Love and Islam

http://islamicink.wordpress.com/2007/03/01/verily-i-was-filled-with-love-for-her/

 

So you’ve known this sister/brother for a while now, and you’ve realized that you’ve come to love them and would like to get married to them. However, you’re stumped on what to do next. You feel guilty for feeling this way and think that you’re sinning. You have this feeling of sincere love inside you for them. You are not sure what their reaction will be. You do not know what to do, tell them how you feel or just conceal your love? You’ve realized that in all your days, every lecture you’ve attended, every book you’ve read, you haven’t been told about what to do when you feel like this. You begin to wonder what is the proper thing for me to do? You feel embarrassed to admit this feeling and feel scared to tell your friends much less your parents.
You aren’t the only out there who feels like this! Read on..
One of the most taboo subjects these days among our families and among ourselves generally, at least from what I’ve noticed is to speak about love. It has become quite a taboo where one who mentions it is seen in a different light (usually not a good one). There is this feeling of guilt when one feels this emotion and usually we are led to believe it is haram.

So the question comes, how do we deal with this feeling?

I know personally that I wouldn’t have the guts to go to my parents and tell them, “Mom, Dad, I want to get married to this sister, because I love her”. Or even if I did, I would go in wearing a helmet or something fearing the notorious backhand of doom. But this doesn’t mean that they are wrong, it is only that in our cultures this subject has become one which is not spoken about.

The fact is that we don’t hear about love in the Masajid and neither in our Halaqas. But love is something that was written books about by earlier scholars such as Ibn Hazm Al Andulusi (who is actually referred to as the Faqi of Love) who wrote Tawq Al Hamamah (Ring of the Dove) and Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah wrote Rawdatul Muhibbeen (The Garden of the Lovers). So why are we shy to ask about this today and learn the Islamic viewpoint on this subject? Why do we not ask about what Allah has said about this and what Allaah’s Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam said about this?

Frankly, for some people when the word love is used, it is but a substitute for lust. Others think of it only in a universal sense as Love of Allaah and Love of the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam. But love is something that is broader than that. No doubt Love for Allaah and Love of the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam is something that, without it, we won’t have Iman.

However the love referred to here is the love between a man and a woman and it is something that if you are in it, it’s signs will show up on you.

Al Bousseeri said in his poetry:

 

“Does not the lover think that his love can be concealed? While his eyes are shedding tears and his heart is glowing, Had it not been for love, you would not have shed tears at the ruins (of your beloved),
Nor would you become restless at the remembrance of the cypress (tree) at the high mountain,
How do you deny love after the testimony,
Borne against you by (such) reliable witnesses
as your tears and your illness.
Love indeed transforms pleasure into pain.”

> So What Does Allaah Say About Love?

Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”
[Ar Room 30:21]

The key words in the verse are – Mawaddatan wa Rahmah – which translates as Love and Mercy. The interesting thing to note about this verse is to notice the location of this verse along with the verses that precede it and those that come after. Allah mentions His Signs (Night/Day, Heaven/Earth, Man/Woman) and He puts the feeling of Love and Mercy between spouses in the same value as the creation of Heaven & Earth. Now then how can we ignore such a great Sign of Allaah?

> What is Love?

Ibn Hazm says describing the nature of love:

Of Love-may God exalt you! -the first part is jesting, and the last part is right earnestness. So majestic are its diverse aspects, they are too subtle to be described; their reality can only be apprehended by personal experience. Love is neither disapproved by Religion, nor prohibited by the Law; for every heart is in God’s hands.
[Tawq Al Hamamah]

Love is of two types as the scholars have defined.

Hubb
Ishq
Hubb is the arabic word for love and it is made up of the letters Ha (ح) and Ba (ب). On a side note, to recognize the beauty of the arabic language, when one says Hubb, the Ha comes from deep inside the throat which almost chokes you (as love does) and when you end the word with Ba, the lips come together as if it were a kiss.

Ibn Qayyim differentiated between Hubb and Ishq. He said Hubb was pure and noble love whilst Ishq was a forbidden, beyond the limits type of love. He meant this was when someone would go to Haram measures to be with the one they love.

