Is marriage without flirtation not possible? What are the disadvantages of flirtation? Does Islam permit flirtation?

The Details of the Question
Is marriage without flirtation not possible? What are the disadvantages of flirtation? Does Islam permit flirtation?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Flirtation brings about harms instead of benefits

The sentimental relationship between a woman and a man is called flirtation. When we look at the Western communities, flirtation was considered to be an experience and a type of education which was supposed to enable young people to become sentimentally mature, to get rid of their various complexes, to inform them about sexuality and to enable them to establish a conscious relationship by getting to know each other more before marriage and it was commonly tolerated.

However, sentimental relationships turned into physical relationship by leaps and bounds and fell off the agenda as if they were proclaiming the collapse of all the opinions and hypotheses regarding it. Western communities nowadays, on the one hand, are struggling against the social problems caused by the issue of flirtation which they used to consider as innocent relationships, on the other hand, they have begun to discuss the concepts like sexual liberty which has now replaced sentimental relationship. 

Today, flirtation, in other words, temporary illicit relationship with the excuse for young people to get to know each other before marriage has become common. Although it is against Islam, it might even appear among the people who are religiously sensitive now. Here at this point, we should say that the claim that “ young people have the opportunity to get to know each other if they meet and flirt before marriage. If their habits and perceptions do not match, they can end it before marriage, when they have not started it” is absolutely wrong.

Experiences show it is not like that. Today, the rate of divorce is the highest in the Western countries where people do not get married without flirtation. Both sides try to seem tolerant and conceal their bad habits when they meet in order to look good, on the stage of getting to know each other; in other words, they deceive each other. However, after marriage, the truth reveals. Yet, it is too late.

For this reason, the real faces of people to marry should be seen before marriage. And this is only done with investigation about those people by the experienced ones and by asking people who know them.

Furthermore, a man or woman who met many people when they were single will still have the desire to meet many people even after they get married. Living with a single person begins to make them bored in time and they begin to look for a change. As a result of this, cheatings, quarrels and murders which we see every day full page on the newspapers occur. An instant of carelessness, and desire for change blackens the life of people both in the world and the hereafter. Be careful!

They may seem meaningless to many people who are young because an advice given to a person who become infatuated is like nonsensical words of a mad man. For this reason, the Prophet says “ Infatuation makes people go blind and deaf”. (Kashfu’l Khafa, 2:129)

No matter what you tell a deaf person, he will not hear. A blind person cannot see no matter what you do. In this case, we should listen to the advice of our parents, relatives and friends who are far-sighted and experienced. Parents do not see the person with whom their son or daughter is planning to get married, the way they see them. They see it with the lessons of bitter experiences. Parents do not only look at the appearance but also at what is behind the curtain because the curtain prevents seeing what is real.

Is marriage without flirtation not possible?

The period of flirtation does not always reflect the real relationship. If flirtation could be lived the same as the real life, it might possibly provide us with hints and clues on how the marriage would be; however, this has several prices to be paid as you know. If flirtation is as we know it, that is, meeting sometimes and having a chat together, it is actually a period in which people perform a sort of personality which they do not display in their real lives.

For example, if a person spends twenty-three hours alone in a calm and quiet lifestyle and if they leave their need to have a chat or to wander into this one-hour meetings daily, he may behave like a talkative, lively and amusing person. And if the person “whom he dates” like lively, venturesome and social people, he may look good to her.

However, when it comes to marriage, she understands that the person who appeared to be active can only put up with one-hour wandering and chatting and he actually likes a calm and quiet lifestyle and this results in conflicts between this couple.

I have seen a plenty of people who flirted for three or four years but who became disappointed when they got married in several months. When marriage life begins, it is like the announcement “ you have watched the commercials and now the news”. 

You may say “ how can I choose a person to marry even without flirtation?”. Actually, it does not take too long for one to get to know a person. Researches have shown that especially women have the ability to assess a person and categorize him/her within the first three minutes.

For a careful person, features of the face, gestures, tone of voice, the way of speech even word choice may bear a number of signs about the character of a person. Especially women can evaluate these particular signs very well.

For instance, suppose you have asked the person whom you address “ It is nice today, isn’t it?”. You may receive various answers which refer to different personalities.

-It really is a nice weather. It fills human with enthusiasm. ( Lively, optimist)
-Do you enjoy such weather? (interested in the person he is talking to)
-Yep. (Reticent)
-You’re right, it really is, isn’t it? (Responsive, participative)
-It was nicer three days ago. (Living in the past)
-Yeah, but we’re stuck in the house in such a good weather. (Complaining, pessimist)

See, how many clues you can get out of even a single sentence as long as you look carefully, listen carefully and evaluate the clues. ( Dr. Yusuf Karacay)

What are the harms of flirtation?

Flirtation has many disadvantages: there is a trap in flirtation. In flirtation, women are mostly deceived and abandoned by men. The opposite is possible as well.

Flirtation may cause bitter experiences in young people. And many of these experiences may result badly. A person does not risk his life by putting gun powder in his pocket just to have an experience. It would be a bad idea to keep the powder next to fire. And it is also a bad idea to play with a snake just to learn how a snake stings.

