Is Dating and Falling in Love Allowed in Islam?

When I was younger, I always wondered how I could distinguish between love and lust. My father used to say “all these little or great worldly loves we go through, are all here for us humans to eventually experience The love, one drop at a time, and to increase our capacity for it. That’s why when we look back at our previous experiences of feeling in love, we laugh at our naivety for calling that love! And that the love we are feeling now IS the real thing. Ignorant of the fact that a little down the line, we will again be laughing at what we are calling love now.”So let us find out why has God made love? What kind of love, are we expected to feel? My father says “Love is a sign from God. Love is a miracle, and miracles are here to make us believe” [1].



I started my article on dating and falling in love using the introduction of a love story book. As any reader knows, love or dating and falling in Love is not something that can be accepted in some lands and be ignored in some others. Dating and Falling in Love know no borders. Every human being from the time he/she sets foot in this world would experience dating and falling in love in one way or other, with different things, people, pets! Lands, etc. It is actually the liveliness of love that keeps human beings move forward. This dating and falling in love could be for money, status, education, or opposite sex.



In this article, I would like to talk about Love for opposite sex and its rulings according to Islam and dating in Islam.


Dating in Islam


Do Muslims fall in love?


Love is an essential need for the human. Without love life is dark and colorless. Muslims, like any other human beings, fall in love and may spend days and nights weeping for their beloved, until they can unite with their loved ones.



However, the main point of being committed to any religion and obeying its rules is for human beings to gain control over themselves. Human beings in facing different issues of life should show this self-control, and love is one of these issues.



From what I have seen among most non-Muslim cultures and religions when they fall in love, they start dating. They meet each other at different places and make memories together. Then they can grow their love and go through sexual relationships. They would even feel so much in love that they decide to live together as lover partners. In some cases, this loving partnership may end up with a baby. And in very optimistic ways, one day their grown-up children will happily shout in a church that “I knew that mom and dad would finally get married!”. As I said, that is the optimistic side of it. Otherwise, at the end of some of these relationships, we have depressed single parents with unwanted children.


Rules of Islam for Those Fallen in Love and Dating in Islam


Since dating and falling in love takes one’s mind away, when a Muslim falls in love, by considering Islamic advice she/ he can avoid its negative consequences.



According to Islam, when someone feels fallen in love! with someone, he/ she should consider that person as his/ her “spouse to be.” So, the lover can determine if he/ she can live with his/ her loved one for the rest of his/ her life, and would they make a happy family and reach their goals? If the answer is positive, then they should start to get to know each other better. In most Islamic cultures, the starting point happens through families and dating in Islam is not very common. The boy proposes to the girl in a proposal ceremony. If the girl and the families are OK at this step, then the “bride to be” and “the groom to be” can start to know each other better.


Dating in Islam


Do the “bride to be” and “the groom to be” Date? Is Dating in Islam Allowed?


Since dating in non-Muslim cultures may be followed by different kinds of sexual lust, such as touching, hugging, kissing, etc., Islam would call this sort of dating forbidden (Haram).



But this does not mean that the “groom to be” and the “bride to be” are not allowed to meet up and talk together for better recognition of each other. In Muslim families, they usually meet up at the girl’s house, where her parents are also around. Yet, some boys and girls may find it useful to go out together for a meal or talk in social places. That is for them to know each other better in different situations.



According to Islam, it is not forbidden (Haram) for a man and a woman to be together in a place where other people can come and go, and there is no fear of committing a sin. So, dating is Islam is not forbidden provided that the above conditions are observed. However, both parties should make sure to limit these meetups to a few sessions. At the end of these few sessions, they can usually decide if they want to marry or not.



And if they don’t want to marry, they should stop their meetings. Also, if they decide to get married, they should proceed to the next levels. This can be a temporary marriage for engagement period and then a permanent Islamic marriage contract. The engagement may take a few days or a few years. But they are known as a married couple during this time, and there is no prohibition for them to be together. “After the recitation of the marriage formula, the couple may enjoy each other unless a certain enjoyment is agreed to be delayed to the night of consummating the marriage, in which case he has to observe the specified term.” [2]



Possible Damages of Dating


When two people start dating without a serious intention of marrying their partner, they start wasting their time on a useless relationship, solely for fun and enjoyment. Most of the time one of the parties is aware that he/ she does not see a future for this relationship. The other one keeps hoping for a marriage proposal. When it never happens, disappointment would fill his/ her life.



Also, people who keep dating with no intention for marriage would enjoy a relationship in which, unlike marriage, they are irresponsible towards their partner.



When other youths see how easy some people have fun with the opposite sex, they would be encouraged to date, too.



Usually, after many years of dating, when both parties have lost their younghood eagerness, they would shape a family. Although it is still very good to start family life, their life is much different from those who marry and have children at a younger age.




To conclude, dating in Islam for the sake of having fun with opposite sex and without a legal Islamic marriage contract is forbidden (Haram). But meeting up for further recognition is allowed (Halal). The main reason that makes dating in Islam prohibited is to protect both parties of possible damages of an unstable relationship. Thus, pre-marriage meetings (unlike dating) should be free of any kind of sexual lust, and only for the sake of finding a suitable spouse.



So, it is not forbidden (Haram) to fall in love according to Islam. But managing this love and controlling the self is of high importance. This would prevent people from committing great sins like adultery.



[1] Bahmanpour, Sedigheh, God Is Here, p. 1