19 June 2008

"I love you!" Love In Islam

"I Love You!"

It’s a sentence most of us have probably used at one time or another, though we probably don’t want elaborate on the context we’ve used it in.

But hey, what’s wrong with love?

Love is one of the central human emotions. We all experience love for someone or something, to varying degrees, at one time or another. Most of the time, when we think of love, it brings a warm, fuzzy, and sometimes naughty feeling – the type that makes us feel that nothing in the world matters, with the exception of our beloved.

We are often hushed up and reluctant to discuss love with anyone, except for maybe our close friends. But if we think about it, love isn’t something bad. In fact, it too is a blessing of Allah. Think: if there was no love in the world, every single person would fight everyone else. There would be no peace and happiness. The world would be a terrible place without love.

One of the strongest (if not the strongest) bonds of love are between family members. Thus, Allah has made all believers brothers (and sisters). That’s why we should try to love all Muslims as our brothers and sisters.

Allah (SW) has said:
"The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islâmic religion)." (Quran, 49:10)

Love is natural. It enters the heart and leaves at will, and we don’t have much control over it. While we don’t have control over love, we do possess control over the actions it can lead us to.

In essence, love is good, but it is the actions that result from it that are of concern.

As with anything, there is a certain limit and transgressing the limit turns the good into bad. For instance, praying Salah is a good thing. No Muslim disputes this fact. However, if one prays Nafl (non-obligatory) Salah all night and misses Fajr (a Fardh or obligatory Salah) in the morning, then his praying Nafl all night becomes something bad. Likewise, if a man spends all day praying and doesn’t provide ample food, clothing, and shelter for his wife and children, then his praying all day becomes bad.

Similarly, if love for something or someone begins blocking us from the worship of Allah and from following his orders, the love also becomes a bad thing. If a person, for the love of his children, works all day long (so he can feed and clothe them well) and doesn’t pray and remember Allah, then his love for his children has evidently become bad for him. Allah Almighty says:
"O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allâh. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers." (Quran, 63:9)
In the same way, if the love leads us to forbidden acts that displease Allah, then again it becomes something bad.

Many times, the love for our beloved can lead us on to a very treacherous path. It can happen very slowly – so slowly that one often fails to realize what is about to transpire, and “things” just “seem to happen”.

In the Holy Quran, Allah has said:
"And come not near Zina (unlawful intercourse). Verily, it is a Fâhishah [i.e. anything that transgresses its limits (a great sin)], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allâh forgives him)." (Quran, 17:32)
Note here that Allah has said “and come not near” instead of saying “don’t do”. What does this tell us? The following hadith of the Prophet (SAW) explains the verse:
“The zina of the eyes is the gaze (at that which is unlawful); the zina of the ears is to listen (to talks that excite the carnal desire); the zina of the tongue is to speak (what is evil); the zina of the hand is to touch (the opposite sex which is unlawful to you); the zina of the feet is to walk (towards immorality); the zina of the heart is to desire (what is unlawful), and it is the private parts which either commits or shuns the actual act of fornication.” (Reported by Muslim)
If the love for a person leads us to any of the above, it is obviously crossing the limit. Be it through meeting, talking, or simply chatting, we must be careful that our love for our beloved doesn’t take us overboard. Love is natural, yet what it can lead to is what’s dangerous.

We all fall in love one time or the other. The key is to control the love and put the brakes on any potentially unlawful actions it may lead us to, no matter how minor they may seem.

Verily, short-lived is the love that leads to the displeasure of Allah (SW).

May Allah (SW) protect me and all of us from the love that leads to His displeasure. Ameen.