Is Dating forbidden (HARAM) in Islam?

Why has Islam prohibited dating?

"Dating" as it is currently practiced in much of the world shall not exist
among Muslims -- where a man and a woman (or boy/girl) are in a one-on-one
intimate relationship, spending time together alone, getting to know each
other in a very deep way.

A man and a woman are not allowed to be alone together, and any physical
contact before marriage is forbidden. Hence, Dating is not permitted in
Islam.

Allah has prohibited girl/boyfriend relationships in the Qur'an

"(Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste
women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before
your time, when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the
husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking
them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking
them as girlfriends. ... - Al-Ma'idah 5:5.

If a Muslim man has the desire and willingness to assume marital
responsibilities, and he doesn?t have anyone in mind, he might ask his
friends, family, and relatives if there is a lady that might be suitable for
him among their acquaintances and relatives, and then the couple can meet
with their family members.

As a result, many marriages in the Muslim world were traditionally arranged
marriages, though this is not a religious requirement. However, both couples
can not be forced to accept an arranged marriage and if a man likes someone
(with the intention of marriage) that he knows from work, neighborhood or
acquaintances, etc? he shall propose to her.

Islam also encourages Muslims to marry persons for whom they have special
feelings and are comfortable with. Thus, Islam recommends that potential
marriage partners see one another before proposing marriage. Explaining the
reason for such a recommendation, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

That would enhance/foster the bonding.

However the prospective couple shall not meet in private, this might lead to
extremely unwanted situations, as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said :

Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Satan is the third among them?
(Reported by At-Tirmidhi)..

At all times, Muslims should follow the commands of the Qur'an "Tell the
believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and
protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer
for them. "

In conclusion, Islam lays its social structure on the basis of a permanent
relationship between a man and a woman in the form of a family.

Consequently, to preserve this marital relationship, it forbids all forms of
temporary relationships between a man and a woman. Pre-marital relationships
in Islam are not considered respectful for neither the man nor the woman,
nor is it constructive for the concept or the building the family or the
Islamic society.

Source: islam.about.com

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