Muslims, strictly speaking, do not ‘flirt’. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have our ways of showing when we’re interested in someone. This has led to the creation of the tongue-in-cheek phrase ‘Islamic flirtation’. What this means is that Muslim guys and girls will convey interest, whether consciously or not, through the guise of something relating to the deen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can mean that the guy and girl in question are able to connect romantically in the best way possible: a mutual appreciation of their deen.
However, it does lead to some pretty funny situations arising. The oft-repeated joke about a Muslim guy (to use a crude turn of phrase) ‘picking up’ a girl by offering to wake her up for Fajr is actually not far removed from the truth in some cases. Here are some other examples of how Muslims may convey interest in someone of the opposite sex:
1.) You post in an Islamic forum or Facebook page and they PM you to commend you for it or ask an unnecessary follow-up question, usually followed by an equally unnecessary friend request.
2.) You’re at an event and they offer to help you move chairs/distribute flyers/clean up afterwards. For the sake of Allah of course 😉
3.) They like every Islamic-themed Facebook status of yours, often volunteering some generic comment like ‘Ameen’ or ‘InshaAllah’.
4.) Your younger sibling of the opposite sex accompanies you to an event and they make best friends with them, ostensibly to ‘introduce them to some good brothers/sisters’.
5.) They ask you for some advice on a deen matter over Gmail when you just happen to appear online.
6.) They retweet some Islamic-themed tweet of yours.
7.) You go to Rihla and they suddenly develop a burning need to go, and of course they need to ask you all about it.
8.) You’re in the same Arabic class and they ask to borrow some notes because yours are so well-organised, mashaAllah.
9.) They spot you at an event and feel the need to ask you what you thought of it, despite the presence of several hundred other attendees who the question could be directed at.
10.) They stare excessively at the ground whenever you’re in the vicinity.
I’m only half-joking here, peeps. Obviously I’m referring to people at a middling level of conservatism here-at the most conservative level this type of behavior would be considered too out there, while less conservative people will express their interest in a different manner altogether. That doesn’t mean their signals will be any easier to read though. In fact, in less conservative Muslim circles things can get a lot messier, because people will hide behind the ‘we’re just friends’ line.
I’ll go into the different types of free-mixers in my next post, but in the meantime, do you find this type of ‘Islamic flirtation’ hilarious or simply part and parcel of the chase when you’re Muslim?