Thursday, May 3, 2012

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Dating In Islam: Why Muslims shouldn't Date and why YOU shouldn't either.


Note: Though this article is directed towards Muslims, it applies to everyone in the realm of dating, those looking for love and coming up unsatisfied etc.


Staggering Statistics: 
-More than 50% of marriages in America end in divorce (Source: New York Times)
-Cheating and casual no string attached premarital sex are at all time highs. (Source: USA Today)

Is dating against the Qur’an? Believe me, I have spent many nights racking my brain trying to figure this one out for myself back in my teenage years. I yearned for that one magical verse or explanation that makes everything clear. Let me break the suspense by saying that I have yet to find that one verse. The good news is that my search has given me a much better understanding of this difficult question. My findings brought me to the realization that dating is a process which occupies a great deal of your emotions and tempts you physically so fast that you don't realize what hit you. To put it bluntly: It sucks out your soul. The "game of dating" --especially if you're a Muslim-- inevitably spins out of control and becomes very hard to maintain. The real challenge to your faith starts when the attention shifts away from the needs of your soul to the needs of your body and drains your efforts to increase your remembrance of God.

The Soul Drain


Typically, the word dating is used when a guy and a girl develop both an intimate physical and social relationship together. The physical part is as simple as holding hands and gradually evolves into hugging, kissing and eventually S-E-X. What's the big deal with a little kiss or hand holding? Yes, I can certainly relate that it's innocent and very common, but I can assure you it's more involved than you imagine.

For one thing, there are verses in the Qur’an which regard this type of interaction as much more serious than we would like to think. All the mushy stuff--unfortunately for those unattached--should only be reserved for husband and wife. I hate to take something from a song, much less a Beyonce song but in this case, "If you want it, then you better put a ring on it." (Of course when it comes to Muslims, you don't need a ring to get married but you get my point.)

In addition to having to deal with the Quranic aspect of this issue, you are cluttering your mind with sensitive and powerful emotions that do not help you in remembering God and growing your soul.


Holding Hands: Looks innocent but it really screams DANGER!

Basically, Dating makes you forget about Allah (obeying him, doing the right thing). The daily challenge of obeying Allah and doing the right thing becomes harder and less active in your mind as you become increasingly attracted to your mate with your thoughts, emotions, and time. Although you may use good arguments to comfort your mind that your actions are harmless, your soul feels the energy being zapped away and becomes weaker and more vulnerable. The time and attention you give to your emotional attachment is the precious strength your soul needs to grow. And since you're so caught up in the euphoria of "being in love", you can't hear the weak calls from your soul.

I am pretty sure that no matter how strong you think you are, this soul drain is bound to happen when you invite the process of premarital dating to your life. If you feel you can date someone without the physical stuff, you gotta be real with yourself. For some, there may be a sincere intention to have only a platonic social interaction with a person. In this case, the relationship should be called a friendship, not dating, and all parties involved should have a clear understanding of this from the very beginning without any room for guesswork or temptation. Even then, what one day seems like just a friendship may develop into something more. (See: The Truth about Why Women and Men can't be "Just Friends" [VIDEO])


The Clear Evidences


There are some folks out there who date but due to factors like religion, trust, outrage from parents etc. withhold the physical aspects. That may be admirable to some extent but Lord knows there's this lingering feeling deep inside the psyche; the growing desire for contact and romance. When that's the issue, you should ask yourself one question: "What's the point of winning the battles of avoiding the physical stuff while your soul is losing the war from all the energy and effort that's being drained away and spent?” Why go through the hassle? You either remove yourself from the situation or end the guilt and get married.

However, if you are giving in to your urges and satisfying your physical desires, I suggest you fasten your seat belt before continuing to read some of the verses I come cross in the Qur’an.

There are clear verses in the Qur’an against the natural results of dating; from the seemingly innocent kiss to the more obvious. God instructs all of us eligible bachelors and bachelorettes to maintain our chastity until marriage (Quran Verses 5:5, 23:5-7, 24:30-31, 70:29-31). Chastity is defined Quranically in 23:6 as avoiding sexual relations.You may try to ease your mind quickly by defining sexual relations as intercourse only, leaving all other contact as fair game. It's a pretty good argument I've tried to use myself more than once.


No sir!
According to the Qur’an, however, sexual relations include any intimate physical contact. Let's look at if from another angle. How can we justify holding someone's hand romantically or kissing them when God asks us to be extra careful by subduing our eyes/lowering our gaze (24:30-31) and even avoid meeting secretly unless we have something clean/righteous to discuss (2:235). The classic argument to support physical relations is claiming that the person is "rightfully yours." You convince yourself that the person you are dating, which happens to be a fellow Muslim or a potential convert, will be your future spouse which is exactly what I had done when I first had a serious relationship going with my wife of 3 years. Based on the flawed reasoning, sexual relations with someone who is rightfully yours is not as bad and makes you feel less guilty about your actions. If you think about this line of reasoning carefully, you will find some big problems.

