When Love and Worship Collide

A scholar was once asked, “Why do we get so easily distracted by the life of this world when we know it is worth very little in comparison to the Hereafter?” The scholar responded, “Because the life of this world is in front of us.”

And Yusuf was in front of Renee, as the opposite sex is in front of Muslim youth.

It is easy to scoff at youth like Renee, who appear to be doing something sacrilegious when they go to the masjid or a Muslim event looking forward to seeing someone they are attracted to. Some Muslims might even proclaim that it is better for them to stay home than to come to places of Allah’s remembrance with impure intentions.

When Love and Worship Collide - About Islam

However, we should hesitate before passing judgment, lest we discourage Muslim youth from coming around Muslims at all.

Excitement to see the opposite sex, especially in one’s teens when hormones are raging, is completely normal, and this excitement doesn’t “magically” disappear when we enter the house of Allah or attend an Islamic lecture.

Our humanity follows us wherever we go, even in the privacy of our homes and even during overt acts of worship like prayer and supplication to Allah.

Staying away from places of worship and activities where one is likely to be reminded of Allah cannot possibly solve any problem, let alone a problem that is inherently spiritual.

If anything, staying away from places of where Allah’s name is mentioned will only worsen the problem. Thus, the only solution is for the young man or woman to continuously strive against impure intentions, especially when they enter the house of Allah.

We do not stand before Allah because we are already pure. We stand before Allah because we hope to be purified.

This is the lesson we need to teach Muslim youth who, like Renee, are struggling with natural raging hormones and attraction to the opposite sex. 

When Worship and Love Collide

One fact of life that both Muslim youth and adults need to understand is that our worship and human weakness will constantly collide and be at odds with each other during our time on earth.

We cannot remove this reality from our lives any more than we can avoid ultimately standing in front of Allah on the Day of Judgment. This is all part of Allah’s qadr, His divine decree for us.

Our job then, is to face these tests by turning to Allah and constantly striving against succumbing to our lower desires.

However, when we do fall short and sin, it is crucial that we understand, in the depths of our hearts, that Allah is All-Forgiving and Most Merciful to those who continuously engage in jihad al-nafs, the internal battle of the self against the self.

Thus, when youth like Renee find that an attractive boy or girl distracts them from Allah, they should know that all hope is not lost, even if they at times give into human weakness.

They should continue to come to the masjid. They should continue to come to Muslim events. And they should continue having hope in Allah’s mercy and forgiveness.

Because, when love and worship collide, staying away from the masjid and other places of Allah’s remembrance cannot protect us from facing ourselves, and more importantly, it cannot protect us from facing Allah.

First published: May 2013

Pages: 1 2
About Umm Zakiyyah
Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of the If I Should Speak trilogy and the novels Realities of Submission and Hearts We Lost. To learn more about the author, visit ummzakiyyah.com or subscribe to her YouTube channel.