When it comes to the opposite sex and the idea of settling down with someone, I often think and ask myself “how do you get to know someone the islamic way?” Dating is not allowed in islam for its obvious dangers but does that mean I’ll marry someone I don’t know?
I noticed something quite common with Nigerian parents and its something I inquired about. I asked my mum one day “why is it that when a girl or a guy finds someone they like and they have something going on (something the parents know about), just to be updated or know how they are doing, the parents ask ‘how is your husband/ how is your wife?” In yoruba you hear things like oko re nko? (how’s your husband doing?) or ah iyawo Musa ni yen (ah that’s Musa’s wife!).
I honestly cannot laugh because they are not married, but our Nigerian parents refer to the people we are seeing as your husband or wife. Even if the kids have done their introduction it’s still not right to address them as that. You know what I think? I think they are in denial of the fact that their kids are dating. The word boyfriend and dating is not in their dictionary so to prevent a stroke from happening, they address the person their kids are seeing as ‘your husband’ and ‘your wife’. Come on everyone sleeps better knowing their daughter has a husband instead of a boyfriend. It’s just very amusing to me and I had to point it out.
Halal dating. I don’t know who coined that word but its quite popular in the muslim community. Is there really something called halal dating? My answer to that is, is there really something called halal pork? 🙂 Guys what is haram will always be haram. Don’t try and make it halal because you can’t make it halal.
However, can you get to know someone in a halal way? The answer is yes but I won’t label the process as ‘dating’. I prefer you call it getting to know someone…being more acquainted with someone. Unfortunately a lot of muslims think that Islam says if you want to marry someone, you can only meet or get to know them on your wedding day. That is so false. In islam it’s actually a sunnah to see your spouse, meet and speak to them but it has to be supervised. The main thing is the issue of the chaperone.
If you are a girl and you’re interested in a brother, the best way to go about it is to:
- Get hold of your brother or your father. If you have a good, close and open relationship with your brother or father (alhamdulilah) that’s a great thing because they can and will not have a problem helping you. Let one of them go and meet the guy you like and say something like ‘you know my sister/daughter is showing an interest in you and let’s just get to know each other or what do you think?’. Something very chilled but straight up; just have your brother or your father engage with the person. If you don’t have a brother or a father (or a good relationship with either of them), then get a male cousin you are close to or someone that can step in and fill their shoes for you without any problem. As a girl you may cringe and not like the sound of that. You may take it as you asking the guy out first/ making the first move. If that’s the case, then you still have the wrong mentality; I made it clear earlier on that it’s not ‘dating’. You are not and will not be dating this guy, so please remove that idea from your head because it’s different. You are simply getting to know this brother better and believe me there’s no problem with you reaching out first. Khadija r.a is one of the best role models for women and she reached out to the prophet (pbuh) first by using her uncle and friend. Prophet Musa’s wife reached out to him first and she used her father. If you feel something for someone, take charge and figure out if the feelings are right to be where they are. Your feelings are yours to feel so don’t suppress or ignore them, instead let it guide you. Don’t involve your chaperone when it’s too late; that is when you’re deeply in love with the person and you’ve made frequent and direct contact with him that you can’t take no for an answer. That’s the mistake most people make; involving families when it has gone too far and then it becomes ugly if things are not unfolding the way they want.
- Introduce each other. Have your family invite the guy over for lunch or tea or something. He’s sitting on one chair and you are seated on another but you’re close enough to hear each other speak. Your family is seated someplace else, they can’t hear or make sense of what you guys are saying but they have clear view of what you’re doing. There’s no kissing or touching or any of the rest because there can’t be emotions at that stage. The two of you should be discussing what you like, figuring if you have anything in common, you are watching how the other person speak, what they look like, their height…it’s permissible to look at all these things.
- Give Feedback. If both of you are satisfied and you are happy alhamdulilah, let your parents know. If you are not satisfied and you’d like to see them again no problem. You find that a lot of the time the first meeting is awkward so you don’t get to say much out of shyness or nervousness or something. It’s okay because you can meet over and over again (even if you are satisfied with them from day one). People think you can only meet once and that’s it, that’s not true. There is no limit to the amount of times you can see each other so far as the same conditions apply. If after 3-5 meetings you’re still not happy, be open with them and say thank you, I respect you and you guys can both move on with your lives.
- Further communication. If on the other hand you are happy and satisfied with the previous encounters, what next? It’s not every day they can come over. We live in an electronic age so communication has been made a lot easier for us. The guy is most likely going to ask for your number and say can we chat on whatsapp or bbm or something? Okay but you have to tread carefully now; that is if you want to go about it the halal/proper way without falling into sin. Many girls and even guys fall into this trap when someone says I love you, I miss you, please send me a picture of you, send me one without your hijab, nudes and then you get blackmailed or they get leaked out, be very careful. No matter how deep the relationship is, don’t do something un-islamic so you don’t get hurt. If you want to chat on whatsapp no problem but tell him my brother/cousin is going to be the third person in the group; he’s going to be dormant and quiet. If the guy goes come on…don’t be this or that it should tell you what he wants. If he is interested in marrying you and nothing else he will agree. What do you have to hide? It’s going to be you, him and your brother; if anything it’s his future brother in law. That way he will never say something like wow you know I haven’t seen your legs. . . why? Because he is reminded that your brother is there and he can’t try nonsense with you. It might seem hard but it’s for your own protection. Your heart is one of the most valuable organs and you have to protect it. Your heart and your mind never allow anyone to control those two except for Allah.
- The official asking of the hand, meeting both families and getting married.
How about if you are already in a haram relation but you want to make it halal? I’ll probably make another post on that. The controlling of your desires will come in a separate one too.
There’s one last thing I want to share, as a young adult it’s very important to have an open relationship with your parents. If you kept things halal between you two, prayed istikhara and got positive results and you’ve decided he’s the person you want to marry then alhamdulilah you’ve done very well. Just think of all the rewards you will get for fighting your nafs; Allah is an excellent rewarder.
The interest we show at the start, it’s important our parents show us understanding as well as try to facilitate things for us rather than discourage or oppose it.
If you are a parent and your child comes to you and says I want to marry so, you really should be interested in two things: deen and akhlaq (virtue, morality and manners). If the person has it and both parties are interested in marrying, then khalas! The Prophet (pbuh) said marry them or else there will be fitnah.
The last thing a parent will want is for a guy to marry their daughter simply because he wants to please his parents. (In the outsider post I gave the example of a girl marrying someone she didn’t want, now I’ll use the example of a guy). Let your son marry who he wants or else two years later the guy is going to tell his innocent wife ‘well I never wanted to marry you. I have someone I love and you know what she has a child for me and she’s carrying the second one”. The wife is broken and crying and she’s like why didn’t you tell me? Why did you marry me? He says well my parents, they wanted it to happen; I gave them what they wanted and now I want what I want. The punishment for those parents is severe because they’ve destroyed the lives of people. It’s just sad that some parents abuse the power Allah has given them when we are nothing but an amana to them. Allah is the only one that owns people, every other person just holds certain rights over others.
I pray that we all marry the right spouse and enjoy a peaceful and happy matrimonial home.
Take care and have an awesome week!