The least important is the fact that you are probably years away from being ready to tie the knot. Of course, completing your education, having a source of income besides your weekly allowance , and setting up a place to live other than your parents' house are useful little details which may have skipped your mind. And aside from that, how about learning the Islamic basics of marriage, the rights of the spouse and readying yourself to making a lifetime commitment? Some time would definitely have to be invested on your spiritual education which should be a higher priority than your financial and career development.

By that time, the "rightfully yours" dream date may be out of your life and you realize your useful excuse provided temporary pleasure at a great expense to your soul. The main problem with the rightfully yours argument is that this Quranic statement has nothing to do with supporting dating intentions. Unfortunately, I have even seen parents use this argument to ease their mind or justify dating for their child. Instead of encouraging their child to focus on God continually (20:132) and avoid the temptation of dating, they give in to peer pressure and the common practices of today. They reason that it's better for their child to start a relationship with someone they know, especially if it's a Muslim, rather than remaining single and being vulnerable to others. 

Ahhhh, the he/she’s a Muslim argument. We have all used this at one time for one reason or another. Surely, it can't be all that bad if two young and innocent Muslims are dating? Actually, it's much worse since both should be fully aware of the consequences of tempting God's advice knowingly.


The Consequences


Speaking of consequences, what does the Qur’an say about this issue? There are some very strong words used in reference to having sexual relations and deciding not to maintain your chastity knowingly. God uses the words transgressor, a sinner, a rejecter of faith, all your good deeds will be in vain, and in the Hereafter you will be with the losers (5:5, 23:7 and 70:31). These descriptions definitely caught my attention too. We are not talking about a simple slap on the hand! Allah mentions that all your works will be in vain. After putting these pieces of the puzzle together, the dangers of dating start becoming much more clear. Of course, we know that Allah is Most Merciful and is the acceptor of repentance. But why should you bring yourself to the point of having to repent when you have the power to steer clear of the problem from the very beginning? Keep in mind also that the example you set when you date as a Muslim is very damaging since you are supporting something which is against the faith you should be practicing everyday.


What explanation do you give to your little brother, sister, or Muslim friends and youth who are striving along the path of submission with you? What about those non-Muslim friends of yours who get confused from you dating when they've heard that Muslims don't date or  have a friend who's Muslim who doesn't date. All it creates is confusion.



When the Right Time Comes...


Where does this leave you? You are a single young and attractive Muslim with your emotions and hormones revving in high gear. All you see around you are images of love, romance, passion and sex. Your friends seem to jump from relationship to relationship like a buffet and you wonder if they are beginning to question your sexual orientation. The prospect of waiting to get married feels like a hopeless eternity. You begin to ask yourself why you should have to endure such temptation? The answer is very simple. 


Allah has blessed you with the light of Islam while your friends and the rest of the world are dancing helplessly down a dark and dangerous path. God has given you the chance to strive for an everlasting life that radiates with happiness and peace. Before you begin to feel sorry for yourself, ask yourself if you are willing to trade this awesome blessing for the temporary enjoyment your friends are experiencing? I don't think so. Your path is rare and requires you to work hard and strive. You have to demonstrate with your actions and intentions that you are worthy of being a true Muslim. You have to use all your strength, patience and faith to overcome the challenges that are testing your faith in God. Passing your test can as simple as avoiding dating and controlling your physical urges. This action may be extremely hard to tolerate and the challenge is difficult, but the outcome is worth every effort. Know that God does not burden you beyond your means. The weaker you feel, the more you are being signaled to pull yourself away from temptation and towards God.

Dating distances you from the soulmate that you're meant to be with. Dont go looking for love. God will bring that special someone to you when you're good and ready.

The beauty of God's system is that He not only rewards you for your efforts in the Hereafter but also showers you with all sorts of rewards in this life for your commitment. God promises a deep and meaningful happiness that is far greater than any temporary romance can ever bring you. This relationship with God is strong and stays with you forever unlike the short relationships that bring quick pleasure but end in disappointment and emotional pain. For this reason, following the example of a Muslim is a rare and beautiful honor that we should be proud uphold. Our example can be a source of inspiration and guidance for our friends. After all, we know that everyone can date easily. But, who can demonstrate the strong character and personality that comes only from a meaningful relationship with Allah?

