Praise be to Allaah.
Islam has prescribed asking the father’s permission when one wants to marry his daughter, whether she is a virgin or has previously been married.
It is the girl’s right to have sufficient information about the person who wants to marry her. This may be achieved by enquiring about him through various channels, such as asking some of her relatives to ask his friends and those who know him well about him, because they may know a lot about his good and bad points which other people would not know about.
But it is not permissible for her under any circumstances to be alone with him (khulwah) before marriage, or to take off her hijaab in front of him. It is well known that in such meetings the man does not show his true nature, but rather he is on his best behaviour and tries to make a good impression. Even if she were to be alone with him or to go out with him, he will not show her his true character. Many of those who go out with a fiancé in this sinful manner end up in tragedy and these sinful steps, whether they were taken in private or in public, do not bring any benefits.
Often the fiancé will use sweet words and play with the emotions of his fiancée when he goes out with her, and he shows her his best side, but when she makes enquiries about him and tries to find out more about him, she will discover something entirely different. So going out with him or being alone with him does not solve the problem. Even if for the sake of argument we were to say that it does serve some purpose in finding out about the man's character, the resulting sin and possibility of leading to bad consequences is far greater than that (potential benefit). This is why Islam forbids being alone with a strange (non-mahram) man – and the fiancé is still a stranger – or taking off one’s hijaab in front of him.
We should not forget another important matter, which is that after the marriage ceremony (nikaah) and before the wedding night (when the marriage is celebrated and consummated), the woman has ample opportunity to get to know the man's character up close and to make sure about him, because now it is permissible for her to be alone with him and to go out with him, so long as the marriage contract has been concluded. If she discovers something bad that she really cannot put up with, then she can ask him for Khul’ (divorce). But usually the outcome is not so bad, so long as one has made enquiries about the person and found out about him in a proper fashion before the nikaah.
We ask Allaah to choose what is best for you and to make things easy for you wherever you are. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid