Since about four yours ago, as for the first time I decided to initiate a relationship with a woman, I have encountered lots of false assumptions in myself and others around love and relationships.
These false beliefs are so deep rooted in widely accepted but false understanding of the world and the culture in which we live, that it appears to be impossible to think out of the box, however, this time „the box“ is misperceptions of the reality and „thinking out of the box“ is coming back in touch with ourselves and the world as it is …
A week ago, I received an email from a reader of The Lost Ideas Lab Journal, who tried to discuss her unanswered questions about how to find a partner, what should be the goal and what should be the criteria. I found her email to be a beautifully written collection of nearly all those misleading beliefs. While she is a Muslim and her doubts have a touch of Islamic teachings, still most of it are based on nonsenses told in our societies for decades, centuries or even millennials. So, you will find more or less similar wrongs nowadays around the globe and in other religious backgrounds. However for the sake of this article, and for my limited knowledge of other religions, we will only discuss the Islamic aspect of things and you will see most of the background doubt of this young woman has nothing to do with the belief in the God, rather in most cases it is in odd to it.
But before getting into my critics on our state of art understanding of romantic relationships, which you will probably hold up your defense against it, because after all not only you but your parents, your parents of parents, all your friends, all the parents of your friends, and nearly everyone have lived with these false understandings, so it will be extremely hard to shift your views, even if you are open enough to read and to put the effort to understand. So instead of taking about dating and how to find the future mate, let’s first briefly have a look at „why“.
Is a life-long love in a monogamous heterosexual romantic relationship our dream or an illusion we learned in our environment?
Compared to the past centuries, we are more than ever in denial about desiring to be in a romantic relationship. From the concept of „open relationship“ to the idea that „the first three years in college I slept around and tried as much different sexual experiences as possible, because, I guess that’s what everybody else does, isn’t it?“ to the Ashley Madison married infidel matchup startup which was so successful that it finally become the target for hackers, it looks like we may not really be born for a heterosexual monogamous romantic relationship filled with love, or maybe such a thing is not feasible. If you look around, the number of those who in defend of their failure in living such wish, stand up for one of these two conclusions, are so much, that it is hard to hope if you walk down a crowded street, you will accidentally run into someone who wishes to go after such dream.
Not only we find it hard to have romantic relationships with one person but when it comes to the romance and erotic part of it, our misperceptions of the reality has become so widespread, intensive and complex that we talk about the difference between sexual identity, gender identity, sexual preference and sexual orientation. We have gone so long in building up nonsense justifications, that it may not be absurd to imagine a future where you need to have sexual experience and some certificates and degrees about your own sexuality and erotic identity before you can have a relationship.
I think that’s maybe the right time to finally ask ourselves, why all the hassle? Why should we piss off ourselves so much? Why do we need to protest for gays’ rights, lesbians; rights, transgenders’ rights, and these categories seem to go on without end. Just an example there are lesbians who won’t date bi-girls only pure lesbians. So, maybe we should say, „romantic relationships“ were something for hunters and gatherers’ societies and now they don’t have any place.
I mean, even those who are monogamously married in a heterosexual partnership are not satisfied. Half of the jokes they tell each other is about how being single was amazing and it sucks to be with married, and the other half is about sexual experiences out of the concept of marriage. If that’s what they spent free time on, maybe we should never be in a long term relationship. Let’s find out the first person in human’s history who come up with this horrible idea and tell him „go fuck yourself!“
Just to get a bit off this seemingly against love discussion, let’s take a look at an example without hiding the identity of individuals involved:
Cecilia Ahern, the English speaking author who is extremely famous in Germany, publishes every other year a new love story in which a man and a woman end up with each other. Now, maybe you think we have to hopeful, that there are at least, still lots of women and young ladies, who are amazed by the idea of a story that ends with „the lived happily ever after together“.
Love is not dead!
Don’t be that fast. There is a catch in being a fan of Cecilia Ahern. She is a manifestation of a relationship without love and so her longstanding readers. I don’t know Cecilia Ahern in person, nor I have any direct contact with anyone in her life.
Cecilia Ahern wrote one of her first short stories before her wedding. The story of a girl at her wedding evening, which is mysteriously kidnapped and in order to flee from her kidnapper, she has to marry a man, whom she has no idea who he is. The story is even direr than this. She has loved another man before being kidnapped for endless years. Unlike lots of other thrillers, the kidnapper in Cecilia Ahern’s story is not a person, nor a being, it is just how her world is designed. There is a mirror that in prisons individuals inside itself based on some rules and …
Behind this story, Cecilia Ahern’s brain and soul are reflecting on her inability to break free from wrong dogma in her mind and avoiding to commit the rest of her life to the wrong man.
