Saturday, November 1, 2008

THE LOVE OF GOD

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Friday Khutbah

(24th October 2008)

Delivered by:

Dr. Mohd Farid Mohd Shahran

Dept. Of Usuluddin and Comparative Religion, IIUM



Professors, Brothers and sisters in Islam,

We are now approaching the end of the month of Syawwal. This is indeed the best time for us to retrospect on the success and victory that we have achieved during the month of Shawwal and the preceding month of Ramadhan. Perhaps one of the ways to assess our victory during these two months is to contemplate and look deeply into our spiritual state, is there any sign of enhancement taking place as far as our spiritual development is concerned? How close are we to our Creator after undergoing the spiritual training in the blessed month of Ramadhan? How strong is our longing for God?

The love of God (mahabbatullah) is indeed the highest achievement, a Muslim should strive for, throughout his religious life. It is the ultimate result of one’s true submission and worship of God as well as the result of his true and deep knowledge about God. Ibn ‘Abbas while commenting the verse in Al-Dhariyat:56, (Wa ma khalaqtu al-jinni wa al-Ins illa li ya’budun) “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me” mentioned that the meaning of li ya’budun (to serve God) is to know Him (li ya’rifun). And to know God in the true sense is ultimately to arrive at the state of loving Him. Hence mahabbatullah, the love of God, is the highest station of a servant in his path towards a true submission to God.

Unfortunately brothers and sisters, we are now living in the world where men are gradually moving away from this ultimate aim of life. If we look around, it appears that the love of other than God predominates every inch of human life. Everyday, for example, we listen from radios and tvs various kind of songs which rather praising and glorifying lovers among human beings. By going through any lyric of these songs, one can simply discern that revered terms and words that are commonly and ought to be used to praise the Divine are on the other hand used to glorify lovers among human beings. God is gradually fading away from the soul of man has been slowly chased away from their mind. Humanism has become a new religion and man is enthroned as its new God.

Brothers and Sisters in Islam,

As we have said earlier, Islam teaches us that the love of God is the greatest achievement of man in his life. It is in fact a condition of iman as affirmed by the Qur’an:

“the believers are those who are overflowing in their love for Allah.” (Al-Baqarah:165)

And the Prophet said:

“One is not truly a believer until he loves God and His Prophet more than any other of the two” (Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, from Anas)

In fact, ‘the love of God’ has been one of the important themes of the Prophet’s prayer:

O God, give me love of You, and love of those who loves You, and love of what makes me approach your love, and make your love dearer to me than cool water

Hence, the love of God must be the final aim of all man’s endeavors in this world. Human perfection and happiness in fact resides in this state of spiritual feeling. The love of God should conquer and predominate man’s heart over the love of all other things. This is the very reason why the sufis place mahabbah, the love of God, as the highest station in their way towards God. Within this station of mahabbah alone, there are many sub-stations such as uns, intimacy, qurb, proximity, shawq, longing and others.

Dhu’l Nun al-Misri, one of the early sufi of late 9th century, expressed his deep yearning in this station through the following phrases:

I die, and yet not dies in me,

The ardour of my love for thee (you),

Nor has your love, my only goal

Soften the fever of my soul


To you alone my spirit cries

In you my whole ambition lies

And still your wealth is far above

Compared to the poverty of my small love


However long my sickness be

This tiresome infirmity

Never to men will I declare

The burden you has made me bear,


A fever burns below my heart

And ravages my every part

It hath destroyed my strength and stay

And smouldered all my soul away


Hafiz, the Persian Sufi poets talks about the station of the love of God”:

The adventure between me and my beloved has no end

That which has no beginning cannot have end


That is how the lovers of God show the excitement of mahabbatullah.

We can continuously narrate numerous lines of the deep and immerse articulations of the lovers of God. Nevertheless this is not the occasion to do so. We are also well aware of the fact that to attain the state of mahabbatullah, the love of God, is far difficult than to speak about it. Therefore, perhaps it is sufficient for us to contemplate on a few signs of love of God as discussed by al-Ghazali in his work, Kimya’ al-Sa’adah: The Alchemy of happiness:

The first sign of mahabbah, according to al-Ghazali, is that a man should not dislike the thought of death, because death is the gate to meet God and no lover, says al-Ghazali, who refuses to see his beloved. Prophet Ibrahim, Khalilullah, the Companion of Allah, when was called to his death by Izrail, Angel of death, refused to follow him since he would not believe that God will take the live of someone he loved very much. But the Izrail answered back, “Have you seen a lover who refuses to go to his beloved?” and upon hearing that, Prophet Ibrahim immediately replied, “O angel of death, Take my life now”.

And to think about death is certainly not to abandon and renounce what we are doing in the world. Neither it means to live in this world in a paranoid condition, petrified by the worry of death. Instead, it is to live in the world with vigilant and cautious mind that this world is not an end in itself but a transitory place from which a longer journey is awaiting. It means to live with a conscious mind regarding our origin, our responsibility and our real destiny.

Furthermore, as the sufis saying goes, death not only refers to the physical termination of life but also applies to its spiritual meaning. It also means dying to one’s own desire as mentioned in the famous tradition, ………………………………… “Die before you die”. It means to bend the lower qualities of man towards higher purposes and to ensure the spiritual resurrection in this life.

Besides, what is the better thought than thinking of something that is most certainly will happen to us, while everyday, there are many wordly things that are uncertain that really occupy our mind. Hence, not to think about death is in fact trying to run from the most indubitable matter in life.

God says in Surah al-Jumu’ah ( 61:8)

Say, “ The death from which you flee will truly overtake you; then will you be sent back to the Knower of things Secret and Open; and He will tell the truth of things that you did”.

The second sign of the love of God is that one should be willing to sacrifice his will to God’s, by holding fast to whatever thing that will bring him nearer to God, and by keeping himself away from anything that will place him at a distance from God. This means that, in every second, he should try his very best to avoid committing sin for this will bring him farther from God, and he should strive to obey God’s command since this will bring him nearer to God.

That is the reason why in the Qur’an, the notion of mahabatullah is closely linked with the obedience of God through our compliance to risalah brought by Prophet Muhammad.

In Surah al-Baqarah 2: verse 31, Allah says,

Say, “If you do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”

And as the consequence this obedience, another sign of the love of God, according to al-Ghazali, will occur on someone, is that ibadah becomes easy for him. When love of God is complete, no joy is equal to the joy of worship. The worship of Allah will be something that he is always longing for in every second of his life. It is just like when love a woman has filled the heart of a man, any action that will lead him closer to the woman will be easy for him. Accordingly, the lovers God will always take all opportunities that they have in this world to busy themselves in worshipping God.

Let us strive to be one of those who love God and also loved by God

Barakallah…

p/s: semoga perkongsian teks khutbah ini memberikan manfaat kepada kita semua


2 comments:

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