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How To Appreciate The Courtship Process Regardless Of The Outcome

This blog post is an excerpt from The FYI’s Marriage Prep Toolkit. Check out the full toolkit and The FYI’s very own online marriage prep course here

A common mistake people make is to rush into marriage without appropriately utilizing the courtship process to assess compatibility. Getting to know someone thoroughly takes time. Courtship is not just about the end goal of marriage. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your needs as a marriage partner.  

There is no magic number for how long a courtship should last before you know that you want to marry someone. What’s important is that you are spending (halal) quality time with the person, asking critical questions and following the roadmap outlined here for intentional interactions. This can look differently for couples depending on their life circumstances, cultural and family values, emotional and spiritual states, and whether the relationship is a long distance one. Some people get to know their partners deeply over a shorter time period, while others require more time. The duration of your courtship does not determine how compatible you are with someone.

Note, however, that allowing for more time during courtship can have three positive consequences:

  1. It allows for that initial burst of excitement about the new relationship to wear off a bit so that you can both be more objective in your decision-making.
  2. It provides you with more information about each other as you let your guard down and get more comfortable with time.
  3. It ensures that you have done your due diligence in learning more about yourself, identifying your needs, and assessing for compatibility.

It's important not to attach yourself to the outcome.

Courtship can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Both of your feelings may change throughout the process. There are many possible outcomes when you are communicating with someone for marriage:

  • You learn a lot through personal reflection and honest conversations with someone, which makes you feel more prepared for marriage.
  • You find that this process confirms your expectations about a marriage partner, and the person you are considering meets your needs, so you decide to move forward with marriage.
  • You realize that you or the other person have significant personal issues to work through, so you decide to stop or pause the process to focus on these issues.
  • You find that this process clarifies your expectations about a marriage partner, and the person you are considering does not meet your needs, so you decide to end the relationship.

It’s important that you check in with each other about where you are in the process, be honest about your feelings, and accept the possibility that feelings and decisions can change. Continue praying istikhara and making duaa, and know that whatever happens, it is decreed by God as being best for you.

Healthy couples and families are the building blocks of thriving communities. If you know a couple getting ready to tie the knot, share The FYI’s Marriage Prep Toolkit and online marriage prep course here.

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).