Chapter 49
Love (Mahab-bat)

Allah Almighty has said, Koran [5:54]:
O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him…
Abu Horairah narrated that the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him has said:

“Whomever loves to meet his Lord then the Lord loves to meet him and whomever dislikes to meet the Lord then the Lord dislikes meeting him

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
Allah (mighty and sublime be He) said: Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks…” (Hadith Qodsi 25)
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
If Allah has loved a servant [of His] He calls Gabriel (on whom be peace) and says: I love So-and-so, therefore love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: So Gabriel loves him. Then he (Gabriel) calls out in heaven, saying: Allah loves so-and-so, therefore love him. And the inhabitants of heaven love him. He (the Prophet pbuh) said: Then acceptance is established for him on earth…” (Hadith Qudsi 24)
Imam said. “Love is a noble and lofty state wherein Allah Almighty has caused the slave to eyewitness/experience this condition and Allah has informed all about loving this slave. The Most High Sanctified Lord is then attributed with the love for this slave and the slave is attributed to this love from the Lord.”
For scholars of knowledge Loving (Mahab-bat) is Iraadat (Elan), however the (Sufi) folk do not correlate Loving with Iraadat since it is not Qadim (immemorially preexistent and ancient) except for the one transported (Mahmool) towards the closeness and prostration of the Glorious Lord and on this point we shall provide more research INSHALLAH (by Allah’s Will). [1] 
The decree of loving from Allah is a highly exclusive blessing upon the slave. Just like Allah’s mercy is a decree to provide blessings for the slave. Therefore mercy is a specialized form of a decree and loving a specialized form of mercy. In other words, all the specialized blessings to be endued upon the slave are called Rahmat (Mercry).
The decree to draw close a slave, and all the involved paramount conditions and states, is called Mahab-bat (loving) and this is a Sifat (Attribute for both lover and Beloved).
However this closeness may take proximity towards different outcomes and may be called by different names:
  1. Around the vicinity of reckoning it is called Anger (when the slave is close to Allah to give account for evil deeds)
  2. Reaching the proximity of general blessings is called Rahmat (mercy)
  3. Exclusive nearness to Allah is called Mahab-bat (loving)
And some say since the Divine Love for a slave is by means of edicts, praises and adoration (for the slave by Beloved) therefore loving is by means of Kalaam (Divine Epithet or words). And since Its (Lord’s) words are Qadim (immemorially preexistent) therefore love is attributed to Qadim as well. [2] 
Some said that Its Mahab-bat (Loving) is a Sifat (attribute) of Its actions and is a peculiar and exclusive goodness bestowed upon the slave. An unusual and singular condition for the slave (to near the Beloved) as some people said it is a blessing from Allah the friendship extended to the slave.
Some people of Salaf said Its Mahab-bat (loving) is a Sifat (attribute of God) and they halt at this statement with no further explication. The reason for the halt is: all that fits within our minds with regards to attribute of loving e.g. desire, jubilee and whatsoever states and conditions that accompanies the lover and the created beloved beings (examples of worldly lovers), the Supreme Immemorial (Qadim) Creator is afar away and pure from them.
But the divine love is a gracious state that the slave finds within the heart. This state imbues within the slave the propensity and inclination to prostrate himself in order to win Its satisfaction, impatiently enduring the separation from It, jubilee while nearing towards It, restlessness and anxiety to be with other than It and finally finding the affectionate intimacy subsisting upon Its remembrance within the heart.
Divine Loving (love from Beloved) is not based upon any desire or benefit (like pleasure), how could it be? Since the Certainty of Its Holy Omnipotence and Sanctified Needlessness leaves it out of the domain of needful loving. Vice-a-versa the lover prefers to be annihilated within the Beloved rather than being accused of seeking gain from It (Lover finds nothing more worthy other than the Beloved in this love affair).
No one can explicate Mahab-bat (Loving) nor can find borders for its boundlessness to elucidate, better than the actual loving (or what love is intrinsically within us). No matter what paragon embodiment of concept is proposed it always fails with problems. And once these problematic issues arise further discussions do not avail. And many people have spoken about love and its linguistic origins.
