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Shawwal 23 Wednesday Hijrah 1443
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Title – The Message   Preface   Arabian Peninsula the Cradle of Islamic Culture   Arabia before Islam   Conditions of Roman and Iranian Empires   Ancestors of the Prophet   Birth of the Prophet   Childhood of the Prophet   Rejoining the Family   Period of Youth   From Shepherd to Merchant   From Marriage up to Prophethood   The First Manifestation of Reality   The First Revelation   Who were the First Persons to Embrace Islam?   Cessation of revelation   General Invitation   Judgement of Quraysh about the Holy Qur’an   The First Migration   Rusty Weapons   The Fiction of Gharaniq   Economic Blockade   Death of Abu Talib   Me’raj – The Heavenly Ascension   Journey to Ta’if   The Agreement of Aqabah   The Event of Migration   The Events of the First Year of Migration   Some Events of the First and Second years of Migration   The Events of the Second Year of Migration   Change of Qiblah   The Battle of Badr   Dangerous Designs of the Jews   The Events of the Third Year of Migration   The Events of the Third and Fourth years of Migration   The Jews Quit the Zone of Islam   The Events of the Fourth Year of Migration   The Events of the Fifth Year Of Migration   The Battle of Ahzab   The Last Stage of Mischief   The Events of the Fifth and Sixth years of Migration   The events of the Sixth Year of Migration   A Religious and Political Journey   The Events of the Seventh Year of Migration   Fort of Khayber the Centre of Danger   The Story of Fadak   The Lapsed ‘Umrah   The Events of the Eighth Year of Migration   The Battle of Zatus Salasil   The Conquest of Makkah   The Battle of Hunayn   The Battle of Ta’if   The Famous Panegyric of Ka’b Bin Zuhayr   The Events of the Ninth Year of Migration   The Battle of Tabuk   The Deputation of Thaqif goes to Madina   The Prophet Mourning for his Son   Eradication of Idol-Worship in Arabia   Representatives of Najran in Madina   The Events of the Tenth Year of Migration   The Farewell Hajj   Islam is completed by the Appointment of Successor   The Events of the Eleventh Year of Migration   A Will which was not written   The Last Hours of the Prophet  

Chapter 4: Breaking down the Barriers

Love brings man out from egoism and self-love, irrespective of what kind of love it is – animal and sexual, animal and parental, or human – and irrespective of what qualities and excellences the loved-one has, whether bold and valiant, artistic or wise, or whether he or she be in possession of a fine morality, social graces or other special attributes. Self-love is a limitation and a defensive barrier; love completely breaks down this defensive barrier to other than the self. Man is weak until he has gone outside his own self, he is timid, avaricious, covetous, misanthropic, and quick tempered, selfish and arrogant; his spirit gives out no spark or brilliancy, it has no vivacity or animation, it is always cold and cut off. However, as soon as he takes a step outside his “self” and breaks down his defensive barriers, these ugly habits and qualities are also destroyed.

“Whoever’s garment is torn by love is entirely cleansed of covetousness or blemish.”11

Self-love, in the sense of something which must be eliminated, is not something which really exists. What we mean is that it is not a real, existing fondness for himself which man must do away with so that he can become liberated from “self-love”. It makes no sense for a human being to try not to like himself; esteem for oneself which we can call “amour-propre” has not been mistakenly overlooked so that we have to throw that out. The reform and perfecting of man does not mean that, let us suppose, a series of extraneous matters in his existence are thought up and then that these extraneous and detrimental things must be eliminated. In other words the reform of man does not lie in reducing him, it lies in perfecting and adding to him. The responsibility that creation has assigned to man’s charge is in the direction of the course of creation, that is, in perfection and growth, not in decrease and reduction.

The struggle with self-love is the struggle with the limitations of the self. This self must be expanded; this defensive structure, which has been placed round the self and which sees every other thing, apart from what is connected to itself as a person or an individual, as foreign, “not me”, and alien to itself, must be broken down. The personality must expand to take in every other human being, if not the whole of the universe of creation. Thus the struggle with self-love is the struggle with the limitations of the self; and therefore self-love is nothing else but a limitation of the conceptual and motivational process. Love turns man’s affections and drives towards what is outside his self; it enlarges his existence and changes the focal point of his being. For the same reason, love is a great moral and educative factor, on condition that it is well guided and is correctly used.

Notes:

11. Rumi, Mathnavi, bk. l

 

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