Imam Ash-Shaafi’ee rahimahullaahu ta’ala said, “And from misery is that you love, and (the one) who you love, loves other than you, or that you want good for a person, and he wants to hurt you.”
Al-Mahabbah (love) means fondness, tenderness and kind feelings, and inclination.
When love affects and invades all feelings of man, it is called passion and when it gets so deep and irresistible as to burn with the desire of union, it is called fervor and enthusiasm.
Love has been defined as the relation of the heart with the Beloved One (i.e Allah) or trying to comply with His Commandments in all one’s acts and thoughts.
True love means that a lover is set solely on the Beloved (Allah) and is always and inwardly with Him.
The heart of him who has such a degree of love always beats with a new consideration for the Beloved at every moment, while a lover who transcends himself with the wings of love and reaches his Lord at the points of enthusiasm carries out his responsibilities toward the King of his heart.
Love is based on two important pillars:
The first is that which is manifested by the lover’s acts. A lover tries to comply with the Beloved’s desires.
The second relates to the inner world of the lover, who should inwardly be closed to everything else unrelated to Him.
Every lover cannot feel the same degree of love for the Beloved.
Love varies according to the religious and emotional depth of the lover and the degree of his consciousness of and care in his obedience to the Beloved. And in whatever degree of love, one who turns to Him with heart-felt desires and sincere enthusiasm gets his reward according to the depth of his feelings and concern with Him.
Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaah also said in Madaarijus-Saalikeen (vol.3/ page 9 and pages17-18):
“People have discussed about mahabbah (love of Allah); its causes and what brings it about, its signs and its fruits and its rulings. The most comprehensive saying about this is what Abu Bakr al-Kattani (rahimahullaah) relates about al-Junayd (d.279H).
Abu Bakr al-Kattani (d.322H) said:
“A discussion about mahabbah took place in Makkah during the Pilgrimage month. The Shaykhs who were present spoke about this matter and al-Junayd was the youngest of them. They said to him: “O ‘Iraqi, what do you have to say?” So he bowed his head and tears were flowing from his eyes and he said:
“A servant should overcome his soul, and be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord. Establishing the Rights of his Lord, focusing upon Him with his heart, the state of fear setting a blaze upon his heart. Whilst drinking from the vessel of true love and certain realities become unveiled to him. So when he talks, it is due to Allah. When he speaks, it is from Allah. When he moves, it is by the command of Allah and when he is serene, then it is from Allah. He belongs to Allah, is for Allah, and is with Allah.”
So the shaykhs began to weep and said: How can that be increased upon? May Allah reward you with good, O crown of the knowledgeable ones!”
“Al-Hamdulillaah, Who made Al-Mahabbah (love) a way to attain the Mahboob (beloved) and Who set obedience and submission to Him as evidence of true love of Him.
By Al-Mahabbah He stimulated the souls so that they may prefer to seek and achieve all kinds of perfection. Subhaanahu wa ta’ala, Who by virtue of His Ability turns the hearts to Al-Mahabbah as He wills, to whom He wills…in detailed and specific measures…Subhaanahu wa ta’ala, Who favors the people in Al-Mahabbah of Him and those who love His Book and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam above all others, loving them perfectly and completely…”
From: Rawdatul-Muhibeen by Imam Ibnul-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaahu ta’ala
And the author of Qawlus-Sadeed rahimahullaah said, “Know that the categories of Love are three:
First: Love for Allah, which is the foundation of Iman and Tawheed.
Second: Loving for the sake of Allah, which is having love for Allah’s Prophets and Messengers and their followers. It also means loving what Allah loves from righteous actions, times, places and so on. This category falls under the love for Allah and supplements it.
Third: Loving something or someone along with loving Allah. This is the love the mushrikeen have for their false gods and rivals, such as trees, stones, humans, angels and so on. And this is the source and foundation of shirk.”
Source: al-Qawlus-Sadeed of Imam ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Nasir as-Sa’di rahimahullaahu ta’ala (pg. 112)
Shaykul-Islam Ibnul Taymiyyah said in Al-’Uboodiyyah:
“…The final level of love is at-Tatayyum. Its initial level is al-’Alaaqah (connection) because of the hearts connection to the beloved. Thereafter comes the level of As-Sabaabah (craving, longing and desire) as the heart starts to crave for the beloved. Next is the love of Al-Gharaam (love, passion and fondness) which is the love that is inseparable from the heart. Thereafter Al-’Ishq (ardent and passionate love) and its final level is at-Tatayyam(enslavement, infatuation, captivation and adoration). One says, taymullaah (the ‘abd of Allah). So the mutayyam is the mu’abbad of his beloved.”
