Accueil English pages Articles written The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 6- The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 6- The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
English - Articles written
Écrit par Omneya Nabil Muhammad Ayad   
Jeudi, 22 Mai 2014 00:00
Index de l'article
The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path
Chapter 1 : Introduction
Literature Review
Martin Lings'' Work on Shaykh al-‘Alawī
Thesis purpose
Primary Sources
Historical brief on the French Colonialism in Algeria (1830-1900) and the role of the Sufi orders in Algeria
Brief Biography on Shaykh al-‘Alawī
A comprehensive list of all the written books of Shaykh al-‘Alawī
History of the al-‘Alawī Sufi Order
Chapter Two : The Historical Background of the Sufi Spiritual Stages in Major Works
The History of the Development of the Spiritual Stages in Major Sufi Works
1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba):
2- The Spiritual Station of Satisfaction and Submission (al-Riḍa wa-l- Taslīm)
3- The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)
4- The spiritual station of Poverty (al-Faqr):
5- The spiritual station of Sincerity (al-Ikhlās)
6- The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
7- The Spiritual Station of Oneness (al-Tawhīd)
Chapter 3 : The Sufi Spiritual Stages in the Work of Shaykh al-‘Alawī
1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba)
2-The Spiritual Station of Satisfaction and Submission (al-Rida wa-l- Taslīm)
3-The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)
4-The spiritual station of Poverty (al-Faqr)
5-The spiritual station of Sincerity (Ikhlās)
6-The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
7-The Spiritual Station of Oneness (al Tawhīd)
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6- The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)

In the Arabic dictionary the term love or ḥubb is the opposite of hatred and the definition of love is amicability and cordiality.149 Al-Kāshānī stated that in Sufi terms love indicates a state of delight for witnessing God and the attachment of the heart to Him while distancing from all creatures as the wayfarer stands still at the doorsteps of the beloved not paying attention to anyone else. The signs of this state of love is indulging in the pleasure of worship forsaking all others as the heart is solely occupied with the constant presence of witnessing the Divine.150

Ibn ‘Arabī defined love as a flowing feeling of purity in the heart unadulterated with the impurity of worldly attachments as the lover in this state has no will or purpose except that of his beloved. Therefore love is an important stage beacause one of God''s attributes is al-wadūd or the All- Loving. It was narrated through Prophet Muhammad that God said, "I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known so I created creation and made Myself known to them so they knew Me". This means that God created creation for Himself and not for us and that is why God associated acts with reward and punishment whereas he associated our worship to Him alone. Worship does not equal acts because acts are created by God so it is part of His creation. Ibn ‘Arabī defined utter love as the love that deafens the ears of the lover from hearing any voice except that of his beloved and blinds his sight from any visions except seeing the beloved and silences his mouth from speaking about anyone except about his beloved.151 This meaning was eloquently written in poetry:

Your image is in my eyes and your remembrance in my mouth
Your residence is in my heart, so where would you hide?152

When it comes to divine love, Ibn ‘Arabī explains further that once the lover gets attached to his Beloved, he becomes in a state of constant witnessing of his Beloved who acts as the food for his soul. Therefore, the more the lover indulges in witnessing his Beloved, the more love grows in his heart. Thus meeting the Beloved does not quench the fire of longing in the lover''s heart but rather increases it and the more the lover looks at his Beloved the more he misses him and loves Him during His presence.153
This meaning was eloquently stated in poetry:

It is of wonder that I long for them  and ask passionately about them
While they are with me  and my eyes cry for them while they are its apple
And my heart yearns for them  while they are in my ribs154

Shaykh al-Harawī in his Manāzil defined divine love to be the attachment of the heart with zeal and pleasure in the company of its beloved. Afīf al-Dīn al-Tilmisāni explained the reason for the springing of divine love in the heart of the lover and believed that it is due to the apparent sparkling beauty of the beloved behind the veils of the unseen. When this sparkling beauty turns to a radiant flame, it penetrates right through the heart of the lover and tightly connects it to the beloved. 155

The second category represents the beloved ones who are residing in the divine presence of their Lord enjoying constant proximity and witness of Him. Ibn ''Attāillah mentioned this type in his aphorism in which he said: "God makes some people abide in the service of Him (likhidmatihi) and He singles out others to love Him (bi-maḥabbatihi).156

