What is the opinion of Islam about love between a man and a woman? What should be done about these intense attachments that occur outside of marriage? Is it forbidden to show interest in non-mahram people? What is the treatment for a broken heart due to a failed emotional relationship? What should be done about a mind that has remained preoccupied? Thank you
“Love” in the sense of intense attachment arisen from the emotional and sexual need, weakens the intellect and prevents it from correct and perfect cognition, and therefore, it has no place in Islam. What has been accepted in Islam is “love” arisen from “faith” which is considered a branch of “loving God”; as He has said: ﴿وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَتَّخِذُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنْدَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ﴾; “Some people take compeers besides God and love them like they love God, while believers love God more than all else,” and said: ﴿قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ﴾; “Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, your relatives, wealth that you have gathered, trade that you are afraid of its decline, and dwellings that you delight are dearer to you than God, His Prophet, and struggling in His way, then wait until God brings His punishment, and God does not guide the group of sinners” and it has been narrated from the Messenger of God, peace and blessings of God be upon him and his family, that he said: «إِنَّ أَوْثَقَ عُرَى الْإِيمَانِ أَنْ تُحِبَّ فِي اللَّهِ وَتُبْغِضَ فِي اللَّهِ»; “The strongest bond of faith is to love for the sake of God and be hostile for the sake of God,” and it has been narrated: «مَنْ أَعْطَى لِلَّهِ، وَمَنَعَ لِلَّهِ، وَأَحَبَّ لِلَّهِ، وَأَبْغَضَ لِلَّهِ، وَأَنْكَحَ لِلَّهِ، فَقَدِ اسْتَكْمَلَ إِيمَانَهُ»; “Whoever gives for the sake of God, withholds for the sake of God, loves for the sake of God, is hostile for the sake of God, and marries for the sake of God has perfected his faith.”
It is hereby understood that love in the first sense has no place in the hearts of believers and only possesses the hearts of those who have weak intellects and little faith and follow their passions; especially when it leads them to something other than marriage; because love in this sense is an example of darkness, and when it leads to secret and illegitimate relationships, it is an example of the words of God that has said: ﴿ظُلُمَاتٌ بَعْضُهَا فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ﴾; “Darknesses that some are above some others,” and accordingly, the way to be saved from it is strengthening the intellect by avoiding the impediments to cognition and increasing faith by turning to piety and remembering God often that illuminates the heart.
Yes, there is no problem in having interest in a woman considering her intellect, faith, and piety more than her appearance or good manners, and accordingly, it is permissible to show it to her as well; provided that on the one hand, there is no religious impediment to marrying her, and on the other hand, it is done in the form of proposing to her for marriage; as God Almighty has said: ﴿مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلَا مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ﴾; “For marriage, not for fornication nor secret friendship.” Therefore, it is permissible for him to say to her, for example: “Your intellect, faith, and piety have made me interested in you; to the extent that I think living with you will get me closer to God and further away from Satan. So I would like to marry you if you and your father agree.” Then, if they agree, he shall ask about their conditions, and in case of agreement, he shall proceed with the marriage, and if they disagree, he shall forget the woman and ask God to grant him a wiser, more faithful, and more pious woman; because God is the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful and has power over all things.