The reason why she is extremely famous in Germany even though she writes in English, is that the cultural situation in Germany generates the greatest population of such male and female who end up marrying someone whom they don’t love.
This short story is less known and no one I knew, has claimed there’s correlation between Cecilia Ahern’s life and that story. What Cecilia Ahern is famous for, are the stories of female protagonists finding true love, but there is something that all those female protagonists have in common. After an unusual incident in their lives, they are no more able to live the daily course of the events of their lives, but that’s only the surface, in fact what Cecilia’s protagonists are doing, is to be forced by outside events to stop living a fake identity and start trying to live out their true self right. This is the same theme in the beginning of all the books I have read from her. Then this practice of living out their true self slowly and slowly leads them to be in a romantic relationship with the man whom they really love each other, while they believed their ex to be their life-long partner at the beginning of the story.
I don’t know how many years it is that Cecilia Ahern is telling the same story again and again and again, while as far as I know, since that first short story she has been married to the person, unlike all her protagonist who breaks out of their relationship in the beginning of the story or to be precise most of the time they are forced to break out of that relationship. And I believe most of Cecilia Ahern’s recurring fans share the same fate in their real life, too.
If you doubt my guess, I can show you to a different real life example which shows the same pattern: Have you ever seen the fans of soccer? They die to get a ticket and cry and laugh when their team looses or wins, yet most of them never play soccer themselves. But rarely a soccer player does the same, because either they are inside that match, or the rest of the time they are busy practicing and preparing for the next match. No time for being a fan. In the same way, you won’t read the same love story ten times just each time with new names, characters, places, events and etc but with the old same plot, if you have already gone through such story in your own life. You don’t need to hear the story of a woman who broke out of her relationship and old life and started living out her true self and end up with a man whom they really love each other, over and over again, if you weren’t wishing that the same happened in your life, but it never did.
What those fans fail to realize is that reading Cecilia Ahern’s books should function as an encouragement to act accordingly in your own life, instead of keeping it as a dream that whenever the reality of your life hurts you, you go back to your imaginary world, in which you go through a hard period of giving up on a fake identity, and find love. Just as Cecilia Ahern’s writing habit is an escape from her life, instead of being a guidance on taking dramatic steps, for her fans reading Cecilia’s book is their escape.
I hope this example shows you, how easily we stop going after the deepest desires and wishes of our hearts, souls and in general, of our existence. I could have written similar clarifications for all the other examples mentioned before, but I hope one example is enough for you. You can find yourself or other caught up in this trap for lots our wishes, and even though it makes sense to try to clarify every single example, I rather encourage you look for clarification for those examples on yourself and continue with the rest of this article.
I don’t have a statistics but looking at the numbers of movies, books, songs and … about unhappy relationships that are all time best-sellers, it is not hard to guess that perhaps 99% of our population is sharing their lives with people they don’t love.
If you are asking yourself how can you avoid being one of those people, I think we have all already experienced the answer by ourselves.
Children are amazing. If they want something they just go after it, and it doesn’t matter for them how long does it take them. They never run a balance of costs against benefits. Most of the times they are not even aware that they want something. They just go for it. They don’t scratch their mind over it, nor they read tons of books about it. They just do it and they fail and they fail and they fail and they fail … and they fail till they do it so good, as if they were able of doing it since they were born. Of course, they are not stupid, they watch out how their parents do it, they wait for their help, and they try to get their attention and support but I think you get the point that they try hard till they finally make it, and all the while till then they are simply failing.
Just like how children learn to walk, or to talk, or even how they learn to interact with the fellow humans around them, as adults learning how to build our romantic relationship is no more different. So instead of questioning why do we desire that future for ourselves, or doubting whether we as human beings are capable of monogamous romantic relationships or whether it is not possible with the same sex, we have to put our main focus on making it happen. Just like as when a child is learning to walk, we may first scrawl instead of even being able to stand up, but there is nothing wrong with it, even when the child has learned to stand on his or her own feet, he or she may fall again and again and may every adult around him or her laugh at him or her, but surprisingly that child joins the adult in laughing to him or herself. Even though we are no more children, we are still able to behave in the same way, when we are learning something new, and a monogamous heterosexual romantic relationship with the person we love each other, is for most of us totally new, unless we are already long inside it.