It was said in poetry: “Does not the lover think that his love can be concealed? While his eyes are shedding tears and his heart is glowing – Had it not been for love, you would not have shed tears at the ruins (of your beloved) – Nor would you become restless at the remembrance of the cypress (tree) at the high mountain – How do you deny love after the testimony – Born against you by (such) reliable witnesses as your tears and your illness – Love indeed transforms pleasure into pain.”
Ibn Hazm Al-Andulusi rahimahullaah said in Tawqul-Hamamah, “And among the accidents of love is the violent anxiety and silencing intensity of feeling which overcomes the lover when he sees the beloved avoiding him and eschewing him; and the sign of that is sighing, and lack of vivacity, and sobbing, and having deep sighs, and on that subject I have made a poem, from which I quote:
“The beautiful patience is imprisoned; And tears are bursting forth from the eyes!”
Such is the case for one who is attached to leadership, a soorah (image) or other such desires of the soul. If he attains it, he is pleased and if he is unable to attain it, he becomes discontented. Such a person is the ‘Abd of what he desires of these matters and he is a slave of it, since slavery and servitude in reality is the enslavement and servitude of the heart, so whatever enslaves the heart and puts it under its servitude, the heart will be the ‘Abd of that object. This is why it is said,
“The ‘Abd (servant) is free as long as he is content and the free one is an ‘Abd as long as he desires.”
Another has said, “I obeyed my desires so they enslaved me and if only I had been content, I would have been free.”
It is also said that desires are chains around one’s neck and shackles around one’s ankles, if the chains around the neck disappear, the shackles around the ankles will disappear.
Desires are like chains and locks preventing their perpetrator from roaming the vast garden of Tawheed and reaping the fruits of righteous actions.
Passionate love is a psychological sickness, and when its effects become noticeable on the body, it becomes a sickness that afflicts the mind also. The same applies to the heart afflicted with this ‘ishq (passionate love), for it is harmed by its connection to the loved, either by seeing, touching, hearing even thinking 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.
Any person who attaches his heart to a creation for the purposes of aid, sustenance or guidance has submitted his heart to them and has given rise to a level of ‘Uboodiyyah of that creation in accordance to the level of that (attachment), even if it appears that he is their leader who organizes their affairs and manages them.
If a man’s heart becomes attached to a woman, even if it is a woman who is lawful for him, his heart will remain captive to her. She will rule him and manage him in any way she sees fit.
On the surface, he is her master because he is her husband or owner but in reality he is her captive and is owned by her. This condition holds even more so if she is aware of his need for her, his passion for her and that he views her as irreplaceable.
In such circumstances, shes rules him in the manner a forceful and oppressive master rules his subjugated slave, who is unable to deliver himself from his master. In fact, the condition (of a man attached to a woman in such a way) is much more severe (then the analogy put forward) because the captivity of the heart is more serious than the captivity of the body and the enslavement of the heart is more severe than the enslavement of the body.
Thus, freedom is freedom of the heart and ‘Uboodiyyah is ‘uboodiyyah of the heart, just as richness, is richness of the soul.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“Affluence is not the result of (possessing) the vanities of this world, but affluence is affluence of the heart.”
[Related by al-Bukhari (no.6446) and Muslim (no.1051)]
By Allah! This is the case when the person is enslaved by a lawful soorah.
Al-Hawa (the desire) is the inclination of the self to a thing. Its verb is Hawiyyah (past tense), Yahwa (present tense) and Hawaan (infinitive). As to Hawa and Yahwa, they mean “fell down” and “falling down”, respectively, and the infinitive is al-Huwiyyu with the movement at the end being adhammaah, a vowel point for u.
Al-Hawa also refers to beloved, a poet said (exaggerating the state of love between two), “The one who took (over or control of) your heart, who is for her? She was created to be your beloved as you were created to be hers!”
It is said that, “Such and such (a man) is the Hawa (the beloved) to such and such (a woman), and that she is his Hawa (beloved).”
