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Islam: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Muslims And Love

This is the first part of a new series called “Love, Sex, and Marriage in Islam.” This is to help Muslims learn and ask questions about topics of the heart, namely love and lust. 

In preparing to write this article, I visited several other Muslim websites to read what the scholars there had to say about love. I was hoping to find some good stories of love and mercy between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his wives.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed. Most of what I found on these sites were rants against love and compassion. They mostly said the only valid love is the love between the slave and Allah. Some even said a husband is to be blamed for falling in love with his wife.

Allah has blessed me with a little (very little) Islamic knowledge, and I am in no position to dispute what these scholars say when it comes to Islam. However, their concept of love is very old-fashioned, dry, and narrow.

Perhaps this type of thinking works in other cultures where the men are supposed to be stoic and unfeeling towards their wives and the women are supposed to be subservient, quiet, niqaab-clad baby machines.

But that’s not gonna fly with Muslims in the West. Most Muslims are going to be turned off by this type of thinking and will try to figure things out on their own. My goal in this series of posts, Inshallah, is to prevent that.

You should seek advice and guidance concerning love and marriage as it is a big part of your life. If you’re a young person, you have probably never been married and may have been affected by western romanticism and Disneyesque fairy-tales.

My hope is that I can give you some passionate, yet practical advice concerning one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Love

Let me reassure you, it’s perfectly okay to love another person. In fact, I would highly recommend that you love your parents, siblings, best friends, children, and spouses. It makes things much easier in life.

The problems arise when you let this love lead you to do bad things, or it makes you leave good things.

I am married. And yes, I love my wife. My love for her does not cause me to neglect my prayers, nor will it make me do something evil. It is simply a love that has developed over many years of ups and downs, bills and children, fights and apologies.

That is married life in the West, even for Muslims. It is not glamorous, but it’s worthwhile. And it would be impossible (or at least impractical) without love.

But let’s look at how someone who was much better than me dealt with the women he loved. Of course, I’m talking about Prophet Muhamamd (peace be upon him).

The Prophet and Khadijah

The Prophet’s first wife was Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid. His love for her was very clear. Let’s look at a few examples of this love.

One day, after having been appointed the Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sitting with Khadijah. He saw a person in the sky between heaven and earth. He told Khadijah what he saw, and she told him to move closer which he did.

She asked him if he still saw the person, and he replied that he did. Then Khadijah advised him to put his head under her garment, which he did, and asked if he still saw him. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said that he no longer saw him.

Khadijah then said: “Relax, this is an angel. If it had been a devil, it would not have been ashamed of looking at you while you were under a woman’s garment.”

There are many things we can get from this short story.

  1. Khadijah absolutely believed in the message that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) brought.
  2. The Prophet had no problem getting intimately close with his wife.
  3. The Prophet depended on Khadijah for advice and support and she willingly gave it to him.
  4. The Prophet had no issue seeking help from his wife, even when he was feeling anxiety about his new mission.
  5. Khadijah was a very wise and intelligent woman.
  6. These two individuals loved each other very much.

One more story about the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her).

After her death, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) married other women, the most famous of whom was Aishah Bint Abi Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them both).

Aishah narrated the following hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) rarely went out of the house without mentioning Khadijah and praising her. One day he mentioned her and I grew jealous and said: “Was she not an old woman whom Allah replaced with a better woman?”

He got angry and said: “No, by Allah! Allah did not replace her with a better woman! She believed in me when people disbelieved, supported me with her wealth when people denied me theirs, and Allah blessed me with children from her and not from other women.”

Aishah then said to herself: “Never will I speak negatively of her again.”

You can see how serious the Prophet was in his love for Khadijah, even years after her death. He would not even let Aisha, whom he also loved, speak ill of her.

Brothers and sisters, that is true love.

The Prophet and Aishah

Let’s first look at another hadith regarding Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her):

Amr Ibn Al-’As reported: The Prophet deputed me to lead the Army of Dhat-as-Salasil. I came to him and said, “Who is the most beloved person to you?” He said, ” ‘Aisha.” I asked, “Among the men?” He said, “Her father.” I said, “Who then?” He said, “Then ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab.” He then named other men.

Related in Bukhari.

In this hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) openly declares his love for his wife Aishah first before anyone else, even his best friend. He says it to another man, in fact a man who once fought against Islam (Before accepting Islam, Amr ibn Al-’As once tried to convince the King of Abyssinia to expel the Muslims who were living there).

But for an even better example of love, tenderness, and mercy, let’s look at another hadith.

Narrated Aisha: Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) came to my house while two girls were singing beside me the songs of Buath (a story about the war between the two tribes of the Ansar, the Khazraj and the Aus, before Islam).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) lay down and turned his face to the other side. Then Abu Bakr came and spoke to me harshly saying, “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet (peace be upon him)?”

Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) turned his face towards him and said, “Leave them.” When Abu Bakr became inattentive, I signalled to those girls to go out and they left.

It was the day of Eid, and the Black people were playing with shields and spears; so either I requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) or he asked me whether I would like to see the display.

I replied in the affirmative. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) made me stand behind him and my cheek was touching his cheek and he was saying, “Carry on! O Bani Arfida,” till I got tired.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked me, “Are you satisfied (Is that sufficient for you)?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to leave.

Can you see how affectionate the Prophet was towards his wife Aishah? Especially when she describes placing her cheek on his cheek. I wonder how many Muslim men today show this sort of affection towards their wives? Very often men only show affection when they want intimacy.

Certainly, Allah has sent us a perfect example in His messenger (peace be upon him).

The Difference Between Love And Lust

Too often people (Muslims included) confuse love with lust. Lust has its place in life. But it is the wrong thing to base your life around.

In my own caveman way of thinking, I believe men and women commit sexual sins based on two reasons:

  1. Men are often motivated by lust.
  2. Women are often motivated by a desire for love.

Of course there are exceptions. But the point is that lust i.e. the desire for sex, is a powerful factor. Which is why I wrote “The Ultimate Muslim Sex Guide”. I try to explain the role of sex in a Muslim’s life and the proper way it should be approached.

Lust is not all that bad. In fact, it is necessary. Little Muslim babies don’t come along simply because a husband and wife admire each other’s inner qualities.

But this lust must be controlled and released in the proper manner. And the only manner that is allowed in Islam, is through marriage. Once you are married, you can act out your lustful behavior in various ways with your spouse (also discussed in “The Ultimate Muslim Sex Guide”).

Love At First Sight

Before concluding this article, I want to touch on a common phenomenon. This is the proverbial “Love at first sight.” Supposedly, two people can fall in love upon first meeting each other.

I really don’t believe this is possible. The feelings that these two people feel are almost certainly lust and not love. Love may develop after time, but it is nearly impossible to suddenly love a complete stranger with one glance.

Of course, a certain type of love may develop after meeting someone, getting to know them, and appreciating their qualities. But it is difficult for this to happen without spending many hours with that person.

And other than marriage, there are few permissible avenues for a Muslim man and women to get to this point.

So if you feel yourself falling head over heels for someone after one or two meetings, it might be time to make dua and ask Allah for guidance.

Or maybe it’s time to ask that person to marry you.

Read the next post in this series: Love or Respect: Which Do You Prefer?

14 Responses to Islam: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

  1. Damian says:

    Great article.

    It really made me think about how cultural love is or how different cultures approach it. You have shown the love and beauty the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) had and showed toward his wives Kahadijah and Aisha and they to him, and also mentioned how you went to other website to find writing amongst the scholars about love and you only found rants against love and compassion. Why do you think this is? Especially if the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) has shown such clear examples of love between a husband and a wife.

    I am “new” to this way of life and what I have seen from it and heard is that we should strive to follow the examples of the prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) ,are we as Muslims picking and choosing which examples to follow…(not a question for you to answer but more of a thought)

    How many children did the Prophet (Peace be upon him) have with Kahadijah? and is there an established lineage that still survives today?

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      As-Salaamu Alaikum Damian,

      Thank you for commenting. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had five children with Khadijah:

      Zaynab
      Ruqayyah
      Fatimah
      Umm Khulthum
      Qasim

      Qasim was a boy, the rest were girls and all of them except Fatimah died before the Prophet did. Qasim died while still an infant. Fatimah died about 6 months after the Prophet.

      Prophet Muhammad did have one other child named Ibrahim with an Egyptian slave girl given to him as a gift by the ruler of Egypt. The Egyptian was name Mariam (Mary) and some say the Prophet eventually married her. Ibrahim also died while an infant, I believe before the age of two.

      There is no definite established line of descent. Any descent from the Prophet would come from Fatimah’s lineage as she had two boys (Hassan and Hussein) who were very popular and active in Islamic history. If you start reading about the Shiites, you’ll find those two, especially Hussein, are mentioned often.

      There is an offshoot of the Shia sect called the Ismailis who believe the Aga Khan is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Most other Muslims, Sunni and Shia, reject this claim.

      After over 1400 years of history, wars, famines, plagues, massacres, travels, discoveries of new lands, and monumental upheavals, it is impossible to know for sure if someone is truly descended from the Prophet (pbuh). There are many other people and groups around the world making the same claim.

      In the end, one’s lineage is not important. There were members of the Prophet’s own family (his uncles Abu Lahab and Abi Talib for example) who are in hell. The son of the Prophet Noah did not believe and he was also doomed to hell. As was the father of Prophet Ibrahim and the wives of the Lot and Noah.

