Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Flirt, Or Not To Flirt: That Is The Question

Flirting with the opposite gender is becoming a common practice in our community, even amongst the most “religious” brothers and sisters. We have all witnessed some degree of flirting, whether it is a scene in a movie, at the library, or even while buying something at a store. Defined straight from the dictionary, the word “flirt” means: to behave or act amorously without emotional commitment; toy or play with another's affections. In addition to describing what flirting is, we will also explore how to avoid it, as well as how to stop if we are already engaging in it. Please note that any advice I give is a reminder to myself before anyone else.

There are Muslims who choose to stay away from the “flirting frenzy” , while avoiding interacting with the opposite gender ( unless it is strictly for business reasons. And, if this person chooses to talk with the opposite gender , he/she does so with a business-like attitude, keeping in mind the example of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) when talking to non-mahrams) . It is so easy for these Muslims to look at all of our “flirting” brothers and sisters as sinful , but has anyone tried to advise them in a kind way? Or do they just over look the issue , and say “ At least they are not touching each other”, or “ it could be worse, they are not committing a really big sin anyways”. While these statements may have a tiny bit of truth to them, we cannot ignore the problems this type of logic leads to. This is a trick of shaytan , which leads a Muslim to commit larger and larger sins. We need to stop the lower levels of Zina before they escalate.

In surat Al Israa, ayat 32, Allah Subanahu wa Ta’Ala says : "And come not near to unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a great sin and an evil way." .Zina is unlawful sexual intercourse, and anything that leads to unlawful sexual intercourse is a lesser type of zina. We all have heard the story of Barsees, a man among The Children of Israel, who was a close servant to Allah Ta’Ala , who worshiped Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’Ala for over 60 years. During those 60 years, Shaytan was unable to misguide Barsees. Four brothers came to Barsees, asking him to watch over their sister while they fought in the war. Barsees finally agreed to let the girl stay in a tent in the back of his house. Step by step, shaytan started to tempt Barsees to come in contact with the girl. And, in order to cut a really long story short, Barsees eventually commits zina with the sister of the four brothers . Not only does shaytan convince Barsees to commit zina, but he also convinces Barsees to commit murder, and shirk. Barsees spent his whole life worshipping Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala ,and died committing shirk. SubhanAllah, what a great importance there is in ending small sins and immediately repenting to Allah Ta’Ala.

We have already defined flirting, but what exactly is it? I will provide some examples of business-like communication, and examples of communication infused with flirting. For example, You are a sister who wants to know the date of a certain event in the Muslim community, and decide to ask a brother. Here is an example of communication infused with flirting.

Sister: “ Salams, What day is the event? I am looking forward to you organizing a great event, cause you always do ;) MASHA’ALLAH =]”

Brother: “ Wa Salams, the event is on the 31st. Stop making me blush, we all know the events are only successful because of devoted volunteers like yourself, MashaAllah” .

Sister: “ I am not trying to make you blush, because you know it’s true. You are the best community organizer ever, alhamdulilah. I would also like to volunteer for this event, can you let me know what you need me to do ? =)”

Brother: “ Of course sister, here is my number 813-000-0000, and meet me at the library before every one else gets there so we can get in some extra planning in for this event”

Sister: “ Sounds like a great idea! , count me in, inshaAllah”

Here is an example of a conversation with a business-like attitude:

Sister: “Salams, what day is the event? InshaAllah all goes well with your planning”

Brother: “Wa salams, the event is on the 31st , and InshaAllah all goes well”

Sister: “ I would like to volunteer for this event, so please let me know how I could help out”.

Brother: “ Jazaki Allahu Khair, it is much appreciated. You could help us by cleaning up at the event. Here is Sr.Sisters number813-000-0000, please contact her first if you have any questions. If she cannot answer them, I would be able to answer your questions inshaAllah, at 813-000-0000 “.

Sister: “ Jazak Allahu Khair for your help, inshaAllah I will be able to volunteer, and I am sure Sr.Sister will be able to answer all of my questions inshaAllah”.

Do we notice the difference between the first conversation and the second conversation? In the first conversation, the “friendliness” has no boundaries, and could lead to something that is haram. In the second conversation, the brother and sister have respect for each other, saying only what needs to be said, while being nice and formal.

The best way to avoid flirting with the opposite gender is to avoid talking to the opposite gender unless it is absolutely necessary. I cannot stress this enough. What is cute and simple can turn into something bad . Real Quick. This is our deen we are talking about—and it certainly is not something to risk. So how exactly do we do this? If we know that there are 2 brothers and 7 sisters volunteering for an event, and we want information about it, we can contact the gender that matches our own, thus avoiding talking to the opposite gender. We are not suggesting that we never speak to the opposite gender and all become hermits. Eww. Haha.

What I am suggesting, however, is that we try to avoid that which can lead to harm. It is the best way to prevent something from happening.

So, now that we have a general idea of what flirting really is, how do we avoid engaging in it? There is a simple formula that can be used to stop anything we want to change:

What are we getting out of what we are doing?

• As stated by Dr.Phil, “ People do what works”. If we engage in the same behavior over and over again, we better believe it is for a reason. We would not do something if it did not work for us.

• What does this mean? It means that even though we know we are doing something wrong, we still continue to do it because we are getting something out of it . Even though we know that flirting with the opposite gender could lead to something extremely haram, we still do so because it helps us to feel better about ourselves. Or maybe we do it to get attention, or to feel loved.

 Once we know why we are doing what we are doing, we can create a plan to slowly( I cannot stress the SLOWLY enough=])end this behavior. The companions of the Prophet SAW memorized 10 ayat of Quran at a time, then implemented what they memorized into their lives.

• I do not know what level everyone is at when it comes to this issue, however, I will use a generic example to explain what I mean.

• Let us say that a girl or guy tends to flirt with everyone he/she talks to. Maybe the first step to ending this issue would be to flirt with two less people at a time. If the girl or guy flirts with 20 people a day, then decrease it to 18 people a day.

• The following steps would be to keep decreasing it until it reaches to as low of a number as possible.

 While we are making these changes, we must find a way to get the same “ payoff” as Dr.Phil says, for the better behavior as we did for the old behavior. If we flirt with someone to feel “special”, then we must realize that there are other ways to feel that way that do not involve doing something haram. We can feel special by writing a poem, running a mile, reading a book, laughing with our family, and, most importantly, worshipping Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala .

 Even though this should be obvious, I will point it out anyhow

• Make Duaa, and ask Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala to help us all to stay away from those things which displease him. Read the Quran often, and reflect upon its meaning.

• Make your intention to change only for Allah Ta’Ala, because if you are changing for your friend who you want to impress, your future husband or future wife, then you will stop when you think they are not looking. The change will have meant nothing if you only do it when people are watching you.

• Keep your tongue in constant remembrance of Allah Ta’Ala. The world is full of Masha’Allahs and SubhanAllahs. Just go outside one night and gaze at the stars. Run through freshly cut grass. Drink ice cold water. Talk a walk with your family. And do not forget to say Alhamdulilah =)

   We live in a place and time where people tell us what is right, and what is wrong. Advertisements set the standard for what is normal. We think something is okay if “everyone is doing it”. We spend so much time doing meaningless tasks that we forget about the things that really matter. It is time for us to start paying attention to things that matter, even if they are as small as “flirting”. There will come a day when a mother will forget her child. When our tongues and limbs will speak on our behalf. Let us remember this day.

                                                    And prepare for it. Daily.

“Your souls are precious, and can only be equal to the price of Paradise. Therefore, sell them only at that price.”

— Ali ibn Abi Talib

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