One of the biggest issues that are occurring throughout many Muslim communities are Muslim-teenagers and young adults getting involved in ‘haraam’ relationships. These relationships develop out of a young man’s or a young woman’s desire in wanting to be with a companion. In being an American Muslim, it is quite troublesome to see the mass amount of sexuality throughout the media and on top of that there are imams, parents, and shuyookh that has disconnected with the realities of many Muslim-youths and adults. The remedy to a young man’s or young woman’s desire in being with a companion is not to tell them that talking to the opposite sex is haraam. No, this is not realistic in the least bit. In most Western societies, men and women communicate on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. Also, we must realize that Islam is a realistic way of life that has given guidance on everything. A Muslim is not in the dark when it comes to most topics because they are guided by the book of Allah and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), so why are many Muslims indulging in dating?
First, we have to look at the Qur’an and the Sunnah when we are questioning such an issue.
Allah tells us in the Qur’an that he has created a mate for every one of us, thus leading us to acknowledge that the want of being with a companion is a natural feeling:
“And Allah has made for you your mates of your own nature, and made for you, out of them, sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best.” [Noble Quran 16:72]
However, this want or need is only restricted within the context of marriage to preserve morality within a society. So, how does one move from knowing that marriage is the only lawful option in being with the opposite sex? They proceed in the process of marriage, right? Of course. Furthermore, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even encouraged those that can get married to do so to prevent fitna(trouble, corruption) from arising throughout the lands. What are these issues? Fornication and dating. Why is it a problem to date?
Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning:
“And come not near to unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a faahishah (a great sin) and an evil way.” (Sura Al-Israa # 17 ayah # 32)
So, in Islam it is known that steps that leads to fornication should be cut off for one to preserve their religion. So, if we understand this notion that fornication is a major sin and dating is a step towards fornication then why are people still dating when it is wrong? Great question.
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to the ummah (community):
“O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty.” [Al-Bukhari]
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is telling us the multiple reasons of why a person should get married. One of the many reasons that a person may date is because they are usually desirous of an individual, thus unable to lower their gaze. Also, it helps a person from going forth in engaging in sexual activity that would otherwise be reserved for marriage.
Also, It is narrated by Anas that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of his religion, so let him fear Allah regarding the remaining half.”
This hadith is apart of a bigger hadith that is in Sahih-Bukhari. The hadith in Sahih-Bukhari expounds on the meaning of “the other half”. The “other half” means to protect one’s tongue. The prophet Muhammad said: “If you can protect what is between your lips (your tongue) and your legs( your private parts) then you will be given paradise”.
So, once a person fulfills the act of getting married they are keeping themselves from engaging in illegal sexual activity because their mate have become lawful for them in having sexual intercourse. So, once a person protects one of the two things that the prophet Muhamamd told us of then it becomes important to go forth in protecting the tongue from slander, gossip, backbiting an etc.
Additionally, the prophet Muhammad continued to warn his nation about this issue of marriage by stating that:
Al-Tirmidhi #3090, Narrated Abu Hurairah, r.a.
Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, ‘When someone with whose religion and character you are satisfied asks your daughter in marriage, accede to his request. If you do not do so, there will be temptation on Earth and extensive corruption.’ [Tirmidhi, Nasa'i and Ibn Majah transmitted it.]
The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has not forgotten anything. Islam is so detailed in regards to this issue that the issues we are seeing today are the direct effects of what we aren’t doing throughout our Muslim communities. Islam doesnt deny any person the right to experiencing the natural feeling of wanting to be with another person of the opposite sex. This is not even the issue. However, the issue is when an individual do experience these feelings and feel like going forth in fulfilling their sexuality through unlawful means. It is very easy to tell someone to fear Allah, which is great advice, but if the dialogue about marriage isnt opened up and spoken about then it will remain a taboo among many Muslim families.
This taboo about sexuality and marriage for many families have led many Muslims, especially the young to indulge in unislamic relationships. The only way to mend these problems is to open up the dialogue. Anytime a male or female states they are seeking to get married then this issue is quite serious, especially if they are in their mid-teens, twenties and thirties. The dialogue must be honest, expansive and open. The topic of marriage is serious and important. All of those seeking to get married and those seeking to help in the marriage process should lay out the responsibilities, advantages, Islamic rulings, possible problems that would arise, and etc. The dialogue about marriage isn’t supposed to be sugar-coated or made to seem easy, but to simply inform the uninformed. If there are more open conversations about marriage then there will be less accounts of dating and unislamic relations between men and women.
So, open the conversation up in your local masjid, in your home, at your school and in your social-circles. Listen to those that wanting to fulfill half of their religion and wanting to seek out the lawful option in being with a companion. Make the conversation beneficial, realistic and worthwhile. Atleast the one thing that any person can do is to simply plant the seed of knowledge and allow it to blossom from there. Islam is a simple and beautiful way of life. So, allow Islam to be the guide and put your faith in Allah.