Marriage, in Islam, is a solemn contract for which the Shari`ah lays down rules and arrangements to guarantee its stability.

Also, a Muslim should seek a righteous spouse for marriage. Religion and good character should be the top concern of every Muslim when looking for a spouse. This is compatible with the Prophet’s guidance: “If a person of acceptable religion and character presents himself for marriage, marry him, otherwise, there would be widespread sedition and rampant corruption in the land.

Now, coming to the issue of marriage through the internet, no one can say that it’s forbidden. However, the Shari`ah-based ethics and rulings should be observed.

In this regard, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, says:

“There is nothing wrong, as far as Islam is concerned, in helping people get married through the Internet or any other means. However, I have some reservations regarding using the Internet for that purpose. I know that there are some people who got to know each other through the Internet and this ended in marriage. I myself know some people in our community who got successful marriage through the Internet. However, I have reservation against the way it is carried out.

I would say it is allowed to make marriage announcements on the Internet and provide some information about the man and the lady. But to publish a picture of the lady, even with hijab, is highly undesirable. Though it is permitted for the suitor to look at the woman he is proposing to seek her hand in marriage, publishing her picture on the Internet would expose her to everybody and make it available for people of loose character to use the picture for satisfying their desires. Some people might even use the picture for evil purposes and that would harm the lady in the end. So, caution has to be exercised. We can help people get to know each other, and then they should ask about each other in different ways.

To illustrate, it is not enough for a man to decide to marry a lady through online chatting or some information published on the Internet. That would pose a kind of risk. Marriage is a solemn contract that has to be decided wisely. In choosing one’s partner one has to follow the rules and teachings of Islam in order to have a successful marriage and a prosperous life.”

As for communication between a man and a woman, it should be of a goal that complies with enjoying what is good and preventing what is bad. Any communication or chatting between a man and a woman if not for a good cause, it will be a possibility for the cause of Shaytan (Satan). One should always ask him/herself why do I want to write to that man/woman or to talk to him/her? The answer will be helpful to take action.

Here, we’d cite the following fatwa issued by Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, president of the Fiqh Council of North America:

“Internet chat is very similar to writing letters or talking to someone on phone. Actually it is a combination of both. Muslims have to observe the same rules as they observe in writing letters or making telephone calls. Islam does not permit love letters or intimate conversations between males and females who are not married to each other.

In all our correspondence and conversations we must observe haya’ or modesty. Boys and girls should not chat with each other just for socialization or passing time. It is haram (unlawful) for a non-mahram Muslim male and female to indulge in long conversations with each other unless it is necessary for education or for business. All conversation must be decent. The Qur’an reminds us again and again that all our words are recorded and we shall be held accountable for our words as well as our deeds on the Day of Judgment. (See Al-Ahzab 33:70; Qaf 50:18)

If one finds an interesting partner through Internet and there is a desire to know more about each other in order to get married, then one should involve one’s elders in this matter. Let the elders or some responsible friends do the investigation and negotiation on your behalf. Even when you want to talk to that person, it is good to have an elder present in this chat.”