The Issue of Identity and Acceptance: Muslim-Communities Globally

One of the issues that I constantly have to sort-through personally is the issue of identity and acceptance. In many social-circles within different Muslim-communities, people choose to stigmatize converts for various reasons…many of which are ridiculous. These stigmas are very much hurtful and even damaging for the psyche of the convert. I’ve been Muslim for the last six years and I still continue to get the same question about me changing my name. I’ve always been of the opinion that my name doesn’t classify me as being pious or impious. I am my actions and words. It is known in the Islamic-tradition that faith is seen through the acts that you perform with your limbs. So, I continue to believe this. Many people fail to realize that the prophet’s (peace be upon him) companions were indeed converts and their names were Arabic and they were in Arabia, so their names matched the place they lived. Their names were specific to their geographical location. Yes, this may not be the case for everyone but it was definitely their case. So, why do people still ask why I have yet to change my name? Many individuals through the Muslim-community have even went so far to say that I am imitating the kuffar by not changing my name to a Muslim-one. I’ve even had someone tell me that I should name my child an Arabic name when I have one to differerientate him/her from Western society. I’m sorry, but I am a Western Muslim and I do not feel the least amount of guilt for being so. So, let me stop right there. Whenever someone tell me to change my name I simply ask them if they mean I should change my name to an Arabic one. Why do so many equate being Muslim with being Arabic and looking a certain way?

However, I would say that we have to stop stigmatizing people for wanting to keep their identity, especially when it doesn’t pose any problem to Islam. The only time the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would change the name of a companion is if it meant something bad. And I’m not trying to do extensive research about my name. It’s not that serious. If only we could move beyond superficiality. What is a name, anyways? Just something that you call yourself and identity yourself by for identification purposes. Why not look at me from my actions instead? Telling a convert that they should or is encouraged to change their name is troubling to me. It’s troubling because it shows this incessant obsession with outwardly appearances. In the Islamic-tradition, Allah doesn’t look at our bodies or our clothing but our hearts. So, what does that mean? It means exactly what it says. Allah looks at our actions and what is within our hearts. So, why do we seek to box people up into categories?

In many ways, it is us that strip people of themselves. It’s not Islam. Islam is quite clear in how it deals with personal-identities. Islam never forbids an individual to stop being Bengali, Sengalese, Black, White, Spanish, Chinese, Indian, or etc. So, why do we seek to bid identity? The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an Arab man, so he had his own culture. Sometimes people will get culture confused with Islam and will seek to correct you about something that isn’t even Islamic. Some people will tell you that we have to eat with our fingers, but this is incorrect. We can if we would like, but it’s not an obligation. Or if you’re a sister you have to wear a black abaya with a black hijab. Correction, if this is what you’re wanting to do than go forth in wearing it. I typically wear my abayas on a daily-basis, but I may switch it up. The abaya is Arabic and it doesn’t have to be the daily-attire of a Muslim woman. So, where is all of this coming from? Why must we infringe upon someone else’s culture to impose another? We have to respect the diversity that we have within the Muslim-community. If someone doesn’t speak Arabic, look Arabic or have an Arabic name than you should quickly get over it. If someone doesn’t appear as Muslim as you like than you should quickly get over it. It’s you that is wrong for stripping people of their identity. It is you that creates hostility and division. It is you that is seeking to maintain racist ideologies from the days of Jahiliya (pre-Islam/ignorance).

An American-Muslim is simply American. What does it mean to be American? It means that this Muslim is coming from a society that is specific in certain traditions, cultural-norms, ways of viewing and living life. This is no different than the person coming from Japan, Spain, Senegal, Ghana, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia. We are all from different places, but we unite under Islam. We should embrace the diversity that Islam gives us. We shouldn’t take it for granted. Instead of trying to measure someone’s Muslimness….how about trying to understand how we can come together to better ourselves and our communities through practicing Islam? Why does that seem like a better option than the option of simply judging someone based-off of superficiality? I am not pointing fingers at anyone specific, but this is just a needed wake-up call for those that seem to feel troubled to see or know of a Muslim that doesn’t necessarily look or sound like them. In case you’re seeking daleel or evidence for why I am opposed to racism, please continue to read:

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion. – Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1631

The prophet Muhamamd (peace be upon him) is telling us that even God(Allah) understands the fish in the sea, so what does that tell us? This tells us that language comes from Allah and that if Allah understands the fish in the sea than the diversity of languages that we see in our world is from Allah. On top of that, no person should feel sad that they don’t speak Arabic or another language. Allah gave us the language(s) that we have, so feel at ease. Easy, easy does it!

