Love and Intimacy the Islamic Way

The tenets of Islam can help to improve your life even in the romantic department. By Elsa Febiola Aryanti.

When love and intimacy go beyond the physical, isn’t life beautiful? Beautiful, too, is the thought that the love and intimacy we share in this world can span throughout eternity. That is the very idea of love and intimacy in Islam: to give us happiness in this world, to connect based on faith and to bring the love and intimacy we create through to the afterlife — and well into eternity.

In Islam, intimacy is about more than just a physical relationship between man and woman. It is the union of faith, body, soul, mind and a vision of the hereafter. The phrase “happily ever after” is not meant only for storybooks. Being united in this world and the hereafter is the ultimate goal of couples who love each other deeply because of Allah. Finding a partner with whom to spend our life is among the signs of Allah’s grace. The Qur’an puts it beautifully in the verse:

  • And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. (30:21)

Allah creates men and women to live in peace together, and to share our feelings based on affection and mercy between us. Anyone who has ever been in love will agree with this verse. We desire harmony and tranquillity with our partners. We want to love and be loved in many ways, in good times and bad.

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The road to ultimate intimacy

How is intimacy perceived between two people who have found each other, fallen in love and committed themselves in sacred matrimony? The Qur’an puts it clearly yet profoundly: “…They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them…” (2:187) Is the idea of love and intimacy in Islam out of reach or difficult to apply in the real world? In fact, quite the opposite is true. The concept of love and intimacy in Islam makes perfect sense. When we focus on Allah, this concept only stands to grow in perspective. Yes, the strength of our faith impacts even matters of the heart.

An intimate and loving couple is not a couple that never argues or disagrees, but a couple that can manage and solve disagreements together, towards stronger love and improved intimacy

Love and intimacy are not just about the relationship between two people. They are also about pleasing Allah. They are the vision of love shared in this world with Allah in mind to reap rewards in the hereafter. With such a broad perspective, we no longer need to sweat the small things, to fuss over minor problems — because both parties understand that love has its ups and downs.

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We realise that intimacy needs a constant reminder. We understand that the love and intimacy we share in this world serves as a stepping stone for the love and intimacy that we will share in the hereafter. We become realistic and, at the same time, share a common, greater vision for the future. We do it all in the spirit of pleasing Allah together, and seeking His blessing. We aim for true love. We aim for the ultimate intimacy. What do we need to keep the love and intimacy we share on the path of Islam? Here are some suggestions:

  • Faith in Allah Couples of strong faith will put Allah first, and they have the same terms of reference when solving problems, difficulties or disagreements. An intimate and loving couple is not a couple that never argues or disagrees, but a couple that can manage and solve disagreements together, towards stronger love and improved intimacy
  • Forgiveness Holding grudges will slowly deteriorate any relationship. We want Allah to forgive us, and being forgiving to our loved ones is one of the keys to Allah’s blessing
  • An intimate and loving couple also share a friendship. They are happy around each other, share mutual respect and honour each other — even in times when their interests are not reciprocated. They support each other to enhance their quality of faith and life. They are also genuinely happy for each other’s successes and share a deep empathy for each other
  • Do not hurt your loved one. All sins can be forgiven, but if we hurt someone else’s feelings, we must first ask for forgiveness from that person before we can expect Allah to forgive us. It is only logical that we might hurt our partner’s feelings the most, since he or she is closest to us. Don’t take your spouse for granted
  • Compliment your partner. Appreciation leads to deeper love and intimacy. So, give compliments to your partner and be grateful to Allah
  • Be open to each other. Sincere communication will open the heart and enlighten the mind
  • Be ikhlas, or unconditional, about sharing love and intimacy with your partner. Yes, there are times when we wish for more from our partner. There may be things about him that we dislike or that we don’t really agree with. Being ikhlas is crucial, because it requires you to be unconditional and sincere
  • Accept the limitations and imperfections of your partner. After all, only Allah is perfect. Every person has his or her own limitations. Understand and keep encouraging each other to be better. Support each other patiently not only to enhance love and intimacy, but also because, as Allah promised, He will put affection and mercy in the hearts of two people who love each other because of Him
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Like clothing that covers and protects our body, couples also defend each other’s honour. They protect and enhance each other’s beauty while shielding that which must be hidden from unlawful eyes, according to Allah’s rules. This is how a husband gives comfort to his wife and vice versa — hand in hand to enhance their faith in Allah.

This article originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Aquila Style magazine