Those who are destitute of the guidance of faith and do not know what to love are like ships in the middle of an ocean without a rudder.
Affection for the things which does not deserve to be loved are the pitiful losses of this world. Affections squeezed among the cheap and trivial interests of this world are like the flowers blooming on the pavement, which will sooner or later be trampled and ruined. What an unfortunate fate for a diamond to be dropped on a street! What a pitiful loss to be owned by someone who does not deserve!
Love arises from the perception of the lover’s own qualities in his beloved. The more Allah the Almighty sees His attributes in His servant, the more He loves them. In other words, the more a believer adorns himself with the good manners ordered by Allah and His Messenger the more he attains the Divine love.
Everything in the universe exists thanks to their opposites. Since the opposite of love is hate, hating what Allah hates is the most natural way to show our love for Him. In a chapter in the Holy Qur’ān, Allah the Almighty curses Abū Lahab , who oppressed His Messenger. In this particular chapter Allah makes an announcement to all of humanity. Thus, we can say that the love for something would be incomplete and insincere without hate from its opposite.
Allah the Almighty is the Creator, the source, and the final destination of love. A believer should accept all his love as a stepping stage for the Divine love, because real love begins after passing over the narrow limits of mortal affections. Compared to the pleasure of Divine love, temporal pleasures of mortal affections are faint like the light of a candle, compared to the light of the sun. How elegantly Jalāl al-Dīn Rumī states this in the following lines:
“Allah gives such potency to Divine love that whoever drinks a sip of it escapes from the concerns of two worlds.”
The friends of Allah are concrete examples of reaching the peaks of Divine love. Real believers, who taste Divine love, love Allah, His Messenger, and everything loved by them. Consequently other types of love vanish in their hearts.
Loving parents, children, possessions, life, friends and relatives, neighbors, nation, flag, country, etc. for the sake of Allah is the sign of reaching the reality of love. All these types of love give peace and tranquility to the heart, even though they are towards beings other than Allah the Almighty, because they are for the sake of Him.
THE FRUITS OF THE TREE OF PROPHETHOOD
According to a narration, one day the Messenger of Allah asked Alī (r.a):
“O ‘Alī! Do you love Allah the Most High?”
‘Alī replied: “Yes, I do.”
“Do you love His Messenger, too?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Do you love my daughter Faṭimah?”
“Yes, I do”
“What about Hasan and Hussein, do you love them?”
“Yes, I do. O Messenger of Allah.”
Then Allah’s Apostle said:
“O ‘Alī! You have only one heart, but your love is for four. How can you manage to fit so many loves in one heart?”
‘Alī could not answer this question. He went to his home pondering upon its answer. When Fatimah saw her husband worried about something, she became curious about its reason. She kindly asked him.”
“You look thoughtful. Has something disturbing happened? If you are worried about something of this world, then it is not worth it to be so worried; if it is about something of the Hereafter, then tell me what it is?”
‘Alī (r.a) told her what had happened. When Fatimah (r.ha) learned everything, she smiled and said:
“Go to my father and answer his question as follows.” And she gave ‘Alī some tips about the answer for the question. ‘Alī liked her answer and went directly to the Prophet (pbuh):
“O Messenger of Allah! Human beings have directions like North, South, East, and West. The heart has a direction, too. I love Allah with my intellect; I love you with my soul and faith; I love Fatimah with my human self; and I love Hasan and Hussein because of the natural emotions of my fatherhood.
Upon this reply, Allah’s Apostle smiled and said:
“O ‘Alī! These words are the fruits picked from the tree of the prophethood.”
As it can be observed, all loves which are founded upon Divine love are accepted. Loves which are against the contentment of Allah the Almighty are spiritual cancers of heart.
TEMPTATIONS OF THE WORLD
Forgetting the Lord and the eternal happiness promised by Him for His servants by getting caught into the mortal desires is a great foolishness. It resembles the state of a sultan’s hunting dog in the story of Fariduddin Attār, which forgets its owner and runs after a piece of bone during a hunting party. Life in this world is full of bones and baits similar to the one in the above mentioned example.
How nicely Jalāl al-Dīn Rumī states:
“Oh, many the fish safe in the sea that, because of its gullet’s greed, was caught by a hook!”
This is not very different than a servant’s forgetfulness of his Lord as a result of being a slave to his selfish desires. Being deceived by the fake sparkles of this world and losing the lofty stations in the presence of Allah the Almighty resembles the foolishness of exchanging a vase adorned with precious diamonds in return for a simple tin can. Jalāl al-Dīn Rumī ÞÏÓ ÓÑå depicts this deception with the following metaphor:
“It is no wonder that the sheep recoiled from the wolf; the wonder is that this sheep set its heart on (became friendly with) the wolf.”
