The Seventh of Seven Discourses on Hubb,
1st September 2007,
Masjid Mahmoud, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

This is the final session of our study on the subject of Hubb, of Love. We were looking at the Ten Stages of Love as defined by our Shaykh from Delhi, and we stopped at the Seventh, and then we looked at Three More Conditions necessary for the Lover.

Now we take up the last three of the Ten Stages, and we are now therefore at the Eighth Stage, which is Hubb itself – Love. This is what uproots the Tree of Life. Iman cannot be secured without love. We look at Surat al-Baqara (2:164):

But those who have Iman have greater love for Allah.

This is the confirmation of what I have just said. I would just reiterate to you that every step of the way we have taken on the study of this Sufic science of Love, has been accompanied and backed up, and explained and supported directly from the Qur’an. We have said that Iman cannot be secured without love, and we find in Surat al-Baqara these lines:

But those who have Iman have greater love for Allah.

This happens now with a new knowledge. It is not in the doing of the Lover, but in the gift of the Beloved. We go to Surat al-Baqara again (2:247), and the last two lines:

Allah gives kingship to anyone He wills.
Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.

Hubb has five phases. The First is Fuqdan-i Qalb – To Lose one’s Heart. It has been dislocated from satisfaction in the Dunya. This is the essential event. This is the crack that in fact makes possible the lights that comes from Love. The heart is dislocated from being satisfied with the Dunya, not from being against Dunya, not desiring Dunya, but dislocated from satisfaction in the Dunya. This means that whatever it gets, that is not enough, that is not it, and the person remains restless, however successful, however fulfilling to other people their Dunya would seem on observing them. At that stage, the Lover cannot live without the Tavern of the Wine.

The Second Phase of Hubb is Ta’assuf – Grief. Its condition is defined in Surat Yusuf (12:84). This is one of the vital phases of this Hubb, being the grief which is expressed in this Ayat.

He turned himself away from them and said, “What anguish is my sorrow for Yusuf!”
And then his eyes turned white from hidden grief.

The third phase is Wajd – Ecstasy. The whole cosmos becomes constricted and contained, and the Lover flies out beyond it. So we look now at ‘The Greater Qasida’ of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, rahimahullah:

For a man would not hesitate to spend all he had –
if he only understood the secret of his own heart.

If a man could but grasp the bliss of his secret
he would shed a tear with every breath he breathed.

Then, his body become his cage, he would fly from it
with the wings of contemplation to the Furthest Lote-tree.

He would freely roam around the Throne and the Footstool
which make the heavenly bodies appear like a small ring.

You must understand that this is a specific, exact description of the experience of the person in Khalwa. This is EXACTLY what he will experience.

The fourth phase is Bi-Sabri – Impatience. This is the penultimate stage of restlessness. Love and patience are two antonyms. One of the Sufis said, “Between love and patience lie a thousand miles.”

The fifth phase is Sianat – Safety. Only in this stage does the mention of the Beloved bring respite. We look at the Second Qasida in the Diwan of Shaykh al-Fayturi, rahimahullah:

The fire of passion was kindled and it called my heart: Be burned!
It will not leave other in it, so it became a branch of my root.

My close Friend is outwardly manifest in His place of Tajalli. The cosmos illuminated His radiance.
The sun of His splendour appeared – how marvellous the Tajalli is!

He is the secret of existence. He is the Witness and the Witnessed.
The command returns to Him. He is the guide of all.

We go now from the Eighth to the Ninth Stage of Love, which is Taim – Enslavement. At this stage the manacles of humiliation and submission are put round the neck of the Lover, and his feet are bound by the chains of slavery. It has five phases.

The first phase is Tafarrud – Isolation. This is the station of isolation prior to the meeting of the Beloved and its Secret. Now love, Lover and Beloved become one. The end of duality is the end of the separated self. The union with the Beloved is the disappearance of the Lover. Here the kuffar accuse the Sufis of ‘joining’ and connecting, but the Doctrine of Fana’ fillah is itself an ‘Ashari position. The Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib explains in the Qasida ‘The Gifts of the Ism al-‘Adham’:

Power is only given to the one isolated with Him,
And who, through much praise, pleases Him.

