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April 13, 2004
Reflections on True Love

by Faisal Akhtar

And among His signs is, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)

I am sure many of you had the honor of attending the lecture a couple of Tuesdays ago about marriage. In the lecture, Ustaad Muhammad Al-Shareef said, "You can never go wrong with two topics. Marriage and Jinn." So here is my little contribution to the infamous topic of marriage.

Before I get started, I just want to make clear that I have great respect for Ustaad Muhammad Al-Shareef and this article is in no way meant to belittle his lecture which was very eye opening for me and I am sure lots of other people. The gist of his lecture the way I best understood it (and I could be wrong) was "focus on improving yourself and the best people will seek you out for marriage". I am a firm believer that the only problem that exists in this world is the lack of Emaan. Improving ones Emaan can solve all problems and it was reiterated by the lecture but after the lecture was over, I was still scratching my head. What does love have to do with marriage if anything? That question really didn't get answered for me. I mean yes improving one's emaan will lead to the answer to this question like it does to all question but I was still unable to see the connection clearly. So I came home and did some research and this article is the end product of that research.

How does one marry for love? Better yet, how does one find love? Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said

We do not think that there is anything better for those who love one another than marriage. (Ibn Maajah).

But what kind of love was our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) speaking of when he said this? When the word "love" is spoken, people tend to think of the western idea of love. Two people hugging and kissing each other, going out on dates and doing a plethora of other haram acts. Perhaps these acts are excusable for non-Muslims because they don't know better but what about Muslims who do this? Are such Muslims really in love? To ponder further on this question, think about the entity that loves us the most. It is Allah who loves us the most and shows us his mercy in many ways. Allah does not make empty claims of love. He substantiates his claims. After creating us, he provided sustenance for us, he protected us from harm and most of all he guided us. He wants nothing but the best for his creation, which is Jannah.

Conversely, think about the entity that hates us the most. It is Shaitan and indeed he doesn't just make empty claims of hatred, he really is out to destroy us. He substantiates his claim of hatred by trying to lead us astray, advising us to commit sins and trying to lead us away from Allah. Both Allah and Shaitan substantiate their claims of love or lack there of with actions as all such claims need to be. However, the major problem with the west is that it has reduced love down to a mere feeling instead of an act one chooses to do. Apparently you just "fall in love" as if love is a pit, dug so that as soon as you walk over it, you "fall" in it. As if love is a disease that attacks and you are unable to defend yourself. In Islam, all claims of love must be substantiated with acts of love. What can be said of a man who claims he loves his wife yet beats her? What can be said of a child who says he loves his parents yet disobeys them? What can be said of two people who claim to love each other, yet help one another incur the wrath of Allah? How are they substantiating their claims of love? Muslims who do such things do not love each other. Maybe in their minds, they are convinced that they are in love with each other but when they help each other commit sins and anger Allah, they become each other's enemies.

But if the western Ideal of love is wrong, what is the Islamic ideal of love? How does one love Islamically? In Islam, there is no love compared to the love for Allah. Every other kind of love is subordinate to that love. If one loves anything other than Allah or loves anything for any reasons other than for the sake of Allah, his love will never bring him joy and comfort. When one loves someone or something other than for the sake of Allah, that thing is finite and sure to perish. A woman will decrease in beauty, as she gets old and wrinkled just as a man can have money today and he may become destitute tomorrow. These objects of love are impermanent thus they cannot be loved since when they are lost, love will be lost.

Many sisters want to bring more to the table than just their looks such as their character and their intelligence. "I am more than just a pretty face, they will tell you but when it comes to choosing a partner, they want a rich man. Many brothers want to be known by more than just their jobs and bank balances but when it comes to women, they can look further than their beauty. Wealth and beauty can both disappear instantaneously so they cannot be loved.

People feel hurt when they see things of beauty dying and perishing. What they don't realize is this world is only a small portion of the divine beauty, which is infinitely more beautiful than anything in this world. There can be love for no one other than Allah and not even our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was deserved of love for any reason other than for the sake of Allah. If there was any person in history who was loveable, it was our Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) but when he died, the Muslims were unable to bear it. What could be of a greater loss to a Muslim than the demise of his Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)? But a Muslim does not love the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for his sake, he loves him for the sake of Allah since his Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) showed him the way to Jannah and told him how to worship Allah and this is what Abu Bakr made the Muslims realize when he said

O men, If you have been worshipping Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), then know that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is dead. But if you have been worshipping Allah, then know that Allah is living and never dies.
-Abu Bakr

How can we love any mortal being for their sake after knowing that even the most lovable of human beings cannot be loved for any other reason other than the sake of Allah? All living things will die and when one loves creations, he will suffer enormous pain as the creation perishes in front of his eyes but if he loves the creator, the most magnificent, then he will know that these things are his to create and his to take and he will know that he can replace all of it with better and more wonderful things. There can be no love for creation, only for the creator behind them. There can be no love other than love for the sake of Allah.