A real believer is the most honorable of beings among creation. He should not degrade himself by directing his love in the wrong direction. He should not forget his dignity and personality in return for a small sip from the pleasures of this world. He should not deem this world’s temporary ambitions as the source of real happiness.
It is stated in a verse that:
“Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god? Will you then be a protector over him?”(Furqān 25; 43)
In a saying of the Prophet (pbuh), it is mentioned that:
“The worst among the false gods in this world, which Allah the Almighty hates most, are the selfish ambitions and whims.”(Haythamī, I, 188)
Zunnūn al-Misri explains the right way to employ hate and love as follows:
“We need to be friends of Allah and enemies of self; not the friends of self and enemies of Allah.”
We need to be protected from the slavery of the self in order to become friends of Allah. In other words, we should not be defeated by the desires of self so that we can reach the friendship of Allah the Most High.
However, those who are destitute of the guidance of faith and do not know what to love are like ships in the middle of an ocean without a rudder. Selfish sparkles drag these people behind them. They destroy intellect, understanding, and conscience; because a heart, which is not occupied with the right things, gets filled with wrong ideas. Just like a country occupied by enemy forces, there can’t be no peace in a heart enslaved by shabby desires.
Affections which are contrary to the dignity of faith may cause a conflict between a believer and his self and damage his faith. They may even lead to disbelief. Then, just like we watch what we eat and be careful about the lawfulness of our food, we should be careful about which we let what type of love into our hearts. In order to protect our faith, we need to:
LOVE THOSE WHO ARE WORTHY TO BE LOVED AND DISLIKE THOSE WHO DESERVE TO BE DISLIKED
If our feelings of love and hate are not for Allah, and if we love those whom we need to hate and hate those whom we need to love, this becomes a great spiritual disaster for us. This is why love and hate have to be directed towards the appropriate people.
In a verse, it is expressed that:
“O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.”(9; 119)
Because, we always get blessings, spirituality, and positive energy from righteous people; and the opposite of this, loving the enemies’ of religion and sinners, brings disaster. In this respect, it is stated in a verse that:
“…withdraw from them until they enter into some other discourse…”(6; 68)
Praising something done by an enemy of Islam, even if it is not related to religion like building a wall, affects the believer’s heart negatively; since admiring his work will elevate his self esteem, it will appeal the anger of Allah the Almighty. Unfortunately many heedless believers are unaware of that such an attitude weakens their personality and Islamic identity.
In this regard, we should take Ottoman sultan Bayazid II’s intuition as a guidance for ourselves. The period of sultan Bayazid II is the time when the foundations of Ottoman culture and civilization were laid. The famous Italian painter and architect Leonardo da Vinci sent a letter to sultan Bayazid and offered to draw the construction plans for the mosques and other monuments in Istanbul. This proposal was happily and excitedly met by the viziers at Topkapi Palace, while Sultan refused it and said:
“If we accept this proposal, our country will be dominated by an architectural style resembling to the churches’ and our own style won’t be able to flourish and advance.”
This view shows us how a mature believer’s way thinking should be. In fact, Ottoman art flourished after Bayazid II. Thanks to this view, the spirit of Islam was engraved into geometry and chains of monuments like Suleymaniye were built.
If our predecessors did not show this sensitivity, we would not have such elegant and magnificent monuments, and we would not have the grounds for the civilization which have raised the great artists like Sinan the Architect, calligrapher Hamdullah and Karahisari. This is why we should protect our identity and abstain ourselves from copying the lifestyles of the unbelievers.
The friends of Allah try to abstain from getting help from the oppressors, sinners, and unbelievers let alone inclining to resemble them; because, human beings can easily become a servant of the benefaction. A feeling of closeness and attraction towards the benefactor might flourish in the heart. This is why when help is needed; believers should go to righteous people and pray Allah not to become in need for the despicable.
As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) told a companion who asked if he was allowed to ask other people’s help:
“No, it is better not to ask. But if you have to ask, at least go and ask from the pious and the righteous.” (Abū Dawūd, Zakāt, 28)
In this respect, how exemplary the state of the Pharaoh’s magicians is. Magicians, who had been once praised and respected by Pharaoh, accepted the message of Moses (a.s) when they saw his miracles. Pharaoh got very angry and began to threaten them by death. However magicians kept their faith and did not yield to his wrong wishes. They said your torture is in this world and “We will then return to our Lord.” Then they raised their hands and prayed Allah not to let them show any weakness because of the tortures of Pharaoh saying:
“…Our Lord: Pour out upon us patience and cause us to die in submission.” (7; 126) In the end they received the honor of becoming martyrs.