Now I hope, you are ready to put all your attention, energy, focus and efforts on realizing the desire of your heart and following your instincts, instead of questions why should you love someone or why should you be in a relationship. Unless we are studying the human nature, for most of us it is enough if we know that we love someone, or if we are sure we wish to be in a relationship with that person for the rest of our lives. The reason for it is not as important and what is important is how to make it happen.
Side note: Am I aim to break the heart of that reader?
Because in next, I am going to quote the email of A. A. and explain why she is wrong, I would like to start with this point.
Since we have abandoned the God in our lives, we often expect our own selves, or our culture, our perception of our religion, our nationality or our beliefs in science to be our God, and a side effect of such expectations is that our Gods are going to come short, yet like nearly all disbelievers instead of accepting such experiences as eyes opener, we turn the finger of blame to the young man who demolished our idols and order to burn him … Or in case we aren’t that violent, we will label that person as an „enemy“ and if not secretly desiring revenge, at least wishing to have them never existing, just as most the disbelievers did in the past, however those who seemingly destroy your God aren’t doing so on purpose, it is only in your brain that the thing you expect to be your God can’t stand up to your expectations.
So my critics on some of A. A.’s beliefs is merely an act of kindness, an attempt to take someone’s hand and show them that behind the limited box that is presented to them as the reality, there is a world, which it is more pleasant to live in it, perhaps not easier, nor prouder but for sure way much better …
The invisible big lie: you have no place here …
Due to increase use of mass media, from books, to news, radio, TV and even the social media, each of which is more and more moving toward defending a „norm“ rather than being a medium for everyone’s interaction, and as well due to standardization of education on all level nearly all over the globe, the lie that „in case you don’t fulfill our expectations there is something wrong with you“ is much more easier that ever to tell and to believe in.
Below is an example of such in A. A.’s email:
… The reality is that I have all my life tried to fix what I considered to be a social handicap of avoiding overwhelmning social stimuli of all kind. I promised myself and set life goals to be more socially active and practised on relplying correct during small talks. I even had to practise on giving hugs in a way that did not make it awkward for both parties …
… but I refused this time, because I no longer feel the urge to be socially active and thus forcing myself to be exposed to a stimuli that gives me nothing but more guilt. I come along with people who are open for conversations but to a Limited extent. Because when I read about your description of how we cannot enjoy the company of people who does not meet your emotional and intellectual intensity, I found a reason to lean towards. However, I may taking that as an excuae not knowing my full potential or lack of it.
A few days ago, I wrote an article which part of discussed the example of introverted boyfriend and a girlfriend who had no idea how to best interact with him. The reality is that nowhere in my article, I stated that introvert are not to mix and mingle with others, indeed the whole article is on the instance of how a „so called“ expert failed to provide advice on how to deal with an introvert for someone who is not an introvert herself, yet wished to build a relationship with her introverted boyfriend.
The fact that our society tries to destroy the living conditions for everyone who is not „normal“ [not to mention that there is no such a thing as normal, as our society wants us to accept] means only and only that our society needs to be fixed, not that actually „we cannot enjoy the company of people who does not meet your emotional and intellectual intensity“.
This is exactly what a wrongdoing society wants you to believe in, so they can continue with their wrongdoings.
Can love be your „noble cause“?
Of course, love is extremely important however just because two things are extremely important it doesn’t that they are the same things or even can be the same things.
A. A. tries to win my acceptance in advance for what she is about to say, by pretending that it is totally in echo with how I see noble cause, as she writes:
The Noble cause you wrote so accurate about. Yes, that noble cause that I cannot imagine not living for. Unfortunately this cause is no longer becoming a successfull doctor, socially active or charismaric person. I want to be met with the same intensity of mine (more or less) and be …
In the article on noble cause, I wrote:
And the thing about the noble cause is that it’s not there, not in a way that it doesn’t exist but like anything else, we are not aware of it until it’s out there and shining.
So, it is in complete contrast with my writing to state that “oh, my noble cause is no more this but that“.
The noble cause is not something that you choose, just as you can’t really chose who the baby in your stomach is going to be. It simply doesn’t work this way. For nearly all people, they have no idea what their noble cause is unless they have lived a life trying to accomplish it. And in case this sounds like a paradox to you, you can say the same about a child. You have no idea what that egg and sperm are going to turn out in the real world unless you support it happen and then you can tell it afterward.
