In recent time it appears as though the entire idea of cherishing someone has been cast out from the religion of Islam – Many people consider the concept of ‘love’ and ‘lust’ as something that Islam forbids in its entirety, whether it be felt inside or outside of wedlock.
As Muslims have begun to adopt non-Muslim customs in their weddings and marriages, we find a great loss in the etiquette of treasuring a partner as if he or she were the most prized possession in the world.
However, there are narrations of the Prophet showing an intimate and compassionate side to his wives for a reason. These narrations could have been left hidden by Allah, but in the Prophet, we discover the perfect morals and etiquettes to treat our partners with.
The feeling of love and lust is not one that is unknown to Islam. Allah says in the Qur’an,
“And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them, and He has created love and kindness between you. Surely in this there are signs for a people who reflect.” – Quran 30:21
In this verse of the Qur’an, Allah refers to the relationship which emits from the relationship of marriage as something that brings love and tranquility. On the contrary, a person who leaves the Sharia aspect of love and opts for lust finds his heart very heavy and tainted. Animalistic and hedonistic behavior may provide some minor pleasure for a short period of time but it will not provide the solace and harmony created through marriage.
Such negative attributes of haram love are not unknown to Islam and are mentioned in detail in the Qur’an, in Surah Yusuf.
Haram love was also seen in the time of the Prophet and the blessed periods that succeeded his time; there are narrations of individuals who had carried out some improper action but it was their specialty that they would repent abundantly.
In one narration mentioned in Mishkatul Masabih, a woman who committed fornication in the time of Rasulullah made such repentance that Rasulullah himself stated:
“Verily, she has repented in such a great manner that if her repentance was to be shared upon the people of Madina, it would be enough for them (to attain salvation).”
The issue of forbidden love is a problem that we face today and this was also a matter that was prevalent in the periods which were rendered to be immensely blessed by the Prophet.
Quite simply, for as long as man and women will remain on the face of this earth, the issue will remain. The reason for this is that out of all the modes of worship made accessible to mankind, only two have existed from the beginning of time and will continue to do so in the hereafter. The first is Iman (belief in Allah) and the second is marriage.
Thus for marriage to be continued, attraction to one another must also continue and those who shun the bond of wedlock will fall into the trap of such unwanted love.
Sheikh ‘Abdullah Ibn Mubarak was a man who became a great scholar of Islam. He was truly a friend of Allah so much so that once his mother went out searching for him and found him sleeping in an orchard near a rose tree. To her astonishment, she found that a snake was fanning him with a branch from a Narcissus tree.
Nevertheless, prior to him becoming a great saint, Sheikh ‘Abdullah was intensely in love with a beautiful slave-girl. His love for her grew as time would pass and once during a winter night, he stood near her home in hope of seeing her.
His love for her was so strong that he stood the entire night until the morning waiting to see her but she had not left her house once. His efforts were in vain and he became so upset and regretful that he wasted his night that he said, “If I had spent the night in worshipping Allah, it would have been a thousand times better than what I have done.”
His regret was so huge that Allah had opened up his heart and his false love was replaced with Divine love. Sheikh ‘Abdullah Ibn Mubarak thereafter rectified himself completely and submitted himself to Allah.
Allah can enjoin sincere and loyal companionship upon a person if he abandons the pull of haram relationships and diverts his life prior to marriage towards the obedience of his Creator.
Islam does not negate the feelings of the heart, rather it negates the feelings which lead one to rebellion and that which causes vast problems. There is no ban on having fun as long as it coincides with the restrictions placed by the Sharia.
It is perfectly fine for a person to play football with his friends or go to the gym. However, this becomes problematic when prayer is missed for the sake of a football match. Likewise, to love somebody from deep within your heart is emphasized on as long as the two lovers are permitted to love each other (i.e. through matrimony).
The heart itself is a very important part of the Muslim’s body. From this heart emits the feelings of love, anger, joy and many other emotions. However these feelings are determined halal or haram by the actions that emanate from them.
For example, a person can be angry but if in his anger he has hit his Muslim brother, his actions have rendered his anger haram. If he had suppressed his anger and recited T’awwuz (a ‘udhu billahi minash shaytaanir rajim) he would be from among those people whom Allah loves.
In the same way, love is not wrong if it is for Allah or for family. But this love becomes haram when it targeted at a boyfriend or girlfriend, a partner outside wedlock, a ‘fling’ with no repercussions.
This is why the Prophet has mentioned,
“Surely, in the body there is a lump of flesh which when it is sound the whole body is sound and when it is corrupt the whole body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart.”
Similarly, it is mentioned in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, on the authority of Anas that the Prophet said:
“The belief of a slave will not be straight until his heart is straight.” Ahmad
What is meant here is that the bodily actions will not be in accordance with Islam until the heart is. For whatever becomes a bodily action is the output of the heart.
Therefore, if the heart is in accordance with Islam, one’s belief and bodily actions will be too and a core which is filled with affection for Allah will always want to obey Him and never disobey Him.
lbn Rajab mentions:
“If his heart is sound and there is nothing in it but love of Allah and love of what Allah loves and fear of Allah and fear of falling into that which He dislikes, then all of the actions of the limbs will be right, and there will arise from that his avoidance of all forbidden things and his guarding himself against ambiguities in case he should fall into things which are forbidden. If the heart is corrupt and it is overcome by following desires and seeking what he loves even if Allah dislikes it, then all of the limbs; movements will be corrupt and will give rise to every act of disobedience and (engagement in every) ambiguous matter according to the extent of his following the hearts’ desire … For this reason it is said that the heart is the king of the limbs and organs; the other limbs and organs are its troops.”
It is for this reason the Prophet would say in his supplication,
“O Allah, I ask You for a sound heart.”
This is why it is imperative for us as Muslims to fight our desires in the various societies we enter. Many of us are working in places which are of mixed genders and we find that we have to interact with the other sex on a regular basis. This is not just for people who work but this also applies to students who go to colleges and universities.
Society has advocated that we find ourselves partners to become intimate with. This type of ideology has found its way into the lives of young and old Muslims alike and now we find many Muslims engaged in relationships from young ages.
Recent culture has subconsciously given people an incentive to imitate the sweet romantic relationships that they see on their televisions in their own lives. Through this influence, the lives of many Muslims are being corrupted.
It is imperative that we protect ourselves and our children from the huge rush to gather boyfriends and girlfriends.
Many of these relationships happen in secret to prevent parents from finding out but at the same time there is guilt which settles in the heart and after a few months, a God conscious Muslim will realize that it is time to give up the haram and will do it despite the sadness and the ’emotional rollercoaster’.