Relationships in Islam. Youth is the time when the emotions are at a peak, risk-taking sentiments are at a maximum, and a rebellious attitude is overflowing in every action. Youth is an age of innocence, and also the age of dares. It is the age when the forbidden fruit looks the most tempting and the opposite gender looks the most attractive. And for Muslim youngsters, this age is the most testing – both for them and for their parents.
Are they mature enough to hold back from temptation? Are they close enough to Allah (SWT) to refrain from disobeying Him? Are they knowledgeable enough about their religion to know that it is a sin to engage in any form of relationship with the opposite sex unless it is for an unavoidable reason of necessity and in a manner ordained by the Qur’an?
How Do Boy-Girl Relationships Work in Islam?
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “For one of you to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle is better for him than that he should touch a woman who is not permissible for him.” (Narrated by al-Tabrani in al-Kabeer, 486)
What Is Considered A Haram Relationship?
Do you know what is considered a haram relationship? The definition of a haram relationship is a romantic or non-professional relationship between a man and a woman of marriageable age who are not each other’s mehrams. The stamp of “haram” does not only apply to illegal sexual intercourse, it also applies to touching, friendship beyond a professional level, chatting on the phone, and texting with the opposite sex. Basically, any sort of relationship with a non-mehram person of the opposite gender (beyond a non-romantic, necessity-based nature) will be considered haram. This is because there is an Islamic principle which states that anything which leads to the haram is also haram.
The Prophet (SAW) warned, “Behold! A man is not alone with a (non-mehram) woman but the third amongst them is Shaytan.” (Jami Al-Tirmidhi, 265) Which means that Shaytan will definitely turn an innocent meeting or conversation into something which is wrong and lustful.
So, if chatting between friends has the potential to develop into a haram romantic relationship, then chatting is off the table. If texting one-on-one has the potential of developing into a haram relationship, then that’s off the table, too. And even if something is strictly platonic, and you think that there is no way that could turn into something romantic, it’s still off the table because laws are made for the rule, not the exception. And Islamic laws are no different.
The Qur’an says, “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” (24:30) The same was also said for women in the following verse.
Why Do Youngsters Engage In Haram Relationships?
Many people ask the question, “Is friendship between a boy and girl allowed in Islam?” Simply look at the definition of haram relationships above and gauge for yourself. If there is the potential for wrongful feelings do develop, then that activity is something you should stay away from. But why do people find it hard to stay away from haram relationships? And more importantly, why do Muslim youngsters engage in this sin, thinking it to be okay?
- Lack of knowledge: Most young Muslims today are not informed about the importance of staying away from the opposite sex. They are not told what Islam says about having a crush. They are not told what the Qur’an says about relationships between boys and girls in Islam. They are not told the proper way of courtship in Islam. So, no wonder they think that having a boyfriend or girlfriend is okay. And even if someone tells them that it’s wrong, they think it is simply old people speaking, not religion. But the Prophet (SAW) said, following the same rule of whatever-leads-to-haram-is-haram, “The zina (adultery) of the eyes is looking (at that which is not allowed to look at).” (Bukhari, Muslim)
- Lack of parental guidance: At such a young age, when the years are few but emotions many, youngsters think that every other boy or girl is the love of their life. At that tender age, it is important for parents to guide their children towards the right path and teach them the difference between true love and false love. And false love is anything which leads away from Allah (SWT), so if an impermissible relationship in Islam is going to lead a person away from Allah (SWT), then it can not be considered true love in Islam.
- Peer pressure: With all your friends around you in seemingly loving relationships and dating people, it might seem like you’re the odd one out if you don’t have a partner and are not invited to couples’ outings. That might push you into finding a girlfriend or boyfriend yourself. But at what cost?
- Temptations of Youth: Youth is the age of temptations. And every forbidden thing seems attractive at that age, not to mention the opposite gender which seems attractive even in later stages of life. No wonder the Prophet (SAW) said that the man who resists the temptation of a beautiful woman of nobility will be one of the seven people who will receive the Shade of Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement when there will be no other shade (Bukhari).
Effects of Haram Relationships
Apart from the obvious sins that you gather from engaging in a wrongful relationship, there are many other effects of haram relationships.
- Loss of barakah (blessings) is halal relationships when you engage in a haram relationship and do not step out of it or repent for it.
- The opportunity for repentance is taken away the more and more you sink into sin, thinking it to be allowed.
- The heart becomes hardened from sin, making you less merciful and less bothered by wrongful actions around you.
- You lose the ability to enjoy worship such as salah (prayer), tilawat (recitation), and dhikr (remembrance).
- He/she leaves the circle of true imaan when in a relationship. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Faith comes out of a person whilst he commits fornication.” (Mishkat)
- The dating person’s modesty (haya) diminishes, and modesty is the defining characteristic of Islam, as mentioned by the Prophet (SAW) in a famous hadith.
