My Younger Sister Is Dating

11 August, 2019
Q As salamu 'alaykum. I have a question in regards to my younger sister. We are practicing Muslims whereby we lead our day-to-day lives to please Allah (SWT). In our family, we don't believe in dating before marriage. Most of my older siblings have had the good fortune to get married at the right time, with no modern attachments of any pre-marital relationships. So we are all married, except our little sister.

She is a dear sister to have. She has taqwa (God consciousness), practices her deen, never misses her daily salah, and has a beautiful character that I admire most of the time. We are all close, and I admit she is much closer to me, and hence we share a lot of secrets. She tells me everything, and never once did I doubt her decisions, until now. She is going to college.There she met someone.

At first, I thought it wasn't serious, and that she would get over it. She never made it sound serious as she would discuss with this gentleman as a colleague. But just recently, she told me that she is serious about this guy. I was a bit weary, thinking that she was a bit too young, because if she started talking deeply about a guy, there shouldn’t be any dating, and what follows is marriage.Yet at her age, I thought she is too young to get married. But age is not the issue here, and it is not what I am writing about.

The fact is, this guy that she has been talking about is not from our culture, rather he is Arab from Lebanon or Syria I think. I am not a racist, but I know for a fact that Arabs don't tend to blend well with Somalians. I have encountered numerous occasions where we have been discriminated against, and we have suffered racial slurs.

My question is, how are his family going to take this news? What if they treat my sister awfully, and treat her like an outcast? They are planning to date, but since they are planning to get married next year, she has asked me to be her companion every time the two of them go out. Please help.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Dating in Islam is not allowed, and here you are escorting your younger sister to meet this man when she wants to see him. He too should know (as a Muslim) that this is not accepted in Islam.

•It is advisable that you address this immediate problem, a problem that none of you and your older siblings have had to face.

•Discuss it with her, and let her know that you can only escort her if she is engaged to him. If the both of them are serious about marriage, then both their families should be approached, and if there is any agreement between the two, then an engagement can take place until such time they can marry.


As salamu ‘alaykum  my dear sister,

I am not sure how may of your siblings were raised from early childhood in the country in which you live, but one thing for sure is that your younger sister is probably more acculturized to that culture than the culture in which you and your other siblings were raised.

It is not a factor when one settles in another country. Your younger sister, if not born there, would have had her worldview shaped by the country in which you live through her peers, through school, and through the media. So from your younger sisters point of view, there are no barriers to prevent her marrying outside of her culture and race.

My Younger Sister Is Dating - About Islam

There is no racism in Islam, but there are Muslims who are racist, which is a fitna for them, but this is not the point of issue here. What is the issues is how you and your family going to handle a situation – a situation that is based on previous incidences, and not on the situation itself.

“Do not force a child to behave like you, for surely, they have been created for a time which is different to your time” ‘Ali Ibn ‘Abu Talib


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From your sister’s point of view, she has met someone, and it seems that the feelings are mutual. In fact, one could go as far as to say that she is head over heals in love, and does not see the permutations of the situation. A young person who feels like this is no very likely to listen to sound advice, and anything you try to say to her, will meet with a rebuttal.

In fact, you might even push her further towards what you fear will happen.  In addition, you are put into a compromising position. Dating in Islam is not allowed, and here you are escorting your younger sister to meet this man when she wants to see him. He too should know (as a Muslim) that this is not accepted in Islam.

There has been no discussion or engagement with her parents over this matter, and as such, she should not be seeing him outside of college regardless of whether he is an Arab or not. So, from where you stand now, it is advisable that you address this immediate problem, a problem that none of you and your older siblings have had to face.

Discuss it with her, and let her know that you can only escort her if she is engaged to him. If the both of them are serious about marriage, then both their families should be approached, and if there is any agreement between the two, then an engagement can take place until such time they can marry. The benefit of the engagement period is that it allows for both families to get to know one another by spending time with one another, and then you will know whether your fears are justified.

Prophet Muhammad said: “He who does not respect our elder, or is not merciful to the young, or does not feel indebted to the scholars, is not of my Nation” (Abu Dawud, No.4921, and At-Tirmidhi, No.1925)

Salaam,

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About Hwaa Irfan
Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.