As for al-Hawa, the story of the captives of the battle of Badr, ‘Umar bin al-Khattab radiallaahu ‘anhu said: “The Prophet [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] Hawiyyah (liked) what Abu Bakr said (he was more inclined to the position of Abi Bakr regarding the fate of the captives) and did not like what I said.”
Then he concluded the hadeeth.
In the Sunan a Bedouin (Arab) asked the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “I came to you asking about al-Hawa.”
“Everyone will be with those whom he loves.”
[That is in Al-Jannah (the Paradise, the Garden), and this is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim in Saheehayhimaa]
Therefore, al-Hawa is the inclination of the natural disposition towards what suits and benefits it. Such an inclination is created in man to secure his existence. If it had not been for his inclination to food, drink and marriage, he would have not eaten, drank or married.
Thus, al-Hawa instigates and pushes him towards what he wants just as al-Ghadhab (anger) keeps away and averts from him that which will hurt him. Generally, therefore, al-Hawa should not be dispraised nor is it to be absolutely praised just as anger is not to be generally blamed nor is it to be absolutely commended.
What is blameworthy is the exaggeration in both of these (al-Hawa and al-Ghadhab), and what exceeds the limits in attaining the beneficial and in warding off the harmful (things).
The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,
“There is nothing for two (a male and female) who love one another like marriage.”
[Recorded by Ibn Maajah and it was graded Saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in as-Saheehah (no. 624) as well as others]
Love is of two types as the scholars have defined,
- Hubb (pure and natural love) and
- ‘Ishq (passionately-sick and desirious love)
Ibnul-Qayyim rahimahullaah differentiated between Hubb and ‘Ishq.
He said Hubb was pure and noble love whilst ‘Ishq was a forbidden, beyond the limits type of love. He meant this was when someone would go to Haraam measures to be with the one they love.
And there are many reasons for falling in love.
Ibn Hazm rahimahullaah described some of the reasons of love:
“If the cause of love were physical beauty, the consequence would be that no body defective in any shape or form would attract admiration; yet we have known of many men who actually preferred the inferior type, though well aware that another is superior, and quite unable to turn his heart away from it.
Again, if love were due to a harmony of characters, no man would love a person who was not of a similar purpose and in compatibility with him. We therefore conclude that Love is something within the soul itself. Sometimes, it is true, love comes as a result of a definite cause outside the soul, but then it passes away when the cause itself disappears: one who is fond of you because of a certain circumstance will turn his back on you when that motive no longer exists.”
Source: Ibn Hazm Al-Andulusi rahimahullaah in Tawqul-Hamamah
Physical beauty is not the main cause of love, though yes it does help in falling in love and is a reason for love to grow between spouses. However, it is to be understood that love cannot be limited to such, because if it were then there are many people that can never hope of getting married. In fact love is something deeper which comes from inside, a mercy that Allah has placed into the hearts of His creation.
It is necessary for us who live in an environment surrounded by Haraam to check our reasons for our love, whether we are loving them in a pure sense for the sake of Allah, even for our spouses or is it merely based on our desires and lusts. Let’s make sure that our reason is the former.
Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaah said in Al-Jawaab al-Kaafee liman Sa’ala ‘an Dawaa’ish-Shaafee: “As for loving women, there is no blame on a person who has love for them. On the contrary, it is part of his perfection (as a human being) for Allah says:
“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may live in tranquility with them, and He has put Love and Mercy between you.”
Ibnul-Jawzi says in his Dhaamul-Hawaa:
“If you have not loved passionately or known the meaning of desire then get up and eat hay for you are nothing but a donkey…You and the hard rock are equal.”
These statements from Ibnul-Qayyim and Ibnul-Jawzi rahimahumullaah show that they not only considered love as something that occurs, but rather it is a sign of perfection.
So when you feel love for someone, do not consider it as a flaw in yourself, rather it is a sign that you have a heart and it is a sign of your humanity. This emotion that is felt shows that there is mercy in you and that your heart is soft.
Ibnul-Qayyim also said,
“When we speak of rulings of love, we must describe two things. One is optional and one is not. The optional love is what leads to love (eyesight, association, etc.) and this is the love that you have to beware of (for it may lead to unlawful acts.) The non optional love, if it happens by the sudden look, or natural passions that develop, you cannot be blamed for it, but it is how you react to it that Allah will hold you to accountable for.”
