Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
There is a big difference between love & arranged marriages, or so I've heard. But what I don't understand is how love marriages can actually "exist" if you don't become their boyfriend or friend first. When you have a love relationship with someone you must get to know the person first before deciding on something big like marrying them! But, if you started to hang out with that person, wouldn't you become their "boyfriend" or "girlfriend"? Please help me clear this up. :)
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
I pray this message finds you well.
Let's address some issues and definitions here.
An "arranged" marriage does not have to be absent of love. Even in a situation where the marriage is arranged by parents or relatives, it's possible for the intended couple to get to know one another and come to love each other.
A "love" marriage is not necessarily all about love. In fact, many people think they love each other only to get married and find out that what they thought was love was really just lust.
It is possible to have a "love" marriage without becoming someone's boyfriend or girlfriend or dating. However, given the tendencies of human nature, it is difficult to stay within the limits of the Shariah. That is why Muslim cultures place a lot of emphasis on marriages being family affairs. And that is why Islamic law places strict conditions on interactions between unmarried males and females.
It is possible for two people to love each other based on qualities like character, piety, compassion, and personality. It doesn't always have to be physical. However, it is really only through marriage that love is both tested and strengthened. That is why it is best--to the extent possible--to save these strong feelings for after marriage, where they can be acted upon in a lawful fashion.
And Allah knows best.
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