Love is in the Air?

BismiLlahir Rahmanir Rahim

So it is Valentine's Day today (technically in a few minutes), a ridiculous holiday in my lowly estimation. Telling the one you love that you love him doesn't require a special day (everyday works pretty well I'd say), and while some might argue that this day isn't "required" to attest their love but rather "honours" their love, I say "each their own." I still consider it a commercialized and borderline superficial way to celebrate love. Again, each their own.

Now let's look at two classic romantic icons. Romeo and Qays (aka Majnoon - now that I have actually read the story *ahem*). Generally (or perhaps traditionally), romantic endeavours are initiated by men, so I won't consider their counterparts.

In the Western world, for reasons which I'm unsure of, Romeo is considered a romantic ideal. Yes, he goes to party (uninvited was it? tsk tsk), his gaze falls upon a young lady, and a few hours later he declares his complete love for her. Suffice to say, I entirely agree with my English teacher who commented that Romeo is shallow. But then again, given his beloved's responses, perhaps they were a perfect match.

Now Qays' situation was different. Crazy indeed, but at least his love was grounded in a personality that he was familiar with, a childhood friend. But still, his inability to put things into perspective (as they say "love is blind") caused him to sabotage any possibility of ever sanctifying his claim of love.

In both stories, the lovebirds never unite as husband and wife and instead they all end up dying as a result of their love sickness or their attempts to materialize their wishes.

A shaykh once mentioned that Qays' love was very real. Love is the strongest emotion that a human can experience, but as Shaykh Abdullah Al Haddad once reminded us, "Do not love the one who dies." Ya Rab! He was, of course, just making a point and not saying that one could not or should not love one who dies because as we know, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) loved his family and companions, among others. The shaykh continued to say that after Qays died, God forgave him, but preserved his story as a lesson for those who came after him. [I really have to verify this because I didn't realize that Qays and Layla's story was a true story. Nonetheless, point taken.]

One might call me cynical in my assessment of romantic stories or ideas, but unless one knows me personally this can't be easily verified. As far as I see it though, romantic love and today's western educational system are very much the same.

For some, the words "I love you" alone is sufficient proof of one's love, just as a piece of paper that declares one a graduate (and thus an expert) in a certain field is proof of one's knowledge. I, on the other hand, maintain the perspective that while these are necessary supporting indications of both love and knowledge, by themselves they can never be considered the real thing.

As a poet once said, "Knowledge without action is like a wick, it gives light to others but itself dies out burning." But love without sincere action cannot even be considered love.

For me to comment any further on romantic love is to manifest the blind leading the blind. But I will say, in closing, that there are already many illusions in the world today among which we need not include true love. Love, as I understand it, can only become real if people give it its worth by directing it to something greater than just one's worldly existence. And God knows best!

On a side note, I think one awesome act of love -among its plethora of other outstanding and praiseworthy characteristics- scheduled for today is Viva Palestina - a lifeline from Britain to Gaza, which iMuslimTV explains very nicely here. May God give them success, ameen!

May the Almighty fill this world with the power of love, and may He help us all realize the worth of love for His sake, ameen.

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]