Find out how to propose for marriage in Islam and what are the rules and etiquette of Khitbah or engagement in Islam. Learn how to respect your future spouse and avoid any haram actions during this period.

Engagement In Islam

Learn about the Islamic way of sending a marriage proposal and what is allowed and forbidden during the engagement period. Find out how to follow the Sunnah of Khitbah and prepare for a successful marriage.

In Islam, when a man wishes to marry a Muslimah with good attributes, he typically proceeds with the act of engagement, also known as Khitbah in Islam. This involves the man proposing to the woman or her family.

Before the engagement, Islam encourages the man to interact with the woman in the presence of her Mahrams, or male guardians. The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) advised his companion Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu`bah to get to know the woman he wanted to marry in order to establish a mutual understanding and affection between them.

Engagement in Islam refers to a marriage proposal, and the woman has the right to take time to consider it and make a decision. If she accepts, she is known as a Makhthubah or the engaged one. However, she also has the right to decline the proposal according to the rules of Engagement in Islam.

Engagement In Islam (Khitbah) What Can Muslim Couples Do?

Betrothal in Islam

In Islam, betrothal and engagement refer to the act of a man proposing to a woman for marriage in accordance with Sharee’ah, or Islamic law. It is the widely held belief of Islamic scholars that engagement is necessary for those seeking to enter into a marital union.

Allah says:

“And there is no sin on you if you make a hint of betrothal…”

The Prophet Muhammad SAW encouraged those who wish to become engaged to view the woman they are considering marrying. This advice is supported by a hadeeth or saying of the Prophet.

“When any one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, then let him do so.”


Interested in Learning Quran online with a native Arabic Speaker?

Online Quran Courses at Quran Treasure

Take a look at our incredible 1 to 1 online Quran courses below:

Every course is specially designed & tailored to help you learn Quran and Arabic the right way by well-educated native Arabic Speakers, in the comfort of your home, and fits your own busy schedule.

Without further ado, let’s get you started today… Apply to our courses NOW and GET a Free Trial

Check our fees and get up to 20% discount for families or a minimum group of 3 participants.

Presented to you by Quran Treasure Academy


Romance in Islam before marriage

In Islam, the concept of romance before marriage is not encouraged. Although engagement is accepted, it does not grant a man the freedom to engage in anything beyond looking at and conversing with a woman in a safe and appropriate Islamic setting. Islamic guidelines regarding decency must be followed at all times.

Contemporary practices that involve a man being alone with a woman he intends to marry or engaging in physical contact are not in line with Islamic teachings. Such actions often result from a lack of understanding of Islam and a mixture of foreign traditions. Important to note that any form of intimacy before the marriage contract is signed is strictly prohibited in Islam.

Halal And Haram Engagement in Islam

Is engagement considered permissible (Halal) in Islam? When does it become impermissible (haram)? It is generally regarded as Halal for a Muslim man to propose to a woman he wishes to marry through engagement in Islam.

However, it is essential to note that a man is not allowed to propose to a woman who is already engaged to another man unless her current fiancé withdraws or gives the man permission. This is because such an action would be considered haram or impermissible in Islam.

The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said:

{A man must not propose to his brother’s Engagement in Islam unless he withdraws or gives him permission.} (Al-Bukhari).

According to Islamic teachings, it is not allowed for anyone to indulge in any form of enjoyment with a woman who is not related to them. This includes talking to her, looking at her, or being alone with her in private.

It is authentically reported from the Messenger that he said:

“A man should not stay in seclusion with a woman except that one who is her Mahram is there. And a woman should not make any journey except that one who is her Mahram is with her.”

In Islam, there are certain restrictions on a man’s ability to propose marriage. It is impermissible for a man to seek the hand of a woman who is not eligible for marriage. Such women include those who are considered mahram, already married, within their iddah period after a divorce or the death of their previous spouse, already engaged or makhtubah, or in the state of ihram during Hajj or Umrah until they complete the pilgrimage rites.

The basis of this prohibition is the following hadith:

 “A Muhrim (one in the state of Ihram) must not contract marriage, nor help others contract marriage, nor get engaged to marry.”

In Islam, there are certain restrictions on a Muslim man’s ability to seek marriage with a woman. For instance, a man is not permitted to approach a woman who is already married and ask her to seek a divorce so that he can marry her. Additionally, it is not permissible to enter into a marriage contract with a woman who is in the `Iddah period, which is the period following a divorce during which a woman is not allowed to remarry.

Engagement In Islam (Khitbah) What Can Muslim Couples Do?
Engagement In Islam (Khitbah) What Can Muslim Couples Do?

Engagement in Islam is sunnah or Mustahab?

According to the Ash-Shafi’i school of thought in Islam, the practice of engagement or khitbah is considered a recommended practice (sunnah or mustahab). This view is based on the fact that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) proposed to Aisha and Hafsah by way of engagement before announcing their marriage. Therefore, scholars argue that engagement is a recommended practice in Islam.

Allah says:

“There is no blame upon you for that to which you [indirectly] allude concerning a proposal to women or for what you conceal within yourselves. Allah knows that you will have them in mind. But do not promise them secretly except for saying a proper saying. And do not determine to undertake a marriage contract until the decreed period reaches its end…” (QS. Al-Baqarah: 235)

Announcement of Engagement in Islam

In Islam, it is permissible to announce one’s engagement as a way of informing others that the individual is no longer available for marriage proposals. This announcement means that the man has proposed to the woman, and she has accepted, and as per the rules of engagement in Islam, no other person is permitted to propose to her. However, in cases where the man fears envy or jealousy from others, it is permissible to keep the engagement private and not announce it.

