All praise be to Allah.
When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw a young man merely looking at a young woman, he turned his head so as to make him look away, then he said: “I saw a young man and a young woman, and I did not trust the shaytaan not to tempt them.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (885) and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
This certainly does not mean that it is haram for a man or a woman to like a specific person when he/she is ready to choose a spouse. It is not haram to feel kindness or sympathy towards someone. Love has to do with heart and it may appear in a persons heart for the reasons known or unknown. What is haram are the actions that follow this feeling. The haram conversations, mixing or looking, that is what is haram.
If it is because of previous acquaintance, being related or because of hearing about that person, and one cannot ward it off, then there is nothing wrong with that love, so long as one adheres to the sacred limits set by Allaah.
Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If love develops for a reason that is not haraam, a person cannot be blamed for that, such as one who loves his wife or his slave woman, then he leaves her but that love remains and does not leave him. He is not to be blamed for that. The same applies if he glances accidentally then looks away, but love may settle in his heart without him wanting it to. But he has to ward it off and look away. End quote.
Rawdat al-Muhibbeen (p. 147).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
A person may hear that a woman is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable so he may want to marry her. Or a woman may hear that a man is of good character and virtuous and knowledgeable and religiously committed, so she may want to marry him. But contact between the two who admire one another in ways that are not Islamically acceptable is the problem, which leads to disastrous consequences.
In this case, it is not permissible for the man to get in touch with the woman or for the woman to get in touch with the man, and say that he wants to marry her. Rather he should tell her wali (guardian) that he wants to marry her, or she should tell her wali that she wants to marry him, as ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) did when he offered his daughter Hafsah in marriage to Abu Bakr and ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with them both). But if the woman contacts the man directly, this is what leads to fitnah (temptation). End quote.
Liqaa’aat al-Baab il-Maftooh (26/question no. 13)
The love is pure, it wants other person only good. While as haram relation may look good and pleasing it will eventually take a person to hell(if dies in that state). A person in haram relation does not care about Allah or anyone else, just himself and his selfishness.
A person must abstain from haram things and keep their hearts and feelings pure and filled with pure love for Creator and mankind. He/she must adhere to the limits set by the Allah and not let Shayateen divert them from the true path.
And Allaah knows best. May Allah help all the Muslim youth who have fallen into the trap of false love and fill their hearts with the love for the creator and pure love.