So, the first thing to learn is that you can’t state your noble cause in a sentence or so, as long as it is not out there and shining, which typically happens when you are old or already dead, and again only, if you have really all the while did your best to achieve it.
Secondly, love and noble cause are two totally different matters. Love is the state of our relationship with someone or a thing, while „noble cause“ is the invisible path that our development is set in. It is extremely complex to describe how noble cause is linked to love and how it is not, but for the sake of this article let’s only point out that the person you love and all the acts of loving that person are part of your path, a path which if you continue following it for most of our lifetime, it can be considered as your noble cause. Again, it is far more complicated than all these, but it is important to comprehend that loving someone won’t substitute the path you have take, nor that path which you have to take substitutes the acts of loving the person you love.
If it is still too complex for you, go after both of them as if they are two totally separated things and till you may one day understand how they are related to one another.
The nonsense mix of truth and lies …
If you wonder how can it come that we are so wrong about relationships when there has been such a number of thinkers, philosophers, poets, story-tellers, prophets, and as well lover and etc in the past and we have access to their works, there is a simple answer to this. Most often we access their works through others, the others who mix their own lies with the work of those people, from public school, the universities, the national TV, all and all are contributing to this mix of lies and truth. Why are they doing so? Because otherwise, the wrong people won’t be able to stay in power.
With this background, I think what A. A. has written in the rest of her email, is a brilliant example on how this impossible mixture is presented to us as a coherent understanding of the world:
I want to be met with the same intensity of mine (more or less) and be inspired by a fellow soul to improve in spirtuality on the path towards my Creator. I want this person and the love connected to him to become a mean in the right direction. I dont want him to become the reason or the destination of lust and longing, just an undiscovered door that can reveal a new world of spiritual depth. Because I know that this wolrd exists still out of my reach, but the nurturing of a soul via the bond of love to another soul can reveal abilities beyond Our imagination. But the love has to be for Him and only Him. Love is not an obstacle as it is supposed to serve as releaf from physical distractions.
But no matter how good you are in mixing the truth with lies, there is a catch to it, you will loose to the reality. In the case of A. A. She is lost in how all these should work:
However, I find it difficult to understand how such a person Will just fall infront of my door way one day.
So, let’s point out few important matters here.
Starting with the beginning of what she has written, it is important to be aware that everyone who inspires you is not necessarily going to make a relationship for you. Some sort of balance between the couple is important in order to feel close to one another. Starting a relationship with someone way out of your league will only end up in disaster for both you. Any great imbalance in areas which are extremely important to you could end up damaging your relationship. This can be as stupid as for example if running is extremely important for you and you wish to go on running challenges with your partner on the weekends. If you start a relationship with a fat guy, who is uninterested in becoming lean or a bookworm, who is uninterested walking more than 15 minutes, even if you really wish him to, your relationship is going to suffer in the long run. But imbalances in areas which you don’t expect your partner to meet your abilities could be unimportant or even a positive aspect of the relationship. Because A. A. has written that she cares a lot about her intellectual abilities and wishes to meet someone with the same intensity, it is good to be conscious not to go for a romantic relationship with someone inspiring but with way more intellectual ability or alternatively it will be devastating for her, her romantic relationship and possibly her partner to choose someone whose mental abilities are not as brilliant as hers.
Next important issue to be aware of is that Allah and only Allah guides every and all things so perhaps you should expect the guidance from Him, it can happen through your relationship, it can happen through other things … So to believe that you are able to judge if the relationship with this person or that person will be Allah’s guidance for you or not, is kind of too much trust in your abilities as human beings. It is important to be hopeful that God helps you and guides you and as well use your relationship as a mean for your guidance but in the same time, it is foolish to believe you can dictate your wishes to the God.
„a new world of spiritual depth“ what? I mean, some people really watch too much Hollywood movies. If God wanted, He would have shown us the angels and the paradise and the hell but He didn’t. Sorry guys, but the truth is that we are on the Earth because Adam and Eva ate the fruit of a tree they should not have, because Satan misguided them. This is how the ending is told in Quran:
But Satan caused them to deflect therefrom and expelled them from the (happy) state in which they were; and We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time.[2:36]
Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He relented toward him. Lo! He is the relenting, the Merciful. [2:37]
We said: Go down, all of you, from hence; but verily there cometh unto you from Me a guidance; and whoso followeth My guidance, there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. [2:38]
But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful Peoples of the Fire. They will abide therein. [2:39]
If I am Muslim and this is God’s revelation, there is literarily no saying that we have to find a secret path to a secret world and then we will have access to all the secrets. We are sent on the Earth for a little while. The God will send us His guidance, we have to follow it, if we want to end up in a good place, otherwise, we are free to disbelieve or deny and end up in the Fire.
