The Sixth of Seven Discourses on Hubb,
25th August 2007,
Masjid Mahmoud, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa
THREE MORE SPECIAL CONDITIONS OF THE LOVER
It is very important that you are absolutely still, apart from our looking up in the Ayats of Qur’an. We have been going into this matter for six weeks, and we are now going deeply into this subject of Love of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Earlier on we gave Four Conditions of the Lover. I am interrupting the commentary of our Shaykh from Delhi, in order to add Three More Special Conditions of the Lover that are required. Next week, inshallah, we shall look at the final three Stages of our Shaykh from Delhi, in his summation.
So there are three more Special Conditions of the Lover. The First Condition is Ta’awwuh – To Sigh Deeply in Love of Allah, to give deep sighs of love. We look at Surat at-Tawba (9:114), and the last line of the Ayat:
Ibrahim was tender-hearted and forbearing.
Our translation says, “tender-hearted,” but in fact it is not really that. It is rather that he ‘sighed deeply’ with love of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
We now look at the matter of this sighing for love of Allah. Allah is qualified by His Name, Ar-Rahman which, let us say, has a breath, a breathing in – Nafas, and a breathing out – Naffasa, which gives His slaves. It is this breathing out that gives the creation the slaves. It is this Divine breathing out that gives the universe, by His Word: “Kun!” – “Be!” The Kun contains the breathing vowel and the interruptive consonants. This indicates the in-time, in-space bounded nature of all created things. This is also true of the Ha – the out-breath, and the ‘A – the break of the Hamsa which is consonantal, it is a stop. These are the first guttural letters, or more precisely, they are the letters of the breast, being the consonantal model of the natural breathing out – Mutanaffis. This is the deep connection with the heart for they indicate the heart’s activity with Ta’awwuh, with this, “Haaa,” with this sighing deeply with love.
This is the meaning of the Imara, or the Hadra, among the Sufis. As the universe is created by the Kun, so all the letters are produced by the breathing out. Since Hadith Qudsi has taught us that the whole universe cannot contain Him, but the heart of the Mumin contains Him, it is from the breath which the heart releases that its source is in the Kun – the Breath of the Merciful.
It is the knowledge of this that awakens in the Lover a concern, desiring that the veiled humans could share this love, for Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has said, “The perfection of Iman in the Mumin is that he should love for his brother what he loves for himself.” So the Lover of Allah also has a tumultuous concern that the people who are veiled should also have this love of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Thus tenderness for the Beloved is one of the conditions of the Lover, which in turn awakens in them tenderness for the other human creatures who are veiled from this knowledge. Shafaqa.
The Second Condition is Istirah ila al-Kalam – To Seek Rest in the Words of his Beloved, and in the recitation which reminds of Him – Dhikr. Now we go to Qur’an and look at Surat al-Hijr (15:9):
It is We Who have sent down the Reminder and We Who will preserve it.
Here in this Ayat, the Word of Allah is named Dhikr – Reminder. By word of the command, “Kun!” – when the Kun brings the things into the creation – the human creature is transmuted and agitated through the passing from the condition of pure potentiality – ‘Adm, to that of effective existence – Wujud, and is thus generated – Takawwana, he becomes living form, Kawn. It is this primal process which reverberates in the human creature when he hears the Sama’, when he hears the spiritual music. The Dhikr, the Reminder, reminds of the Divine Command and this produces the Wajd – the ecstasy which is the subject of our study.
So the Dhikr connects him to knowing that he is the result of the “Kun!” He is the result of a Divine Command, for as the Kun is also the known Dhikr which is the Message and Command of the Beloved, so the Wajd, the ecstasy, is also the original Hubb, the original Love of the Beloved.
The Wajd is also the original Hubb, the original Love of the Beloved, which in turn is the Shawq – the Yearning and Longing of the Lover. Do you see? This dynamic is set in motion from the in-time creature to a beyond-time reality of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, in His ordering the universe and His ordering us into existence one by one.
The Lover seeks rest in the Words, all the Words, of the Beloved. The Qur’an has Words of the Beloved and about the Beloved. Thus we can see where Allah gives Revelation to the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and indicates His guidance to the kuffar. But at the same time, they are healing words to the Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and at the same time, healing words to the listening Mumin. Thus when the Ayat is revealed about a particular thing, it also brings with it a healing for the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, because it is a Word from his Lord. Surat Ya Sin (36:58):
A word from a Merciful Lord.
So also it has a healing to the Mumin who listens to the recitation of the Qur’an over a thousand years later. Look at Surat at-Tawba (9:6):
If any of the mushrikun ask you for protection,
give them protection until they have heard the Words of Allah.
Then convey them to a place where they are safe.
That is because they are a people who do not know.
