Is there any room for love in an Is...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Is there any room for love in an Islamic marriage?


Is there any room for love in an Islamic marriage?


When we speak of what sort of marriage is permitted in Islam, we are actually speaking of a process in which two persons are united in wedlock. This process which represents the actual marriage does not look at what has happened between a man and a woman before they come forward with their request to get married. An agreement must exist between them; otherwise, no one can force them to get married.

The marriage itself requires a spoken offer made by the bride or her guardian who acts on her behalf and its acceptance by the groom. This is how we describe the actual marriage contract. The woman's guardian tells the groom, “I am marrying you my daughter [or another woman] whose name is such-and-such for such-and-such a dowry” etc… This represents the spoken offer. The groom must accept the offer verbally by saying, "I agree to marry your daughter” etc… This technical part has nothing to do with the relationship that may have existed between the bride and groom. If by an “arranged" marriage you mean that the marriage happens after discussions between the two families in which the prospective partners are fully involved, then this is the sort of marriage Islam encourages. It gives marriage its serious character which enhances its chances of success.

A marriage that follows a love relationship may not be as glamorous or romantic as it may sound. There are two issues involved here. The first is the relationship which exists between a man and a woman before the marriage takes place. This differs according to traditions and the prevailing customs in a particular society. In Eastern societies, the relationship most probably remains confined to an idealistic and romantic exchange of expressions of love. The woman is keenly aware that she must maintain her chastity and the man she loves will, in most cases, consider himself responsible for preserving her honor. Nevertheless, they will try to meet, often in secret, and steal a moment of ecstasy when they express their longing for the moment and when they will be united in marriage. While their feelings towards each other may not be reprehensible if they are not involved in anything sinful, what they actually do may not be allowed in Islam. It is not permissible for a man and a woman to be alone in a closed room if they are not related. When two people who are in love with each other meet, there is a burning passion inside them which may lead them to commit a sin. Hence, it is not their feelings that are subject to disapproval, but what may come about as a result of them.

In Western societies, everything is allowed between a man and a woman both after marriage and before it. That is certainly unacceptable from the Islamic point of view. Islam has a highly serious moral outlook and takes every precaution to preserve it.

The other point, is what may be loosely termed a love marriage and its chances of success. It is a fact of life that when two people are in love, they tend to overlook each other's faults. Each one of them thinks the other to be perfect. When they are married and have to face life together, they begin to see each other's faults. Every one of us has his weaknesses and strengths. When we approach marriage in a careful, objective manner, we are more likely to be aware of what we are bargaining for. When our approach is that of love which blinds us, we stand a greater chance of regretting what we are doing.

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