Praise be to Allaah.
Proposal of marriage may be
ether explicit or implicit. Explicit means words that cannot be interpreted
as meaning anything other than marriage, such as saying, “When your ‘iddah
ends I will marry you” or asking her wali (guardian) explicitly to become
engaged to her, and so on.
Implicit means words that
may be understood as a proposal of marriage or otherwise, such as if a man
says: “Such a woman as you would be desirable as a wife” or “I am looking
for a wife” or “May Allaah grant you what is good for you” and so on.
It is not permissible to
give an explicit proposal of marriage to a woman who is observing ‘iddah,
whether the divorce was revocable (first or second talaaq) or final, or she
is observing ‘iddah following the death of her husband.
As for implicit proposals,
1 – If the woman is
observing ‘iddah following a revocable divorce, it is not permissible to
give an implicit proposal or hint at proposing, because the woman who has
been given a revocable divorce is still a wife. Allaah says concerning the
woman whose divorce is revocable (interpretation of the meaning):
“And their husbands have
the better right to take them back in that period, if they wish for
The husband who has given
his wife a revocable divorce is still called a husband. So how can a man
have the right to propose marriage to a woman who is still married to her
2 – If that happens during
‘iddah following the death of the husband, or final divorce or annulment of
the marriage due to a fault in either spouse or any other reason, then it is
permissible to hint at a proposal of marriage, but it is not permissible to
offer an explicit proposal. The fact that hinting in this case is
permissible is indicated by the verse in which Allaah says (inter
“And there is no sin on
you if you make a hint of betrothal or conceal it in yourself, Allaah knows
that you will remember them, but do not make a promise of contract with them
in secret except that you speak an honourable saying according to the
Islamic law. And do not consummate the marriage until the term prescribed is
fulfilled. And know that Allaah knows what is in your minds, so fear Him.
And know that Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing”
Shaykh al-Sa’di said in his
Tafseer (p. 106):
This is the ruling on one
who is observing ‘iddah following the death of her husband, or one who has
been given a final divorce by a husband who is still alive. It is haraam for
anyone other than her husband to offer an explicit proposal, which is what
is meant by the words “but do not make a promise of contract with them in
As for hinting at a
proposal, Allaah has stated that there is no sin in doing so. The difference
between the two is that an explicit proposal cannot mean anything but
marriage, so that is why it is haraam, because that may lead her to hasten
the end of her ‘iddah or tell a lie about the end of her ‘iddah because she
wants to get married. Moreover, there should be no explicit talk of a new
marriage out of respect for her first husband’s rights during the ‘iddah.
As for the implicit
proposal, this is something that may mean marriage or something else. It is
permissible for the one whose divorce is final, such as saying, “I want to
get married” or “I would like you to consult me when your ‘iddah ends” and
so on. This is permissible because it is not like an explicit proposal and
there may be strong motives for it. The same applies if a person intends to
marry a woman who is still in ‘iddah, when the ‘iddah ends (i.e., there is
nothing wrong with that). This is what is referred to in the verse: “or
conceal it in yourself, Allaah knows that you will remember them”.
These are all details that
precede the marriage contract, but the marriage contract itself is not
permissible, “until the term prescribed is fulfilled” i.e., until the
‘iddah is over. End quote.
See al-Mughni, 7/112
and al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah (19/191).
And Allaah knows best.