Dear Diary, Keeping you is now becoming some type of soothing therapy session for my sometimes worried mind, thank you for taking in all my rants! The Islamic dating seminar was an eye opener, I heard so much that I left the venue better educated, confused and scared at the same time. The bottom line from the event was that there is no such thing as ‘dating’ in Islam. What was I thinking? One of the speakers that I really loved, Sister Fawziyyah tackled the issue of falling in love before marriage and she basically explained that this is not the Islamic way of doing things; she said trying to build genuine love before marriage is like putting the cart before the horse. She talked about the Ayah of the Quran that advises us not to ‘come close to fornication’, coming close to fornication can happen when we spend so much with the potential spouse, going on dates like we do nowadays and gradually the shaytan makes physical intimacy seem like the perfect next step. I must admit that my heart sank when she was talking about this. I felt like she was referring to me, my heart was being pulled in so many different places. All of a sudden, she answered the question that was really bothering me, as if she had heard me ask the question as to how we were supposed%20to even know the man we were about to marry: she reminded us of the criteria that the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) had talked about for selecting a spouse: religion, noble ancestry, beauty and wealth, but the best choice is one made based on religion. She quoted Hadiths that support the fact that one could meet with a potential spouse prior to marriage but this has to be done in the presence of a reliable guardian, otherwise the shaytan becomes the third party in such meetings. My heart was beating so quickly I felt it might just pop out of my chest. What about my dreams of being courted by my ‘knight in shinning armr’ in fancy restaurants on the Potomac River? I tried telling myself that these covered folks just don’t understand the realities of the current times. Are they recommending some sort of arranged marriage? Or are they thinking I am going to marry someone I can hardly talk to? Another speaker, Sister Maryam said she met and married her husband within two months. For real? Just before I could betray my shock by screaming, she went on to say they have now been married for twelve years and have three wonderful children. She described how Friday nights has become their dedicated date nights without the children, cell phones and other external ‘noises?%80?. She talked about how she is so in love with her man and how she knows he feels the same way about her, all the special things they do for each other and how the love between them began to develop after marriage. I must admit I became a little envious at that moment; she was describing what I dream about all the time, telling me that all the romance and passion is possible if done right, she was making sense. It has been over two weeks since that seminar and I must admit that I now know which route I need to take in my search for love. The ‘false’ life on TV and among the people I see every day that celebrates long courtships, falling in love and intimacy before marriage, but contributes to the high divorce rates these days is no longer my solution. I am now going to really try the Islamic way of choosing carefully, deciding only with Allah’s help (through dua). I know it is not going to be an easy thing to do, but I must put my hereafter before today’s life, and I really want what Sister Maryam has, so why not search for it in accordance with the sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (SAW)? May Allah bless me with a spouse that will be joy to my eyes and lead me towards the path of jannah, Amin. Yours Truly, Niyah [email protected]

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