Love the Most Loving

Valentine-Day1Allah (swt) has blessed us with a beautiful and powerful organ – our heart. We feel depressed, when we give the control of it to someone other than its Maker, Allah (swt). Very often, this ‘someone’ may use the cheesy, heart-melting phrase ‘I love you’ for using and abusing us.

When you let strangers enter the most private zone close to your inner self, be prepared for them to steal your inner peace and deprive your world of happiness. Young girls crave for the so-called ‘eternal love’ – they dream of a handsome prince, who would be ready to risk his life for making his sweetie happy. They need a pin of realism to burst their balloon of hope and fantasy. We are not focused, when we chase for the love of this Dunya and its inhabitants.

Our motto must be to attain success in the hereafter only. How can we deny the truth of Adam (as) and Hawwa (as)? They were sent to this Dunya as a punishment. We assume that hard times, ailment, financial crisis etc. are the only means, through which Allah (swt) tests us; however, Allah (swt) has sent us to this world for testing the righteous among us, who hold onto the lawful and abstain from the prohibited. It is not a place of eternal love, dance parties, red roses and heart-melting emotions that lie under the unlawful territory and decorum. The portrayal of Valentine’s Day love in media leads to wrath of Allah (swt).

In Islam, love is kept for the marriage only, when you give a portion of your heart to your spouse by the will of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) Himself blesses the hearts of the married couple with love and peace. However, we must remember that this love is just a Dunya version of what love can be – so do not hold high expectations for it. Likewise, the act of marriage in itself will not guarantee you happiness. The happiness that you long for knocks your door in the third part of every night, when your Maker, the Almighty, calls on you for granting your desires and for forgiving the ones, who ask for it.

Only the one, who is detached from his Creator, will give into celebrating Valentine’s Day, longing for that one red rose and a guy, who proposes by getting on his knees, surrounded by lavish presents, red hearts and that must-have teddy displaying the enslaving words of ‘I love you’.

There is no such thing as boyfriend.  Ponder on this, when he is not for Allah (swt), he can never be for His creation. Supplicate for the one, who abides by the law of Allah (swt) and asks for your hand in marriage. So on this February 14th, all the single ones take an oath to not to fall in these traps of abusive love. Instead, strive to fall in love with your Lord, the Most Loving. Be His and He will be all yours. Attaining His love is a magnificent profit by huge margin as:

  • He will not shun you.
  • His line is never busy.
  • He loves you more than the love of seventy mothers.
  • Nothing is parallel to His care.
  • He knows the unspoken words, too.
  • It is easy to please Him.
  • His love gives you inner peace and happiness, plus success of both worlds.
  • When He is by your side, nothing can shake you or cause you any harm.
  • He is the Lord of all and has the supreme authority. Everything lies under His command.

We strive extremely hard for pleasing people to gain benefits. Why not please the One, to Whom we belong? Let’s dye ourselves in the colour of His love; surely, no colour is better than that.

And the married ones, you do not need a specific day to express love and to adorn yourself in red. Your spouse’s love is given to you from the heaven. Cherish it and strengthen it every single day by getting closer to Allah (swt).

Celebrating Valentine’s Day? I think NOT!

say-no-valentine-day1It had been a long and tiring day. I returned home only to realize that I had no energy left to talk to or socialize with any of my family members. I dragged my footsteps inside the house and headed straight towards my bed. As I tried to fall asleep, my husband walked in from the other room. “Another tiring day, huh?” He remarked. All I managed was a little hum until I shut my eyes back again. He quietly came and sat next to me and continued to fiddle on his laptop.

After a few hours, when I felt tiredness decrease a bit, I headed over to the kitchen to fix a dinner for the two of us. It was a quiet meal in the serenity of our peaceful home but it was comforting. The brightest light shinning at the end of the tunnel was the weekend approaching us the next day. My brain was gushing with ideas to ensure complete relaxation over that weekend. I didn’t think much about spending time with my husband; honestly, that was absolutely the last thing on my mind. The hectic schedule of my job, studies and home were taking their toll on me and unfortunately, I hardly had time to spare for him. I would leave that to only special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries which was a safe move and quite frankly, a little automated too.

