Question: I am a 14 years old boy. Can I keep a girlfriend?

Answer: Dear brother in Islam, firstly let me commend the fact you have raised a question which shall Insha’Allah (swt) benefit many others in a similar dilemma. It is important to constantly measure our way of life against Islamic standards, as the future of Islam lies in the hands of our youth.

We need to understand that family life is a sacred institution in Islam; in fact, Islam has regulated the relationship between men and women and laid its foundation on chastity and decency. Allah (swt) tells us: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things) and protect their private parts. That is purer for them.” (An-Nur 24:30). Furthermore: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze…..and not reveal their adornment except to their husband’s, their father’s, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons or their sister’s sons.” (An-Nur 24:31)

In light of this beautiful Ayah, every Muslim is committed to modesty and to avoid deliberately arousing sexual feelings outside marriage.

On the other hand, the West has tried to convince us that having girlfriends or boyfriends is perfectly natural. Let me ask you, what would your feelings be if your sister told you that she is the girlfriend of some boy?

Moreover the Western practice of dating is forbidden in Islam, Muslim boys are not allowed to go out with girls before marriage, as aren’t Muslim girls. Dating is not approved of in Islam, as it may lead to unlawful intimacy, i.e. adultery. Allah (swt) tells us in the Quran: “And come not near to the unlawful sexual intercourse.” (Al-Isra 17:32) Not only should adultery be avoided, but any approach or temptation leading to it should be avoided. Therefore Islam leaves no avenue open for illegal sexual relations, and it puts a bar on wrong thoughts and sexual feelings that may arise within a boy and girl when they are alone.

We also learn a Muslim boy and girl should be chaste before marriage. Therefore as Muslims, we cannot justify romantic liaisons or girlfriend/boyfriend relations, and to re-emphasize, this might lead to an illegitimate relationship, which is one of the worst sins by Islamic standards.

Where boys and girls have no choice but to work together, they should maintain a physical distance from each other and lower their gaze, while limiting conversations to business or academic matters only.

Please remember, a Muslim girl takes pride in her chastity and honour, and a Muslim boy respects and admires a girl, who is chaste and virtuous. Similarly, a Muslim girl admires a boy, who is honorable and chaste, and will be able to take on the responsibility of a family.

Your heart is at a tender age. If you are serious about a girl, then accept her with all the responsibilities and take the option of marriage, as Muslims are encouraged to get married as soon as they are mature enough and have the means to do so. So why opt for immoral options?

To continue your quest for the truth, there are lectures every Friday at 8 p.m. (14, Khayaban-e-Sehar, Phase 6, DHA), which you may attend.

Lastly, a beautiful word of advice was given by Ibrahim (as) to his sons: “O my sons! Allah (swt) has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (as Muslims).” (Al-Baqarah 2:132)

He emphasized to them that the primary most essential goal of their lives was to be true to their faith, which Allah (swt), their Lord, had appointed for them, and not to die, except in a state of surrender to Him. May Allah (swt) guide and help you follow His advice. Ameen.