How to Avoid Flirting?

Question and answer details
Hello, I want to thank you for this English Web site. It help us (who live in non-Islamic countries) very much. My question is: Alhamdulillah, I pray, wear a scarf, and do all the things the Muslims have to do, but I have tried a lot to not flirt with young boys, but I can't. Please help me! I know it's very bad, even if it's just a gaze or a look. I have never done more than that, but I know that God will punish me. It's a problem for many young people all around the world. I hope you can help me. Thank you very much.
Ælfwine Mischler

Salam Dear Fatma,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

You are in a difficult position living in a society that allows and even encourages people to have sex outside of marriage.

I can barely imagine the pressures you must feel to be like everyone else and “enjoy yourself,” not having experienced such pressures myself. I was not a Muslim when I was a teenager, and when I was young (back in the “Stone Age”) pre-marital sex was still frowned upon, although society was beginning to change its attitude.

But at least you recognize that flirting is wrong, and that is the first step to learning to avoid it.

You must remember Allah first and foremost. Remember that He tells us in the Quran what means:

{And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.} (Al-Israa 17: 32)

And He also tells men and women to be modest in words that mean:

{Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent…And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment…} (An-Nur 24: 30–31)

Keep in mind that your purpose in life is to worship Allah and please Him. And remember that Allah is watching everything you do.

All of this does not mean that you cannot talk to boys and work with them in school, university, or the workplace. It means, however, that you keep some sort of emotional (and physical) distance from them.

When you have to talk with a boy about school or work, keep the conversation on track with your work. Don’t talk about personal matters or problems. Make a real effort to not be alone with a boy.

You can be friendly with male colleagues, but keep that friendliness confined to the school or workplace, and don’t focus that friendliness on any one boy. And don’t go out with boys after class or work, even if you’re in a group.

You might feel a lot of pressure from other teenagers to date or have sex. Be strong against such pressure.

Remember that your purpose in life is not to have fun but to obey Allah.

Many people nowadays try to dismiss teenage sex as something “natural”: “It’s their hormones,” they say. “Teens can’t control themselves.” You should be insulted by such talk; it’s telling you that you (and other teens) are like animals with no self-control. But you are a human being! Of course you can learn to control yourself.

Remember, too, that you have so many more important things right now to think of in your life. You should be looking into career choices, thinking about whether you will study in the university and what courses you should take, studying for your exams.

Do you really think that you need additional pressures worrying about things like whether so-and-so really likes you? Or if, Allah forbid, you should “fall” and sleep with someone, do you really need the pressures of worrying about whether your parents will find out, whether you are pregnant, whether the boy really loves you, what you will do when you marry and you’re not a virgin, whether birth control pills might cause you cancer later, and so on? Of course not!

Given all those worries that a sexually active girl would have, you should be able to see that by obeying Allah you will, in the end, have a lot more enjoyable life than someone who is always looking for “fun and excitement.”

So by stopping yourself now from even starting with flirting, you will prevent yourself from a lot of pain later on.

If you really feel that you have trouble controlling yourself, take one day at a time. Try to take time to read Quran and reflect on it before you go out in the morning. Tell yourself early in the morning, “Today I’m going to control myself better.”

At the end of the day, before sleeping, examine yourself to see if you succeeded. Did you flirt? What kind of situation were you in? What made you forget to control yourself? How can you do better? Then resolve to do better the next day. Gradually you should change your ways.

It can also make a big difference what kind of friends you have. Maybe you don’t have other Muslim girls close to you, but you should be able to find other girls with good characters who don’t flirt or date. Try to befriend them.

Remember, also, that as a Muslim you should carry yourself with dignity. You already wear hijab. Let it be a constant reminder to you to behave in such a way so as to show that you are a whole person—not just a “piece of meat” with only sexual needs, but a whole person with an intellect and emotions.

And always, always, remember to read Quran every day and never, never neglect your obligatory prayers. Ask Allah for His help, and ask Him to forgive you when you fail.

I hope this helps you. May Allah help you and other Muslims to live according to His guidance.

Thank you and please keep in touch.


Useful Links:

Tips to Avoid Distance with God

Mixing with the Opposite Sex

How Should a Muslim Woman Conduct Herself?

Lowering the Gaze: Summer Combat!