There are many reasons for falling in love. Ibn Hazm proceeds to describe the reasons of love:

If the cause of Love were physical beauty, the consequence would be that no body defective in any shape or form would attract admiration; yet we know of many a man actually preferring the inferior article, though well aware that another is superior, and quite unable to turn his heart away from it. Again, if Love were due to a harmony of characters, no man would love a person who was not of like purpose and in concord with him. We therefore conclude that Love is something within the soul itself. Sometimes, it is true, Love comes as a result of a definite cause outside the soul, but then it passes away when the cause itself disappears: one who is fond of you because of a certain circumstance will turn his back on you when that motive no longer exists.
[Tawq Al Hamamah]

Physical beauty is not the main cause of love, though yes it does help in falling in love and is a reason for love to grow between spouses. However, it is to be understood that Love cannot be limited to such, because if it were then there are many people that can never hope of getting married. In fact love is something deeper which comes from inside, a mercy that Allaah has placed into the hearts of His creation.

It is necessary for us who live in an environment surrounded by Haram to check our reasons for our love, whether we are loving them in a pure sense for the sake of Allaah (yes even for our spouses) or is it merely based on our desires and lusts. Lets make sure that our reason is the former.

> An Example of Love

The Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam when speaking about his wife Khadija said: “Verily, I was filled with love for her.”

However, today we find that many of us are shy to express our love. In fact, many consider it a sign of weakness to say “I love so and so” and they consider it a blow to their pride to tell their spouse, “I love you”. But here and in other narrations (will be mentioned later) that the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam was not shy to express his love of his wife. And notice that he didn’t simply say, “I love her” and leave it at that, but he said, “I was filled with love for her” and this means that it was a true real love that he had for Khadija (Radiallahu Anha) and that he was not shy to express it.

> So What is the Islamic Ruling on Love?

Love is not something forbidden. Ibn Hazm says in his awesome book, Tawq Al Hamamah:

“And yet, when was loving banned?
Did Muhammad so command,
Or is man forbidden it
By the words of Holy Writ?”

Meaning that niether did the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam forbid love nor was it forbidden by Allaah in the Qur’an.

Secondly, love in and of itself is not in our control. It is mentioned that the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam said when he used to allocate between his wives “O Allah, this is my distribution for what I have control of, but please don’t hold me accountable for something I cannot control (his love for A’isha.)”

This proves that even the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam loved some of his wives more than others and his love for one was something he could not control at times. Ibn Hazm mentions that someone said, “O ameer ul mu’mineen…I’m in love with her.” So then Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) replied, “It’s not in your hands, what can I do for you?”

Ibn Qayyim said in Al Jawab Al Kafi:
“As for loving women, there is no blame on a person who has love for them. On the contrary, it is part of his perfection (as a human being) for Allah says “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put Love and mercy between you”

Ibn Jawzi says in his Dhaamul Hawaa:

“If you haven’t loved passionately or known the meaning of desire then get up and eat hay for you are nothing but a donkey.” & “You and the hard rock are equal.”

These quotes from Ibn Qayyim and Ibn Jawzi show that they not only considered love as something that occurs, but rather it is a sign of perfection. So when you feel love for someone, do not consider it as a flaw in yourself, rather it is a sign that you have a heart and it is a sign of your humanity. This emotion that is felt shows that there is mercy in you and that your heart is soft.

Ibn Qayyim also says:
“When we speak of rulings of love, we must describe two things. One is optional and one is not. The optional love is what leads to love (eyesight, association, etc.) and this is the love that you have to beware of (for it may lead to unlawful acts.) The non optional love, if it happens by the sudden look, or natural passions that develop, you cannot be blamed for it, but it’s how you react to it that Allah will hold you to accountable for.”

Be careful when you are in contact with the one you love for it may lead to that which is forbidden and be mindful of Allaah.

Imam Muhammad Ibn Shaab az Zuhri said,
“The first love that was ever recognized and known is the love between Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and A’isha (r.a.)”

