When I say a love story, what is the first image that comes to one’s mind? A chick flick movie, a Disney fairytale, a folk love story, Romeo of Juliet or Taylor Swift’s old yet enticing ‘love story’ song?
Before we move on, we first need to clarify that this phrase ‘a love story’ is a lot more than just a phrase. It is a phenomenon or a concept in its own; and we usually hear this phrase in the context of ‘fantasy’ because we have been growing up in such an environment where the ‘unreal’ world is alluring to us.
Hence, this ‘unreal’ concept of love story has emerged in our lives from our childhood fairytales, when the prince used to rescue princesses, fighting all the monsters on the way; finally meeting her and kissing her and then they lived happily ever after. Then later came these movies or soap operas in which a boy and a girl meet- first they don’t like each other, then they fall in love; sing a song together, but suddenly, some barrier comes up; perhaps their parents. However, finally they get married and the end. But is it the end of the movie or the love story?
Nikah – The Miraculous Bond of Love
According to Islam, marriage that is Nikah is an emotional, spiritual, physical and social bond between a boy and a girl within the ties of marriage, as blessed by Allah (swt). As Allah (swt) says in Surah Ar-Rum, “Among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)
Hence, this attraction that Allah (swt) has put between a man and a woman is a blessing and a mercy from Allah (swt). And, the way one uses this blessing to please Allah (swt) is through the bond of Nikah. Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “When a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion; so let him fear Allah (swt) regarding the remaining half.” (Tirmidhi) This is the importance of Nikah in our Deen.
At another instance, Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) said: “You have seen nothing like marriage for increasing the love of two people.” (Tirmidhi)
This further shows the importance of a love story beginning through marriage.
This might sound alien to us because love story beginning with marriage is not something we hear quite often; We are often told by the media that love story is before marriage and marriage puts a full stop to the love story, but that is not real. According to Islam, love doesn’t end with marriage, it rather begins with it; marriage sows the seed of love! I will prove this point through examples of not fiction movies, but real people and their real love stories.
Exemplary Relationship of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa)
My first example of true love, proving husband and wife to be a source of comfort, mercy and blessing from Allah (swt) is the real love story of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (sa).
She was one of the noblest women of her time from a very influential family. She was also beautiful and was running her own business quite successfully. Many prominent and wealthy men had asked for her hand, but she refused. As a widow, she had lost the desire to marry again until he came in her life. He was just 25-twenty five years old, but well known for his honesty and trustworthiness, and this is what attracted her towards him.
As she had been looking for someone honest to conduct her business, he started working for her. Experiencing his honesty, she was very impressed by his character, and that was enough to sow the seed of love once again in her heart. She sent her sister who asked him: “Why are you not married yet?” “For the lack of means,” he said. When she proposed him, he amazingly remarked, ‘How can I marry her? She turned down many wealthy men!” To which her sister replied that, “She will take care of that.” And, it was the beginning of one of the most happiest and sacred marriages in the human history. They both were a source of immense pleasure and strength for each other. They put each other’s fear to rest. They were married for 25-twenty five years and they had 4-four daughters and some sons who had died in infancy. She was there for him when the times were hard, but they were separated by her death. However, even after her death, he use to send food and provide support to her relatives and friends out of the pure forever love for her. Once, years after her death, he came across a necklace that she once wore and he began to cry seeing that necklace.
Confide in Each Other
Their relationship fits completely in the verse stated below, when Allah (swt) describes the most beautiful relationship between a man and his wife,
“…They are Libas (i.e. body cover, or screen, or Sakan, (i.e. you enjoy the pleasure of living with them), for you and you are the same for them…” (Al-Baqarah 2:187)
What’s the purpose of garment? They are for protection from different climates, to adorn or beautify, and for covering out of natural modesty or covering any weaknesses of our body.
Hence in this relationship, man and wife need to protect each other and look out for each other; secondly beautify each other- they should be the source of bringing smile on each other’s faces and serenity in minds; lastly to cover each other ‘s weaknesses. Moreover, just like the garment is closest to us, similarly our spouses should be the closest to our hearts.
The Prophet (sa) said: “A woman is married for four things i.e. her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her Deen. So you should marry a religious woman (otherwise), you will be a loser.” (Bukhari)
As was in the case of Hazrat Khadijah (ra), Muhammad (sa) had no wealth; he was an orphan, but definitely very handsome. His main quality that attracted her was his character, honesty and sincerity. May Allah (swt) bless them both! Ameen.
Allah’s (swt) Apostle (sa) did not marry any other woman till her (Khadijah’s (ra)) death, even when he could have; because he was young and it was quite normal in that culture to keep more than one wife, but he chose not to.
Ideal Love Story of Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra)
Second love story is of the daughter of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa) and her husband Ali (ra). Fatimah (ra) was then eighteen years of age, and one day Ali (ra) came to Muhammad (sa). He kept sitting quietly for a long time, until Muhammad (sa) himself asked him whether he was there to propose for Fatimah (ra) in marriage with him, and he shyly replied in positive. After which Muhammad (sa) went to Fatimah (ra) and asked her opinion and she agreed.
This shows the importance of women’s choice and her consent for marriage. Forced marriages are not a part of Islam. A marriage ceremony was carried out in which Ali (ra) gave his own marriage speech and Prophet (sa) blessed the couple with supplications for their new lives. Fatimah (ra) and Ali (ra) were not well off, thus when they shifted together, they lived a very simple life and there was never a complaint from either of the two. They both were also quite young when they got married and thus were like friends to their children, Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra). May Allah (swt) have mercy on all of them. Ameen.
Don’t Delay Marriages!
We talk about sexism, racism- but we are also discriminating people on the basis of their age for getting married and that is ageism, and we rarely talk about it. In Islam, there is no sexism, racism or ageism. If willingly a child or even a teenager wants to work and get married, then Islam doesn’t restrict them from doing so; unlike our materialistic society which teaches to get educated first, then work and finally get married.
The desire of love, comfort and warmth is to be used in a natural way which Allah (swt) has prescribed for us; and not in an unnatural way because we can’t really thrive going against the commandments of our Creator.
A gist of one of the narrations of Prophet (sa) was that marriage is from his Sunnah and whosoever leaves his Sunnah is not from him. (Bukhari)
There are many real love stories from the lives of the companions of Prophet (sa) too that we can learn from. We, in spite of claiming to follow Islam, say that these love stories were for that time period, and today, we can’t think or live like that in this day and age. But think; is not Quran there for all times? Isn’t Prophet (sa) a role model for all times? We, as followers of Prophet (sa), have the responsibility to revive back the true spirit of this prophetic tradition. We must follow these real people; they can be our love role models. Hence, marrying according to Sunnah, is the perfect ingredient of the recipe of our real love story.
Dua taught by Prophet (sa) from Quran:
“Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders of the Muttaqun (the pious).” Ameen.