Written by İskender Pala

Author of books ‘Death in Babylon’, ‘Romance in Istanbul’, ‘Grief Drop’, ‘Shah and Sultan’ with Turkish Language Society and Writers Union of Turkey Language and Research awards, Professor Iskender Pala wrote for ‘.tr’ magazine.

Today’s youth probably do not know what an “arranged marriage” is. I witnessed the last period of this practice. I remember a particular instance which took the city by storm. Families were widely criticized for this outdated practice which would possibly ruin these young people’s lives. The boy getting married was my classmate’s brother and people waited for years for the couple to divorce due to incompatibility. But I have never seen a husband and wife that infatuated with each other. Years later, I investigated their secret during a visit. I realized that this was not an outcome of arranged marriage; they attained the truth of love. Both had independent emotions directed at each other. Both loved the other without questioning the love of the other. It was as if both would say “I love my spouse, it does not matter whether he/she loves me back!”. This couple was ideal for explaining the quality and amount of love. So I asked them to disclose their secret:

“My heart is in God’s hands,” she said.
“God put this love in my heart. Loving is not forbidden in his book. This is why I am grateful for all the feelings I have for my husband and consider these as a blessing.”

I gave my ear to the other:

“I suppose love is the reunion of pieces of soul divided between two separate people. If our souls were not divided, no one would pursue perfection. As all pieces search for a whole, souls continue to seek for other pieces to be whole. If you look at the right place and complete with right pieces, the soul will have achieved perfection. As each shape seeks for a compatible, similar shape… All things you can think of in the universe, all beings have a compatible counterpart.”

“Opposites repel each other,” continued the husband, gently touching his wife’s hand to ask for permission, “or similars attract. Don’t you think this is a sign that fellow creatures are compatible with each other? When souls are so compatible that one dissolves in the other (pointing his wife and himself) love manifests itself. As there are more affinities between lovers, love grows as well; as there are less affinities and these disappear, love walks away.”

“You,” I said, “frequently appeal to Pigeon Collar by İbn Hazm, don’t you?”

“Who?” he said.

“İbn Hazm! The scholar who lived in Andalusia a thousand years ago with the most extensive knowledge and research on love.”

“I have never heard of him. What does he say?!”

“He says that love arises from souls although it occurs due to an external cause, just like you. If a person loves another for a reason, love grows as that reason grows and fades away as that reason fades away. Beauty, wealth, knowledge etc.”

“Where do people who continue to love someone even after his or her demise fit in this perspective?”

“He asks the same question and says if one is committed to love, he or she will follow the other before long. Just as Mecnun passed away after Leyla.”

Woman added:
“As Kerem followed Aslı?”

“Like Romeo after Juliet,” I said to myself. Woman looked in her husband’s eyes:

“You will not do that, will you husband?”

“May God not let me witness your demise in this mortal world… But if that happens, know that my love for you will neither grow nor fade, and it will remain the same till we meet again in Heaven!…”

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İskender Pala

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