Praise be to Allaah.
If the one who is proposing marriage is acceptable in terms
of religious commitment and good character, and he is able to provide
accommodation, even if that will be after some time, then he should not be
refused, 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 female relative under your
guardianship) to him, for if you do not do so, there will be tribulation and
great mischief on earth.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (1084) from Abu Hurayrah;
classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
But if he is not able to provide accommodation, or he needs a
lot of time until he can afford it, then there is nothing wrong with
refusing him, because of the harm that will be caused to the girl by tying
her to him and waiting a long time to get married. When Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi
Sufyaan proposed to Faatimah bint Qays (may Allaah be pleased with them
both), Mu’aawiyah was poor, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) advised her to refuse his offer, because he was poor and
had no wealth. Narrated by Muslim (1480).
This suitor who is unable to afford the expenses of marriage
is addressed by the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning): “And
let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves
chaste, until Allaah enriches them of His Bounty” [al-Noor 24:33] and
by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him): “O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, then let
him do so, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and guarding
chastity. And whoever is not able to do that, then let him fast, for that
will be a shield for him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5065)and Muslim (1400).
It is not prescribed to recite al-Faatihah at the time of
engagement, because that is not narrated from the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him).
The mahr and accommodation are the rights of the wife, and
she may be content with a little of that. Her guardian should help her to be
chaste. If she accepts someone whose religious commitment and character are
pleasing, and he has enough to provide accommodation and the mahr, then it
is not permissible to prevent the girl from marrying. But if he does not
have anything, then the guardian may refuse the proposal, because the girl’s
agreement in this case is based on emotion and lack of experience, and
perhaps she is deceived by the suitor.
It is not permissible for a girl to form a relationship with
a non-mahram man, whether he has proposed marriage to her or not, because of
the bad consequences to which that may lead, as is obvious, especially if
her family have refused his proposal; in that case there is no justifiable
reason for him to speak to her.
See also questions no.
36807 on the ruling on
speaking and correspondence between a suitor and his fiancée.
May Allaah help us all to do that which He loves and which