Is it Haram to Date Before Marriage?

Photo Courtesy: Wyatt Fisher

Kissing, pre-marital sex, and physical intimacy with non-mahram are forbidden in Islam. While love before marriage is not explicitly forbidden, muslims should abide by pre-marital Islamic guidelines to avoid sinning.

Islamic scholars unanimously consider pre-marital physical intimacy with non-mahram as haram. However, regarding whether pre-marital ‘love’ is forbidden or not, we found from our research that it depends on what you classify as love.

In the sources we consulted, scholars advised muslims against saying ‘I love you’ to non-mahram before marriage. However, they emphasized that muslims interested in marrying each other may meet and interact under certain conditions which we’ve discussed later.

On the subject of love, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “We do not see for those who love one another anything like marriage.

Sunan Ibn Mājah 1847 (source)
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

1 – Is It Haram to Date Before Marriage?

According to the majority opinion of Islamic scholars, the Western concept of dating is haram before marriage. This includes hugging, kissing, hand-holding, and sex.

The Western concept of dating involves establishing some kind of romantic, intimate relationship with a partner pre-marriage. The Deen Show commented on this matter (source):

There is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practiced in the West. There is no dating or living in de facto relationship or trying each other out before committing to each other. There is to be no physical relationship whatsoever before marriage.

The Deen Show (source)

Dr. Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation, discussed dating being haram at length in the following clip (source):

Moreover, in the video, the renowned scholar also discussed halal ways to interact with a potential spouse.

Dr. Naik stated that Muslims interested in marrying one another can meet under the following conditions:

  • The meeting should not take place in seclusion, such as at a movie theatre.
  • A mahram (a male related to the female) for the female should be present. This is understood from the hadith: “When a man and a woman are together alone, the Shaytan (Satan) makes their third.” (Source: At-Tirmidhi)
  • Modesty must be maintained. This means that the topics of discussion should remain in the confounds of Islamic guidelines, and all parties should be dressed modestly.

2- Is It Haram to Kiss Before Marriage?

According to the major schools of thought in Islamic, it is haram to kiss a non-mahram before marriage.

Islamic schools of thought consider any pre-marital acts of intimacy between non-mahram haram, including kissing. (source)

Islam Question & Answer, an authority site under the supervision of Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, responded to the question “Is the one who kisses a non-mahram woman regarded as a zaani (fornicator or adulterer)?” with (source):

What you did by kissing and touching this woman is a reprehensible haraam action from which you have to repent by regretting having done it and resolving not to go back to it. You also have to keep away from the things that lead to fitnah, such as mixing, being alone with a woman, and haraam looks.

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid (source)

Here, the Shaykh declares that kissing non-mahram before marriage is haram.

This makes sense because under Islam, you’re only allowed to kiss and be intimate with your wife or husband.

3- What is Haram Before Marriage?

The majority opinion of Islamic scholars is that any kind of physical contact between non-mahram is forbidden before marriage. Moreover, scholars agree that the Western concept of dating is forbidden as well.

From our research, we found scholars to be in agreement regarding the following actions being haram before marriage:

  • Kissing non-mahram
  • Hugging non-mahram
  • Hand holding non-mahram
  • Sex
  • Interacting with non-mahram in a secluded place
  • Being in the company of a non-mahram without a mahram present

The sources for each verdict are shared under the respective sections of this article.

4- Is Delaying Marriage Haram?

After a muslim male and female decide to get married, delaying the marriage without a valid reason is considered haram by some Islamic scholars. However, other Islamic authority figures advise against delaying marriage, but do not consider delays to be haram.

Mufti Menk, a renowned Islamic scholar, commented on the delaying of marriage (source):

To delay marriage in Islamic is actually prohibited. Once you know that the two are to get married, you get the nikkah done. You’re delaying it? You are sinful. Remember this

Mufti Menk (source)

Thus, according to the scholar, delaying marriage in Islam is not permissible.

The Mufti emphasized how delaying marriage can lead to haram, and Muslims should therefore marry as quickly as possible.

In response to a question about delaying marriage without justification, Islamic Questions & Answers, an authority site supervised by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, responded (source):

If the situation is as you say, with your father having agreed and with the woman’s family being prepared, then everything is in place and there is no reason to delay this marriage.

Rather you should hasten to proceed with it, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for that will be a shield for him.

(Agreed upon, from the hadeeth of Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him. Al-Bukhaari, 4778; Muslim, 1400).

But your father may have some reasons for delaying the marriage, which he may not want to tell you…(Source)

Islamic Questions & Answers
Supervised by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

The responder emphasized the need to marry quickly, but did not state outright that delaying marriage is haram.

Speaking of marriage, learn more about whether marrying you cousin is considered halal or haram in Islam.

5- Is It Haram To Say ‘I Love You’ Before Marriage?

In Islam, men and women interested in marrying one another may interact under appropriate conditions. However, scholars advise against saying ‘I love you’ to a non-mahram before marriage, as it is an expression of intimacy.

While conducting research on this matter, we came across the following response by an Islamic authority (source):

Between individuals who can marry each other (ghayr mahram), such direct expressions of intimacy should be avoided.

As the Qur’an commands, “speak with appropriate speech.” (33:33) It would not considered proper for a man to inform a woman who is not his wife or close relative (mahram) that he loves her. Yes, there is no harm in conveying in an appropriate manner that one likes someone when approaching them for marriage. However, this should be done in a manner that is respectful, dignified, and cuts off any means to fitna.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (source)

Here, Salman advises muslims against saying I love you to a non-mahram before marriage, for the reason that it is “not considered proper”.

