While Muslim courtship rules vary around the globe – from arranged marriages (possibly never seeing your partner's face before the wedding night) to looser versions (spending time with each other in the company of family) – most Muslims would agree that a guy and a girl going out alone doesn't fly. A popular Hadith, or saying of the prophet Muhammad, warns that when an unwed man and woman are left alone, Satan is the third person in the room.
When Sofia Begg-Latif, the daughter of Indian immigrants, first met Farhan Latif, a Pakistani-American, the two were officers of University of Michigan at Dearborn's MSA. Often MSA leaders spent late nights together organizing events, and as will happen, the longer they worked, the less they talked about work. During these digressions, Ms. Begg-Latif, who wears a head scarf, started to notice that Latif seemed more interested in how she liked classes or how she fared on exams than he did about others.
When it became clear that both wanted more than a working relationship, Latif couldn't respectably just ask Begg-Latif out for dinner and a movie. Instead, he told her that he'd like to speak with her parents for permission to court. She agreed, and they began a traditional courtship in the presence of their families, never spending time alone or kissing until they were married.
Though it may seem old-fashioned in a US context, finding a partner without your family's help bucks most Muslim traditions.
But Latif never saw himself going through an old-world wife-search — the family setup and not knowing his partner in a real-world context until after the nuptials. Begg-Latif, a freshman when they met, always thought she'd finish college before finding a husband.