Loving Love In Online Spacesby Helmy Sa'at
Name, age, educational achievements and hobbies. And, never forget the proverbial profile picture. These are the elementary requirements.
It reads just like a resume. A personal branding of sorts. Without intentionally being crude, it is ultimately a way of packaging oneself with the purpose of ‘selling’ it to others.
In this case, accompanied by a dash of temerity on one’s part in order to attract as many prospective partners as possible. You could either indulge in humble bragging by implicitly slipping in your personal achievements, such as having graduated from that Ivy League college. Or, engage in blunt flexing of your supposed attractive qualities namely by letting your publicly shared photos do the talking. What does it say about (an allegedly) candid photo of you leaning on that supercar, or in the midst of boarding a private jet and smiling brightly while in shades?
It is purportedly a fair game, which participants have willingly cosigned to the terms and conditions. The entire experience that so many singles (and even some attached individuals) partake in, which could be summed up in the following: Get ready to judge and be judged.
Browsing Through The Love Catalog
This is the dating landscape for many, now. The virtual space has been teeming with a multitude of dating websites and apps that cater to every whim and fancy of individuals plugged into today’s technologically driven world.
You are empowered to make choices pertaining to your future marital bliss based on your preferences that are no longer communicated directly and personally to an individual sitting across the table. Instead, with the click of a button you have it publicised, by will, for the global audience to peruse! Nowadays, a prospective partner has to jump through the hoops similar to a job interview.
It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that:
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَى، حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ سُلَيْمَانَ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ مُسْلِمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ مَيْسَرَةَ، عَنْ طَاوُسٍ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ لَمْ نَرَ لِلْمُتَحَابَّيْنِ مِثْلَ النِّكَاحِ ” .
the Messenger of Allah said: “There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah 1847]
However, are we really looking for love and connection in all the right places? How do you know that that individual is the right one, without descending into romantic hyperbole that is largely elusive in everyday life, your soulmate? Out of the millions of profiles available?!
The Lucrative Business Of Love
Envy is an unhealthy emotion when it skews your reality and perception of life. As fallible human beings, we could not help, but to be affected by our surrounding and the immediate circles of people we navigate socially. For instance, you are hitting another milestone in three months – turning 35! Celebrating life and ageing has been overshadowed by questions of competency when you start comparing yourself to others. Something which is also perpetuated under the guise of care and concern by those around you whether solicited or otherwise. Are your friends married? Yes. Have they bought a house? Checked. They started having children at the age of 28? Again, checked. So, what are you waiting for? In other words, what is or went wrong?
However, the crucial key is to rethink those questions and ask ourselves this instead: Is life just a checklist of to-dos when it comes to marriage and progeny?
Must you jump onto the bandwagon of the latest trends as companies generate innovative and creative ways (whilst profiting from the endeavour!) to ensure love deprived individuals to not give up on love itself. With easy access to dating websites and apps, are we also easily swept by the pressures of societal tide? In fact, have you succumbed to it?
Just because the characteristics of a prospective partner virtually and on paper match what we are looking for, does that automatically translate into success in the love department, offline?
Swipe Left Or Right With Satan
It is also about straddling a fine line.
It was narrated from Aishah that:
حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ الأَزْهَرِ، حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ، حَدَّثَنَا عِيسَى بْنُ مَيْمُونٍ، عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ النِّكَاحُ مِنْ سُنَّتِي فَمَنْ لَمْ يَعْمَلْ بِسُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَتَزَوَّجُوا فَإِنِّي مُكَاثِرٌ بِكُمُ الأُمَمَ وَمَنْ كَانَ ذَا طَوْلٍ فَلْيَنْكِحْ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَجِدْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصِّيَامِ فَإِنَّ الصَّوْمَ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ” .
the Messenger of Allah said: “Marriage is part of my sunnah, and whoever does not follow my sunnah has nothing to do with me. Get married, for I will boast of your great numbers before the nations. Whoever has the means, let him get married, and whoever does not, then he should fast for it will diminish his desire.”
[Sunan Ibn Majah 1846]
As you strive for a successful halal relationship bound by mutual and sincere love and respect, the shadows of sins are always lurking in the corner. Even on online spaces. Does participating in easy-to-access platforms make us complicit in encouraging and breeding superficiality in thoughts and actions, which translates into close-mindedness? In essence, within such parameters love in a partner is strictly guided by your prepared list of wants and desires, thus leaving no room for other positive qualities to shine.
There is more work to be done, after finding your soulmate should you be blessed enough to meet him or her. In fact, marriage is a conversation that lasts a lifetime for most of us. It is plainly only the beginning. Those first few fleeting moments of love, imagined or otherwise, which has been amplified and magnified by superficial online connections could very well be pushing you into a relationship that might be heading for doom in actuality.