Shaykh Ibn ‘Ajība commented on this aphorism by saying that there are two kinds of worshippers; the first kind includes those whom God turned towards his service. Some of them resort to deserts to spend the night in prayers and the days in fasting, and some of them God directed towards establishing His religion and preserving its sacred law and these are the scholars and the righteous people. The other kind of worshippers are those that God chose for knowing Him; these are the well versed Gnostics who experienced the path to God and achieved their desired destination. There is a huge difference between the two kinds because the people of service demand compensation in return of labor whereas the people of knowledge lift the veil of separation. The people of service take their compensation behind the door and those of knowledge spend their time conversing with their beloved. The people of service have blocking veils between them and God and for the people of knowledge the veils are lifted up.157

The difference between the lover and the beloved or the wanted and the one who wants is explained by Shaykh Abū-l- Hassan al-Daylamī when he drew a comparison between Prophet Muhammad who represents al-murād or the wanted and Prophet Moses who represents al-murīd or the one who wants. Prophet Muhammad was lifted up to heaven to see God with no exhaustion and no prior request whereas Moses asked to see God and was struck and kneeled down in remorse. 158

Al-Qushairī quoted a Sufi poet saying,

I am amazed at one who says, "I remembered my love."
How might I forget so I would remember what I forgot
I die if I remembered you and then become alive
And if it weren’t for my hopes I wouldn’t be alive
I drank cup after cup of love but the cup kept
Brimming over and my thirst remained

This is echoed by al-Hallāj (d. 903 H. 922 CE)159 when his two hands were cut off, he said:

I didn''t submit myself to calamities to ruin it…except for my knowledge that connection will revive it…the soul of a lover is patiently enduring pain….for one day the One who made it ill may cure it again…

Shaykh Abu-l- Hassan al-Daylamī explained in his book ''Atf al-Alif al-Malūf ''ala allām al-Ma''tūf that the lover prefers death over life because he wants to remain close to his beloved and this proximity is only attained by meeting Him and His encounter occurs only through annihilation and once the lover realizes this fact his annihilation with proximity is more preferable than staying alive with distance. Annihilation with proximity is connection and remaining alive with distance is separation. For this reason God said to Moses: "O Moses once anyone sees Me, he dies" so Moses said "O God I see You and die is more loved to me than not to see you and live".160

The second sign of a true lover is to have constant longing (shawq) and pleasure in God''s company (al-uns). Longing and yearning belong to the beginners of the path to God whereas serenity and contentment with God are the characteristics of the Gnostics who come close to the end of the path. Al-Ghazalī mentioned two categories of longing (shawq): the first type ends in the hereafter where the wayfarer sees and meets his Lord. The second type of longing nither has an ending in this life nor the next one. The ending of this type of longing necessitates that God reveals His attributes of majesty and beauty along with His actions and wisdom behind them and that is impossible because God''s attributes and actions are endless. 161

In the same regard, al-Junayd was asked by a group of Sheikhs about love and al-Junayd was the youngest of them, so he lowered his head and started tearing and then said: "a slave that is annihilated from himself, connected with his remembrance of God, engaged in fulfilling His divine rights, gazing at Him with his heart, his heart is burned with the lights of His Essence and his drink is purified with the glass of His intimacy, and the All Powerful revealed Himself from the veils of the unseen, so if this slave talked, it would be by God and if he moved it would be with His order and if he stood still, he is with God so he is by God and with God and for God". The sheikhs cried in response and said: "after this, there is no more to say".162

Shaykh al-Daylamī quoted Samnūn (d. 298 H. 910 CE)163 saying,

I never found among worshippers… a lover who was prevented from his love and remained indifferent…as for me my Master I see deprivation as giving…out of my confidence in You and Your good selection for me… I am running out of patience in the full sense of the word … and I swear with Your love, I never asked you to make me patient…164

Al-Qushairī in his Risāla referred to the degrees of love through quoting Yahyah Ibn Mu''ādh when he wrote to Abu Yazīd al-Bisṭāmī saying: "I am drunk because of the huge amount I drank from his cup of love". So al-Bisṭāmī replied saying: "Someone else drank the seas of heavens and earth and his thirst is not quenched. His tongue is hanging out and he is pleading, "Is there any more?".165

This was echoed by Ibn ''Attāillah in his aphorism when he said: " the one who lost You, what did he find? And the one who found You, what did he lose? the one who turns away from You is at a total loss". Ibn ‘Ajība commented on this aphorism saying that when the Lord allows the wayfarer to stand before his door and then the wayfarer seeks the door of someone else then he is a loser. It makes no sense to seek refuge in a helpless servant and turn away from the All Sufficient Master.166

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