Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlah
The word عزم is used in ‘Umdat al-Salik and I’anat al-Talibin. Other sources use different words.
وإذا أراد أن يتزوج المرأة فليس له أن ينظر إليها حاسرة، وينظر إلى وجهها وهي متغطية
وإذا أراد نكاح امرأة فله أن ينظر وجهها وكفيها
المقدمة الثالثة: النظر إليها بعد الرغبة في نكاحها
الثالثة [من المقدمات] النظر إليها إذا تحققت الرغبة في نكاحها
وإذا قصد نكاحها سن نظره إليها قبل الخطبة وإن لم تأذن
وسن… نظر كل للآخر بعد قصده نكاحه
The reason for comparing the text of I’anah and ‘Umdah, where the word عزم is used, to that of the cited sources is to remove any misgivings that عزم means anything other than the words used in them: أراد , قصد and الرغبة تحققت . None of these various terms is meant to indicate anything other than a serious intention of marriage. None of the authors of mukhtasarat, shuruh or even hawashi have sought to split the hair any further than this simple intention. The man who is permitted to look at the hands and face of a woman for the purposes of marriage is one whose interest in marrying her is a serious one; in seeking to see her he is motivated by nothing other than the intention of marrying her.
To the above, however, Ibn Abd al-Salam adds another angle. The previous texts only focused upon the intention in the mind of the one seeking marriage. Ibn `Abd al-Salam’s angle pertains to the response to his proposal that the proposer expects from the other party. He says that this act of looking at the woman before the proposal will only be permissible and mustahabb when the man has reasonable hope that his proposal will be accepted. If he is less than reasonably hopeful about his chances of a successful proposal, looking will not be permissible. The rationale behind this, according to an unnamed authority quoted by Ibn Hajar in Tuhfah (vol. 7 p. 190), is that such reasonable hope creates the type of preponderant conviction (zann ghalib) through which that which is normally impermissible becomes permissible.
This, of course, is a matter that is distinct and separate from the عزم or قصد spoken of in the earlier texts. Thus, in order for this looking to be permissible and mustahabb, two conditions need to be met:
– Firstly, the man needs to have a serious intention of marriage.
– Secondly, he needs to be reasonably hopeful of his chances of success.
It is not inconceivable that the word عزم could create the impression of an absolute and unshakable determination. There are, however, two reasons which stand in the way of reading this meaning into the word as used by Ibn al-Naqib and Malibari. The first is the much milder language of the other texts as quoted above. The second is a case mentioned by Bujayrimi on the authority of Shawbari. This case is as follows:
A man wishes to marry one of two women. The two of them happen to be related in such a way that marrying both of them at the same time would be impossible. Let’s assume two sisters, or a niece and aunt. If عزم had to mean resolute determination, then such a man would not be permitted to view either of the two women, since he cannot conceivably have such determination to marry both of them. All that he has is an intention of marrying one of the two, and that one, furthermore, is as yet undecided. This point was debated between our fuqaha in Shawbari’s time (he died in 1069AH).
He himself takes the view that it is permissible for this man to see both women, and he dismisses as baseless the view of impermissibility as held by one of his contemporaries, despite the fact that that view is connected by qiyas to the case of someone who proposes to five women at the same time. Bujayrimi quotes Shawbari in his hashiyah on Iqna’ vol. 4 p. 107. Here is the text:
لو رأى امرأتين ممن يحرم جمعهما في النكاح ليعجبه واحدة منهما يتزوجها جاز، ولا وجه لما نقل عن بعض أهل العصر من الحرمة. ويؤيد ما نقل ما لو خطب خمسا حيث تحرم الخطبة حتى يختار شيئا