Dec 7, 2012

Of Relationships And Love - Part 2 : The Prophet's Attitude Towards Those In Love

By Amina Wasi

Part 1


The Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam was an approachable man to all those who came to him with their problems and situations. The young and the old alike came to benefit from his advice and wisdom. Similarly, there also came those people whose situation revolved around issues dealing with love. The Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam as mentioned, recognized love as a natural feeling even if it was not consummated by marriage provided that it did NOT result into something that was unlawful or crossed the confines of the Shari’ah and the displeasure of Allah.

One such story is that of the companion Khansa bint Khadam. Khansa bint Khadam went to the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam and told him that that she did not want to marry a particular man that her father forced on her and she said, “My cousin is more beloved to me."

Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya: that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah's Apostle and he declared that marriage invalid.

At that time, she was a young woman but this did not stop her from expressing herself in front of the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam about who she loved! And this man was Ar Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam, the Prophet of Allah. How many young women can feel this comfortable going to a Shaykh, Imam or Maulana today and express their love issue to them? Yet, this young woman did not shy away from telling Ar Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam  Why? Because, he salallahu aleyhi wasallam was someone who made everyone feel comfortable enough to approach him about many facets of life whether it be the rulings of Salah or an emotional issue of love.

Another story of love is that of Mugeeth and Bareerah radiallahu anhuma. They are perhaps known famously for their love story. Mugeeth was a companion who loved Bareerah deeply but Bareerah did not love him back. After their divorce, she left him. Mugeeth, however, unable to control his love for her would chase after her in the streets of Madina with tears flowing down to his beard pleading Bareerah to take him back in marriage. Can you imagine living in Madina and seeing this scene unfolding before you? What must have been the reaction of the people of Madina? What must have been the reaction of the ruler of Madina, the Prophet of Allah, Ar Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam. Mugeeth was not ridiculed by the companions nor the Sahabah rather he gained sympathy from them. The Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam observing this phenomenon turned to his uncle Al Abbas and remarked, “ O Abbas! Isn’t it amazing how much Mugeeth loves Bareerah and how much Bareerah hates Mugheeth?”. Ar Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam is making an observance of this feeling of love.

Being a soft hearted man, the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam interceded for Mugeeth because of the state he was in. He went to Bareerah radiallahu anha and asked her if she could take Mugeeth back in marriage. Bareerah asked,"Are you commanding me or are you just interceding?" The Prophet said, "I'm interceding." She replied, "If this is the case, then I don't want him.” After saying no, he did not attempt to force her because Ar Rasool salallahu aleyhi wasallam respected a woman’s feelings as he did the man’s. Everyone is entitled to love or not love who they want and the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam respected that decision. The Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam being occupied with so many other issues regarding war, enemies, delegations, family, death still made time to solve an emotional love problem. He did not just sympathize but interceded to solve the problem in the best possible manner.

The last story is that of Zaynab radiallahu anha, the eldest daughter of the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam and her love for her husband Abu' Al Aas ibn Rabee'. During the migration of the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam  Zaynab was amongst those that stayed behind with her husband and this was before the verse that Muslims woman should not live with a Non Muslim man was revealed. Her husband had not accepted Islam yet. So, Zaynab stayed in Makkah, until the battle of Badr occurred. Her husband ended up participating in the battle against the Muslims and Zaynab feared this. She kept crying out: “O Allah, I fear one day the sun may rise and my children become orphans or I lose my father”.

When the battle ended, Abu' Al Aas was captured by the Muslims and the news reached Zaynab. Upon hearing of his capture, she immediately out of her love decided to release him. She did not own anything of much value so she took out her necklace that her mother Khadija radiallahu anha had given her when she became a bride in order to release him. When this necklace was taken back to the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam  He was overcome with emotions. This was Khadija's, his beloved wife's necklace. He asked: "Whose payment is this?" They said: "Abu Al Aas ibn Rabee". He cried and said "This is Khadeeja's necklace". He then took permission from them asking Abu Al Aas to be released without accepting the necklace as a ransom. The people agreed off course because they knew who Abu Al Aas was. They knew whose necklace it was. They knew who Khadija radiallahu anha was and they knew who Abu al Aas was to Zaynab radiallahu anha.

After this incident, the verses were revealed regarding the command of separating between a Muslim from a non believer and thus Zaynab was now instructed to leave Abu Al Aas and divorce him. Although she insisted he became Muslim, he refused and they departed. At this point then, when there was a clear indication of a prohibition, such love was not to be acted upon because of the issues of Haram and legal injunctions that were now involved. The Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam at this point was strict because now it involved the displeasure of Allah if they were to continue to live together because of this love.

After 6 years, Abu Al Aas was traveling in a caravan from Makkah to Syria and his caravan was captured by the Muslims. He fled and sought refuge in Zaynab's house. Zaynab radiallahu anha then informs the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam that she is given freedom to Abu Al Aas.

Turning to his companions, the Prophet asked "Have you heard what I heard?" They all said, "Yes, messenger of Allah". Indicating that he did not know that Abu Al Aas had fled to Zaynab's house and that she had granted him protection. He did not want people to think that he was allowing a non believer to stay with his daughter or favoring her when verses had been revealed against it. He warned his daughter not to go near him. He said, "Don't let him get near you, he is prohibited for you." Zaynab radiallahu anha understood this and did not let her love for Abu Al Aas turn to an unlawful act.

After her husband observed the life of Madina, the people of Madina and the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam, it influenced and changed his heart. He left to Makkah to wrap up unfinished business and returned to Madinah back to his beloved Zaynab. He, like a gentleman announced that he became Muslim and asked for the hand of Zaynab in marriage. They were then re married and lived happily. Unfortunately though, a year after their marriage, Zaynab passed away. Abu Al Aas would cry so much that the people saw the Prophet himself crying and trying to calm him down. Abu Al Aas would say, “By Allah, I can’t stand life anymore without Zainab". He died one year after Zaynab's death. Such was their love for one another.

From these examples, we learn that the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam as well as the companions understood this genuine feeling of love even before marriage provided that it did not translate into an unlawful practice. And when it started to become something unlawful as in the case of Abu Al Aas staying with Zaynab radiallahu anha when he was a non believer, then the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam condemned and strictly forbade this. Those that were in love were not chastised or ridiculed for having these feelings by the Prophet salallahu aleyhi wasallam nor the Medinan society.


I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Masha Allah, this is a beautiful article. The last love story bvetween Zaynab and Abu Al Aas (radia Allahu anhum), was really emotional

With respect to story about Mugheeth and Bareerah, a bit of background. Both were slaves married to each other and then Bareerah was freed. As per law/custom ( I am not sure and too lazy to Google it) she had the right to decide after getting freed if she wanted to remain married to a slave and she decided against it so the divorce was affected.

However, I think all of us would understand that it may be acceptable at the time for Mugheeth to be following Bareerah around at the time but it is not acceptable in current times. Even the lady brought up in current times would feel harassed at someone following her around.

Prophet's love was exemplary. His love for Khadeeja RA and later Aishah RA and then his love for his grandsons.

Falling in love is natural. That's why men are asked to lower their gaze and women are asked to dress modestly. When it comes to marriage, both genders have been given free will not just as a formality but as a full blown right.

However, even in an open society like in the Prophet's time, marriage was mostly arranged through match makers or through middlemen as even Khadija RA didn't propose directly to Prophet but rather sent the proposal through her friend.

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