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Boundaries before rukhsati and the ruling of hijab between one’s fiancé

Question:

What do the experts of shari’ah say regarding a man and a woman who have only had their nikkah performed. Are there still any boundaries which remain? Also, can I remove my hijab in front of my fiancé, and the husbands of my maternal and paternal aunt’s?

Answer:

Once the Nikkah has been performed between a man and a woman and all the requirements of shari’ah have been fulfilled, this includes an accepted proposal, in front of witnesses etc. Then the rulings of a married couple will now come into place. Even though they legally can engage in marital relations, shari’ah also dictates that the custom and social norms of a community must be respected. We cannot totally disregard social norms, as the following legal maxim clearly explains, “What is determined by custom is equal to a contractual requirement.”

Based on this, prior to the rukhsati, it will not be suitable for the couple to engage in marital relations. This will be something strongly looked down upon by both sides of the family. Sometimes there is a long period between the nikkah and rukhsati. If they engage in marital relations, the wife may fall pregnant, the couple may even decide to separate, all of which will cause problems for the couple and the families. Therefore, to abide by the prevalent social norms and not engage in marital relations prior to the rukhsati will be the correct thing to do.

Prior to Nikkah, a fiancé is still considered a non-mahram and hence it will be wrong to remove your hijab in his presence. Likewise, it is not permissible for a woman to reveal her awrah in front of the husbands of one’s maternal and paternal aunt’s.

And Allah knows best.

This Fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari