Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST BENEFICENT, THE MOST MERCIFUL
Note that correspondence and contact between the sexes is one of the doors that lead to fitnah (temptation). Sharee’ah is filled with evidence which indicates that it is essential to beware of falling into the traps of the shaytaan in this matter. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw a young man merely looking at a young woman, he turned his head so as to make him look away, then he said: “I saw a young man and a young woman, and I did not trust the shaytaan not to tempt them.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (885) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
This does not mean that it is haraam for a man or woman to like a specific person whom he or she chooses to be a spouse, and feel love for that person and want to marry them if possible. Love has to do with the heart, and it may appear in a person’s heart for reasons known or unknown. But if it is because of mixing or looking or haraam conversations, then it is also haraam. If it is because of previous acquaintance, being related or because of hearing about that person, and one cannot ward it off, then there is nothing wrong with that love, so long as one adheres to the sacred limits set by Allah.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
If love develops for a reason that is not haraam, a person cannot be blamed for that, such as one who loves his wife or his slave woman, then he leaves her but that love remains and does not leave him. He is not to be blamed for that. The same applies if he glances accidentally then looks away, but love may settle in his heart without him wanting it to. But he has to ward it off and look away. End quote.
Rawdat al-Muhibbeen (p. 147).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
A person may hear that a woman is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable, so he may want to marry her. Or a woman may hear that a man is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable and religiously committed, so she may want to marry him. But contact between the two who admire one another in ways that are not Islamically acceptable is the problem, which leads to disastrous consequences. In this case it is not permissible for the man to get in touch with the woman or for the woman to get in touch with the man, and say that he wants to marry her. Rather he should tell her wali (guardian) that he wants to marry her, or she should tell her wali that she wants to marry him, as ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) did when he offered his daughter Hafsah in marriage to Abu Bakr and ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with them both). But if the woman contacts the man directly, this is what leads to fitnah (temptation). End quote.
Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh (26/question no. 13)
Allah knows best.