Will a young Muslim woman miss out on marriage by not dating and having relationships?

I am afraid, I am not like normal girls of my generation, I don’t like dating boys and getting into relationships, but I really want a serious relationship later. The thing is that I am afraid, how can i be sure that later there is someone for me, I am afraid that the people who were dating and getting in relationships will get married while i will not, i know this is stupid but this is a big fear (not the biggest, we all know what the biggest is) but it’s a big one

I assume that you are aware that sex outside of marriage is a major sin, and that relationships outside of marriage are considered a gateway to that.

As for your question, a woman continues to be near the peak of her attractiveness until the age of 25, it should be relatively easy for a woman to get married until then. A wise woman will do her best to get married around this time or earlier, this is the age where she can get the interest of the best men available to her. After this age, she may have to settle for lesser men if she wants to get married. If she values her education and career, she can get married and continue with these and delay pregnancy, or have children and resume her career later, whatever works for her.

Some people mention the idea that experience with relationships helps a person have better relationships eventually. This is wrong. In the US, for example, a first marriage generally lasts more than 25 years, while a second marriage lasts about 10 years, and a third marriage 5 years. Instead of increasing the likelihood of marital success, having had a divorce greatly increases the chance of getting a second divorce.

Men consider some women “wife material” and others not. A woman who has a cynical attitude toward relationships and has had sexual experience with many men may still get much interest from men if she is attractive, but this interest will be mostly from men who want to have sex with her, rather than men who want to marry her and take care of her for life. A woman who is known to easily get into and out of relationships is not going to be considered attractive wife material. I don’t mean that she will never get married, but that she will be considered less attractive for that than women who do not have such a reputation.

A worthy man is not going to go for the most attractive women, he will try to marry a woman who has a good reputation and who is preferably a virgin, or at least has had very few partners. Such a woman is more likely to be loyal to their marriage, to not abandon him and to not fall in love with others, because such women still have their emotional bonding ability (as the divorce statistics show).

A woman who has had many partners has less of this ability, because she feels it puts her in a very vulnerable position, and she feels no man may deserve this type of dedication after the losses she has suffered. This makes it easy for her to abandon her later relationships. I discuss this matter and many related ones in my new book Sex and Purpose. It is neither sex’s fault that things are this way. We are designed to seek the type of partner who is most likely to give us a successful relationship and healthy children, and among the things men look for in a wife is her “innocence” (or whatever they may call it), her not having so much sexual experience that she cannot feel emotionally attached to a man anymore.

Developing a reputation for having had many partners is not going to do a young religious woman any favors, it will cause the worthy men she wishes to marry to consider her less attractive. If you want to have a successful marriage with a worthy and religious man, then avoiding relationships might be more likely to give you success in this regard than engaging in them.

It is difficult to avoid relationships when other girls your age talk about it and engage in it all the time. Your solace can be the Quran and worship. By making the concerns of the afterlife feel important in your heart, the concerns of this life start to feel unimportant and become much easier to bear. Keeping a heightened state of spirituality requires daily work, as I often say. It is not something that can be achieved then put on the shelf, one’s spirituality decreases every day, and one must work to increase it again every day.

From an Islamic perspective, it is God who manages your destiny for you. You are not in charge, God is. It is only God, and no one else on Earth, who can ensure a good marriage for you. If you carry out your duty of keeping God’s remembrance alive in your heart, of avoiding all sins and gathering good deeds, then you can leave it to Him to take care of your marital success for you. This is known as tawakkul, placing one’s reliance on God. If you have a close relationship with God, if you carry out your duties and pray to Him to give you success in this life and the hereafter, then He will give it to you in the way He chooses, at the time He chooses.

Engaging in a potentially sinful relationship out of the fear of being left behind is similar to a man engaging in a questionable type of business out of the fear of poverty. This is not an admirable thing, it shows a lack of trust in God. If God is the All-Powerful King of this universe, if He can do anything, if He takes care of His servants, then how can anyone justify disobeying Him to ensure their own good?

Engaging in a potentially sinful relationship may actually cause one to be punished by God by ending up in an unwholesome marriage where neither spouse likes the other much, and where both of them continue wishing to find a better match for themselves so that they are never content with their current relationship.

So it is true that it feels risky to pass up relationships for years in the hope that you will eventually be approached by the right man. But this is what Islam demands, that we avoid engaging in things that promise us rewards and profit if they are questionable.

If you are old enough to be in relationships, you are old enough to marry. Islam wholeheartedly rejects the hookup culture of the West where people “date” and have sex for years before “taking the jump” and marrying. If a man wants to enjoy being with you, then he must publicly promise to take care of you and accept full responsibility for the relationship.

Most men would rather not do that. They would rather enjoy having sex with women without being responsible for the relationship, and if you get emotionally attached to him (as you are biologically designed to do) and ask for marriage, he will act as if there is something wrong with you and call you “clingy”, and he may try to break off the relationship. Once this happens to a woman multiple times, she becomes cynical toward relationships and loses her ability to become emotionally attached to men, and men will treat her like she is broken. She may still be interesting to have sex with, but to them she is no longer worth marrying if there are younger, less sexually experienced women available.

Islam prevents these things from happening by requiring all sexual relationships to be official, men are not allowed to use you then abandon you.

It can be beneficial to delay marriage, for example so that the person gets more experience, but this has to be balanced by the concern that a person prevented from marriage may be tempted to seek a relationship outside of it. If a family prevents their daughter from marrying, saying she should wait for the perfect man to come along, and she ends up in a sinful relationship, then it is the family that is at fault.

Islam has no concept of relationships outside of marriage. It sounds like you are not eager for a relationship, you are only worried what may happen down the road. The only thing to do is to be patient until God makes a way for you, and to remember that in the view of most men, fair or unfair, for a woman the more sexual relationships she has had, the less attractive she is as a wife (even if she continues to attract men’s sexual interest).

Assuming you are 18 or older, if you are eager for a relationship, then you can let your family know this. If an eligible man approaches you, you can direct him to your family so that he asks for your hand in marriage, if he is in love with you he should have no trouble with the idea of marrying you. Islam does not let men stay children until they are 40, saying they are too immature to marry, it asks them to marry and grow up from the experience. If your family says you are too young and that you should wait 7 or 8 more years, tell them it is not easy to wait when so many people around you are in relationships.

There is no perfect solution to this dilemma. It is one of the challenges of life that require patience and reliance on God, similar to a person’s desire to earn an income in the West while not engaging in anything forbidden, which can be difficult at times. A person may be offered the perfect degree or the perfect career, but it may require engaging in unlawful things to acquire these, and for this reason they have to pass them up, taking a loss for God’s sake and trusting that His rewards are better than what this world offers. Similarly, to not engage in the dating and relationship scene may feel like a loss, but a devout woman will do it to please God.

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