This Ayat has these elements in it. It has an instruction about the relationship of the mushrikun to the Revelation, to the Words of Allah. That, in itself, being the Word of Allah, is what fills the heart of the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, because it has descended into his heart to reveal this Ayat. It is that Ayat, which is an instruction about the mushrikun, and which is the filling the heart of Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which also affects the heart of the Mumin when he hears Qur’an recited. Do you see the dimensions of reality involved in the Divine Revelation?
This Ayat also shows the meaning of the Hadith where Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said, “Every Ayat has an outward, an inward, and an ‘Urf – a look-out post.” We take that in a Ruhani sense. Every Ayat has an outward, an inward, and a Ruhani source. So we would say that the outward of the Ayat is the instruction concerning how Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is to deal with the mushrikun. At the same time, its inward is that it is illumination for Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in its coming from his heart and onto his tongue, from the Angel Jibril, ‘alayhi salam. The ‘Urf, the look-out post, is that it enters into the heart of the Mumin and affects him so that he can see in it also: “Give them protection until they have heard the Words of Allah. Then convey them to a place where they are safe.” So when we hear it, it conveys us to that place which is safe, safe from our inward Shirk – and that place is in the Hadrat ar-Rabbani.
Now we come to the Third of these Conditions of the Lover – Ithar. Preference. It is ‘To Prefer the Beloved to every other Company’. This preference of the Lover for the Beloved is explained by the reality that each element of the universe holds a place in man to whom it has been confided, and which must be restored. These deposits for which he is responsible are of a considerable number and their restitution is linked to the precise moments each one possesses his particular deposit.
Let me explain. Man has been placed in charge of the world and is answerable for it, for he is its purpose, its summit, and its master. Let us look at this. Abu Talib al-Makki, who was the first of the great Sufic writers of the science of Tasawwuf, in his famous book, ‘Qut al-Qulub’, indicates this cosmic trust, explaining this matter which I have just said:
The celestial sphere runs its course thanks to the breaths of man – Anfas, or to be more precise, thanks to the breath of all the creatures that breathe. For the ultimate end of the universal manifestation, which is especially man, is realised by the Dhikr, or invoked breath, given that the heavenly sphere – the Fulk, takes its movement from the actual motion of the breath of Dhikr and cannot be disassociated from it in any way. This is why the world does not cease to be intimately associated with man.
Let us look at Qur’an, Surat al-Jumu’a (61:1):
In the name of Allah, All-Merciful, Most Merciful
Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth glorifies Allah,
the King, the All-Pure, the Almighty, the All-Wise.
With this knowledge that the Lovers have, they know that the whole universe is contained in them! The famous poem of Mawlay ‘Abdalqadir al-Jilani, describing Ma’rifa, said, “Here is a strange thing: the boat is in the ocean, and now the ocean is in the boat.” The creature is in the cosmos, and now the whole cosmos is in him!
Charged with the whole world, the Lovers look lovingly to Him in His nearness and His farness, preferring Him to the changing world. We look at Surat al-Hadid (57:4):
It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days,
then established Himself firmly on the Throne.
He knows what goes into the earth and what comes out of it,
what comes down from heaven and what goes up into it.
He is with you wherever you are –
Allah sees what you do.
One of the great Sufis, Sahl at-Tustari, was asked, “What is the maintenance of the created world?” What holds up, what sustains, what maintains the created forms? He said, “Allah.” They said, “We want to know what makes life appear.” He said, “Allah.” He only saw Allah. When he realised that they could not understand, he qualified his answer. He said:
Leave the dwellings to the Builder. If Allah wants, He will bring them to life but if He wants, He will devastate them. He does not enter into the condition of the subtle human entity to associate with this bodily residence, unless it dedicates itself to the works of the Beloved, the works that the Beloved has imposed on him – He Who is the Life itself and the Existence of this subtle entity. Whatever dwelling He has assigned to Himself, there He resides, there He dwells.
The Lover, therefore, is Allah, who has chosen man and preferred him to all the created beings, making him His Beloved.
So we now see that the thing is actually reversed. We started this journey seeing ourselves as the Lovers longing for the Beloved, and we discover that the Lover is Allah, because He has chosen man and preferred him to all the creatures. He has chosen man for His Company. Look at Surat al-Baqara (2:29), and the first two lines of this Ayat:
When your Lord said to the Angels, “I am putting a Khalif on the earth.”
This is the indication of the position of man. “I am putting a Khalif on the earth.” Khalif, in the Arabic meaning of the word, is ‘the one who stands in, in the absence of the King.’ So it is as though Allah is saying, “I am putting My representative on the earth.” It is this intimacy of elevation and ennoblement that is the true nature of the human creature.
From what follows in this part of Qur’an, with the discourse between Sayyiduna Adam and the Angels, is that Allah has placed man higher than the Angels. The one aspect of this Ma’rifa is this discovering that you have this high elected position with Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. You are His Khalif on the earth.
This takes us to the last recorded words of Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which our Imam mentioned last Jumu’a:
To the Highest Companion.
“To the Highest Companion” – to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is the beloved going to the Lover, to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. This is the Path of Ma’rifa, and its best model is Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.