I believe love is an immensely powerful feature in human design, however, you have to be able to understand the difference between the reality and the mythical worlds of magics.
What A. A. has written can be close to the truth if it is a metaphor, otherwise, it can raise unreasonable expectations from a relationship. Just because you are in love, it won’t enable you to talk to angels or have direct communications with the God like you have never had before. Marriage or sex are not magical spells which will transform you overnight. However, if someone like Hafez using the Alchemy methodology to describe how to live, it is only a beautiful metaphor, not that you will gain access to a new world, as it is the case in some occult practices:
Give up your hopes on the copper of existence like the men of the path,
So to find the elixir of love and become gold
What Hafez suggests in this verse is to be selfless. And as he explains being selfless is a necessity on discovering love, and love is the thing that transforms our inside to the noblest possible. But he is not suggesting to find a specific man or woman. Because it is an illusion to believe simply another person is responsible for you reaching to your God or he is the door and the only thing you have to do is to find him. No, Hafez sees everything on you. It is you who have to become selfless, it is you who have to become a lover, and love will have its own impact. I am not trying to claim your partner is unimportant, I am trying to show you that what matters it to love. So, you shouldn’t look for a door into heaven in your partner, as you will never find it, rather you have to look into your heart, and see if there is love there. And in your heart you can’t have love, unless it’s empty of unnecessary stuff. Hafez uses the same terminology, yet these are two fundamentally different views of the world.
There have been individuals who saw the angels, who had conversations with the God and so on, however these exceptional cases were not due to the spiritual abilities of their spouse rather it was the God’s act. So, even though A. A.’s view is what some religious people believe about love, it is a truth mixed with lies. In other words, your partner is not going to give you the God’s mobile number, even if he has it. Because just as you won’t become good at math, if you marry a mathematician, you won’t necessarily improve spiritually because of your spouse’s spirituality. Of course, life with a mathematician might lead you to discover your love for math and become great in math and the same can happen about religion, but these unexpected events are usually impossible to plan in advance and happens only because those people have had those potentials inside them and had the will to work on and had put in the effort, the fact that their spouse were great mathematicians or religious individual was just a great coincidence for them to discover their never developed talents …
A lot of poets, storytellers, filmmakers and etc has tried to talk about love with metaphors like that of Hafez, but just because someone says something similar to somebody else, it doesn’t mean that they are saying the same things. As stated before, the wrong understanding around ourselves and the world is extremely prevalent, so most of those authors are going to reflect those wrong understandings in their works as well. It might be visible or invisible to you but you have to be aware of what is influencing your views and feelings about yourself and the world outside you.
I hope now, it is easier to understand why A. A. is going to continue with complaining how impossible it is to achieve her desired romantic relationship and she doesn’t stop there, half way of her complaining she begins to doubt all the impossible benefits of the romantic relationship and end up defending the idea of why should she marry someone she doesn’t love.
Trying to living a reality that doesn’t exist …
However, I find it difficult to understand how such a person Will just fall infront of my door way one day. Is this the Power of prayer? But is not The philosophy of prayer of a complex kind as what we pray for is not alway the best for is. What if it is better for me to marry someone who is less spirtully aware than me so I can stay focused on my relationship with the One? What if my prayer for achieving a spouse of my spiritual imagination will distract me and thus become harmful for me? "It is a test," I always assure myself when something new happens as if He wants to see were I put Him and His blessing. Blessings are meant to be carried in our hands while the sole purpose of our heart is to carry our love for God. But we confuse these two priorities of our existense and that is when we hurt ourselves when those things are taken away from us, either because they were never meant to stay as it is for the temporary things of this life or because they become our idol that we worshipped instead of God.
Nowadays lots of young girl’s share A. A.’s expectation in the back of their mind that the right guy fall in front of their door, but that was not the case over the history, certainly not in Islam, cause actually it was Khadija, Muhammad’s beloved wife, who offered him her hand and not Muhammad who made the proposal. Yet, even in Western cultures it is always boys who should start the conversation, ask the girl out, and if some super feminist super heterosexual girl does some of these herself, then the proposal is certainly a no-go, It must be the male who does it.
