I. Details about the situation

Jawad, a freshman in college, recently met a girl in his class named, Ruqayyah, who has high morals, dignity, and self-respect. He begins to wonder whether she would be a suitable spouse and wants to speak to her to get to know her better. However, he is afraid that their conversation might lead to sin. What should he do?

II. Background

Attraction between males and females is an innate part of our nature. Moreover, it is one of the graces of God upon us so that we can attain proximity to Him if directed by the guidance of Islamic teachings. Thus, the relationship between a man and a woman can be a form of worship if established and engaged in the appropriate way.

III. Ruling

It is permissible for a man and woman to enact a temporary marriage for the purpose of speaking and expressing their emotions freely. However, a girl who is a virgin and dependent on her guardian (i.e., father or paternal grandfather) in her affairs must obtain his permission  before doing so. The reason for this is to ensure the decision is in her best interest. As for a woman who has been married before, she does not require the consent of her guardian.

 IV. Action

If Ruqayyah is agreeable, Jawad should respectfully ask to speak to her father. He should request his permission to initiate a temporary marriage between them only for the sake of speaking freely, and assure him that there will be no physical involvement. If the father consents, then all Ruqayyah needs to say to Jawad after agreeing on the duration and dowry is “I wed myself to you for X amount of time and for a dowry of Y.” Then, Jawad must immediately respond, “I agree to the marriage.” [1] The dowry can be anything like a book, a pen, a flower, or a dinner date, and does not necessarily have to be cash. If Ruqayyah cannot get her father’s consent, Jawad must speak to her like he would speak to any non-mahram woman by observing the Islamic laws of interaction with the opposite gender. In other words, he must not engage in conversation with her that may elicit their sexual desires.

1. Based on obligatory precaution, the formula must be said in Arabic. If the man or woman are unable to say the formula in Arabic they can say it in any other language.

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