Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Merchants of Hope

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

People come to us for a prayer, or for inspiration.  Perhaps a comforting word.  Sometimes, they only want to talk and need someone to listen and care enough to ask a few questions.  But what do we actually do?  We are merchants of hope.

We try to give their life meaning.  And tell them for every disappointment, the Generosity of Allah (s.w.t.) is so Immense that there is never any loss.  We speak to the broken-hearted because they know us as one of them.  And who is more broken-hearted than the friends of Allah (s.w.t.)?  When Musa (a.s.) asked Allah (s.w.t.) where He was, Allah (s.w.t.) Replied, “I am with the broken-hearted.”

We know loss and pain and sorrow.  Just as our Prophet (s.a.w.) did.  We know what it is to wake up each day so hurt with hearts bleeding.  Yet we still pray and fast and ask from Him without ceasing.  That is hope.  No matter the loss and the pain.  And that is love.  People hope for love.  But they forgot that it takes love to hope.  Because if there is no love, there is only despair.  And the hottest manifestation of it is anger.  And who is more angry and more despairing than Iblis?  Even the people of Hell will still ask God for Forgiveness.  Iblis has despaired of even that.

So are you still angry with Allah (s.w.t.) for what He has done to you?  Of what He has Given or what He has Denied?  Of what you think He has cheated you of?  Never let the whispers influence you no matter the disappointment.  You do not know His Plan.  The only thing you know is that He is the Best of Planners.  If Allah’s (s.w.t.) Plan were anything but Perfect in even the minutest detail, verily the heavens would be torn asunder, the stars would fail and the planets would collide.  Your body would cease to function and all Creation would cease to exist.  He is the Best of Planners.  And the Best of Plans cannot be anything but just with all aspects of Creation.  And all that is because of Love.  For you.

Three Types of Love

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.) has dedicated a complete chapter of his Futuhat al-Makkiya to love, which has been translated by Maurice Gloton as Traité de L’Amour.  He describes 3 types of love: Divine Love, spiritual love and natural love.

“Know that Love is according to three degrees.  Firstly, there is natural love, which is the love of ordinary people, whose aim is unification in the animal spirit…  It ends in the act of physical union, in which the passion of love spreads through the whole body like water permeating wool, or rather, like the permeation of colour in the coloured.

Secondly, there is spiritual love of the soul, whose aim is becoming like the Beloved, accomplishing what is the Beloved’s due and knowing His decree.

Thirdly, there is Divine Love, which is the Love of God for the servant and the love of the servant for God, as in His word: “He loves them and they love Him”.  Its greatest degree occurs in two ways:

According to the first way, the servant sees that he is a place of Manifestation for God, while it is God Who is the Manifest.  This is like the spirit is for the body, its interior, in which it is always invisible and never seen.  So he only sees Him as a Lover.  On the other hand, God may become a place of Manifestation for the servant, so that He is qualified by whatever qualities the servant is qualified by, in terms of limitation, scope and non-essential characteristics, and the servant sees this.  Then he becomes the beloved of God.  As things are as we have said, there is no limit to love, by which it could really be known.  It can be limited in speaking or writing, though not otherwise”.