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Most of our knowledge of Islam today comes to us through the reporting of acts of terrorism committed by terrorists who call themselves “Islamists”. But most of people around the world are frequently unaware that compassion and love are the essence of Islam as expressed in the holy Qur’an. Islam states that love is when you do good deeds or do something good for someone else for the sake of humanity and in reflection of your true love for Allah Almighty. In the holy Qur’an, Allah says: “truly righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and spends his money for love of Him, on the kindred and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and those who ask for charity, and for ransoming the captives; and who observes Prayer and pays the Zakat; and those who fulfill their promise when they have made one, and the patient in poverty and afflictions and the steadfast in time of war; it is these who have proved truthful and it is these who are the God-fearing. (Al Baqarah: 178)”.
There are two stories of love between women and men that are mentioned in the holy Qur’an, one of these stories was positive while the other was a negative one.
The negative one is the love of the wife of the Minister of Egypt towards Prophet Joseph. This story is narrated extensively in Surat Yosuf starting at verse 12:23.
The positive love story is more implicit and is the story of the love between Moses and one of Jethro’s daughters narrated in surat Al Qasas starting at verse 28:23.
There are many meanings and forms and types of “love”. The Holy Qur’an mentions the word ‘love’ in many verses. According to the holy Qur’an; love for others mean kindness and affection having moral nobility and human respect. Qur’an urges Muslims not to consider love as a means of satisfying the fleshly desires. The true love for others should base on an affection which is free of motivation, pollution of thought, selfishness, and earthly interests. In Islam, love is first for Allah. This love should occupy the heart and conscience in such a way that it overwhelms concealed everything else. The holy Qur’an states: “The believers are stauncher in (their) love for Allah.” (Al Baqara: 165)
Second, the faithful harbor of love for His Prophet Muhammad. This love in manifested by an intense desire to follow and imitate the Prophet. The holy Qur’an says, “Say (O’ Our Prophet Muhammad; If ye do love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; Verily, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” –(Al ‘Imran: 31)
When reading the Qur’an, anyone can easily recognize the emphasis put on love, compassion, graciousness, mercy and forgiveness. As a matter of fact, all Suras of the Qur’an except one begin with the phrase “in the name of Allah” who is described as Al-Rahman (the Compassionate) and Al-Raheem (the Merciful). This verse is often translated as “in the Name of Allah, the most Compassionate and most Merciful.” This fits the exact meaning of the definition for the love of Allah. These two descriptions are the most commonly used words by which Allah describes Himself in the Qur’an. These characteristics of Allah refer to His uncountable blessings, plenteousness and mercy.
There is a clear and obvious example for love in Islam. This is the story of Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India. In the early 1630’s, Mumtaz Mahal, wife of Shah Jihan, ruler of what may have been the wealthiest empire in the world, died in childbirth. The wealth, power and riches of Shah Jihan were immense, his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, was a queen, but the king could not save his wife, the love of his life.
The grieving husband, Shah Jihan, whose name meant “King of the World”, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. This was to honor his love to his wife.
Taj Mahal, this magnificent monument that stands until today reflects a love story that has been melting the hearts of millions of listeners since the time Taj has been visible. A story, that although ended centuries ago, continues to live on in the form of Taj and is considered a living example of eternal love. It’s the love story of Muslim people from the course of history who set an example for the people living in present and the future to come.