Perceiving Love through Soul
Suppose you have been out all day and been in the university or the workplace. You come back home at around 3 pm and it is one of those days when the sun is bent upon scorching your life in the mid of June. You are tired and feeling dizzy. Your mother hands you a glass of water or juice to freshen you up. You are about to doze off on the sofa; your body aching, when you hear the voice of your mother: “Beta, my medicine has finished. Could you please make an errand to the chemist?” “Why didn’t you tell me when I was coming?” you reply curtly. “I just remembered that my medicine is finished”, she replies with an apologetic look in her eyes. At first, you are annoyed. You think as you would have to walk about 2 miles in the 45 C, you must surely be dead when you come back. But nevertheless, you head for the market. Now when you walk on the asphalt with every inch of your body burning, there are two opposing thoughts in your mind. One tells you to go back now and tell your mother that you will bring the medicine in the evening; after a good relaxing nap. The other makes you think of the consequences if the medicine is not taken now. What if she gets the migraine attack while I sleep? You shiver just at the thought of it because you just can’t let that happen. You at once decide that the medicine has to be brought now and suddenly the heat becomes bearable. Your weariness has vanished momentarily. You come back with the medicine but along with it, you are now relieved that your mother shall be alright. This sacrifice of your comfort for the comfort of your mother denotes one thing and one thing only: Your unwavering LOVE for your dear mother.
Now, substitute God in place of your mother and think that when the call for the prayers is made, do you have that unwavering love for God to stand up and walk to the mosque? Some pray to God because they fear His wrath, some pray for reward but the best of all is the obedience based upon the Love for God. Love, we all know is a trait that does not rely upon logic. You have to feel it for yourself. Nobody can force you to love someone or something. Jalaluddin Rumi was of the view that eyes are the door through which the city of heart can be entered. God mentions in Quran to protect your eyes, ears and tongue for whatever enters your eyes and ears, makes its way to heart. For example, it is not that we just grew up to love watching movies, but in fact we spent a lot of time on them in our childhood that we now just can’t spend a week without watching one (and some can’t even spend a day). Similarly if we recite the Quran everyday by tongue, while looking at the verses and hearing our own recitation, soon our heart would fill with the remembrance of the One who is Most Exalted. My recommendation would be to also start reading the stories of Prophets (A.S) and the Companions (R.A) of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). A common problem that occurs when you study the life of the Prophets (A.S.) especially Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) is that you think you already know the whole story as it was the part of our compulsory Islamic Studies subject in high school. We know the whole story surely but what we don’t know is that now we are more mature to understand the intensity of the incidents epitomizing the love of Allah. Especially the spiritual aspect of each incident is noteworthy. I suggest reading “Muhammad- Man of God” by Syed Hossein Nasr to explore the spiritual aspect of life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Another thing I suggest is to look up the verses in Quran in which “heart” is mentioned. You will be amazed at the level of emphasis upon it. In the end, here is an example for your inspiration, of Prophet Ibrahim’s (A.S.) exemplary love for the Beloved:
Once when Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) was grazing his flock of sheep, a man passed by loudly reciting the words in praise of Allah (SWT):
Glorified is the Master of the Earthly and heavenly kingdoms. Glorified is the Honored One, the Exalted One, the Venerated One, the Powerful One, the Magnificent One, and the Omnipotent One.
When Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) heard his Beloved (SWT) praised with such beautiful words, his heart leaped in exultation. He requested the man to kindly recite the words one more time. The man asked what he would give him in return. Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) replied that he would give half of his flock of sheep. The man complied and repeated the words. Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) was so captivated by these beautiful words that he asked him to repeat the words again. The man asked what he would be given in exchange this time. Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) replied that he would give the remaining half of the flock. The man complied and repeated the words for a third time. Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) was so overcome with ecstasy by these words that he once again implored the man to repeat his words. The man responded, “You have nothing left. Now what will you give me?” Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) replied, “I will tend your sheep forever if you recite these praises of my Beloved (SWT) one more time.” The man then said, “Ibrahim Khalilullah [friend of Allah], I bring you glad tidings. I am an angel sent by Allah (SWT), who told me, ‘Go and take My name before My khalil and see how much he values it.’”