[Q-ID0187] What is the ruling on Engagements, exchanging rings and other gifts?


What is the ruling concerning engagements in Hanafī Fiqh and is it permissible to exchange rings and other gifts on these occasions?


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

An engagement in actuality is a promise to marry. If this ceremony is conducted in accordance with the requirements of Sharī’ah then it is permissible. For the man’s family to gift the woman a gold ring or other items or the woman’s family to gift the man clothes or a silver ring, which weighs less than 4.5 Māshas (4.374 grams), bearing only one precious stone, is permissible, but not necessary. However, it is necessary that the man does not place the ring onto the woman’s finger himself, or any other item, because they do not become husband and wife merely through the engagement ceremony, on the contrary it is necessary for them to still observe shar’ī segregation and veiling at this stage.

Even if there is no engagement ceremony prior to the nikāh (wedding ceremony) there is no problem in this. People have made it a binding part of the nikāh whereas this is not the case, neither is it a part of the nikāh nor is it necessary for the nikāh. The engagement ceremonies that are in fashion first began in India and spread into the Muslims from the Hindus as mentioned by Muftī Ahmad Yār Khān Na’īmī (may Allāh shower him with mercy) in his book ‘Islami Zindagi’.

Nowadays it is observed that the engagement ceremony is a collection of many non Islamic customs. For example, the playing of music, the gathering of men and women in one house without observing segregation and veiling, laughing and joking amongst themselves; all of this is harām. The boy is also given a gold ring to wear whereas the wearing of gold is forbidden upon men as it has been mentioned in the Blessed Hadīth narrated by Sayyidunā ‘Alī (may Allāh be pleased with him) that,

إِنَّ نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَخَذَ حَرِيرًا فَجَعَلَهُ فِي يَمِينِهِ، وَأَخَذَ ذَهَبًا، فَجَعَلَهُ فِي شِمَالِهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ:‏‏‏‏ ‘إِنَّ هَذَيْنِ حَرَامٌ عَلَى ذُكُورِ أُمَّتِي”

“Indeed the Prophet ﷺ took hold of some silk placing it in his right hand and some gold placing it in his left hand and then said, ‘Verily these two are harām upon the males of my ummah.’”

[Sunan Abū Dāwūd, vol. 4, pg. 71, Hadīth no. 4057]

To place a gold ring onto a man’s finger is also a sin because this is aiding another upon sin and Allāh (Most Pure is He) has forbidden this in the Qur’ān,

{وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوۡا عَلَی الۡاِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوٰنِ}

Translation: {And help not one another in sin and injustice}

[Sūrah al-Mā’idah, v. 2]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ محمد قاسم ضیاء القادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri

Translated by Mawlana Ibrar Shafi

Read the original Urdu answer here – [Q-ID0187] What is the ruling on Engagements, exchanging rings and other gifts?

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