Love In Islamic Thought

Many people think it is generally forbidden to talk about love and its corresponding poetry, music, and expression. But in fact, discussions on “love” can be found in various jurist’s books.

Many people think it is generally forbidden to talk about love and its corresponding poetry, music, and expression. But in fact, discussions on “love” can be found in various jurist’s books.

Writing about love is tricky. It is difficult to explain in a structured way like other subjects. But the main problem is that love is not a matter of explanation.

In literature, we see more of an attempt to feel and discover love’s novelty than an attempt to explain it. The instinctive attraction between men and women is a natural phenomenon; it is innate. But interpreting love as a mere sexual phenomenon is a growing crisis. First, it is necessary to clarify that legal sex is a sacred act as it brings life to the world, and everyone is born with the potential of the great glory of being God’s Caliph. And everyone can find their soul in the word of God by obeying Allah’s command.

You see, this mutual longing between lovers, the simple pleasure of holding hands while idle, the need to tell “cross the road safely,” getting used to taking care of the other, there is a crisis of seeing these originating from mere sexual spirit.

When Allah says “And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect”, the purpose of human comfort and contentment is highlighted; God has expressed the intention of sexual relation.

In another part of the verse, God says that love and kindness have been created for and between you. We may receive a kind of love from our family members too, but the care we expect from family is different from the care we give to our beloved. It’s not that the issue of family care is secondary, but that the exception and uniqueness of wanting the welfare of ‘Mashuka’ garners intense happiness and a little shyness; it is an exception among the general. So what exactly is this feeling? As the Persian poet says, “You can only ask a Bulbul about the mystery of happiness in wandering among trees!”

Is love or affection fundamentally valid or reprehensible? What is its response within Islamic thought? How did the traditional classic scholars view it? Let’s talk a little bit about the subject.

Events related to love during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the time of early caliphs

Ibn al-Qayyim said in his one book, in the chapter called “Kindness Towards lover and Counseling with who he Love,” which is validated by Shariah, where he narrates many events which took place during the time of early caliph and said that during their era and the following era, it was customary to discuss with, guide, and advise one’s beloved. So that one may wholeheartedly be a part of this love and establish a positive end to this valuable relationship. [1]

Essentially this is the foundational crux of Islam’s view on love and its attitude towards the chemistry between a man and a woman. This position was upheld by the classical scholars of Islam. They inherently did not see a problem in talking about love or poetry and memoirs stories related to love. Imam Hafez Mughaltai said, “According to the consensus of the scholars, love is not an impure matter in the Quran, nor is it discouraged or forbidden in the Shariah.” [2]

Imam Bukhari made a chapter in his book on behalf of Barida’s husband, by the recommendation of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Narrated by Ibn Abbas, the story goes; that a slave girl named Barida became free, and in this process, she broke off her marriage with her master, Mugis. Mugis loved his wife Barida immensely, but now she is a mere stranger to him. Despite that, Mugis, entranced by Barida, roamed the streets of Medina to follow and be near her, urging her to marry him again. He begged, and wept till his beard was drenched in tears.

Seeing the condition of Mugis, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to negotiate with Barida. “Are you ordering me, O Messenger of Allah?” asked Barida. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No, no, I am only recommending it!” To that, Barida responded, “I do not need a recommendation.” The Prophet (PBUH) would then say to Hazrat Abbas, “O Abbas, do you not wonder how much Mugis loves Barida, and how much Barida dislikes Mugis?” [3] 

Imam Ibn Battal explained this hadith: “There is nothing wrong for a Muslim to love a Muslim woman, whether he keeps it revealed or hidden.” [4]

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said, “This particular exchange of recommendations (guidance/ advise/ counseling) between couples is the best form of cooperation to Allah, even more than those of all the leaders and pioneers of intercessions. This cooperation is the cause of union between couples, which Allah and His Messenger love. Therefore, this path is most beneficial for me than what Iblis and his ally desire; the destruction of this relationship. [5] 

According to another hadith, a woman married a man she did not love under duress, so Rasul (Sallalahu Alaihi wa Sallam) dissolved that marriage and betrothed her to whom she truly loved. [6]

The presence of the thought of love in the discussions of the jurists

Many people think it is generally forbidden to talk about love and its corresponding poetry, music, and expression. But in fact, discussions on “love” can be found in various jurist’s books. Many have even dedicated separate books on the subject (which will be discussed later). So far, we have clarified the fundamental position of love in the view of various scholars. Now let’s take a look at their specific writings on love. 

