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Premarital Relationships — Why Not?

Why not engage in premarital affairs?

How would you answer this question? As a young Muslim, do you feel this question is relevant to you at all? Have you discussed it with your friends?

Is it a question you have thought about? Do you understand why not?

If you are uncertain about how you would answer this question, don’t worry. Perhaps the most misunderstood of all human relationships is the premarital relationship between young men and women, especially among those who are just coming of age and coming to terms with their sexuality.

The dominant understanding is that premarital relationships should be allowed and even encouraged. The most common arguments are that premarital relationships help young people socialize and deal with one another, and that they help those who are considering marriage to have up close and personal, intimate knowledge of their potential spouse.

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Do you agree with these two arguments? Do they reflect your way of thinking?

The latter argument couldn’t be further from the truth. Learning to socialize with the opposite sex, however, is a commendable personal goal. But it cannot be left to chance and definitely need not involve having an intimate, physical relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

Are Islamic Teachings Old-Fashioned?

Depending on your upbringing, who your friends are, and your exposure to television shows and movies, you might have been socialized to believe that premarital relationships are glamorous, filled with romantic overtures, and a natural expression of a man’s attraction towards a woman.

In fact, some young Muslims are so convinced that premarital relationships are the norm rather than the exception that, when told “dating is haram [forbidden],” they respond by saying: “Why is Islam so backward? Why can’t we just get with the times and realize that today, premarital relationships are OK because not everyone is thinking about sex all the time.”

Is that right? And so how would you propose going about helping those young people who tend to think about sex some or most of the time and not, as you say, all of the time. What shall we tell them?

Even the premise that the Islamic prohibition on premarital relationships is solely due to the notion that people think about sex all the time is false.

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