Love is a very broad concept and it is not always easy to explain what love is as it can have a number of different meanings. It initially begins with physical attraction between two parties and this is the reason why Allah has ordered the beliving men and women to lower their gaze. The eyes are a gateway to the heart and one may fall in love with an image of a person.
Falling in love is not haram because it happens and you cannot control it as every heart is in the hands of Allah and the one who falls in love should not be blamed. It is a sign of their perfection, and of Allah's favors upon them. When people fall in love, they fall out of character and this is natural as long as it doesn’t lead to something that is haraam, there is no problem. Love in this sense will remain one of the marvelous secrets of Allah's creation.
The definition of love in dictionary.com is as follows:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.
4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?
6. a love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour.
7. sexual intercourse; copulation.
8. (initial capital letter) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
9. affectionate concern for the well-being of others: the love of one's neighbor.
10. strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything: her love of books.
11. the object or thing so liked: The theater was her great love.
12. the benevolent affection of God for His creatures, or the reverent affection due from them to God.
13. Chiefly Tennis. a score of zero; nothing.
14. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L.
–verb (used with object)
15. to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
16. to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
17. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
18. to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
19. to embrace and kiss (someone), as a lover.
20. to have sexual intercourse with.
–verb (used without object)
21. to have love or affection for another person; be in love.
22. love up, to hug and cuddle: She loves him up every chance she gets.
23. for love,
a. out of affection or liking; for pleasure.
b. without compensation; gratuitously: He took care of the poor for love.
24. for the love of, in consideration of; for the sake of: For the love of mercy, stop that noise.
25. in love, infused with or feeling deep affection or passion: a youth always in love.
26. in love with, feeling deep affection or passion for (a person, idea, occupation, etc.); enamored of: in love with the girl next door; in love with one's work.
27. make love,
a. to embrace and kiss as lovers.
b. to engage in sexual activity.
28. no love lost, dislike; animosity: There was no love lost between the two brothers.
There are also different levels of love. In Islam some forms of love are encouraged such as the love of Allah and the love of His Messenger :saws: as this is the highest form of love. Then there is natural love suchas between family members, a husband and a wife for example. Love in it self is not prohibited in religion because it is a natural feeling that every human has but what is prohibited is when one performs a haram act due to his love. Another form of love that is prohibited is religious love directed to other then Allah such as love for all false dieties.
The signs of love are many such as the following:
- The brooding gaze. The eye is the gateway of the soul, and so they can basically reveal your soul.
- The lover will direct his conversation to his beloved.
- The lover listens to his beloved's speech, and marvels at everything said- even if it is nonsense.
- The lover hurries to the spot where his beloved awaits him.
- The lover is overcome by a sudden confusion when beloved comes suddenly upon him.
- The lover is abundantly and excessively cheerful at being close to his beloved. e.g in the beginning, they use the "love seat" so that they can be near each other.
- They engage in playful tug-o-war. For example, in the beginning the husband offers to do the dishes, and the wife says, no, I'll take care of it. And they go back and forth, back and forth, until the dish falls and breaks. Then they both smile, and the husband offers to clean it up, and the wife says no, and they start all over again. However, later, the husband doesn't even bother to ask, he just expects his wife to do it, and if the dish breaks they start yelling at each other.
- Leaning toward each other.
- Touching. 'Aisha narrates that Rasulullah would grab the hand of his wives when talking to them.
- Drinking from the same cup, and touching the lips on the exact spot where the beloved's lips touched. Rasulullah would grab a piece of meat that 'Aisha had eaten from and then eat from the same spot as she. He would also grab her cup, after she had finished drinking from it, and turn the cup around, and place his lips on the exact spots her lips touched.