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Love as the Highest Reason for Creation

In early kalam (Islamic theology), a heated debate started on the purpose behind God's creations and acts. Some theologians thought that the attribution of reason or purpose to His deeds leads to the assumption that God is in need of His creatures and He creates them to meet some needs, just like a human being who, say, works to earn money, or studies to learn. However the dominant view, especially among those who have had a more rationalistic approach like Nasir ul‑Din al‑Tusi has always been that God is the Wise (hakim), so whatever He does is for some exactly and carefully pre‑studied purposes. He never does something arbitrarily or in vain. It is asserted in the Qur'an that, "What! Did you then think that We had created you in vain...?" (23:115)

Of course, it is clear that God Himself does not gain anything from His creatures, nor from His act of creation. This is not only because He is completely free from any sort of need, but also because it is logically impossible that a given effect would have any type of influence on its (existential) cause. Whatever the effect has is received from the cause and it would be circular to suppose it otherwise. God has not created the universe to make some benefits for Himself, but rather to give benefits. A popular Persian poem says:

"I have not created the creation to get some benefits,

I have created people to show them my generosity."

There is a famous divine saying (hadith qudsi) which can probably be found in all books written about the goal of creation in Islam. According to this hadith, God says: "I was a hidden treasure; I loved to be known. Hence I created the world so that I would be known."(My translation) The Arabic original term for "loved" is derived from the root hubb, which means to like or to love. In other words, hubb is a general concept that can belong to simple things such as preferring some types of food (which in English could be translated as 'would like') or to the most important things in one's life such as the intensive desire for someone or some ideals as the beloved to the extent that one might even be ready to be destroyed in order to please the beloved or secure it. Hubb in such cases can be translated into 'love'. There is another term in the Islamic culture which is sometimes used in Arabic and more commonly in Persian to mean the intensive love i.e. 'ishq :wub: There is also wudd which means mostly friendship and affection.

Thus, a question arises: Why did God love to be known? Certainly, God has no desire for fame. The purpose behind His love to be known is understandable by considering the fact that God who is the Wise, the Compassionate and the Omnipotent creates the universe and particularly human beings to give them the maximum grace and perfection that they have the capacity for receiving. Of course, the perfection of any kind of being is decided by the degree of its similarity or closeness to God, and the most important factors in this are love of God, and prior to that knowledge of God, since there can be no love without knowing the beloved subject. [1]

Since the reason for loving something is nothing other than the apprehension by the lover of the beauty and perfection or more generally the goodness of the beloved, the greatest possible love is certainly the love of God for Himself. God is the most beautiful and the most perfect being and His apprehension of Himself is also the best apprehension, so His love for Himself and His joy are the most intensive ones. Avicenna writes:

"The necessarily existent (Wajib al‑wujud) that has the highest perfection, beauty and brightness and perceives of Himself as so with a complete perception ... is in Himself the greatest lover and the greatest beloved and has the greatest joy ..." [2]

Elsewhere he says:

"The being that has the greatest joy in respect to something is the First (al‑Awwal) in respect to Himself, since He has the greatest understanding and has the greatest perfection." [3]

Sadr ud‑din al‑Shirazi, known as Mulla Sadra and the founder of the school of al‑hikmah al muta'aliyah, makes the same point:

"What causes love is what is received or will be received from the beloved. The higher goodness and more intensive existence the more deserving for being loved and the greater love for goodness. Now the being, which is free from potentiality and contingency, due to its ultimate goodness, has the ultimate level of being loved and the ultimate level of loving. Therefore, His love for Himself is the most perfect love and the most loyal one." [4]

He also adds that since God is the Simple (not compound, without any parts) and Divine attributes are not additional (or accidental) to His essence in existence (the idea which is greatly accepted by Muslim philosophers and the majority of theologians and known as the unity of His essence and His attributes), His love is identical to His essence. In this way, one can justifiably say that He is love as He is knowledge and life.