This wrong view of waiting in your home for the prince of your dream to fall in front of your door, firstly, has nothing to do with Islam, secondly, it has nothing to do with the „power of prayer“.
Before getting forward with why it has nothing to do with prayers, let’s clear up a not discussed aspect of Hollywood and Disney’s romantic fairytales: if you are smart enough, most often there is a lot of publicity for Disney’s princesses that the super awesome prince of the story takes on the impossible journey to reach to her castle. Imagine there was no publicity. Probably the prince would have never even considered visiting that castle.
Now as a religious individual without a castle and the publicity of being the daughter of the king, the possible alternative happens to be the prayer. However, the truth about the prayer is that you also shouldn’t forget all the means that the God has provided for you. You can’t sit there and pray not to be hungry if you have lots of meat in your house and don’t know how to cook them. You simply need to learn to cook.
So you need to use all the means in your hand to get to know the person you like, or be with the like-minded people or in the group of individuals where your possible future companion might hang around too. There must be a balance between presenting yourself to others and requiring others to present themselves to you, it is good to take part in occasions which provide such possibilities and if you don’t have access to any such things, you may as well start your own group project, or social network or whatever. You can start a book club, a running team, a whatever that brings you and others together, and don’t forget, you are not the only single boy or girl in your area. There are always going to be few people who have no idea what you are doing and have no interest in what that weekly social activity is about but yet join the group, only to find the love their life … so, lots of people are going to be thankful from you for starting such a thing …
When you want to be active in getting to know other people and letting others getting to know you, it is smarter to do it in ways that are prosperous for you. For example, it may not be a good idea to try to get to know others in a dance school, if you hate dancing, or if you have a tendency to fill attracted to intellectual boys who love deep discussions. So, find a place where you can be at your best, and a place where you guess your possible future companion is going to be at his or her best and take part in both of such activities …
Yet, don’t forget that at the end, you may end up getting to know your future spouse totally differently and unexpected. Sometimes people know they love each other without even getting to know each other …
It is important to try your best possible, but be in all your actions hopeful that the God will guide you and gift you what you hope for, and a healthy portion of prayer is always recommendable.
But there is also certain limits to keep in mind: for example, I am not suggesting you have to be like the American movies and having sex before marriage or trying out everything possible. There are lots of fake justifications from people who chose to live that way but for this article let’s have a very brief examination about one of the reasonable excuses: how can you know you will be erotically attracted to someone if you never had sex with each other? Or even saw each other’s skin? What if you dislike that part of her body or the shape of his thing? And now that we have free access to porn, it seems like more than a reasonable concern. The answer is quite simple. Firstly, we are whole designed beings. In case we are healthy, for example not suffering from trauma, we are erotically attracted to the body of an individual who is also going to make a great partner for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, people expect scientific proof for such statements, but the reality is with or without scientific proof this is the case. Just as when a child is born, his or her supply of milk is already prepared in the body of her mother. Every aspect of our existence is designed with harmony with the rest of the world, even though we are blind to most of it. Secondly, and it is not a strong reason but I just like to state it for those who can’t accept anything without scientific proof. As human beings, we grow attraction for those who do good to us. If a super beautiful woman always and always speak shit about you and destroy your human worth in front of everyone and point out your mistake in the public, you will slowly associate her body with ugliness. On the contrary, you will some attraction for someone who looks like your best friend, even though that individual being a stranger to you. While you can still exchange nude photos before marriage at the end it is important to remember your actions will be more impactful on how wild you are for each other and the effects of your appearance will only be temporary.