      On the other hand, the wife of Pharaoh, one of the most evil creatures ever, was blessed with sincere belief and will be in heaven. Abu Sufyan, was an enemy of the Prophet (pbuh) yet he became Muslim and died as a companion. Abu Sufyan’s son Muawiyyah was a companion also, helped record the Quran, and became governor of Syria, and eventually Caliph of the entire Muslim world.

      • Jazakallah khair for this article. I’m getting “blah” of these scholars who keep claiming that “there is no love in Islam, only obedience and submission”. Do they forget that Prophet didn’t only taught “obey me”, he’s also instilling mercy and compassion in his teachings and to anyone, men and women, including slaves, children, and animals.

        Addressing Damian’s question, in the end of time, there will appear Imam Mahdi who is a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and his name will be Muhammad ibn Abdullah. So yes, the lineage of Prophet survives to the end times. (I know it’s too late to answer this, but I just got an itch lol :D…..)

  2. Khadijah says:

    Asalaamu Alaikam brother

    Let us never be apologetic for the truth and for the eradication of utter misguidance and backwardness shown today by those so called scholars who lable love between a man and wife as wrong and so forth. Well done for bringing up this subject.

    Many of us have been indoctrinated, almost mind programmed by the Hollywood/Bollywood notion of love i.e. lust, zinah, haraam and may be at the END marrige comes when marriage should be first then all the romancing etc comes after which is halal and blessed by Allah. Before marriage such actions are cursed by Allah as a man and woman are not lawful to one another.

    Our own Creator, Allah Most Supreme tells us in the Qur’an, in Surah Ar Ruhm (Romans) 30:21 that LOVE and mercy, the two greatest qualities for any human being, in which others derive (justice, truth, care, etc)is placed between the hearts of men and women, who are to be together in marriage:

    “And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” – Surah Ar Ruhm (Romans) 30:21

    Why cannot the Muslims reflect and see the truth yet when it comes to their studies, their interviews for work, their mundane jobs they swot up all day and night until their knowledge is better than those interviewing them? If only they gave half the time they do for such pursuits to their deen they would know better.

    Jazak’Allahu khairan for addressing this subject…it is a battle to breakdown the walls of ignorance on so many fronts.

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      Wa Alaikum Salaam,

      It seems like Muslims of today are stuck between two extremes: either we have to unfeeling robots, or naive, star-crossed teddy bears. I hope this series will show people the middle path. Love (and lust) is fine so long as it is with the person you’re married to. I was surprised at how many Muslims don’t know the basics about sex in Islam. The Ultimate Muslim Guide to Sex helps to explain a lot of things about sex with our spouses. Inshalah, I hope people don’t feel too shy to ask questions and learn about something that is a natural part of life.

  3. Khadijah says:

    Indeed brother, there is no subject taboo in Islam that has for its purpose answering the questions and clarifying matters that enable the true worship of Allah SWT, obeying His commands and fulfiling our role as presecribed by Him in the duniya and matters relating thereof.

    As I stated, it is amazing the knowledge Muslims can amass on subjects like financial markets, design, music and some really irrelevant topics and so on but cannot spend a few minutes on their own deen and knowledge of Islam. This is shameful and there is no excuse for it. IQRA…they and we all need to read…

  4. arooj rehman says:

    all that is very informative for all Muslims.

  5. Aminah Naila Johansen. Alexandria-Egypt says:

    Bismillah Mashallah…..This is a great article, I forwarded it with link for others to follow this importent topic…

  6. salma says:

    Masha Allah dis is a very nice piece may Allah reward you for sharing such a wonderful information with us! Ameen. My question is, is it wrong islamically for a woman to want to be loved By her husband?

    • Abu Ibrahim says:

      Absolutely not, it is perfectly natural and okay to want your husband to love you. Love is a good emotion that Allah has given us and it makes us tender and caring for others. Without love, we wouldn’t much different than reptiles.

      However, our love should be balanced. We should love what Allah loves, and hate what Allah hates. Be careful not to love anyone too much, and be careful not to hate anyone too much.

      And Allah knows best.

  7. sabia says:

    jazakallah brother fo such a beautiful article…

  8. Naseem Banu says:

    Assalamu Alaikkum,
    Masha Allah I am really impressed and attracted towards these explanations & vast knowledge about Islam.This is what I am searching for .Thanks to ALMIGHTY who has gifted with this knowledge to u .great and wonderful.

  9. syeda zehra says:

    Assalamualaikum.. This article is really helpfull to me.. i am planning to forward it to all my contacts inshallah.. I have heard few above events of Prophet (S.A.S) from my mother and grand mother, but i never noticed the moral of the stories because at that time I was not aware… Alhamdulilah, i got this knowledgable article at the right stage of my life.. Iam looking forward for your next e-mail..
    jazakallah…

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