and sensitive issue, so I encourage you to seek legal and religious counsel for advice on how to best approach these matters.

The dynamics of a family are important to keep in mind, as it is quite important for the health and well-being of your children that they grow up in a sound and peaceful home. No good can come from a long and bitter custody battle, nor can any good come from forcing a child to grow up in an environment where she is resented, either secretly or openly, by those around her.

It is therefore vital that you resolve these issues in a manner that prevents your children from being harmed and that preserves a safe and sound home environment for them. This is a delicate process, so I highly encourage that you seek the assistance of a professional family counselor who has experience dealing with these types of problems.

Remember that maintaining sound family relations is an important duty in Islam, and it begins with those closest to you.

May Allah make this trial easy upon your family, and may He protect your children from any type of harm.

Baarak Allahu Fikum,

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani