HomeDiseases Of The Heart And Their Cures › Reality Passionate Love Ishk

Chapter 3.2. The Reality Of Passionate Love (ishk)

The same applies to the heart afflicted with this love, for it is harmed by its connection to the loved, either by seeing, touching, hearing, even think about it. And if he were to curb the love then the heart is hurt and grieved by this, and if he gives in to the desire then the sickness becomes stronger and becomes a means through which the grievance is increased.

In the hadith there occurs,

Indeed Allah shelters His believing servant from the world just as one of you shelter your sick ones from food and drink (that would harm them). [Similar by Baihaqi]

In the hadith concerning the saving of Musa reported by Wahb, which is recorded by Imam Ahmad in az-Zuhd,

Allah says: 'Indeed I drive away My friends from the delights of this world and its opulence and comfort just as the compassionate shepherd drives away his camel from the dangerous grazing lands. And in­ deed I make them avoid its tranquility and livelihood, just as the compassionate shepherd makes his camel to avoid the resting-places wherein it would be easy prey. This is not because I consider them to be insignificant, but so that they may complete their portion of My Kindness in safety and abundance, the delights of the world will not attract him and neither would desires overcome him.'

Therefore the only cure for the sick lies in his removing the sickness by removing this blameworthy love from his heart.

People are divided into two opinions concerning passionate love: One group says that if falls into the category of intentions and wishes, this being the famous opinion. Another groups says that it falls into the category of imagination and fantasies and that it is a corruption of the imagination since it causes one to depict the one who is loved in other than his true reality. This group went on to say:

And this is why Allah has not been described w1th passionate love (ishk) and neither that He passionately loves (ya'shik) because He is far removed from this, and one cannot be praised who has these corrupt thoughts.

As for the first group, then from them are those who said:

'He is described with passionate love (ishk) because it is a complete and perfect love and Allah loves (yuhib).'

And it is reported in the narration of Abdul Wahid bin Zayd that He said,

'The servant will always continue to draw closer to me, loving Me and I loving him (Ashiquhu).'

This is the saying of some of the Sufis but the majority do not apply this word to Allah, because passionate love is a love exceeding the proper bounds, as for the Love of Allah then it has no end and cannot exceed the proper bounds. Passionate love is to be considered blameworthy without any exceptions, it is not to be praised when it is directed towards the Creator or created because it is a love that exceeds the proper bounds.

This is also true because the word 'passionate love' is only employed with regards to a man loving a woman or child (or vice versa), it is not employed in things such as the love of one's family, property or status, just as it is not employed with regards to the love of the Prophets and the righteous. Commonly, you will find this word being mentioned alongside a forbidden action, such as loving the woman who is not lawful for him, or loving a child joined with the unlawful glance and touch and other such unlawful actions.

As for the love of a man for his wife or slave-girl which leads him out of the folds of justice such that he does unlawful things for her and leaves what is obligatory - as commonly happens - even to the extent that he may oppress his son born of his old wife due to this love of his new wife, or to the extent that he will do things to keep her happy that would harm his religion and worldly life. For example his singling her out for inheritance that she does not deserve, or that he gives her family authority and property that exceeds the limits set by Allah, or he goes to excesses in spending on her, or he makes unlawful things possible for her which harms his religion and worldly life. This passionate love is forbidden with regards to one who is permissible for him, so how would it be with regards for one who has passionate love for someone who is unlawful or with regards to two men? For this contains a corruption the extent of which none can assess except the Lord of the servants; it is a sickness that corrupts the religion and objectives of the one who possesses it, then it corrupts his intelligence and then his body. Allah, the Most High, says,

...Then do not be soft in speech, lest in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner. [Surah Ahzab (33) : 32]

There are some whose hearts contain the disease of desire and whose perceptions ate only skin deep. When the object of the desire submits; the sickness is satiated; and this satiation strengthens the desire and pursuit of the object and hence strengthens the sickness. This is in contrast to the one whose objective is not met, for this failure results in removing the satiation that would strengthen the sickness and thereby the desire is weakened as is the love. This is because the person definitely intends that there be action accompanying his desire; for otherwise all his desire would be is just whisperings of the soul, unless there is some speech or looking accompanying this.

As for the one who is afflicted with this passionate love but holds back and is patient; then indeed Allah will reward him for his taqwa as occurs in the hadith:

That the one who passionately loves someone yet holds back, conceals this and is patient, then dies upon this, will be a martyr.

This hadith is known to be the report of Yahya al-Qatat from Mujahid from Ibn Abbas from the Prophet but it is problematic and such a hadith is not to be depended upon.

But it is known from the evidences of the Shariah that if one were to hold back from performing that which is unlawful, be it looking, speaking or acting, and he conceals this and does not articulate it so as not to fall into that which is prohibited and he is patient in his obedience to Allah and keeping away from disobedience to Allah, despite the pain that his heart feels due to passionate love, (similar to the case of the one who is patient through a calamity), then indeed this person would gain the same reward as those who have feared Allah and been patient.

Verily, he who fears Allah and is patient, then surely Allah makes not the reward of the doers of good to be lost. [Surah Yusuf (12) : 90]

This holds true for the disease of envy and all other sick­ nesses that afflict the heart. So when the soul pursues that which would anger Allah, and the person prevents himself from this, fearing Allah, then he is included in His saying,

But as for him who feared the standing before His Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode. [Surah Naziat (79) : 40-41]

When the soul loves something, it will do all that it can to attain it, so the one who does this out of having a blameworthy love or hatred then this action of his would be sinful. For example his hating a person due to envying him and thereby harming whosoever is linked to that person - either by preventing his rights or by showing them enmity, or his doing something that is commanded by Allah but he does it due to his desires and not for the sake of Allah.

These types of sicknesses are commonly found in the heart. The person can hate something and due to this hate, love a great many things due to mere whims and fancies. As one poet affected by this said,

For the sake of a Sudanese girl he loved Sudan to the point that he loved the black dogs due to his love of her.

So he loved a black girl, and therefore loved all types of black even the blackness of dogs! All of this is a sickness in the heart with regards to its imagination, fantasies and desires. We ask Allah that He eliminate all of the illnesses from our hearts, and we seek refuge with Allah from evil manners, desires and sicknesses.