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Question: In Islam if I, a girl, like a guy is she allowed to ask for his hand? But what if that is not how it works in the culture does Islam want you to follow culture?

There is no hard and fast rule as to who asks the hand in marriage: There are precedents in the Islamic sources for all of the following three ways of proposing for marriage: Girl taking the initiative and asking the hand of the boy; boy taking the initiative and asking the hand of the girl; a third party asking on behalf of either the boy or girl. It is therefore perfectly all right for a girl to ask the hand of a boy: In fact we know from the Seerah that it was Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, who took the initiative and proposed to the Prophet, peace be upon him, albeit through an intermediary. We also read in the authentic traditions that women during the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, would declare themselves as prospective marriage candidates and then they would choose someone on the spot. We also find numerous instances of men taking initiatives and proposing to women: for instance, Abu Talhah asked the hand of Umm Sulaym, the mother of the famous companion Anas b. Malik. Likewise, Prophet, peace be upon him, made a proposal to Fatimah bint Qays on behalf of Usamah, may Allah be pleased with them all.

So there is nothing wrong in Islam for us in following any of the above methods. However, if you are coming from a traditional culture, you are best advised to follow the acceptable procedures or methods in that culture; otherwise, your chances of getting your proposal accepted may be minimal. If both parties, however, are highly conscientious Muslims, such stringent requirements may be immaterial. For after all, when all said and done, what is important in marriage is not such formalities, rather what really matters is true compatibility of the partners based on their acceptable standards of religion and integrity of character. The Prophet, peace be upon him, has reminded us, “When a person of acceptable religion and character appears for marriage, marry him/her; otherwise, you are opening the door to corruption!”

May Allah guide us unto His way, and save us all from the evil inclinations of our carnal souls-aameen.

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