There is a man who wants to marry someone from outside of Yemen like France for example. Is it permissible for him to look at her passport photo?
I don’t advise with this. However, if she is far away then he should send someone to her who can describe her to him. A female relative of him who is clever and will be able to describe her characteristics precisely, someone who has experience.
So, if he is unable to look at her then he sends someone who can describe her for him. Merchandising by description is permissible. This is a type of agreement and is considered as a type of contract. This is permissible in agreements and the contract can be actualized by way of this. And this one of the conditions when merchandising which is called ‘merchandising by description’.
So, if the product is very well described then the sale can be concluded after that. And if the buyer finds a fault in the description then he can reject it if he wishes because he conditioned specific characteristics and the product didn’t meet them. And likewise, this woman whom he wants to marry, if she is described precisely and he finds that the descriptions match up with her after he sees her and gets married to her then he cannot say “no this is not what I wanted” he is lying to himself of he does because these are the characteristics which you desired and we described her to you with these features.
However, if the one describing her over exaggerates and mentions characteristics which she doesn’t have. Then he can cancel the agreement if he wishes and says “I don’t want this, I didn’t agree to this, where are this feature and that feature which you described me, all of that which is not present on her?” Then it’s permissible for him in this case to return her to her family. However, upon him is to treat her well and kindly. We advise him that he treats her well and that he doesn’t mention her defects to the people so that it becomes circulated between the people so much so that other men refrain from proposing to her. Especially her virginity that he perhaps did not find in her for example and it was something which he was looking for in a woman, so he got married to her and there she is a non-virgin, perhaps she had been married before or she did something which was unpleasing to Allah and because of this he divorces her.
As for looking at her passport photo then the picture isn’t going to do justice. Perhaps she is beautiful in the picture due to photoshopping and changing colours, etc. However, in reality she is in opposition to the picture. And you are going to base a wedding contract based on the deception of the picture? So the photo does not suffice. And perhaps she may seem ugly in the picture however she in reality is beautiful.
Answered by: Shaykh Abu Bilaal Al hadhramy – may Allah preserve him
Translated by: Abu Huthayfah