Dating and courtship practices
When a young person decides to get married, the following steps often take place: This type of focused courtship helps ensure the strength of the marriage by drawing upon family elders' wisdom and guidance in this important life decision.Family involvement in the choice of a marriage partner helps assure that the choice is based not on romantic notions, but rather on a careful, objective evaluation of the compatibility of the couple.He doesn’t have a long-standing secondary relationship like Leah (“I’ve actually veered away from doing that”), but he certainly enjoys the company of other women, even sometimes when Leah is home.“I like everyone to meet each other and be friends and stuff,” he explains.Even the term “open relationship” seems like a throwback, uncomfortably reminiscent of free-love hippies, greasy swingers and a general loucheness so overt as to seem almost kitsch.But Leah and Ryan, 32 and 38, respectively, don’t fit these preconceived ideas. She wears pretty skirts; he wears jeans and trendy glasses.Rather, in Islamic culture, pre-marital relationships of any kind between members of the opposite sex is forbidden.
Or, more specifically, that going outside the partnership for sex does not necessitate a forfeiture of it.“There’s this huge group of younger people that are involved in these things,” says Ryan – an observation that seemed borne out of a monthly event called “Poly Cocktails,” held at an upstairs bar on the Lower East Side a few weeks later, in which one would have been hard-pressed to realize that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill mixer (a guy who’d wandered in accidentally must have eventually figured it out; he was later seen by the bar grinning widely as he chatted up two women).In fact, Leah and Ryan are noticing a trend that’s been on the radar of therapists and psychologists for several years now."Dating" as it is currently practiced in much of the world does not exist among Muslims.Young Muslim men and women (or boys and girls) do not enter into one-on-one intimate relationships, spending time alone together and "getting to know one another" in a very deep way as a precursor to selecting a marital partner.