The Love You Feel

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Guest post by sister Shireen Baig on Muslims and dating, with important advice for the times we live in.

You see them sometimes on college campuses, the young man and woman who exchange shy glances and sweet smiles when no one is looking. Or hidden in her room, the girl giggles as she sends messages back and forth with some guy she knows online or from school, all the while hoping her parents don’t find out. You know the types of situations I’m talking about. And today, I would like to discuss the concept of “dating” or “relationships” in Islam.

When it comes to dating any boy in Islam, many tend to play the blame game, saying “Oh, I didn’t do anything, he was the one who approached me.” Or, “We aren’t doing anything bad, we’re just people in love and love is allowed in Islam.”

To my most amazing shock, we sometimes see an otherwise religious Muslimah committed to some guy who is still her non-mahram, although he has never approached her parents nor formally asked for her hand. On top of that, when she endlessly speaks on the phone with him, she is satisfied that they are not doing anything wrong because in their conversations, they bring up “Islamic” issues and discussions every once in a while. That’s a pretty convincing reason; and yes, shaytan totally supports it to make it look acceptable to their conscience.

We all have our faults, sisters, and I’m not claiming to be an angle. But this is an important topic – our modesty, sisters, our haya. And I want to speak with you and advise you from the heart about this issue that has affected all or most of us at one point or another of our lives.

Firstly let’s just discuss the blame game. My dear sisters, I am sure all of you are aware of the attractive features that you are blessed with, and you are also aware of the kind of effect it can leave on the opposite sex. Some of us consciously use those features and some of us subconsciously do it. You may say, “Hey! I didn’t do anything to attract anybody.” But my sister, you have to be aware of the way you dress, the way you smell, the way you talk, the way you walk, the way you appear in the eyes of another Muslim brother – all of that adds up. Even that giggle of yours can attract someone, or maybe that perfume of yours, or your kohl-lined eyes or that bright laughter; and you may not even be aware of it.

(If you’re a brother reading this, then know that you also have to preserve your modesty!)

During the time of Aisha radiya Allahu anha, the companions of the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam used to come to her to ask about the hadiths they may not be aware of. She communicated with them from behind a veil, a barrier that separated them from her. SubhanAllah! If this was the behavior between the sahabah, the generation with the purest hearts, how much more are we in need of being careful around the opposite gender?

Secondly, let’s look at the concept of love in Islam and how a few of us conveniently misuse it. It’s narrated that the Messenger salla Allahu alayhi wasallam said, “There is nothing better for two who love each other than marriage” [Sahih Al-Jami`, 5200]. Rather than being a support for those who misuse this hadith, this narration is actually evidence against them. Let’s put that concept of “romance” and “dating” before marriage to rest, because it doesn’t exist in our religion. If you love somebody, get married – do it the halal way. Don’t start your life with your spouse in sin and disobedience to Allah.

There are cases where there is a time-frame before the actual event of marriage. Some people think, now that it is “official” because we’ve had a few family meetings or some coffee, spending time together at this point can’t possibly do a lot of harm. After all, you are going to get married to him. However, Islam teaches us to be cautious even in these situations, and not to meet unless accompanied by a mahram. As the hadith says, “When a man and a woman are together alone, shaytan makes their third” [Sahih Al-Jami`, 2546].

If you are genuinely confused about the ruling on something, then turn to the people of knowledge and ask them. Alhamdulillah, there are scholars and websites out there that can give you more detailed knowledge on issues of marriage and the engagement period, so ignorance of these matters shouldn’t be an excuse. And what I’m talking about are mostly the friendships we know aren’t ok, the actions we would be mortified if our family found out about – why persist in them when you know it’s wrong?

Dear sisters, I know that we live in a time when all around us, in the media and in society, the concept of dating and courtship is beautified by the shaytan. This can make following the teachings of Islam a bit difficult, since our religion is portrayed as “too strict” and “backwards.” However, I would like to share a hadith to bring about some relief. The Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wasallam says: “There are three characteristics that, whoever has them, will taste the sweetness of faith: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than everything else; that he love a person only for Allah’s sake; and that he would hate to revert into disbelief just as he would hate to be thrown into fire.” [Bukhari]

Love is a fruit of piety. Love, without piety, is mischief. So yes, love someone, but love them for the sake of Allah. When you love someone for the sake of Allah, you do not think of doing forbidden things for that love, things which we do when under shaytan’s influence. Sisters, if you are in an inappropriate friendship or relationship, end it and repent to Allah. We are humans after all, but learn from your mistake. There are many who have taken the wrong path but then repented to Allah. We are all sisters here, ready to help guide each other and to love each other only for the sake of Allah.

I would just like to end by reminding you that we are Muslimahs. This world has way too many temptations to offer us, way too many good looking guys to throw in front of us, way too many cute smiles and cute faces – but we cannot afford to get carried away by them. Because what we desire is something worth so much more than this world; it is our hereafter, our desired life in Jannah.  Don’t you want to be there along with the company of Maryam and Khadijah, and Fatima and Asiya, may Allah be pleased with them all, and the other righteous women in Jannah? Do you want to give up on your real goal, just because this world has superficially tempted you with something “better” to offer you?

Always remember, my sisters, for a believer this world is a prison, and for a disbeliever it is everything. The society we live in has encouraged all these concepts of “love,” and they are propagated through all the possible means of media. You may have all your friends dating and you may even be the odd one out. But don’t let yourself down, my sister. All that you are striving for has so much more to offer you, and even in your struggles, even in the prison of this dunya, there is nothing more beautiful than the sweetness of faith that accompanies it. This life is only a test, and you know you are smart enough and strong enough to make your own choice.

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Shireen Baig is a 19-year old who works and lives in UAE – Dubai. She is a graduate who likes to write poems and share them on her facebook account. She previously shared a piece on IGIC entitled “The Full Time Decision.”