This is in response to the ABC News Nightline special and all of the rukus it has created, about why 42% of Black Women are single. I’d like to take this opportunity to make a modest proposal to The Single Black Woman. After reading my message, the next time some dude ask for your 7 digits, tell him to contact your father. That is a great way to weed them out!

I have read several discussions related to this topic. Almost everybody has had something to say. Some have even made some very good points. However, not one person (that I am aware of) has said what really needs to be said. The truth hurts and I know that many will not agree with what I will say. Others will agree, but still not change a thing.

The solution to this problem is to JUST SAY NO!  No to seductive clothing, to hookups, to premarital sex — no to anything less than someone getting to know you with the INTENTION of marriage. I believe the promiscuous American dating scene is definitely preparation for spinsterhood, not marriage. Non-committed romantic relationships ought to be absent from any person’s life. We all need to be real about this.

Dating is a non-committed form of emotional promiscuity, where one is romantically involved with someone whom they have no certainty (and often no intention) of marrying. In most homes, it does not require the blessing or permission of the parents, and it is often unsupervised and unchaperoned. Dating most often includes “going with” and breaking up with numerous people. This is done supposedly to help the young person become accustomed to romance and relationships with the opposite sex. It is supposed to be a psychological necessity for a healthy long-lasting marital relationship.

Dating was introduced though the moral decay and corruption of the society.  For African Americans it stems deeper than that. Slavery didn’t give us many options. However, we are no longer slaves and we should be held to higher expectations.

Dating  encourages immoral behavior and  discourages marriage. The evil consequences and misery caused by such relationships are obvious to anyone who observes real life.

As cultural historians Alan Carlson and Beth Bailey put it in the Mars Hill Audio Report, Wandering Toward the Altar: The Decline of American Courtship, prior to the early 20th century, courtship involved one man and one woman spending intentional time together in order to get to know each other with the expressed purpose of evaluating the other as a potential husband or wife. The man and the woman usually were members of the same community, and the courting usually was done in the woman’s home in the presence (and under the watchful eye) of her family, most often Mom and brothers.

However, between the late 1800s and the first few decades of the 1900s the new system of “dating” added new stages to courtship. One of the most obvious changes was that it multiplied the number of partners (from serious to casual) an individual was likely to have before marriage.

University of Chicago professors Amy and Leon Kass have edited a collection of essays titled Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying. One of the best essays is Beth Bailey’s “From Front Porch to Back Seat.” Bailey writes that until the beginning of the 20th century, dating as we know it did not exist. If a man wanted to get acquainted with a woman, he came calling at her parents’ home. He sat on the porch or in the parlor, drank lemonade, and perhaps listened to the young lady play the piano — all under the watchful eyes of her parents.

Courtship power, in the era of calling, belonged exclusively to women — to mothers and their daughters. When a girl reached a certain age, it was her mother who decided which young men would be allowed to call on her. As the young woman grew older, she herself was allowed to invite young men to call on her — provided, of course, that they had been properly introduced at a dance or dinner party (at which other mothers had controlled the invitation list). Extended family and friends might also bring eligible bachelors to call.

Young men who broke the rules and called without permission soon discovered that the daughter of the house never seemed to be “at home.” Thus, it behooved a young man to do everything in his power to impress a young woman — and her mama — in order to secure that all-important invitation to her home.

Though, there is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practised in the west, this is very similar to how things are culturally done here in Saudi Arabia. The couple, however are not permitted to be alone in a closed room or go out together alone. As the the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said,  “when a man and a woman are together alone, there is a third presence i.e. shaytan (the devil). This is a society where marriage is expected. It’s the norm. Dating is not openly done, it is shunned upon. The West make fun of the Islamic way of marriage,  in particular arranged marriage, yet the irony is that statistically arranged marriages prove to be more successful and lasting than romantic types of courtship and/or dating.

As dating became standard operating procedure (in the west) for conducting courtships, the consequences were far-ranging and sometimes tragic. First, Bailey says, “Dating moved courtship into the public world, relocating it from family parlors and community events to restaurants, theaters and dance halls. At the same time, it removed couples from the implied supervision of the private sphere — from the watchful eyes of family and local community — to the anonymity of the public sphere.”

Second.Thus, Bailey says, dating “not only transformed the outward modes and conventions of American courtship, it also changed the distribution of control and power in courtship … shifting power from women to men.” Men, not women, were now the “hosts,” and men “assumed the control that came with that position,” Bailey says.

Whereas in the old days men had to wait for women to invite them to their homes, now women had to wait for men to invite them on dates. In the 1920s, etiquette books advised men that it was NEVER acceptable to call upon a young woman without obtaining her permission to do so. By the 1950s, the shoe was on the other foot: Girls were warned to NEVER invite a boy to her home or anywhere else; to do so would be an infraction of the rules, and put boys off. Third, Bailey writes, dating “moved courtship into the world of the economy. Money — men’s money — was at the center of the dating system.”

Today, I can only think of one socially prescribed form of conduct that helps guide young men and women in the direction of matrimony…. People still get married — though later, less frequently, more hesitantly, and, by and large, less successfully. For the great majority, ‘friends with benefits’ is as much as they can hope for.

However, Islam lays its social structure on the basis of a permanent relationship between  man and a woman in the form of a family.

Consequently, to preserve this marital relationship, it forbids all forms of temporary relationships between a man and a woman. Pre-marital relationships in Islam are not considered respectful for neither the man nor the woman, nor is it constructive for the concept or the building the family or the Islamic society.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“… Wed them with the permission of their own folk and give them their mahr (dowry) according to what is reasonable; they should be chaste, not adulterous, nor taking boyfriends…” [al-Nisaa’ 4:25]

In his commentary on this aayah, Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Muhsanaat [translated as “chaste”] means that they should be pure, not indulging in zinaa (unlawful sexual conduct), hence they are described as not being musaafihaat, which means promiscuous women who do not refuse anyone who wants to commit immoral acts with them. Regarding the phrase wa laa muttakhidhaati akhdaan (‘nor taking boyfriends’), Ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘al-musaafihaat means those who are known to commit zinaa, meaning those who will not refuse anyone who wants to commit immoral acts with them.’ Ibn ‘Abbaas also said: ‘muttakhidhaati akhdaan means lovers.’ A similar interpretation was narrated from Abu Hurayrah, Mujaahid, al-Sha’bi, al-Dahhaak, ‘Ataa’ al-Khurasaani, Yahyaa ibn Abi Katheer, Muqaatil ibn Hayyaan and al-Saddi. They said: (it means) lovers. Al-Hasan al-Basri said: ‘It means a (male) friend.’ Al-Dahhaak also said: ‘wa laa muttakhidhaati akhdaan also means a woman who has just one boyfriend or lover with whom she is happy. Allaah has also forbidden this, meaning marrying her so long as she is in that situation…'”

We ask Allaah to keep us far away from that which is forbidden, to protect us from all that may earn His wrath and to keep us safe from a painful punishment. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

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