How can we stay clear of such an attractive temptation that is so common among our circle of friends and community? The best way to avoid a dating situation starts by accepting Allah's advice from the very beginning without any hesitation or doubts. This understanding means you leave no doubt in your mind that dating is out of the question for you. If you leave any wiggle room or gray area in your thinking, you will soon find yourself trying to convince your mind that certain aspects of dating are just fine. Before you know it, you are in this blinding cycle that takes control of you. The next step is to keep a close eye on your emotional attachments and, what I call "soap opera daydreaming." You may have accepted that dating is not right for you but you may find yourself fantasizing about the perfect relationship, a romantic encounter, or the classic made for television love affair. If you are not in a position to get married, it's better to put these thoughts on hold since it makes the process of staying single much harder. Such thoughts can cloud your judgment and can make the smallest encounter appear as the start of a great love story. These romantic affairs and tearjerkers we see in the movies are made to sell tickets and popcorn, not our souls.


Your one true soulmate as decreed by Allah is out there for you, are you willing to wait for him/her?

Keep in mind that the true love you will experience in marriage is nothing like that dramatic "crush" who dominates your life until he/she evaporates into thin air. When you sense your emotions are running away from you, take a time out for a reality check. Drop the idea from your mind and analyze the situation as if you are asking God for advice. Know that God is aware of your innermost intentions and that He is the Best Supporter. Finally, I must point out that we seem to notice only the positive images of dating. The flip side is often very disappointing and, in some cases, devastating to the emotions.The saying "all good things come to an end" is especially true with dating. There is the pain of separation, the feelings of rejection, denial, depression, and dealing with the reality that you shared the most private experiences of your life with someone who is now a stranger to you. Of course, we also have the very likely possibility of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases to deal with. I'm pretty sure no one wants to be on an episode of Maury, right?


Life Without Dating


What is the alternative to dating? Believe it or not, there is another world outside dating that is even more rewarding for your soul and your emotional needs. Once you place your trust in God's system, you can see everyone from the filter of true friendship. There will be no pressure to impress others, to change your ways or act differently. You can start having many meaningful friendships instead of spending most of your time with only one person. You will experience the beauty of this diversity, the fun of having such different personalities in your life and the blessing of being able to turn to a strong social network in the time of need. These friendships will be there for you and last through times of difficulty. Most importantly, you not only save emotional energy, you gain even more strength from your friends; strength that you need in your path of submission to Allah. 


If you are eager to start a relationship or are finding yourself in a questionable situation now, make your intention clear that you desire only friendship and avoid situations which trigger your physical or emotional urges. Spend your time in larger group settings or in a family environment. Avoid one-to-one encounters until you know deep inside that the relationship is clearly friendship. Even then, it's always better to involve your other friends when you want to do something. You know what they say, "the more, the merrier."

If you think you're missing the boat by not dating and that you will never meet that "dream" person, I have some great news for you. Your boat is in perfect condition and is not going anywhere without you. Allah is in control of everything. He knows the best time for you to get married and He has already picked out the perfect mate for you. No matter how hard you try on your own or rush the process, you will never find the perfect match that God is waiting to give you.All dating does is drift you further and further apart from the true soulmate Allah has already picked out for you. All you need to do is place your trust in God, have patience, and stay firm in your commitment to keep purity of body and mind. Once you are ready to share in the blessing of marriage, you will appreciate why Allah has encouraged you to stay single for such a special occasion.

11 comments:

  1. Um. I hope you read this so maybe i can understand some things better. I grew up around the Muslim culture and my best friend dates and so does her sister. This year i met a guy. He is muslim and very into the whole if i do something wrong i am going to repent. And he even teaches little kids how speak Arabic and how to read the Quran .he was my tutor now i am a non arab. And we started talking and not talking. In a sexual manner but we said i love you and that kind of thing.and one day we got caught. He was fired and told if he kept in contact with me he would be labeled a sex offender. He is 18 and im 15. I tried talking to him and he said the things we did were against islam. Im confused as to how they are. We.did.not.do.anything. so im wondering if you know. Because i know he is a member of msa at his college. So maybe you can help me let go and movr on

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    1. Hmm, well first off I'll say that I'm no expert on the issue but I can give my best opinion. So I'm guessing this brother taught Arabic/Qur'an at a mosque? There's a few details of your situation that I'm unclear about.

      I feel bad that he was fired and even gone as far as being threatened to be labeled as a sex offender. That's a bit insane. If the environment where you guys met and interacted was a Mosque or an Islamic school then it's territory where management and such will be watching for questionable behavior. The people who caught you two, I feel, are being pretty harsh and they could've just spoke to him and warned him but they just went nuts.

      In Islam any interaction with the opposite sex is risky, ESPECIALLY if you guys are ALONE together in an intimate environment. Islam teaches that if a single man and single woman are alone together, they aren't really alone because Satan is among them, ready to stir feelings up and whisper and try to get you to sin. You may not have done anything physically but getting to the point where you're saying "I Love You" to your tutor and just being attracted to him and flirting is already going too far. It's a gateway to eventually more serious offenses (holding hands, kissing, touching, sex).

