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Mawlana, who considered every kind of perfection in love only,
wrote all his works on love. For, love is the basis and essence of life.
The reason for the creation of the universe is love. Furthermore,
God's saying. "If you were not, if you were not, I would not have
created those skies" indicates that the sole purpose of creating the
universe is God's love for the Prophet Muhammad. Since the origin
of the creation is love. Love of God, which is the highest point of life,
is the most precious thing. Starting from this point, Mawlana
pronounced this divine love in thousands of verses. It is possible to
classify his thoughts on love under four headings; comparison
between intellect and love; ascendancy and value of love; invalidity
of love which is for mortal beings; and finally, the pitiable situation
of those who have not a share in love.
In Sufi thought, intellect and science are incompetent in
comprehending metaphysical realities. They may lead a man to a
certain point, but not to the target. However, if a man has wings of
love, he becomes lofty in a way that he can never imagine. Just as
was the case in the night journey (Mi'raj ) in which the Prophet
Muhammad is related to have ascended from Jerusalem to Heaven,
after having been conveyed to the former from Mecca upon the best
named at-buraq)... In that holy night, while the Prophet and Gabriel
were ascending through the levels of the sky, Gabriel stopped
suddenly when they arrived in Sidrat al-Munteha (the lote-tree in the
Seventh Heaven, beyond which neither angel nor prophet passes,
and which shades the water and Paradise) and said, " I will burn up if
I go a step further". But the Prophet Muhammad passed the Sidrah
and came closer to God; now he was at a point of "aw adna" (The
Qur'an, 53/9), which is the last point of being closer to God. Sidrat
al-Munteha is the last point where angels and prophets could go. In
another words, it is the place where everything ends except the
Divine Order (Amr-i Ilahi). So, Sufis consider Gabriel as the symbol of
human conception, science and intellect, and the Prophet
Muhammad as the pattern of heart and love that transcends the
restricted limits of science and intellect.
He points this as follows;
"When a man's understanding has been his teacher, after this
the understanding becomes his pupil.
The understanding says, like Gabriel, 'O Ahmad (Muhammad), if I
take one (more) step, it will burn me;
Leave me, henceforth advance (alone): this is my limit, O Sultan
of the soul!" (Mathnawi, 1/II12-14)
Hence, Mawlana considered love as a state of which every Sufi
must have experience. He is of the opinion that the heart that is
drowned in God, the Beloved One, with love is precious and
preferable. (Mathnawi, 1/1853). Man, like Gabriel, cannot reach God
with his intellect, and stops on the half way. If we consider the
distance between God and man as a sea, then intellect is a swimmer
in that sea, and love is a ship. Swimming is a pleasant thing, but not
enough for a voyage. The swimmer might get tired and be drowned
at the end, but he who boards the ship reaches his goal (Mathnawi.
On the other hand, it is a very tiring work to reach God with the
renunciation of the world (zuhd) and devoutness (taqwa) only.
Perhaps, one man in many may achieve this. Thus, this is stated in
the following prophetic saying: "Abu Bakr (the second caliph after
the Prophet Muhammad) was not considered as superior over the
other people because of his fasting and voluntary contribution of his
almsgiving only. On the contrary, he was honored by his strong
belief (iman) in his heart." As was stated in this Prophetic saying,
Abu Bakr is superior to others not only for his prayers and fastings,
but his being lost in love of God. Daily prayers, fastings and
almsgivings are being put in the scale in the Day of Judgement. But
when the Divine love is being put in the scale, it does not fit into it.
Hence the essential thing is love. (Fihi Mafih, 325-326).
As a matter of fact, the nature of this love cannot be explained
by words, and squeezed between lines. Those who taste it can only
appreciate its value:
Someone asked, "What is love?". I answered, "you will know
when you become (lost in) me!" (Majalis-i Sab'a, 82).
Mawlana's saying "You will know when you become (lost in) me!"
states that the final stage of reaching God, that is, to know, find,
become (God)' is only realized by love. Science and intellect may
lead to the stage of knowing only. Again Mathnawi says:
"Whatever I say in exposition and explanation of Love, when I
come to Love (itself) I am ashamed of that (explanation).
Whilst the pen was making haste in writing, it split upon itself as
soon as it came to Love.
In expounding it (Love), the intellect lay down (helplessly) like an
ass in the mud; it was Love (alone) that uttered the explanation of
love and lover hood.
The proof of the sun is the sun (himself); if you require the proof,
do not avert your face from him."
In the above lines, it is understood that love cannot be described
by words, and it is stressed once again that intellect is helpless.
Mawlana stated in Mathnawi that he whose garment was rent by
a mighty love was purged of covetousness and all defect; and love
was the physician of all our ills and the remedy of our pride and
vainglory; an also the earthly body soared the skies through love. By
so saying, he clearly indicates that man was cleared off pride,
worldly desire, envy, grudge, and many other evil habits through
Divine Love only. If those who knew the spiritual world were in the
majority in a society, all worldly worries and defects would be
removed. On the other hand, Mawlana advised that just as a man
learned a trade to earn a livelihood for the body, we should learn
trade to earn the Hereafter, that is, God's forgiveness, again, the
earnings of religion were love. (Mathnawi, II/2592-2603).
As Yunus Emre said, "The sect of love is a religion to me,"
Mawlana", too, said:
"Our Prophet's way is Love,
We are the sons of Love; our mother is Love."
So Mawlana indicates that the essence of the four orthodox sects
(namely. The Hanafism, Shafism, Hanbalism, Malikism) is love. What
we understood from this is that those who follow the rituals of the
religion only are the ones who are not aware of its essence, and
busy with the husk. In fact, man must include love in his prayers,
and worship God with great sincerity and intimacy.
Mawlana calls the love of God as a real love only:
"Those loves which are for the sake of a colour (outward beauty)
are not love: in the end they are a disgrace." (Mathnawi, 1/214)
"Because the 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 in the sight of eternal Divine Love..
Choose the love of the Living One who is everlasting, who gives
you to drink of the wine that increases life.
Choose the love of Him from whose love all the prophets gained
power and glory.
Do not say. "We have no admission to that King." Dealings with
the generous are not difficult." (Mathnawi, 1/226-230)
"The lovers of the whole are not those who love the part: he that
longed for the part failed to attain unto the whole" (Mathnawi.
1/2903). With the latter verse, Mawlana indicates that the lovers of
God do not appreciate anything but God only, and that those who
direct their love to the worldly things are deprived of God's love.
However, sometimes there might be exceptions of this. If a man is
decisive, sincere and faithful in his love for the mortal, then this
metaphorical love might lead him to the true love, that is, the Divine
"If the lover of that (false) conception be sincere, that metaphor
(unreal judgement) will lead him to the reality." (Mathnawi, 1/2861)
There is similar example of this in the Islamic literatures. Majnun
set out for his love of Laila. but he finally reached the love of God.
But if a man has no share of love, whether it is metaphorical or
true. Mawlana reprimands him severely:
"Since you do not fall in love, go and weave...
You have a lot to do. and your body and face have hundreds of
Since there is no wine of love in your skull.
Go, and lick the dishes of rich people in the kitchen... "
"When love has no care for him. he is left as a bird without
wings. Alas for him then!" (Mathnawi, 1/31)
Mawlana who found out that the essence of creation and man's
exaltation of his worldly body was in love alone, never considered a
loveless life as a real life:
"Luck becomes your sweetheart, if it becomes helpful.
Love helps you in your daily routines.
Consider not the loveless life as life.
For, it will be out of consideration."
(Majalis-i Sab'a. 43)
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