It is Allah’s blessing to us that we have these technologies today that, if we use them properly, facilitate for us many ways of lawful communication and interaction.
The Internet, with its many features – like Messenger and online forums – has provided young Muslims, both men and women, with an easy way to get to know one another and exchange ideas. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as everything is done with the parents’ full knowledge and oversight. As long as our conversations are in conformity with the dictates and etiquettes of Islamic Law, then they remains upon the default ruling of being lawful.
The Qur’ân gives us the general ruling to be applied when men and women speak with each other: “Be not soft of speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease aspires (to you), but utter customary speech.” [Sûrah al-Ahzâb: 32]
This is evidence that speaking in and of itself is lawful between men and women. The Qur’ân does not provide us with guidelines for doing things that are unlawful!
Nevertheless, frequent conversation can lead single young men and women to start liking each other. Their hearts can become attached. This is part of our human nature, which Allah has placed in us. It is in our makeup. It is naïve to think otherwise and a mistake for anyone to think that he or she is strong enough to resist it. No one is immune.
People differ only in two things: their degree of moral integrity that they exercise when faced with the situation, and the decisions that they make.
This brings us to what must be done when two Muslims find themselves seriously falling in love online. They have two choices:
1. They can decide to stop all communication with one another once they realize that a serious emotional attachment has begun between them, and nip it in the bud.
2. They can start taking the practical and lawful steps with their families to realize their feelings in a lawful way.
In either case, it is unlawful for them, Islamically, to develop and pursue a serious romantic relationship online, since persisting in it will only cause their desire for each other to grow stronger until it overwhelms their ability to reason and make sound decisions. Many scandals have resulted. Many women have become victims of unscrupulous men. At the very least, the couple could develop serious emotional ties that can never fulfilled in a lawful way through a happy marriage, due to the disparity in their social circumstances, their looks, the possibility of their parents’ disapproval, or some other obstacle.
Therefore, once a man and woman who interact with each other via the Internet find that they are emotionally drawn to each other, they must do what is right and proper. The young man should make overtures to the woman’s family and seek from them permission to pursue marriage according to the proper custom. In this way, the future of their relationship will be determined according to the moral dictates of Islam.
There will be either acceptance from the family, in which case we have nothing but praise for the Internet that acted as a means for the wholesome and good Islamic marriage. Or the marriage proposal, after due consideration, will be turned down, while reason still reigns supreme.
Therefore, marriage that results from an initial contact online can be successful or unsuccessful. This depends on how the two people conduct themselves from the start. How they take matters after their interest in each other is kindled makes all the difference in the long run.
And Allah knows best.