Question and answer details
|Hello, I am a Christian, and have greatly enjoyed browsing your archives and learning more about your religion. I understand that Muslims are discouraged from flirting or dating in order to prevent fornication. I have browsed through your archives and read responses to other questions of this nature implying that it is best not to even talk about personal things with the opposite sex. Instead, by keeping conversations limited to work/school etc. flirtation is avoided. My question then is, how is a young person supposed to fall in love??? If you are not allowed to spend time together in a personal way, or talk about personal things, or convey favor to one person (i.e. state that you have affection - which is flirting). Then how can you get to know a person well enough in order to: a) fall in love? b) decide that they are the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? How is a Muslim boy/girl supposed to know if their partner will be a loving parent, a good provider, an enjoyable companion etc. if all contact before marriage is limited to formality and distancing between the sexes? Thank you for your time.|
|Amani Aboul Fadl Farag|
Salam (Peace) Dear Carine,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
When intimate feelings grow between a man and a woman whose intentions are not directed towards marriage, it becomes a serious problem that may lead to an extra- or pre-marital sexual affair, which is not accepted under any circumstances.
In this case meeting and talking are not only permitted but also recommended. The Prophet (peace be upon him) directed the couple who are planning for an engagement to talk and look at one another in order to make the decision. This is to be considered the basis upon which love and affection is established between them.
A woman must never be alone with a man in a private place; she should have her father, brother, or uncle with her. Or in the case of converts or others who don’t have family to chaperone, a potential couple can double-date with a married couple or in a public place, while keeping with the shar`i limitations. This way the potential spouses can get to know each other and also see how they interact with others, which is just as important in getting to know a person.
In addition to this, with marriage being a decision of such magnitude, parents are invited to give their opinion about it. This decision is made not only through passion but through the experience of life, which young couples definitely lack.