The Palestinian Authority’s Supreme Fatwa Council ruled on Tuesday that men and
women are allowed to date online, but only for the purpose of
The council explained that dating and chatting on social media
websites, “which have hugely developed in this era, have become an indispensable
This unprecedented ruling contradicts fatwas by many
extremist Islamic scholars against the use of digital technology for dating
between Muslim men and women.
The council acknowledged that dating
between members of the opposite sex through the Internet had become “unavoidable
and impossible to prohibit completely.” However, the new ruling cautioned that
online dating was conditioned on the the two sides’ “adherence to the required
moral standards and Shari’a rules.”
One of the main conditions, the
council ruled, is “the existence of an urgent need for establishing such contact
through the Internet, with the basic goal being marriage in line with available
“The conversation should be restricted to achieving
this goal. It should not transcend to private matters that could stir instincts
and awaken desires.”
According to the ruling, a woman is prohibited
during the conversation from providing excessive detail about herself,
displaying her photo to her male interlocutor or even meeting with him without
the presence of her family.
The man and woman are also required to
refrain from chatting or speaking in a soft or submissive tone, the council
“The conversation should take place with the full knowledge of
the family and not in a closed room or in secrecy,” the council said.
said that this “conditional permit” should not be viewed as an alternative for
legitimate means and familiar traditions for dating between potential spouses.