The following examples from the early period of Islam show us what a believer should do in front of the people who deserve Allah’s anger.
Polytheists broke the Hudaybiyah pact two year later by massacring several Muslims. In addition to that, they did not pay attention to the Prophet’s new peace offers. Later they got scared and sent their leader Abū Sufyan to Medina. Nobody in Medina listened to Abū Sufyan. Even the Prophet’s wife and Abū Sufyan’s daughter Umm Habibah did not listen to him and took the cushion underneath him. Abū Sufyān was astonished and asked:
“My daughter! am I not worth for your cushion or is it not appropriate for me?”
Umm Habibah replied:
“This cushion belongs to the Prophet (pbuh). Because you are an unclean polytheist, you are not appropriate to sit on it.” Abū Sufyan froze upon these sentences and told his daughter:
“You have become a bizarre person since you left us.” Umm Habibah stated the significance of faith as follows:
“No, I haven’t become a bizarre person but I have been honored by Islam.” (Ibn Hishām, IV, 12-13)
In other words honor and dignity of faith is above all mortal consanguinity. It is the faith of a mature believer, which directs him to dislike a person if this person is needed to be disliked, no matter who he is. Another example is as follows:
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent Uthman (r.a) to Mecca as an envoy before the Hudaybiyah pact. Even though Uthman (r.a) told the Meccans that their only intention was to visit the Kaaba, the polytheists did not let them enter the city. They also told Uthman (r.a):
“If you would like to visit the Kaaba yourself, you can do it.”
All Muslims were looking forward to visit the Kaaba, and some of them even were envious of Uthman (r.a) thinking that he was going to have a chance to visit it. However this companion who was completely devoted himself to Allah and His Messenger told Meccans:
“I cannot visit the Kaaba until the Prophet visits it. I can only visit this holy place after him. I cannot stay in a place where the Prophet is not accepted.” (Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, IV, 324)
As the followers of the Prophet (pbuh), we should carry the same sensitivity of his heart. And this state can be achieved only by loving what he loves and criticizing what he criticizes.
SIGNS OF REAL LOVE
In a congregation, Thawbān (r.a) was gazing at the Prophet (pbuh) so deeply that drew the attention of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked him:
“O Thawbān what is it with you?”
Thawbān (r.a) replied:
“May my parents be sacrificed for you O Messenger of Allah! I miss you so much that I feel the pain of a separation every moment I am away from your light. This is how I feel in this world, and I was thinking how great my pain was going to be in the Hereafter. You will be with the other prophets in the Hereafter, and I do not where I will be. If I cannot enter Paradise, I will never be able to see you. These thoughts give me a great sorrow O Messenger of Allah.”
Upon this, the Prophet (pbuh) told Thawbān:
“Everyone will be with those whom he loves.”(Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Adab, 96)
The sign of loving Allah and His Messenger is submission and obedience to their commands. If we do not sincerely follow the orders of our beloved Prophet (pbuh), we cannot expect to receive his intercession. This is expressed in the following verse:
“Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults…”(3; 31)
In other words, claims of love for Allah and His Messenger are just empty words unless they lead to obedience to their orders. Claims of those who cannot make sacrifice for the sake of their love do not mean anything.
Hasan al-Basrī says that:
“O People! Do not misinterpret the hadith “Everyone will be with those whom he loves.” Unless you perform the deeds of the righteous, you will not be one of them. Because Jews and Christians love their prophets but they are not with them.”
Fudayl b. Iyad used to question his inner self as follows:
“You would like to enter to the Paradise of Firdaws along with the prophets and the righteous servants, but what have you done to deserve that? What kind of selfish desires of yours have you controlled? What kind of anger have you controlled? Have you visited your relatives who do not come to your visit? What mistakes of your brother have you forgiven? Just for the sake of Allah from whom have you stayed away and to whom have you come closer?”(Ghazālī, Iḥyā, II, 402)
Loving just for the sake of Allah means expect nothing in return but love. This kind of love strengthens our faith. The following hadith explains how we can taste the sweetness of faith.
“Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith:
1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else.
2. Who hates to revert to Atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.
3. To love for Allah’s sake and to dislike for His sake.”(See Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Imān, 9, 14)
Of course, in order to feel the sweetness of faith, love should be just for Allah. And for this, there are some signs. Sahl explains this reality as follows:
“The sign for the love for Allah is the love for Qur’ān. And the sign for the love for Allah and Qur’ān is the love for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The sign for the love for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is to love his Sunnah. The sign of loving his Sunnah is to love the Hereafter. The sign for loving the Hereafter is to dislike this world (in other words not to be deceived by its attractions.) The sign for not liking this world is to stay away from it except the little amount needed for gaining the Hereafter.”
