Ganiyah Kareem: What Really is Love

Love they say is like a quicksand in the hands, open the hand and it stays, clutch it and it darts away. Love as defined by neurologists is a chemical reaction in the brain, an illusion that cannot be seen or touched which brings about feelings of great emotions. Oxford dictionary defines it as a strong affection for someone or something. If only love could be this simple and shallow, no one would go about searching for it. But if truly love is a reaction, then it needs to be balanced. What we human termed as ‘love’ is mundane. It is more of flesh than soul. Love in giving service is the starting point of a spiritual development, and perhaps the end of everything. Love is trade by barter -‘give and take’. Quran 2: 152 says “Remember Me and I will remember you”.Therefore, to define love in actual sense is to define everything. But love varies and I will try my best to differentiate it. Love between parents and their children, between man and woman, love for your neighbours, friends, colleagues, animals, even strangers. Also and importantly love between Allah and his worshipers. For women, love for their child is impenetrable. The love for the child starts from when she knows she’s pregnant and women have been known to do anything, go anywhere for the sake of the child. And for the father, the love for his family makes him do anything just to provide for his household. Giving your child the best legacy, the best values, principles in life is also love. Children who love their parents can go any mile to satisfy them. Love is caring and enduring, passionate. Love between a man and woman is heavenly especially the married ones. Marriage is commitment to share, to be with, to tolerate, accommodate to be companions and to be a life unit. Misconception about love has led people into oblivion. Can sex triggers love? Although sex brings about intimacy and pleasure, but if not in the right way, with the right person and in the right context, it can easily turn sour. The urge to touch someone or expresses your feeling is out of an abundance of love. “…. it is He who created you from a single soul and made his mate of like nature in order that he might dwell with her in love (Q7:189)”. Love has been in existence before sex come into play. It is logical to conclude that heart is the seat of emotion since the apex of the heart is the fifth rib where a woman is taken from. Allah enjoins us to love all creatures. It is related from Jabir that the Messenger of Allah, once saw a donkey which had been branded on its face and he said, "May Allah curse the one who branded it." (Muslim). The Qur'an describes that animals form communities, just as humans do:"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, or a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end" (Q6:38).Taking care of animals is element of love. The urge to defend my siblings or protect them from hurt is kindred love. Love is trust. Even a popular musician sang ‘love is a beautiful thing’. Love is committed and determined, love is constantly sacrificing, being loved is a blessing but loving another is more rewarding. Now of all these, the greatest of all is the love of Allah to His servants. Out of countless blessings of Allah, the greatest is love. And what could be more beautiful than love between Allah and His slaves! To be close to Him is a fundamental need for all souls and striving to achieve it can be healing for our chaotic inner selves. Love of Allah is the status for which the Righteous compete, it nourishes the hearts and soul, makes one the delight of the eye. Your love cannot be rejected unlike worldly love. Numerous hadiths exhort Muslims to help others because such an altruistic act takes the Muslim one step closer to Allah. Love of this world will bring you nothing but denial of paradise. Let us cultivate the habit of showing care to the orphans, less- privileged, disabled, and other Muslims far and near. Salam alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu.

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