In this counseling answer:
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,
Thank you for writing to us. While I am sad to hear of your frustration, I am very happy that you have refrained from zina! What a blessing that is for you, sister. You should be very proud of yourself for holding on to the precious gift of chasteness. What is a better blessing than one who strives to do all she can to gain the pleasure of her Creator (swt)?
Sister, while you may feel frustrated right now, know that in sha’ Allah, your faithfulness and patience are light and good example for sisters everywhere. What a blessed responsibility and an honored position that is. Sisters need to see more shining examples of others who are truly holding on for the sake of Allah (swt) and guarding their chastity until the time when they meet, in sha’ Allah, the one whom Allah (swt) has for them. May Allah (swt) be please with your efforts, obedience, and perseverance.
Marriage and purity is important. The Prophet (saw) said:
“A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be unsuccessful.” (Bukhari)
There is great wisdom to be taken from this hadith, ma sha’ Allah, and that is: we should marry someone for their deen, love for Allah (swt), and how they apply it to everyday life. We should not marry just “to be married”. In sha’ Allah, marriage should be about common interests, mutual attraction, similar goals and values, and, of course, a sincere love for Allah (swt) and our prescribed way of living. In fact, the Qur’an states,
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21)
Being single and waiting is not an easy task as our emotions and needs are real and many do fall into the sin of zina, as you can see from the people with whom you were in relationships with. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) states:
“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” (17:32)
In sha’ Allah, you know that zina is haram and, indeed, could ruin your blessings of a future marriage. Those men were very wrong to expect or request that you disobey Allah (swt) and violate your own body for their pleasure. If they have asked this of you, how many other women have they asked who said “yes”?
With that said, I can state that these were not “failed” relationships, sister, because you did the right thing. I am quite sure you would really not want to be married to someone who asked or expected you to disobey Allah (swt). How could you trust your life and future with such a person? Yes, we all sin and we can be forgiven, in sha’ Allah, if we sincerely repent. However, there is something extremely distasteful, if not disgusting, about a man who leaves a woman who refuses to have sex with him. It not only shows their shady character, but also shows the truth: that they were only interested in you for sex, otherwise a marriage proposal would have been offered. This is no reflection upon you as you are truly a beautiful pearl. Rather, it is an indication that Allah (swt) has someone for you who is also chaste, fearful of sin, and “holding on” – just like you are!
My dear sister, I know you fear falling into temptation; however, I would kindly suggest that you focus on the larger picture – the blessings and rewards of a good husband, in sha’ Allah. A lot of things in this life are tests, sister, please remember that.
I would kindly suggest that you keep yourself busy. Whether it is putting energy into a job, family, school, Islamic studies, hobbies, charities, helping the needy, the more your mind is kept busy, the less time you will have to think about the needs and desires you have that are only for a marriage relationship. Get involved at the mosque as well as any Sister Groups which may be in your area. Creating bonds with our sisters is a blessing and a stronghold in this life.
If there are pre-marriage classes in your area, join one and learn about Islamic marriages, duties of the husband and wife, and other topics covered by these sessions. This will be a great learning experience, and it will keep your mind focused on the sacredness and importance of keeping our bodies pure and chaste for our future spouse. in sha’ Allah, it will increase your faith to sustain you.
Also, while you said you had several “relationships”, I am not sure what this means, but I would highly suggest that you follow the prescribed Islamic course for finding a mate. This most definitely includes not being alone with any man. Therefore, you must commit to not letting yourself get into any position that could lead to sinful behavior such as being alone together, kissing, hugging, and other actions. As you probably already know, sister, lowering your gaze is a must. While it is not always easy, it will serve as a protection in the long run. In Surat An-Nur,
Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do. And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof …”(24:30-31)
These and other guidelines are also a source of protection, just as marriage is a source of protection.
If you do meet someone whom you are interested in, have your parents, a family member, a trusted imam or friend find out the details regarding him for you. When getting to know a potential partner, do not be alone with the man; always have your family or friends accompany you. This will, in sha’ Allah, keep you on the right path as well as the man.
Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to keep you strong and on the right path of purity. Think about that future husband whom you have yet to meet; you would want him to remain pure, would you not? Allah (swt) has created our deen and perfected it for us, for our best interest and our safety. You are blessed with piety and honor. In sha’ Allah, sister, let that and your obedience to Allah (swt) be your protection from falling in sinful ways.
We wish you the best sister; you are in our prayers.