"And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way." (Surah al-Isra', ayat 32)
Based on the Qur'an verse above, Allah SWT obviously tells us not to even go near unlawful sexual intercourse (zina). How do we go near zina you ask? Well, let me see...
1. We love to communicate with the opposite sex who is not our mahram even when there's nothing important to talk about and when we can talk about it with someone of the same sex
Example: Aisyah comes to class early and saw her crush, Abdul and her classmate, Nur, already seated in class. Who does she greet first? ... Abdul, of course!
"Hey Abdul, I see you're early today," says Aisyah while twirling the end of her shawl with her finger.
Abdul muttered, "Hm," and nods.
"So, what did you have for breakfast?" Aisyah asks eagerly and moves to stand closer to Abdul.
I mean, seriously?
2. We spend hours stalking and gawking and drooling over our crush's Facebook profile
Example: As usual, the first thing that Hashim does when coming back from school is to log in to his Facebook. After checking his notifications and replying to comments, the very next thing that he does is (surprise, surprise!) typing the name of his crush, Suraya, on the Facebook search box and clicking on the link that appears automatically.
"Gosh, she is so gorgeous!" Hashim says while browsing over Suraya's latest model-like and professional-looking photographs.
"If only she was my girlfriend..." he continues to ponder.
Aha! Didn't Allah tell us to lower our gaze and guard our modesty in the Qur'an?
"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And God is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards God, that ye may attain Bliss."
(Surah an-Nur, ayat 30 and 31)
So, why do we still find ourselves staring at pictures of our crushes and showing off what we have to the public by posting model-like pictures on Facebook, then? ... Are we disobeying Allah? (gasp!) Astarghfirullahal'azim...
3. We have a boyfriend/girlfriend
Wait a minute, what's wrong with having a boyfriend or girlfriend, right? It's not like I do zina with him or her. We have never touched each other. It's just that we need to communicate with each other often so we can "get to know each other" better before we get married. Heck, I don't even recall labelling he/she as my boyfriend/girlfriend. We are just "getting to know each other". There's nothing wrong with that, right? ... WRONG!
How can constant communication with the opposite sex who is not our mahram be right if we are already told to not even go near zina? Sure, we don't actually do zina with our boyfriend/girlfriend but doesn't having someone to miss, to long for, to think about every day will eventually lead us to that? Isn't that APPROACHING zina?
It should be noted that there are many levels of zina. Zina is not just a physical thing. It can also happen through the heart, tongue and eyes. Abu Hurayah reported that Allah's Messenger SAW said: "A son of Adam's share of zina has been predestined for him, and he will inevitably fulfill that. Thus the eyes commit zina by looking, the tongue commits zina by speaking, the hands commits zina by acting (or touching) the foot commits zina by walking (toward the sin) the soul (or heart) wishes and desires (the sin) and the private part confirms all of that or desires it." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim)
But what about those who just want to "get to know each other" you ask? Okay, let me ask you back, how much can you learn about someone's REAL behaviour when everything that he or she talks about is to make him/her look good in your eyes? How much can you learn about someone when what he or she talks about is only regarding things that will impress you? Not that much, right?
I once heard a married lady saying, "You can only REALLY know a person after you get married to them." So, what's the point of "getting to know someone" before marriage when you won't even get to know the REAL them after all?
That is why, the best way to "get to know" someone WITH THE INTENTION OF GETTING MARRIED to them is by asking his/her relatives and friends about his/her behaviour. Is he/she a stubborn person? How does she handle pressure? Can she keep calm during a crisis? Those kinds of questions can only be answered by our family and friends because we often don't see our own weaknesses. Instead, we can see others' weaknesses clearly.
Still not getting it? Picture this. You're at an interview for a job you've been dreaming your whole life. The interviewer asks you whether you're always punctual. What would your answer be?
a) Of course! I'm always punctual!
b) Heh heh. I've been late every now and then.
c) Nope. I'm not punctual at all. I seldom come to office or any meet-ups with my friends right on time.
Let me guess. Most of you would answer 'a', right? A few of you cheeky ones who's willing to risk your dream job might even answer 'b'. But would you answer 'c' even when your family and friends often tell you that you are seldom punctual (except for a few occasions when everybody else came later than you)? No, right? Of course we would want the interviewer to see that we'll be a good employee at his company and subsequently get the dream job we've been longing for our whole life.
The same goes when "getting to know" someone. Of course we'll always talk about and show our best behaviours to that other person - because we want he/she to accept us in his/her life.
And that is why during interviews, employers often ask us to give REFERENCES - which are people that they can refer back to. So, they can at least ask another's opinion on your behaviour because, again, other people often see our weaknesses better than us.
And that is also why, when "getting to know" someone, it is best to REFER to his/her relatives and friends. Speaking of friends, classmates or group members (especially) can see our real attitudes because when we do group work, they can see how we handle pressure, whether we take charge, how we manage a crisis etc.
Always remember that Allah knows best. There are reasons of why He tells us to not approach zina. A few of the reasons that I can think of are;
1) So that we can avoid the feeling of being cheated after we get married - when the person we get married to turn out to be different from the one we "got to know" during courtship
2) To avoid unnecessary heartbreaks - for example, when we end up not getting married to the person we courted after all
3) Of course, to avoid zina.
Maybe there are greater reasons that we can't think of. We are only humans anyway. Allah knows what's best for us because He's the one who CREATED us after all ;)
So, let us all try our best to not even approach zina. (Don't even go near it!) Let's try to not communicate with the opposite sex who are not our mahram unless it is important and to always lower our gazes. Insya-Allah, Allah will reward us with the best spouse. Amin.
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