If this hadith isn’t sufficient for you in regards to why we shouldn’t feel the need to be racist and ethnocentric than please continue reading:

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted. (49:13)

This is indeed the ultimate proof for how we have to move away from these racist and ethnocentric ways in which we carry with us to: mosques, events, gatherings, and parties. So, please just leave people alone. We have to realize that enjoining the good and forbidding the evil should only be done by an individual that has knowledge of that which is halal (good) and haraam (good) or else we may speak things that are false and untrue.

“Ibn ul Qayyim said that it is the greatest sin. Ibn ul Qayyim said that speaking about Allaah swt without `ilm is the greatest sin that you could commit. He bases it on this verse”:
“Qul innamaa 7arrama Rabbi-l-fawaa7isha maa DHahara minhaa wa maa baTan, wal-ithma wal-baghya bi ghayri-l-7aqq, wa an tushrikoo bi-Llaahi maa lam yunazzil bihi sulTaanaa, wa an taqoolo 3ala-l-Laahi maa laa ta3lamoon.”

“Say: The things that my Lord has indeed forbidden are al-Fawaahishah (great evil sins, every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse, etc.), whether committed openly or secretly, sins (of all kinds), unrighteous oppession, joining partners (in worship) with Allaah for which He has given no authority and saying things about Allaah of which you have no knowledge.” [The Noble Qur’aan, 7:33]

So, we just have to be careful in how we choose to direct our concerns. If we are speaking without knowledge then this is extremely serious and should be cautioned against to the best of our abilities. So, remember the next time you feel compelled to tell someone that this or that is haraam (bad/unlawful). So, remember this the next time you choose to tell someone their name is haraam (bad/unlawful) or because it seems too Western. Just remember that Islam came as a mercy not a burden and you shouldn’t make it into a way of life that is unbearable for the next person. Islam is a moderate way of life. It’s the middle path. It’s not extreme. It’s easy and simple.

So, I will leave you a few lasting words to think about as we travel through this beautiful religion and way of life:

“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses over mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness over yourselves ..” Quran 2:143

The Islamic-Perspective: Am I Really Sinful For Loving Outside of Marriage? Are There Multiple Ways to Love in Islam?

This thing called love is one that penetrates deeply for everyone. This emotion, action, concept, need or want is seen throughout all cultures. This thing called love is so special that it is needed and wanted by every single person. I will not limit this conversation about love nor seek to define love. However, it is important to ask ourselves, “What is love?”. Why do so many of us frequent this topic in our conversations, social-circles, music, literature, and etc? What does it mean to yearn for love? Is love about being with another person? Is it about having someone there to listen to you? Is it about having respect for another individual? Is it about being with someone intimately? What is it? In thinking about all of the ways in which we display love or go about in loving, what defines love? One of the many things that I hear, see and read about is this notion that love is only possible in the marital-bond. Love must not be before. Love must be within marriage and if one experiences love before marriage than it’s sinful. I’ve always wondered why people would say that. How does love become boxed up in one category? Why is love such a narrow thing for so many people? Maybe we should analyze this thing called love and figure out if it is truly sinful to love outside of marriage. In Islam, love comes in various forms that isn’t restricted within the marital-bond and these various forms of love is required of all Muslims.

In the Islamic-tradition, love can come about in various ways. It isn’t restricted to just marriage. Furthermore, it isn’t something that one would have to wait for in the marital-bond. The prophet Muhamamd(peace be upon him) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you will not enter Paradise unless you believe, and you will not believe unless you love each other.Should I direct you to something that if you constantly did it, you would love each other? Spread the greetings of peace among you.” [Muslim]. In this context, what does it mean to love someone for the sake of Allah? It simply means to love them for the good that Allah sees in them. This person could be charitable, kind, generous, and etc. These are good qualities that are praised in Islam because Allah loves them. So, we could indeed love another Muslim man or Muslim woman for the good that they do. Furthermore, this love isn’t necessarily in a marital-bond. So, what kind of love are we talking about in the marital-bond? What makes the marital-bond different? Is this a differenty type of love?

