By Dr. Kaukab Siddique
Isn’t Love important? A reader (Check out the comments on the post-titled “Does Islam Allow Muslim Men To Marry Non-Muslim Women in America”) asked this question.
This question is central to human life. What is love? What does Islam say about it? What is the role of family interference in love between a man and a woman who wish to marry?
We must begin by accepting the fact that we are given the ability to love by a higher power, Allah [or God for Christians]. Without unimpaired physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health, we would not be able to love. A great Muslim theologian, Muhammad al-Ghazzali, gives a metaphor to explain the way love works. On a hot day, when we take refuge in the shade, we are pleased not only with the shade but are thankful for the trees that provide the shade. 
Thus Allah is the source of love. If our love is limited to beings other than Allah, we are very liable to be disappointed. Why? Simply because all that humans have is limited and is steadily passing and withering away. Then one day we are faced with the prospect of leaving this world and going to another level of existence about which we know nothing if we do not love Allah.
Allah, however, is not an idol or a limited being who can be loved the way humans love other humans. He is beyond our limited understanding so he helps us to understand love and how and whom to love. To love Allah, we must love his creation, in particular human beings. If we do not love humans, our claims of loving Allah are not acceptable to Allah Almighty. We must love not only all humans but also all of Allah’s creatures, from the birds in the sky to the ants in the earth.
Among the best of God’s creatures are those whom He selected to Guide humans, the most prominent of whom are Abraham, Hajira, Moses, Asiya, Jesus, Mary, Muhammad (PBUH) and ‘Ayesha [may Allah bless them all].
Muhammad (PBUH) brought the final and perfected message of all of these Guides, peace be on him. If we want to love Allah, we must love Muhammad, peace be on him, and through him all the others who preceded him. 
If our love of Allah is established and clear, then we’ll easily see whom to select as spouse for our special personal and sexual love.
We live in a time and age when Islam is gradually but steadily resurging. Among the new generations of Muslims there are increasingly larger numbers of young people who see their personal happiness as linked to love of Allah and acceptance of the Way [Sunnah] of Muhammad, pbuh. However, there is powerful resistance to this resurgence from the established feudal, military and westernized sections of Muslim societies.
For them, maintaining their aristocracies are more important than Islam. They often marry their children to cousins to keep their wealth within their families and to keep their racial-family lines [genes] “pure.” They, in particular, want to evade the property rights that Islam gives to women.
Islam does encourage great respect for mothers and fathers and supports the family system, but it does not permit parents to shape the lives of married couples.
In the choice of spouses, parents play a very important role but it is an advisory role. The final choice has to be made by the two who want to get married. Islam teaches that the virgin who knows little of the world should have a Wali to advise her so that she may not be entrapped by a clever man. However, in the final choice, the bride must choose freely and without any pressure of any kind.
In all issues related to spousal life, the married couple is commanded by Islam to seek guidance from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, not from parents or relatives.
In fact in husband-wife relationships, there is no role for parents and siblings other than that of compassion and caring. Interference is allowed only when there is clear oppression and violation of Islamic Law. Even in divorce, the Qur’an says:
“… Wives have rights similar to those of husbands according to what is equitable….” [The Qur’an 2:228], the only difference being that women have to wait for a fixed time before remarriage while men don’t have to, and thus men have a “degree” of advantage for biological reasons.
Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, commanded: “Surely you have a right over women, just as women have a right over you.” [Hadith, Sunan of Tirmidhi.]
Husbands should not be taking personal, sexual, matters to ANYONE outside the bedroom:
“On the Day of Judgment, terrible will be the situation of a man who goes [sexually] to his wife, or of a woman who goes to her husband, and then spread the secrets of their personal life, outside.” [Hadith of Muhammad, pbuh, Sahih Muslim]
Without acceptance of the Will of Allah by both men and women, marriage cannot be successful and should not be carried out.
In conclusion, Imam Ghazzali summarizes the four types of love human beings feel thus:
i. Natural love that we have for children, parents and siblings/relatives.
ii. Sensual or physical desire which is animalistic and is the result of sexual drives and is aroused by the physical shape and form of the object of love.
iii. Love based on reason and understanding, such as the love one has for poetry or other aesthetically pleasing objects and for morally exalted behavior. This is the highest limit of human love outside Islam.
iv. Islamic love that is rooted in the love of Allah and his Messenger, pbuh, and prepares one for the Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, taught repeatedly that in Paradise you will be with the ones you love. [These are the Pure Companions of Paradise repeatedly referred to in the Qur’an.] 
1. Imam Muhammad al-Ghazzali, died 1111 c.e. In Baghdad, one of the greatest theologian of Islam wrote the best discussion of LOVE in all of Islamic literature. Reference: Ihya Ulum-id-Deen, volume 4, translations available in Urdu and English
Allama Iqbal, the Poet-Philosopher of the East, died c.e. 1938, has some of the most powerful expression of the meaning of the highest form of love, ISHQ, in his verses about Self and Selflessness.
2. “And among people are those who take others than Allah as equals to Him. They love them as they should love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah…” [The Qur’an 2:165]
3. The Prophet, pbuh, asked his daughter Fatima, r.a., “Do you love me?” She replied: “Yes.” “Then,” he said, pointing to ‘Ayesha, r.a., “love the one I love.” [Hadith, Sunan of Nasai.]
Asalaam o alaikum brother Ali,
The reason why love is tainted if it is not within the realm of Islam, because it is not for the sake of Allah and can change as the wind blows and the wim takes us, there is no staying power that nurtures it.
When we choose someone based on his or her qualities that make him or her submissive to Allah alone then we also have respect for them which is another term for “Love in plain clothes”
In addition would’nt you want to be with the one you love forever……………
Here is what Allah Subhanawataala offers in Surah Tawbah:
And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends, one of another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise. (71)
and He (Subhanawataala) promises:
Allah promiseth to the believers, men and women, Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide – blessed dwellings in Gardens of Eden. And – greater (far)! – acceptance from Allah. That is the supreme triumph. (72)
Allah knows best.
In 99 % of the cases there’s a “violation of the Islamic law” whenever love involves another religion . So how can the bride or the groom choose “freely and without any pressure of any kind”????? There is a point to be taken out of that.
Nice article i Like the part about how your character will help you find the right spouse. So true
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