I am really blessed to have what I have and who I have in my life. I have worked hard to get here.
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It is actually quite remarkable that the picture I once had in my head at the start still manifested in some shape. Having a love like ours is difficult. I am not going to lie to you. And I know it will be even more difficult when we have children.
How Young Muslims Define 'Halal Dating' For Themselves
One day, far from now, when the sands of time threaten to fall no more. I will read my words and I will remember why I married a Muslim man. Rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, oceans all have different names, but theu all contain water. So do relgions have different names, and they all contain truth, expressed in different ways forms and times. When you believe in God, you should believe that all people are part of one family.
Nothing terrifies me more than being so close to someone and then watching them become a stranger again. Sign up for the Thought Catalog Weekly and get the best stories from the week to your inbox every Friday. You may unsubscribe at any time. By subscribing, you agree to the terms of our Privacy Statement.
Dedicated to your stories and ideas. A website by Thought. He went to bed about 10 minutes before me but he always waits up for me, which I love.
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I usually go to bed so late as my mind comes alive at night and I find it easier to write then. Sex amongst other things is something that one has to abstain from when fasting. Which is why I am now on my phone writing this, whilst he has just fallen asleep in my arms. And no, I am not fasting because you see, the thing is, I am a Christian and he is a Muslim. Why did I marry a Muslim man?
But here I am — doing just that. But I let that picture fade away over the years. Writing about this decision is something I have been itching to write about for years.
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But I have never been itching to share it. So rather than explain this choice, I will try to tell my story. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. But for now — let me take you right back to the start.
I’m Christian, My Husband Is Muslim — This Is How It Works
Khalil Jessa, founder of Salaam Swipe, a dating app that caters to young Muslims, also believes that the negative associations attached to dating depend on the particular society. When they take the word dating, they're adding this connotation to it, and I don't think that's necessarily the case. It's up to each individual and each couple to choose how they wish to interact with one another," Jessa argues. Getting to know someone and making the informed decision to marry them is not an alien concept in Islamic societies. Abdullah Al-Arian, a history professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar, says that the idea of courtship has been present in Muslim societies for centuries but was subdued in colonial times.
When the British and the rest of Europe colonized much of the world, they also placed social restrictions on sexual interactions between unmarried couples, Arian says.
I am dating a Muslim boy - The Student Room
These social restrictions also took hold in certain Islamic societies, with religious restrictions on sex leading some to go as far as segregating the genders as much as possible, including in schools, universities and even at social gatherings. These practices began to disintegrate as women started entering the workforce, demanding their rights for universal education and pursuing higher education, Arian says.
Segregating because of religious dogma became harder. And so, as the genders mixed, dating relationships also took root in some societies. This, he says, further facilitated the imitation of Western relationships. Changing ideas about modernity, widespread urbanization and the West's cultural hegemony influenced something as intimate and personal as relationships, Arian says.
But the most influential factor is globalization. These "shared experiences," as he calls them, have given birth to third-culture kids. These multicultural generations are growing up with a "very different moral compass that is rooted in a number of influences; and not just the local, but the global as well," Arian says. Before social media and the prevalence of pop culture, it was a lot easier to enforce whatever ideologies you wanted your child to follow. But as globalization increased, this changed. Young people became increasingly exposed to the rest of the world.
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Today, their ideologies and values no longer find a basis in what their priest or imam preaches but in what social media and pop culture influencers might be saying and doing. Dating apps and websites that cater to young Muslims looking for meaningful long-term relationships are easy to find.
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Muzmatch, a dating app launched two years ago, has , people signed up. Other apps, like Salaam Swipe and Minder, report high success rates for young Muslims who previously had a hard time finding a partner. These apps allow people to filter their searches based on level of religiosity, the kind of relationship they're looking for and other aspects such as whether the woman wears a headscarf and the man sports a beard.
While the men behind these apps launched them with the hope of giving young Muslims a positive platform to interact on, they say there are still many in their societies that oppose the idea of young couples interacting. Haroon Mokhtarzada, founder of Minder, says that a lot of this disapproval stems more from the fear of people in their communities gossiping than it does from the actual interaction the couples have. So I don't think it's the parents who are worried for themselves because they don't want their daughter talking to a guy or whatever, as much as it's them worrying about their family name and people talking and becoming part of a gossip mill," he says.
To combat this, Shahzad Younas, founder of Muzmatch, incorporated various privacy settings within the app, allowing people to hide their pictures until the match gets more serious and even allowing a guardian to have access to the chat to ensure it remains halal. Like many Muslim women, Ileiwat has chosen not to wear the hijab, but that has not saved her from glares and stares if she's out in public with her boyfriend. Because of the prohibition on premarital sex, older Muslims often frown upon any visible interaction between unmarried young people, no matter how innocent.
This can sometimes lead to assumptions that two individuals of the opposite sex who are just hanging out have an inappropriate premarital relationship. Which is ridiculous, but it makes for a juicy story," Ileiwat says, adding that even some of her younger married friends are subject to the gossip mill. But the fear of gossip and the older generation's fear of sexual relations between young men and women have made the concept of dating more intriguing for younger Muslims. Using the word dating to describe relationships has resulted in a schism between older and younger generations.
Hodges says children pick up the popular vernacular from peers, leading to a barrier between what children say and how parents understand it. Because of this miscommunication, many couples instead use words like "togetherness" and "an understanding" as synonyms when talking to their parents about their relationships.
Hodges refers to this gap as "that ocean between England and America," where words might be the same, but the way they are perceived is vastly different.