Thus he will rise, crossing the deserts of His Essence,
until His Fana’ enters a Fana’, one that has nothing in it but loss.

This we find in the Qur’an, in Surat ar-Rahman (55:26-27):

Everyone on it will pass away;
but the Face of your Lord will remain,
Master of Majesty and Generosity.

So you see how this is exactly what the Shaykh has said in his Diwan. When the Lover enters Fana’, then, as in that Ayat, he passes away, but there remains the Face of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The second phase of this Enslavement is Istitar – Concealment. It is at this stage that Allah gives reward to His Lover with secrets in accord with his Wilayat. Its highest aspect is shown between Allah and His Messenger, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, on the Mi’raj. So we shall look at Surat an-Najm (53:10), which is in relation to the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

Then He revealed to His slave what He revealed.

The term is Wahy, and that is very important to understand, because Wahy is ‘Showing’. Wahy is the word used for Revelation, but the Revelation is to show it. It is Allah showing secrets to the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

“Then He revealed to His slave what He revealed.” Some say these are indicated in the isolated letters of the Qur’an: Alif, Lam, Mim and Kaf, Ha, Ya, ‘Ayn, Sad, and so on, but Allahu ‘Alim, we do not ever indicate meanings to these letters.

The third phase is Badhl-i Ruh – To Stake one’s Life. With this aspect of Hubb comes the understanding that nothing matters anymore. Nothing in the world matters. This is the essence of Love because once you have this with Allah, nothing matters, that’s it! The Lover is free.

Because from this come the next two phases which are Khawf and Raja’ – Fear and Hope. These two are the dialectic of Love. Iman is between the two. You will find also that there are Hadith to that effect. Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib instructs in his Diwan in the Qasida of ‘Purification’:

Put on the twin sandals of Khawf and Raja’,
Take the staff of Yaqin and a store of Taqwa.

This is a fundamental knowledge that the Faqir has taken from the very beginning of his journey, because of his taking this counsel in this Song, in order to reach the highest Ma’rifa.

This takes us to the Tenth and final Stage of Love which is Walah – Bewilderment. In distance it is torment, in proximity it is bewilderment. The Sufi cries out:

If I see You, I lose my life!
If I do not see You, how can I live?
I face a strange dilemma! Should I lose my life –
or should I abstain from seeing You?

This is Walah. It has five phases. The first phase is Ibtihal – Supplication. The Lover begs only for the Beloved. We look now at the Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, and ‘Withdrawal into the Perception of the Essence’:

The Face of the Beloved appeared And shone in the early dawn.
His light pervaded my heart, So I prostrated myself in awe.

He said to me, “Rise! Ask of Me! You will have whatever you desire.”
I replied, “You. You are enough for me! Away from You I cannot live!”

Now we come to the second phase which is Shurb – Drinking the Wine of Love. Shaykh al-Fayturi tells in his Diwan, in his Second Song:

I looked behind the veil at what the eyes do not perceive,
I withdrew into the sea of lights – Part of me became all of me.

The goblets of the Path were passed around: “Come near Me, My friend!
We will let you drink an ancient wine – You will obtain the joy of all!”

He tells also in his Fourth Song:

I drank cups from wine-jars of joy
And so the forms quivered out of rapture with Allah.

Also in the Fifth Song of Shaykh al-Fayturi we find:

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 let us look again at the Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, and his Qasida ‘The Robe of Nearness’ – Qad Kasana:

The Beloved gave us a draught of pure love to drink
Which forced all but the Beloved to disappear.

We saw the whole creation as mere floating specks of dust:
We saw the lights appear, openly and clearly.

The third phase is Sukr – Intoxication. Here Shaykh al-Fayturi declares in his Diwan, in the Third Song:

My death is my existence, my withdrawal is my witnessing –
So generosity is my generosity and confusion stutters.

