Brotherhood & Sisterhood Dawah (Outreach) Islamic Character

Love: It’s What’s Missing is this uneasy feeling that I often get after being friendly with someone. It’s a feeling based on many experiences of misunderstanding and mistaken intentions. It is that uneasy feeling of fearing that my kindness and compassion will be mistaken as flirtation or affection by the person standing in front of me. But here’s the thing: I am a firm believer that this world lacks compassion. This world lacks love. Not the romantic or sexualized love that we are bombarded with in every book, movie and billboard. I am talking about true, genuine, love for all of humanity. The love that would allow me to go out of my way to buy my brother or sister in humanity a gift to bring a smile to his or her face, despite the hardship that he or she may be going through. The love that motivates me to check up on my brothers and sisters, because I really do care how they are doing. The love that makes me raise my hands in the middle of the night and request from the One who answers our prayers to bless my brothers and sisters in humanity with peace and light.

Why is it that the only kind of ‘love’ that comes to mind today is that of the marriage-bound, or at times not-so-marriage-bound, love? Yes, that is a type of love. Yes, that is an important kind of love. But there is another type of love that is missing in our day-to-day interactions, our hearts, and our lives. A kind of love that I am–and hopefully you will be, too, after reading this–determined to revive. A kind of love that, if spread, would revolutionize our quality of life, from the inside out.

But before I take this leap and begin to infuse this blessed emotion into all of my words and actions, let me take a moment to apologize:

I’m sorry, you misunderstood; I am not infatuated with you.

My soul is attracted to your soul, in the most platonic way possible. My heart wants what’s best for you, without gaining anything in return. My smile wants to see your smile reflected back in my eyes, not because I am “in love” with you, but because I love you, just as I love the rest of humanity.

I love you because through you, I begin to see me. I look in your eyes and I see my reflection. I love you because you just happen to be living on the same planet as me, and if I didn’t love you, I could even start to hate you. I love you because if you are hurt, a part of me is pained, because in reality we are a part of a whole; we are one. I love you because when I’m with you your state impacts my own. When you are angry and upset a part of that is reflected onto me. When you are joyous and content, the peace spreads to my soul as well. I love you because when I look at you and see your flaws, what I am really seeing are my own flaws being projected onto you. I love you because love heals wounds and makes scars vanish. I love you because without you, whether I like it or not, I would not be exactly who I am today, even if I don’t know your name. Even if I have never had a conversation with you. God placed us together on this Earth for a reason, and it was not so we could stay as far away from each other as possible. It was so that we can love each other, and through each of our love, we can begin to experience His Love—the one true Love.

Love has many faces, but we have stripped it down to only one type, and in doing this we have deprived ourselves of caring for and helping others in ways that can only be achieved by allowing His Love to shine through us. His Love and His Light.

Many of you reading may find these words too flowery, too weird or just plain absurd for your liking. If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s okay. I love you anyway.


About the author

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref

Reehab (Ramadan) Aref grew up in a small Texas city and was unexpectedly uprooted to Cairo, Egypt. The shift of countries precipitated a shift in her outlook on life; this, with her enriching experience in community activism—specifically social service, youth work, and Qur’anic Studies—provides for a rather enlightened perspective. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in Counseling Psychology. Thankfully, her main outlet and therapeutic tool is to write, write, write! She keeps her own blog, contributes regularly to various publications, and – most importantly – you’ll find her entries on this site.


  • MashAllah this is a beautiful and much-needed post. I agree that we need more love in our everyday relationships- the kind that entails genuine concern and kindness towards another without expecting anything in return.

    However, I feel like the phrase “I love you” is so loaded nowadays that if you say it to someone it is automatically taken from the Hollywood and romantic perspective. I don’t think there is any scenario where you can say it in a platonic manner, between the genders (to non-family members) without coming off as creepy or weird. You can feel it in your heart, but to vocalize it can many times bring issues. If the person is single they may take it to mean something you don’t, and if the person is married it can bring a whole set of different issues. So, should we just feel that way in our heart and act upon it, without explicitly saying it?

    • Of course, I totally agree. There are hundreds of ways to say “I love you” without uttering a word….and these can often be more beneficial and meaningful than just words. Don’t put yourself in harms way. …but enhance your life and the lives of others around you through acts of love.

