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Last Updated: 2010/09/05
Summary of question
Does man have the capacity to love Allah?
question
Love hurts, of course I mean earthly love. Is heavenly love and loving Allah frightening? Does it cause us to lose all the things we like; like our family, etc.? I like to be a lover of Allah but a friend of mine said that it would be scary. One of my friends used to say: "You can love Allah from down here too, but if you get close to him, you might be dissolved in him and will no longer exist"… My friend says: "Even though the prophet worshipped Allah for 40 years, when he confronted Jibra’il he fainted, let alone seeing Allah himself. Also, prophet Musa’s followers died when Allah's light shined upon the mountain, so we will probably have a worse fate.
Concise answer

The logic behind experiencing ‘metaphoric’ love is to reach true love and if it is accompanied with chastity, after causing fundamental changes and developments it will bring man very close to Godly love. The very core and truth of religion is to reach the status of loving Allah; Islam especially has paid much attention to this issue. The Imams and the Great Urafa (Islamic mystics) are our role models for loving and adoring Allah and reaching the holy sanctuary of Allah.

One who has left all the metaphoric Ma'shuqs (beloved ones) and is determined to acquire Godly love has actually achieved a special status of spiritual development which mustn’t be taken for granted and he must continue to strive in this path. When Imam Sadiq was asked about the essence of metaphoric love, he responded: "Hearts that have been emptied of Allah's remembrance and Allah has made them experience the love of others."

From this point of view metaphoric love is nothing but disregarding the remembrance of the true beloved one, and one becomes the victim of such love so that through the pain that follows, which itself is a blessing from Allah (swt), he will return to his towhid inclined essence (fitrah towhidi) and everlasting love.

In fact loving Allah and passionate remembrance of Him brings one closer to one’s own fitrah towhidi and relieves him from pain and brings calmness and peace of mind. Examining the lives of the Urafa which were full of calmness and freedom shows the fact that individuals seeking worldly pleasures have been deprived from and have not tasted a bit of the pleasure and peace that the Urafa have experienced in the love of Allah.

Even though loving Allah does entail disregarding this world and its attachments but that doesn’t mean one can no longer enjoy its blessings and metaphoric manifestations. The difference is that there will no longer be any pain and dependency in such relationships for the lover. Therefore one who loves Allah will have a love for all of Allah's creations which stems from his love for the true beloved one.

At the same time the states of the Urafa and lovers of Allah in terms of their joy and disregarding this world and what it encompasses has always created fear for those who adore the metaphoric world and those who are distant from Godly love, not knowing that after annihilation, the aref reaches divine immortality and that even the metaphoric world obtains Godly life when viewed from an Aref's divine perspective.  Moreover it is only the individual who loves Allah that truly experiences the blessings of this world and enjoys its hidden pleasures, happiness and joy more than anyone else.

The lovers of the metaphoric world never want to confront their annihilation and Allah's existence even though they eventually will experience such a fate (after death and in the hereafter). These people flee from loving Allah and are content with their love for those in this world and even though they feel the pain of such attachments, they still do not will their freedom.

Detailed Answer

The logic behind experiencing metaphoric love is to reach true love and if it is accompanied with chastity, after having its effects, it will bring one very close to Godly love;[1] the very core and ultimate objective of religion. In reality, the goal pursued in worship and different stages of spiritual wayfaring is to reach the degree of love of Allah (swt), and this is something that Islam especially has paid special attention to. The Imams and the Great Urafa (mystics) are our role models in loving and adoring Allah and reaching His holy sanctuary.

One who has left all the metaphoric Ma'shuqs (beloved ones) and is determined to acquire Godly love has actually achieved a special status of spiritual development which mustn’t be taken for granted and he must continue to strive in this path. The heart of such a person is full of love and burning desire and spiritual thirst, ready to submit this heart to its true owner; the truth of the matter is that such a person has restored and liberated his heart, which is the very jewel of his existence, from the market of earthly loves and captivity and pain.