God's love for the world in general, and human beings in particular is unanimously believed and emphasised by all Muslims. Indeed, one of the God's names is al‑Wadud, He who loves. This is in addition to those names which imply His love for creatures, such as al‑Rahman and al‑Rahim meaning the all‑Compassionate, the all‑Merciful. Every chapter of the Qur'an except chapter 9 (which starts with verses about warning pagans) begins with the phrase: "In the Name of God, the all‑Compassionate, the all‑Merciful". Yet the number of repetition of this phrase in the Qur'an is equal to the number of chapters i.e. 114, since in the chapter 27 this phrase occurs twice. It is noteworthy that although one of the things attributed to God in Islam is the wrath (ghadab), its application is much more limited compared to His mercifulness and love for His creatures. Indeed, His wrath is only for those who deliberately disbelieve or commit evil actions. This is an idea that all Muslims agree and is clearly expressed in many sources. I would like here just to mention only one profound statement. In a well‑known prayer, Jushan al‑Kabir, God is addressed as the one "whose mercy has preceded His wrath".

As we will see later, this wrath or anger is also out of His love and mercy. If His love or mercy did not exist He would not care at all. It is like a father who becomes angry with his son when he does something wrong, because he has care and concern for his son and his entire family, because he wants his son to correct his behaviour and set a lesson for other children not to copy that wrong act. :P

God has different levels or degrees of love for His creatures. One is His general and encompassing love that includes all beings. If there were no such love nothing, would be brought into being. This love includes even wrongdoers, since they also manifest or represent some stages of goodness in their essence and this is that aspect of their being which is loved by God, though it might be overwhelmed by the demonic aspect of their characters and therefore they might be overall hated.

A higher level of Divine love is His love for true believers, those who believe in Him, the ultimate Truth and do good deeds. Those are the people "He loves and who love Him" (5:54). In the Qur'an, we find that God loves "the doers of justice" (5:42; 8:60; 9:49), "those who purify themselves" (9:108), "the pious" (3:76; 9:4 & 7), "those who do good (to others)" (5:13 & 93; 3:134 & 148; 2:195) "those who trust (Him)" (4:35) "the patient" (3:146) and "those who repent very much and purify themselves" (2:222).

It is noteworthy that in the Qur'an in many cases God's displeasure is described not by focusing on His hatred, but rather indirectly by phrases, such as "God does not love any ungrateful (or unbeliever) sinner" (2:276), "God does not love the unjust" (3:57&1140), "surely, God does not love him who is proud, boastful" (4:36) and "surely God does not love him who is treacherous, sinful" (4:107).

According to Islam, the highest level of Divine love for any creature is His love for perfect human beings, such as prophets. The Prophet Muhammad has a special place in this regard. One of the well known titles of him is Habib Ullah, which means the beloved of God. In a famous Divine saying God addresses the Prophet, "If thou were not, I would not have created the heavens." As S.H. Nasr and many others have indicated, "Muslim saints over the centuries have seen in the love of God for the Prophet and in his love for God the prototype of all love between man and his creator". [5]

Similar to what we saw earlier in the case of Divine love, human love for God, for His creation, for good deeds, and for each other plays a crucial role in the Islamic world‑view, especially in theology, mysticism and ethics. Indeed, love for the truths embodied in the religion builds up the faith. For Muslim theologians, and indeed inspired by the Qur'an, although faith is based on knowledge of the religious facts, it is not reducible to that knowledge. There might be people who have knowledge of the religious facts and are confident about them but still do not commit themselves to any faith. The faith and belief only come when a person voluntarily commits himself to acceptance of articles of faith and does not refuse to follow them. In other words, the faith is there only when one loves the religious beliefs and not just when one comes to know them. The Qur'an says:

And they denied them (Divine signs or miracles) unjustly and proudly while their soul had been certain about it. (27:14)

The prototype example of those who know very well but refuse to practice what they have known is Iblis, the great Satan. According to Islamic sources, Iblis does whatever he does out of arrogance and selfishness, not out of ignorance.

Thus, a person becomes faithful and a believer only when he has respect and love for certain facts i.e. articles of faith. We read in a famous hadith that the Prophet Muhammad asked his companions of "the firmest handhold of faith". They suggested different things like prayer and hajj. When they could not give the appropriate answer the Prophet said:

"The firmest handhold of faith is to love for the sake of God and to hate for the sake of God, to befriend God's friends and to renounce His enemies." [6]

The same idea is emphasised by Imams of the Household of the Prophet. For example, Fudayl ibn Yasar, a disciple, asked Imam Sadiq whether love and hatred derive from faith. Imam replied: "Is faith anything but love and hate?" [7] The same hadith is narrated from Imam Baqir. It is also narrated that Imam Baqir said: "The faith is love and love is the faith." [8]

Notes:

[1] It has to be noted that Muslim mystics usually speak of manifestation (tajalli) rather than creation (khalq).

