ATTRACTION TO THE opposite gender is not a sin; it’s like hunger in Ramadan, and it’s completely natural. Islam does not forbid love nor look down on desires asking us to curb them. In fact our Dîn propagates them and teaches us how to discipline those desires. It is culture that has made talking about and seeking advice on intimate matters look awkward.
Mûsa, His Unsung Story
Who hasn’t read the story of prophet Mûsa? The tortures of Pharaoh towards the people of Bani Israel, the parting of the red sea, the drowning of Pharaoh. But let’s track back a bit, there are some other lessons also we can get from the story of prophet Mûsa, for indeed Allah doesn’t mention a story in the Quran except that it has a message to be understood and followed by the people to come. We see Allah mentions in quite some detail how Mûsa met his wife, the interactions between them and how they ended up being married. Now if we pause here, we see that with just this story Allah is teaching us so many beautiful lessons. From interactions with the opposite gender to marriage to having belief in Allah, it just goes on.
We say Islam is boring, the Quran just has stuff telling what is wrong and what is right. This is one of the biggest understatements a person could make. The Quran is a life manual which if read and understood properly can change life completely. We read about romantic gateways, Prince Charming on the white horse, the picture of a perfect woman and what not. Media today has made us into droids just living in a fantasy land and hoping for things that are next to impossible. If only we look at the Quran and Sunnah we will find stories that portray the most beautiful of love stories. We don’t need romance novels telling us what to expect in love when Allah himself has told us.
Mûsa, The Youthful Prince In Egypt
Mûsa grew up in the comforts that only the royal house of Pharaoh could provide. People could see that he was a handsome, healthy and strong young man. His arms were strong, face radiant, forehead broad and eyes bright. His youthfulness was indeed worth observing. He was recognized as the son of King Pharaoh and Queen Asiya. He possessed every comfort and had full freedom. On the other hand his wisdom and intelligence had also become the talk of the town. But the people did not know that these were the signs of his Prophethood, which was to bring a revolution one day, a revolution to free people from the tyranny of Pharaoh. Despite having all the physical comforts, Mûsa was always troubled spiritually seeing the arrogance and atrocities committed by Pharaoh. By and by, poor, needy, and oppressed people began to realize that Mûsa was very kind and sympathetic towards the enslaved masses. So they sought his help in times of trouble. Mûsa also rushed to help them in every possible way.
Handsome – Royal Rich – Volunteering for Causes. Sisters, I think the checklist got the major ticks already, right?
Mûsa’s Life-Changing Predicament
We learn about the quarrel he had and how he had to end up fleeing from home. Mûsa traveled for many weeks, and at last he arrived at a place called Madyan. His clothes were sandy and he needed a bath, and he was short of food. The place was strange and foreign to his eyes. He noticed a watering place and rested near it feeling like a fugitive, strange, and dejected. While he was resting he could see two women waiting at a distance. Their sheep were nearby but not at the watering place, it looked as if they needed help.
He saw how the men were bullying them, not letting them in, to water their sheep, and the women just standing there. Though tired and weary Mûsa decided to see if he could help the women. He was not a man who just stood and watched things happen. Being a righteous man, kind at heart, and always wanting to help, Mûsa approached the women and asked if they needed help. The two women were bashful and didn’t want to impose, but they accepted the offer, explaining that they were tending their sheep until others finished watering theirs. Mûsa helped them with their task [Sûrat Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28: 22-28].
Mûsa felt happy, and the women were thankful. They took the sheep home and Musa went back to his resting spot under a tree. He was a lonely stranger, had no job, was far from home, and he had never worked before. He was accustomed to opulent living and affluence in the palace of Pharaoh. He remembered pomp, wealth, power, and ease. But all of a sudden he is now an ordinary man like anyone else. He could have, but he didn’t, ask them for anything in return—no coffee, no “lets grab a sandwich” and definitely no date (date = the one which is eaten).
Mûsa’s Model Du‘â’
He just turned to the One who has power over all affairs and beseeched for His help; he made a sincere duʿâ’ saying:
Lord ! Truly I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me. [Sûrat Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:24]
ʿAṭâ’ ibn Al-Sâ’ib is quoted in Tafsîr ibn Kathîr as saying:
When Musa made that duʿâ’ the women heard him.
What a beautiful duʿâ’ to make for all of us who are looking for a good partner or for bliss in our married lives. This one duʿâ’ to Allah gave Mûsa a job, a house, and a family, all at once. When you have nothing left except Allah, then you find that He is always enough for you. It’s like a cheat code in real life, except that it’s not cheating.
Meanwhile, when the two women came back so quickly with the sheep watered, their father was surprised because he knew the men near the well, that his girls would have generally taken more time. When he asked them what had happened, they told him what Mûsa had done. So he sent one of the daughters to call the stranger to meet her father.
