..from Islamonline.net(I felt that this article is good to be reflected upon that this is the 3rd time i've republished it here)
By Latiefa Achmat**
Mar. 4, 2006
The world is growing and developing very quickly. In fact, it is getting extremely hard for people to keep up with all the changes to the point that many young people are not so sure what is expected of them. If there was one word to describe our modern age, it would be fast. People these days want fast service, fast-food, fast cars — everything has to be fast and no one wants to wait.
This obsession with speed has reduced people's threshold of patience. Traffic lights and traffic jams are considered to be the curse of the modern age because people don't like to wait. And so their patience gets less and less while people's expectations get higher and higher.
Everything in life has a price tag and we could safely say that the price of today's high-tech fast world is the break-down of relationships. Making a relationship work takes patience. So we see families fall apart when the going gets tough — people just give up and leave.
We have gotten used to using quick remedies when we are ill, and this mentality has been transposed into our emotional problems. We want to be better now! We want the problem to be fixed now!
As a consequence, many marriages are failing, and many young people these days are extremely cautious about committing themselves to a long-term relationship. The idea of being "tied down" and unable to escape, should problems arise, frightens many people who have grown up with the "quick-fix" mentality. So, just like buying a new washing machine with a twelve-month warranty, young people are looking for a relationship that comes with a guarantee for success.
In an attempt to get this, people have adopted the notion of "try before you buy," meaning they think a relationship is more guaranteed to succeed if the two people in a relationship know each other on every level before committing themselves.
So people in today's world might end up "trying" out a relationship with a number of potential life partners before they find someone who may work. We have to look at what happens to all those young people who have been "tried" and then discarded.
Young people most often enter a relationship wholeheartedly and with enthusiasm that comes with their age. They are often idealistic and so when they try out a relationship and completely give themselves to their partner and then the relationship fails, this causes them to fall down hard. Many young people feel disheartened, disillusioned, and depressed when they are rejected.
But the idea of being free to try out a potential partner is all too common. Even though the divorce rate continues to rise, many people opt for this unfortunate way of life.
Allah gave us the boundaries of our behavior. He gave us guidelines to live by and rules to follow so that all people are respected and protected. Muslims are not permitted to use each other in any way and this applies to relationships as well. The only way for a young man and woman to share their lives together is through marriage. Islam has made this abundantly clear and we are also not to get carried away with the fast-life mentality and think that once we marry we will automatically have a perfect life — just like pressing buttons on a food-vending machine!
How can it be otherwise when relationships are built on sharing and nurturing? I've met married couples who have been married for 30 or 40 years and they are happy. They admit that they're still getting to know each other.
Most young people look forward to having a happy, stable relationship with someone they love and to building a happy, stable family. This grows out of patience, good character, commitment, and energy to face life and meet its challenges together. In this context there is no room to "try before you buy" or use people with the goal of just having fun and then discarding them as if they were disposable.
** Latiefa Achmat is an Islamic counselor and social worker in Cape Town, South Africa. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.