What a year. Many single muslims may have started off 2020 with intentions of stepping up their search for a partner. Real intentions that fell apart, once we fell into a global pandemic. And I know for so many of you, the events of this year may have meant a complete stop in your search for a partner. As you battle the thousand and one hurdles that covid-19 has brought for many of us, marriage may not have felt like a priority.
Now, with lockdown and quarantine rules consistently changing – it’s hard to know just what you should be doing. So, should you just give up on your search altogether this year?
Your Search Isn't Doomed
Just because we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live a single life forever. Halal dating during Covid-19 is actually more feasible than you’re usual dating escapades. 2m distance, no hugs and no hand holding – sounds pretty halal to me!
Does it mean you may have to change the way you go about your search, absolutely, but if you’re already keeping things halal, we’re not talking drastic changes here.
So, how can you search for a partner, progress towards marriage and still keep to local guidelines?
Meeting New People During Lockdown
Depending on where in the world you’re reading this, the lockdown and quarantine rules in your country will likely differ. At the time of writing, many countries are seeing the start of a second wave. This means tighter controls and quarantine measures may come into place again, so the very first thing you need to do – is keep up with local news updates.
If your country/area isn’t currently under strict quarantine and you’re able to still take part in classes or activities etc – great! At this point you’re not confined to strictly using an app to meet new people but don’t throw caution to the wind – wherever you’re going – wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene and keep your 2m distance from others.
Stuck in strict quarantine/lockdown – thanks to the many apps now available for halal dating, you can still meet new people from the safety of your own home. It’s not ideal for some, but it does mean you can keep up with your search. Just be sure to follow safety protocols with online dating (as always!).
Online Dating During Covid-19 - Now What?
Your conversations with a ‘potential’ via an app shouldn’t be any different right now but, you may find some people don’t quite hold the same opinion as you, when it comes to following guidelines. So if they suggest you meet in person (when you can’t do so safely) or that your families all meet during quarantine – alarm bells may start ringing.
If you’re taking serious precautions, following local guidelines and there are loved ones you need to keep safe – you may want to think twice about someone that says you’re being dramatic or worse, denies covid-19 exists.
On the other hand, if you’re both on the same page and conversations have been progressing, how can you move towards the next stage in your (halal) relationship, whilst keeping safe?
Yes, it was always going to be the most obvious first choice but it’s the first choice for a reason! Video calls are a great first date, even outside of a global pandemic, since it can act as a ‘screener’ prior to an IRL date. It’s a helpful way to test initial chemistry and you’ll know almost immediately if you’re in a cat fish situation. If you’re communicating via an app, many have in-app video call features, which means you can see each other in real time without exchanging numbers and without potentially infecting each other!
Whilst your first few video calls can feel exciting as the conversation is flowing, as you get to know each other, treat each video call as you would any other date. Plan an activity. Whether it’s watching the same movie together, cooking together or testing each other at a quiz – an activity is a great way to keep your video calls fun and light, as you get to know each other.
Socially Distanced Dates
If where you are, you’re still able to go to a restaurant/coffee shop for a date – great! This will absolutely make your life easier but take precautions and always take your safety and those of your loved ones into consideration.
If you’re being particularly cautious or you’re in an area with stricter quarantine measures – what can you do?
Consider the following but again, always check to make sure these align with current quarantine guidelines in your area:
- Do your grocery shopping at the same time – Ok, it doesn’t sound glamorous, I know, but a socially distanced grocery shop is a perfect quarantine date if you’re in the midst of a more significant lockdown. You’ll need to keep your 2m distance and wear a mask, but it’s a great way of safely seeing one another!
- Go on a hike/walk – A great way to keep up with physical activity if you’re otherwise stuck indoors.
- Picnic – Completely weather dependent but a great quarantine date If you each bring your own picnic blankets, your own food and stay 2m apart!
- Drive thru coffee – Drive in your own respective cars through a drive thru, park up at a safe distance, windows down and enjoy your coffee together!
So if you’re in the midst of a significant lockdown, your families may not be able to meet right now. It’s not ideal and it can absolutely feel like it’s pressing pause on all your efforts but remember, Allah (swt) is the best of planners.
If guidelines allow a small number of you to meet, you may find it easier introducing each other to siblings first. It’s a great way of initially introducing your families and if all goes well, you can consider having your parents meet, in a socially distanced setting.
If however, you’re in strict lockdown, patience is key here. You will eventually meet (if you both want to of course!), it’s simply a case of waiting. As frustrating as it can feel, try not to feel disheartened. Trust in Gods timing. If there’s a significant delay to your plans, you could consider introducing each other to family members over video call, until it’s safe to meet in person. Regardless, while you’re both in quarantine, remember communication between the two of you, whether its via text, phone or video call, is key!
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed relationship expert/coach. Advice and responses are solely based off my own experiences and opinions. Please use your own judgement and seek professional help where needed.
If you are searching for Islamic guidance, this is not the place. Please contact an imam/ respected scholar etc who can can guide you appropriately inshAllah.