Some said the word Hobb (love) comes from the purity of affection since Arabs call pristine white tooth “Haba-bol Asnaan”. (Hence the pristine pure love is called Hobb in Arabic)
Some said it is derived from “Habaab Maa’” which means the bubbles (bubbles) of water (Maa’). (Likened to the bubbles upon the boiling water when someone is about to see his lover, or like the bubbles of rainwater upon a surface while someone thirsting for his beloved)
Or it is derived from stationary firmness like the phrase “Ahab-bal Ba-eer” which in Arabic means firm squatting of the camel (unwilling to walk). And the concept is: within the heart of the lover the remembrance of Beloved is firmly planted and does not leave it (unloved or forgotten). (Or the love of Beloved is like a squatted camel never leaving the heart of the lover)
“Hebb” is the earring with both the stationary part (pierced to the ear) as well as the dangling part. And both meanings apply to Hobb (love). (Entanglement of the two pieces, one the restless piece i.e. the lover and the other the immovable i.e. the Beloved inseparable)
Others said the word comes from “Habb” which is the plural of “Habbah” and phrases like “Hab-bahol Qalb” mean “the heart subsisting upon It”, Habb was called Hobb as the name for Its (Beloved’s) place. (Subsisting here is like putting one’s weight upon a column or foundation so our hearts subsist upon It and the way and experience of this subsisting is via loving and love)
Some said Hobb (love) is derived from the word “Hebbeh” which is a seed that grows in the harsh environment of the desert. The reason the Heb made into Hob was to distinguish the seed of life from all other botanical seeds. (Desert seed was chosen because it brings life from the arid lifeless desert. So the universe is likened to the vast desert and love is the seed of all its life biological and spiritual, or the nonbeing is the desert and the desert seed i.e. the love Hebbeh is the seed of all forms of life)
Others said Hob are the sticks of wood placed together like a pyramid to hang the ewers of water. Love has been called Hob since it can simultaneously bear the weight of honor and humiliation imposed by the Beloved.
Others said Hob (love) is derived from a word which means a vessel filled with water and no more can be poured inside it. Once the heart is filled with love nothing else can enter it other than the Beloved.
One of the old sages said Mahab-bat (love) is a desire and inclination for a heart that is perpetually startled to jump after (Beloved).
Another one said Mahah-bat (love) is sacrificing all for the sake of Beloved unconditionally.
It has been said loving is to be in concordance with Beloved whether It is present or absent.
Others said Love is to evanesce and fade out of the Sifat (attributes) of the Self and subsisting firmly upon the essence of the Beloved and the lover’s heart in complete compliance with the will of the Beloved with no doubts or objections whatsoever. 
Some said Love is the curbing of the fear of losing respect by the way of servitude for Beloved.
Bu-Yazid Bastaami said, “Mahab-bat is belittling one’s Self much and magnifying whatever, even if little, from the Beloved”. (Whatever of good that comes out of us to make little and whatever even little from Beloved to be magnified and that is the true state of a lover)
Sahl Bin Abdollah said, “Hob (love) is to throw arms around the neck of obedience (to Beloved) and separating and avoiding disobedience and disagreement (with Beloved)”.  (Throwing arms around the neck to mean willingly and like a friend so far as the obedience (depicted as a friend) is concerned)
Abu Ali Roodbary said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is compliance (with Beloved)”.
Abu Abdollah Qorahi said, “Loving is when you offer everything you have to Beloved and leaving nothing behind for your Self”.
