Believers know that since Allah created them, only He is worthy of their love, closeness, and devotion. After creating them out of nothing, Allah has continued to meet all of their physical and spiritual needs by creating countless blessings for everyone. Furthermore, as long as people have faith in and obey Him, Allah will reward them with a great and eternal blessing in both worlds, along with love and approval in His sight. He bestows all of these things for no return, as a mercy and blessing from His presence. Given this, how can any other member of creation be worthy of a person’s love and devotion?
One cause of love is the interest and awe felt when confronted with the beloved’s superior and beautiful features. When this interest and awe is returned, the relationship turns into a powerful bond of affection. The important point here, however, is to determine to whom this superiority and beauty actually belong and then to turn these feelings of interest and awe in the proper direction: Allah is the source and true Lord of all beauty, superiority, and exalted titles. The titles that may appear to be inherent in His creations are actually nothing more than very minor manifestations of His infinite titles and, in fact, belong to Him alone. Thus, given that Allah manifests Himself in His servants, any love that one feels should be felt for Allah alone. If this is not the case, the person has ascribed equals to Allah.
Of course it is not wrong to feel love. What is wrong, however, is to forget Allah and bind oneself, with passion and fanaticism, to that which is not Him or to abandon those things of which He approves and finds pleasing. When looked at through the eyes of faith, all beauty possessed by human beings is understood to belong to Allah. Those who realize this naturally turn to Him and are aware that by loving the other person, they actually love Allah. Idolatrous love, however, is quite different:
He (Ibrahim) said: “You have adopted idols apart from Allah as tokens of mutual affection in this world. But then on the Day of Rising, you will reject and curse each other. The Fire will be your shelter. You will have no helpers.” (Surat al-‘Ankabut: 25)
This bond of love will turn into hatred and mutual rejection, because these man-made idols to which people became attached through emotional bonds will bring them chastisement in the Hereafter. No one who takes Allah as his or her Only God can love any other thing or person as much as or more than he or she loves Allah. As for the idolaters, the Qur’an says:
Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe have greater love for Allah. If only you could see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that truly all strength belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment. (Surat al-Baqara: 165)
The believers give Allah all of their love, for not doing so would mean that they are not sincere in their faith or lack a proper knowledge of Allah and Islam. Indeed, those who ascribe equals to Allah have a flawed and deficient knowledge and understanding of Him. Unable to establish a sincere closeness to Allah and appreciate Him as they should, they direct their love toward that which is not Him.
Here it will be useful to concentrate upon the male-female relationship, the tightest and most frequently observed form of idolatrous love. In these relationships, any devotion and togetherness constructed independently of Allah’s approval is a major cause of deviation into idolatry. Thus, they are usually based on romanticism, emotionality, and mutual benefit, for one person is seeking the other person’s approval. Not hesitating even for a moment about transgressing the bounds Allah set for humanity in order to please each other, they direct the love bestowed upon them by Allah toward each other and soon forget Him. The result is people who fulfill all duties to each other, instead of to Allah, and who regard each other as independent entities. The Qur’an describes such relationships as mutual worship and deifying the other person.
The Qur’an notes the passion-filled love felt toward women in such relationships. If this love causes the man to forget Allah or to not remember Him as is His due, if he prefers his love of the woman over and above his love for Allah, and if it replaces his love for Allah in his heart, he is heading toward idolatry. The same is true for the female member of this relationship. The Qur’an tells us that such a love, which society considers “innocent,” is not pleasing to Allah:
What they call on apart from Him are female idols. What they call on is an arrogant satan. (Surat an-Nisa’: 117)
Society calls this idolatrous love true love, romantic, and pure emotion; it even praises and encourages it. Since this romantic propaganda hinders the development of young people’s minds and consciousness, generations emerge that are unaware of religion, faith, or the reason for their creation. Never having known Allah, they feel no love, fear, or respect for Him. In their eyes, idolatry is a natural form of behavior, an acceptable lifestyle. Of course people may love and be affectionate toward each other, but they must not do so independently of Allah. Apart from this, and as long as their love is based on their love of Allah, they are among those people whom the Qur’an says are “devoted, passionate, of like age” (Surat al-Waqi‘a: 37) in Paradise. Thus, this model is legitimate.
The love felt by believers is a transparent, radiant one that gives ease to the heart, for it is addressed to Allah.
Those who say, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then go straight will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al-Ahqaf: 13)2009-04-21 14:57:37