The word Islam means voluntary “Submission” or “Surrender” to the Will of God. It is derived from the root word “Salaam”, meaning peace.Islam is a natural way of life that encourages one to give due attention to their relationship with God and His creation. Islam teaches that it is through the doing of good deeds and seeking the pleasure of God that souls find true happiness and peace.
According to researchers at the Pew Research Center,
“While the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060. In 2015, Muslims made up 24.1% of the global population. Forty-five years later, they are expected to make up more than three-in-ten of the world’s people (31.1%).” Michael Lipka and Conrad Hacket.
Question: How Do Muslims Understand Love?
Let’s open the Holy Qur’an – The Muslim’s Holy Book and read the following verse:
” Fair in the eyes of men
Is the love of things they covet;
Women and sons;
Of gold and silver; horses
Branded (for blood and excellence);
And (wealth of) cattle
And well-tilled land.
Such are the possessions
Of this world’s life;
But with Allah
Is the best of the goals
(To return to).” Qur’an,3:14.
We realize from the above verse that the pleasures of this world are enumerated: Women for love; sons for strength and pride; hoarded riches, that procure all luxuries; the best and finest pedigree of horses; cattle, the measure of wealth in the ancient world (and even during the present era); as well as the means of and symbol of good farming in the modern world; broad acres of well-tilled land; and finally, the heaped-up hoards of gold and silver.
What we notice immediately after reading this verse is the relationship that occurs between a man and a woman. That relationship is bonded together by love – not by coercion. God has preceded all other things that are coveted by men in this life with the love for women ( this appeals to men the most). We also realize from this verse that the love that occurs actually has to occur between a man and a woman – not between a man and another man. God has even preceded the love for sons with the love of women; the love of wealth; and all that men regard as sources of power that they want to take exclusive possession of .
From this verse, we notice the strong relationship between love and sexual instincts.
Question: How Does Islam Regulate The Powerful Relationship Between Love And Sexual Instincts?
Islam does not base the knowledge of vice and virtue on mere intellect, desire, intuition, or experience derived through the sense organs – which constantly undergo shifts, modifications and alterations; and do not provide definite, categorical and unchanging standards of morality. Rather, it provides us with a definite source – the Divine Revelation as embodied in the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah, the way of life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These sources provide a standard or moral conduct that is permanent and universal and holds good in every age and under any circumstance.
According to Islam, making love to one’s wife is considered an act of worship and therefore rewarded by God. In the light of that the powerful relationship that exists between love and sex has to be regulated in order for it to attain the status of worship.
The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (p.b.u.h) said: “… and in the sexual act of each of you there is charity.” His companions asked: “O Messenger of God, when one of us fulfills his sexual desire will he have some reward from that?” The Prophet answered: ” Do you [not] think that were he to act upon it unlawfully, he would be sinning? Likewise if he has acted upon it lawfully he would have reward.” (Related by Muslim). What this means is that sexual acts are rewarded if done lawfully and are sinful if done unlawfully.
Question: What Is The Relationship Between Love And Marriage In Islam?
The Prophet of Islam indicated – albeit in very few words – the relationship between love and marriage in Islam.
” We have not seen anything better for (two) lovers other than marriage.” (Related by Ibn Majah). In other words, the trip of a person traveling on the highway of love should end in the city of marriage. It also means that no love is true love in the eyes of Islam if it falls short of ending in marriage. Islam frowns upon the idea of “playing house” for few months or even few years and later abandoning ship. Love is said to be deficient and (even fake) if it is not authenticated by marriage.
Islam has therefore laid down a safe passage through which romantic partners should take during their trip on the highway of love. This highway isn’t supposed to be serpentine. It’s supposed to be straight and short. This is meant to protect travelers on this highway from falling into potholes. Therefore, according to Islam, it’s imperative that, once the aura of love begin to make rounds between two people belonging to the opposite sex, there is the urgent need to effect a marriage contract.
There is no need to waste time or indulge oneself in reexamining the relationships over and over. This does not mean compelling people to marry others they do not love. The reason is that, at this moment, it’s only the heart that is supposed to take charge – not the head. A man might say: ” I do not know this girl very well, and she doesn’t also know me well too, I intend to get more acquainted with her habits and her lifestyle. I wish to befriend her for a while.” A girl in love might also delay marriage for similar reasons.
I should emphasize here that there is no forced marriage in Islam. Forced marriage occurs when a man or woman is coerced by the family to marry, using threats, emotional blackmail, fraud, and even bribes. Or when it is arranged against the person’s will, without their consent or consent under duress. That is not considered a marriage in the eyes of Islam. It is oppression and abuse. Marriage in Islam requires ijab (proposal) qubul (acceptance). Forcing a woman to marry a man means that there was no qubul – the right of every woman, regardless of her age. Without it the marriage is a sham.
Question: Are Love Marriages Tolerated In Islam?
To be on the safer side, arranged marriages are the cultural norm for many Muslims across the world. Men and women of marriageable age may meet their future spouses through family or friends. Generally speaking, Muslims do not “date” in the popular Western cultural sense. Therefore, many potential romantic couples look to arranged marriages as a means to realize their dreams. The general expectation is that the seed of love has already started to deepen it’s roots within the hearts of the couples involved in an arranged marriage – and (expected) to continue to grow after they have tied the knot. Before any potential romantic partners are considered, families as a unit decide the values and characteristics that they should essentially possess so that they will have a satisfying life together.
The customary period of courtship varies from one culture to another. And also from one family to the other. After an initial introduction, it is required by Islam to grant prospective grooms and brides some chances to meet in private and get to know each other under supervision. Some families encourage the potential couple to go out in public, usually in a group setting. People can be introduced through families, well-meaning community members, matchmaking services, on-line matrimonial sites, through Muslim clerics, teachers and friends with the original goal being marriage. Perhaps a better term for it should be an arranged love marriage.
After a man from the Ansar (translated literally as “helpers”), proposed to a woman and informed the Prophet about it, he asked: “Did you look at her?” His answer was an emphatic “No.” The Prophet then said: Then go and look at her, surely there is something in the eyes of the Ansar. The Ansar were the people who helped the Prophet ( p.b.u.h) after he emigrated to Medina from Mecca. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) also said to Mugheera, the son of Shu’ba (one of his companions), who informed him of his proposal to a certain woman. “Go and look at her, for it’s likely that (through your looking at each other), the feeling of affection and companionship would occur between you.
There is no human being on earth unless he or she has a heart that throbs and two eyes that see. As humans, we all yearn for love, compassion, and affection. Indeed, the human heart is never devoid of an atom of sympathy and mercy. In the same manner, the two eyes cannot also be deprived of looking and appreciating beauty. But it’s the usage of these yearnings that matters. They could be directed towards corrupting the society of reforming it.
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