Are Relationships & Dating Haram in Islam?

Couple holding hands
Photo Courtesy: Wyatt Fisher

Islamic scholars and authority figures unanimously consider relationships and dating haram in Islam. They clarified that any romantic, intimate relationships are prohibited before marriage.

In this guide, we’ll explore supporting evidences that Islamic scholars referred to when reaching this verdict. We’ll also take a look at different Q&As regarding pre-marital interaction between non-mahram, the Islamic guidelines for relationships, and which pre-marital actions are considered haram.

1- What is a Haram Relationship? 

According to Islamic scholars, a haram relationship is any pre-marital romantic or intimate relationship.

In our research, we encountered rulings about the nature of halal and haram relationships. This included evidences regarding the prohibition of intimacy and the interactions between men and women.

The Deen Show, an Islamic knowledge source and broadcast, commented on haram relationships:

There is no concept of courtship in Islam as it is practiced in the West. There is no dating or living in de facto relationship or trying each other out before committing to each other. There is to be no physical relationship whatsoever before marriage.

The Deen Show (source)

We found questions from Muslim brothers and sisters about the permissibility of pre-marital conversations between the two sexes. These questions were contextually specific to social discourse – they do not apply to other interactions such as in the workplace.

In response to one of these questions, Islamic Q&A said:

It is not permissible to correspond or converse with a non-mahram woman. If a man intends to propose marriage then he should follow the Islamically-prescribed means of doing so. If the woman whom he wants to marry is one of his relatives, then it should be more straightforward because either he will knows about her or he will be able to find out about her from the women of his own family.

Islam Q&A (source)

Here, the Islamic authority site clarified that men intending to propose should follow the ‘Islamically-prescribed means’.

But what is this method, exactly?

We referred to a Q&A with Dr. Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation, for answers.

Dr. Naik shared detailed guidelines for the Islamically-prescribed way of interacting with non-mahram with the intention of marriage.

Dr. Naik clarified that the two interested parties can meet under certain conditions and interact according to Shareeh rulings. The criteria he outlined is:

  • The two parties cannot meet in a secluded place.
  • The female must be accompanied by a mahram (a male related to the female). Dr Naik referred to the following hadith as supporting evidence: “When a man and a woman are together alone, the Shaytan (Satan) makes their third.” (Source: At-Tirmidhi)
  • All parties should dress according to Islamic modesty guidelines, and the discussion should remain within Islamically-permissible topics.

We also came across questions concerning whether “love” between non-mahram is permissible before marriage in Islam. Islam Q&A shared their understanding on the subject (source):

This does not mean that it is haraam for a man or woman to like a specific person whom he or she chooses to be a spouse, and feel love for that person and want to marry them if possible. Love has to do with the heart, and it may appear in a person’s heart for reasons known or unknown.

But if it is because of mixing or looking or haraam conversations, then it is also haraam. If it is because of previous acquaintance, being related or because of hearing about that person, and one cannot ward it off, then there is nothing wrong with that love, so long as one adheres to the sacred limits set by Allaah.

Islam Q&A

Here, the authority site clarified that feeling love towards another person is not haram, so long as your actions comply with Islamic guidelines. The authority further warns us against social mixing and haram conversations.

Additionally, Islam Q&A was also asked about whether it is halal for a man to correspond with a woman and fall in love with her. In their response, Islam Q&A clarified that the action is haram as it leads to immoral actions. (source)

2- What is Considered a Haram Relationship in Islam? 

A haram relationship is any romantic, intimate, or sexual pre-marital relationship. 

Islam limits the interaction between non-mahram to prevent Muslims from committing sinful acts. In general, non-mahram are not supposed to interact except for essential reasons, like for transactional purposes or in the workplace.

Additionally, exceptions apply to non-mahram like first cousins, where limited interaction is permitted. (source)

3- Is Dating Haram? 

