The concept of love has intrigued
mankind since our very creation. Stories of love have been found
in all societies, past and present. It’s found in poetry and literature
(Shakespeare, H. D. Lawrence), in pop culture (songs, movies,
The love for our parents is one of the first emotions we feel.
Throughout our lives we love countless things. But if you ask
a group of people what love is, they’ll all have a different answer.
History is full of Literature and anecdotes explaining and describing
love. In truth, the definitions of love are exhaustive. Everyone
has a different explanation of love, because there really is no
one definition for it.
There are many different types of love. The love for one’s Mother
and Father is different from the love for a spouse. The love for
people and animate objects is different from our love for Allah
and Islam. And these different forms of love are also accompanied
by different ways of expression.
As a Muslim, our feelings of love should be governed by the duties
and beliefs of Islam. The perfection of love is our love for Allah.
Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “And from among mankind there
are some who take for themselves (objects of worship as) rivals
to Allah, loving them as they should (only) love Allah. And those
who believe are stronger in their love for Allah”.
In fact, it is for Allah that all our other forms of love should
originate. For example, we should love each other because we believe
in and worship Allah(SWT). Allah states in a Hadith Qudsi:
“Where are those who love each other for my sake? Today, I shall
give them shade in my shade, it being a day where there is only
Loving the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) should be our second priority.
The Prophet (SAW) said: No one truly believes until I am more
beloved to him than his own parents”.
We can love anything that Allah has made Halaal. And since most
things are Halaal, there are many things we can love. Aside from
people, we can also love a particular sport, or a type of food,
especially things that are stated in the Sunnah, like archery
and horseback riding or dates and water, just to name a few. Likewise,
something that is haraam, would obviously be haraam to love. Also,
loving an enemy of Islam is a haraam type of love. Allah says
in Surah Al-Mumtahina: “And don’t take the disbelievers as your
auliyah, they are auliyah of each other”. Since feelings of
love are often uncontrollable, we have to fight our desires of
haraam love. The Prophet (SAW) said:” None of you believes
until his desires are in accordance with what I have come with”.
Love that is channeled in the right direction is encouraged in
Islam. Many examples of love can be found in the Quran, Sunnah
and the lives of the Sahaba.
Allah says: “And he has put love and mercy between you”, when
referring to spousal relations. The Prophet (SAW) said: “Of the
things in your world that are beloved to me, are women, perfume,
and the coolness of my eyes during the prayer.” Ali (RA) would
often recite poetry to express his love for Fatima (RA).
Halaal types of love can become haraam if they become extreme.
The Prophet (SAW) warned us about going to extremes. He (SAW)
said: “Indeed those who came before you were ruined because they
went to extremes”. And he (SAW) also said:” Never love someone
so extremely that you can never hate them, and never hate someone
so much that you could never love them”. For example, if we
love a certain scholar so much, that we take his/her word over
the Quran or the Sunnah, our love for that scholar has become
extreme, and therefore Haraam. Believe it or not, it happens all
the time. We might not even notice it. Many instances of blind-following,
which are a big problem in the Ummah, are due to this type of
In more worldly matters, if a certain sport or activity makes
us skip the prayer, this could constitute as an extreme love.
Of course this doesn’t really have to be the reason. It could
just be that one just forgets or is lazy. But if you consciously
skip the prayer for that activity, because you love doing it so
much, you’ve probably fallen into the deep abyss of extreme love.
Usually, extreme love is not really love at all, but actually
a type of infatuation or obsession. It becomes more obvious when
it’s directed to other humans. For example, someone might love
their spouse so much that they’ll consciously miss an obligatory
duty to be with them or to please them. For example, a woman takes
off her hijab just to please her dayuth husband. She knows it’s
wrong, but she’ll do it anyways due to her extreme love. One man
from the Salaf, was so obsessed with his wife, that he actually
made sujood to her. Don’t get me wrong, spouses are encouraged
to love each other, and should do all they can to develop and
keep those feelings of love. The Prophet (SAW) loved his wives
very much, and vice versa. We couldn’t even begin to understand
what their love must have been like. But the Prophet (SAW) didn’t
let that distract him from his religious obligations. Ayesha
(RA) said: “The Prophet (SAW) used to spend time with me playing,
and chatting, but as soon as he would hear the Adhaan, we would
get up and go for prayer”. So in Islam, “True love”- when
referring to humans- can be defined as loving someone dearly,
but keeping it within context of our religious duties and beliefs.
Love before marriage can be complicated to say the least. Most
of us will have someone we like for marriage. We often notice
that person and the little things they do, and we say to ourselves”
Hey, I’d like to marry that person”. The problem is that we’ve
been too influenced by our society. TV., movies cause us to feel
a void in our lives. So we create this imaginary “Romeo and Juliet”
–type scenario to fill it. One will find themselves in a flux
between reality and fiction. Surprisingly, even we macho brothers
do it sometimes (Though we’ll never dare tell anyone). Often times
one will think that they’re in love with someone, but in reality,
they’re just in love with the idea of loving someone. TV. and
movies are all make-believe. The scenarios they portray about
love can’t be plugged into real-life situations. So as Muslims
we should remain pragmatic and not let our emotions get the best
of us. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to like or even love someone
before marriage; Marriages don’t have to be 100% arranged. It’s
good to like a person before you marry them, granted you don’t
transcend the limits set by Allah (SWT). The Prophet (SAW) acknowledged
that two people who aren’t married can fall in love. He (SAW)
once said: “The best thing to do for two people who are in love,
is to get married.”
Just don’t get too attached to the idea of a particular person
because a lot of times it doesn’t work out, and could lead to
heartache. And it’s usually for naught, considering that you wouldn’t
really know that person unless you were married to them; and,
also considering that marriage is predestined anyway. Remember,
the goal is marriage, not the person. If you find that you’re
constantly thinking about someone- and just absolutely have to
marry them- you‘re probably in the area of extreme love.
Since haraam types of love can be out of our control, they won’t
necessarily earn us a sin; we earn a sin if we act on those feelings.
But the matter can get more serious than just earning a sin. Loving
haraam things can eventually lead to us negating our emaan.
A lot of times we can control certain emotions, and as a mature
Muslim, we should be able to identify them. The best thing we
can do is go back to the source, which is our heart. Purifying
our hearts is the best way to rid ourselves of haraam types of
love. Allah says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “Indeed Allah loves those
who repent to him and He loves those who purify themselves”.
To start, we should ask ourselves a few questions: Is our ultimate
love for Allah and his Messenger? Is our love for things pure
and rightly warranted? If we do love haraam things, can it be
real love? Answering these questions will give us a good idea
of where we stand on love.
Islamic injunctions are there for our own well-being. Where lays
true Islamic practice, lays true happiness and contentment. So
while the rest of the world is still pondering over the true meaning
of love, we Muslims can rest assured that Islam has defined it
May Allah give us guidance, and make us love what he loves. Ameen.