Dating as a Muslim? Can Muslims date? What even is dating nowadays!?
These questions are sadly often neglected and shoved under rug in the name of religion. Yet, in the safety of their rooms and under their soft blanket, Muslim women of all ages are turning to one another for the answers.
I recall many nights (more than I care to admit) staying up on the phone with my friends as we, in hushed tones, tried to understand what this thing called love is. These conversations became more frequent when I moved to the United States. Then my girls and I turned into super secret spies and detectives as we deciphered mixed messages from our phones, and our hearts.
Despite our best efforts, we were unable to come to terms with the concept of dating while being Muslim. Sure, we knew the basic rules of Islam that dictate the proper relations between a man and a woman, but, those guidelines never answered what it means to love and to be loved.
To complicate matters further, Muslim dating apps, such as Minder, have digitized love and faith. Now in the same room where we were young at heart and the idea of love was new, we sit with our phones, and our faces in screens as we swipe our feelings away.
The millennial Muslim generation is truly standing at the intersection of tradition and modernity, and facing a very difficult question: Can we hang on to our faith, while navigating modern day romance?
I can not begin to explain how often I had to use powerful Google research skills as I hunted after the answer to this complex question.
Oftentimes, the results proved to be more confusing than the initial question!
However, along the way there were a few promising words of advice that have brought me solace and I wish to share them with you all.
The best way I have found to manage modern day love, while still being a chaste Muslim woman depended on simply knowing my values and my worth. As modern women, we will come face to face with many eligible, cute men (hopefully!), but not all are a right fit and not all, if any, deserve our time and attention.
First of all, let’s get one thing settled: Dating is hard regardless of your religious background. As a practicing Muslim though, those, quote on quote, normal hardships take on a new form. In traditional Islam, being with the opposite sex before marriage is a breeding ground for sin.
However, modern day cultures have come to reinterpret the tradition so that we can keep up with the times, while still staying faithful. I know that in Egyptian culture, two love birds can be engaged for about a year before there is anything religiously official. This practice served to keep families involved in the lover’s dating hurdles and to ensure that no naughty behavior is taking place. In Western society though, such practices are difficult — if not impossible — to implement. I mean, have you tried convincing a guy you just met to meet your parents and your entire family to set up an engagement? Sounds a bit far-fetched.
The best way I have found to manage modern day love, while still being a chaste Muslim woman depended on simply knowing my values and my worth.
As modern women we will come face to face with many eligible,cute men (hopefully!), but not all are a right fit and not all, if any, deserve our time and attention. This is especially important for Muslim women, because dating, in the traditional sense, is already a huge risk in Islam. To pick out the right man, the one worth a phone call, or a coffee meet up, we must know what we value and what we deserve, or else we run the risk of throwing our hearts along with out faith to men who, let’s be honest, don’t really deserve a text back.
Now, how does knowing your values help you weed out the bad guys? It’s simple; once you have your values in place a man who appears to go against them in the slightest will be, for lack of better words, kicked to the curb, leaving you with more time to spend on someone who matters: You!
Truly self love, self respect, and self care are vital to having an appropriate dating experience as Muslim women. Dating doesn’t need to elicit any notions of sin, because when done right, it can be a rewarding pathway to finding, living, and experiencing love in the most halal way possible!