 I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” 

The next day started out unexpectedly. Here I was, having a lazy Sunday morning in bed as planned when in came my husband with a tray of freshly-made omelettes and tea. Breakfast in bed! I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was the first time in five years he had ever made such an attempt. Tucked in the corner of the tray along with a red rose, was a love note. I instinctively racked my brain for the reason behind such unabashed generosity. Was it our anniversary? No. Was it my birthday? No. Then what is it that I forgot and he remembered? I couldn’t guess and in the end, just went with the flow. However, I couldn’t control my curiosity for long and soon, I ended up asking my husband for the ‘real’ reason behind this gesture. Did I forget an important event? If yes, could he tell me before I embarrassed myself! I can never forget the reply he gave me. He said, “If, every now and then, we fill our lives with this much love, we wouldn’t need a single day like Valentine’s.” This was the real reason behind that beautiful morning surprise.

From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so

It struck me that it was already the month of February and I was insisting on a lavish day out for Valentine’s Day whereas my husband was constantly trying to talk me out of it. However, the lesson I learned that day was greater than any words, because actions speak way louder than them. From that day onwards, to date, we make that extra effort every month or so to bring out the spirit of love and fill our lives with romance the way Allah (swt) has instructed spouses to do so and the Prophet (sa) has modeled for us by being the model husband. We have abandoned tying ourselves to dates dictated by the calendar or people like St. Valentine!

Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.

10 years later, after this inspirational moment in our lives, we are well qualified enough to give out little pointers to the fresh love birds out there regarding Valentine’s Day. I was one of the staunchest supporters of Valentine’s Day. Ah, it is a day of love; how beautiful that sounds! How could one even think of not liking it? However, today, I have a whole new perspective of the ‘days of love’, and here they are:

  1. Surprise your spouse with a spontaneous act of love, whether it is once a month or once a year.
  2. Be creative as well as spontaneous. Don’t limit yourself to red roses, or anything red for that matter. Choose from a variety of colours. It’s much more fun! Remember the best colour: Sibghatullah (the colour of Allah) and the colour of Taqwa.
  3. Each time you look at your spouse with love, think of this love as a love for the sake of Allah (swt). Take pleasure in this blessing Allah (swt) has given you and He will double your pleasure, Insha’Allah.
  4. Islam is a practical religion. It does not burden you with emotions which you do not feel. You don’t have to make a day special just because the calendar dictates you to do so. Follow your heart. Allah gives you the freedom to intensify the days when you feel your emotions are at their peak. This will in turn increase your own pleasure and convey a much stronger message to the one you love.
  5. There is so much Barakah in surprises for your spouse! No fixed calendar date can give you as much joy as that sudden white or pink rose that pops out of your husband’s hand! You really have to experience it to feel it! Remember the doubling rule: do it for Allah (swt) and He would double it for you.
  6. One of the wisdoms behind abandoning fixed-day celebrations is a much intensified reaction on normal routine good news days like job promotions,  children’s report cards, or just because you are looking pretty that day! Look for such moments and capitalize on them. Be practical not dramatic.
  7. Imagine the relief you will be providing to your husband! And yes I’m referring to the monetary one. He will spend on buying you gifts when his pocket allows him to.
  8. Men are less dramatic in expressing their emotions and lack the ability of designing their emotions around certain days like women usually do. Hence, the disparity results in a huge conflict of expectations especially on days like the Valentine’s Day. When you drop this day and give your husband the freedom to choose the day he likes, you will certainly notice the ease of his emotions pouring out and the originality of it all. Islam tells us that the best spouses are those who are pure and courteous. So give yourself and your spouse a chance to be genuine and pure with your emotions. Don’t fabricate them or bind them to one day. You are way better than that!

The Real Romance

loveforallahsakeFor love, there have been wars. For love, people have harboured feelings of anger, jealousy, and hatred to the extent of committing murder and heinous crimes thereafter. Without doubt, the emotion of love is a strong emotion which is seemingly represented by red hearts, red roses, red ribbons, etc. Love is commonly expressed in a manner expressed best in stories, novels, movies, and so on. We have come to understand the emotion of ‘love’ the way it is described and portrayed in the mass media.

The moment we think about love, a picture of a couple in love springs up in our minds. We consider the ‘drama’ in their lives, which leads to marriage or yearning. Then there is some more drama, followed by suspense, and in the end, we have a standard ‘happily ever after’.

At first glance, Islam and love seem total antonyms of each other. Although all the elements of love are present in the Quran and Ahadeeth, we do not understand the concept of romance or love in Islam. Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts. Ibn Abbas (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said:

 Muhabbah (love) comes from the root word Hubb, which means a seed that Allah (swt) has sown in our hearts.

