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Sunnah of Love

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By Bint Adam

Years after Her death, He ﷺ came across a necklace she once wore.

Overwhelmed with emotions the Prophet ﷺ remembered the great loss He had suffered with the death of His wife Khadijah RA and began to cry.

They had lived together in profound harmony for twenty-five years and she had been not only his wife but also his intimate friend, his wise counsellor, and mother of his whole household including Ali and Zayd. (Muhammad by Martin lings, page 128)

In astonishment of the most bizarre sight that He ﷺ had witnessed on the mountain of Hira, Rasulullah ﷺ came running into the arms of his beloved wife shouting  “Cover me! cover me!”. The promptly receptive Khadijah, did as she was asked to, not daring to question the reason for his instruction. Later when the intensity of the situation worn off He explained to her the marvelous sight He just witnessed on the mountain. Being the comforting wife she is, Khadijah RA said the following words of reassurance to Him:

“No, by Allah!” she said fiercely. “Rejoice! Allah will never disgrace you, for you uphold the ties of kinship, you speak only the truth, you protect the poor and the destitute, host your guests with generosity, and support those who have been struck by calamity.”

Khadijah RA lived on in the mind of Rasulullah ﷺ all through his life, only through Her did Allah bestow him, children, she was his most comforting companion. Even though a long time had passed after the death of Khadijah, He ﷺ never hesitated in sending gifts to Khadijah’s loved ones, continuing the legacy of her kindness and compassion.

He ﷺ often remembered Her with such great affection and love, so much so that His later wife Aishah RA felt jealous of her. Once she asked the Prophet ﷺ if Khadijah RA had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet replied:

“She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me, and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.” [Al-Bukhari]

The timeless love of the Prophet ﷺ to His wives is so awe-inspiring, that we as His Ummah are forced to rethink our concept of love. With our minds juggling between fantasies and reality, somewhere in that cloud of thoughts lies our perception of what marriage really means, although vaguely clear and extremely influenced by the world around us, our misconceptions of love are building its home in our heads.

With marriages collapsing all around us and families breaking apart, we seem unprepared to fight this reality.

Our struggle of finding what true love really means would be futile without studying the life of the messenger of Allah ﷺ.

The books of seerah will not fail to give you several, tiny (one could almost say adorable) instances of the excellent ways in which the Prophet ﷺ treated his wives and portrayed his love for them. As Allah says “indeed in the messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes (in the meeting with)  Allah and the last day and remembers Allah much” (Al-Ahzaab, v 21).

‘Once Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace be upon him, was sitting in a room with `Aisha RA (Allah be pleased with her) and fixing his shoes. It was very warm, and `Aisha RA. looked to his blessed forehead and noticed that there were beads of sweat on it. She became overwhelmed by the majesty of that sight and was staring at him long enough for him to notice.

He, ﷺ said, “What’s the matter?” She replied, “If Abu Bukair Al-Huthali, the poet, saw you, he would know that his poem was written for you,  Abu Bukair said that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for everyone to see.”

So the Prophet ﷺ got up, walked to `Aisha RA, kissed her between the eyes, and said,

“Wallahi (by God), ya `Aisha, you are like that to me and more”.
– Narrated in Imam Abu Nu’aim’s book “Dala’el Al-Nubuwa” with a chain of transmission (Isnad) including Imam Bukhari and Imam Ibn Khuzaina.

If you were to carefully study the settings of the plot, you would find absolutely nothing romantic about the script, but the fact that the Prophet ﷺ had the lead role, it made it an epitome of romance. He quite naturally made use of a very normal situation and turned it into a tender and affectionate gesture of his love for his wife.

Yet again in another instance ‘A’ishah RA said: That she accompanied the Prophet ﷺ on a certain journey. At that time she was a mere girl and was neither fat nor bulky. The Prophet ﷺ asked the people to move on, and they marched ahead. Then the Prophet ﷺ said to me, “Come on, let us have a race.”‘A’ishah says that she ran and remained much ahead of him. The Prophet ﷺ kept quiet for some time. Later on when ‘A’ishah grew fat and loose-bodied, and she forgot the previous incident. Again she accompanied the Prophet on some journey. The Prophet again asked the people to march ahead, and they moved ahead. Then the Prophet again asked her to have a race with him. This time the prophet defeated her and she lagged behind. Now the Prophet laughed and said, “This is in reply to our previous defeat.”