The intoxication makes him say that his death is his existence, and his withdrawal is his witnessing, and the generosity is his generosity, and confusion stutters because he cannot make sense of it, it is so intoxicating.

The fourth phase of this Walah is Idtirab wa Bikhudi – Distraction and Selflessness. One of the Sufis was alone, sobbing, and he cried out, “Fire! Fire!” People rushed to him and saw no fire. “What is on fire?” they asked. The Lover beat his breast and he recited this Ayat of Qur’an. Surat al- Humaza (104:6-7):

The kindled Fire of Allah reaching right into the heart.

The fifth and final phase is Talaf – Destruction. Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib explains in his Diwan, in ‘The Gifts of the Ism al-‘Adham’:

Thus he will rise, crossing the deserts of His Essence,
Until his Fana’ enters a Fana’, one that has nothing in it but loss.

If he returns to the traces of existence, he brings a Robe of Honour
which proclaims his Wilaya and glory.

At that point, the annihilation of the presence of the experiencing Lover, in the wiping out even of his knowledge that he is obliterated, the affair of love, from the science of Sufism, from the laws of the secret transaction, the vanished Lover may return. Our Shaykh has explained in ‘The Robe of Nearness’:

After having been effaced by Fana’
In a light-giving wine, we returned to creation.
By a pure gift from Allah we were given Baqa’,
And so, with patience, we concealed the One we love.

At that stage, we have really reached the end of the Shaykh of Delhi’s description of Love, and we now discover beyond it a whole other reality which is Baqa’ billah. Baqa’, properly speaking, in Ruhani terms, is the beginning of the Deen and its transmission. Our Master is the Master of the Mi’raj, of the Night Journey. What is the result of the Night Journey if it is not the guidance, if it is not the Furqan?

When I returned from Khalwa at the hands of Shaykh al-Fayturi, radiyallahu ’anhu, one of his Fuqara asked me, “Now where will you go?” I replied, “After Makkah, where can I go – except Madinah?” From this came our work to elevate the School of Madinah, and later to restore the fallen Pillar of Zakat.

Now let us look again at Surat an-Najm (53:31-62), which contains all the secrets of this subject. Surat an-Najm begins, we could say, with the matter of the Mi’raj, and it ends, you could say, with defining the Fana’. Then, in Sufi language, it defines Baqa’ from the thirtieth Ayat. This completes our study.

Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth belongs to Allah
so that He can repay those who do evil for what they did
and repay those who do good with the Very Best.
To whomever avoids the major wrong actions and indecencies –
except for minor lapses –
truly your Lord is vast in forgiveness.
He has most knowledge of you
when He first produced you from the earth,
and when you were embryos in your mothers’ wombs.
So do not claim purity for yourselves.
He knows best those who have Taqwa.
Have you seen him who turns away and gives little, and that grudgingly?
Does he have knowledge of the Unseen, enabling him to see?
Or has he not been informed what is in the texts of Musa and of Ibrahim, who paid his dues in full:
that no burden-bearer can bear another’s burden;
that man will have nothing but what he strives for;
that his striving will most certainly be seen;
that he will then receive repayment of the fullest kind;
that the ultimate end is with your Lord;
that it is He Who brings about both laughter and tears;
that it is He Who brings about both death and life;
that He created the two sexes – male and female –
out of a sperm-drop when it spurted forth;
that He is responsible for the second existence;
that it is He Who enriches and Who satisfies;
that it is He Who is the Lord of Sirius;
that He destroyed ‘Ad, the earlier people, and Thamud as well,
sparing none of them, and the people of Nuh before –
they were most unjust and exorbitant –
and the Overturned City which He turned upside down so that what enveloped it enveloped it.
Which one of your Lord’s blessings do you then dispute?
This is a warning like the warnings of old.
The Imminent is imminent!
No one besides Allah can unveil it.
Are you then amazed at this discourse and laugh and do not cry,
treating life as a game?
Prostrate before Allah and worship Him!

At the last Ayat of this we have to make Sajda. Concentrate! Look at the Qur’an.

Prostrate before Allah and worship Him!