How Should I Advise My Friend Who Is Dating?
Answered by Shaykh Anik Misra
My Muslim friend has taken a girlfriend recently. He hid this fact from me and denied it at first when I found out. Eventually, he admitted it, and I tried to convince him that what he was doing is haraam and explain the risks involved, but he is aware and continues to date this girl. The situation makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Should I continue to talk with him about this? Or should I stop being friends with this person?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate.
You should not try to ferret out people’s faults and sins against their will, even if he is a close friend. If he was trying to hide that he is dating from you, it means he is conscious of his error and is not proud of it in front of you. Or, perhaps he is scared he will be judged or condemned.
However, it is good that you advised him sincerely and enjoined him to do the right thing, given that dating often entails several elements considered wrong and sinful. Your concern was right. The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “This religion is meaning sincerely well.” [Muslim]
However, the rule for giving sincere advice or forbidding wrong is that it must be done gently, sincerely, and with tact and wisdom. Do not keep repeating your advice, for it will lose its impact; save it for when he decides to ask you about it.
For your part, you are not called to judge where others are with Allah, but you still must know what is right and wrong and be discerning as to whether your friends’ lifestyle choices and behaviors are something that might affect you. But never think you are better than him – this sin is worse than what your friend might be doing.
My advice is to pray for his right guidance (and your own) and be a good, supportive example of an upright Muslim friend. Do not be accepting of his sins nor approve of them, but do not reject a person entirely or appear judgemental for one hidden sin because you then cut them off from whatever good he was getting from the friendship. Do not inquire or delve into this topic with him.
If you feel that he is being increasingly open about his choices and that affects your faith and practice, or it tempts you to want to try the same, or you grow apart in your way of thinking, then you should not break ties or hurt feelings. Instead, consider how much time you want to spend with him accordingly.
Remember that youth is a confusing time, and society has its pressures and temptations, so we must be merciful with each other and support each other through these experiences.
[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim-Reasat
Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.