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How much can one love another in Islam?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Thank you very much for giving us the chance to ask questions. My question is; what is the highest degree of love in Islam that a husband and wife can have?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The first question we need to answer is ‘what is love?’ This is a question that has been puzzling mankind since the beginning of time and continues to do so. The simple reason for this is that everyone has their own interpretation of what love means, what it means to love someone and how it feels to be in love. Some people describe it as having a warm fuzzy feeling inside oneself whereas other people describe as a friendship on fire. Others may say that when they are in love, they feel like they would be ready to give their life for their beloved. Whereas others are of the notion that love is a magical feeling that spontaneously generates and combusts inside a person when Mr or Mrs Right comes along.

Alternatively, some people say that love is just a phase in ones’ life and that the same way someone falls in love with a person, they fall out of love after time. Others just reject it and say that there is no such thing as love.

The definition that the Prince of Mankind sallallahu alaihi wasallam gave was:


عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: حُبُّكَ الشَّيْءَ يُعْمِي وَيُصِمُّ [1]


Translation: Hazrat Abū Dardā radhiallahu anhu narrates that Nabī sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “Your love for something makes you blind and deaf.”

Subhanallah, what an amazing, perfect and apt definition! Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam is informing us that when a person is really in love with someone, they become oblivious to the faults of their person and they ignore the criticisms made by other people regarding their beloved.

What we need to realise is that as much as love is a spontaneous feeling, it is an active feeling. This means that if you focus on the good aspects of another person, you will fall in love with that person to a certain extent. Obviously this love is not tantamount or even close to the profound personal love developed over the years, especially in marriage.

Shariah realises that a person needs someone they can intimately love in life. Someone they can trust and be dependent on. That is why there is only one law rule in Shariah when it comes to loving someone. That is that no Sharī responsibility should be neglected at the expense of one’s’ loved one:


عَنْ عَلِيٍّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ” لَا طَاعَةَ لِبَشَرٍ فِي مَعْصِيَةِ اللهِ[2]


Translation: Hazrat Ali radhiallahu anhu narrates that Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “there is no obedience of a person when it is at the expense of disobeying Allah.”

One of the amazing things about being a Muslim and Islam is that you get rewarded for showing love and compassion; even to your wife. It all depends on your intention. There is a Hadīth:


عَنْ سَعْدِ بْنِ أَبِي وَقَّاصٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: إِنَّكَ لَنْ تُنْفِقَ نَفَقَةً تَبْتَغِي بِهَا وَجْهَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا أُجِرْتَ عَلَيْهَا، حَتَّى مَا تَجْعَلُ فِي فَمِ امْرَأَتِكَ[3]


Translation: Hazrat Sa’d bin abi Waqqās radhiallahu anhu narrates that Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “There is nothing that you can spend for the pleasure of Allah except that you will receive rewards for it; until that morsel which you put in the mouth of your wife.”

It is related in another Hadīth:


عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: الْمُؤْمِنُ مَأْلَفٌ، وَلَا خَيْرَ  فِيمَنْ لَا يَأْلَفُ، وَلَا يُؤْلَفُ[4]


Translation: Hazrat Abū-Hurairah radhiallahu anhu narrates that Nabi sallallahu alaihi wasallam said: “A believer is an embodiment and personification of love, and there is no good in one who does not love and is not loved by others.”

From the above Ahādith we understand that if we treat our spouse with love and respect and do so for the sake of Allah, we will be rewarded for it and the more effort we make, the more reward we will get; when our intention is right. Our intention should be that I am showing love, compassion and affection to my wife because I have been ordered to and that I want to show my love so I can fulfil the commandments of Allah and his Rasūl sallallahu alaihi wasallam; our ultimate goal and motive should be to try to achieve and gain the love of Allah and instil it in our hearts. This should be our ultimate goal; that through the love I am showing my spouse, I am gaining the pleasure of Allah.

Now, the main thing in a marriage is not to get to the ‘highest degree of love’. This is because there is no ‘highest degree’ when it comes to love. As a Muslim, as long as one is adherent of the laws of Shariah, there is no ‘limit’ as such. As long as these rules and laws are upheld and nothing against the spirit of Shariah is done that may displease Allah, the love a couple can have and share is limitless. The real question is how can they maintain this level of love throughout the course of their marriage? How can they keep the flame of romance and love alight? This is another question altogether which is beyond the scope of this answer which only seeks to elucidate the question asked.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mawlana Saanwal ibn Muhammad,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Husain Kadodia.

[1] سنن ابي داؤد. باب في الهواء. ج.٤ ص.٣٣٤ .المكتبة العصرية

[2] مسند احمد, مسند علي بن ابي طالبج.٢ ص.٣١٨ .مؤسسة الرسالة

[3] صحيح البخاري, ج.١, ص.٢٠, دار طوق النجاة

[4] مسند الإمام أحمد بن حنبل, ج.١٥, ص.١٠٦,مؤسسة الرسالة

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