How To Quit A Haram Relationship
If you are in a wrongful relationship, you should know that our religion also teaches us how to overcome that. Islam recognizes that sins of the flesh are common because Shaytan is always on the lookout to lead people astray. That is why our religion teaches us some practical tips and duas to help us stay on the right path. Below are some very useful tips to help you stay away from a wrong relationship if you are in one.
- Tawbah i.e. repentance. The first step to overcoming a problem is accepting that you have a problem. You’ve read above what haram relationships are and you can recognize if you are in one. The next step to overcoming the problem is to repent from it and promise yourself to never commit the sin again. And remember, Allah says in the Qur’an that He is Ever-Ready to forgive. “Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He Who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (39:53). For more guidance, go through our earlier post on Forgiveness In Islam.
- Fast whenever you can. The Qur’an tells us that for people who are not married, but feel sexual desire, they should fast until they are able to marry. Fasting curbs sexual desires and keeps them at bay. The single Muslim is told to fast in a hadith of the Prophet (SAW): “Whoever amongst you can afford to get married, let him do so, and whoever can not afford it should fast for it will be a restraint for him.” (Sunan Al-Nisa’i)
- Make dua and pray to Allah (SWT) to help you stay away from sin. Ask Him with all your heart and with all sincerity. Allah (SWT) loves those who ask Him. And ask Allah (SWT) to grant you a righteous spouse in a blessed relationship instead of a partner in an unlawful relationship.
- Since Shaytan is the third in a room where a non-mehram man and woman are alone, it is obvious that he will try to plant unlawful thoughts in either person’s head. And a thought leads to the intention which leads to action. Avoid being alone with a person from the opposite sex.
- Do not prolong conversations with non-mehrams. Keep your voice firm and business-like when you have to talk to them so that in case there are any evil thoughts, you can nip them in the bud and give a clear message that your intentions are pure and only professional.
- Lower your gaze when you pass by someone of the opposite gender. There’s a reason they call it eye candy – because the eyes feast on beauty, too, and zina of the eyes is very common! You can’t want what you never saw so if you keep your gaze lowered, you will not be distracted by other people.
- Get married as soon as possible. Our religion also encourages marriage at an early age i.e. right after puberty. Reason? So that youngsters can focus their affection on one person only in a lawful manner instead of having roaming eyes (or hands). Youth is the age of roller coaster emotions and it is at that age that emotions need to be tethered. Today, it’s all about getting married after a person is ‘settled’ but do you know what the Qur’an says? “And marry those amongst you who are single (male and female). If they are poor, Allah will enrich them out of His Bounty.” (24:32) And there you have it. You don’t need to be settled to get married. Allah will settle you if you get married!
- Make Dua. If you’ve fallen prey to a haram relationship, it is important hat you quit it today. You don’t owe anyone an explanation except Allah. Just remove all of it from your life and make dua to Allah. Here are two beautiful duas that can be useful for anyone looking for a dua to remove someone from your life or dua to break haram relationship:
For further guidance on quitting a haram relationship or ending it, here’s a beautiful video by Nouman Ali Khan:
How To Avoid Haram Love?
Here are some simple things you can do to avoid falling in the trap of shaitan through haram relationships:
- Improve Your Worship
- Lower Your Gaze
- Remove The Objects Of Passion From Your Life
- Keep Yourself Busy In Good Deeds
- Marry According To Shariah
The Duty of Parents
It is the responsibility of parents to guide their children at this very young and volatile age. Children might like to think of themselves as grown-ups, but the truth is that they’re not yet mature enough and need constant guidance.
As parents, educate yourselves and your children on the kinds of relationships that are allowed and the kind that are not allowed. Teach them the difference and consequences of these relationships. Tell them what religion says and not just by fear and with regard to punishment, but with love and with regard to the rewards of pleasing Allah (SWT).
Make it a rule that children should not have passwords on their phones or computers. You should check your child’s chats – who are they talking to and what kind of conversations are they having? Being a parent is a full-time job and vigilance is key. Your parenting doesn’t end at just bringing children into this world, you have to prepare them for leaving this world, too. You have to teach them how to be answerable – to themselves, to others, and above all, to Allah (SWT).
From a young age, make sure that they are not exposed to sexuality or sexualized themes. Books, movies, conversations with friends – everything plays a part. Let them retain their innocence; they will learn as they grow and when they reach an appropriate age, you should be the one to tell them so that they have the correct concepts.
Yes, being a parent is tough. But it is a responsibility given to you by Allah (SWT) and He will help you through it. Children always need guidance, and the best people to do that are the parents.
We also recommend that you go through our earlier post on Islamic Parenting Tips & Quotes On How To Raise Children
In conclusion, dating and boy-girl relationships are completely forbidden in Islam. On the other hand, if there are to be interactions between the sexes out of necessity, then it is important that the Islamic guidelines be strictly followed so that there are no chances of sin. It is important for everyone, and especially youngsters who are in the prime of their life, to understand what Islam says about haram relationships and how to stay away from them. Islam has laid down the framework – all we need to do is follow it.