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Does Islam Give Us the Freedom to Love?



Reply Date

Jun 13, 2019


ssalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. My question is a bit philosophical. In Islam, does a person have the freedom to love? We are told many times to love our parents, love our brothers and sisters and so on. But does that mean we don't have freedom to love the persons we choose? Let me give an example. A man should never give precedence to his wife over his mother. But say a person loves his wife a lot and he loves her more than his mother. He only loves his mother "for the sake of Allah" and he loves his wife purely from his own heart. In other words, he does all the duties to his mother and fulfills his mother's rights, not because he loves her, but because it is an order from Allah. So he even though he loves his wife more, he does duties to his mother because of Allah. Is it considered bad? Does he HAVE to love his mother more than his wife? Or does he have a freedom here? So in short, does a person have a choice in loving someone, or does he HAVE to love specific people more and he has no right to love other than that? Is it sufficient to love someone "for the sake of Allah" and not more than that (in the example, the person's love for his mother)? And is it permissible to love someone purely from heart and not only for the sake of Allah (in the example, the person's love for his wife)? Thank you.



Does Islam Give Us the Freedom to Love

Wa Alaykum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh Dear Brother,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

I pray that Allah grants you even more guidance to seek out the truth, and to act upon it. Ameen.

Well, the short and simple answer to your question, is that, yes, a Muslim does have the freedom to love someone more than another, even though the person in your scenario one loves less has more rights upon them than the one whom they love more.

This is because love is something that we cannot control and comes and goes, deepens and wanes, according to life circumstances.

As long as the person keeps his outward actions (words and deeds) in strict accordance with what Allah has commanded, they will not be questioned about who they loved more, insha’Allah.

I can illustrate this with an example.

Let’s say a mother loves her adult son more than she loves her husband, because of this son’s superior righteousness, conduct, character, qualities, personality traits, and his good treatment of her.

Her husband has not treated her well throughout her married life, and his character, habits, behavior, and personality traits are such that, despite her efforts to love him more, she cannot do so except mildly, and they do not get along well.

But her son has grown up to be more amiable and Allah-fearing than her husband, hence she loves him more. Will such a mother be called to account for this disparity in her love? Is she obligated to love her husband the most, just because he has more rights upon her ?

The answer to these questions is “No”. As long as she gives her husband and son, both, the rights that are their due upon her according to Islam, she will not be called to account for loving her son more, insha’Allah, because she is not in control of her feelings or the actions of others who bring her to those feelings. 

Allah is the turner of the hearts. We do not choose who we love more or less. It is Allah who places love in our hearts. It is only up to us to give people their due rights upon us and not treat them based on our feelings. And this can be a form of a test for us. 


Also, the Quran that proves that believers do not love anyone who opposes Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), even if they are “Muslims” and close family members:

{You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself.} (Quran 58:22)

To fully answer your question, I’d just like to remind you that a Muslim’s standard of love and adoration for other human beings, should primarily be taqwa or piety/righteousness. A sincere believer cannot love someone who exhibits more kufr (disbelief) than iman (faith) in their words and deeds.

However, even in cases where both of one’s family members or friends are equally righteous, it is still permissible for a Muslim to love one of them more than the other e.g. a nephew might naturally love his paternal aunt more than his maternal aunt, even though both of them are equally righteous, and both have been equally good to him.

In many cases, it is about natural personality compatibility and ‘clicking’ with someone, unintentionally. Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) love for his wife Aisha during the last years of his life, which surpassed that which he had for his other wives, is also a clear example of this.

And Allah knows best. I hope this answers your question.

May Allah grant all of us guidance towards the truth. Ameen.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Islam is Not Just Rituals: Love is at its Core

The Love I Found in Islam!

Does Love Exist in Islam?


About Sadaf Farooqi

Sadaf Farooqi is an author, blogger and freelance writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. To date, Sadaf has authored over 300 original articles, most of which can be accessed on her blog, "Sadaf's Space" ( She has recently started self-publishing her past articles as non-fiction Islamic books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle (

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