Flirtation destroys the sense of logic and reasoning. A person who gets used to flirtation often changes partners. The man who deceives and abandons the girl is deemed as malicious and the deceived woman is considered as fool. For a Muslim woman, this is the most destructive disaster. Flirtation makes most of young people awful, extravagant and distraught. It causes inferiority complex, jealousy, grudge, hatred, pessimism and various psychological depressions among young people.

The desire of flirtation calls people to meet in isolated places. In the end, many young people fall into trouble, which cause them regret and pain afterwards.

In a research carried out at Pennsylvania University in USA, 1400 people who got married between years of 1964 and 1997 were asked about their experiences when they married.

Scientist Claire Kamp-Dush states that couples who share the same house before marriage are less happy than other couples and their rate of divorce is higher. He also states that considering that a separation might be easier, couples do not care too much about the relationship when they decide on it and their endeavor and children are effective on their decision to get married.

A young man who only cares for his satisfaction is easily done with the flower he smells and he looks for other flowers. He cannot be satisfied by this scene anymore; the secret, temptation, ties and knots in it come undone. He now looks for another attraction and a more mysterious tie and some other amusement. For this reason, girls or women should be careful about flirtation.

Does Islam permit flirtation?

Our religion does not permit such relationship by any means. Two strangers meeting in isolated places conduce to rebellion of their emotions and sentiments which they have in their nature to rise up. No one can make out what could happen after the rising of sexual emotions and their rebellion. A proverb says “do not keep the gunpowder next to the fire”.

Such relationships begin innocently but they end up with disappointment. Daily events stand as evidence for the fact that a majority of regrets even murders and evilness in social life are caused by not heeding this warning and exceeding the bounds between. Newspapers and television programs are full of such events, aren’t they?

Is there not any exception, is every woman or man like this? We cannot surely claim it. Every rule definitely has its exception. However, exceptions always remain exceptions; they do not change the rule itself.

Women should stay away from levity which might make them look suspicious and they should not become an object of amusement which is easily obtained and easily abandoned. Besides, men should not consider life as a place for lust only; they should not waste their energy that Allah bestowed upon them on such simple thoughts and emotions and they should use their mind and step onto the future this way.

Can I have a secret religious marriage with my girlfriend?

Today, plenty of young people ask this question. I am going to tell you a real story. A young boy asks Ahmet Hodja this question: “My Hodja! I want to have a religious marriage with my girlfriend with whom I would like to marry in the future. However, we know that our families will not allow this. Would it be acceptable if we have a secret religious marriage for now and establish our relationship and think of the official marriage when its time comes?”

Ahmet Hodja replies the boy : “I consider your wanting to have a religious marriage instead of the official one at first, wanting it to be secret as the deception of youth desires that you are under the pressure of. If a person is under the effect of his desires, he will find a way to realize these desires no matter how negative and untimely they are. It should be known that marriage is not that simple. You should consider it thoroughly.

In a religious marriage even if it is secret, rights of marriage completely come into existence and parties now assume the rights and responsibilities for each other. They even have their right of heritage. However, is it possible with the laws today to prove this marriage and to secure incurring rights?

And if one party gives up saying “I do not want to continue this secret marriage; it is not as attractive as it seemed!”, then what will the solution be? Men mostly lose their passion after a while and it then becomes easy to give it up for them; however, women become obliged even bound to be left-off and regret fills them with all its severity; but this regret does not help anything.

Meanwhile, when families who find out about this marriage are also included, then problems cause a deadlock. As it is expressed in the saying “a mad person throws a stone into a well but many clever people cannot take it out”, people become entangled in this miserable event. One solution remains and it is official marriage with witnesses in order to take back the incurred rights.

For this reason, according to Shafi’i school, people cannot get married without permission and acceptance of the family. According to Hanafi school, if parties are found to be unequal when families learn about the marriage, the right of divorce occurs. The best is to wait patiently for the time when families permit the marriage.

However, in order to bear such patience, people should keep away from levity which may cause them to exceed the bounds of legitimacy and from places which may stimulate emotions so that they can patiently wait for the time of marriage.

Otherwise, if secret meetings which lead to rebellion of emotions continue, people cannot obtain the patience to wait and they feel obliged to have a secret marriage untimely and they may end up complaining “why did the experienced elders not warn us?”. 

Do not become a victim of your temporary emotions

For this reason, keep away from places which may get your emotions our of control; do not make yourself obliged to make decisions against your mind and logic and even against your family’s acceptance, by exceeding the bounds of legitimacy. You should remember that if sexual emotions inside man are secured within legal bounds and kept away from temptation, they will not force the owner to make decisions out of mind and logic and to commit deeds which they may feel ashamed.

When these bounds are exceeded and they turn into suspicious intimate meetings with strangers, then motives of emotion which cause people make illogical decisions take place.

This warning of the Prophet (pbuh) also indicates its:

“A person who exceeds the legal bounds and make his lustful emotions rebel, is like someone who has lost  his mind completely or two thirds of it.” ( Kashfu’l Khafa, 2:129)

His decisions which he will make are not of his mind and logic but of his flaming emotions. Emotions are blind; he comes to his mind later but this time, it is too late for him. The only solution in order not to be exposed to such tragic events is to avoid meeting people suspiciously in isolated places and abstaining from tempting images and places, and to secure themselves.

Briefly, those who know the bounds of what is permitted and what is forbidden protect themselves and those who do not, feel obliged to make mistakes.

M. Ali Seyhan

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