When I read Islamic literature or talk to Ulema, falling in love is a subject that is often avoided like the plague and – at best – looked down upon. Why is it so? We live in a world where men and women constantly interact and are bound to be attracted to each other. How should we deal with it? Should we just force ourselves into believing that it is a bad thing and we should stay away from it? Is Islam against falling in love?
What does falling in love mean?
Falling in love refers to a state of mind, which develops from a combination of emotions. Love is not a single emotion; it is a combination of infatuation, lust, romance and strong attachment.
The question is not whether you should fall in love or not, or whether Islam allows falling in love, or whether falling in love is halal or haram. A romantic feeling towards another person is an emotion and it may not be possible for us as human beings to stop ourselves from feeling something. The real question is what you, as a Muslim, should do if you feel a strong desire (love) for another person?
What is Wrong with Falling in Love?
Let’s make one thing clear here, ‘falling in love’ here does not mean normal attraction or feeling an affinity towards someone other than permissible relations. What we are talking about is ‘mad love’, a love that supersedes love for all other beings.
When a person ‘falls in love’, certain things happen:
- All of his/her thoughts become focused on the one who they love
- Everything the lover does is for one purpose only, to win the heart of the beloved
- This fixation often leads to neglecting other responsibilities in life, which can affect family, coworkers, friends, etc.
So, what is wrong with being this way?
If you are a Muslim, there are serious issues with this state of mind. Our lives are not supposed to be like others. We are here on earth for a specific purpose: to submit unconditionally to Allah and spend every moment of life as prescribed by him. This requires an unwavering focus on Allah and doing things that please him. When you fall in love, this focus is shifted towards the beloved and you want to spend every moment of your time to do the things that please the beloved, that’s where the problem lies.
“In Islam, it is not a sin if you feel a special affinity or inclination towards a certain individual since human beings have no control on such natural inclinations. We are, however, definitely responsible and accountable if we get carried away by such feelings and take specific actions or steps that might be deemed as haram (forbidden). (Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto)
What to do if you Fall in Love?
Despite knowing our duties as Muslims, we constantly fall short because of our inherent weaknesses as humans. We want to be good Muslims but at the same time we are also attracted to the world around us. In this day and age, the opportunities of interaction between men and women are limitless, which puts us in a precarious position. So, what can we do to keep ourselves from getting into this situation and if we succumb to our desires, what can we do to get out of it?
Advice #1 – Lower your gaze (eyes and ears are the primary sources of impure thoughts)
“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” (Surah Al Noor: 30)
Advice #2 - Fill your heart with love of Allah
“Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah); they love them as they should love Allah. But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the Punishment: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the Punishment.” (Al Baqarah: 165)
Advice #3 – Get Married
If we do find ourselves drawn to someone, then why not take the halal option and marry that special someone. Of course we should make sure that this person will actually make a good spouse and good parent; and most importantly will not cause us to compromise on our duties to Allah.
Part of the wisdom of the Rasool’s (SAW) advice to get married early is so that feelings of love are channeled in a socially beneficial manner as opposed to something which is harmful. And there is nothing like being in love with one’s wife or husband.
Finally, an excellent book on this subject is “Al Jawab Al Kafi” by hafiz ibn Qayyim Al Jawzziyah. It’s Urdu translation is available by the title “Dawa-e-Shafi.” It discusses in great length various aspects of love and what can we do to keep ourselves from straying.
There is no easy way to resist the temptations of love but the prescription is there and it’s just a matter of using it.
(Image courtesy of robak sxc)