The Third of Seven Discourses on Hubb,
4th August 2007,
Masjid Mahmoud, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa
THE FOUR PRINCIPAL CATEGORIES OF LOVE
We are now taking another step in our examination of the subject of Divine Love, the love of the Divine. We are going deeper in, and we are going to look at four categories of Love. Of these four categories, the Ahwal – the spiritual states of each are not shared by the others. Each has its own distinct imprint on the self of the Faqir.
The first of the four categories has two aspects. This first category is called Al-Hawa. Al-Hawa is the sudden passion of love, or the falling in love. The first meaning of this is what comes into the heart from the Ghayb, from the Hidden, and bursts into the Shahada, onto the outward appearance. For this we look to Qur’an, and we shall look at Surat an-Najm (53:1):
By the star when it descends
We find that ‘descends’ is this term itself – Hawa. The verb is Ha-wi-ya, the future is Ya-h-wa, the noun is Hawa and Hawa means ‘to fall in love’. From the same root comes the noun Huwiy which means ‘to fall’. What we are saying is that this love is something that falls into the heart.
This falling into the heart is by one or more of three events. The first event is Nadhar, which is the glance. Thus the first thing that will make this plunge into the heart and cause this havoc is the glance. The glance is the thing that awakens the Faqir to this yearning and love of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This involves the subtlest and finest aspects of transmission in Tasawwuf, between the Shaykh and the serious Murid, and between the seeker and Wilayat. It is by the encounter with the Wali of Allah – and he may not know he is a Wali of Allah, but by his glance the seeker will be affected.
The second event is Sama’ which as you know means ‘hearing’. The Faqir hears news of the Beloved in the Diwan of the Shaykh. He hears news of the Beloved in these great, sublime writings of the people of Tasawwuf, or by hearing it in the way that the recitation of Qur’an affects his heart and the click happens, and there falls into his heart this awakening of love.
The third event which makes this falling into the heart is Ihsan. That is when the seeker encounters noble action, encounters someone acting with nobility, with excellence which touches the heart and awakens the heart. Remember, the definition of Ihsan is in the famous Hadith which opens the collection of Imam Muslim, where Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was questioned by the Angel Jibril: “What is Islam?” “What is Iman?” “What is Ihsan?” The answer to “What is Ihsan?” was: “To worship Allah as if you saw Him, and while you do not see Him, know that He sees you.” This knowledge is the essence of this quality of Ihsan. So it is in the encounter with the one who embodies this Ihsan. It could be a noble outward action but it tends to be this Ihsan which awakens love, it is the encounter with someone who embodies this conscious awareness that they are being watched by Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Now it becomes very profound so we must concentrate. The second aspect of Al-Hawa is that the passion must conform to the revealed Shari’at. For this we go to Surat Sâd 38, and the first half of Ayat 26:
“Dawud! We have made you a Khalif on the earth,
so judge between people with truth
and do not follow your own desires,
letting them misguide you from the Way of Allah.”
“Dawud! We have made you a Khalif on the earth, so judge between people with truth” – with truth is ‘bil-haqq’ – “and do not follow your own desires,” – here we have the term Hawa. “Do not follow your own desires, letting them misguide you from the Way of Allah.” Now concentrate, as this is very important. We can say, by Ishara, that this Ayat is saying: “Do not follow the movement of your love, but be the object of My, subhanahu wa ta’ala, love, for this is the rule I have laid down.” Do you follow? Do you see what this means? If the impulse of the love comes from your consciousness, it can go astray. Look at the Ayat again:
So we oppose bil-haqq to “Do not be led away from the Sabil of Allah.”
Now we come to the second of the four principle categories which is Al-Hubb. You could take Al-Hubb to mean Purified Love. When the turbulence of love, for all its attachments is purified, and the sediments – which are those things which are attached to Ma-siwallah, other than Allah – fall to the bottom of the glass, then the liquid is pure. The famous sentence of Imam al-Junayd, speaking of Ma’rifa, was: “The clarity of the Wine of Ma’rifa is the clarity of the glass.” As it was clear, that was the Ma’rifa. For this we go to the Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, rahimahullah, and his Qasida ‘The Manifestation of the Essence.’ We shall look at the opening lines of it:
Has the light of the sun appeared from the world of the Unseen,
or have the veils of Layla been lifted from Her Essence?
Yes, the longing of Layla for Her beloved friend
has grown until She revealed Her love.
So that he has become a captive of Her ardent desire
and the longings which are Her goblets called out to him.