One should love Allah's creation but only because it is the creation of Allah and for no other reason. The seeds we sow in this world will lead us to Jannah and closeness to Allah and thus we should love this world. No one is telling you not to love your spouse or you parents or your children or people in general but know this, they will all perish and the one behind their creation will never perish so love them for his sake and you will find contentment and happiness. Love your parents because serving them brings you closer to Allah; Love your spouse because they are trying their best to get you to Jannah and close to Allah. And finally, love each other brothers and sister. Love and marry those who are good among Allah's creation and who will help you become closer to Allah because our prophet said

Sahih Muslim- Book 005, Number 2248:

Abu Huraira reported that the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said: Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him (i.e. on the Day of Judgment, and they are): a just ruler, a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosques; two persons who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom a beautiful woman of high rank seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer by saying):" I fear Allah" ; a person who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right hand does not know what the left has given: and a person who remembered Allah in privacy and his eyes shed tears.

So if we love each other for the sake of Allah, Inshallah we will be under his shade when there shall be no shade except his shade. So love each other brothers and sisters. Love those who are best in religion and help you become closer to Allah SWT. Do not make empty claims of love. Love others for the source of guidance they are for you. Love them because they help you lower your gaze. Love them because they enjoin the good and forbid the evil. Love them by marrying them and helping them lower their gaze. Love them by advising them to do good deeds and forbidding them from doing evil. Love them by being the best Muslim you can be and helping them become the best Muslims they can be. Love them only for the sake of Allah, only then will you find that true love you seek, that contentment and happiness that seems to elude you. Love, love and then love some more for the sake of Allah and don't anyone reading this article get married for any reason other than love i.e. love for the sake of Allah. May Allah help us love one another for his sake and may he help us find and marry the best among his creation. Ameen.


of and relating to...
Faisal Akhtar said

Assalam-o-alaikom.

First I wish to give credit where it is deserved. Brother Amr Ghareeb suggested this title for the article, mine was rather cheesy.

Second, I want to apologize to brother Talal and other Nasihah staff. I just couldn't stand the thought of my article going under the kinfe because it exceeded the 800 word limit. Please accept my heart felt apologies and I hope I was not too much of an inconvenience.

Wasalam

on April 13, 2004 4:06 AM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

Salaam alaikum,

Jazakallahu Khair Faisal. Well written article, some mistakes but they can be overlooked :). Sorry the editor in me coming out. I agree with you though, if we do everything and love everyone for the sake of Allah, then we will all have more peaceful lives. But you know, when you said that love your parents for the sake of Allah and if they perish then you know He can replace them with better things. You didn't mention parents specifically but certain relations can't be replaced. Only when you experience the loss, do you realize that when people send you regards about the loss, it doesn't really mean much because they have no idea what you are going through.
But marrying for other than religious reasons, we see the unfortunate consequences of that more and more now with the increase in divorces. But remember, pleasing Allah also means to please your parents so try not to do anything without your parents' permission if you know they won't stop you from doing anything Islamic. Sorry I just had to add that in :)

Wassalaam
'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 13, 2004 9:23 AM
Faisal Akhtar said

Assalam-o-alaikom.
You are right brother Arif. Certain relations are irreplacable and I didn't intend to come off as I did. I apologize.

To Allah do we belong and to him is our return and we need to live by this principle. I can only imagine what you went through and Inshallah, the lord that took back his Amanah will also give you the patience to cope with the loss.

you said

"But remember, pleasing Allah also means to please your parents so try not to do anything without your parents' permission if you know they won't stop you from doing anything Islamic. Sorry I just had to add that in"

You make a great point. We all need to cherish our parents while we have them but in the end, even love for our parents must be for the sake of Allah.
Wasalam

on April 13, 2004 1:38 PM
Justoju said

I dont think I have read the word 'love' so many times in a single article... Excellent topic and excellent writing Bro. Faisal.

It is mentioned in some of the Hadith Qudsi, My servant, I am, by your right, a lover of you. So, be you, by my right upon you, a lover of Me.

on April 13, 2004 1:47 PM
sharif said

i love you bro

on April 13, 2004 4:40 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

BintAbbas Said

"I dont think I have read the word 'love' so many times in a single article..."

Lol. That was one of my concerns that it might detract from the article. O well! what done is done.