Masrouq (a narrator) would refer to A’isha (Radiallahu Anha) in the following way:

“And on the authority of the Love of the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam” (Meaning A’isha (Radiallahu Anha))

Nowadays when we think of love stories, the first that pops up in our minds in Romeo and Juliet. But what happened with them? They committed suicide. Their love was nothing more than Zina and had they lived on to get married they would have ended in a divorce due to the fact that their love never went any test such as marriage and it wasn’t for the sake of Allaah. The Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam said: “For those who love each other, nothing has proven as good as marriage.” (Sunan Ibn Majah) What sets apart the love of the Messenger and Aisha is the fact that they were married and in their marriage their love grew for each other.

Mentioned in Bukhari, narrated Abu Uthman:

Allah’s Apostle sent ‘Amr bin Al As as the commander of the troops of Dhat-us-Salasil. ‘Amr bin Al-‘As said, “(On my return) I came to the Prophet and said, ‘Which people do you love most?’ He replied, ‘Aisha.’ I said, ‘From amongst the men?’ He replied, ‘Her father (Abu Bakr)’.

Two things about this Hadith strike me the most. The first is that the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam is not shy to admit that the person that he loves the most is his wife Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) And secondly when asked about from the men, he doesn’t simply say ‘Abu Bakr’ (Radiallahu Anhu), but he still attributes it to Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) by saying, ‘Her Father”. Indeed the love of the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam to Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) was an example to us.

Other such narrations occur which show the Messenger’s salalahu alaihiwassalam love for his wife. One that shows his humility to his wives is this one that is narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari on the authority of Anas ibn Malik (Radiallahu Anhu) who said,

“I saw the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), making for her (Safiya) a kind of cushion with his cloak behind him (on his camel). He then sat beside his camel and put his knee for Safiya to put her foot on, in order to ride (on the camel).”
> What is the Correct Thing To Do if You’re in Love?

Love usually starts from the eye, and this is why Allaah has commanded

{“Tell the believers to lower their eyes and protect their private parts…”}
[an-Nur; 30]

Love at first sight is a fact and it does occur. The Messenger said

“The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytaan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness, which he will find in his heart on the day he meets Him.” [Al Hakim]

Ironically we find in our times a representation of falling in love the little cupids that shoot arrows into hearts thus causing the stricken to have ‘fallen in love’.

There are many ways to fall in love, (Ibn Hazm even mentions that one can even fall in love whilst asleep!) but the key fact to remember is that, yes love is not forbidden and you won’t be held accountable for loving someone, but disobeying Allaah in expression of your love is Haram and it something we must be mindful of.

When you are in love, it’s signs will show up on you regardless of how much you try to hide them. Believe it or not, the scholars have actually written out a list about them (these are general):

Eyes are wide open, they are smiling, looking towards the sky, not paying attention. Lost in Thought.
The person talks too much about his beloved.
When they are in presence of each other, full attention is given to each other.
Lover usually hurries up to meet loved one.
Sudden confusion/excitement at mere sighting of loved one.
Everything else blanks out but the beloved.
Stop sleeping at night and start daydreaming.
Wasting the day.
Weeping – Getting very emotional.
For two that love each other, the best thing is marriage as the Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam said: “For those who love each other, nothing has proven as good as marriage.” (Sunan ibn Majah) And marriage should not be put off by mere issues that conflict with a person’s preference if the preference is in matters that are the type that can be overlooked. The Messenger salalahu alaihiwassalam said “If a man whose practice of the religion satisfies you, asks you for your daughter in marriage, you should marry them; otherwise there will be corruption in the land.” (Hasan – at-Tirmidhee)

And marriage is what is encouraged (and it’s the best option) because marriage is a test and within it there come many issues that put the love at test and it is also a cause for love to grow stronger. So it is said that real love begins after the ‘in love’ phase is over. Usually when two go in to marriage all is well for the first few months and then it starts to break down. Why? Because they fail to continue to keep this love up. The love becomes conditional and the value is lost. So they start worrying about their rights yet they forget their own responsibilities. The husband demands his rights and the wife hers and in the middle of this tug of war they lose their love for each other.