In Islam, marriage is a bond in which two individuals come together and become lawful for one another. They are lawful for one another physically and lawful for one another in the context of being alone together as a man and woman. It is from this bond that families are created and companions grow together in their knowledge, their understanding of the religion and their love for each other. In showing the context of this specific love, I would like to pinpoint one of the verses that are commonly read for one’s nikkah (contract). It specifically states the type of love that is different from the first type of love that I spoke about in regards to having a brotherly/sisterly love. In order to understand this verse of the Qur’an, I have chosen to give the Arabic transliteration and the English translation.

Wamin ayatihi an khalaqa lakum min anfusikum azwajan litaskunoo ilayha wajaAAala baynakum mawaddatan warahmatan inna fee thalika laayatin liqawmin yatafakkaroona

And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. (Surah 30 Ayat 21)

This love is specifically mutual, it’s one of giving and receiving and it’s one in which Allah places between the spouses. Allah is telling those that are seeking to be in the marital-bond that he will place between the spouses a rahma, a mercy and mawaddata, a mutual love. This mawaddata is a proper love. A love that is affectionate. Furthermore, this love is specific to the ties held within the marital-bond and can only be sought after in the marital-bond.

Another form of love in Islam is to love Allah and the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) more than anyone or anything else.

It is narrated by Anas bin Malik : The Prophet said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:

1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake.
3. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.” (Sahih Bukhari)

In this form of love, there is obedience and required knowledge in order to truly love Allah and the prophet Muhammad. Allah is the creator of the heavens and the Earth and everything in between. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the example in which Muslims follow and is guided by in living their lives. And in order for someone to truly grasp faith, one must love Allah and his prophet before themselves and others. This love calls for an individual to set aside their own desires while striving to do what is acceptable to Allah and his prophet.

Also, Islam calls for one to have love for parents. It is in this love that a child honors their parent(s), respects them and consoles them in their later stages of life especially.

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor reprimand them but address them in terms of honor. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Your mercy as they did bring me up when I was young.” [Surah: Bani Isra’il (17); Ayah 23 , 24]

Allah tells everyone that apart of faith is loving and being dutiful to one’s parents. Why? Well, we were all babes, young and in need of someone to help us when we were helpless. We needed someone to be patient with us and to be there for us. We simply can’t say that our parents didn’t play a role in our lives. Yes, for some of us we didn’t have parents there so we give this due love to whatever individual gave it to us. And in this, we are humble and we lower our wings to that person or those persons. We thank them for being there and for helping us.

In addition, Islam doesn’t restrict love to just individuals or the creator, but Islam commands individuals to love animals. Not only love animals, but to honor them. Many people do not take this seriously because they somehow believe that animals are separate from other living things and entities. However, this is not the case in Islam. Islam has strongly prohibited torture, hatred, abuse and mistreatment of all living things, including animals. It is from the Islamic-tradition that we learn that animals should be resepected, loved and treated kindly.

It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told his companions of the virtue of saving the life of a dog by giving it water and quenching its thirst. One story referred to a man who was blessed by Allaah for giving water to a thirsty dog, the other was a prostitute who filled her shoe with water and gave it to a dog, who had its tongue lolling out from thirst. For this deed she was granted the ultimate reward, the eternal Paradise under which rivers flow, to live therein forever. [Muslim]

As individuals, we should be mindful that love comes in so many forms and one form of love is by remembering our four-legged friends. We should remember those friends that may crawl on their tummies, swim in swamps, climb trees, or just like to lay lazily on the lawn. This is a love that is truly humbling because it makes us recognize that life isn’t restricted to just humans, but to all things in which there is life.

