I do not know whether it is haraam for the engagement to last so long or not. I appreciate your website.
Praise be to Allaah.
nothing wrong with delaying the marriage contract, even if the engagement
lasts for a long time. There is nothing in sharee’ah to indicate the length
of time that there should be between the proposal and the marriage contract,
rather that depends on local customs and how prepared each party is to go
ahead with the marriage contract. If a man may propose then do the marriage
contract and consummate the marriage contract all in one day, or it may be
done in a month or a year or longer than that.
But it is
better – and we advise you – not to let the engagement go on too long, so
long as the man is able to complete the marriage contract, because of the
reports which encourage the one who can afford it to get married. The
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men,
whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, and whoever cannot
afford it should fast, for it will be a shield for him.” Narrated by
al-Bukhaari (5065), Muslim (1400).
A great deal
of experience shows that a lengthy engagement period opens the door to
problems for both parties before they have really started their life
together. These problems often lead to the cancellation of the engagement or
they have long-lasting effects on the psyches of both parties.
advise you – the suitor and the family of the girl – to do, if the agreed
upon engagement period is three years, as stated in the question, is not to
hasten to do the marriage contract, because there is in fact no benefit in
doing the marriage contract so early, if both parties realize that the man
is a “stranger” (non-mahram) to his fiancée like any other stranger, until
the marriage contract is done, and they are serious in adhering to the
rulings and etiquette of that. What makes us offer this advice to you is
what we have seen of many problems arising from allowing a lengthy time
between the marriage contract and consummation of the marriage, some of
which ended in the cancellation of the marriage. No doubt cancellation of an
engagement is easier on both parties than the annulment of a shar’i marriage
another negative effect of a lengthy period between the marriage contract
and consummation of the marriage is the fact that the two parties become
more attached to one another, and their hearts and minds become distracted
for no reason, which may affect them psychologically and distract them from
the purpose for which they were created, such as acquiring beneficial
knowledge and doing righteous deeds.
the confirmation of that in the amazing story that the Prophet (peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told in order to teach a lesson, as it
is narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (3214) and Saheeh Muslim
(1747) that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“One of the Prophets went out on a campaign, and he said to his people: No
man should accompany me who has gotten married and wants to consummate the
marriage but has not yet done so, or a man who has built a house but has not
yet put the roof on, or a man who has bought some sheep or pregnant
she-camels and is waiting for them to give birth…” This is well known.
here is that this noble Prophet excluded from the important mission of jihad
those who were not fit for it, among whom was a man who had married a woman,
and wanted to consummate the marriage, but he had not yet fulfilled that
narrated that al-Muhallab, one of the commentators of al-Bukhaari, said:
This indicates that the temptations of this world cause one to become
cowardly and may lead to one’s downfall, because whoever has gotten married
to a woman but has not consummated the marriage with her, or he consummated
the marriage only recently, his heart will be longing to go back to her, and
the shaytaan will distract him from the worship that he is doing, so he will
make him anxious. This applies to all worldly pleasures and possessions.
ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The point here is that one
should be focused on jihad, because whoever enters into a marriage contract
with a woman, his mind will be preoccupied with her, unlike the case if he
has consummated the marriage with her, because in that case the matter is
less serious in most cases. This is eating before praying.
advice given above only applies if you are unable to get married straight
away, for some pressing reason. But we think that delaying it on the basis
of studying is not a sound reason, and we do not advise that.
al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
required is to hasten to get married, and no young man or young woman should
delay marriage for the sake of studies, because marriage does not prevent
any such thing. It is possible for a young man to get married in order to
protect his religious commitment and morals, and enable him to lower his
gaze. Marriage serves many purposes, especially in this day and age. Because
delaying it is harmful for both young women and young men, every young man
and every young woman should hasten to get married if there is a man who is
compatible with the woman, and if a man can find the right woman – in
accordance with the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him): “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get
married, and whoever cannot afford it should fast, for it will be a shield
for him.” Saheeh – agreed upon.
includes both young men and young women; it does not apply only to men,
rather it includes everyone – they all need to get married. We ask Allaah to
guide us all.
Majmoo’Fataawa wa Maqaalaat Mutanawwi’ah,
‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked:
There is a
widespread habit whereby a girl or her father will refuse marriage to one
who proposes to her so that she may complete her secondary or university
education, or so that she may teach for a number of years. What is the
ruling on that, and what is your advice to the one who does that? Some girls
may reach the age of thirty and not be married.
on that is that it is contrary to the command of the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him), because the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If there comes to you one with whose
character and religious commitment you are pleased, then marry (your
daughter or female relative under your care) to him.” (al-Tirmidhi, 1084).
And he said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get
married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and protecting one’s
get married means losing out on the benefits of marriage. What I advise my
Muslim brothers who are guardians of women, and my Muslim sisters, to do is
not to refuse marriage for the sake of completing studies or teaching. A
woman can stipulate that her husband let her stay in school until her
studies have ended, or that he let her continue to work as a teacher for one
or two years, so long as she is not busy with her children. There is nothing
wrong with that. Moreover, the importance of a woman acquiring
university-level knowledge in a field that we do not need is something that
may be subject to further examination.
What I think
is that if a woman has completed the elementary level of education, and she
knows how to read and write to such a level that she can benefit from
reading the Book of Allaah and its tafseer, and reading the ahaadeeth of the
Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and its commentary,
then that is sufficient, unless she wants to study fields of knowledge that
the people need, such as medicine and the like, so long as there is nothing
haraam in her studies and it does not involve mixing and the like.
‘Ulama’ al-Balad al-Haraam (p. 390).
help us and you to do that which He loves and which pleases Him.
And Allaah knows best.