The Western concept of dating is not considered halal by Islamic scholars and authority figures. This includes romantic, emotional, and physical relationships between non-mahram. Actions such as hugging, kissing and having sex are also forbidden.

Islamic scholars clarify that dating is haram because Allah (SWT) has forbidden non-essential interaction between non-mahram.

‘Non-essential’ includes interactions that fall outside of say, buying and selling or workplace collaboration. You can read the comprehensive code of ethics for interacting with non-mahram on’s post.

We also investigated the specifics of why different parts of Western dating are haram. Western dating involves getting emotionally close to non-mahram, professing love, and engaging in physical intimacy. So, we explored the evidences for each aspect.

For example, answered a question about sending letters with romantic or lustful content to non-mahram. They responded saying:

One must refrain from all things that may lead to corruption. It is not allowed

Similarly, premarital intimacy, including hugging, kissing, and having sex is haram in Islam. There are many evidences in the Quran and Sunnah. Islamic scholars unanimously consider the following actions haram (sources):

  • Kissing, hugging, and holding hands between non-mahram.
  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Being around a non-mahram without a mahram present.
  • Being with a non-mahram in a secluded space, e.g. in a closed office.
  • Social mixing – e.g. free mixing between the two sexes at concerts.

Since these actions are common to Western dating, it’s important to be aware of their Islamic rulings.  

We also found some questions about whether there is a ‘halal’ type of dating. Dr. Zakir Naik, President of the Islamic Research Foundation, explicitly addresses this subject (source), clarifying that Islam has outlined guidelines for interacting with non-mahram.

According to Dr. Zakir Naik, non-mahram are permitted to interact with each other under certain conditions (which we discussed earlier). Dr. Naik clarified that if muslims consider interactions that comply with Islamic laws are ‘halal’ dating, then it is permitted.

However, he warns us against any un-Islamic interactions with non-mahram.

4- In Islam, Is It Haram to Have a Boyfriend or Girlfriend? 

Islamic authority figures unanimously consider it haram to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. This is because Islam forbids pre-marital romantic relationships.

Islam Q&A answered this question in detail. The summary of their answer is (source):

It is haram for a man to have a girlfriend and it is haram for a woman to have a boyfriend. The evil consequences and misery caused by such relationships are obvious to anyone who observes real life. For more, see the detailed answer.

Islam Q&A

In their detailed response, the Islamic authority website shared evidences from both the Quran and Sunnah that forbid having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Some Muslim brothers and sisters ask what to do if they have strong feelings for a non-mahram. For this situation, we can refer to the following hadith:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “We do not see for those who love one another anything like marriage.

Sunan Ibn Mājah 1847 (source)
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

5- Why Is It Haram to Have a Boyfriend? 

The Quran and Sunnah forbid us from having intimate pre-marital relationships because it increases the chance of committing pre-martial sex and other sins.

For example, Islam Q&A shared an interpretation of a verse from Surah al-Nisa addressing the matter:

“… 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-Nisa 4:25]

6- Can a Haram Relationship Become Halal?

According to Islamic scholars, two people in a haram relationship can get married, provided some conditions are followed. However, both parties are sinful for their pre-marital relationship.

Islam Q&A responded to a similar question and outlined the rulings for marriage after haram relationships. The Islamic authority site detailed the following key points:

  • If the two parties did not commit zina, or they did and repented, they can get married (and thus, their post-marriage intimacy is halal).
  • If the two did commit zina, they must wait for one menstrual cycle to make sure the woman is not pregnant. Additionally, they must repent for their sins and request forgiveness from Allah (SWT). They may then get married (source).

Additionally, Islam Q&A further discussed what happens if a woman becomes pregnant from zina (source):

“Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem (may Allah have mercy on him) said: It is not permissible to marry a zaaniyah until she repents. If a man wants to marry her, he must wait for one menstrual cycle to establish that she is not pregnant before doing the marriage contract with her. If it turns out that she is pregnant, it is not permissible for him to do the marriage contract with her until after she gives birth.

