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What About Dating?Selma Cook

Question One

Salam Salma,
I do refuse to date when it comes to blind dates, because the thought of being rejected freaks me out. I have never dated and maybe that is the reason why I am in my late twenties and still not married. I don’t know what to do. I don’t trust any guys, I mean what if I went to meet someone and then he didn’t like me and then he told people about it... how embarrassing. I think I have become like this because I have a few older brothers and grew up hearing them talk about girls, and which are pretty and which aren’t. I fear that it has led me to lose all self esteem and confidence when I am around males. I have total tawakkul on Allah because I believe He is only capable of saving me...and at the moment I try to be as patient as possible. May Allah make us of the Sabirun...Jazakillahu Khairan Sister 

Answer

Salam alaikum sister, thanks for sharing your situation with us today. So much of the situation you described emerges from problems with self-esteem.

 When we look within our hearts and have the courage to be honest with ourselves, most times we will know how to solve our problems. When it comes to finding a suitable life partner, we really don’t have any control over that; who we will meet, whether or not we will be attracted to that special someone and so on, is out of our hands. But what we can control, is how we react and respond to what happens to us. And it is the decisions and responses that we make in life that guide us to our destiny.

As I see it, you must strengthen your inner self and not allow yourself to be affected by the opinions and behavior or others. Having a strong spirit is what helps us through all of life’s dilemmas/challenges, including that of marriage and relationships in general. If you know (with certainty – yaqeen) that Allah is there and helps and guides us; if you know that you are really striving to be a better person (obeying Him), being closer to Him; if you know your course in life – what you want to achieve, then you are on the right path. Nothing should make you weak or hesitate. And especially you should not be affected by the opinions of people who do not really know you or care about you. Believe me, there are few people whose opinions should make us stop dead in our tracks! Such would be people who have knowledge about Islam and about life, and who love us and know us and want what is best for us. They are very few. The other people, we listen to them and if they say something meaningful, we take note and the rest we ignore.

The idea is not to let everything people say or do affect how you feel about yourself and your life. Connect yourself with Almighty Allah through prayer, fasting, reading Quran and spending time with thikr and thinking about things, then move forward with clear goals in mind and insha Allah, the Creator will send you everything you need, and your heart will be satisfied.

May Allah send you that special someone who will be a means of you drawing closer to Him and may He make your heart strong, confident and satisfied with whatever you have…

Question Two

I am working in a MNC with many western nationals. They strongly recommend to have dating before marriage for better understanding each other, though it is against Islamic teachings. How we can justify? Pls comment 

Answer

Salam alaikum and many thanks for this interesting question.

If we take a look at worldwide divorce rates that are soaring out of control, we will see that dating before marriage isn’t a guarantee that the marriage will work. So many cultures around the world are embracing the ‘dating culture’ as they embrace fast food, fashion and all that. But we should see that there is so much heart break that goes along with the dating culture – both guys and girls get dumped, then there is teenage pregnancy, self esteem problems (people are judged for their looks etc instead of their inner worth), and so much self-harm that comes from all this and sometimes even suicide – a broken heart is very difficult to deal with and young people usually don’t have the inner resources to cope.

So we could say that any benefits from ‘getting to know each other’ are far outweighed by the harm. Let’s face it, what’s the point of people getting to know each other when they hardly understand themselves or the tools available to them to manage a relationship?

When a man and woman are seriously thinking about marriage they should meet and talk and discuss many issues; get to know each other! They should try to see each other in different settings; how they interact with others etc, but this should be done in the Islamic framework meaning that they should not be alone. Islam really balances things out. As Muslims we are taught from childhood to be spiritual; to seek Allah’s help and guidance; to be sensitive and pious. With all these things come self-knowledge, self-confidence and insight! This is a good foundation on which to begin the adventure of getting to know someone else; marriage.

May Allah bless you to be a good influence on all those around you…

Question Three

salam alykom
Isn't dating haram in Islam?