So, after reading all of this…what is love? I haven’t quite defined love. I have shown various forms of love and what to love, but necessarily what is love? Why does Islam preach about loving: parents, animals, spouses, friend, and others? Why does love bring us so close to others? Why does love make us draw near to that which is good…in most instances? What is good? Well, in Islam good is defined by Allah and the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So, what exactly is love? I’m not sure if I have the answer to that question. This thing called love is one that I do not believe can be defined because of its abstraction. It is in this thing called love that people grow to learn about themselves and others. Love comes in so many forms and is given/received in so many ways, yet many of us are constantly trying to box up a sure definition of love. In love, we can all agree that we somehow feel grounded, complete and nearer to others. Maybe this discussion on love isn’t fulfilling anything that are seeking on the topic of love. However, how does one start a conversation about something that is very much abstract? How can we even start to define love?

Taking A Journey To Somewhere: One Girl's Confession

I have lived in the same city for the last two decades. I have seen just about everything there is to offer in this city. Yes, I may not know every last thing about the city, but I am most familiar with it. I’ve seen changes over the year, but nothing to the extent in which it would cause me to stay. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to travel. To see things I have never seen before. To listen to a language that is unfamiliar to my ear. To see clothes that I have never worn. To smell spices in the homes of native-residents.

Sometimes we get very accustomed to our own homes. And we take for granted the things we do have. Recently, I read a blog that discussed a man’s various travels in Africa. He went to Senegal and Gambia. In reading the blog, I realized just how special it was for him to experience different cultures other than his own. He found himself missing these two places, especially Gambia. In his posts he would post up videos and pictures detailing various events he would go to within the country. And he would give background context to the culture of the people. It was very much moving. And in some way it was a spiritual experience for him. He realized how much his life had changed in visiting these places. They weren’t the richest of places, but what he found were people rich in culture, tradition, and love. In being an American, he saw the differences in how lives are being lived. He recognized the superficiality of Western-culture in comparison to this other way of life that was full of meaning.

It made me think. Why have I not traveled? What is holding me back? In many aspects, it’s like trying to cross a bridge. We have to make that first move. We have to get over any doubts and uncertainties and just take the leap. Last night, I was looking up places to go in the future and possibly after graduation. I looked up a few places in Africa and wanted to visit a few places. I want to visit: Ghana, Morroco, Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa. In many ways, I would be in the place in which I came from originally prior to slavery in America. I would be exposing myself to various cultures and traditions that my ancestors were apart of. Yes, it is likely that my ancestors came from West Africa. So, Ghana is definitely a country in West Africa. I don’t have all the answers to life, but I think I need to personally travel. I need to see the world. I need to get away from this monotonous life that I am seeing myself fall into. I am constantly back and forth from school and home. I may find myself at an event or at the mosque, but it seems very superficial in many ways. The television, magazines, parties, school and etc is all about status. People are all about status. This whole society is really materialistic. I am guilty of being apart of this sad reality. I am always glued to my cell-phone and the internet, but why is that? There are some parts of the world in which there isn’t internet or internet is something you rarely get on. It just seems that lives have been changed. For the good or the bad? Well, that’s something only you can answer. I can’t speak for everyone. I would just like to get out of doing what I have always done. The last few years have been routine for me. And this monotonous lifestyle is deemed to me as being dull.

However, I have decided that I should make hajj before traveling since this would be an obligation upon me when I become eligible. And hajj has always been a goal of mines. If I make hajj then I know I would have lived life. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than being able to make hajj atleast once in my life. I know this is something that only a few people get to experience, but I am really wanting to make hajj next year, inshALLAH (God Willing). This is just one of the best things a Muslim can do and as a Muslim, I am just dying to go. Yes, It would be fulfilling an obligation that I have as a Muslim but it would expose me to a place other than my own. In watching a video on hajj today, I listened to two hajjis talking about their choice in not getting a luxury-package. And they said that this choice was really a good one because it allowed them to focus on the true meaning of hajj. It took them away from the things that distracted them in life and it made them get back into focus about life and their purpose. Furthermore, it created a new reality for them. It showed them that the world was very much temporary and at the end of the day there is a bigger purpose.

