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"Certainly We have revealed to you a Book in which is your own reminder; what! Will you not then use your reasoning?" Al Qur'an 21:10

Do we have a free will to select our life partner? Are we permitted to Love someone? Is it acceptable for girls to have boy friends and for boys to have girl friends? What is the criteria for selecting a life partner? Following is a discussion of such questions from a Qur’anic perspective.

Free consent for Marriage

The Qur'an informs us that women cannot be forced to get married and thus they have the right to express their will. The following Ayah tells us;

"O you who believe! You are Forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness that you may take away part of the dower you have given them -except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." (4:19)

In Sura 4, the believing man is also given the permission to marry women of his choice, thus he too can excersize his free will.As reminded;

"If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, so Marry women of Your Choice two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them) then only one.Or what your right hands possesed.That is nearer,that you do not decline from justice" (4:3)

Thus both, believing women as well as men have been given the right to have a say in their marriage, i.e. women cannot be married forcefully and men also have been given the right to marry women of their choice.

Then again in Sura 4 Ayah 21 ,Marriage has been identified as a <Meesaq> (Contract) that women have taken from men:

"And how could you take it when you have gone in unto each other and they (Your wives) have Taken from you a solemn covenant? " (4:21)

A contract or covenant requires the free consent of both parties in agreeing to that contract.

An agreement in which a person is forced to do something against his or her will, does not constitute a <Meesaq> or contract.

If the woman has been forced into getting married or the will of the man has been manipulated by coercion then such an agreement does not become a contract or <Meesaq>. Thus for a contract of marriage to come about, both parties i.e. the man as well as the woman have to use their free will in coming to terms and agreeing to live the rest of their lives with each other. If out of these two any one is forced or does not have their free will involved then such would not constitute a <Meesaq>.

This should clarify that a believing man or woman does have the right to accept or reject his or her would be husband or wife.They do have the right to express their will.

The Limit of Love

First of all we need to ascertain as to what do we mean by the term loving someone? That 'someone', do we like his or her physical appearance? Or do we mean we like his or her character traits? Or what his or her views are about life and many other things? Do we like the background he or she is coming from? Their economic status?

All of us do have feelings and emotions in us. We are not rocks or made of stones, we do have feelings, we cry when we get hurt, smile when we are happy, get depressed when something happens against our wishes, all these feelings are within us, but we should not let these feelings and emotions rule our lives.The feelings are there, no denying that, but they have to be kept within the limits ordained by Allah.

We should not let these feelings rule our lives. There has to be a balance between our feelings and emotions and our reason and intelligence. We should be constantly aware of our duties and responsibilities and they should not be neglected by feelings and emotions overcoming our minds.

When a person is emotionally worked up, i.e. he or she is under the influence of emotions like love, anger etc. Then that person cannot use his or her faculty of reasoning and intellect in ascertaining things. He or she will only listen to what the emotions are telling, no matter how much you try to make such persons to understand, they will not analyze things logically and with reasoning until their emotions are settled down.

We should let our feelings be subdued and look at things in a more practical, reasonable and logical way.

Usually with young people this is difficult to understand, but with the passage of time, when one attains some maturity we do realize these things.

Now about the issue of whether we can like (love) someone, the Qur'an has laid certain conditions for loving people as well. All of us do have these emotions in us, after all it is Allah Himself who has given these to us, but we cannot surpass the law of Allah in that love. Our total devotion and dedication has to be for the cause of Allah. We often hear the very common expression that people under the influence of emotions say to each other, something like; "I will give my life for you" or "you are my everything" etc. Such devotion is not allowed by the Qur'an.The Qur'an renounces such people, who are so infatuated.

Allah informs us through His Messenger;

"Yet there are among people who take others besides Allah as equal (with Allah): THEY LOVE THEM AS THEY SHOULD LOVE ALLAH. But the Believers are strong in their LOVE FOR ALLAH. If only the oppressors could see behold they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty." (2:165)

The Believer in the message of Qur'an cannot be totally devoted to someone rather than the cause of Allah.His or her goal of life is mentioned in the following verse;

"Say:' Surely my Salat and my solitude and MY LIFE and MY DEATH are (all) FOR ALLAH, the Sustainer of the Universe;" (6:162)

The above verse should be the motto of a true believer, and a person who maintains such principles, can he give his total love and devotion to someone else?


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