By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
25 July 2020
The permissibility of Love between a male and a female, for whom Islam has allowed marriage, depends upon how the meaning of love is sensed by them. If the love is confined to some attraction towards a female with the notion of marriage proposal, this is permissible in Islam as a natural phenomenon, as long as the two parties do not transgress the limits set by Allah Almighty. With this condition properly maintained, the love, from Islamic perspective, can be seen as a true, genuine and rather spiritual relation. Let us see some Quranic verses in this regard;
“And there is no sin on you in that you propose to such women for marriage by indirect hint or conceal what you have in your hearts. Allah knows that soon you will remember them. But, make no secret contract with them, except to say to them only that which is known in law” (2:235)
This verse was specifically revealed with regard to the widows who should compulsorily complete the waiting period after the death of the husband. During this period of waiting, these women should abstain from marriage. It is also prohibited for a man to explicitly propose the widow for marriage but he can conceal his desire for marriage with her in his heart or make indirect proposal for marriage during this period. After the waiting period of the widow, he can make explicit proposal to her for marriage as well.
From this verse, we can also learn the view about non-widows that if a person is attracted towards a non-widow woman whom it is permissible for him to marry, he has two options; either to directly or indirectly propose her for marriage or conceal his feeling of attraction in his heart and not go beyond the limits set by Allah Almighty.
On the contrary, those who think the love involves illicit affairs, courtship, dating or any modes of unlawful sexual activities should know that there is no room for any illicit affairs or physical relationship whatsoever before marriage. The Quran clearly says, “And do not even approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and an evil way to follow” (17:32).
In another verse, Allah Almighty says, “And do not go near shameful acts, whether they are open or secret.” (6:151)
Shameful acts translate ‘Fawahish’ (sing. Fahishah). The word ‘Fawahish’ often connote sexual transgressions; however, here it more likely refers to shameful acts and moral transgression of all sorts. Avoiding such sins both outwardly and inwardly demonstrate true piety, for if one were to shun sin publicly, but commit it privately, it would mean that one’s intention was simply to avoid public blame and not to obey the God’s commands.
Warnings about the evil of and divine punishment for adultery or fornication (often referred to as ‘indecency’) are also found in other Quranic verses, such as 4:15, 24-25, 6:151, 24:2-3, 25:68, 33:30.
Love in the spiritual sense is a natural phenomenon and can take its root in one’s heart at any time. From Islamic perspective, this love is truly natural and can be genuine and safe as long as one does not cross the limits set by Allah Almighty as mentioned above. If the sort of love leads the lover or the beloved to face the divine displeasure or wrath, it is not the love permissible in Islam. Instead it can be termed ‘fake or false form in the name of love’ which involves the cause of hurting towards each other in the world as well as the Hereafter.
The sort of love between a male and a female can be safe, genuine and taken to a higher culmination, through the implementation of the following hadith;
The Prophet peace be upon him is reported to have said, “We do not think that there is anything better for those who love one another than marriage.” (Ibn Maajah, 1847, classed as Authentic (Sahih)
In the case of a person loving to marry a woman, Islam has recommended the two parties to see each other in the presence of their family members before going through with marriage procedures. This is essential because it is not good for both of them to be thrown into marriage and be expected to lead a happy marital life full of love and affection, when they have no idea about each other. Knowing of each other before marriage procedures is permissible in the presence of family members. The following hadith is its basis.
It was narrated from al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah that he proposed a woman for marriage, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Go and look at her, because that is more likely to create love between you.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1087, al-Nasaa’i, 3235)
The reason of permissibility of looking at each other before marriage is to make them understand each other, which will create happy and lovely life after marriage. This idea does not contradict the Quranic verse that says, “…believing men and women should lower their gaze” (24:30) because lowering gaze as enjoined in this verse is to save one from the bad intentions which might result into unlawful lusts and passions. Since for the unlawful sexual passion, the very first act is casting eye with bad motive and its ultimate result might be adultery. Both these acts are clearly prohibited in the Quran and all other acts falling in between, such as touching hands, kissing and sexual conversation or chatting are included by implication.
As for the permissibility of looking at each other before marriage as enjoined in the hadith mentioned above, this should be with the intention of simply knowing of each other, likes and dislikes; which generally helps them for getting a nice choice and preparation for developing good marital relationship, because a happy marital life is one of the most beloved acts before Allah Almighty.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).