Shebly said, “Love is called Mahab-bat (from Mahboob or Beloved) because in that state of loving anything in the heart except Beloved is evanesced”. (This is classic Shebly! He says the word love comes from Beloved, because in your heart the only thing existing is Beloved and the rest such as love derived from It)
Ibn Ata said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is to endure scolding, anger and hardship that come to the lover (because of his love for Beloved)”. (Enduring heartache is the true act of loving)
I heard from Ostaad (teacher) Abu Ali, “Mahab-bat (loving) is a pleasure which its reality is awe, amazement and bewilderment”. (Beloved’s beauty shocking/perplexing to human lovers)
And again I heard him saying, “Ishq is love going beyond bounds therefore this word is not applied to Allah Almighty because It does not lose control and It has no bounds to be limited by. And even if all the love in the world is accumulate in one heart it cannot go beyond the limits for Divine Beloved since there are no limits of loving for It whatsoever. Therefore Ishq is not a suitable word to attribute to loving between the slave and the Master Creator”
Shebly said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is a peculiar form of jealousy whereby the lover is envious of Beloved loving someone else similar to him”. (This envy causes the Sufi to excel and sacrifice his life in any moment to impress his Beloved in order to overshadow and down play others to get more love from Beloved for himself)
Nasr Abadi said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is the cause to cease the bloodshed and the cause to commence the bloodshed”. “If I truly love the Beloved I can not kill Its loved ones i.e. the other human beings on this planet (thus the cause to cease) and I should be prepared to spill my own blood in all matters of sacrifice to please my Beloved (commencement of bloodshed)
I heard Ibn Ata saying, “Mahab-bat (loving) is the trees of an orchard planted in the heart and they shall bear fruits for as much as the measure of the (spiritual) worth of the person”.
Samnoon said, “Lovers shall reach the status of nobility in this word and the one after” since the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him said, “A man is associated with whom he loves (in both worlds)” Therefore those divinely falling in love are going to be with the Lord.
Yahya Bin Mo-Oz said, “True loving is when it does not diminish by the cruelty of heartache and it does not increase by the loyalty”. (True love is when if Beloved breaks your heart or decrees something that begets you much pain your love unaffected for It, and vice-a-versa if Beloved showers you with blessings and attention you will not love It much more! This means divine love either brim-fills you or is absent)
Moreover he said, “A lover is not truthful claiming Mahab-bat (loving) for It while he does not observe the limits (Hadd)”. (Hadd are religious obligations which limits the social engagement, finance transactions, welfare and warfare engagements of a slave)
Jonaid said, “Once the Mahab-bat (loving) becomes true (perfect), then shall rise the observance for etiquette and politeness (Adab) for Beloved”.
Abu Ya’Qoob Soosy said, “True Mahab-bat (loving) is when the slave forgets his (worldly) share while facing the Lord, and forgets his needs while facing the Lord”. (Meaning stunned by the love and beauty of Beloved the lover (slave) forgets his share of blessings and needs in this world)
Hussein Bin Mansoor said, “True Mahab-bat (loving) is to subsist upon the Beloved by means of severing the Self’s attributes”.
Nasr Abadi was asked, “People say you are devoid of Mahab-bat (loving)”, replied, “Indeed they have said the truth, however I am burning amidst the pining and longing for It”.
Mohammad Bin Al-Fadl said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is the fall of all forms of loving within the heart except for the love of the Beloved”
Jonaid said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is the extreme of the desires (for Beloved)”.
And some said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is an anxiety that befalls the hearts”.
Nasr Abadi said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is inability to stop or exit from loving no matter what the conditions”.
And some said, “Beginning of the Hobb (love) is deception and the end is the slaughter”. (Often the unsuspecting slave (to be lover) falls in love by some tricks from the Beloved and this love affair ends with lover giving up his life to all dangers and affliction for his Beloved i.e. is killed)
I heard from Ostaad(teacher) Abu Ali narrating that the Prophet  Peace Be Upon Him said, “Loving an object makes you blind and deaf” i.e. if you love something/anything other than Beloved you are made blind and deaf to miss Its splendor and glory!?
Hareth Mohasebi said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is a desire and draw towards all things, to sacrifice those things (for Beloved). Complying (with Beloved) so far as the body, life and money are concerned either privately or in public, and openly admitting all wrong is your own (in loving It imperfectly with no fault of Beloved’s)”.
