[These are the rough notes of a talk delivered by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed (db) on January 09, 2016]
Who are the allathina amanu? Allah swt has mentioned one of their qualities in the Qur’an:
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّ۬ا لِّلَّهِۗ
But those who believe are most firm in their love for Allah. [2:165]
Those people who are extremely intense and intensely extreme in their love for Allah swt.
We are involved in other loves – we do not intensely love Allah swt, nor do we intensely love Nabī sws, neither the believers. Allah swt here is not describing the awliyaUllah – He swt is describing the quality of general believers. It will become very easy to leave sin; very easy to worship if only a person could have this one quality.
It comes in a hadith that Ad-dinu yusrun – deen is easy. Deen has such qualities, which, if they came into someone, then for that person deen would become very easy. The one who loves money, the one who loves his friends, they will find it easy to stay awake at night for these reasons.
The one who loves Allah swt, it is very easy for them to wake up in the last part of the night for tahajjud. This is a system for the lovers. The foundation of everything for them is love. Of course, we all have general love for Allah swt, but here we are talking about ashadd (intense) love.
This is a reality. In the Taba Tabieen, there was a man who was a lover of someone. This love was not permissible, but he had this ashadd love. He is known as majnun (mad), because of his intense love for Layla. He would do everything Layla asked him to do. Our love is not like this.
The Sahaba karam (ra) were true lovers. Every ayat that came down, they would follow it even whilst it was coming down. Allah swt says about them:
إِذۡ قُلۡتُمۡ سَمِعۡنَا وَأَطَعۡنَاۖ
When you said, “We have listened and obeyed.” [5:7]
They would do sami’na wa ata’na for everything. They would not think about whether it was possible for them to do it, they would just listen and act.
Nothing in this world is gained without effort; if you want to be a Jannati person, then you need to mould yourself to become this person. Allah swt has given us this project. Our goal is to become a Jannati. He has given us Qur’an and Sunnah to help us, but we do not undertake this task, because we do not have true love.
Let’s analyse our dunya. We live in a time where we use the term ‘quality control’. We always want the highest level of quality; we always want to pursue excellence in everything we do.
We want to enrol in the best of universities, and gain the best degree and get taught by the best of professors. We want the best job, with the best employer, with the best wage – and even when we have all of this, we want the best promotion. We want the best wife though we do not want to be the best husbands.
We are living in the age of the upgrade. Even when we have the best, we want an upgrade. When we have the best phone, we want the best upgrade. We want to upgrade our car, even if it is just because of a new shape. We always push the horizon. There is no issue with this if done within the boundaries of Islam.
Nabi sws has said in a hadih katabAllaha ihsani fi kulli shay – Allah swt has mandated excellence in everything. Yes, we have this in dunya, but what about our deen? Do we ever think that today I will pray the best salah; today, I want to do the best sajdah; today, I want to pray the best Fajr; today, I want to have the best haya I could have?
The parents who are not quality conscious in terms of deen also adopt this attitude when it comes to their children. They say, ‘do not become a mawlawi’ – mawlawiyyun means Allah wala like Baghadiyyun means Baghdad wala (the one from Baghdad). So it is like you are saying to your children, do not become an Allah wala. They want to adopt the best in dunya, but when it comes to deen, they just want to get by.
Our real beloved should only be Allah swt. Majnun did not have a moderate love for Layla. It was intense, extremely intense. Allah swt says that those people who believe, they are supposed to be extremely intense and intensely extreme in their love for Allah swt. Allah swt has given us a heart which has the capacity to have this love. I can do anything for my beloved – this is love. Arabs have a saying:
Al-muhibbu liman ahabba mutī’un – the lover is obedient to his beloved.
That is what you call a lover; it is that person who wants to learn Qur’an; that person who wants to do ‘amal on more things. They want to know more, so they can act upon more.
Love is that area where there is always room for improvement. Why? Because the lover always wants to be more beloved to their beloved. There is no limit to love. Give love, take love. Whoever wants to be more beloved, they love more.
