What Islaam Says About Dating

The most common questions I get from young people are, “Do Muslims date?” and, “If they don’t date, how do they decide whose the right person for them to marry?”

“Dating” as it is currently practiced in much of the world does not exist among Muslims – where a young man and woman (or boy/girl) are in a one-on-one intimate relationship, spending time together alone, “getting to know each other” in a very deep way before deciding whether that’s the person they want to marry. Rather, in Islaam pre-marital relationships of any kind between members of the opposite sex are forbidden.

The choice of a marriage partner is one of the most important decisions a person will make in his or her lifetime. It should not be taken lightly, nor left to chance or hormones. It should be taken as seriously as any other major decision in life – with prayer, careful investigation, and family involvement.

The following steps should be adopted:

  • Make du’a (supplication) to Allah; ask Him to help you find the right person.
  • The family should enquire, discuss, and suggest candidates. They should consult with each other, so as to narrow down potential prospects. Usually the father or mother should approach the other family to suggest a meeting.
  • Couple should meet in chaperoned, group environment. ‘Umar related that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Not one of you should meet a woman alone unless she is accompanied by a relative (mahram).” (Bukhari and Muslim). The Prophet (peace be upon him) also reportedly said, “Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan (Shaytan) is the third among them.” (Tirmidhi).
  • When young people are getting to know each other, being alone together is a temptation toward wrongdoing. At all times, Muslims should follow the commands of the Qur’an (24:30-31) to, {lower their gaze and guard their modesty….} Islaam recognizes that we are human and are given to human weakness, that is why this rule provides safety-measures for our own sake.
  • Family should investigate candidate further – speaking with friends, family, Islamic leaders, co-workers, etc., to learn more about his or her character before making the final decision.
  • An agreement should be made to either pursue marriage or part ways. Islaam has given this freedom of choice to both young men and women – they cannot be forced into a marriage that they don’t want to be in.

This type of focused courtship helps ensure the strength of the marriage, by drawing upon family elders’ wisdom and guidance in this important life decision. Family involvement in the choice of a marriage partner helps assure that the choice is based not on romantic notions, but rather on a careful, objective evaluation of the compatibility of the couple.

That is why these marriages often prove successful.

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