We did not discover any fatwas or statements that explicitly declare saying ‘I love you’ before marriage haram.

However, the Islamic guidelines regarding modesty outlined by scholars such as Dr. Zakir Naik (source) advise against expressing or displaying any kind of intimacy before marriage.

Moreover, in the previous section, we shared sources that emphasized the need to avoid delaying marriage. Thus, if a man and woman love each other, Islam encourages them to marry before displaying affection (source).

Speaking of love, check out our recent post ‘Is Valentine’s Day Haram‘ to learn more about whether this popular day is haram or not.

6- Is It Haram to Move Out Before Marriage?

Islamic authority figures have different opinions about whether Muslim women can move out before marriage. However, able men are not restricted from moving out in Islam.

While researching whether it is haram to move out before marriage, we discovered different perspectives carried by Islamic scholars and authority figures.

Ustadh Tabraze Azam, from Hadith of The Day, commented on the matter of muslim women living alone:

This is a sensitive issue. Many scholars do caution against single sisters living alone and away from family when there is a reasonable option of residing with or close to them. Generally, being alone was something that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also discouraged.

However, if there is a reasonable need, and this has been confirmed with some elders whom you trust, medical professionals, or a scholar who knows the details of your situation, it would be permitted to do so provided that you are somewhere safe and are confident in being able to uphold yourself to religious standards there.

Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Hadith of The Day

Islamic Question & Answer responded to a question about women living alone, stating (source):

A woman may live alone subject to the condition that she is trustworthy and is not a woman of dubious character.


IslamicWeb’s Fatwa regarding a muslim woman living alone is as follows (source):

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

In principle, it is permissible for a woman to reside alone in her home provided she is in a safe place.

Nevertheless, it is disliked for her to live alone even if she is safe. Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade loneliness:

for a man to spend the night alone or to travel alone, and this is even more confirmed about a woman, especially at the present time when there are so many temptations; for more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 89107.

Therefore, we advise you to avoid staying alone and it is more appropriate for you to look for a pious man who would marry you in order to solve the whole problem.

It should be noted that it is permissible for a woman to propose herself to whoever wants to marry her provided she abides by the religious conditions as we clarified in Fatwa 82471.

In case marriage is not facilitated for you, then you may reside with your family or look for a trustworthy woman to reside with you.

IslamicWeb (source)

These three sources thus consider it halal for a muslim woman to live alone, provided certain conditions are met. However, two of the sources do advise women against living alone unless it’s necessary.

Dr. Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation, has a different perspective on the subject (source). Dr. Naik’s view is that a muslim woman is forbidden from living alone, as she requires a protector.

According to the scholar, a woman must live with a mahram, relatives, or a group of pious muslim woman, to guarantee her protection.

7 – Is It Haram to Hug Before Marriage?

According to Islamic scholars, physical intimacy between non-mahram muslims is forbidden before marriage in Islam.

Thus, it is considered haram to hug a non-mahram before marriage.

Islam Question & Answers’s ruling on a man hugging a woman is as follows:

If the brother who is asking this question knows that shaking hands with a non-mahram woman is not permitted, then it is obvious that hugging or embracing her is also haraam and is more forbidden. The ruling on a relative who is not a mahram is the same as the ruling on a “stranger” (non-mahram).

With regard to relatives who are mahrams, such as paternal aunts and maternal aunts, it is permissible for a man to shake hands with them, but as for hugging and embracing and kissing on the mouth, this is not allowed because that may provoke desire, and disallowing it closes the door to evil. It is sufficient to kiss the head or nose.

Islam Question & Answers (source)

Thus, according to the source, non-mahram men and women are not allowed to hug before marriage.

8- Is It Haram to Hold Hands Before Marriage?

Photo Courtesy: elPadawan

According to the majority opinion of Islamic scholars, physical intimacy between non-mahram muslims is forbidden before marriage in Islam. Thus, it holding hands with a non-mahram before marriage is considered haram.

The source we cited in the previous section, regarding the ruling of hugging, also applies to the subject of holding hands. The source explicitly warns against shaking hands, which is similar to holding hands.

Moreover, in another response, Islam Question & Answers stated:

You should note that the fiancé (khaatib) is still a non-mahram to his fiancée (makhtoobah), and it is not permissible for him to do any more than look at her as much as the fiancé is permitted to look.


The Deen Show has a similar view on the matter

There is to be no physical relationship whatsoever before marriage.

The Deen Show (source)

9- Is It Haram to Love Someone Before Marriage?

In our research, we did not find any sources that explicitly declare loving someone before marriage as haram. However, Islamic scholars and authority figures advise muslims to adhere to Islamic guidelines.

The sources we found forbade physical contact between non-mahram before marriage, and discuss appropriate conditions under which muslims can interact if they are interested in marriage.   

In regards to moving out before marriage, or delaying the marriage, we came across different viewpoints and have shared them.

Before making any decisions, we encourage you to do your own research and consult different sources.

Moreover, if you are in a unique situation, then reaching out to an Islamic authority figure for advice can help. May Allah (SWT) guide us all and protect us from sin.


Asya is a writer, academic coordinator, teacher, and mother of five. Being born a Muslim in Europe, Asya grew up learning about what foods and practices are halal, and which to avoid. When she's not working, Asya spends her free time reading, spending time with her family, and eating chocolate.

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