What Does Islam Say About
Dating, Love & Marriage?
Here is The Question: Can we 'date' in Islam? If not, why not?
What is the Islamic ruling for a Muslim boy and a Muslim girl, who go to the same college and they are deeply in love and want to be together?
Can they date each other? Or does Islam forbid the normal relationships we have in today's world?
What is allowed in Islam?
Also, what if the parents of the girl have already selected another man for her to marry, but she doesn't want him to be her husband, she wants the one who she already loves?
First of all, thank you for seeking knowledge and asking from the sources of Islam.
Let us examine the difference between love, dating, romance & marriage.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:
"Three qualities, if found in a person, will help him have perfect faith: Having Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, as the most beloved ones, loving a person only for the sake of Allah and hating getting back to Kufr (disbelief) the way one hates to be thrown into fire."
That means love is a fruit of piety. Love without piety is mischief.
There is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practiced in the West. There is no dating or living in de facto relationship or trying each other out before committing to each other. There is to be no physical relationship whatsoever before marriage.
From an Islamic perspective, in choosing a partner, the most important factor that should be taken into consideration is Taqwa (piety and consciousness of Allah).
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, recommended the suitors to see each other before going through with marriage procedures.
That is very important because it is unreasonable for two people to be thrown into marriage and be expected to have a successful marital life, full of love and affection, when they know nothing of each other. The couple are permitted to look at each other.
This ruling does not contradict the Qur'anic verse that says, “…believing men and women should lower their gaze” (An-Nur: 30). The couple, however, are not permitted to be alone in a closed room or go out together alone. As the Hadith says: "When a man and a woman are together alone, the Shaytan (Satan) makes their third."
One of the conditions of a valid marriage is the consent of the couple. Marriage by definition is a voluntary union of two people.
The choice of a partner by a Muslim virgin girl is subject to the approval of the father or guardian. This is to safeguard her welfare and interests. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: "The widow and the divorced woman shall not be married until she has consented to that and the virgin shall not be married until her consent is sought."
The Prophet did nullify the marriage of a girl who complained to him that her father had married her against her wishes.
Though love is something nice, and it is recommended for a man to marry a woman whom he loves, because the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “There is nothing better for two who love each other than marriage.” (Sahih Al-Jami`, 5200)
However, this love should not be overwhelming and cause a person to forget other characteristics which he should look for in the person he wants to marry.
Dear brother in Islam, we hope that the main points of the issue have become clear. Now, let’s assume that you are the person mentioned in your question:
On what basis would you like to choose your partner? Wouldn’t you look to her commitment to Islam – does she pray regularly, for example? Does she adhere to the Islamic Hijab prescribed by Shari'ah?
If the lady you want to marry is religious, of good manners, and obeys Allah and His Messenger, and both of you want to please Allah in this world in order to earn reward in the Hereafter, then you have made a perfect choice, and we ask Allah to fulfill your hopes and bring you together in a good way. If she is not, then you should reconsider your choice. May Allah help you to do what He loves and what pleases Him!
Let us understand the difference between arranged engagements and forced marriages.
Islam does not allow anyone to be forced into marriage. Clearly Quran forbids this, read it in ayah 19, in surah An-Nisaa' (The Women)
At the same time, the parents or guardians of the youth are responsible to find the best of matches for their children. This involves knowing first of all, your own child and second of all to know about the potential spouse, and also very important - to know the family and their ways, before recommending marriage.
There is an Arabic proverb that says: "Love is blind, it makes zucchini turn into okra". Arranged marriages, on the other hand, are based not on physical attraction or romantic notions, but rather on critical evaluation of the compatibility of the couple. That is why such marriage often proves successful.
The West makes fun of the Islamic way of marriage, in particular arranged marriage. Yet, the irony is that statistically arranged marriages prove to be more successful and lasting than romantic types of courtship. This is because people are blinded by the physical attraction and thus do not choose the compatible partner.
The girl’s refusal to marry a person who has asked her hand in marriage, we suggest that, if such thing happens, the person in question can make efforts and seek all permissible ways to persuade the father or the guardian of the girl to give her in marriage to him.
One can just bring mediators from within the family, i.e. he can resort to those people whose word carries weight to help in the issue.
One can also seek the help of the Imam of the Islamic Center where the girl’s father goes, to talk with him about this, and always pray earnestly to Allah to help realize the dream if it’s good. But we have to emphasize that it is not lawful to compel a girl to marry someone she does not want.
Please dear brothers and sisters, BEFORE making up your mind, BEFORE you let yourself fall in LOVE - BEFORE you get into something you will regret later -- ASK ALLAH.
Salatul Istakharah (the prayer for letting Allah to choose for you), is the most important and most effective way to find what will make you the happiest and give you the best partner for your life here and in the Hereafter.
Trust Allah - do the Salatul Istakharah...
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