Here’s a tip to a successful marriage: Look towards your obligations, and do your utmost to fulfill them. Don’t look towards your rights – in fact, forget about them; and this is for both the brothers and the sisters. Go into marriage with a mindset that’s saying: “I’m going to fulfill the obligations that my Lord has obligated me to fulfill for His pleasure”. I can guarantee, Insha’Allaah, that if you were to enter into marriage with this attitude, anything that your spouse does for you (a gift, or roses, or cooks you your favorite dish etc.) will seem like a big deal and you’ll appreciate it a whole lot more. Why? Because you weren’t expecting it. A Muslim is always seeking from Allaah, and not from the creation. And if they don’t do anything special for you, you won’t feel put down. So seek from Allaah and expect from Him alone, you’ll never be disappointed.

Ibn Abbas said, “I verily adorn myself for my wife the same as she adorns herself for me. Also I would not ask her to fulfill all the rights which she owes me, so that it would become binding upon me to fulfill all the rights which I owe her”
[Tafsir Ibn Kathir – Hasan]

But marriage is different topic, it is mentioned here only because it is the proper way to go for two who love each other.

>What if it’s a No?

Yes. This is the worst part about love. When your beloved does not want to return the feelings that you have for them.

Imam Shafiee has written a poem on this matter:

و من الشَقاوة أن تحبَ
و من تحبُ يحبُ غيرك
أو أن تريد الخير للأن
سان و هو يريد ضيرك

“And from misery is that you love,
and (the one) who you love, loves other than you,
or that you want good for a person,
and he wants to hurt you”.

Yeah this is the worst part of it, but there is not much that can be done at this state. Ibn Hazm (yes him again) has written regarding this:

And among the accidents of love is the violent anxiety and silencing intensity of feeling which overcome the lover when he sees the beloved avoiding him and eschewing him; and the sign of that is sighing, and lack of vivacity, and sobbing, and having deep sighs: and on that subject I have made a poem, from which I quote:

The beautiful patience is imprisoned,
And tears are bursting forth from the eyes!
The best that can be done at this state is patience for not everyone who has loved has been blessed with a return of the same emotion from the beloved. It’s tough, yes, very and if you were sincere in your love then it will give you many a sleepless nights and restless days but try and move on. Ask Allaah to replace this loss with something better.

> In Conclusion

I end this here with some advice for the brothers and sisters:

Brothers – If you love a sister, let her know (don’t go up to her when there’s a chance that you two will end up alone – in fact, in my humble opinion don’t go up to her at all. Send in a reconnaissance, i.e. your sister or someone likewise). If she’s understanding, she’ll appreciate it. Go to your parents and ask them to get you married (no matter how hard that is) and go about it the Halal way. Also as a side note, know that it is pointless to debate with women, they’ll end up winning. And don’t give her a hard time if she can’t cook. Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) couldn’t cook either.

Sisters – If you love a brother, let him know (again as above, not when there is a chance that you two will end up alone). Insha’Allah he’ll understand. Tell your parents about it (its even harder for you, I’m sure). If you have a brother try to get him to talk to the one you love. Keep it Halal. And lastly, know that the way to a man’s heart is through good food.
To end this I quote Ibn Hazm:

“The finest quality that a man can display in Love is continence: to abstain from sin and all indecency. For so he will prove himself to be not indifferent to the heavenly reward, that eternal bliss reserved by God for those who dwell in His everlasting kingdom, neither will he disobey his Master Who has been so gracious to him, in appointing him to be a creature worthy to receive His commandments and prohibitions, Who sent unto him His Messengers, and caused His Word to be immovably established with him-all this as a mark of His care for us, and His benevolence towards us.”
[Tawq Al Hamamah]

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One Response to “Love and Islam”

  1. This blog is awesome Masha’Allaah !

    The Shaykh’s lecture who I based this off of, Shaykh Yaser Birjas, has started a new initiative for brothers and sisters in the West called ‘The Marriage Revolution’ with the goal being to confront the problems that brothers/sisters face on the path to getting married and establishing a happy relationship. Here’s the link:

    http://iwannagetmarried.com/

    http://themarriagerevolution.com/

    The webcasts are amazingly helpful and practical.

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