So it’s the last period of the day – English – and you’re waiting for everyone else to come into the room. You’ve looked forward to it the whole day, not because you’ve got some crazy obsession with Shakespeare or anything but because he sits in front of you.
You wonder if he thinks you’re pretty, it would be nice if he did. Maybe he talks about you to his friends like you constantly talk about him to yours. It’s weird every time you see him your heart becomes an acrobat and jumps. Ah, there’s a tingling feeling now that you’re thinking about him. Where is he? You look expectantly at the door as everyone spills into the room, and then busy yourself to make sure it’s not obvious that you’re waiting for someone.
He really is perfect, you think. His hair, his face, his teeth, his smile, his laugh, the smell of his aftershave – he even manages to make the school uniform look cool. Where is he? You gaze at the door again. Not to mention that he’s really popular but is still nice to everyone, not like those jerks who make fun of people, he’s actually pretty decent.
Ok seriously where is he? The lesson’s going to start! Ok you don’t want to get in trouble for not concentrating again so you turn to the front and watch your teacher recap what you did last lesson: Hamlet. You pick up a new play from her desk. You squint your eyes to read the title: Romeo and Juliet. Well that’s appropriate, ‘O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?’ [William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 2.2]
Ten minutes go by, Twenty minutes. Your heart sinks; you can actually feel it going under with each minute. You feel like crying in a weird way. You wish you hadn’t looked forward to this all day. The higher you fly, the harder the fall. Why do you like him anyway? He’s not anything special. You find yourself scribbling on your book in anger.
Suddenly the door opens behind you and you turn so fast that your neck clicks – ouch. And your heart begins to somersault in joy as he strolls in with his classic bop. Late as always. You can’t help but grin now and take a quick look at yourself in your pocket mirror. All signs of sadness are gone as he walks in front of you and sits down.
‘Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.’ [Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1.5]
Ok wait, hold up. So you like this guy (or you’re a guy who likes a girl) a lot – ok a lot is such an understatement.
Now I’m not going to tell you that these feelings are wrong, because they aren’t. Allah (subhana wa ta'alah) made us and only He knows why we have feelings that can be so strong that they dominate our lives. Perhaps it’s a test. Perhaps it’s to make us strong. Perhaps. One thing that is for definite is that everyone has had these feelings, I have, you have, your best friend has, even your mum and dad have (they'll probably try to deny it).
So how do you deal with the feelings? Sometimes they’re so strong that they won’t go away even if you want them to, other times you find yourself feeling comforted by these feelings and you don’t want to feel any other way. While you should try to avoid things that stimulate these feelings (for some - myself included it’s - say, Chick Flicks, Rom-Coms and Disney cartoons – all with the perfect guys and happily-ever-afters) it’s actually impossible to fully get away from these feelings.
However you can try to avoid them by carefully selecting what type of T.V you watch, music that you listen to, and people that you hang around with.
Usually the outlet for these feelings is (after much turmoil of finding out if the other person likes you back) is to start going out with the person a.k.a making them your boyfriend or girlfriend. We’ve all heard the terms but what does it actually mean to be someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend? Well let me tell you this.
Being in a relationship is a sort of commitment to one another which means that you're suddenly ‘off-limits’ to everyone else. It also means that you will start showing affection to each other, both emotional and physical. As you know premarital (or ‘before marriage’) relationships are forbidden in Islam.
Through my experience of school, however, I’ve found that many couples (foolishly I think) believe the latter wont happen. It will, whether it’s holding hands, hugging, or something else. To think that you’ll be able to pull off being in a relationship with no physical contact is, well, just plain silly. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said:
“Whenever a man is alone with a woman, Shaitaan is the third among them” (At-Tirmidhi)
So if you are thinking of starting a relationship, don’t go into it thinking ‘oh but [fill name here] isn’t like that, we’re only going to do stuff when we get married’ or ‘it doesn’t matter if we do stuff now or not, we’re definitely going to marry each other after university (or school or college or whatever)’.
I’m not going to lie, staying out of the whole boyfriend/girlfriend issue is hard, especially if your friends (both Muslim and non-Muslim) are in relationships and seem so fantastically happy, but being in a relationship can be harder, and it can have dire consequences.
Consequences? Like what? Well firstly, like with all forbidden acts there is a punishment, both in this life and in the Afterlife, The punishment in this life is in fact revealed in the Qur’an:
“The [unmarried] woman and the man guilty of illegal sexual intercourse, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day…” [An-Noor, 24: 2]
So that means that, for example, you got yourself into a relationship based on the grounds that hand-holding (and the occasional hug) is as far as you’ll go and then one day the pair of you are alone, enjoying each other’s company – gradually there’s a Feeling-Boost and (as Shaitaan is the third) one thing leads to another.
You’re left with a punishment of a hundred lashes over your head. That’s ONE HUNDRED lashes – I doubt most of us would be able to take the one!
But wait there’s more, like I said there’s a punishment in both this life and the Hereafter. The punishment in the Afterlife is according to the Hadith (brace yourselves...seriously):
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said:
‘…We proceeded until we came across a hole in the ground that resembled a baking pit, narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. Babbling and voices were issuing from it. We looked in and saw naked men and women. Underneath the pit was a raging fire; whenever it flared up, the men and women screamed and rose with it until they almost fell out of the pit. As it subsided, they returned (to the bottom). I said: ‘Who are these?’ They said: ‘…As for the naked men and women who were in the pit, they are men and women who indulge in zina…’ [Sahih Bukhari]
It’s rough. Really rough.
And you know how sometimes, you find yourself not doing something (or doing something) so a certain someone is happy and they’re not disappointed in you? Well that is a sort of love.
So let’s say your boy/girlfriend wants you to do something that you don’t want to do but you do it so that they’re happy (I’m talking about in general so you can fill in the blanks here).
Now let’s take the same idea and try something else. Let’s say you love Allah (swt) so much that you’ll do anything to make Him happy. Would we not try to restrain ourselves from having a relationship? And remember Allah (subhana wa ta'alah) doesn’t miss your struggle. He knows everything and is forgiving to those who repent sincerely. So for those of you who are struggling hard, pray that you keep dodging being tangled up in the first place while those of you who have made a mistake, ask for forgiveness (crying while asking help – I’m not talking wailing like a baby, I’m talking weeping – because it shows sincerity in your Du’a.
The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said:
‘No one sheds tears but Allah (subhana wa ta'alah) will save his body from the fire of Hell. If the tears trickle down a person’s cheeks, his or her face will be saved from any degradation. If one out of a group of people cries, the whole group will be blessed by Allah (subhana wa ta'alah). Only tears have unrestricted power. Verily, tears can extinguish the fire of Hell’.
So, you find there’s a mutual attraction. You find yourself yearning for the other’s company and the feelings don’t go away. You think it’s a classic Romeo and Juliet, ‘star-cross'd lovers’situation because you like each other but can’t have one another – Remember even they got married first.
Ya Allah khuz bi Qalbi lirrashadi – Oh Allah! Guide my heart to reason.