Before getting into answering why A. A.’s reactions to her concerns regarding the dangers of romantic relationships are wrong and extremely harmful, let’s clear up one last concern of her about prayers:
It is an interesting question whether we should ask something from the God, what if what we are asking for is harmful to us. What if you are praying to be with someone who is going to harm you. While it is important to always be aware that we might be wrong in what we are aimed for, in what we understand and so on, but in the same while we can’t be better than the best of ourselves. So, if at our best we believe someone to be the right person for us, it is our responsibility to try to be with that person, however, the God is powerful enough to let us know through direct or indirect methods that we shouldn’t follow that direction. We are only responsible to the limits of our existence. Allah doesn’t expect us to be able to foresee the future if He hasn’t gift that to us. For example take a look at Noah’s story:
And it was said: O earth! Swallow thy water and, O sky! be cleared of clouds! And the water was made to subside. And the commandment was fulfilled. And it (the ship) came to rest upon (the mount) Al-Judi and it was said: A far removal for wrongdoing folk! [11:44]
And Noah cried unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Lo! my son is of my household! Surely Thy promise is the truth and Thou are the Most Just of Judges. [11:45]
He said: O Noah! Lo! he is not of thy household; lo! he is of evil conduct, so ask not of Me that whereof thou hast no knowledge. I admonish thee lest thou be among the ignorant. [11:46]
He said: My Lord! Lo! in Thee do I seek refuge (from the sin) that I should ask of Thee that whereof I have no knowledge. Unless Thou forgive me and have mercy on me I shall be among the lost. [11:47]
It was said (unto him): O Noah! Go thou down (from the mountain) with peace from Us and blessings upon thee and some nations (that will spring) from those with thee. (There will be other) nations unto whom We shall give enjoyment a long while and then a painful doom from Us will overtake them. [11:48]
Yes, it is important not pray for something which you know is wrong, and it is important to apologize if you had done it, however, these should not be an excuse not to try anything. If you are not sure about something, then it is good to look for knowledge, look for advice and so on, but it should not be an excuse to give up without ever trying.
A. A.’S arguments after the statement about praying is based on very wrong foundations, let’s look at it once again:
What if my prayer for achieving a spouse of my spiritual imagination will distract me and thus become harmful for me? "It is a test," I always assure myself when something new happens as if He wants to see were I put Him and His blessing. Blessings are meant to be carried in our hands while the sole purpose of our heart is to carry our love for God. But we confuse these two priorities of our existense and that is when we hurt ourselves when those things are taken away from us, either because they were never meant to stay as it is for the temporary things of this life or because they become our idol that we worshipped instead of God.
Nowadays, or better said, since centuries, if someone would have said the same thing that A. A. is saying, people’s reaction would have been: „what a pure woman. What an amazing servant of the God. She is such a hard-working believer …“ However, at least in Islam, such behaviors are at odds with the God’s will.
Let’s start with this verse from Quran, this is about more trivial matters than erotic relationships, but it’s a good starting point:
O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals. [7:31]
Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world. Thus do we detail Our revelations for people who have knowledge. [7:32]
Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression, and that ye associate with Allah that for which no warrant hath been revealed, and that ye tell concerning Allah that which ye know not. [7:33]
So, dear A. A. and all other young men and women who wish to be religious, how do you allow yourself to think that the adornments of this world are altogether forbidden? How do you allow yourself the idea of sharing your life with a soulmate, to whom your body yearn to be intimate with, should altogether be forbidden?
To be honest, you are not necessarily going to become a servant of your lust, if you marry someone you love and have an active and fulfilling erotic life with each other. Just as you won’t become fat, in case you learn cooking, or you don’t become a car thief, if you learn driving.
As you see in these few passages from Quran, one verse before, Allah suggests that it is good not to be prodigal, as soon as He orders to eat and drink. This concept is true about lots of things in life. Usually it is necessary to keep a balance and in reality, one of the best ways to be in balance in respect of your relationship is to be with the person you love, because otherwise, in order to fill that void of not being with that person, you will be forced to overdo this or that, to go after extreme kinds of sex, or ban sex altogether from your life. It is not hard to track back lots of different kinds of addictions to a not lived out love or to a past romantic relationship which wasn’t completely ended. So, if you really want to be a hard-working believer, it will be close to impossible to achieve your goal, if you have given the gift from the God to build a romantic relationship with someone that there is love between you by His order and you deny all these gifts together for no good reason by the lies and half-truths which you have learned from others and or build up in your mind, without having received a „warrant“ from the God.
A. A. introduces herself as someone with extreme intellectual and emotional abilities and is worried that using them might bring her in trouble, so let’s learn how to use them. Let’s instead of fearing of how to have a relationship with someone as complex and intensive as yourself, learn the ups and downs of such relationship in advance and prepare yourself and put your trust in Allah, while taking this path. If the God has given us sexual desires, it is not because He has made a mistake, cause then how does it come that He will gift people of good conduct with erotic companions in paradise? Sexuality and erotic playfulness, and a mentally and emotionally intense and complex bond with a soulmate in the context of a romantic relationship, all these are not only not wrong but Allah’s gift to us, however as stated before it is extremely crucial to have a balance.