      Unless you guys are married, it's not cool. Of course you both are young so mistakes will happen. It may be weird to you since you aren't Muslim and possibly were raised thinking these kinda things aren't a problem. It's the society we live in. Things that weren't okay back in the past are normal now.

      But in Islam they are a problem. And sure you have friends who date who are Muslim, but they aren't following the rules of Islam properly if they are. Nobody's perfect and everyone has weaknesses that they have to work on. This article I wrote pretty clearly states why it's not best to date and essentially for our own good. God knows what's best for people and has a method to follow to go about things properly.

      If you like someone of the opposite sex you have to go about it the right way and that's marriage. If you think you're too young or not ready then stay away until you are. Dating is not the answer and really just muddies things up.

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  2. Just to clarify the environment we were in was a high school a normal one in Texas. And he was one of my good friends,i would even go so far as to say he was one of my best friends. And i told him everything. And it has been several months since we had our official goodbye. But it still doesnt feel right it feels like there are still things left unanswered and unexplained. And i still love him. And i know he loves Islam he teaches the little kids how to read the Quran and he some times leads prayer. And i wouldn't want him doing anything hadram by speaking to me again or even having the possibility that we might go back to being friends. And i am still in the same place as i was last time. Not knowing what to do. Help please. I am so confused as to pertaining to Islam and our situation

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    1. What I said before if you read my reply again but let me quote it

      "Unless you guys are married, it's not cool. Of course you both are young so mistakes will happen. It may be weird to you since you aren't Muslim and possibly were raised thinking these kinda things aren't a problem. It's the society we live in. Things that weren't okay back in the past are normal now."

      Young teens are usually more interested in girlfriends/boyfriends for a temporary period of time, then move on to someone else. Islam doesn't approve of this because when you're ready to commit to a relationship it should be for a spouse that you want to spend the rest of your life with. At such a young age, that might not be something you can grasp yet. You want to explore, you want to have fun and be free. It takes maturity and discipline to get to that level.

      In regards to this situation I would like to add that since you have strong feelings for him and aren't feeling closure, again you're still very young and at that age it's easy to get infatuated with people. The best I can tell you is to just better understand what Islam is all about. This boy that you were flirting with may have his own issues he needs to work out so it's best to give him some space. Maybe one day he'll reach out to you, or maybe it's best to just move on. Allah knows best.

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  3. Very interesting blog. I agree to you, hope there's a lot of people there that would also learn more on your blog. Keep on posting!

    start dating site

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    1. Thanks a lot Kim. I will definitely keep on churning out articles to the best of my ability. Feel free to share with your friends and spread the word! Like PhilAsify101 on Facebook!

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  4. Man I really enjoyed this . I'm a Muslim and I know that I really like this girl. I want her to technically be my girlfriend. We both are EXTREMELY good kids with good grades and we wouldn't do anything dumb, I am also a very good muslim. I know for a fact I wouldn't have sex until I am married. I wouldn't touch her or really hold her hand, probably just hug her occasionally which isn't sexual at all. We would always have supervision if we were to be "hanging out". So in reality it's just a title. The boyfriend and girlfriend thing. Shouldn't that be allowed?

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    1. Thanks for the comment. My take on what you said echoes what the article said: Why walk that fine line? Why not just take the safer route and pursue her the halal way rather than the iffy way where you're always wondering in the back of your mind if you're doing things right or not. Wondering if Allah will be pleased with the way you're handling things or not? Cause the way Islam is, the option is not "hanging out" with a girl you like, it's marrying the girl to avoid any premarital hanky panky.

      A hug again may seem innocent but it can trigger the need for more contact. Shaitan always wants things to escalate. He wants hangouts with friends to be hangouts alone with the girl, he wants hugs to rush into kisses, he wants kisses to rush into sex. But he gets no satisfaction when that guy and girl are married cause it's all good deeds then. Kissing is suddenly a good deed, touching, holding all of it is not a sin anymore and that'll piss him off but most importantly: YOU WIN!

      If you really like this girl enough to see if she can be your mate then go that route. Ideally, you'd go to her parents and let them know your interest and court her. Get your parents involved, set something up, get to know eachother a little better through talking and if you guys click then don't hesitate and get married.

      Doesn't matter if you're young, still a student and broke because I got married young (21), still a student (college sophomore) and broke (lived with my mom and dad)!

      It wont be completely easy because in this day and age people put obstacles in your way to make it harder (parents, worrying about finances/future etc.) But the sunnah is to marry young!

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    2. I really enjoyed your article. The biggest losers in this dating game are women, many men just date and take attention from them without taking their responsibility of future. Good men will always go the right way by sending proposal and getting married. May Allah guide us !. we should stay from the evils of the western world.

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  5. Not all from the western world are evil!

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  6. Awesome article bro. Getting the perspective of a young person like u on this topic is truly inspiring. I don't feel alone anymore.

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