We are all very well aware of the prevalent modern-day concept of engagement, where rings are exchanged, often in a lavish ceremony, to announce the betrothal of a couple to be married in the future.
“There is no sin on you if you hint as a proposal to the women…”[Qur’an 2:235]
While Islam allows the couple and their families to inform the world about proposals and engagements, there are practices that not only have no connection to Islam but are also against the values of Islam, which have now become accepted norms for the Muslim ummah.
The Exchange of Rings
One such practice is the exchange of rings between two non-mahrams who are about to get married. This custom is known as ‘dublah’ in Arabic.
This is an imitation of the non-Muslim and Christian wedding cultures, which has now become an integral part of Muslim weddings. While the nikah mandated by Islam is simple and easy, such borrowed traditions make weddings complicated and a sheer parade of extravagance and disobedience of Allah’s ﷻ commands. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ warned us,
“You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch), so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure, you would follow them.” We said, “O Allah’s Messenger! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He ﷺ said, “Whom else?”[Sahih al-Bukhari 7320]
“He who copies any people is one of them.”[Sunan Abi Dawud 4031 | Grade: Hasan Sahih (Albani)]
Another issue with the exchange of rings is the contact between two people of opposite genders who have yet to become permissible to one another. To ignorant people, this may appear to be a harmless deed, but it is quite a serious matter. The Prophet ﷺ warned us against touching the non-mahram,
“For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not permissible for him.”[Al-Kabeer (Al-Tabarani) 486 | Grade: Sahih (Sahih al-Jaami 5045)]
“I do not shake hands with women.”[An-Nasaa’i 4181 | Grade: Sahih (Darussalam)]
The Prophet ﷺ even held himself back when taking the pledge of allegiance from females. It was narrated from ‘Urwah (may Allah be pleased with him) that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) told him about the women’s oath of allegiance,
“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ never touched a woman with his hand. He would only take a vow from her and when he had taken the (verbal) vow, he would say, ‘You may go. I have accepted your fealty.’”[Sahih Muslim 1866b]
The best human being the earth ever saw, the leader and role model of the ummah, Prophet Mohammad ﷺ, who took the oath of allegiance from everyone by hand, bent his rules for women because he did not want to touch non-mahram women.
And today, the men of his ummah are so deeply entrenched in sin that following the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet ﷺ has become a matter of shame. They do not want to be labelled old-fashioned or an extreme fundamentalist by a society that follows and invents a new futile trend every day.
The above ahadeeth are a clear indication of how sinful it is for a man to touch a non-mahram woman, and how Prophet Mohammad ﷺ conducted himself regarding this matter. But modern-day Muslims who have willingly enslaved themselves to the trends of today’s world, instead of submitting their will to Allah ﷻ, often ignore this. Families come together to rejoice and celebrate an outright unabashed display of disobedience to Allah ﷻ, without giving a second thought to how grave a sin it is for two non-mahrams to hold hands or touch each other.
Some even go so far as to have pre-wedding photoshoots, where the so-called future husband and wife hug, touch, hold hands and pose in inappropriate poses for photographs that go on display for the world to see. Often, the bride-to-be is dressed in ‘hijab’ while doing things that defeat the purpose of the same, thus making a mockery of Allah’s ﷻ command. As if committing the sin is not enough, people go on to publicise their disobedience to Allah ﷻ to fit in a society that is blinded by the devilish tricks of satan―the trend culture.
Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “All the people of my ummah would get pardon for their sins except those who publicise them.”[Sahih Muslim 2990]
Let us finally address the elephant in the room―the alleged ‘halal dating’ trend. This is when a couple who is engaged to be married, but has not signed a contract yet, goes out on dates and talks―unchaperoned by the woman’s male guardian―either face to face or on video/phone calls. Often, women also share their hijab-less pictures and videos with their fiancés, because, unfortunately, they do not see anything wrong in doing all this.
Satan has become so successful in brainwashing Muslims that they consider a mere exchange of rings as a legal pass to do things that are not permissible in Islam.
There is absolutely nothing like ‘halal dating’ in Islam. Halal means something that is permissible in Islam, while dating is a western concept of a romantic arrangement for a man and woman to meet. How can Muslims combine the two and consider it halal when Islam is clear on the concept of interaction and relationships between non-mahrams?
What they don’t realise is that enabling someone to disobey Allah’s ﷻ commands is a sin.
This trend has regrettably become so widely prevalent in society that the parents and elders of the engaged couple have also accepted this fitnah wholeheartedly, despite being well aware of the limits of Islam on this matter. Why? Because, sadly, this is what they consider moving ahead with time—if it means leaving Islam behind, then so be it.
The Prophet ﷺ forbade it when he said,
“…A man is not alone with a woman but the third of them is Ash-Shaitan…”[Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2165 | Grade: Sahih (Darusslam)]
Only Allah ﷻ knows the future. The couple who is enjoying going out on dates and talking endlessly may not even get married. A mere engagement does not make two people each other’s mahram. They’re still practically impermissible strangers to each other.
They can make these acts lawful by making themselves mahram to each other and not delaying the marriage. But the liberal Muslims do not take heed of this matter; they brush aside religion to follow cultural trends and avoid being labelled as extremist fanatics or ridiculed. They completely ignore the reality that on the Day of Judgement, it is not the trends of this fleeting world that will come to their aid; instead, they will be the cause of attracting Allah’s ﷻ wrath.
Islam is not a matter of convenience that one follows as per their choice; it is a serious religion that requires complete submission to the will of Allah ﷻ. If Allah ﷻ has made it impermissible for a man to touch a non-mahram woman, then no amount of justification or clever arguments can deny the truth.
For the wise, the choice is easy; either obey Al-Haseeb―The One Who takes account―and earn the eternal reward of Jannah, or submit the soul to the worthless trends of this perfidious world. But the heedless will continue to ignore the truth and continue defending the tricks of the devil.
May Allah ﷻ guide us to follow the Qur’an and Sunnah and protect us from the traps of satan. Ameen.
Edited by: The Editorial Team
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