Is This Love I’m Feeling?

Posted by on Nov 13, 2009 in Featured, Relationships | 1,935 comments

2738582688_0f2f1aea80_o “Love is a serious mental disease.” At least that’s how Plato put it. And while anyone who’s ever been ‘in love’ might see some truth to this statement, there is a critical mistake made here. Love is not a mental disease. Desire is.

If being ‘in love’ means our lives are in pieces and we are completely broken, miserable, utterly consumed, hardly able to function, and willing to sacrifice everything, chances are it’s not love. Despite what we are taught in popular culture, true love is not supposed to make us like drug addicts.

And so, contrary to what we’ve grown up watching in movies, that type of all-consuming obsession is not love. It goes by a different name. It is hawa—the word used in the Quran to refer to one’s lower, vain desires and lusts. Allah describes the people who blindly follow these desires as those who are most astray: “But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts (hawa). And who is more astray than the one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah?” (28: 50)

By choosing to submit to our hawa over the guidance of Allah, we are choosing to worship those desires. When our love for what we crave is stronger than our love for Allah, we have taken that which we crave as a lord. Allah says: “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah.” (2:165)

If our ‘love’ for something makes us willing to give up our family, our dignity, our self-respect, our bodies, our sanity, our peace of mind, our deen, and even our Lord who created us from nothing, know that we are not ‘in love’. We are slaves.

Of such a person Allah says: “Do you see such a one as takes his own vain desires (hawa) as his lord? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. (45: 23)

Imagine the severity. To have one’s sight, hearing and heart all sealed. Hawa is not pleasure. It is a prison. It is a slavery of the mind, body and soul. It is an addiction and a worship. Beautiful examples of this reality can be found throughout literature. In Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Pip exemplifies this point. In describing his obsession with Estella, he says: “I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

Dickens’ Miss Havisham describes this further: “I’ll tell you…what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter – as I did!”

What Miss Havisham describes here is in fact real. But it is not real love. It is hawa. Real love, as Allah intended it, is not a sickness or an addiction. It is affection and mercy. Allah says in His book: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30: 21)

Real love brings about calm—not inner torment. True love allows you to be at peace with yourself and with God. That is why Allah says: “that you may dwell in tranquility.” Hawa is the opposite. Hawa will make you miserable. And just like a drug, you will crave it always, but never be satisfied. You will chase it to your own detriment, but never reach it. And though you submit your whole self to it, it will never bring you happiness.

So while ultimate happiness is everyone’s goal, it is often difficult to see past the illusions and discern love from hawa. One fail-safe way, is to ask yourself this question: Does getting closer to this person that I ‘love’ bring me closer to—or farther from—Allah? In a sense, has this person replaced Allah in my heart?

True or pure love should never contradict or compete with one’s love for Allah. It should strengthen it. That is why true love is only possible within the boundaries of what Allah has made permissible. Outside of that, it is nothing more than hawa, to which we either submit or reject. We are either slaves to Allah, or slaves to our hawa. It cannot be both.

Only by struggling against false pleasure, can we attain true pleasure. They are by definition mutually exclusive. For that reason, the struggle against our desires is a prerequisite for the attainment of paradise. Allah says: “But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” (Qur’an, 79: 40-41)

Republished from InFocus News.

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  1. JazakAllahu khayr :o) Love it!

  2. true

  3. lesson learnt.. Jazakallah !!

  4. now I realized

    • Yeah, same here..

      • me three… :/

        • i always knew something was not right

    • InshaAllah may Allah guide us all. it’s good to know i’m not alone in having once fallen into hawa..truly a prison with no way out.

  5. True without a doubt.

  6. What bullshit is this!

  7. Excellent piece mA. Keep up the good work sister and may Allah (swt) reward you immensely in both this world and the next.

  8. +1

  9. may Allaah bless u with everything u deserve here and hereafter.