What is Layla and Majnun, the real love story is between Allah swt and His servant. The word ‘ishq is from hadith. ‘Ishq means extreme love. You can only use this term when describing your love for Allah and Rasulullah sws. You can only be an ‘ashiq of Allah and Rasulullah sws. ‘Ishq is that intense extreme love. The believers should be like this.
What is success? Success is when the lover becomes a beloved of their beloved. When the lover becomes the beloved – that is the success of love. The more you love, the more you worship, the more you do khidmah, the more you improve your character, the more ‘amaal you do.
This love does not ever plateau; it is always increasing. It increases forever – this is nafs e mutmainnah. It is making your love so intense that it is always increasing. This is when Allah swt says:
يَـٰٓأَيَّتُہَا ٱلنَّفۡسُ ٱلۡمُطۡمَٮِٕنَّةُ (٢٧) ٱرۡجِعِىٓ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً۬ مَّرۡضِيَّةً۬
O content soul, (27) Come back to your Lord, well-pleased, well-pleasing. [89:27-28]
O’ nafs e mutmainnah, return back to Your Rabb, well pleased and pleasing unto Him. The love has increased so much that now Allah swt says, come to Me. You are happy with Your Rabb, and I am happy with You. Now you will live forever in Jannah – here you will love Allah swt forever, and Allah swt will love you forever.
If Allah created us so we can love Him and He can love us forever, then why not spend these 50-60 years just loving Him? The pleasure of love is in loving only Allah. If you share your heart with other idols, you will never find pleasure loving Allah.
The pleasure of love is in tawhid. When your beloved is only one. Tawhid does not mean just believing in one Allah; it means to use your one heart in this one dunya only for the One and Only Allah.
Obstructions in Allah’s Love
1. Love for ghayr-mahram. The biggest obstruction in gaining this love is when you love someone else. This is when the love of Allah swt will be removed from your heart. When you have another impermissible love, this will be a major obstruction for you. The love for Allah swt does not accept roommates in your heart. There are some common obstructions.
Loving that creation which Allah swt forbade upon you to love; this illness has become so general now. I have spent almost 22 years in this and I can tell you that the number one cause for spiritual heart failure is this love. Before, it was a problem within the youth. Now, it is a problem amongst our elders too.
Once I was travelling and there was a 70 year old man, and he told me with a lot of pain that he wanted to talk. I gave him some time and he told me that he is in love with some ghayr-mahram like a 19 year old boy would tell me. I was shivering inside and I was seeking protection for myself and making du’a for him too.
His beard was white – he was talking to me like he was a 20 year old university boy. When a youth talks to me, I reply to them instantly, but I was dumbfounded at this point. I could not speak. He did not say I have fallen in love with a woman; he was falling in love with women!
You cannot have intense extreme love for Allah swt whilst loving ghayr mahram. Our haya has decreased now and we do not find it bad anymore. You may not even have bad intentions, but we have been subjected to so much of the Western life that we find it normal.
The love for Allah swt is finished when we love a ghayr mahram. They say they even remember the ghayr mahram in their salah – we should cry about this. Despite trying to forget, they still remember. They are praying about the greatness of Allah swt, and still remember someone else. One thing is to forget Allah swt in salah, but to think about ghayr mahram in salah – how bad this is.
Never think loving ghayr mahram is permissible. Do not ever think it is okay to unlawfully love someone just because Allah swt will forgive me. If you do not have an intention to leave this love, what makes you think Allah swt will forgive you? You choose either Allah swt or the ghayr-mahram – we cannot love both. It is not possible. Your own heart will tell you whether you have this love or not.
2. Love for wealth. Nabi sws said in a hadith that hubbu-dunya ra’su kullu khati’ah (the love for the dunya is the root to all sins). People have broken family relationships due to greed for dunya. Some people say they do not have this love; I will give you a take-home test to test on yourself (not on others).
If someone bought a new car, or someone bought a new property and they made lots of profit on it, and they said they had bought it for a cheap price 5 years ago – you would be so sad that they did not even bother to tell you to buy too. You would be so upset, you would tell your family. They would say that you should have invested like this too – you would get even more upset.