Answer

Salam alaikum, yes, it certainly is! That’s why we are holding this discussion to talk about issues surrounding it. Because many people, despite trying to be good Muslims, get caught up in the dating culture or are confused about the Islamic framework when it comes to finding a life partner.

Wanting to be married and have a happy stable life is normal and something we should seek to have. But like everything else in life, there is the right and the wrong way of doing it. Sometimes people think that if they meet lots of people, go out, and have the whole ‘get to know you’ scenario, that this will somehow guarantee them a successful marriage. The thing is that we should understand that we are accountable for what we do in life and the way we try to do it. Nothing good comes out of a bad thing; and in Islam, the end doesn’t justify the means. The ideal way, is to have both what we strive for and the way we strive for it, to be pleasing to Almighty Allah, who wants everything that is good for us.

The whole concept of dating has been glamorized on TV shows, films, songs and so on, and along with that is an image of how people think they should be. The most beautiful girl, the guy with the biggest muscles, being ‘cool’, being daring – these standards are set by people making tons of money out of fashion, films and advertising directed at young people and it’s linked to the dating culture. The outcomes of this superficiality are things like eating disorders, self-harm, low self-esteem, unwanted pregnancy, being dumped and all the rest of it.

It will help us a lot if we can take a step back and look at what goes on in the reality of life, behind the silver screen and all the glamour – and the sad affects on young people. Then take a look at the blessings we have in Islam. It has now come to the stage when a young person who insists not to date is considered ‘weird’ and looked down upon. So it means that this is the time when we have to step up the challenge, retain our identity, insist on our values and get on with life.

All the best..

Question Four

salam alikum, i know that dating is haram but what if the couple wants to get to know each other under parent supervision? Then nothing haraam can be done, so every time the guy comes over the parent is right there included in their conversations. 

 

Answer

Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. The situation you described where the couple is sitting with a family member is not dating. The important thing to keep in mind is that the meetings are held with the intention of finding out whether or not this person is a suitable marriage partner. It is really important that a couple get to know each other and talking and discussing a wide range of issues is vital. I would add that the family member should not necessarily be included in the conversation. The couple needs to feel free to talk about topics of interest without interruption.

 

The great benefit of this kind of meeting is that either party can step back at any time with a minimum of emotional impact on the other person. Whereas, in the dating scene emotions are heavily involved and people often flip from one partner to another, often leaving a trail of broken hearts.

 

All the best…

 

Question Five

salams dear,
I'm a young Muslim girl, I'm a quite well religious, I'm trying to seek the right dogma of Islam.
I my self believe that dating could be a permissible and good way to know our perfect matches, if we only make a date in an Islamic frame.
first of all the porpoise of both couple should be the marriage according to the Islamic approach. And following the Islamic teachings during there dates.
Ex: for the couples, instead of being totally alone they can be among a part of other trusted company. Also they can concentrate on the general serious issues and keep them selves away from the emotional stuffs which could lead them to banned areas.
What do you think about this way of dating?
 

Answer

Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question.

 

It is very important that we realize that our decisions and behavior steer our course in this life, and that Almighty Allah has given us the guidance and the means to find our way.

 

You are right, when a man and woman meet it should be for the intention of marriage and the Islamic framework should be adhered to. When we talk about protecting ourselves from falling into ‘banned areas’, the best preservation is piety and being close to Allah. After all, you are the one who will decide what to talk about, how to respond in a discussion, and you also play a part in directing the conversation. You also have the right to continue with the person or step back kindly. This form of meeting protects us on many levels. Without the deep emotional involvement, the couple can spend time to know the character, habits and behavior of the person.

 

This said, it is never possible to truly know someone until after marriage, and moreover, we humans are continually changing, so there is really no point where a person can say to another, ‘I really know you’! Individuals evolve, and so do relationships, so what we are looking for in these initial meetings is a note of compatibility and attraction. After marriage the real adventure begins and maintaining a relationship and discovering each other is a life long journey.

