This post was written by Ream Shukairy, author of The Next New Syrian Girl. So what is halal romance anyway? It's the bashful courtship and painful boundaries in a Jane Austen novel. Or it's the romantic tension between two main characters over 14 episodes of a K-drama where every glance or brushing of hands is as electric as a kiss. Or it's those two best friends who can't admit they have feelings for each other until they finally make it official. Or it's none of the above. While there are key hallmarks to halal romance, the details are ambiguous. The ambiguous is where the best parts of halal romance can reach out and pull you in. To write the halal romance in my debut novel, I had to determine a few things. The first: which Islamic or halal boundaries will I not cross while still allowing the characters to express their feelings and form a real relationship? Some argue that romance in general without serious intentions of marriage can't be truly halal. But I disagree. Don't we all deserve a little romance? That friendship that feels like there's something more to explore? If we're not exploring that there can be something more, then I think we're missing out on something huge, and we're perpetuating the narrative that Muslims don't ‘do' romance. That stereotype gave us the same old stories of Muslim boys not crushing on Muslim girls or hijabis secretly dating white boys and getting themselves into all sorts […]
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