Tafseer books, commentary books of Hadith, and in all those books of Sufism, human love has been discussed in relation to the love of Allah. Classic scholars have also written on the psychotherapy of separation, the social effects of those human feelings, as well as the psychological analysis of love. Among them are Rawzatul Muhibbin of Ibn al-Qayyim, Jammul Hawa of Ibn al-Jawzi, and Ihiya Ilmuddin of Ghazali. 

Early Muslim scholars did not see love as a taboo subject, which had to be “avoided to maintain purity.” Rather they saw it as an indispensable matter of human nature unless it descends from its original essence to something with direct prohibitions. Free-mixing may have become prevalent and normalized, but if anyone thinks this is valid, this mentality must be acknowledged as a very bad practice.

Developing love for someone is ‘Aslan mubah’ (essentially permissible). But it is best to strive for a legitimate outcome, that is marriage. Moreover, it is sunnah for someone else to intercede for them in their marriage, as Ibn al-Qayyim says in his book Rawjatul Muhibbin. 

However, ‘Khalwat,’ that is, the solitude of two non-mahrams in a place where there is no opportunity for the third person’s presence, is proved haram by many hadiths. In addition, acts that incite adultery are also haram. This is the clearcut difference between intrinsic love and some of its acts that are deemed impermissible. 

Two great books written by early Islamic scholars on love

Tawkul Hamama: Written by Ibn Hazm Andalusi Rahmatullahi Alaihi

Ibn Hazm Andalusi was one of the foremost men of Zahiri fiqh. Zahiri is the author of the famous book Al- Muhalla of Fiqh, as well as a great man in the world of jurists, philosophers, linguists, and thinkers. In this book, he described various incidents related to love, poems, and different stages or situations of lovers. At the same time, he dove deeper into the psychological interpretation of love, the feelings of love talked about in philosophical discourses and more.

He divided the chapters into smaller chapters. Some examples include: “One who fell in love at first glance,” (although he himself did not believe in love at first sight; he called it a pure biological phenomenon), “The one who fell in love after seeing someone in a dream” and etc. He documented real events in his book and on top of that, it is a work of art. 

Raojatul Muhibbin wa Nuhatul Mustaqin: Written by Ibn al-Qayyim Jawziah  

This a book which is famed all over the world. The author Ibn al-Qayyim was well-known because of his anomalous thoughts about the attributes of God, and he was also a jurist of the Hanbali school. He has numerous books on fiqh, sirat, and aqeedah.

Rawjatul Muhibbin is the most famous book written in Islamic thought on love and romance; it’s the best book to view these topics through the lens of Hadith and Asar. The book contains the topic of ‘Ishq’ (love or passion;) its correct way, its incorrect way, cause, consequences, Hadith, Fiqh Masael, quotes from Salaf, and various poems. Alongside these, the book discusses the cure to the pain and ailment caused by separation. 


There was love and affection in the time of Companions, even during the time of the Prophet himself. They did not see this as a bad thing. They did not hate anyone afflicted with Ishq, but expressed kindness and sympathy towards him. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself recommended for a lover to marry whom he loves, and the scholars called it the Sunnah of the Prophet.

In the history of Islamic thought, early jurists have written separate books on this subject. At the same time, they wrote various stories, events, and poems about pure and basic love. But why can’t we think outside the chemistry of the relationship which is presented by Western consumerist thought? And why we don’t understand love in the light of our Turasi (religious traditional thought) thinking?


1. Rowzatul muhibbin

2. Sahih bukhari 

3. al wahiduyl mubin liman ustushida minal muhibbin

4. Sahih bukhari

5. Sahih bukhari li ibn battal

6. Rowzatul muhibbin