Hadrat Khalifatul-Masih IV rta described the extent of communication there can be between a couple before marriage. He stated that according to Islam, if the suitor is invited to dinner with the family of the girl he is interested in, there is no harm in him sharing the table with the girl in the presence of her parents. On this Allah Almighty says:
There is no harm… that you eat from your own houses, or the houses of your fathers, or the houses of your mothers or the houses of your brothers, or the houses of your sisters, or the houses of your fathers’ brothers or the houses of your fathers’ sisters, or the houses of your mothers’ brothers, or the houses of your mothers’ sisters, or from that of which the keys are in your possession, or from the house of a siddiq [friend] of yours. There is no harm for you whether you eat together or separately.(Surah an-Nur, 24:62).
Why is eating together mentioned? In fact, siddiq is a friend of the family who is true, honest, and trustworthy. This word does not refer to just anybody who visits. It is not permitted to invite visitors and to start eating with them in the presence of our family. This is not what the Holy Quran means. Siddiq means a regular friend of the family who has respect, who has honor, and who has trust. If such people can be invited to share the table if the parents decide, then why not the suitor who has in fact requested to be a member of the family? In such cases, invite the one who wishes to marry your daughter, and sit with him and your daughter respectfully, without showing her beauty, and let her judge for herself. That much is permitted (Liqa Ma’al Arab, August 17th, 1995).
Some Muslim couples have begun using their engagement to justify dating, even though a mangni [engagement] is not a formal Islamic relationship. A mangetar [fiancé] is still Islamically someone who we observe veiling from. It is not against veiling for the couple to sit together with her parents, whether before or after the engagement. However, a mangni is not a formal Islamic relationship where veiling no longer applies.