“And among His signs (greatness) is that He created pairs for you of your own kind so that you can use peaceful tents, and He makes among you gratitude and love. Really, in that, there really are signs (the greatness of God) for people who think.” (QS 30:21)
Dating for Muslims in the 21st century is important yet conflicting. Generally, Muslims are told not to meet their spouse before marriage and are condemned from questioning this mentality. In truth, Islam teaches us love is kind, nourishing and pure. Meeting a spouse before marriage is wholly permitted and allowed if done with the right intentions and appropriately.
So how do we go about dating the right way? Especially in a Western world, which is packed with temptations, limitations, and misunderstanding?
Islamic scholar Mufti Menk explained the rules towards halal ‘meetings’ as he calls it, informing young Muslim’s how dating is permitted in Islam when certain rules are followed.
1. What do you want?
The first step towards achieving the halal way is understanding what you want. Halal dating will require looking for a long-term spouse, meaning you and your partner will have restrictions and limitations but will ultimately be rewarded. You must be mentally prepared and understand the rules and how they safeguard you, researching this can be helpful.
2. Tell your parents.
Telling your parents and family about your intentions is beneficial. Having them involved from the beginning will allow you to lead with truth and integrity, building positive relationships around you. Even if they disagree initially, they will begin to understand how Islam guards both parties. Be open to notifying them about who the person is and considering their opinion.
3. Listening to the other half.
The person you are meeting may have a different reaction to halal dating and add or remove rules. Being clear and concise on both ends will help you understand each other and move forward in a halal manner.
4. The dates should be chaperoned or in a public setting.
The essence of halal dating is to protect both parties and give you the chance to fall head over heels with your future spouse’s purity, personality, and mindset. Scholars suggest meetings should include a chaperone or be set in a public where temptations are minimal.
5. Have a third person on online chats.
A third person can be dormant and does not have to be involved in the communication. The rule is suggested to minimise impulses and preserve the relationship’s purity. By applying a third party, both of you can lead together in unity and integrity.
6. The person you meet may not always be the one.
You can speak to as many people as necessary, and Islam wholly permits this. With pure intentions of marriage, Allah will guide you and bring the right person into your life.
Halal dating may be different from Western norms, but it does safeguard you and your future spouse. Even if you are dating the person you want to marry now, you can still use these rules for a healthy, vibrant and halal relationship.