 

All the best…

 

 

Question Six

Salaam alaikum sister

If I would prefer to get to know someone well before deciding to marry them. On campus I have male and female friends,and I'm not into going out with a guy just for the sake of it.

But where does one draw the line when getting to know someone for the purpose of marriage? In this day and age, it makes one want to be more cautious when considering marriage. If you do this over a prolonged period, does it not constitute dating?

Thank you for your advice 

 

Answer

Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question.

 

There are many failed marriages these days and this is very sad. However, a marriage might fail for one of many reasons – and this may not have anything to do with how much the couple knew each other before getting married.

 

There is a fine line between the Islamic style of ‘getting to know you’ and dating. It has to do with the intention and the type of talk that goes on, as well as the frequency of the meetings and the context in which they are held. Keeping our spirituality intact and keeping close to Almighty Allah is the only real way of knowing when we are in danger of crossing that line.

 

The person has to ask him/herself, why he is meeting that person. After a number of meetings, it should be reasonably clear whether or not the person is a candidate for marriage. What remains after that? The next step would be one of discussing commitment. If either party is not ready to commit, the wise thing to do would be to step back and wait til he/she makes up their mind or the situation changes.

 

Allowing a relationship to linger can easily put both parties into a dangerous situation; affections grow silently and the intention changes bit by bit. In such cases, if a clear decision and statement is not made, there is only hurt and harm.

 

All the best…

 

Question Seven

My friend- who is living in an Islamic country- consider the dating is the same like the 'Khitba' in Islam. Other Muslim friends told me that it's not right.
I'm a newly Muslim living in a foreign non Islamic country .
Is it right that the dating is same like the Khitba? If not, What's the different between them?

 

Answer

Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question. Many Muslims practice something loosely defined as an engagement period. Usually, this is the time between the couple making the formal marriage contract (where they are actually married) and the time when they start living together (that’s when the waleema or big party is held). During this period, the couple goes out and spends lots of time together, getting to know each other. But the contract of marriage has already been made, the families know all about it and have consented and the couple is only waiting until they start living together. In different countries, this ‘engagement period’ can be up to a few years!

 

However, the concept of dating as it is known on films, TV shows and popular culture is completely different. In this context, a man and woman go out together without the idea of marriage in mind. The families are not involved and there is no concept of moral boundaries.

 

May Allah guide us to all that is good and beneficial…

 

 

Question Eight

Most people find it strange in this day and age not to date. They argue that there is nothing wrong in going out with someone without the intention of marriage. People say it is part of enjoying and experiencing life.

What is your advice/opinion on the matter? Is it not old fashioned and rigid not to date?

 

Answer

Salam alaikum, many thanks for your question. It is really important that we think for ourselves, decide how we want to live our lives and not be pulled along by the opinion of others.

 

The negative behind the modern concept of dating is that men and women end up having many superficial relationships and somehow get lost in the whole net of intermixing. Advertising, media, films and peer pressure push people into ‘knowing’ many people and clocking up lots of ‘experience’.  The dating culture has very little to do with marriage and is now seen as a normal part of growing up. People justify this saying that young people have to know lots of people so they will make the right choices later. At the same time, dating can cause people to shy away from commitment and marriage and also the divorce rate is spiraling out of control. So there comes a point when we have to see that this way is just not working.

 

Islam acknowledges the attraction between men and women and does not suppress it, but rather channels it into the marriage relationship. In fact, marriage in Islam should be easy. Families and the community should facilitate marriage for young people (although I’m aware that sadly, often the opposite is true).

 

Enjoying and experiencing life is done on many levels and the best way to share this is through a safe, committed marriage relationship where the couple is maintaining a strong relationship. This is one of the best ways for a person to discover him/herself and to make sense of the world around.

 

Some people might call the Islamic way ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘rigid’ and that’s their opinion, equally though, we have our opinion. Whether or not we adhere to it is another matter.

 

All the best….



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