Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Ruling on proposing marriage to a girl who is already engaged


Does a brother has any legal bond on a
sister he has intentions to Marry? What I actually mean is: a brother is interested in a
sister and wants to marry her, however, another brother wants to marry her also but he
does not want to engage her as yet (Kitbah). because one brother wants to marry the sister
does that mean that the other brother should stay away?

If a person has proposed marriage to a woman, it is not
permitted for anyone else to offer a proposal to her, because of the hadeeth of Ibn
‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) which states that the Prophet
(peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man should offer a proposal of marriage
over the proposal of his brother until the first one gives up or gives him
permission.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4746).

There follow quotations from Ibn Hijr’s commentary
which will shed more light on the matter:

The majority of scholars said: This amounts to a prohibition… The
Shaafi’is and Hanbalis said: it is prohibited when the woman proposed to, or her
appointed guardian, has stated that she accepts the offer, but if she has stated that she
rejects this offer, it is not prohibited. If the second man does not know the situation,
then he is permitted to propose marriage, because the basic principle is that proposing
marriage is something permitted… If the woman has not answered either way, it is
permitted. Al-Tirmidhi reported from al-Shaafi’i that the meaning of the hadeeth is:
if a man proposes to a woman and she likes him and accepts, no-one else should propose to
her after that, but if he (the second man) does not know that she liked and accepted that
proposal, there is nothing wrong with his proposing to her. The evidence for this is the
story of Faatimah bint Qays, who did not tell (the Prophet
(peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him)) that she had accepted the proposal of one (of two men who had
proposed to her). If she had told him, he would not have advised her to marry someone
other than the one she had chosen. If there is no word of acceptance or rejection from the
woman, some of the Shaafi’is say that it is definitely permitted…
Al-Shaafi’i said that in the case of a virgin, her silence indicates her acceptance
of a suitor.

The hadeeth was interpretated as meaning that if the first man to propose
gives permission to the second, it is no longer prohibited for him to propose. … It
was reported from Ibn al-Qaasim, the companion of Maalik, that if the first suitor is
immoral, a chaste man is permitted to propose over his proposal. Ibn al-‘Arabi said
that this was correct… This is applicable if the woman is chaste, because an immoral
man would not be compatible for her, and his proposal would be like no proposal at all.

The phrase “until he marries her”* means until the first suitor
has gone ahead and married her, so that anyone else will realize that there is no longer
any point in proposing; “or gives up” means that the first suitor decides not to
go ahead, in which case it is permitted for the second to offer his proposal.

* Please note these words are in another Rewaaya…

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