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Chapter 4. Averting Passionate Love (Ishq)

Ishq is a disease that has ruined many people whether in their bodies, religion or both; a disease for which 'Dispraise of <em>hawa</em>', wherein I have composed the book I have listed enough cures for ishq, nonetheless, I will mention some of these cures here so as not to leave out anything that this book was intended for, therefore, I say:

Whoever abstains from the amalgamation [of harmful elements causing illness] by lowering his gaze, will be saved from this disease, otherwise he will be as much diseased as he who amalgamates in such harmful acts.

If he redresses this before it becomes deeply rooted, the cure might benefit him. However if he leaves it until it becomes deeply rooted the cure will be of no benefit. Know that the mere looking at what is coveted does not result in ishq, rather looking at the coveted often increases as it is aided and supported by the strength of greed, youthfulness and lust. Therefore whoever wants the cure should hasten to it before this illness becomes deeply rooted and that is by blocking the means leading to it (lowering the gaze) and by enduring it with patience. For indeed self-restraint and strength are the best of cures. The best of aids in this is fear of Allah, restraining the disdainful self from the state of humiliation and remembering the inner flaws of the loved one. As Ibn Masud said: "If any of you like a woman, he should remember her flaws."

Whenever the loved is someone attainable and lawful to have, uniting the loved with the lover [by means of marriage] would be the best of cures. For the intensity of this disease decreases with marriage, as well as marrying more than one wife, possessing new female-slaves, travelling for long distances, thinking of the betrayal of the loved one, reading books about asceticism, remembering death, visiting the sick, and visiting cemeteries. Then one should contemplate what he wants, and how it is when he is over with it, and think of his indifference towards what he wants afterwards and how people change. Then look to the examples in himself and in others, for others might help him emerge from this chasm, and help him out of this dilemma.

I also related that a man loved a young man, then one day he looked in the mirror and noticed some grey hairs so he deserted this boy. This boy then wrote to him saying:

Why was I abandoned like never before And the proofs of abandonment are so clear
And I see that you are drinking me, but confounding me (loving others besides him)
Although I have always known you drinking me alone (his only lover)

The man wrote back saying:

I am acting like a young-man, when in reality I am old
I am being flagged with awkwardness
Do not blame me for my disaffection
What I have wasted is enough for me
I will be held accountable for what
I have done So save me the sins I may commit
We have seen the father of mankind (Adam)
Due to a mistake, descend in humiliation (from heaven to earth)