Friday, 15 August 2014

Unrequited Love & Shifa'

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is a swuhbah by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf at the RIS 2008 programme in Canada.  This is a beautiful on love, unrequited love and shifa’.

Barirah mawla ‘Aishah (r.a.) was a woman that ‘Aishah (r.a.) purchased and then set free.  Barirah (r.a.) was married to another slave named Mughits (r.a.).  If two slaves were married and then the woman was freed, then she could leave her husband if she wanted to because now, she was free and the husband was not, so there is no parity between them.

Barirah (r.a.) wanted to leave Mughits (r.a.), but he loved her.  He went into total distress, and he was literally walking behind her around Madina, begging her to take him back.

‘Abbas (r.a.) was with the Prophet (s.a.w.) one day and they saw Barirah (r.a.), and the Prophet (s.a.w.) remarked, “Isn’t it strange how much Mughits loves Barirah, and how much Barirah dislikes Mughits?”

The ‘ulama say that when the Prophet (s.a.w.) said “Isn’t it strange”, the Arabs use the word ‘strange’ only when the cause of something is unknown.  The Arabs saw no need for something to be called ‘strange’ if the cause is known.  So the Prophet (s.a.w.) was pointing out to ‘Abbas (r.a.) the strangeness of love.  Love is very strange.  Why do people fall in love?  Why are our hearts are attracted to some people and not other people?  Why love is sometimes unrequited?  Because the worst type of love is unrequited love: when you love somebody and they do not love you – there is nothing worse than that in the world.

The worst type of unrequited love is with Allah (s.w.t.), because we want the Love of Allah (s.w.t.). That is why Shaykh Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.), the shaykh of Shaykh ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.) ) use to say, “Oh Allah!  Make my wrong actions, the wrong actions of people whom You Love, and do not make my good actions, the good actions of people whom You do not Love.”  In other words, he would rather be wrong and be someone whom Allah (s.w.t.) Loves, than have good actions and be someone whom He did not Love.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) went to Barirah (r.a.), and he said: “Will you not reconsider Mughits?”

And she replied, “Are you telling me to do this, because if you are, then I have to do it.”

He replied: “I am only interceding on his behalf.”  And that is his shifa’.  The Prophet (s.a.w.) saw Mughits (r.a.) suffering and he wanted to help him.  That shows us his shafaqah, for even in love he wanted to help this poor man who was suffering from the loss of his love.

When the Prophet (s.a.w.) replied that he was only interceding, Barirah (r.a.) said, “I don’t have any need for him”.  So there was something arrogant in her answer, as she was free and he was still a slave.  There was something there from her nafs.

When Mughits (r.a.) saw that Barirah (r.a.) rejected intercession from the one that even Allah (s.w.t.) had Given intercession, Mughits (r.a.) suddenly lost all desire for her.  That love was Taken out of his heart.  And at the point when he lost all desire for Barirah (r.a.), she fell madly in love with him, like a punishment for rejecting the intercession of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  He did not want anything to do with her, yet she was the one now begging him to take her back.


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