[2] Avicenna, 1956, p.369

[3] Avicenna, 1375 A.H., Vol. 3, p.359

[4] al Shirazi, 1378 A.H., Vol. 2, p.274

[5] Nasr, 1989, p. 321

[6] al‑Kulayni, 1397 A.H., Kitab al‑Iman wal‑Kufr, "Bab al‑Hubb fi Allah wal‑Bughd fi Allah", no. 6, p.126.

[7] Ibid., no. 5 , p. 125.

[8] Al‑Majlisi, 1983, Kitab al‑Iman wal‑Kufr, "Bab al Hubb fi Allah wal‑Bughd fi Allah", lxvi, p. 238.

Excerpt from the book "Perspectives on the Concept of Love in Islam" by Mahnaz Heydarpoor

http://www.al-islam.org/love_in_islam/

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Love of Allah
 
[...]
 
1. It is narrated that Allah, the Exalted, revealed to Prophet Dawud (‘a) saying, “O Dawud! My remembrance (dhikr) is for those who remember Me (dhakirin), My paradise is for the obedient ones (muti’in), My love (hubb) is for those who yearn for Me (mushtaqin); while I am specifically for the lovers (muhibbin).” 3
 
2. Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) says: “Love is better than fear (khawf).” 4
 
3. Muhammad bin Ya’qub al-Kulayni reports from Imam as-Sadiq (‘a), “There are three types of worshippers (‘ubbad); a people who worship Allah, the All-mighty, the Majestic, out of fear; this is the worship of the slaves. A people who worship Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, for reward; this is the worship of the merchants. And a people who worship Allah, the All-mighty, the Majestic, out of love; this is the worship of the free people, and it is the best kind of worship (‘ibadah).” 5
 
4. Al-Kulayni also narrates from Holy Prophet (S) , “The best of the people is he who is passionately in love with worship (‘ibadah), embraces it, loves it from his heart, applies his body to it and attends to it, such that he is not bothered in which condition he is in this world, in difficulty or in ease.” 6
 
5. Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) says: “The secret conversation of those who have attained thorough recognition of Allah (‘arifin) revolves round three principles: fear (khawf), hope (raja’), and love (hubb). Fear is the subsidiary of knowledge (‘ilm), hope is a subsidiary of certainty (yaqin), and love is a subsidiary of recognition (ma’rifah). The sign of fear is taking flight (harab) {from the anger of Allah}; the sign of hope is seeking (talab); and the sign of love is to give preference to the Beloved over everything other than Him.
 
Thus, when knowledge is actualized in the breast (sadr), he would have fear (khawf); and when the fear gets firm, he would take flight (harab); and if he takes flight, he would attain salvation (najat); and when the light of certainty shines on his heart, he would witness the grace (fadl), and when he is able to see the grace, he would become hopeful; and when he experiences the sweetness of {the state of} hope, he would seek (talaba); and if he succeeds in seeking, he would find (wajada).
 
When the light of recognition (ma‘rifah) is disclosed (tajalla) to the heart (fu’ad), the breeze of love is stirred up (haja); and when the breeze of love is stirred up, he would become intimate with the patronage (dilal) of the Beloved, and prefer him over everything other than Him, and carry out His orders.
 
The parable of these three principles is that of the holy Sanctuary (haram), the sacred Mosque (al-masjid), and the ka‘bah; whoever enters the haram would be safe from the creatures; and whoever enters the masjid his limbs would be guarded from being employed by him in sinning; and whoever enters the ka‘bah his heart would be protected from being occupied by him with the remembrance of other than Allah.” 7
 
6. The Holy Prophet (S) is related to have said, “Prophet Shu’ayb (‘a) wept out of love of Allah, the All-mighty, the Majestic, until he lost his sight…, so Allah revealed onto him saying, ‘O Shu‘ayb! If this was out of fear of the Fire, then I have protected you from it; and if it was out of eagerness for the Heaven, then I have permitted you {to enter it}.’ So he said, ‘O Allah, O my Master, You are aware that I did not weep out of fear of Your fire, nor out of eagerness for Your heaven, but {because} Your love has engaged my heart such that I cannot endure {it} until I see You.’ So Allah, the Majestic, revealed to him saying, ‘If this is the case, then because of this I will make the one who spoke to Me (kalimi), Musa bin ‘Imran, to be at your service.” 8
 
