There’s no “other half” for relationships based on The Quran. The Divine doesn’t do “halfway.” Like shoes, two souls make a pair.
Soulmates in The Quran and Prophetic Tradition touches on complementary pairs found across traditions. Additional examples include Anam Cara, Celtic for “soul friend,” as seen with the Mawlana Rumi and Shams Tabrez’s story. Shams knew he loved Rumi when he threw his books away, telling him to live what he’d been reading. Bashert is a predestined partner in Yiddish; Reyah is Hebrew, Jodah in Malay. Legend of Ancient Egyptian Osiri and Isis whose love lasted a lifetime and beyond contrasts with Cain and Abel, brothers paired with opposite twins. While one brother’s love for God overflowed into his offering, jealousy built in Cain over God’s decree in pairings. It also helps to define things through their opposites: Plato’s Symposium mentions oneness that Zeus divided due to fear of their power (like Shaytan). Soulmates have unbreakable bonds no matter when or where you entered this roller coaster ride called “life.” Embrace the best of what’s written in the story of us.
While commentating on The Quran, Abdullah Yusef Ali notes (5025):
“All things are in twos: sex in plants and animals, by which one individual is complementary to another; in the subtle forces of nature. Day and Night, positive and negative electricity, forces of attraction and repulsion: and numerous other opposites, each fulfilling its purpose, and contributing to the working of God’s Universe; and in the moral and spiritual world. Love and Aversion, Mercy and Justice, Striving and Rest, and so on;-all fulfilling their functions according to the Artistry and wonderful Purpose of God. Everything has its counterpart, or pair, or complement. God alone is One, with none like Him, or needed to compliment Him. These are noble things to contemplate. And they lead us to a true understanding of God’s Purpose and Message” (The Quran, The Winds 51: 49).
Allah’s references to azwaj, or complementary pairs, destined for one another in the Quran substantiate the reality of soulmates. From day to night, death and life, heaven and earth as well as suwar themselves we see complementary pairs in The Quran.
Familial relationships are a level of soulmates but the strongest bonds are spiritual. These spiritual partnerships are relationships can be formalized through bayah and most notoriously, marriage. These bonds are apart from lust, as Murata breaks down:
“Within marriage is found complete nobility denoting the weakness [da’f] that is worthy of servanthood. There is something of the severity of enjoyment [qahr alladhdha] that annihilates the person from his strength and his claims. It is a delicious severity.” Through the vulnerability of relationships with soulmates, we are reminded of our unity.
Knowing a Soulmate from a Cellmate
“The Divine made their hearts familiar” (Qur’an, The Spoils 8:63).
So how do we know our soulmate? Knowing oneself gives the confidence and imaan to affirm a natural familiarity you will experience. Yet the foundation of this knowledge stems from truth in the words of Allah. Through basing our perception on Quran we prevent ourselves from becoming a prisoner to what we thought was a soulmate.
- Be open to what you don’t understand. The vulnerability will humble you to become receptive to love. As Allah says “glory be to Him Who created all the pairs, of that which the earth grows, and of their own souls, and of what they don’t know!” (The Quran, Meaning of Ya-Sin 36:36)
2. In relationships, don’t think in terms of “superior” or “inferior,” just different. For instance, the feminine and masculine each have their place in the cycle of life. “It’s not permitted for the Sun to catch up with the moon nor can the Night outstrip the day: Each swims along in its orbit” (Quran, Ya-Sin 36:40).
3. Acknowledge your oneness. The more loving and connected you are to Allah, the closer you’ll be to your mate(s) whether you’re together in this life yet or not. “It is He who created you from a single soul, And made its mate of like nature in order that you might dwell with her in love….” (Quran, The Heights 7:189).
4. Ask for guidance and pay attention to synchronicity. The kinds of situations where you end up completing one another’s sentences. This is not a fairy-tale but alignment between the two of you. The Istikara prayer is for more than marriage. From business to day-to-day interactions, this dua’a makes the signs of what is and isn’t for you clear in every occasion. Allah tells us: “And it is He who spread the earth and placed firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all the fruits He made two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed, in that are signs for a people who give thought” (Quran, The Thunder 13:3).
5. Commit without controlling. Complementing one another means commitment to ride through the waves and plains of life, storm or sunshine. “He Who created all the pairs, and appointed for you ships and cattle whereupon ye ride” (Quran, The Gold Adornments 43:12).
6. Accept that soulmates grow and evolve you. Realize the spiritual path isn’t about getting your way all the time, relationships are a challenge. True soulmates will never keep you stuck, stagnant or stale, but will push you to a new level through pleasure but often pain. This relationship pushes us to a new level of reflection. Allah says it best: “and all things We have created by pairs, that perhaps you may reflect” (Quran, The Scatterers 51:49).
7. Be balanced. Soulmates balance one another, but in the best relationship partners are already balanced. What inclines many to love The Prophet’s ﷺ is his inner reality and the balance of polarities in his character. Jesus and Joseph (Allah be pleased with them) are archetypes for the more jamaal (beautiful), qualities of The Divine, Prophet Moses (may Allah be pleased with him) was a manifestation of jalaal qualities (rigor) of God. Some seek the more jalal knowledge of God others strive for jamaal, encompassing, loving mercy of Allah. Muhammad,ﷺ kamaal, embodied both attributes of Allah, making his soul the prototype. Send lots of Divine favor (salawat) on the belovedﷺ for balance. “That He created in pairs, male and female” (Quran, The Star 53:45), “and of Him He made two sexes, male and female” (Quran, Resurrection 75:39).
8. Release blockages such as resistance. As Mawlana Rumi says “your task isn’t to seek for love, but to remove barriers to it.” Examples of barriers include: emotional unavailability, codependency (a disguise for resistance) and confusing love with lust. Again, we’re nudged toward accepting our limitations with the verse “by (the mystery of) the creation of male and female” (Quran, The Night 92:3).
An Unbreakable Bond
We’re always in relationship. In Rejuvenation of the Soul, Imam Fode discusses how everything from plants to mountains have souls. The Prophetﷺ, God bless his soul and grant him peace, named everything from his camels to his drinking cup. One of his horses was named al-Sahb, literally “the companion” showing a soul level relationship humans can have even with animals as seen with therapy dogs.
Because of the introduction to divorce and multiple companions and wives our beloved, God bless his soul and grant him peace, had, we know we aren’t designated to one soulmate or type. We also know that a connection doesn’t mean there will be a lifelong partnership. However, Allah says “if you’re grateful I’ll give you more” (Quran, Ibrahim 14:7). Be thankful and focus on the aspect of relationships that will last in every connection: Allah.
Abdullah, A. (1964). Yusef: The Meaning of the Glorious Quran.
Murata, S. (1992). The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Maryam Miller (@soulmatesis) is the founder of Scholart Agency.