Can a woman love a man for God’s sake?
In an authentic hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) listed seven people who will "enjoy God’s shelter on the day when there is no shelter other than His." These include, "two men who love each other for God’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that." In another hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) speaks of a believer who was on his way to visit one of his fellow brothers. On instructions from God, an angel assumed the shape of a human being and stopped him as he passed by and asked him where he was heading. When he told him that he was going to visit his fellow brother in a nearby village, the angel asked him whether his visit was motivated by any common business interests, claim to a debt or a favor he wanted from him. To all these questions the man gave a negative reply. The angel then asked him about the purpose of the visit. The man answered, "Because I love him for God’s sake." The angel said, "I am an angel sent by God to tell you that God the Almighty loves you because you love your brothers." Both hadiths highlight the importance of maintaining genuine relationships of love between people that are free of any interests except a mutual bond of faith which unites them.
We note, however, in the first hadith that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) speaks of "two men". He did not say "two persons". We know, however, that all Islamic teachings apply to both men and women unless otherwise specified. In other words, the same thing applies to two women loving each other for God’s sake. It is not possible, however, for this sort of relationship to develop between a man and a woman. This is due first to the fact that the natural attraction between a man and a woman is too strong to allow such a pure relationship to develop. It is only to be expected that natural desires may permeate their relationship and if either party or both are married, their relationship may lead to endless problems. However, this does not prevent a person from admiring another of the opposite gender for his or her dedication to God’s though this must remain undisclosed.
A person may admire another of the opposite gender who achieves excellence in his or her field; such admiration is not followed by social contact.
The point about the impossibility for a pure relationship of love for God’s sake to exist between a man and a woman, is that such love may lead to a stage of intimate relations which Islam does not condone.