The University of Memphis Muslim Student Association hosted its first College Hangouts on love in Islam, a monthly college based discussion lead by Memphis Islamic Center's youth director Safi Khan.
Rhodes College has hosted College Hangouts two times already, however this time it was hosted at University of Memphis.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, love and relationships are key discussion points within the college community. Khan focused this edition on advice on love, taking from Prophet Musa (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh). He explained that the Prophets' stories can relate to many of the attendees.
Khan began with a game of word association. He tossed the word "love" out to the attendees and they responded with the first thing that popped into their head. Investment, fitness, awkward, commitment, and "don't tell Baba" were some of the associations.
The first time the Quran mentions love is in association to good or goodness. Khan explained that feeling love comes from doing good. So doing good with your neighbor, your friends, your family are steps that lead you to love.
But before we can begin to understand human love, we have to understand the love of Allah (SWT).
"We (Muslims) understand that the idea of love was created... The whole feeling of love is an emotion we have in our hearts, and it was created by God," said Khan in his discussion.
Khan brought up the question that seems to plague the Muslim youth, "is it ok to love somebody before you get married?"
The answer is yes. There is a tendency within the community, regardless of background, that talking about love to your family is taboo, that you have to hide from telling your parents you love someone.
Khan asked the attendees how many would tell their fathers if he or she liked someone. The majority of boys agreed while the girls sat silent, proving the double standard.
Prophet Musa's story defines chivalry's success within love. Although he was a fugitive at the time, he was able to find love because of his kindness. By helping two sisters, the Prophet showed the sisters' father his character and allowed one of them to confidently tell her father she liked the Prophet.
With Musa's story, Khan pointed out the importance of talking to your family about love.
Khan also explained that Islam never discourages spouses being affectionate, rather affection is encouraged.
In Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)'s story, his wife Ayesha insisted on staying at a sort of concert for Abyssinian dancers because, unbeknownst to the Prophet, she wanted the stay close to her him.
"She (Ayesha) was like I had no intention of watching those dancers...because I loved being so close to my husband. She goes my cheek was on his cheek and my chin was on his shoulder and my arms were wrapped around him. I loved that so much," said Khan as told the Prophet's story.
Khan further explained that love is defined when both are tested with hardship; love isn't just the "love-dovey" thing people make it out to be, it is hard work.
"I liked how he (Khan) said talk to your family, and how you should like always consult your family cause I think that's a big part especially now days," said Suzanne Kayali, an attendee.
Some attendees from the event.
Photo by Abeer Abdelrahim