Al-Fataawa al-Jaami’ah li’l-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, 2/584
Something similar was stated by the scholars of the Standing Committee, al-Fataawa, 18/383, 384”

Islam Q&A

7- Is It Haram to Be in a Relationship? 

Yes, it is haram to be in a romantic pre-marital relationship.

Being in a pre-marital romantic relationship is understood as haram by Islamic scholars and authority figures. They have referred to many evidences in the Quran and Sunnah to reach this verdict. We’ve explored these sources throughout this article.

8- Will Allah Forgive Me for Haram Relationship? 

Muslims are advised to repent sincerely for their sins and to ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness. Only Allah (SWT) can forgive our sins.

Seeker’s Guidance shared an inspiring Quranic verse about repenting for one’s sins (source):

If any one does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

[Qur’an, 4:110]

Additionally, they mentioned that muslims should leave the sin, express true remorse, and resolve to never commit the sin again.

9- Are Muslim Dating Apps Haram / Is It Haram to Date Online?

According to Islamic authority figures, correspondence between the two sexes for non-essential purposes is haram, even if it’s online.

Islam Q&A clarified the ruling on using matrimonial and muslim dating apps. Here’s a summary of the guidelines they outlined (source):

  1. The site should not show pictures of the women.
  2. The website should not give detailed descriptions of the woman’s appearance, as if she could be seen.
  3. Non-essential communication between the two sexes is not allowed.

Islam Q&A clarified that halal matrimonial websites should put interested men in touch with the woman’s wali. This way, muslims can discuss marriage proposals in a halal way. The site further clarified that the marriage should only take place with the woman’s consent.

10- Is Muslim Dating Sites Haram 

Muslim dating sites are haram if they allow communication between the two sexes, show pictures of the women, or give detailed descriptions of the woman’s appearance. (source)

11- Is It Haram to Date Before Marriage?

Yes, it is haram to date before marriage, according to Islamic scholars.

12- Is Dating Haram or Makruh?

According to Islamic authority figures, the Western concept of dating is haram in Islam.

13- Where in The Quran Does It Say Dating is Haram? 

The Quran does not explicitly state that dating is haram, because dating is a Western concept.

However, the Quran and Sunnah forbid actions that take place in dating, like intimate exchanges between the opposite sexes.

14- I Am In A Haram Relationship – What Should I Do?

If you are already in a haram relationship, it’s important to seek guidance from Islamic authority figures and your family.

Depending on your situation, Islamic scholars may give you different recommendations. For example, muslims that are in haram relationships with non-muslims may be advised to leave the relationship.

Conversely, if two muslims are in a haram relationship, they may be encouraged to get married, provided certain conditions are met.

So, the best course of action depends on your situation. That’s why it’s important to approach Islamic authority figures and to do your own research on the matter.

Not sure what to do if you’re in a haram relationship and it’s Ramadan? Here are 7 Ramadan rules for unmarried couples.

Final Word

Love in the modern age is complicated, and many Muslims struggle with different situations. If you find yourself in a haram relationship, it’s important to be sincere to yourself and seek guidance. Additionally, it’s important to repent for any previous sins and pray to Allah (SWT) for forgiveness.

If you find yourself having feelings towards another Muslim, there are halal ways to learn more about your potential partner and send a proposal. We’ve outlined these guidelines in this article. Also, the Prophet (SAW) encouraged us to get married if we have strong feelings:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “We do not see for those who love one another anything like marriage.

Sunan Ibn Mājah 1847 (source)
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

Depending on your situation, getting married may seem difficult at the time. However, it’s important to avoid haram, seek guidance from authority figures, and discuss your situation with your family (if possible).

May Allah (SWT) guide us all and protect us from sin.


Asya is a writer, academic coordinator, teacher, and mother of five. Being born a Muslim in Europe, Asya grew up learning about what foods and practices are halal, and which to avoid. When she's not working, Asya spends her free time reading, spending time with her family, and eating chocolate.

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