Islam and Love
Islam and Love; two words that most people would not put together. Islam means different things to different people. On one hand people perceive it as oppression, terrorism, burden, and violence, while on the other hand words like saviour, hope, duty, and God come to mind. Love is also perceived differently depending on the person. Some have lost hope in what love is, some are just waiting for that moment to arrive. Some have found love and lost it, many times over. Some have been broken by it while others have been built up by it.
As a child growing up in the west, my perception of love was what television and sappy romance stories taught me; love was filled with passion and was absolutely spontaneous. It was like falling off a cliff, with no idea when the bottom would arrive. This idea of love intrigued me to no end, and even though I wasn’t raised with princesses and fairy tales, I wanted a prince. I wanted that guy to come along and knock me off my feet. I wanted a guy who wasn’t afraid to fight for me, a guy who wasn’t afraid to love me.
So, the years continued of me reading sappy romance stories, but alongside with that; I soaked in knowledge about my own religion; Islam. I learnt everything that was available to me and then some. So as I was reading these books, I got a thought in my head; why aren’t there any books about Muslims like this? At first, I was annoyed as to why there weren’t any books that I could relate to with religion. I read books about interfaith romances, and faith based romances, but I never read one about Muslims. So I sat down and thought about it for a while, and believe me, it didn’t take too long to come to the conclusion. In Islam, there is no boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. There isn’t any sort of romantic relationship before marriage whatsoever. So of course there wouldn’t be any romance stories about Muslims because the romance stories showed love as passion, and romance stories were usually about courting, which isn’t allowed in the Islamic faith. This stumped me a bit. I found this a bit hard to digest, even though I knew the no-dating rule in Islam; it just sort of hit me at that point. I was never interested in dating, not just because of my religion but more so because of my personality. I was a tom-girl/ anti-social person all the way through; I didn’t like interacting all that often and when I did it was to play sports or to just crack jokes.
Now, I want to make it clear that I do understand why Islam doesn’t allow dating. I didn’t really question it, even though a lot of people would disagree with my choice. I am content in my faith, and I know it is perfect. Now, this article / rant isn’t to argue the perfection (or imperfection according to some) of Islam, but in my eyes Islam is perfect, and that connected my thought process throughout this article. Though I didn’t question my faith, I was a bit disheartened because I felt that I wouldn’t ever fully experience the sensation of being knocked off my feet and dazzled. In my mind though, I signed it off as a bit of a sacrifice because a lot of Islam is sacrificing for the time being and getting rewarded for that in the hereafter. I was disappointed though.
As I continued to grow and became slightly more aware of my environment, I realized something shocking, I could see the love and devotion in so many Muslim couples’ eyes. One of my close mentors tried to hide a smile whenever her husband’s name would come up in a conversation. It made me think that maybe there was chances for me to find that sort of love, but me being the pessimist, tried to push the thought out of my mind. I told myself that it was one in a million, and that it wouldn’t happen to me. I told myself that my own love life would be centered on children’s soccer games and seminars. I couldn’t just picture myself and a guy, for me my future was a whole family, where I was more connected to my kids rather than my husband.
Then, something beautiful happened. I read a book. This book had one of the most romantic love stories in it. It was a story of a man, respected by all, loved by all, who was just a mere trader and worker. There was a beautiful woman who was a very successful trading business who employed said man. The woman sent a manager with a group of men that she had employed for trading, among them was the respected man. The manager saw that every man in that group had a time or incident where they were a bit less than honest, with the exception of the respected man. In the end, it was the respected man that got the most produce, and he gave every cent of it to the business lady, without taking anything from it as was common in the day. This man just took his pay and left. The woman was intrigued by the nature and essence of this man that she hinted to him through a messenger that she wanted to marry him. This man also found the woman enchanting and quickly sent out a proposal. They got married without dating or courting. And the stories of their married life brought tears to my eyes. The woman became the strongest support system, the loving partner for this man through tough time, and the man loved her like no other. He was so devoted to her that she was the first he turned to when everything in his life was turned upside down. And she was the first to believe in his story. He loved her so much, that when she passed away, he kept sending money and gifts to her family. He later married again, and his new wife was a very loving and amazing woman as well. However, once he heard the voice of his deceased wife's sister and mistook it for the voice of his deceased wife, causing tears to form in his eyes. His new wife became a bit jealous and told him that she was younger and more beautiful than the previous wife and why was he so hung up over her. He replied with tears that no one supported him and loved him like she did, and no matter how many beautiful, younger, powerful wives he would have, none could compare to the support and love she showed him when he had nothing.