    • Whether it’s a girl or a boy (even if they’re a close friend/classmate of mine) telling me that phrase ‘I love you’ or even the phrase ‘I like you’, it would definitely sound strange to me and actually scare me, the only exception being my mother and sister. I do know that some sisters and even brothers love&care for me (because Allah has covered my bad sides from their eyes), not because they stated it out loud, rather it shows through their actions and behavior.

      Although I’d appreciate and be grateful any person loving or caring for me as love from other fellow humans is a blessing from Allah, and one of the signs that He loves us, as I remember reading from a hadith, is placing this love into the hearts of the people on Earth, with my limited sense, I think we should use hikmah (wisdom) always. Saying this phrase nowadays to anyone else than the person you are married to or a small child (if a relative), as you said, would quite definitely be connected to the “male/female-wanting-her/him in that way”.

      As for me, I can imagine saying this phrase only to my future husband and children (if Allah has willed me to have).

      • Totally see your point 🙂 which is why its important to note that saying I love you verballyis only a small..tiny…aspect of love. People say I love you every day by greeting each other with a smile…by asking how someone’s day is going…by plqcing someone else’s needs before their own. In the end we dont need to “hear” about the love…we need to filk our lives and interactions with love. That is what will make the difference

  • Jazaki Allahu Khayran, Sister Reehab! Spot on!
    I especially LOVED the last line :D!

    “Many of you reading may find these words too flowery, too weird or just plain absurd for your liking. If that’s the case, don’t worry. It’s okay. I love you anyway.”

  • Alhamdulillah for writing this and to SuhaibWebb for posting it. I have so often been misunderstood for exuding this love toward my sisters who think I have ulterior motives or am sentimental. Worse, I get very hurt too by their reaction of stoic unresponsiveness. Though I have never let this detract me, sometimes one needs something back in order to not get tired. Though my source is Allah, and my His grace, I pray never to let my generosity in love be diminished. Now this is with my sisters, and I am female. As to trying to be this way with my brothers..oh dear, even if I smile or at a brother passing down the corridor at work…and I do this out of the sunnah only, (and though it doesn’t need to be said, to further clarify -never a flirtatious smile but only a polite one)…it is so misunderstood that I wonder what has happened to people they are so insecure and so immature or juvenile in their understanding of love and compassion. While I exchange plenty of smiles with non-Muslim females and males throughout the day that I randomly pass-by and this always makes me feel the world is a better place. Also I keep the intention to smile as a sunnah and as a muhajaba I pray it is da’wah. Now about my Muslim brothers…let alone smiling, even if I say salam in the most grave way possible it is not often that it is replied, even though that is the sunnah. And sometimes if replied, it is a mumbled phrase with a head bent low. I am not complaining here. Merely sharing my observations. It has always struck me the level of distance the average Muslim is from a healthy understanding of love versus how loving the ashaabi wa ashaabiath (radhiallau ta’ala anhum) were with each other.

    • I know what you mean! Although in general a person may give salaam to the other gender, some scholars have said that one may abstain from it if they feel it will create fitna.

      • Thank you. that clarifies things for me and I’ll not feel so ‘like someone has thrown cold water on me’ the next time this happens. Allah bless you!

  • Allaahu Akbar great article. Jazaki Allaahu Khair sister.

    The love for our fellow Muslims is also part of our Aqeedah (al Walaa wal Baraa) as the scholars have stated.

    This article also reminds me of the Qur’an verse:

    (Saying): “We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you. (Chapter 76 Verse 9:)

    Have a look at the verses just before and after as well.

  • Reminds me of a beautiful incident of a friends 7 year old daughter. Her school mate told her he loves her n not to mention it to her mother. The sweet child, puzzled as to why it shouldn’t be told to her mom told her anyways,replied to the boy.. Yes we are Muslim brothers n sisters we should all love each other.:-) subhan Allah!!

  • I love YOU, Reehab <3 So beautiful, mashaAllaah. Don't know how you put it into words, but you did. 😀

  • Love you sister reehab.loving ure brother is a sunnah and reflects ure iman u know. Which I think we’ve all forgotten. Gr8 reminder.

  • Wa alaikum salaam


    One wonders if this is but a result of the escalating insistence on stigmatising any aversion – regardless of supposed freedom of religion – to homosexuality?