I love you too Sahrief

Wasalam

on April 13, 2004 4:57 PM
Mostafa Ibn Mohamed Khalifa said

Asalaamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu,

Looks like you understood more than you thought you did from Ustaadh Muhammad Alshareef's lecture :)

One note of advice to all the writers ... when referring to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and Allah (subhanahu wa ta`aala), do not use abbreviations (PBUH, S, SAW, SWT, etc.). The scholars have said this is from bukhl (miserliness or being cheap). Don't say you love Allah (subhanahu wa ta`aala) and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and take a shortcut in praising Allah (subhanahu wa ta`aala) or sending prayers upon the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). It's not like there's a words limit on Hidaya (unlike Nasihah *ahem*) :)

on April 13, 2004 6:50 PM
Mostafa Ibn Mohamed Khalifa said

Asalaamu `alaikum,

Can Hassan be banned for this excessive spam-advertised? This is going a bit too far.

Asalaamu `alaikum,

Mostafa

on April 13, 2004 9:06 PM
Saima said

Masha'Allah, great article. I wasn't able to go to the 'marriage' event... so I don't have that to go back on. (yes, I think I was the only one that wasn't able to go)

There is really no comparison to the "true love" for Allah, the Supreme. Love for physical entities, be it wealth, power, money, beauty, and not for the sake of Allah, is always limited in the sense that the love can only fill the heart's physical capacity. It is physically limited. If you love for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta`aala, it seems that the love increases in your heart and when it has filled the capacity and has no where else to go, then your heart expands.

It's so amazing SubhanAllah.

on April 13, 2004 9:26 PM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

A prize to the person who can correctly tell the person who used to say this:
"if you love for Allah, then you live for Allah and if you live for Allah, only then can you die for Allah ('azza wa jal)"

on April 14, 2004 12:46 AM
Justoju said

...and it doesnt show up on google :) ...

on April 14, 2004 2:40 AM
dont worry said

Mostafa said:

"Can Hassan be banned for this excessive spam-advertised? This is going a bit too far."

Hmmmm it was ok to advertise for the Muhammad Alshareef event or Prepare for Battle idea on this website a thousand times but its wrong to promote this event?

on April 14, 2004 7:02 AM
Ayan said

uh oh. fake fitna. someone can't take a joke

on April 14, 2004 10:47 AM
Mostafa Ibn Mohamed Khalifa said

Asalaamu `alaikum,

Hahahahahahaha :) Nice, my plan worked. See, Ayan, you're not the only one who can do stuff like this.

P.S. -- Hassan, you're still banned :P

on April 14, 2004 5:13 PM
Ibn Muzaffar Syed Hussain said

by the way that statement used to be said by sh. imran hosein...visit his viewpoint on sept 11 at www.onejamaat.com

'work in this life as if you'll live forever, prepare for the Hereafter as if you'll die tomorrow'

on April 15, 2004 9:31 AM
Nadia said

Mashallah! This was such a beautiful article. May Allah(swt) give all of us the ability to love each other for the sake of Allah(swt). Ameen

on April 17, 2004 9:08 AM
Mohammad Shahid Mattoo said

This is an excellent article May Allah show us the right path

on May 13, 2005 8:01 AM
Faisal Akhtar said

Aaaahhhh...Memories...

JazkAllah Khair Brother

on May 13, 2005 5:42 PM
asif said

Salaam:

Masha'Allah...a deep and reflective article...I did not know that this existed until today...an excellent read.

My two cents about "love"...

In my definition, Love and Respect (or reverence) goes hand in hand.

Here are the grades of Love or reverence.

1-The complete sweetnes of LOVE can only be felt with Ishk-Haqeeqi (the True Love or Love of the Divine). Basically, love for ALLAH alone.

2-The Love for the Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-la-hu-wa-sal-lam) and his ways/sunnah comes next.

3-The 3rd kind of Love is love for your family & friends, specially your parents, kids, spouse, siblings, and your ustaad or sheikhs and so on.

4-The 4th is love for the Muslimeen and Muslimaat, regardless of where they are and what background they come from.

5-The 5th is the love for all Humanity, all Waludul-Adam (aley-hes-salaam).

6-The 6th is the love for all living creatures that has soul, living around you, like the birds, insects, and animals.

7-Next is the Love for all of Allah's creation (detectable or undetectable) that is in rememberance of ALLAH.

8- If you still have to love and respect someone or something other than the above, then let that be love for oneself, BUT only if you are trying your Best to be a Humble servant of ALLAH...other wise it becomes ostentation or Pride. Let me clarify this further...for instance...someone who hates themselves when s/he messes up against the commands of Allah, and loves themselves when they fulfill their obligations towards Allah.

Ok...then what about love before marriage...well that would be of the 4th category (loving another muslim) which is not higher than loving your parents and or their wishes.

OK, I dont know about you guys...but this works for me...Alhamdulillah!

Ma'Assalaama
asif

on May 13, 2005 6:29 PM
amatullah said

masha Allah a very insightful and sensible article

on October 1, 2005 2:46 PM
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