So, far I talked around romantic relationship and Islam, so hopefully you are ready to understand how far off the reality you are. Let’s face the hard truth:
And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. [30:21]
You sit there and write a letter that you are worried the love of the person you know is the right person to share the rest of your life with, is some sort of test that the only way of accomplishing it is not even getting close to it because of bunch of nonsense words you put after each other? It is not only A. A.’s, lots of men and women, even atheists have the same concerns. Atheists fear that for example loving someone will distract them from getting Ph.D. or becoming the next CEO of that big bank or what the fuck ever.
And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. [30:21]
Shame yourself and be sorry. You are standing against the will of the God. I am sorry that you live in a society that makes you believe in such nonsense, but if you want to be a believer, that path you have taken won’t lead you anywhere. Whether you believe in any religion or not, as a human being, it should be obvious that it is the decision of your heart whom it wants to love and it is wrong to be in a romantic relationship with someone you don’t love, when you have the possibility to build your life with someone both of you love each other.
There is a lot that can be said around love and romantic relationships but let’s end our references to Quran, with one last example of the book, this time regarding the prophet’s romantic life:
And when thou saidst unto him on whom Allah hath conferred favour and thou hast conferred favour: Keep thy wife to thyself, and fear Allah. And thou didst hide in thy mind that which Allah was to bring to light, and thou didst fear mankind whereas Allah hath a better right that thou shouldst fear Him. So when Zeyd had performed that necessary formality (of divorce) from her, We gave her unto thee in marriage, so that (henceforth) there may be no sin for believers in respect of wives of their adopted sons, when the latter have performed the necessary formality (of release) from them. The commandment of Allah must be fulfilled. [33:37]
To get to know a bit more about the story, I picked the William Montgomery Watt’s note from his notes on Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation of Quran. Since he is not a Muslim and believes that Muhammad kind of build up the stuff in his mind or so, beneath the surface of what he is saying there are some false views, so keep this in mind:
In v. 37 the reference is to the unhappy marriage of Zeyd, the Prophet’s freedman and adopted son, with Zeynab, the Propeht’s cousin, a proud lady of Qureysh. The Prophet had arranged the marriage with the idea of breaking down the old barrier of pride of caste, and had shown but little consideration for Zeynab’s feelings. Tradition says that both she and her brother were averse to the match, and that she had always wished to marry the Prophet. For Zeyd, the marriage was nothing but a cause of embarrassment and humiliation. When the Prophet’s attention was first called to their unhappiness, he urged Zeyd to keep his wife and not divorce her, being apprehensive of the talk that would arise if it become known that a marriage arranged by him had proved unhappy. At last, Zeyd did actually divorce Zeynab, and the Prophet was commanded to marry her in order, by his example, to disown the superstitious custom of the pagan Arabs, in such matters, of treating their adopted sons as their real sons, which was against the laws of God (i.e. The laws of nature); whereas in arranging a marriage, the woman’s inclinations ought to be considered. Unhappy marriage was no part of Allah’s ordinance and was not to be held sacred in Islâm.
Adding this story to what we’ve already realized from Quran that the love and mercy between a man and a woman in a romantic relationship is God’s orchestration, one can understand that it is not the best idea to hide your affection for someone, because you fear that the society won’t like the two of you coming together, as in this example that Muhammad feared the people. Let me tell you that there is nothing to people’s opinion, when it is the God who rules the world. So, the reason to marriage is your love for someone and not the impossible criteria that A. A. and lots of other young boys and girls like A. A. try to oppose on their future relationship.
What should you do now?
So far, all that you read, where an attempt to clarify what is wrong with these perceptions, but here is what really matters:
Even though it makes sense to be active and to try to meet new people and all other advices, you have to understand that you are only a tiny player. Behind all that is happing in the world, the God is the orchestrator. That there exists an individual for you who will meet you with all your uniqueness happens only because of the God’s orchestration. So, you have to play your own role and walk your own path, and there is no map that you can read from rather the compasses are inside you. Follow the direction and you will certainly meet the person you love [not necessarily in person, but you get the point] and then what matters is not in playing dating games with each other but act on your love for each other …
Of course, every culture and time and nation has its own way of acting on love and sometimes we get in trouble when we don’t know the methods of the other person, but you can always learn that …
This was a short answer to few of things one of our readers wrote to us, however there are lots of parts which I wished to talk about but are not in this article, which I hope to write about them one day, if Allah wills …
I would like to thank A. A. for her letter which triggered this article.