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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 6: Love and Devotion to Those Close to God


We have said that love is not restricted only to an animal love of a sexual or parental kind. Rather, there is another kind of love and attraction which is situated in a more rarefied atmosphere, and is completely beyond the confines of matter or materiality. It originates from an instinct far above that of the preservation of generations, and is in fact something which separates the universe of man from the universe of animals. This is spiritual, or human, love, falling in love with excellence and goodness, becoming enamored of the virtues of man and the beauty of reality.

“Those loves which are for the sake of a color are not love; in the end they are a disgrace. Since love of the dead is not enduring, because the dead one never comes back to us, (But) love of the living is every moment, fresher than a bud in the spirit and the sight. Choose the love of that living One Who is everlasting, who gives thee to drink of the wine that increases life? Choose the love of Him from Whose love, all the prophets gained power and glory.” 16

And it is love which is mentioned in many of the verses of the Qur’an, especially by the word “mahabbah”, these verses can be placed in several groups:

1. Verses which describe the believers, and speak of the deep devotion and love they have for God or the other believers,

But those that believe love Allah more ardently.” (al Baqarah, 2 :165 )

And those who made their dwelling in the abode, and in belief, before them, love whosoever has emigrated to them not finding in their breasts any need for what they have been given, and preferring others above themselves, even though poverty be their portion.” (al-Hashr, 59:9)

2. Verses which speak of the love of God for believers:

Truly Allah loves those who repent, and He loves those who cleanse themselves.” (al-Baqarah, 2:222)

And Allah loves the good doers.” (Al `Imran, 3 :148 and al-Ma’idah, 5 :13 )

Surely Allah loves those who guard themselves.” (at-Tawbah, 9 : 4 and 7 )

And Allah loves those who cleanse themselves.” (at-Tawbah, 9 :108 )

Surely Allah loves the just.” (al-Hujurat, 49:9 and al-Mumtahinah, 60:8 )

3. Verses which include two-way affections and reciprocal love: the love of God for the believers, the love of the believers for God; and the love of the believers for each other:

Say “if you love Allah, follow me, and-Allah will love you, and forgive you your sins.” (Al `Imran, 3 : 31)

Allah will assuredly bring a people He loves, and who love Him.” (al-Ma’ idah, 5: 54)

Surely those who believe and do deeds of righteousness – unto them the All-merciful shall assign love.” ( Maryam,19:96)

And He has sent between you love and compassion.” (ar-Rum, 30: 21)

And it is love which Ibrahim wanted for his offspring,17 and which the last Prophet also sought by the order of God for his kinsmen.18

From what we have been told from hadith, the spirit and essence of religion is nothing but love. Burayd al-`Ijli said:

“I was in the presence of Imam al-Baqir (as), and there was a traveler from Khurasan who had traversed that long journey on foot. He had the honor of meeting the Imam. His feet, which were showing through his shoes, were cut, and he had taken his shoes off. He said: “By God, the only thing that brought me from whence I have come is love of you, the Household (of the Prophet).”

The Imam said:

“By God, if a stone loved us, God would unite it with us, and join it to us. Is the religion other than love?” 19

A man said to Imam as-Sadiq (as):

“We have named our children after you and your fathers; will this action be of any benefit to us?”

He said:

“Yes, by God; is the religion other than love?” Then he gave the verse “If you love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you as evidence.” 20

Basically, it is love which brings obedience: the lover does not have the power to refuse the wishes of the one he loves. We have seen this with our own eyes when a youth who was in love left everything when faced with his loved one, his beloved, and sacrificed everything for her.

The obedience and worship of God is in proportion to the love which man has for God, as Imam as-Sadiq (as) said:

“Disobey God and show that you love Him; by my life, that is something amazing. If your love were true, you would have obeyed Him, for the lover is submissive before the one whom he loves.”


16. Adapted from Nicholson’s translation of Rumi, Mathnavi, bk. 1

17. Ibrahim, 14:37

18. ash-Shura, 42:23

19. Safinatu ‘l-bihar, vol.l, p.102 (under Hubb).

20. ibid, p.662 (under Sama)

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