So, after hearing this. I knew I had to do something.I had to travel. I had to get away and just go somewhere. I had to make a journey. I had to cross that bridge. I was no long a slave to the place in which I live. I have to learn about myself. I have to learn about the world. We sometimes get so used to things and how we live that we don’t really care about others. We ignore things because it’s not happening directly to us or because it’s not in front of us. However, I am wanting to change this. I love people and apart of loving someone is knowing about that individual. You can’t truly love someone if you’re ignorant about them. So, as a Muslim and as a person I have an obligation to better understand the world so in turn I can understand my duty in making the world a better place. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) changed the world. He would even go to the festivities of the pagan Arabs to give daawah- to convey Islam. He had to go to where the people were at. He didn’t just stay in his home. He went to the people. So, this is something I have to do. I have to stop living in a bubble. It’s time for me to learn about this world. To take a journey to somewhere.

And in this, I must agree that “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo

Motivating the World:  Inspiration from the Sunnah of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad

Assalamu alaykom everyone,

It is known in Islamic-history during the time of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he went from Makkah to the mosque in Jerusalem and ascended through the heavens on the buraq. In his ascenscion (Al-Mi’raj), he met the different prophets (peace be upon them all) and from this ascension the daily prayers were established. After detailing this account to the people, nobody believed him except for his bestfriend, Abu Bakr as-Sadiqque (May Allah be pleased with him). Abu Bakr as-Sadiqque told the people to believe in what the messenger had said because he know that the messenger would only speak the truth. In hearing this from Abu Bakr as-Sadiqque, the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was confident and reassured in his mission. However, this was not the first time that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received motivation from others. One of the first incidents in Islamic-history in which this happened was at the beginning of his prophet-hood. Upon becoming a prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him) would feel frightened by the Angel Gabriel and had ran to his wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (May Allah be pleased with her) for comfort and support. Khadijah comforted, supported and believed in her husband and the messenger. She told him that Allah wouldn’t do this to him and that he should go forth in what Allah had given him. In hearing this, Muhammad rose from his terrified state and delivered a message that is still being heard today. Furthermore, his motivation continously reaches from the grave because from his example we can learn how to strive despite our own obstacles and problems.

In dealing with our own problems in life, we can find solace in knowing that our own beloved prophet was just like us. He was like you and I. He underwent trials and tribulations. He went through phases in which he needed that gentle hand and that reassuring voice. This example should create warmth in our hearts. It should penetrate beneath the deep depths of our own woes and sorrows. We should build strength from his life. Additionally, this man was not just a man but a prophet. So, in knowing that a prophet can experience these most human-experiences just allows us to see that being a human isn’t without its own struggles and strife. However, we can help one another and be that Khadijah or Abu Bakr. We can be that to our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, spouses, children and etc. Never believe you can’t be that confidant because you can.
As we encounter the world on a daily-basis, I would simply say to be a source of motivation for others. We all need that. The world is a scary, confusing and frightening place to live. In understanding this reality, we have to cling to one another like limbs on a tree. We can only be our own enemies. Our enemies are not the other, but ourselves. We have to conquer our ownselves and strive against our lower-desires. Just love. Take the hand of your neighbor and strive. Rise against oppression. Struggle against injustices. When you find yourself reading the newspaper, a newsletter, an email, or watching the news about war, strife and oppression just remember that you can be that motivation for the wounded, the voiceless, and the oppressed. Wet your tongue with sweet words of motivation and strength.

Remember what Allah says in the interpretation of the meaning:

“And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, – none but persons of the greatest good fortune.” (Quran 41:35).

Allah is telling us to remain patient and to remember that goodness will come, inshALLAH. In the prophet-hood of the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) he had to remain patient and to trust in Allah. He had to struggle and have self-restraint, but he didn’t give up. He found motivation from others and he became a man of great influence upon a whole society and then the whole world, alhumdulilah. Islam has provided great examples for us to look towards in our times of loneliness, doubt, uncertainty, and distress. Never believe that being a human-being means being perfect, but realize that one must remain patient and seek Allah in all his or her affairs.
Our lives will continue to unfold in various directions with various events. So, cling to what is true. Find motivation from others or be a source of motivation. Turn to the Qur’an and turn to the example of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). See the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as not only a messenger, but as a human-being that experienced the ups and downs of life just like you and I. He underwent the ups and downs of life and still delivered a mighty message for those that came before and those now. So, remember that we can only be our own enemies. Never give up on yourself and never give up on others.

Muslim Youth, Dating, Sexuality, Taboos and Marriage

Assalamu Alaykom,

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.