In the name of Allah.
…Of all taboo topics to choose this holy Month –
There is perhaps a common stigma that circulates in my community, revolving around the term ‘love’. Again the liberal-conservative dichotomy comes into play, and while it is shunned and resented by some, others think a bit too little of it.
It is all too common for the average, blooming adolescent to be in the throws of infatuation, confounded between the unforgiving regimes of (what some call) religious duty, and adequately dealing with so much emotional turbulence. It is perhaps (and sadly so) a rare chance that the two ever comply. Thus the pressure exerted from both options often produces extreme results, depending one’s inclination and experience with the doctrine.
I’m taking an entirely neutral standpoint and approach, (again, avoiding quotes because I intend to invite you to ponder, not preach to you what any Friday sermon would tell you) and whatever I’m about to say is purely my humble opinion.
Anything can be easily misinterpreted and misrepresented, as long as there is a lack of depth and understanding of the subject. The individual more often than not fails to understand and appreciate love as it is, because – let’s face it – nobody actually talks about it. Many of us are too busy being self-righteous and checking on others, putting on holy fronts and being all too conspicuous about being morally upright. And when we think nobody is looking, we feed our egos by sniggering at whoever we deem not as ‘holy’ as us.
To put it crudely, the issue cannot be explicitly addressed because hardly anyone has the guts to do it. It gets swept under the carpet, breeds, and when it slips out, we sweep it back under the carpet, and the vicious cycle continues.
In our own little ways, we can do our own little parts to break the cycle.
Let’s start by defining love. (this won’t be easy, but let’s try.)
It is important to know the difference between love and attraction. Love is, in essence, pure and should not be treated otherwise. In extreme cases it could be self-sacrificial, but this may not necessarily be bad. The whole point of love is realization and self-annihilation, and requires a thorough breaking of the ego to fully experience it.
What many of us do not realise, is that loving a person is not as easy as it sounds. While attraction may be involuntary, to actually love this (once) complete stranger is a decision. You will have to put a lot of effort into building and maintaining such a relationship. You will need to commit mentally and physically, be spiritually aligned with the person, sacrifice habits, observe, understand, negotiate, and the list goes on. I believe it is very silly to rush into things just because she has a cute laugh or he has a charming smile. It does not work that way. I repeat, it does not.
The issue becomes taboo when the topic of love becomes trivialized. It is commonly misrepresented as attraction. When one fails to recognize the difference between the two, it causes an imbalance in one’s emotional discretion. The danger of attraction is that it stimulates all sorts of fantasies, sweet and heroic, and one easily ends up running in circles, chasing pretty lights that never actually existed. More often than not, these failures turn into baggage, which may turn things nasty when you actually decide to settle down.
Wake up, and open your eyes wide. Saddle up – love is a bumpy ride. (Not the most perfect rhyme but you get me, right?)