Fatwa on Marriage Proposals
Question: A sister has already agreed to marry someone but then another brother comes in, she accepts and marries the second brother, is it okay?
Answer: In reality if the woman agreed with the first man and she said “I accept your proposal”, then the second man came along and he knew (this is the point of reference here) that the first one had proposed to this woman, then he doesn’t have a right to enter into this marriage until the woman says that she is not interested in the first man and she nullifies that proposal. At that point, the second man has the ability to propose to her i.e. after she made it known to the first individual that she is not interested in him.
However, if the second man came knowing that the first man had already proposed to her and she agreed with the second man and they got married, then the marriage is considered a *valid marriage* in Islam. But the second man, if he knew that the first man had proposed to her and he still stepped in any way and proposed, then he has committed a tremendous sin. I don’t mean that this is a major sin, but it means that the sin itself is tremendous. Why? Because it separates the community of Muslims and it is upon the second man, the one that married that woman, to go to the first brother and seek his pardon and his forgiveness. This is because: firstly, he took a right from him that it wasn’t his right to take. Secondly, this action itself could cause fitnah – it could cause trials and tribulations within the Muslim community and Islam has prohibited any action that would bring about fitnah and confusion amongst the Muslims in the community. This is based upon the authentic hadeeth of the Prophet (salalla alahi wasalam) where he said: “No man should propose to a woman, that his brother has already proposed to.”
So I will say to the first man, the one that didn’t marry the woman but proposed to her initially, I would say to him that if he has in his heart anything for the second man, that firstly he should seek Allah’s (Azza wajal) pardon for him. Also, if he looks at the situation from another perspective, perhaps he (the first man) made Istikhaarah and we know that in the du’aa of Istikhaarah we say “O Allah if this is good for me in my
Deen, my worldly affair and my religious affairs, then give it to me and if it is not good for me in my worldly affairs or my religious affairs then place distance between me and it”, this is the du’aa of Istikhaarah. So if he made this supplication to Allah (Suhanah wa ta’ ala) then perhaps this is a sign showing that Allah (Subhanah wa ta a’la) did not want him to marry this woman. He shouldn’t look at it so much as the second man came and took a right of his, but he should look at it as possibly being an answer to his supplication where He (The Most High) did not allow this marriage between him and the woman to take place. He should not hold anything in his chest, and not feel a certain way about the second brother but seek Allah’s (Subhanah wa ta a’la) pardon and forgiveness for him.
And I would advise the second individual – the one who married the woman, that he should go to the first man and seek his pardon and forgiveness, because he took a right from him. The rights of the human being is something that is very serious in Islam[I] and taking a right from someone that doesn’t belong to you is something very serious in Islam. The marriage is correct ([i]saheeh) but the individual is a sinner.
Shaykh Wasiullaah ‘Abbaas
Delivered on January 30th, 2007
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