When considering a woman for marriage, is the man allowed to see her hair at any stage before actually marrying her? Or must he rely on his sisters’/mothers’ etc. to inform him of what she looks like?
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are in the best of health and faith, insha’Allah.
No, the man is not permitted to look at the hair of a woman he is considering for marriage as her hair is legally deemed to be from her nakedness (`awra), and the permission of looking only extends to her hands and face. [Qadri Pasha, al-Ahwal al-Shakhsiyya: Article 3]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When one of you intends proposing marriage to a woman; if he is able to look at that which will induce him to marry her, he should do so.” [Abu Dawud, with a sound chain of narration]
Saffarini comments in his Ghidha al-Albab, after relating the aforementioned tradition (hadith), that the man can only look at the woman’s face and hands. Further, Khattabi in his Ma`alim al-Sunan writes, “The man is only permitted to look at her face and hands. He cannot look at her without her veil (hijab), and similarly cannot see any of her nakedness (`awrah)– whether she permits him to do so or not.”
Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam notes, “The statement ‘if he is able to look at that which will induce him to marry her’ means considering aspects such as wealth, status, beauty and religion, and does not imply a general permissibility of looking at any part of the body that may induce a person into marriage.” [Elucidation of Forty Hadiths on Marriage]
However, he can look at her face and hands as many times as he needs to in order to make up his mind about marrying her, as the scholars mention.
And Allah alone gives success.