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The legendary Sufi Muslim poet Rumi once said that, “Love rests on no foundation…It is an endless ocean…With no beginning or end.” As millions of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones around the world, this should be a moment for people of all faiths around the world to take a moment to reflect on the concept of “love” within their own respective faith traditions as we move forward with our daily lives.
For example, this concept of “love” is found within the Islamic tradition at almost every turn. As a matter of fact, virtually every chapter of the Koran begins with the phrase, “In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful,” which is a constant reminder to Muslims around the world to remember God’s love and mercy towards humanity each and every day. Similarly, the holy book of Muslims also teaches people to show their love practically when it said that, “You will not attain righteousness unless you give of that which you love” (Koran 3:92).
Like other Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Judaism, the religion of Islam believes in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule principle which is exemplified by numerous teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. On the topic of love and kindness, the Prophet Muhammad was known to have said things like “God loves kindness when you deal with any matter” and “None of you will truly believe until you love for your brother and sister what you love for yourself” when dealing with loved ones or strangers in our daily interactions.
This Islamic concept of love and kindness is further exemplified in the prophetic tradition where it is reported that God said: “My love is guaranteed for those who love another for my sake…My love is guaranteed for those who visit one another for my sake…My love is guaranteed for those who help one another for my sake…My love is guaranteed for those who uphold ties with one another for my sake.”
Although we should love each other wholeheartedly every single day of the year, for many people, Valentine’s Day is a time where people especially commemorate their love for their significant others. The Islamic tradition reminds all husbands and wives that their spouses were created so that “you may find tranquility in them” and that you must treat them with “affection and mercy” in your dealings with one another.
The poet Rumi also once highlighted our common human origins when he wrote: “All these religions…All this singing…One song…The differences are just illusion and vanity.” Whether we are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, we must remember that every major religion on earth emphasizes the concept of “love” as a central tenet of their respective faiths.
On this Valentine’s Day, let us not only remember our spouses, parents or significant others, we should also use this day as a reminder to be kind and show love to the rest of humanity each and every day of our lives.
In other words, let us remember the timeless words of Bob Marley on this Valentine’s Day:
“One love…Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right.”
Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and author of the book “Islamic Pacifism: Global Muslims in the Post-Osama Era.”
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