7. A phrase in the book of Prophet Idris (‘a) read, “Blessed are a people who worshipped Me out of love, and took Me as {their} lord and nourisher, and kept awake at night and persisted during daytime in acquiring My pleasure without fear or eagerness, nor out of fear of the Fire or aspiration of the Heaven, but due to {their} sincere love, firm resolution, and detachment from all other Me.” 9
 
Imam al-Husayn (‘a) says in the supplication of ‘arafah, “Blind is the eye which does not see You watchful over itself, and the bargain of a servant for whom You have not allotted a share from Your love is in loss.” 10
 
Belief and Love
 
It has appeared in the Islamic sources that belief is nothing but love. Imam al-Baqir (‘a) says: “Belief (Iman) is love (hubb) and hatred (bughd).” 11
 
Fudayl bin Yasar reports, “I asked Abu ‘Abdillah {as-Sadiq} about love and hatred whether they are part of belief. He replied, ‘And is Iman other than love and hatred?’”12
 
Imam as-Sadiq (‘a) has also said, “Is religion (din) other than love? Allah, the All-mighty, the Majestic, says: ‘Say, ‘If you love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you.’ 13 ” 14
 
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said, “Religion is the love, and love is the religion.” 15
 
The Pleasure of Love
 
If worship is out of love, eagerness and yearning, then there is no pleasure and sweetness above it. Imam Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a), who is among those who had tasted the sweetness of love and remembrance of Allah, says: “O Allah… how pleasant is the taste of Your love, and how sweet is the drink of Your proximity.” 16
 
Indeed such a sweetness and pleasure dwells in the hearts of the friends (awliya’) of Allah. It is not something which occurs to them at times and goes away at other times. When the sweetness of the love of Allah settles in the heart of a person, then such a heart is the one inhabited by the love of Allah. And Allah shall never punish a heart inhabited by His love and in which the sweetness of His love has settled.
 
Imam ‘Ali (‘a) says: “O Allah, by Your might and glory, I have loved You with a love whose sweetness has settled in my heart. And the hearts of those who confess Your Oneness cannot believe that You hate Your lovers.” 17
 
Imam ‘Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) says regarding this steady and established state of the Divine love, “By Your might, O my Master, even if You drive me away, I will not leave Your door, and I will not cease to compliment You, because of what I have come to know of Your generosity and kindness.” 18
 
This is one of the most eloquent expressions describing the profundity of love and its abiding in the heart, such that it would not disappear from it or change even if his Master were to drive him away and distance him from His proximity. And far it is from Him that He should do that with a servant in whose heart His love has dwelt.
 
When one experiences the taste of the love of Allah, and the pleasure of intimacy with Him, he would not prefer anything over Him. Imam Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a), the leader of the lovers, says: “O Allah, who can have tasted the sweetness of Your love, then wanted another in place of You? And who can have become intimate with Your nearness, then sought removal from You?” 19
 
The reason behind the difference of the people in relation to their goals and views about life is that they are deprived of the pleasure of the love of Allah. Otherwise those who have experienced such a pleasure do not seek anything else in life after this.
 
In the supplication of ‘arafah, Imam Husayn bin ‘Ali (‘a) says: “What has he found one who has lost You? And what has he lost one who has found You?” 20
 
Imam Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a) seeks forgiveness from Allah for every pleasure other than the pleasure of the love of Allah, and for every occupation other than the remembrance of Allah, and from every happiness other than that of the proximity to Allah; not because Allah has prohibited His servants from all this, rather because of the fact that all this is the result of the distraction of one’s heart from Allah, and of its occupation with other than His remembrance even for a short time; whereas a heart which has experienced the pleasure of the love of Allah is never distracted from Him.
 
In fact, the dynamic force behind every action and endeavour in the life of the friends of Allah is the love of Allah, the Exalted, His remembrance and obedience. Anything beside this is seen as diversion from Allah. Hence, Imam as-Sajjad (‘a) seeks Allah’s forgiveness for all this and says: “I pray forgiveness from You for every pleasure other than that of Your remembrance, and for every ease other than that of intimacy with You, and for every happiness other than that of proximity to You, and for every occupation other than obeying You.” 21
 
[...]
 
 
3. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.98, pg.226.
 