    I ask in that brotherly love – between two or more men, or sisterly love (in its open expression) is increasingly absenting itself. Sport and other group activities perhaps niches aside.

    Consequently, I wonder, are we directed to feel comfortable with romantic love principally. Between men and women and – we seek refuge in the Almighty – regardless of marriage or between members of the same gender (with the concept of marriage being attacked in being stretched to that beyond which believers in the the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all between).

    Hence the misunderstanding one can encounter as detailed in the article.

    May we seek but, by the Grace of the Almighty, pure intentions and good deeds accepted by Ar Rahman. Tawwakul then in the outcome.

    • Very much agree with this. When I lived in India, it was common to see two men walking on the road holding hands, it never was thought of as sexual, but a show of friendship. I have also been happy to see my shuyukh walking holding each others hands.
      And further to my comment before, and in response to some comments after…just wanted to share. One of the happiest moments of my life was when I first met my Quran teacher. A beautiful lady, hafidha-ul-Quran, Allah preserve her. Who on meeting me said ‘ahubbuki billah’ = I love you for Allah’s sake! And I replied the same. It is this form of love that should be common between us, and how great it is that the greatest form of love according to our tradition, is the easiest. When we all are sound in our understanding of our deen and who we are and why we are here on earth. Then no confusion and unnecessary worry about a simple and beautiful thing such as expressing love

  • As Salamu Alaikum,

    I think this issue may not be new, but also existed at the time of the Prophet (s)? Weren’t the wives of the Prophet (s) told not speak in ‘too softly’ in case some people (those with diseased hearts) may get the wrong idea?

    Of course, these verses in Sura Ahzab applied directly to the wives of the Prophet (s), who are clearly stated in the sura not to be like other women (ie, they couldn’t marry after the death of the Prophet (s), so they had to be extra careful).

    I guess I’m a bit confused about all of this: I really want to love others for the sake of Allah, and be as friendly and helpful as possible to everyone.

    However, this has lead to some misunderstandings and unfortunate incidences, and now I find myself tending towards the other side…ie, being wary of the opposite gender.

    Any thoughts welcome! Jazakum Allahu Khayran.

  • Assalaamu alaikum dear brothers and sisters.

    Jazaakumullaahu khairan.

    I think every situation has to be evaluated according to the consequences that could result from it.

    Our religion teaches us to be always aware of our surroundings and understand the people we are dealing with.

    May Allah bless you,

  • Assalamu alaikum!

    I have always had the same feeling towards humanity but usually people dont get this idea of mine, they find it absurd saying to love people in this fast, mean world is impossible and impractical.

    It was nice to read words from someone who shares the same feeling.

    May Allah guide and bless us all.

  • MashaAllah, I totally feel this article, I agree that love has become soo narrow and and limited. for example, I was in the library doing my work, a man behind me was coughing like crazy, i felt so bad for him i wanted to buy him cough sweets but i was worried that he would take it the wrong way. Sad reality we live in..

    JazakAllah Khair for sharing this article.. This website is soo bloody good at writing out my feelings!

  • Dear Reehab
    My sentiments exactly!
    Thank you for this wonderful article.
    May Allah bless U!

      • Mercy is a big part of love…as is empathy and compassion…however my mine focus was the larger umbrella of “love.” Love doesn’t have to be the romantic love…that is only one branch of the branches of love…but for some reason we all seem to focus on that one alone. I’m talking about the love that we see between the sahaba. I’m talking about the love we see between even the male and female sahaba when they put each other’s needs first—when the ansaar gave selflessy to the muhajireen–and etc. That is love. Its pure love. And that is what’s missing. A smile to a child is backed by love. A kind word to a hurting friend is backed by loved.

        However if it really does bother you that it says love, then you may replace it with mercy as you read it. Let’s not get caught up in the semantics…rather focus on the spirit of what is trying to be expressed–be it by the word I used or any other word that will help the meaning reach the heart.


  • Salam sr, I can feel your genuine love through this writing. you wrote: “When you are joyous and content, the peace spreads to my soul as well”. Well, your love and content spread to my soul even only through writing. Jakakallah for that. May Allah bless you always.

    From your loving sister

  • Assalamualaikum, i’m requesting to share this inside my dayre account because i found the story is similar to my situation. I hope you woudnt mind. May Allah shows us the right path. Thank you.

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