Lessons from the Heart
Love's in Need of Love Today *
By Amina Cisse Muhammad
Writer - U.S.
This article is the first in a series of articles aimed at enhancing marital, family and interpersonal relationships.
"Love's in need of love today. Don't delay… send yours in right away. Hate's going 'round breaking many hearts. Stop it, please, before it's gone too far."
Some of you may be familiar with these lyrics from Stevie Wonder's song on his 1976 hit album, Songs in the Key of Life. It came out just months before I proclaimed my Shahadah, and actually played a significant role in my accepting Islam.
At the time, I was a junior majoring in Sociology at A&T State University in North Carolina, USA. I was going through what I'd call a "Bippie" (Black Hippie) stage – preaching the need for more love for our fellow human beings.
After grading a paper I'd written as an assignment in a "Black Experience" class, the professor — a young African American male — told me I should take my Shahadah. He was studying Islam at the time, but to my knowledge, he has still not taken that very important step.
I didn't know what a Shahadah was, although I was somewhat familiar with Islam after having read The Autobiography of Malcolm X a couple of years prior.
Because of his statement, and at the time, on my own personal journey for "the truth", I decided to re-read Malcolm's life story. To make a long story shorter, I ended up doing just that the following spring — best decision I've made in my entire life! Thanks to Allah! Allah is truly Merciful.
Shortly afterwards, I married a brother who returned to Allah eleven years later. We had three beautiful children together, and had begun preparing for the children and myself to move to Senegal for a period so that they could study Quran, when he suddenly died.
I chose to honor his wishes, and the four of us took off for Medina Kaolack, a spiritual community outside Senegal's second largest city, where a number of other American youth were also studying.
I recall the Imam of the community saying to me soon after our arrival that all my children needed, following the loss of their father, was love. A slight understatement, wouldn't you think? After all, what about a home to live in, food to eat, clothes to wear, an education?
Deep in my heart, though, I knew exactly what he was saying. And, it had been just a little over a decade since my "Bippie" days, I agreed. Not that I'm the most loving human being alive, or that I've lived my life consistently practicing what I preach (I've made some mistakes), but I truly do believe that that little ole four-letter word "love" says a whole lot.
Smelling the Coffee
However, we get so caught up in our circumstances sometimes that we can't see the roses for the bushes, the blue in the sky for the clouds. As they say, "we can't smell the coffee" because of the hustle and bustle that we call "life". So many demands, so many responsibilities. What, with gas prices rising through the ceiling, food costs escalating?
And don't even turn the TV to the news channel… what do they call it? CNN for "Constantly Negative News". With all the war, crime, and other atrocities going on in the world, not to mention poverty and disease, how can anyone honestly believe that "All we need is love?"
But just think about it: what would many of us do (or have done); how much would many of us pay for a little more love in our lives?
It's about that time of the year when there's a wedding every weekend, when couples and families fill the parks — merrily playing under the warmth of the golden sun, their faces beaming with happiness. Remember the last time you witnessed a bride and groom exchanging vows? Remember the radiant glow and shy blush of anticipation they wore? So obviously in love…
Or the young father and mother as they watched their not yet one-year-old take his first steps. Or the now-seasoned parents of the high school graduate as she marches down the aisle to the beat of "Pomp and Circumstance", with pride and joy bouncing off their faces.
If you take time to reflect back on the times in your life when you felt most loved, I'm sure a smile or two will flicker across your lips, if not a huge grin. Who knows, you may be one of those fortunate persons who stays attuned to the presence of love in your life, who are always counting their blessings and thanking Allah for them.
But just in case you're not — just in case you're feeling unappreciated by your spouse right about now, or you're annoyed with your boss because of their apparent lack of acknowledgment of how hard you're working, or you feel your teenage daughter simply has no idea of all the sacrifices you have made as a mother — just in case you didn't wake up feeling absolutely thrilled to be alive, I'd like you to consider that having more love in your life on a consistent basis would make a huge difference.
Love inspires so many other positive emotions and actions — happiness, joy, security, self-worthiness, trust, kindness, sensitivity, empathy, and charity. People who feel loved typically enjoy better health and live longer, are more productive at work or at school, and are more active in their communities. (Ornish)
And more love in the world would diminish some of the world's hate, hostility, prejudice, resentment, greed, oppression, exploitation, selfishness, conflict, and poverty, among other negative aspects of life.
Be an Agent for Change
Now that we've agreed that love does make a difference, I'd like to ask you to be an agent for change — at least for the next 24 hours. As often as you can, tell someone you love them — and sincerely mean it. Make a note of what happens.
We all must take precautionary measures. If love and peace you treasure, then you'll hear me when I say, oh, oh, that love's in need of love today. Don't delay… send yours in right away. Hate's going 'round breaking many hearts. Stop it, please, before it's gone too far. (Stevie Wonder)
Ornish, Dean. MD. Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy (HarperCollins, 1998).
Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life. 1976.
* This article was first published in IslamOnline.net's Family Section.
Amina Cisse Muhammadis the founder of Keys to Power Editorial Services and Success Coaching. Deeply committed to empowering individuals of all ages to reach their full potential in life, Amina is a writer and facilitator for workshops on personal development and growth. You may contact her at (404) 447-5629 in the Atlanta, GA (USA) area for more information on the services provided by Keys to Power.She invites you to write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
to let her know of any miracles that occur in your life as a result of your sharing a bit more love out in the world.