4. Ibid, vol.78, pg.226.
 
5. Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, pg.84.
 
6. Ibid, vol.2, pg.83.
 
7. Misbah al-Shari’ah, pg.2 3.
 
8. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.12, pg.380.
 
9. Ibid, vol.95, pg.467.
 
10. Ibid, vol.98, pg.226.
 
11. Ibid, vol.78, pg.175.
 
12. Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, pg.125.
 
13. Qur’an, 3:31.
 
14. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.69, pg.237.
 
15. Nur at-Thaqalayn, vol.5, pg.285.
 
16. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.98, pg.26.
 
17. Munajat Ahl al-Bayt, pg.96 97.
 
18. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.98, pg.85.
 
19. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.94, pg.148.
 
20. Ibid, vol.98, pg.226.
 
21. Ibid, vol.94, pg.151.
 

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On 12/23/2012 at 6:19 PM, HamzaTR said:

Excerpt from the book "Perspectives on the Concept of Love in Islam" by Mahnaz Heydarpoor

http://www.al-islam.org/love_in_islam/

Another source for this excerpt is at the Imam Reza AS website:

http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=843

@Naqi Zaidi  This is the topic about Divine Love. Please add your comments here, if you please.

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I am in you and i am you. No one can understand this until he has lost his mind'' ~Rumi~. if you change yourself for the sake Of Divine Love then love will be our guardian.Love is a blessing of Allah & I choose the path of love.

consider your nafs a tempting veil between You and Allah . To be fair ,The Fear is the tool

 

Love has no loss , no profit , but love originated only from profits and loses , once it is achieved then no loss and no.profit will effect it.I mean that how will you recognise Love from reading or writing about love .no , from experiencing the gain and loss of Love.That will teach you original meanings,of Love and you realise that Love is not to get and give , Love is only Giving ...

 

So no.fear of loss and gain then , just keep giving Love and will originates,more and more

1st Version: Pain and pleasure are nothing but our state of mind..they are both related to Love. If we get anything or anyone we love it's called Pleasure and if we loose anything or anyone we love it's called Pain . It's a story of Love ; Pain and pleasure revolve around a point , that is Love!

2nd Version :Pain is not that you feel when you get hurt,it is when someone hurts because of you.Pleasure is not when you get what you want it is when someone really smiles because of you.Pain n pleasure are tools to keep us connected with humanity; if you feel pain when you got hurt doesn't mean you are human its a very primary stage of awareness even animals can feel it.Being human is not an easy job you must keep the flow of eternal life that connects you with everything.Feeling the pain of others is a real sign of Humanity.we should always try to lessen the pain of others by believing in what goes around comes around. (Drd e dil k wasty paida kia insaan ko!)

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:bismillah:

On 30/10/2016 at 9:42 AM, Naqi Zaidi said:

I am in you and i am you. No one can understand this until he has lost his mind'' ~Rumi~. if you change yourself for the sake Of Divine Love then love will be our guardian.Love is a blessing of Allah & I choose the path of love.

consider your nafs a tempting veil between You and Allah . To be fair ,The Fear is the tool

 

Love has no loss , no profit , but love originated only from profits and loses , once it is achieved then no loss and no.profit will effect it.I mean that how will you recognise Love from reading or writing about love .no , from experiencing the gain and loss of Love.That will teach you original meanings,of Love and you realise that Love is not to get and give , Love is only Giving ...

 

So no.fear of loss and gain then , just keep giving Love and will originates,more and more

1st Version: Pain and pleasure are nothing but our state of mind..they are both related to Love. If we get anything or anyone we love it's called Pleasure and if we loose anything or anyone we love it's called Pain . It's a story of Love ; Pain and pleasure revolve around a point , that is Love!

2nd Version :Pain is not that you feel when you get hurt,it is when someone hurts because of you.Pleasure is not when you get what you want it is when someone really smiles because of you.Pain n pleasure are tools to keep us connected with humanity; if you feel pain when you got hurt doesn't mean you are human its a very primary stage of awareness even animals can feel it.Being human is not an easy job you must keep the flow of eternal life that connects you with everything.Feeling the pain of others is a real sign of Humanity.we should always try to lessen the pain of others by believing in what goes around comes around. (Drd e dil k wasty paida kia insaan ko!)

Salam Alaikom, can you explain more. What is your view regarding aql, because aql is also non-physical.

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