Assalaamu alaykum. If I am interested in marriage with a girl, can I attend social and familial occasions where she also attends so that I can observe her behavior closely without her knowledge of that? Is there any problem if that happens a number of times till I am able to make up my mind? And is rigorously investigating her permissible?
All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
There is no harm, Allah willing, in carrying out a thorough investigation about that girl and asking trustworthy people about her because consultation in regard to proposing to a girl is something good.
Faatimah bint Qays, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan and Abu Jahm proposed to me, so the Prophet said to me, ‘With regard to Abu Jahm, he does not put his stick off his shoulder (i.e. he beats women), and as regards Mu’aawiyah, he is poor and he has no money; rather, marry Usaamah ibn Zayd.’” [Muslim]
However, you should beware of exaggerating in investigating to the point of Waswasah (obsessive doubts) and of delaying the engagement and marriage without any considerable reason.
There is no harm in attending social events and meetings where that girl is present, provided that the Islamic conditions are met, such as the non-existence of forbidden mixing, or women not wearing the proper hijaab, for example, and there is no harm in looking at her more than once to the extent that the need is achieved, but no more than the need.
Also, there are some conditions that should be met when willing to propose to a girl; Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen mentioned them in the monthly meeting, as he said:
“The scholars set for this some conditions which are evidenced in the Sunnah: the first condition: the man should have a firm desire to get married…;rather, he should have a firm determination to propose to a girl from those people (family or tribe, etc.); the second condition: he should predominantly think that they would accept his proposal…; the third condition: this should not be done in seclusion, meaning that he would look at her in the presence of her family, and it is not permissible for him to look at her while he is alone with her, as the Prophet said, ‘A man should not be in seclusion with a woman.' ...; the fourth condition: he should look at what mostly shows – not at her ‘Awrah, like the face and head, including the hair, the hands, the arms, the feet, and the lower part of the legs, but he should not look at anything else; the fifth condition: he should not seek pleasure in speaking with her regardless of whether this pleasure is comforting or lustful. The difference between the two is that comforting pleasure gives psychological comfort when speaking with a woman while lustful pleasure leads to sexual arousal…”
Allah knows best.
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