When Imam Sadiq was asked about the essence of metaphoric love he responded: "قلوب خلت من ذکر الله فأذاقها الله حب غیره"[2] "Hearts that have been emptied of Allah's remembrance and Allah has given them the taste of the love of others than himself." Presumably, this Quranic verse is pointing out the same issue: ""وَ مَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِکْری فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعیشَةً ضَنْکاً وَ نَحْشُرُهُ یَوْمَ الْقِیامَةِ أَعْمى"‏؛ "  "But whoever disregards My remembrance, his shall be a wretched life, and on the Day of Resurrection We shall raise him blind." From this point of view we can perceive metaphoric love as a painful lifestyle and difficult relationship that chooses its victims from those who disregard the remembrance of Allah.

Unlike metaphoric love, true love and loving Allah and remembering him with love brings one closer to one’s true essence and nature, relieving him from pain and bringing peace of mind and tranquility to his heart. Examining the lives of the Urafa which were full of calmness and relief shows that individuals seeking worldly pleasures have been deprived of and have not tasted a bit of the pleasure and peace that the Urafa have experienced in the love of Allah. Never has a true lover shown regret and remorse for loving Allah and has solely expressed his happiness and joy.

Even though loving Allah does entail disregarding this world and its attachments but that doesn’t mean one cannot enjoy its blessings and metaphoric manifestations. The difference is that there will no longer be any pain and dependency in such relationships, and this, contrary to the common belief, does not mean nonexistence, destruction and abolishment, but instead the being of an Aref reaches the being of Allah and true existence after being annihilated in His love.  Also the metaphoric world will be a reflection of Allah’s light and existence and obtain Godly life when viewed from the divine perspective of an Aref, because there is no dependency and attachment and polytheism in his viewpoint.

Many a time, the benefits of this world flee from the one who seeks them and seek the service of the lover of Allah. The inclination of an Aref towards physical and metaphoric matters is devoid of any dependency and attachment and stems from his love for the true beloved one. Therefore he is relieved from the pain of such attachments and in no need of these matters. The ocean of his affection for Allah will never be vulnerable to the strong waves of the metaphoric world and he will never be caught in the trap of its metaphoric manifestations and temptations because he considers all of these matters manifestations of the one divine truth and in reality, his love for this world is actually love for part of the whole (Allah being the whole).

Therefore this whole world and all of what it consists of in the eyes of the Aref is no more than a playground in comparison to laying eyes on Vajhollah (The face of Allah). As a result although Allah grants his true lover both worlds, the lover doesn’t ask Allah for anything other than Allah Himself, and in order to be joined with his eternal beloved one he is willing to be annihilated so that Allah would manifest in his existence; consequently, he isn't frightened from death nor does he flee from it; materialistic matters and issues will not cause him anxiety because he perceives death as a new life and his annihilation as a greater form of existence.

At the same time the states of the Urafa and lovers of Allah in terms of their joy and disregarding this world and what it consists of has always created fear for those who adore the metaphoric world and those who were distant from Godly love, because they have no picture of their state and have not realized what a pleasure they are experiencing in this world. Because they do not have a clear picture of these spiritual statuses, they are in fear of them, in fear of losing what they posses and adore, being abolished, annihilation and misery. An analogy of those seeking this world would be a child that adores a certain game and is not willing to leave it at any cost, and even if he is going to be given the most majestic palaces in the world, he still assumes that they are taking away his game from him, leaving him in deprivation.

This is why the lovers of the metaphoric world never want to confront their annihilation in Allah's existence even though they will eventually share this same fate (after dying and in the hereafter). These people flee from loving Allah and are pleased solely by having love for those in this world and even though they feel the pain of such attachments, they still do not will their freedom.

In the light of was explained one can conclude that creating a loving relationship with Allah is the true goal of man and is considered an integral aspect of his existence.  In our day, all of the dead ends (emotional, spirirtual, moral, etc.) man is reaching will eventually lead him back to this original goal and one shouldn’t try and run away from and deny this truth.



[1] The famous hadith of: “من عشق فکتم و عف و صبر فمات مات شهیدا” is believed by arefs to be pointing to this truth.

[2]سألت أبا عبد الله عن العشق قال: "قلوب خلت من ذکر الله فأذاقها الله حب غیره” Sheikh Saduq, Al-Amali, pg. 669.

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