In Bahrain, a teenage Muslim princess ran away from her family, her home and country forever, putting her life in jeopardy in order to marry an American marine she hardly knew. She made a decision, that she can never take back, to live a life of exile and sin. If asked why, she did this; she would naturally say she did it for “love.”
Where in the world, are the Muslim youth getting their ideals about love, marriage and family? Are we turning to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW? Unfortunately, we do not. In the Indian subcontinent, we’re turning to Indian films; In America and possibly the rest of the world, we’re turning to Hollywood. Bombay, a famous mainstream Indian film, features a Muslim girl who falls in love and ultimately marries a non muslim boy. At the beginning of the film, she is shown in niqab. By the end, she is dressing like a non muslim. After her family refuses to allow their marriage, the girl runs away and does not speak to them for six years. At the end her parents come to her and all are happy.
Hollywood, one of the largest influences in the world, plays a huge role in the formation of concepts about love, marriage, and family. These films portray men and women who are “in love.” And yet, often times the individual they “love” will be someone they just saw or spoke to briefly. Suddenly, however they are willing to lose their spouse, their family, their job, their life, and even their Lord. It is, therefore, more correct to say that they make these sacrifices because their desires have become their God. Allah SWT speaks about this when He says: “Then seest thou such a one as takes as his god his own vain desire? Allah SWT has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart (and understanding), and put a cover on his sight. Who, then, will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn guidance)? Will ye not then receive admonition?” [45:23]
But yet these very same people that Allah SWT has described in His book as most astray have become our example and ideal. In 1998, Titanic, grossing more than 1 billion dollars in sales worldwide, became the most popular movie across the globe. The story features a young girl of age 17 who is engaged to be married. After meeting and ultimately falling in love with another man, the young girl cheats on her fiancé and disobeys her mother. Both the mother and the fiancé are shown as superficial in order to make her disloyalty more acceptable. The messages of these films are very penetrating. The most powerful message is: if you sacrifice for “love”, all will be well in the end. In other words, if you disregard your religion, your family, your God, following only your desires, you will be rewarded in the end.
If we look at the US , we can see the clear effects of these misshapen concepts. ‘Why has divorce reached the unprecedented rate of 40-60%? I believe the answer lies in the misconstrued definition of what true love and marriage actually is. These movies feature the wedding as the end of the movie, and thus marriage is seen as the end of a love story, rather than the beginning. What effect does this have on our society, on our youth in particular? Who are the victims of these misconstrued ideals? What is the basis of the “love” portrayed in these movies? What criterion will young Muslims affected by these images use when choosing a spouse? Will they follow the Sunnah of Rasulullah SAW , who says the one who marries for Deen is blessed? Or, will they base their choice on an empty, fleeting attraction disguised as “love”? If the youth begin to choose their spouses based on this ephemeral emotion rather than on Deen, what effect will that have on the Ummah as a whole? Will not more families be broken due to divorce and strife? Will not more youth be forced to cut ties with their families (assuming they do not agree)? Will not more children be raised far from Islam?
Thus, we should be aware and guard ourselves and our children from this deceptive tool of Satan. Allah SWT describes those people who only follow their desires numerous times throughout the Qur’an. Let us not be among those who Allah SWT describes as most astray and let those not become our ideals. “Who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, devoid of guidance from Allah? For Allah guides not people given to wrongdoing” [28: 50]