“Allah brought all the offspring of Adam from Adam’s back, in Arafah, and He took the oath from the people. Then Allah said (and the Prophet [sa] recited): ‘Am I not your Lord?’ (Al-Araf 7:172)” (An-Nasai and Ahmad)

On that day, Allah (swt) bestowed us with His love in our hearts. Allah (swt) further guides us in the Quran. He says He loves those who constantly repent, those who are pure inwardly and outwardly, those who do good deeds beautifully, those who have Taqwa, are conscious of Allah (swt) and abstain from sins, and those who are patient during trials and do not lose their temper. Allah (swt) does not love those who create mischief, those who betray others, and those who are arrogant and two-faced. Hence, we get a clear picture that those whom Allah (swt) loves will love humanity and leave a progeny full of goodness.

Today’s common ‘objects’ of love are spouses, children, wealth, and Dunya. However, Allah (swt) says that those who have Iman love Allah (swt) the most, as the Quran mentions that the believers love Allah (swt) more intensely. (Al-Baqarah 2:165) We know how much the Sahabah (ra) loved the Prophet (sa) and how they loved Allah (swt), too. Consider also the Hadeeth that specifies seven categories of people who will be given Allah’s Shade on the Day of Resurrection. In one category will be those whose love is for the sake of Allah (swt) alone.

The youth are full of emotions and emotions can make us lose control. Decisions taken on the basis of emotions are usually wrong and result in regret. These days, through pop culture and mass media, Muslim youth tend to destroy their lives by indulging in Haram relationships which have no place in Islam. A relationship whose base is either love at first sight, or beauty, or expensive gifts, or fun will always be flimsy with a weak foundation. It will not last for long as a Hadeeth says: “Your love for something blinds and deafens.” (Abu Dawood and Ahmad)

Love based on a strong foundation is love for the sake of Allah (swt). Love is to want to be with your spouse in this world and the hereafter as well. This love has commitment and is not based merely on physical or emotional factors. Spouses are garments to each other and both are enjoined to have mercy on one another. Every moment spent with each other is rewarded.

reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).

It was reported from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “In the (sexual act) of each one of you there is a charity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, when one of us fulfils his carnal desire will he have some reward for that?” He (sa) said: “Do you not see that if he were to act upon it (his desire) in an unlawful manner, then he would be deserving of punishment? Likewise, if he were to act upon it in a lawful manner, he will be deserving of a reward.” (Muslim)

If we try to emulate virtual love or love depicted in movies, it will kill our spiritual heart. The person will be deprived of Allah’s love and mercy in this world, unless he sincerely repents. Hence, reserve all smileys, roses and hearts for what is Halal and judge for yourself what true love is. Love what Allah (swt) loves and leave what angers Allah (swt).

Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) took the glass from which Aisha (rta) had drunk. He put his lips on the exact same place she had put hers and then drank. (An-Nasai)

Love is when Prophet Muhammad (sa) raced with Aisha (rta) and teased her when she lost! (Abu Dawood)

Love is when Fatimah (rta) immediately smiled and never complained when her father (sa) told her that her Nikah has been made to Ali (rta).

Love is when Zainab (rta) sent a necklace given to her by her mother Khadeejah as a ransom for her husband!

Love is when Khadeejah (rta) spent her entire wealth on the Deen for the man she loved!

That is real love, Subhan’Allah!

Valentine’s Day – A Muslim’s Response

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Its Valentine's DayCome February and there is an onslaught of “red” from here, there and everywhere. Companies bring out “Valentine’s Day offers” one after another in order to exploit the vulnerable consumers into believing that when it comes to love, anything (read, any expense) is literally no expense.

Valentine’s Day, which is usually regarded as “an annual event to express love” is extremely popular in Pakistan, especially among the youth, thanks to the print and the electronic media and the myriad of online and billboard advertising. Many people blindly celebrate this day, without realizing its negative social and cultural implications. Those who know the pagan roots of this festival along with the fact that the only thing to be gained from it is commercial in nature, have a responsibility to inform others and play their role to promote good in the society.

For this reason, the Facebook page Remove Immodesty from Media has started an online awareness campaign “Valentine’s Day: A Muslims response

This campaign aims to serve the cause in following ways:

  1. Reaching maximum number of people and promoting the viewpoint of Islam on such celebrations by sharing Quranic references, hadiths and lecture videos related to the day.
  2. Serving as a platform of collaboration for all other religious or social groups and individuals working for the cause and helping them to promote their Dawah activities regarding this day through the event page, Insha’Allah.