  10. mash’Allah, as always great article. you mentioned, Sr Yasmin, Dickens there are also Stefan Zweig’s books, he really describes perfectly the slow fall to hawa, how it starts, how the obsession increases, etc.
    he wrote for instance “Letter from an Unknown Woman,” “Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman”. both these books are a good illustration of what hawa is like wal ‘iyadho biLlah

  11. Asalam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Great Post as always. Very true! TrueLove is not consuming passion but affection and tranquillity. And any love is not love unless it is for the sake of Allah. Jazaki’Allah Kheyran Wa Salam

  12. Alhamdulilah i Understood that Love is only for Allah or for Allah’s Sake.. Nice Article May Allah swt reward you for this effort.. Ameen

  13. SubahAllah, Sister Yasmin. Thank you so much. This is what I needed Walahi. I am a bro that always looked for beauty in choosing a wife and it never happened, the one’s I wanted always said no. Even in high school, I was madly in love to the point I sky dived for a chick and she ended up rejecting me too. I am older now and in the last year I have understood that it is inner beauty not outer but with moderation. I think I am going to go for a sister that I am talking to now and she seems really nice and on her deen. She is not a 10 but I think it is time to trust Allah and let go and hope that Allah intervenes and blesses me to see through His eyes and I may find peace this time IA. Thank u again. WS .

  14. Yasmin I loved this article ! True love ! Because it brought me closer to my Creator ! Thanks for guidance .

  15. Good article as usually but i disliked the part on it that says that we are either slave to Allah or slave to hawa & it cannot be both . The expression slave to hurts a lot because it shouldn’t be this way , we have to see our love to the creator as something more magnificient than you described .


    • When it comes to God being the Master and we being the slaves, “Slaves” don’t have the usual meaning we think of. The word ‘Rabb’ means master. We all possess a lot of things: laptop (duh!), car, a room, mascara, football, whatever, as in you are the ‘rabb’ of your laptop etc. Now compare that description to each of the following words in turn:

      Malik – Owner: Let’s say you are ‘rabb’ of your room, but do you own it? If you are like me, then no. Our parents own it (or the land ’lord’ does).

      Sayyid – one in charge/one who has full authority. Try exercising full authority over your car by exceeding the speed limit (or tinting the glasses) and see how much authority you have over the police.

      Murabbi – caretaker. If you are like me, then your laptop needs a good cleaning, and your room needs tidying up. Some people (like me) are even too lazy to take care of their own selves, let alone their possessions.

      Mun’im – giver of gifts. Needless to say, we don’t give our laptops gifts. Few human masters may give their human slave gifts, especially a disobedient slave.

      Qayyim – Sustainer (refer to my earlier note) Our laptops/cars/mascaras won’t die without us. If we forsake them, sooner or later someone else will take over (if it’s a working laptop that is).

      The word ‘Rabb’ [Master] in Arabic means all these qualities at the same time! Allah Ar Rabb is our Master, and that makes us what? Slaves. Hope u don’t find a problem with being a slave of God now :)

  16. mashallah nice article may Allah protect u sister.

  17. thanks a lot for such a nice post!

  18. subhanallah the article was fabulous

  19. Assalamalaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu.
    True, I love my husband dearly. But it’s for the sake of Allah. My love for the Most Merciful, ALLAH (SWT) comes first and comes with immense peace and tranquility, such as words cannot describe. Wonderful article, Yasmin. May Allah bless you and your beautiful family in abundance.

  20. Thank you for your wise words. I am not Muslim but wisdom is wisdom. :)

  21. Shukran! Now i can finally word out my feelings! Makes a lot of sense! Great piece mashallah!

  22. This Morning I prayed to Allah to make me free from from the shackles of what i thought was “Love”, this article has opened my eyes i feel much much better and better equipped to get rid of hawa. Knowing you enemy is the first step towards defeating it.

    Thank you so much this has changed my life. means a lot to me!

  23. How true! Love it! JazakAllah khair ukhti…

  24. A reminder for me nt to mke d sme mistke,thanx

  25. Very beautiful , May God always bless you , you translated i always thought of but was never written in literature or seen on movies or heard on songs

  26. jazakillah.May Allah guide us all.I loved.I lost.So i learned to love what is never lost then even what i loved that can be lost was through what cannot be lost…so it was never lost..MashAllah ur articles are awesome…

  27. Nice definition of love…I loved reading it though I am a Non-Muslim

  28. subhanAllah, its always nice to hear reminders like this one to keep you on track.
    I’ve literally fallen in love with every article you have written!
    May Allah (swt) reward you with the best of rewards isA, jenna ilfirdous <3

  29. Amazing Article, I like it so so much!! Baraka Allahou fik :))))

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