Allah says: Then there came to him one of them, walking shyly, meaning, she was walking like a free woman, as it was narrated from the Commander of the Faithful, ʿUmar ibn Al-Khaṭṭâb: “She was covering herself with the folds of her garment.” Ibn Abî Ḥâtim recorded that ʿAmr ibn Maymûn said: “ʿUmar said: ‘She came walking shyly, putting her garment over her face. She was not one of those audacious women who come and go as they please.’”
The âyah goes on: She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” This is an example of good manners: she did not invite him directly lest he have some suspicious thoughts about her. Rather she said: My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep.
“Lowering His Gaze”
No dates, no coffee, no friendship requests, nothing yet. Mûsa accepted the invitation, and when he got up he asked her to walk behind him and guide him to her house by throwing pebbles at the required directions instead of her walking in front, with him at the back. This was an example of Mûsa’s exemplary modesty.
Imagine the scenario: he was a prince who must have had women throwing themselves at him, but we see him here ‘lowering his gaze,’ which is what all Muslim men should do. Unfortunately, many of us have different “heroes” to emulate nowadays. Mûsa asks the woman to walk behind him, knowing very well that he doesn’t know the way but that she does. It wasn’t a matter of ego or superiority, he was rather concerned about her honor as she was alone, without her sister; this was his way of protecting her.
Meeting Her Father
So when he came to him and narrated the story, the father learned why Mûsa had had to leave his country.
He [the woman’s father] said [to Mûsa]: “Fear you not. You have escaped from the people who are wrongdoers.” The father soothes Mûsa and asks him to feel at ease in his territory, for he had left the kingdom of Pharaoh who has no authority in this land.
And said one of them: “Father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” One of the two daughters of the man said this, and it was said that she was the one who had walked behind Musa. ʿUmar, Ibn ʿAbbâs, Qatâdah, Muḥammad ibn Isḥâq and others said: “When she said: ‘Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy,’ her father said to her: `What do you know about that?’ She said in answer: `He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.”’ ʿAbdullah Ibn Masʿûd said: “The people who had the most discernment were three: Abû Bakr’s intuition about ʿUmar [ibn Al-Khaṭṭâb]; prophet Yûsuf’s master when he said [to his wife]: `Make his stay comfortable;’ and the daughter of prophet Mûsa’s host when she said: ‘Oh my father! Hire him! Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.’”
Mûsa’s New Family in Madyan
I intend to wed one of these two daughters of mine to you. The father made Mûsa an offer: take care of my flocks for eight years and I will give you one of my two daughters in marriage. Then the man added: But if you complete ten years, it will be (a favor) from you.
Imam Bukhâri recorded that Saʿîd ibn Jubair said: “A Jew from the people of Hîrah asked me:`Which of the two terms did Mûsa fulfill?’ I said: `I do not know! But let me go to the scholar of the Arabs and ask him.’ So I went to Ibn ʿAbbâs and asked him. He said: `He fulfilled the longer and better of them, for when a Messenger of Allah said he would do a thing, he did it in the best manner.’
Once the term was completed Mûsa was granted prophethood with a command to return to Egypt to invite Pharaoh to Islam and ask him to let the Children of Israel go.
Learning Mûsa’s Lessons
Indeed, a variety of lessons are learnt from the notable story of prophet Mûsa and his wife’s father. One lesson that looms large among these lessons is that the father gave his daughter in marriage to Mûsa only after making sure that he was religiously righteous; and this is the basis upon which a marriage in Islam should be founded, not a BMW and a 4 or 5 figure monthly job salary! This is the basis which conforms to what the last of all prophets, Muhammad ﷺ came with:
If a man of good religious character and conduct proposes to one’s daughter, then let one marry his daughter to him. If one does not, there will be mischief and great corruption on Earth.
Unfortunately today, if a young man comes to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage, we see many fathers showing absolutely no concern towards anything other than the proposer’s financial status: does he have enough income to make her happy!. We forget that there is someone called Al-Razzâq. Ask firstly about the level of obedience this young man has towards His Creator and only then will such a man keep the daughter happy.
Their meeting is a beautiful example of chivalry; a perfect model of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. There was no long engagement and no endless conversations, no promises of unending love, no dancing around trees in the rain, no Bollywood sequences which we have come to expect. Theirs was a love story that was directed by none other than Allah. Their story gives us an insight on how relations should be. People say love hurts. I say: if it is a true love written by Allah, it would never hurt, as love is a blessing from Allah that he bestows upon the couple. But if love tends to hurt, then know that it is from Shayṭân and that this love story is going to have a bad outcome for both parties involved, as it is something not prescribed by Allah.
Even if you DO really like him/her, take the necessary steps. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that there is nothing better for two who love each other than to be married. I mean what else does a person want?
50,000 years before the sky was introduced to the sea, Allah wrote down your name next to him/her.Wait for it!