In Faydhul-Qadeer Sharhul-Jaami’ as-Sagheer al-Munaawee rahimahullaah said: “It is when a man looks at an Ajnabiyyah [unrelated woman] and his heart has desire of intercourse, then marrying her will result in increased love.”
This was mentioned by at-Teebee. And more correct than him is the saying of some of the elders that the meaning is that it is the greatest remedy to treat the passion of desire for marital relations. For it is a remedy that there is no equal for by any means. And this is the meaning which is indicated by Allah, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, after making women lawful; the free of them, and the slaves of them due to need, by His saying:
“Allah wants to lighten [the burden] for you, and man was created weak.”
So by Allah, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, mentioning lightening in this subject and informing about man’s weakness, proves that he is too weak to carry this desire, and that He, Subhanahu wa ta’ala, lightened its matter for him by what He permitted for him of pure women. And with this explanation it clarifies that the information relates to when he intends to propose to a woman, and he sees her and feels love for her, then it is legislated that he may plan to marry her merely based on what he saw.”
In Kifaayatul-Hajjah Sharhus-Sunan Ibn Maajah As-Sindee rahimahullaah said: “It is, when there is love between two, then that love will not be increased by anything among the various types of means of drawing nearer, nor will anything make it last, like the marriage tie. So if they are married with that love, then the love will increase and become stronger with every day.”
It should be clear from the statements of these scholars that the objective here is to observe that when two people feel an attraction for each other – especially a physical one that instills the desire in their hearts to have relations – then there is nothing that is better for them than to get married.
And, that, as al-Munawi noted, this desire itself is a sufficient sign that it is time to get married to each other, as opposed to the long drawn out micro-management planning that is common today.
All of this is obvious, because when two people desire to marry each other, and there is no legal reason to prevent them, then they should not delay in doing so unduly, and all of the Shari’ah texts indicate exhortation for marriage whenever one is able to do so, and in this, that man is not able to bear the burden of such desire, so marriage has been made lawful to facilitate that, to remove the burden.
And this meaning is explained in one of its versions of the narration recorded by ‘Abdur-Razzaaq, in mursal form, and it’s Isnaad (chain) is saheeh (authentic), that Ibrahim bin Maysarah said: “A young man proposed to a woman whom he “loved” but they refused to marry her to him, so I asked Tawoos about that, and he said: “Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said…’” and he mentioned it, and afterwards Ibrahim said: “And he ordered me to marry.”
Regarding Allah’s saying (which means):
“Allah wants to lighten [the burden] for you, and man was created weak.”
As preceded – since Allah mentioned that He wanted to lighten that burden, if He had not done so, it would be heavy, due to man’s weakness, and he would not be able to bear it, and that would not be just.
So Allah has lightened the burden of desire from people, out of His justice and care for His creatures, making marriage lawful for them, and there being nothing better for two attracted to each other than it. So who is it that would make unlawful what Allah has made lawful? And who is it that would place a burden on one whom Allah has lifted a burden from, except an oppressor?
Then, one may find that people want to use this hadeeth to prove that a man and a woman should get to know each other well prior to marriage, for how else could they love each other prior to it?
And it should be clear from the commentary that the meaning of “love” in the hadeeth is desire, not the complicated concept of love that modern people intend.
So a man loves bread, and his love of his bread is similar, and at the same time not similar, to his love of his wife. When he is hungry and he sees bread, his desire to consume it increases until he does so. And yet, we call that, “love” of bread.
This is the type of love that is common through out this topic, it is present in the aforementioned hadeeth, and it is present in the man when he sees bread.
But man’s love for bread does not increase after he consumed it, while marriage causes love to grow.
So the love that comes from marriage is not the same as the love (i.e. desire) before it. And this is obvious and common in normal speech.
Conversely, the modern evil concepts of marriage dictate, “We must get to know each other well prior to marriage.” While this has nothing to do with love, but “getting to know.” And knowing something is not the same as loving something. Then, it is no secret what this concept leads to, and even among Muslims.
So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not say: “I have not seen anything for two who love each other like fornication.”
Rather, he said: “Marriage.”
That is, marriage increases love and is from the various ways of attaining perfection, while fornication will only lead to anguish and humiliation in this life and in the Hereafter.
And Allah Knows Best!
Complied by: ‘Abdur-Rahman Abu Ruqayyah Aali Hayes, On Sunday the 8th of Sha’baan 1429 AH, Corresponding to August 10, 2008