Backing out of an engagement

Backing out of an engagement

Question:
What is the significance of two people reading Sûrah al-Fâtihah after making a vow to marry each other? Are those two people married? If not, can either party back out of the marriage at a later time?

Answer:
The reading of Sûrah al-Fâtihah does not constitute a marriage contract. It does not fulfill the conditions of a valid marriage in Islamic Law.

In some cultures, reading Sûrah al-Fâtihah is used as a means of announcing an intention to get married. It is something like an engagement. Indeed, according to the customs of some countries, it is recognized as a formal engagement.

An engagement does not bring about any change in the legal status of the two people. The man and woman are still strangers to one another. They may not be alone together. She must dress in his presence in the same manner as she dresses in the presence of any other strange man.

It is permissible for either party to the engagement to back out of the engagement at any time. A formal engagement, even one where Sûrah al-Fâtihah is read, is merely a non-binding promise to marry. Both parties have the right to change their minds for any reason.

No one has to be at fault or do anything wrong to justify terminating the engagement, since the question is not one of right or wrong. It is rather a question of compatibility. The engagement period is like a trial period where both parties try to determine how compatible they are to each other. If they feel that they will be able to live together happily, they can get married. If either of them feels that it will not work out, then that person is under no obligation to go through with the marriage.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by: Sheikh Faysal b. Anwar Mawlawî, retired judge


Source: IslamToday.net

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