In short, the real lover loves those who are loved by the beloved; hates the things that are hated by the beloved; and remembers the beloved much. In this regard the Prophet (pbuh) answered the question about the most virtuous kind of faith as follows:
“To love for the sake of Allah; to hate for the sake of Allah and to operate the tongue with the remembrance of Allah…”(Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 5/247)
LOVE AND HATE FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH
According to the narration, Allah the Almighty asked Moses (a.s):
“O Moses! do you have any pious act just done for Me?”
“Dear Lord I performed my prayers, fasted, gave charity, and prostrated for you. I thanked for You; read Your book, and remember Your name.”
Then Allah the Almighty said:
“O Moses! Prayer is your guidance; fasting is your shield; your charity will be your shadow and your praises during prostration will be a tree for you in Paradise. Reading My book will get you mansions and pure spouses in Paradise. Remembering my name will be your light. What did you do just for My sake?”
Upon this Moses (a.s) said:
“Dear Lord! Tell me what kind of deed would be just for Your sake so I can perform it.”
Allah the Most High responded:
“O Moses! Did you befriend anybody for My sake? and did you become hostile to anybody for Me?
Thus Moses (a.s) understood that love and hate for the sake of Allah is the most acceptable deed in the presence of Allah. (Mukashafat al-Qulūb, 86)
In this regard, it is narrated that Jesus (a.s) got the following revelation:
“If you perform the worship for the entire existence and if these do not include love and hate for Me, all these worship would mean nothing.”
Perfection of our worship and transactions is to the extent of our spiritual depth. This is why love and hate in our hearts should be for Allah the Almighty.
In fact, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would not get upset except in cases of violation of the rights and objection to reality. When there was a violation of a right, his anger would not cease down until the problem was solved. He would never get angry and would argue with anybody for personal reasons.
In other words a believer should not confuse hate for the sake of Allah with simple anger; and should know when, where, and how he will get upset. He should be careful about the source of his anger, is it his faith or his self? Because, if anger is resulted from self, it is considered blameworthy. Then anger takes over the reason and devil begins to attack it. If anger is for Allah, it means maturity and a great virtue.
During a battle, ‘Ali (r.a) was about to kill an enemy soldier. Just then the soldier spit ‘Ali’s (r.a) face and ‘Ali (r.a) backed down and did not kill him. The enemy soldier did not understand the reason for ‘Ali’s (r.a) mysterious action and asked him:
“O ‘Ali! Why did you stop? What happened and made you calm down? What is the reason hidden behind this sudden change? Please tell me.”
‘Ali (r.a) replied:
“I fight only for the sake of Allah. This is why I kill the enemies of Islam. I would never mix my personal feelings into my fights. However you spit my face and try to make me angry. If I got angry at you, my fight with you would be for myself; whereas I fight only for the contentment of my Lord.”
Upon this meritorious response, the enemy soldier was honored by conversion to Islam.
In short, anger, which takes over reason and causes to make mistakes, is the type of anger which comes from the self and needs to be controlled. However it does not mean to disregard and to control the anger when there is oppression or an attack upon religion, faith, morals, or spirituality. On the contrary such an attitude is considered a great heedlessness. In order to attain the contentment of Allah, getting angry, when it is needed, is as important as controlling the anger.
Omar (r.a) was a very quick-tempered person towards unbelief, oppression, and injustice. This is why nobody could dare to do injustice in front of him. Because of Omar’s (r.a) anger, even devil would change his way when he saw Omar.
A gnostic went to Junayd al-Baghdadī and saw that devil was running away from him. When the gnostic came closer to Junayd al-Baghdādī, he recognized from his face that Junayd was very angry and he asked:
“O Junayd! As we know, devil comes closer to a person when he is angry. Why was devil running away from you, even though you were extremely angry? Could you tell me the wisdom of this?”
“Don’t you know, we do not get upset for our selves? When people get angry for personal reasons, the devil controls them. Because our anger is for Allah, when we are angry, devil runs away from us faster than when we are calm.”
May Allah bless our hearts with such level of maturity! May He make our love and hate for His sake! May He bestow us with the ability to sense what is right and what is wrong and follow the right and abstain from the wrong!
. Mathnawī, IV, 2683
. See Türkiye Gazetesi İslâm Âlimleri Ansiklopedisi, vol. I, p. 145.
. Mathnawī, III, 1695
. Mathnawī, I, 1293
. Qur’ān 7; 125