If someone was to tell you that I was in some big trouble, and I supplicated to Allah swt and He swt accepted it. I now know the secret to du’as – 5 years ago, I went to a bayan and I heard that Allah swt announces every night hal min sa’il, utiya lay’ hal min mustaghfir – that is there anyone who asks so I can give to them, is there anyone seeking forgiveness so that I can forgive them, so for 5 years, I have been making du’a at this time. Now you will not have that same sadness that you had when you missed out on investing 5 years ago.
Nabi sws has said that paradise will be a place of happiness, except the believers will only have one regret. What is that? It is that time in the dunya they spent in ghaflat. They would wish that they had prayed one extra subhanaAllah, one extra istighfar. They would regret the extra sleep they had.
Jannah is a place of no regret, except just this. You can make du’a now that all the time I spent in the dunya in ghaflat, change it to dhikr. In the Qur’an, Allah has said He can change our bad deeds to good deeds through real repentance, so He swt can also change our ghaflat to dhikr.
I once heard a talk in Lahore and the speaker was saying that when he read this ayat, he felt such emotion. Allah swt can change our bad deeds to good deeds. He repented from his past life and made du’a to Allah swt to change his bad deeds into good ones.
When a father spends so much on his son for his education, and even then he achieves low, he would be so upset and would have so much regret. We are low achievers in deen! We should also have this regret. When we do not realise our potential in deen, we will be low achievers forever in the hereafter too.
Let me give you an example – there was a waliUllah (in different narrations, different names are mentioned), and in one narration it was mentioned that his name was Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani rah. One day he was sitting when he got the news that his ship with all his trade goods had sunk. He looked down, said Alhamdulillah and smiled. A few days later, he got the news that it was not his ship that had sunk, but it was someone else’s. He again looked down, analysed his heart, said Alhamdulillah and smiled.
One of his students asked why his reaction was the same to which he said both times I looked at and analysed my heart to see if it was affected by the dunya – and as I was not affected in the slightest, I praised Allah! This is what you call zuhd. Zuhd just means to not love the dunya – it means you can live in the dunya, accomplish in the dunya, strive in the dunya, gain excellence in the dunya but never to love the dunya.
3. Love for oneself. vanity and conceit; it is to think of yourself as something; to forget to thank and praise Allah swt. ‘Ujub is loving yourself more, kibr is thinking you are better than people and takabbur is acting upon this.
Iblis was arrogant, he had pride. He was a great abid, alim and arif, but he thought of himself as better than Adam (as), hence did not prostrate. The more you have, the more you are in danger of ‘ujub. People who have a higher education, they have a higher risk of ‘ujub. Higher income people have a higher risk of ‘ujub. The highest risk of ‘ujub is in the people who are the highest in education, in their income etc.
Some people have all these three types of love. Imagine I took you to visit an ill person, and on the way you ask me what illness they have. I tell you on the way they have TB, jaundice, hepatitis A,B and C; they have liver cancer, lung cancer, leukaemia, they are also handicapped and paralysed and they have had a stroke – you will feel so much sadness and will feel so much sympathy for that person.
Now, what if I told you, let’s go meet a spiritually ill person – they get angry a lot, they have jealousy, love for dunya, hatred, they have pride. They have done so much tawbah (imagine, a heart bypass ten times), yet they still are not cured. They are so ill. Imam Ghazali rah said that the spiritually ill do not even think they are ill.
When you do not safeguard your gaze – what do you get? You only get a 1 second glance – you cannot even speak to them and even then we cannot protect our gaze. We have very light love for Allah swt. We need to bring extreme love for Allah swt in our heart.
The Reason Why We Love Allah
1. It comes naturally. It is very easy for a person to love Allah swt because it is a natural thing. We all have the capacity to love. Allah swt gathered all the souls and asked them:
أَلَسۡتُ بِرَبِّكُمۡۖ قَالُواْ بَلَىٰۛ شَهِدۡنَآۛ
“Am I not your Lord?” They said, “Of course, You are. We testify.” [7:172]
Am I not Your Rabb?’ – every soul (both believers and disbelievers) said – yes – then Allah swt planted the seed of love into all of us.