Jonaid said I heard from someone, “True Mahab-bat (loving) does not form between two people until one can not call the other or can not say ‘I’”. (Meaning the two people become one person)
Shebl.y said, “Mohib (lover) is dead once he becomes silent, and Aref is dead once he has spoken”. (Lover can not be silent because constantly praises and brags about the Beloved and Aref once speaks to the people about some knowledge he dies i.e. his teachings are beyond words to people or his impact is felt without any words)
And it has been said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is a fire ablaze within the heart, smoldering all things that do not seek/relate to Beloved”.
Moreover people said, “Mohab-bat (loving) is most potent with humiliation and disgrace and the Beloved does as It wishes whatsoever”.
Noory said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is tearing apart the veils and uncovering the secrets”. (Veils that conceals the Beloved from us)
Bu Yaqoob Soosy said, “Mahab-bat (loving) does not become true and perfect unless the lover comes out of loving and ceases to gaze upon love because his eyes are solely upon the Beloved”. (True love is when love itself is perished and all is left is Beloved)
Ibn Masrooq said that he heard Samnoon lecturing in a mosque about Mahb-bat (loving) when suddenly all the mosque’s lamps were shattered.
Jonaid said, “Each Mahab-bat (loving) is brought about by some cause and once the cause is gone so is the loving”. (If you loved someone and that person is gone but his/her love still within you, that means the love was not caused by the person but by some other source!!!!)
Yahyaa Bin Mo-Oz wrote a letter to Bu Yazid saying, “I have drank so much wine from the Its goblets of Mahab-bat (loving)” and Bu Yazi replied, “Other than you (others) have drank the oceans the skies and the earth and still unquenched and their tongues sticking out (dry) for more” and then versed this poem:
Amazed at the one saying: “I have remembered my Lord”
How could you forget what can not be forgotten
Drinking Mahab-bat goblet over goblet
The wine unfinished and thirst unquenched
God sent a divine revelation to Jesus Peace Be Upon Him saying, “Once I see the slave’s heart devoid of loving for this world and the one after, I shall brim-fill it with my love”.
Some said, “Mahab-bat (loving) is a form of drunkenness that shall not sober up except by gazing upon the Beloved and the drunkenness at the time of perceiving (the Beloved) is beyond any description”.
Bu Ali used to repeat this poem:
My drunkenness and remorse in successions
Something peculiar amongst them by Itself
(Lover sobers ups by beholding the Beloved and immediately falls into another beyond description drunkenness and this repeats on and on like a succession of drunkenness and remorse (sobering) to come out of it and the poet says there is something in between these states. This is the best translation I could add at this time.)
Abu Ali had a housemaid with the name of Firooz and he liked her very much because she served him for many years. One day he was complaining about Firooz, “She annoys me much and is very rude to me”, Abul-Hasan Qaari asked the housemaid, “Why do you bother this old man?” She replied, “Because I love him”. (She was kept for many years and though she was a bothersome person, Abu Ali kept her because the love in her heart and that is the most important thing)
Yahyaa Bin Mo-Oz said, “One particle of love is far more precious to me than 70 years of worship”. (Because love comes directly from Beloved while worship is something from the man himself offered to the Beloved)
A young man on the day of the Eid (festivities) stood on top a roof and yelled this poem:
Dies like this whomsoever dying from Isqh
No goodness in any love except to die from Ishq
And then threw himself off the roof to his death. (The word Isqh is used in place of Mahab-bat in the poem to indicate the madness and boundlessness and savagery of Ishq)
Some said there were two men on a cliff and one was claiming love and affection for the other, “Why do you care for me specially since I have a brother who is a finer and nicer gentleman than I?” (Pointing to some direction) So the man (claiming love) turned his faced to see the so-called finer brother, when suddenly he was pushed off the cliff to his death while the other shouting, “If you claim love for me you should never gaze upon another”. (Loving is a matter of life & death. A lover claiming love is BLIND shall never look upon another to love and the moment that happens, the moment is his death)
Samnoon considers Mahab-bat (loving) precursor to Ma’refat (Cognition of the Self) but people before him considered Ma’refat a precursor to Mahab-bat. For researchers (Mohaq-qiq) Mahab-bat (loving) is annihilation within the pleasures of Ma’refat, perception of bewilderment, obliteration (Fanaa) facing the awe (Haybat) glory and majesty (of the Beloved).