Play your part in this awareness campaign

  • Are you organizing any lecture or a campaign raising awareness against Valentine’s Day? Post the details on the event page and let others know.
  • Do you have any interesting Powerpoint presentations made regarding Valentine’s Day? Share them on the event page.
  • Share graphics and presentations on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
  • For some time, strictly avoid products of companies that are at the forefront of Valentine’s Day, like Cadbury.
  • Report all Facebook ads that promote Valentine’s Day offers.

It is hoped, by the mercy of Allah (swt), that these efforts will bring about positive change in the mindset of the youth and the adults, and help restore a society based on the Islamic concepts of Haya and Iman. Ameen.

Valentine’s Day: Facts not Fiction

In this enlightening episode of “The Deen Show”, Dr. Abdullah Hakim Quick, author of “Holiday Myths” outlines the origins of Valentine’s Day and its negative repercussions in the society. Dr. Quick is an international scholar, speaker, Dawah worker and historian. He has travelled to more than 51 countries in his quest for knowledge. You can learn more about him and his work at http://hakimquick.com

Happy Valentine’s Day?

Vol 5 - Issue 4 Happy valentine's day

Up until my late teens, Valentine’s Day was a stranger to me – I had never witnessed it, never heard of it. Growing up under the Soviet regime, I was ‘programmed’ to know only the Soviet holidays, see only the Soviet cartoons and learn history solely from the Soviet perspective. Although this locked-in environment of communism had disadvantages, through years I’ve come to appreciate its strictness and sober moral norms, as they saved a good portion of my childhood innocence.

I came to know Valentine’s Day through the several times I went for studies to America. Coming from a country which had just shaken off the chains of the communist regime, I found America with its pompous culture of exaggerated celebrations quite alien. I felt somewhat lost in the dating culture tension of high school life and the many high school dances, to which only ‘couples’ were welcomed. “Sweethearts Dance” for celebrating Valentine’s Day was pretty much about showing off your ‘special person’ to the rest of the school. All the talks of celebrating the beauty of love faded into the background in the wake of this plain and straight-forward propaganda of teenage dating culture.

Later, during the years at university, I learned yet new angles of what Valentine’s Day meant for common Americans. Living in Minneapolis with its “The Mall of America” (the biggest shopping mall in the country), I clearly saw how businesses were cashing in on people’s romantic feelings. Sasha, my exchange student friend from Russia, who worked at “The Mall”, admitted that the holiday seasons were a nightmare for her. Were it Easter, Christmas or Valentine’s Day, the whole mall was transformed into a money sucking machine, mesmerizing the unaware customers with Christmas trees, eggs, bunnies, hearts and the music of the season into opening their wallets for the sake of… spending money, of course! If for customers the red hearts and love songs added a pleasant touch to their Valentine’s Day’s shopping spree, to Sasha such daily diets created a clear aversion.

My American roommate Sarah, a graduate student of sociology, quite shocked me with her perception of what Valentine’s Day could be about. One day, as we were sitting and talking in our living-room, she showed me some booklets on ‘safe’ sex and said that she would mail them as a Valentine’s Day gift to her niece, who had just entered her teens. “Nobody else is going to tell her about this anyway, so I thought I should help her out,” was Sarah’s rationale. I couldn’t believe my own ears! I learned that Valentine’s Day was also about promoting the responsibility-free and commitment-free partnerships.

However, I was hard hit by the reality of this partnership culture through my other roommate Cathy, a Ph.D. student of geophysics. Cathy was a very bright student, but she had some psychological issues and was on daily anti-depressant drugs. For most of the January university vacation, I was out of the country, so I was unaware of what was going on in her life. One evening, just a few days after I returned, Cathy came to me with a bottle of medicine in her hand and asked me to count, how many pills were left. After I counted them, she realized that about thirty pills were missing. She told me that her boy-friend had left her and she felt so depressed that she just kept on taking these pills in an attempt to calm down her emotions. Thank God I had a driver’s license and could drive her in her own car to the nearest emergency room, where she was transferred to the psychiatric ward for a few days. Doctors had diagnosed her as attempting to commit suicide. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I was not ready to buy into talks of spreading love in humanity, because with my own eyes I had seen the reality of the dating culture this celebration stood for.

May be my angle on Valentine’s Day is quite unusual, but it is the one that I have come to experience. So whenever I hear ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’ I feel like the statement should end with a question mark.