2. He is the Most Beautiful. Nabi sws said innaAllaha jamīlun, yuhibbul jamal – Allah swt is Beautiful and loves beauty. Can you imagine the beauty of that Being who created beauty itself? So why would you love someone else?
3. He is the Most Powerful. When you meet someone who says I have become your guardian and I will do everything for you – if a powerful person said this to you, you would become so happy. Imagine, Allah swt has said in Qur’an:
ٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ
Allah is the Protector of those who believe. [2:257]
Allah swt is guardian/friend of the believers – when will we adopt this happiness? Allah swt dropped the second condition of doing good deeds. He will take any ordinary believer out of their darkness. This should make you happy and joyful.
Woh muhabbat nahi jis ka izhar nahi, woh muhabbat nahi jis ki shiddat nahi– that love is not love which is not expressed; that love is not love which does not have intensity.
Allah swt is so loyal to us, yet we are such disloyal servants. We have such a sincere religion, yet we are such insincere followers. We have such a good Nabi sws, yet we are such a bad ummati.
How to Attain Allah’s Love
1. Get Rid of Other Loves. One way was to rid yourself of other loves. Allah swt has said
Whom He loves and who love Him [5:54]
He loves them and they love him. He expressed His love first. First you become a lover, then you become a beloved. This is the easiest way to love. We should accept this love from Allah swt.
2. Be More Grateful. We should be grateful for every blessing. Allah swt has done so much for us, yet we do not feel we are His beloveds. Every day you should feel grateful for something new. This is how you will develop a feeling of shukr. You should feel Allah swt is the muhsin e haqiqi.
3. Leave Sins. Another way to increase love is to leave sins and to adopt good deeds. This hypocrisy we have makes it hard to love. We cannot be disobedient to someone and claim to love them at the same time.
4. Remember Allah swt More. Another way to increase love is to remember Allah swt – the more you remember Allah swt outside Salah, the more you remember Him inside salah. The more you remember Him, the more you will love Him – dhikr and love are proportional to each other. There are those who remember Allah swt abundantly:
وَٱلذَّٲڪِرِينَ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرً۬ا وَٱلذَّٲڪِرَٲتِ
And the men who remember Allah much and the women who remember (Him) [33:35]
They are mentioned in Qur’an as dhakirin, and the ones who are not from this category are given the command to remember Allah swt abundantly:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱذۡكُرُواْ ٱللَّهَ ذِكۡرً۬ا كَثِيرً۬ا
O you who believe, remember Allah abundantly [33:41]
We need to learn dhikr from those who are already dhakir. This is called suhbat:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ وَكُونُواْ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ
O you who believe, fear Allah, and be in the company of the truthful. [9:119]
O’ people who believe, fear Allah and be with those who are true; be with them, be like them. Allah swt says:
“Be”, and it comes to be. [2:117]
Be and it becomes – similarly, be with them. Who are the sadiqin? Those who truly love Allah swt more than me. For Mawlana Rumi, sadiqin would be Shams Tabrezi. For general believers like us, it is those who have more love, dhikr and sunnah than us.
Nabi sws made a beautiful du’a to teach us the importance of being with those who are truer than us. Allahumma innī as’aluka hubbaka, wa hubba man yuhibbuka, wal-‘amalalladhi yuballighuni hubbak – O’ Allah swt, I ask You for Your Love, and the love of those who love You, and those deeds which will cause me to attain Your Love.
Tawbah and iradah – one is general tawbah, and one is a special tawbah for thm sins that I did not even think of as sin before. What sin is this? That I did not love Allah swt as much as I should have. We should have talab for Allah swt that I also want to become your lover.
When you do tawbah as a group, even if one person does true tawbah, the barakah from that one person can mean everyone will be forgiven. This is the barakah of a gathering. We should all make an intention to be that one person.