The Love of Allah, the Most High

Paradise is given to you in trade of worldly detachment and asceticism [i.e. removing the love of this worldly life from your heart]; Hell is kept away from you if you abandon the temptation of this worldly life; love cannot convince of its sincerity unless it is inscribed into the soul, because the authority of love never accepts bribes.

O you who seeks his Lord, detach yourself from the love of yourself, for your heart is too fragile and weak to have your Lord and yourself therein at the same time; it is either to keep Allah by Himself or yourself alone; and when you forget your love for yourself, only then will you find Allah in your hear. When Ibrahim was in a state of rigorous self-denial, his strength manifested itself the day he said, “I have nothing to request from you.” Indeed, the moment his body entered into a new realm after his detachment from the worldly catapult was more gratifying than any other moment. Indeed it was a journey at which the feet of contentment waled across the land of longing. As the poet said: ‘I visited you as I was longing for you, but even if the land had been full of embers I would still have walked on it to reach you’.

The attributes of the Creator are shown in the beauty of perfection. Hearts steeped in His love. The price is dear; it is proclaimed that the blood of the devotee is the price for achieving nearness to his Lord. The love that is steadfast responds by saying: if our hearts were to shed their blood, it would be nothing compared to one look from the Lord upon us. Love of the devotee is placed in the hands of tribulation, while the veins of desires are cut off with the knife of humility, and all the while the Beloved asks them: Will you be patient enough to endure trials? The souls reply back, “They said, ‘No harm. Indeed, to our Lord we will return.” (al-Shuara 26:50)

As the poet said: ‘I devoted myself and my heart to your Love, May Allah never free my soul from Your Love, Here I am, upset with myself for Your sake, I even despised my life after you left me, If the ember of yearning is blazing in my heart, Our meeting shall be the water by which You shall extinguish it.’ The devoted people are unaware of their own existence due to their complete devotion to the One who brought them into existence. When someone knocked on the door of Abu Yazid, a famous ascetic and pious worshipper of the early generations, asking, ‘Is Abu Yazid at home?’ Abu Yazid replied from inside his house: ‘Abu Yazid himself is searching for Abu Yazid but cannot find him!’ Indeed, no one can recognise the secret code of devotees except a person that ilk. Only ask Layla about the state of her lover whose nickname was the Madman of Layla because of his love for her? Their love was so deep that they even enjoyed the anguish that ensues from such a love, just because they knew that this was what their beloved wanted.

Even the actions of the beloved, regardless of their kind, are loved; when Haram ibn Malhanat [maternal uncle of Anas ibn Malik who was murdered in the incident of the ‘well of Awanah’] was stabbed he said: I have won, by the Lord of the Kabbah. And Swaid ibn Shubah, a pious worshipper of the early generations, said while he was on his bed suffering all kinds of trails and sickness: By Allah, I would not like Allah to lessen my trials even by the equivalent of the size of a small nail. As the poet said: ‘They wonder at a heart that longs for agony, they are unaware that in reality it is sweeter than honey’ The beloved is always loved, even if he tortures his lover, because the mountains of love are deep-rooted in the lands of the heart, and therefore no storm of calamities can cause it to shake. Even when al-Hajjaj crucified Mahan the worshipper, he remained extolling Allah, keeping count of his exaltations on his fingers, so that by the time he reached the number twenty nine he was stabbed, yet remained in that state for a month, his finger not changing from that number.

When the knowledge is rooted in the heart, all calamities become bearable. If such knowledge is mixed with love for Allah then calamities will surely have no effect whatsoever because a devote enjoys the pain he suffers for the sake of his beloved. Some people passed by a person whose fingers were cut due to a disease. When they advised him to seek treatment, he replied: ‘Even if you were to cut me to pieces, my love for Him would increase even more. As one poet said: ‘I wonder at the censurers, what they have to do with me, Do not they know that the one killed is content with his death?’

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 117-120