By tradition, Muslim women are not allowed to date in the Middle Eastern culture. If a man’s attention is captured by a woman he saw on the street, he has to go and propose marriage to the family prior to getting the chance to get to know her better.
But today, almost all young Muslim girls are in school together with the boys and talking with them, even if they study in the rural schools. In most cities, majority of girls in schools already have boyfriends or what you will call classroom romances among kids.
Even when a girl doesn’t have a boyfriend, she will have a boy she likes in class and boys also have the same. All of these start in early years of elementary school. Once the kids reach junior high and high school, those in richer higher schools are already dating. Most of the time, mothers are aware of their daughters having boyfriends yet they try to keep this as a secret from the fathers who are usually ballistic on this matter. There are still instances where fathers know but don’t really care at all. However, it rarely happens.
This means that girls in elementary school already have boyfriends even though there are not yet dating at their age. As a result of TV programs, most of the middle school girls ask their parents as to when they can start to date. Their parents will then answer them that they should finish university first and once they are ready to be married, that would be the time when it would be fine to go out on several dates to a movie or a restaurant.
Times have definitely changed and in the Middle East, this change has been driven specifically by education of girls. It is the very first generation where girls get educated even in mountain and rural areas. Back in the days, girls were securely kept in homes and are only allowed to go to the public bath or the market. But today, girls can go out and go to school every day, without supervision of their family members and parents when they are in school. They also have the freedom to talk to the boys at school. They enjoy many opportunities for freedom that weren’t available before to Muslim girls.
Most of the time, sex education is not present in Middle Eastern societies. This leads then to more and more numbers of out of wedlock pregnancies. This is why even pediatricians are now proactive to bring up the subject of the use of birth control pills with the high school girls and their moms.
If you are curious to know if Muslim girls are allowed to date, technically, no they are not. However, with the changing times, it is very obvious that this rule is now changing little by little and it will not be a surprise if Muslim women of the future will enjoy the freedom to date any man they want.