She did not leave until She had given him a drink from Her goblet.
There is no blame. Drink – for the wine is Her speech.
And She is none but the Presence of the Truth, alone,
Who manifests Herself with forms whose every light is different.
Now we will look also to Shaykh al-Fayturi, rahimahullah, and the Fifth Qasida in his Diwan. He says:
O Murid! Abandon your self and what it wants
if you desire increase from the secrets of Allah!
Enter the Path and cling to the friend.
He will give you an ancient vintage of the wine of Allah to drink.
The Beloved will give you His wondrous secret.
Thirst with love for Him, and withdraw into the lights of Allah.
The forms melted away when my Beloved divulged
the name of opening for the one who desires Allah.
The cups went round among us, O friend,
the secret diffused a fragrant scent from the niche of Allah.
Draw near to the wine-jug of joy. Its drink is permitted!
Truly, you will be pleased with it – you will see the Face of Allah!
Now you are beginning to see that in the Diwans, the Shaykhs are using a language which is common to them. Both Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib and Shaykh al-Fayturi, rahimahumallah, use these terms, but one must understand that they have a shifting meaning, they are not fixed. In the first Qasida Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib refers to the famous story of Layla and Majnun which is THE most common and most known and used – not metaphor, but imaging of this affair of love between Layla and Majnun.
Layla also means ‘night’ and Majnun means ‘mad’, so this indicates one who is completely intoxicated with love, mad with love. Layla – the use of the ‘she’, the feminine in grammatical usage is because it is used for the Essence of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. So when they refer to Layla, they are referring to the Dhat of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This particular reference is to the Essence of Allah, and the impact of the Essence unveiling itself, of Layla unveiling Herself, is what obliterates Majnun and destroys him. This is the language of Tasawwuf, of Fana’ fillah.
At the same time there is this offering of the drink, and you will see the imagery of the cup, or the goblet, and the wine, and the merging of these two. The poems begin to cross these pictures in your mind in order to take you to a further bewilderment in your own spiritual condition.
Thus, all this that we have just seen in these two Diwans is about the purification of love, of love becoming Hubb – losing all its connection with Ghayr. We are finding in the Qur’an a clear indication of this differential between the one who has tasted this wine, and those who have not. We look at Surat al-Baqara, and the first part of Ayat 165.
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah.
But those who have Iman have greater love for Allah.
“Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah.” In other words, they love what is in this world, they love what is Ghayr. “But those who have Iman have greater love for Allah.” These are the ones who drink the wine.
This is very important. We see a distinction between the people who set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah, and those who have Iman and thus have greater love for Allah. Now keep that place in the Qur’an while we go to Surat Al ‘Imran (3:10):
As for those who are kafir, their wealth and children will not help them against Allah in any way.
This is a devastating statement. The ones who are kafir are those who do not worship Allah and who do not obey Allah, yet what they do have is love for their wealth and for their children. But Allah says that is no use. Now go back to Surat al-Baqara (2:165):
But those who have Iman have greater love for Allah.
Their love for Allah dominates whatever love they have in this world, in the Dunya. This balance has to be achieved in order that you can get any value and meaning out of life. You HAVE to change the balance. You have to fix in yourselves that this love for Allah dominates all the aspects of Dunya.
The third category is Al-‘Ishq, which is Excessive Love. This we will, inshallah, look at in enormous detail but we will break it down very scientifically so that you can understand it. It is passion. We have to be like the doctor who examines it clinically and who understands it without any turbulence in the examination. We must look at it and understand it very well. This will be the next stage of our examination.
The fourth aspect of love, the completion of our four-part definition, is Al-Wadd, which is Loyalty in Love. It is fixed, it is the fixity of love. It does not wobble or shake. It is what we call ‘constancy’ – Thabat al-Hubb. This is very important because here, in the Qur’an, is the importance of Al-Wadd, of this fixity of love. It is explained in these Ayats, setting the Lovers apart from the other slaves of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Look at Surat Maryam (19:93-96):
There is no one in the heavens and earth who will not come to the All-Merciful as a slave.
He has counted them and numbered them precisely.
Each of them will come to Him on the Day of Rising all alone.
As for those who have Iman and do right actions, the All-Merciful will bestow His love on them.
“As for those who have Iman and do right actions, the All-Merciful will bestow His love on them.” So you see that on the Last Day, Allah puts in a different category the Lovers of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is the predetermined and desired state of the Fuqara.