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Vol 2 -Issue 4 Its Valentine's DaySana Zahid and Umm Isam uncover the truth behind the chocolate-heart-flavoured Valentine’s Day.

Love is in the air, so are red hearts of all shapes, sizes, and flavours on billboards and magazine covers! We are not short of better things to think about, it’s just that it’s Valentine’s Day! What we are lately witnessing is pretty astonishing. So, let’s unearth some facts about it all.

There actually are many traditions about how it all began. The story dates back to the Roman rule — an erotic festival, named after Saint Valentine, who was killed for defying the emperor and allowing young couples to marry secretly. The legend has it that Saint Valentine disobeyed the Emperor Claudius of Rome, who had barred all marriages and engagements within the city, because he thought that love-struck men were not joining his legions. In jail, the bishop is said to have fallen in love with the jailor’s daughter. He wrote to her a letter signed ‘Your Valentine,’ which since then has become a tradition. However, Saint Valentine was caught and sentenced to death on the 14th of February, 270 AD.

It so happened that the significant day coincided with a festival organized in memory of Juno Februata, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. The festival was known as Lupercalia. The Romans used to place the names of young women, who would become their dates for the remaining festival, in a box, and men would draw them at random. However, when Christians came to Rome, they sought to superimpose Christian festivals on different holidays at the time. So, in 496 AD, Pope Gelasius officially replaced this pagan festival with Saint Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February.

Pakistan has discovered this phenomenon just recently through the fast paced globalization of foreign products and cultures, which coincides with the media relaxation. Today, on one hand glamorization of this festival offers marketers an opportunity to make money, as love-struck shoppers paint the town red. On the other hand, Muslim communities experience a blatant cultural invasion carrying a loud slogan of vulgar and open dating. This day has come to mean dressing up in red and distributing valentine cards, candy, and chocolate hearts. Through these, apparently innocent acts, a culture of free sex and male-female relations is promoted. Even schools hold such parties for their students. Consequently, young children are fed the idea that it is okay to love anyone and express it openly.

Pseudo intellectuals claim that it is merely an adoption of a joyful custom practiced in a different community — so why do fanatics blow it all out of proportion? However, they seem to have confused themselves. As Muslims, we can have a food fusion, whereby we appreciate the culinary flavours of other countries, as long as they are cooked with permissible ingredients. But how can we have a cultural fusion that promotes immorality? How can they justify one night stands, partner swapping, blind dating, romantic liaisons, etc., and all the filth that follows it. It all tantomounts to illegitimate relations. In Islam, the only permissible relationship between a man and a woman in love is Nikah. Allah has placed a beauty in this special bond that attracts every man and woman. People weave their dreams around it and step into the unknown together. Abdullah bin Abbas (rta) states that the Prophet (sa) said: “We have not witnessed anything better than Nikah for two people in love” (Ibn Majah). Indeed, Nikah means a special beginning for two people. Why opt for immoral options full of hypocrisy and lies?

The societies that celebrate such customs as Valentine’s Day have the need for it, because the institution of marriage has collapsed there and a new tradition of partnership has evolved. This tradition of partnership is free of responsibility, time constraints, and commitments. It can easily be defined as an animalistic instinct meant to satisfy the base desires and lusts as in incase of cats and dogs, who continue to have different partners life long.

Modesty, or the concept of Haya, rules supreme in Islam. Even a married couple has been given a set of behaviour rules in public. Their romantic life in private is their personal matter, however, nobody is allowed to create an embarrassing position for those around them, let alone behave flirtatiously.

Last year, while flipping through satellite channels, my friend came across a Valentine show, where the host introduced the show saying: “Today is the Valentine’s Day – the day of love and the day of lies, because normally people would be telling lies today.” Strange, since this was a program intended to promote the day.

However, I can’t help to ask, what kind of love is this that is restricted to one day in a year? Have we ever thought of loving the One, Who created us, the One, Who gave us a heart that can feel love? Or are we wasting away a beautiful emotion just for a momentary gratification? We know our Lord loves us more than 70 mothers. Just imagine having the Lord of all the worlds being our friend.

“… Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah (swt), certainly, Allah (swt) loves those who put their trust (in Him). If Allah (swt) helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (alone) let believers put their trust.” (Al- Imran 3:159-160)

Surely, love directs all matters concerning our lives. Subsequently, this strong feeling, for which we are ready to go to any extent, should be spent properly. Love is precious, so don’t let opportunists to take advantage of your tender heart. Express it the Halal way – get married and stay married! Every day of your life can be worth celebrating.