Jazakallah ker for your response.
I appreciate your comments and they are truly insightful.
However, one thing that plagues me is the development of society over time and the structures that are created. Now, it seems as though the income generating capacity of individuals no longer coincides with reaching puberty or attaining that state of needed emotional attachment. Hence, they are left in a gap of about 10 odd years where they pursue education or are still finding their way into the job market. What then? If they are not able to marry then it seems as though Islam is not providing the forum for interaction with the opposite sex and so many of our youth are being led to do things secretly. The atmosphere that is created seems to need a fresh approach to the situation. How can we address these issues and what should the youth be told who are not able to marry but are beginning to feel the natural feelings of their age?
Obviously, Islam or any other religion does not permit a sexual relation between two individuals when their relationship is not recognized by the society. We must keep in mind that a relationship between a man and a woman is not likely to end with the satisfaction of the “natural feelings” of two individuals. There can be a number of social, legal and moral consequences of this relationship, which the society and the individuals are likely to face as a consequence. It is because of this reason that Islam has strictly prohibited fornication and adultery and has discouraged all such interactions that even have the remotest of potentials of leading toward fornication or adultery.
I do agree with you that modern social structures have made it difficult for individuals to afford marriage at an early stage in their lives. However, a long-term solution, in my opinion, would lie in concentrating on correcting the situation rather than giving allowances in matters which the Qur’an has strictly prohibited. If the problem truly lies in modern social structures, then social scientists should concentrate on correcting these social structures.
Moreover, it should also be kept in mind that the referred problem has generally existed in all societies. Even the Qur’an has referred to this problem in the Arab society during the times of the Prophet (pbuh). The problem has been referred to in Al-Nisaa 4: 25 and Al-Noor 24: 33. At both the instances, the Qur’an has prompted the individuals to live a chaste life. In Al-Nisaa 4: 25, the Qur’an says that if an individual cannot afford to marry a free woman, he may marry a chaste slave girl, if the individual is likely to fall a prey to his desires and commit fornication. However, the Qur’an further stresses that this relationship with the slave girl should be one of marriage, not of fornication or that of a secret friendship. While in Al-Noor 24: 33, the Qur’an has directed those who cannot afford marriage to remain chaste and to control their desires till the time God improves their financial position.
In the light of these directives of the Qur’an , I do not find any room for a “fresh approach” to the referred situation.
27th November 1999