Courtship and Dating

Dating is the name given to a common practice followed by young individuals all over the world. Dating encompasses getting to know someone better so as to help in selection of a lifelong partner. In Islam however, dating and any other sort of intimate relationship is forbidden. So how exactly can young Muslim men and women select their marital partner when pre-marital relationships are strictly not allowed? Let’s take a closer in depth look at what courtship and dating in Islam is all about.

What is the Islamic point of view regarding selection of a partner for marriage?

Marriage as we all know is no joke whatsoever. Choosing someone who you plan to spend the rest of your life with requires careful thought and investigation. As far as the Islamic point of view is concerned, the perspective it holds is similar. Islam believes that choosing your marriage partner is one of the most significant decisions any person must make in his or her lifetime. The weightage this decision holds should never be taken for granted. The decision should involve careful planning, thought, prayers and consideration of family values. After all, it is a matter of a person’s life.

Dating in Islam

How should a Muslim believer approach or offer proposal?

The first step towards offering a proposal is proposing indirectly to the family or directly to the female partner. This is referred to as Khitbah in Arabic or courting in English. It can be summarized as follows:

  1. Proposing the girl’s family directly or through a representative
  2. Proposing to the girl directly
  3. Proposing indirectly through a friend or family member to the girl or representatives related to her.

What is not permissible regarding courting in Islam?

The following conditions of courting are not allowed in Islam:

  1. Courting married women is forbidden, including those women who are divorced and sitting in the waiting period of Iddah.
  2. Courting individual women who are already being courted at the moment. A certain period of waiting should be allowed until a sign of acceptance or rejection is offered from the respective individual’s family.
  3. Any man who is currently married to 4 wives simultaneously is not allowed to undergo courting.
  4. A man who has divorced his wife at least 3 times may not court her until she has been married to another individual.
  5. Men are prohibited from courtship and dating an aunt or sister of a wife who they are currently married to.

Courtship in Islam

What are the steps to be followed in terms of Islamic protocol for marriage to an individual?

When marriage has been decided for in a young Muslim believer’s life, the following steps should be followed.

  1. Offering of supplication to Allah for guidance regarding making the correct decision for one’s lifelong partner.
  2. Discussion and inquiry is done for shortlisted candidates from the family’s network of friends and relatives. The father or mother is held responsible for calling the other family and arranging a meeting.
  3. If the family and young couple agree, the couple can meet each other in an environment where a Mahram of the female is present.
  4. When compatibilityis at high stakes, investigation regarding each individual’s character may be done from close family and friends.
  5. Right before making the final decision, all Muslims are encouraged to enjoin in Salat tul Istikhara for Allah’s guidance.
  6. The couple involved can then agree to carry forward with marriage or for whatever reason part ways.

Islam places great emphasis on the important decision regarding selection of a marriage partner. The strength of marriage is increased when focused courtship is encouraged between the couple and their relatives. For marriages to prove successful in the long run, Muslims are advised to pray to Allah for the right decision and attain wisdom and guidance from elders of the family.

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