Abu Baker Kattani was on a trip to Makkah where he met the young Jonaid amongst the (Sufi) elders meeting each presenting on Mahab-bat (loving) and when the turn came to Jonaid he lowered his head for some time and then rose with runny eyes, “I have forsaken my Self and reached the Lord by means of perpetual Zikir (Remembrance) standing firm on the heart delivering the rights of the Lord and gazing upon It beholding the rays of Divine Awe (Haybat) smoldering my heart and Its wine made pure by the goblet of Its infinite-loving and uncovered Its Colossus Omnipotence by the causation of Its away-ness and absence. If and when speaking, indeed conversing with the Lord and when moving indeed motioned by Its edict and when resting indeed in tranquil repose by my Lord”. The old sages wept and consensus were no one could surpass or excel Jonaid’s state and he has been given an endowment of blessings from his lord and he was coroneted as the “Crown of Arefaan”. (Arefaan plural for Aref the Sufi with full cognizance of Self)
Some say Allah Almighty sent Divine Inspiration to Prophet David Peace Be Upon Him, “I have forbidden for hearts to contain within, my Love and another love simultaneously”.
It has been said that once Rabe’ah during soliloquy said, “My Lord that heart that is in love with You, You set afire (break)”, when suddenly sang a hidden angel in response, “It is not our doing, suspect us not!” (It is our Beloved Creator who breaks our hearts and no one else in the universe has such an ability and power)
Some said Arabic word Hobb is made up of two Alphabets, ‘HO’ (h with the sound o) and ‘BAA’ (b), which the couple is an Ishaarat (metaphorical hint) towards exiting out of one’s life and body. (An Arabic pun: ‘HO’ is another way of writing/saying ‘It’ and ‘BAA’ is singular alphabet indicating with/by association so the two letters together making up Hobb means ‘WITH IT’)
The majority consensus amongst the nation (Sufis) is that Mahab-bat (loving) is complete conformity, concordance and assent within the heart (between the lover and Beloved). Thus Mahab-bat (loving) is a form of hating which is caused by dislike of being away from Beloved since the lover perpetually desires the closeness to Beloved.
Abu Othmaan Hayri quoted Abu Hafs that much of the world’s corruption comes from three sources:
  1. Deviance and wantonness of Aref by lending his eyes and ears to the worldly affairs and its benefits
  2. Betrayal of Mohib (lover betraying the Beloved) by succumbing to their lusts and desires
  3. Lying of the Morid (seeker on path of love) who was overpowered by the desire of being with the people
[1] Iradaat (Elan) is an object with a time-space coordinate for its commencement and therefore it is not the cause for love since loving is Azali (with no beginning nor cause) as well as Qadim (ancient).
Mahmool derived from the Arabic word Haml or transport/move in English. It refers to lovers of Beloved who are given the gift of being carried with effortlessly on the path of love towards Beloved by no actions or meditations of their own. So to say, they are carried.
[2] In the beginning of the chapter Allah was quoted by saying, “I love so-and-so…” which to the Sufis this means there was preexistent Divine Epithet (Kalaam) which verbosely manifests into the loving in this universe. So both Kalaam and Qadim (ancient) are duly noted by the Sufis as the Divine Verbose Preexistent origins of love or in other words love originated far deep in time-space and away from this universe.

Background: Joseph Mwila, center, is a nine-year-old Zambian boy orphaned by AIDS and suffering from malnutrition. Nonetheless, he often cares for his two-year-old cousin Aaron. His sister sits in the background. Joseph is part of a group of young orphans in northern Zambia who live with their grandmother, Albina Mwila. In Zambia, there are an estimated half a million AIDS orphans, most of them staying with relatives. (Sept. 97)

© 2004-2002,  Dara Shayda