"God has endeared faith to you and adorned it in your hearts." ~ [Qura'n 49:7]
"Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love." ~ Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein not often cited for ideas outside the realm of science. But I recently came across an insightful statement formulated by him (the quotation above) that sparked a synapse some where in my mind about the relationship between religion and love.
If the laws of gravity do not apply to love, that is, if human beings are not attracted by mere earthbound love, then I am left with two questions: First, if it's not love that brings two people together, than what does? Second, if love alone, or at least the popular conception of it, does not attract two individuals, than what does love pair-up with to bring human beings into each other's intimate spheres? So the questions can be distilled to a single inquiry: How do people fall in love? Contrary to popular belief and Hollywood, falling in love does not happen spontaneously like a raging forest fire or something. How do I speak with such certainty when trashing the notion of romanticized love you say? Well, isn't it apparent? Look around you! When walking down the road, do you see people randomly bursting into passionate paroxysms? I mean, it's not like your taking the subway one day and you engage the person next to you just like that. It takes time to develop real love.
So what does taking time mean anyway? Well, it means that usually your feeling of deep love will not present itself the moment you first meet someone. No. Love needs to be given a chance to be cultivated and grown by an extended relationship, which is where marriage comes in as an active mechanism that allows such a seedling to germinate and eventually grow tall.
The truth of the matter is that something else is required to get love going. Like an engine or a chemical reaction, some kind of catalyst is needed to jumpstart the lifelong development that love requires. What is this enigmatic catalyst? Well, let's turn to the seventh verse of the forty-ninth surah of the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat (look at the first excerpt above).
From this verse and many similar ayahs in the Qur'an, we learn that Allah has integrated faith into our very hearts. Many people would interpret the idea of faith being "adorned" in our hearts as a kind of symbolic statement, but the fact of the matter is that our hearts are physically tuned to reverberate to the sounds of faith, the feeling of pure wholesomeness that belief brings with it. Establishing a loving relationship not only requires visceral attraction (an earthly desire), but also a huge input of faith, which answers our opening questions.
Perhaps this is too simplistic of an answer for you? Let's get a bit empirical, shall we? From my observation, as well as many other Muslims, it seems as though there is a huge contrast in marriage patterns between modern-day Muslims (you and I) and the early Muslims (570 CE / 632 H). I often find myself thinking, perhaps a little optimistically, of how relatively easy marriage was accomplished in early Muslim communities (think Madinah and afterwards Makkah). Men and women were often wedded at relatively young ages and decisions of whether to marry or not were likewise relatively brief and punctual.
For example, it wasn't really that long after Ah proposed to marry Fatimah that marital requirements were met and arrangements were finalized. And mind you, these weren't cold, hard arrangements met with corporate speed, nor were they swooning over one another in a fashion akin to Romeo and Juliet. No, this man and this woman made a mutual decision to love each other and that is a fact. They decided to put hands and hearts together in this earth and plant a seed there and nurture it to something large and beautiful, and that something bloomed into a blossom of love and tenderness into eternity.
And so from our more empirical discourse, we can start to make connections. We can begin to understand Einstein's statement about love not being contained by worldly constriction or law (gravity). No. Love is a heavenly attribute, a gift that God has saturated our hearts with. And mingling with love in the core of our hearts is faith. So what is faith but love, and what is love but faith. They both originate from the same pulsing locus, that miraculous muscle, for lack of a more transcending word, that sets into motion our bodies and our senses. They are one expression, even as their Originator is One.
And so we must ask ourselves the crucial question: How do we fall into real love? How do you find that true inamorato, if you are a Muslimah, or inamorata if you are a Muslim, in the modern, urban, and lonely landscape that you live in? Well, keep on looking sugar 'cause you aint gonna find nobody if you keep looking for the rest of your allotted time in life.
You cannot float through life with a belief that one day your one true love will come waltzing through your bedroom door. No. On the contrary, if you want to love someone, then you have to make that decision to defy mere dunya-related gravity. You have to grasp the fact that because faith and love are, so to say, a package deal, when you make an authentic decision to love someone, you are making a leap of faith.
There will be a point in your life's path that will tumble down into a deep ravine, and until you decide to put your faith in an individual human being and take that scary leap of faith, you will not continue to move in a positive direction. So think about fighting gravity, think about taking love and faith seriously. Jump.
Article provided by Al Jumuah Magazine, a monthly Muslim lifestyle publication, which addresses the religious concerns of Muslim families across the world.
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