Prophet Mohammed (SAW) Said:

“Take help in fulfilling your needs by concealing them. For indeed every favored person is envied.”

Islamic Engagement ring “Dublah”

When it comes to Engagement in Islam, one must follow no set practices. While some Muslims celebrate their engagement by announcing it, having a party, and exchanging gifts, these practices are not mandatory and are left to individual preference. Ultimately, the essential aspect of an Islamic engagement is the agreement between the man and the woman to marry and the mutual respect and adherence to Islamic principles and values throughout the process.

Islamic Engagement gifts

In Islam, there are various customs associated with Engagement, including the exchange of gifts between the engaged couple. One common custom is the exchange of Engagement rings, also known as “Dublah” in Arabic. However, it is important to note that it is not permissible for the man to put the Engagement ring on the woman’s hand himself, as she is still a stranger (non-mahram) to him until the marriage contract is finalized. Nevertheless, exchanging Islamic Engagement gifts and practicing cultural customs are generally considered acceptable as long as they align with Islamic values and principles.

Is Engagement Haram in Islam?

Engagement in Islam is generally permissible, but there are certain situations where it may become impermissible:

A. Marrying a Mahram

The cases where Engagement in Islam is impermissible include when the woman is considered a mahram, such as a mother, sister, or aunt, as these women are prohibited for marriage. Allah the Almighty has specified in the following two verses the categories of women that a Muslim man cannot marry:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُمْ وَعَمَّـٰتُكُمْ وَخَـٰلَـٰتُكُمْ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأَخِ وَبَنَاتُ ٱلْأُخْتِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِىٓ أَرْضَعْنَكُمْ وَأَخَوَٰتُكُم مِّنَ ٱلرَّضَـٰعَةِ وَأُمَّهَـٰتُ نِسَآئِكُمْ وَرَبَـٰٓئِبُكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى فِى حُجُورِكُم مِّن نِّسَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّـٰتِى دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَإِن لَّمْ تَكُونُوا۟ دَخَلْتُم بِهِنَّ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَحَلَـٰٓئِلُ أَبْنَآئِكُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِنْ أَصْلَـٰبِكُمْ وَأَن تَجْمَعُوا۟ بَيْنَ ٱلْأُخْتَيْنِ إِلَّا مَا قَدْ سَلَفَ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًۭا رَّحِيمًۭا ۞ وَٱلْمُحْصَنَـٰتُ مِنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ إِلَّا مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُكُمْ ۖ كِتَـٰبَ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ ۚ وَأُحِلَّ لَكُم مَّا وَرَآءَ ذَٰلِكُمْ أَن تَبْتَغُوا۟ بِأَمْوَٰلِكُم مُّحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَـٰفِحِينَ ۚ فَمَا ٱسْتَمْتَعْتُم بِهِۦ مِنْهُنَّ فَـَٔاتُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ فَرِيضَةًۭ ۚ وَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِيمَا تَرَٰضَيْتُم بِهِۦ مِنۢ بَعْدِ ٱلْفَرِيضَةِ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًۭا

“Forbidden to you (for marriage) are:

your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your foster mother who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters, your wives’ mothers, your stepdaughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom you have gone in – but there is no sin on you if you have not gone in them (to marry their daughters), – the wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins, and two sisters in wedlock at the same time, except for what has already passed; verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. ۞ Also, (forbidden are) women already married”

B. A Woman During Her Waiting Period After Her Husband’s Death:

Engagement with a woman during her ‘Iddah (the waiting period after a revocable divorce or death of a prior husband) is not permissible.

C. An Engaged woman to another man

Muslims are not allowed to ask for the engagement of a woman who is already engaged to another man, as this is considered coveting what belongs to another Muslim, which could lead to causing harm or hurting his feelings. Additionally, this rule prevents the woman from abandoning her first fiancé if she is tempted by the proposal of another suitor.

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ لاَ يَخْطُبْ أَحَدُكُمْ عَلَى خِطْبَةِ بَعْضٍ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet said: “None of you should propose marriage to a woman when someone else has already proposed to her.”

Difference Between Engagement in Islam and marriage in Islam

The difference between Engagement in Islam and marriage in Islam is evident and clear. Engagement is a commitment to marry, but the two Muslims are still considered strangers to each other. The only permissible interaction is talking and looking at each other to determine whether they are compatible for marriage.

Any physical contact or being alone together before the marriage contract is not permissible according to Engagement in Islam.


From the time of Engagement in Islam until the actual marriage contract or ‘Aqdun-Nikaah’, Muslim men and women are considered strangers to each other. As such, the rulings of the Shari’ah regarding the relationship between a non-mahram man and a woman must be strictly followed.

It’s important to note that Engagement in Islam is not the same as marriage but rather serves as the gateway to marriage. During this period, the couple can talk and get to know each other to determine if they’re compatible for marriage. However, they’re not allowed to engage in physical contact or be alone with each other, according to Islamic teachings.

Once a Muslim woman has been proposed to, she has the right to accept or reject the proposal. If she agrees and the marriage contract or ‘Aqid’ is established in the presence of at least two witnesses, the Engagement in Islam becomes a formal marriage, or ‘Aqdun-Nikkah’.


Get free trial classes to evaluate our teachers & courses, Only subscribe when you are satisfied!

Book Free Trial Browse Courses