[Ahmad, Safwat as-Safwah, vol. I, p. 68]

Often married couples find it hard to maintain their affection for each other, especially after a few years into a marriage. At this stage, marriage is reduced into a mere responsibility between two individuals.  People start to prioritize their children, their jobs, their family, everything but themselves, neglecting their own human need of feeling the sense of being loved.

They lack the zeal and enthusiasm to please each other and turn every day into a chore for the rest of the life. They fail to keep up the sparks in their relationships that once ignited their marriages.

A very important trait for a healthy marriage is humour and playfulness. Living with a person for the rest of your life can become quite tedious, in such instances finding your own quiet times of naughtiness can really pump up the spirit of a relationship.

“It was narrated on the authority of Ibraaheem ibn Daazeel, from Abu Huthayfah, from Ath-Thawri, from his father, from Ibraaheem At-Tameemi, that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said,

 ‘A man should be like a child with his wife, but if he is needed, he acts like a man.’”

[Al-Mujaalasah wa Jawaahir Al-‘Ilm]

A lot of us think that speaking of our emotions and being completely transparent and playful with our wives is a serious threat to our manliness. If you were to ask me, a man who is brave enough to feel is more of a man than any other. It takes real strength to tolerate each other’s differences and to find beauty in each other’s flaws, to see both sides of the coin and embrace its imperfections.

If we look into the life of our Messenger ﷺ we find that He was consistent in doing small acts of love that were bound to keep up the affection between a husband and a wife. For example eating and drinking with your spouse,

It was narrated from Aishah RA that she would drink from a cup, then the Prophet ﷺ would take the cup, search for the place where Aishah RA drank from, upon finding it he would then place his lips on the very same place and drink from it. (Sunan Nasai, hadith no. 281)

Similarly, he would eat meat from the same place Aisha RA took a bite from.

In another narration,  A’isha RA narrates that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ would kiss one of his wives and then leave for prayer (salat) without performing ablution (wudu). Urwa says that I asked A’isha: “It must have been you?” (Upon hearing this) A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) smiled.”

(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, no. 86, Sunan Abu Dawud, no. 181 & Sunan al-Nasa’i, no. 170))

Ibn Abbas (RA) said: “As my wife adorns herself for me, I adorn myself for her. I do not want to take all of my rights from her so that she will not take all of her rights from me because of Allah, the Exalted, stated the following: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them.” (Qur῾ān 2:228)

It is expected of a wife to dress up for her man, but men dressing up for their wives are out of question. Looking at the lives of Sahaba RA and our Prophet ﷺ, we find these men setting some epic standards for our men to follow.

In other narrations from Aishah, the prophet saw is reported to have bathed with her from the same pot. Similarly, combing each other’s hair, laying on the lap and reciting Quran for your spouse during menstruation, addressing each other with beautiful names, all come from the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger ﷺ. Such simple yet effective deeds if incorporated into our daily lives would definitely result in fruitful marriages all around us.

Building a healthy relationship is crucial not just for the spouses themselves, but also the people around them. The physical and psychological well-being of two individuals in a relationship is very much related to the environment they set up for their children and family.

It is upon us to internalize the sunnah of our messenger ﷺ to protect our children from following unethical lifestyles that is effectively coming into action all around us. As his ummah, we must strive to be a manifestation of the life that our beloved ﷺ most humbly lead, so that it becomes a beacon of light for the generations to come just like it has been for us. We should try to protect the minds of our young adults who are falling prey to the bad influences around them and are caught up in the storm of teenage fiction and modern love stories.

Love is not about fancy dinners or expensive gifts, money can buy all that. It’s about the celebration of everyday  moments in life, it’s the inside joke you telepathically communicated to each other, that salt-less food you complimented her for, its that funny selfie you sent her amidst your work or that “I miss you “ text you just sent him from home and the countless other instances that typically happen to you everyday, and at the end of it all you realize –  love is not about those fairytale moments you have once in a while, it’s about the  intimacies you find in normal life.

Now you know how the Messenger of Allah displayed his love and was romantic to his wives mashaAllah. If you want to read the perfect love story, read the story of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his wives. In the very words of Aisha herself explaining how beautiful this relationship was between her and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Learn more about the art and Sunnah of love by checking out our online course, Home Sweet Home and find out how to display love the way of our beloved prophet Muhammad ﷺ did.