‘But Islam Does Not Forbid Love’: How Young Muslims Define ‘Halal Dating’

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Photo by Susanne Nilsson via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

At NPR Code Switch, Neha Rashid reports on how careful use of language and a peck of dating apps for young Muslims are helping them find love while observing Muslim beliefs that forbid sex before marriage.

For young couples like them, the idea of dating is common, and it means balancing their religious views with their desire for emotional intimacy. But the term “dating” still invites an offensive suggestion for many Muslims, especially older ones, irrespective of how innocent the relationship may be. Dating is still linked to its Western origins, which implies underlying expectations of sexual interactions — if not an outright premarital sexual relationship — which Islamic texts prohibit.

One way that some young Muslim couples are rebuking the idea of dating being offensive is by terming it “halal dating.” Halal refers to something permissible within Islam. By adding the permissibility factor, some young couples argue, they are removing the idea that anything haram, or prohibited, such as premarital sex, is happening in the relationship.

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