Today I feel like discussing love. The fairytale of all fairy tales, the mother of emotions and the most talked about yet least understood confliction within ourselves. It expands to external sources, too. (Unless you don't love anyone but yourself. In which case, please carry on.)
I love Harry Potter. Sometimes I love it so entirely, all-consumingly enough I don't know how I manage to contain those magnificent, indescribable feelings within me. I am a writer, but I have no words to explain how much I love this life changing series that wasn't a book so much as a second life. One things for certain, though: I don't love it more than I love Allah(SWT) and Islam, which is where you should be drawing the line.
Love has become an issue that I, albeit my young age (or maybe because of it), perceive to be all too common amongst Muslims nowadays. And you know what? We get it. You sin, I sin, we all sin. We're human. We make errors and sometimes it takes years to get through them, and sometimes you lose so much of yourself it's almost impossible to find yourself again. As I said, we all do it; so no, sinning isn't avoidable. Does that make it okay? No. No matter how many kids fry ants with their magnifying glasses, it will remain a monstrous act. Even if the entire world is dating it will be no less a sin than it was when only you did it.
Reconsider your life and your priorities. Who are you sinning for? Is this random guy on the internet worth punishment in the afterlife? Is walking to the park with the new guy worth your parents' pain, disappointment, or anxiety? Is this text conversation worth Allah(SWT)'s anger? Are the severe consequences worth all of this? No, my friends, my dear beloved sisters. It isn't.
Islam has given you the moon; we, my sisters, are precious diamonds wrapped in the cleanest of soils where we wait to sprout like flowers in the midst of summer. Do you know what it means to engage in the zina Allah(SWT) has forbidden for reasons He fully understands because He is almighty and we are just specks floating like dust who know nothing about what's right for us? It means you're cutting of your stem, you're tarnishing the sparkly, valuable exterior of your diamond. Do you not deserve better? If you think no, stop. Take a deep breath. Allah(SWT) obviously does, and His word is enough for any of us. SubhanAllah, we are blessed into a religion where our Creator, our God, loves us so much He has instructed us what to do with ourselves. He is always there, looking out for us like the best parents do. If you can't see Him, go through the Qu'ran, hadith, sunnah of Muhammed(SAW). Go through surahs and read their meaning. You will always find Him for He is the ultimate One to whom our love should belong because there is nothing He hasn't done for us (or isn't saving for a later time that He knows is best for us). That's a promise.
SOMETHINGS TO LEAVE YOU WITH:
We will be posting a series of articles all pertaining to Marriage in Islam. The “Marriage Series” will focus on how to go about this fun but crazy process in a halal manner and will also include our personal experience. "
The media and society as a whole has unfortunately portrayed Muslim parent as evil individuals who force their kind and naive children into marriages with someone that they do not know and is abusive, hideous and other bad things. In reality though, while some parents might operate in this manner, it is not the norm and forced marriages are actually haram in Islam.
Ok, so if parents aren't supposed to force their children to marry someone, does that mean that Muslim youth should date in order to find their spouse? The answer to that is NO.
It is not permissible for a Muslim to date in the sense of dating in the western world. A man and a woman are not permitted to be alone with one another unless they are mahrams and free-mixing in general is not allowed. So then, how do Muslims find their spouse?
This process manifests in different ways depending on the culture but often, if a man or woman notice someone of the opposite sex that they think might be good for them(based on word of mouth, halal interactions, etc) and they would like to inquire about the person, they should first make istikhara(dua for guidance). If after istikharah, they are still interested, the can either go through their local imam(if both individuals are from the same community) to express interest in the person and the imam can notify the other individual. They can also speak to someone who is close to the other individual and express interest or they can go directly to the family of the individual themselves. So for instance, if a brother is interested in a sister, he can choose to go through the imam or go straight to the girl’s wali(who can be her father, brother, uncle, etc) and if a sister is interested, she should notify her wali and have him make the initial contact. If both parties agree to pursue the interest, a meeting is arranged. While this meeting can be organised in different ways depending on the culture, it is impertinent that there be a chaperone, preferably the wali of the girl. Meeting alone(even in a restaurant or cafe) should be avoided. It is important that both families be completely involved in the whole process.
If after the initial discussion the two individuals decide that they are both interested in one another, subsequent meetings may be arranged to further get to know each other. It is important, because the point of these meetings is to decide if they are your ideal spouse, that fundamental questions be asked and discussed. Such questions should include how often the person prays, their adherence to the Qur’an and Sunnah, how marital disagreements in matters of deen should be handled(i.e you believe niqab is Sunnah and want to observe while he would prefer you don’t and because it’s Sunnah, you don’t ‘have’ to do it) and other related questions. Questions regarding rights and duties, marital roles(do you expect him to be the sole breadwinner like Allah has ordained? Does he expect you to be a housewife?), the influence of in-laws, income, career goals, kinship ties and other foundation questions should also be answered. If the responses to these sort of questions pleases both individuals they might decide to begin preparations for a nikkah and also spend more(halal) time together to develop chemistry and feelings for one another. The reason why it is good to make sure the foundations are there before the emotional attachments and chemistry is because often times, once you start developing feelings you begin to make excuses for the important areas they are lacking in.
*Remember though, that while you are developing these feelings, you are not married and still unlawful towards one another and should therefore be modest in your actions*
The "Muslimah Worries" section of Striving Clarity is dedicated to discussing the things that Muslimahs often worry about from hijab to marriage to how to remain spiritual when you're unable to pray. Join us!