The question of whether it is haram (forbidden) to have a girlfriend or boyfriend is on the minds of numerous young people. However, the answer to this question is more complex than one might assume. Therefore, in this article featured on Islam4u, we intend to address this issue from an Islamic and Shia perspective.
What Is the Purpose of Having a Girlfriend or Boyfriend?
In Islamic logic, everything has to have a useful purpose. Whatever you do should be in line with Allah’s commandments, and you must have Allah’s contentment in mind. In other words, you must have a good reason for whatever activity you wish to engage in. Having a girlfriend or boyfriend is no different. Do you want to enter a long-term relationship with a boy or girl just for fun, or God forbid, to satisfy your lust? If yes, Islam strictly forbids it. However, if you have the intention of getting married to that individual in the long run, as long as you do not do any haram activity, such as touching, kissing, or seeing the parts of the body that is haram for you to see, having such a relationship could be justifiable.
Can I Befriend Any Random Person I Meet?
The way finding friends of the opposite gender works in the west is, to a great extent, unacceptable in Islam. The first thing that causes two people to become girlfriends and boyfriends is their physical appearance or looks. Of course, Islam does not say that looks should not matter and you should only look for their level of piety. Yet, one should not only consider the looks of a person they wish to marry. Once again, notice how the goal is getting married, not to have fun and satisfy one’s lust. The priority for entering into a halal relationship with a person is knowing their personality, piety, and preferences.
So if you know a girl or boy you think is a good candidate for you to marry, talking to them and getting to know them more within the bounds of Sharia is permissible. However, both sides must have the intention of marriage in mind.
Of course, if you wish to marry someone just because of their looks, it is not haram. However, Islam strongly advises against it because such a marriage is built on a shaky foundation. At the end of the day, a person’s character, personality, level of piety, and qualities matter the most.
Should Parents Be Informed?
One of the conditions for getting married is having the permission of the girl’s father. Parents do not need to know that a girl and boy have met each other and are planning to get married, although ethically speaking, they should be informed. When the girl and boy have made up their minds and want to get married to each other, they can inform their parents and let them know whom they want to marry.
In some cultures, like in some Middle Eastern countries, it is necessary for the parents to know the boy and girl have met each other and are in a relationship. That is why they go to each others’ houses so their families can better know each other. In the west, however, this is not the case. Likewise, parents do not mind that their children go and find their spouse on their own as long as they are not sinning.
What If We Are Not Sure? Is There a Solution?
In Islam, there are many solutions to a problem. If a boy and girl truly wish to know each other more without engaging in sinful activities, what should they do? What if they just want to derive halal pleasure from each other and not get permanently married? Is it possible? The answer is yes to both questions. This is where the issue of temporary marriage arises. Temporary marriage has multiple purposes. One is when a couple wants to know each other more but is not confident that they are made for each other. Couples can enter into temporary marriage to make sure they are made for each other. Then they can enter into permanent marriage. However, like permanent marriage, most jurists say the girl must have her father’s permission.
Now, what if they just want to get temporarily married for pleasure? This is also allowed in Islam. However, married men who have access to their own wives should not go overboard and start finding cases for temporary marriage left and right. It is not haram, but Islamically, ethically, and socially discouraged. Temporary marriage mostly applies to widows or divorced women who want to either get married permanently to other men or satisfy their physical desires. To know more about temporary marriage or mutah, refer to the article Mutah in the Quran.
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Having a girlfriend or boyfriend is a very hot topic in today’s world. Many Muslims want to know whether or not it is permissible to have one. It all depends on various things. Do they want to engage in sinful activities? Do they intend to get married? Islam disallows having girlfriends and boyfriends for the fun of it while sinning. However, if they wish to get married, it is allowed for them to enter a relationship that does not involve sinning but one based on logic and mutual understanding. If they only want to satisfy their natural and physical desire, temporary marriage is the solution.