Ardent Divine Love
Ishq (ardent Divine love) enlivens the inward forever. It is the emotion of sacrifice that makes the lover (Sufi seeker) to sacrifice everything for the Beloved (Divine Essence). There is nothing more precious in the sight of a Divine seeker than Divine love. Ardent Divine love is the reason for creation of the whole existence. Ishq is actually the Divine Essence itself. Sultan Bahoo says in Risala Roohi Sharif:
When Allah intended to manifest Himself from the world of Oneness towards the world of multiplicity, He concealed in the veil of M (م) of Ahmad احمد)) and manifested Himself as Ahmad.
In a Hadith Qudsi Allah says:
I was a hidden Treasure, I intended to be recognised so I created the creation.
Sultan Bahoo not only explained every word of this Hadith beautifully but also made a very pertinent addition: ‘I completely manifested in the Universal Divine Man who is the fount and eye of the Reality of My Incomparable and Unknowable Essence.’
This desire to be recognised arose with such intensity within Divine Essence that it manifested in the form of Ishq (ardent love). When love becomes very intense it takes the form of Ishq. It was this emotion of ardent Divine love because of which Allah decided to come out of His solitude and manifest in multiplicity. And then for His recognition, He created the whole creation. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
Ardent Divine Love – The Reason for Creation
Thus, ardent Divine love is the system of this universe. There are certain rules and protocols for any system to operate. Similarly, there are certain rules and protocols for the path of ardent Divine love. On this path, it is forbidden for a seeker to stall at any spiritual station. This is because the ardent Divine love is such an emotion that makes the seeker to always strive and to get closer to Allah Almighty. On this path, one has to endure all kinds of trials and troubles with patience and be ever ready for any kind of sacrifice. Only those succeed on this path who sacrifice everything but do not expect anything in return.
Ardent Divine Love – The Fount of Knowledge
Often people think knowledge is better than Ishq. The reality is, knowledge leads one to the destination (Divine Essence) that is the fount of every knowledge. On the path of ardent Divine love, knowledge is like a beacon, about which Sultan Bahoo says in his book Nur ul Huda Kalan:
علم را آموز اوّل آخر اینجا بیا
جاہلان را پیش حضرت حق تعالیٰ نیست جا
Explanation: You must first attain the knowledge (of the etiquettes of Divine path) before embarking on this journey. This is because there is no place for ignorants in the court of Allah.
One must attain the basic knowledge about any skill or trade before taking on any job. So, how is it possible that one can embark on the inward journey of attaining closeness and gnosis of Divine Essence without knowledge? The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
‘Allah has never made an ignorant His companion.’ (Nur ul Huda Khurd)
One who performs excessive supererogatory prayers without basic knowledge, his end is either Satanic or he becomes non-Muslim. (Amir ul Kaunain)
Ishq (Divine Love) is an Esoteric Knowledge
When the man realises that ardent Divine love is an esoteric knowledge that belongs to the inward and human intellect denies it. Thus, he turns toward the inward. Ardent Divine love is such an emotion that only desires the beloved (Allah) and nothing else. Allah says in a Qudsi Hadith:
‘Whoever seeks Me undoubtedly finds Me. Whoever finds Me, recognises Me. And whoever recognises Me, begins to love Me. Whoever loves Me, becomes My lover. Whoever loves Me passionately, I kill him. And whoever I kill, his compensation is due on Me and I am Myself his compensation.’ (Ar Risala Tul Ghausia)
If we express the feeling of ardent Divine love in simple words, then it would be enough to say that the Divine seeker’s thinking, every act and even worship is all about his beloved.
The Requisites of Ardent Divine Love
- Surrender and Submission
- Sacrifice and Loyalty
- Renouncing Polytheism
Surrender and Submission
Allah says in Quran:
And (on the contrary) amongst people there is also someone who sells even his life to attain the pleasure of Allah. And Allah is Most Kind to the servants. (2: 207)
In this verse, Allah mentions His chosen men who do not shy away from sacrificing even their life for Allah. They always have their beloved in mind and are ever ready to make any kind of sacrifice for their beloved. Allama Iqbal has put this beautifully:
بے خطر کود پڑا آتشِ نمرود میں عشق
عقل ہے محوِ تماشائے لبِ بام ابھی
Explanation: Referring to the incident of Prophet Ibrahim when he jumped in fire that Nimrod has ignited. Here, Iqbal says that the Divine seeker follows his inward and does not retreat from any kind of sacrifice. He does not pay heed to what the mind (intellect) says. Instead, he follows his inward and does whatever it takes to please his beloved (Allah).
Imam Hussain – Greatest Example of Surrender and Submission
The greatest example of surrender and submission to Divine will is the sacrifice of Husayn ibn Ali at Karbala. Despite having complete authority, he chose to submit to the will of Allah over his own. He knew from a very young age that one day he would embrace martyrdom. Had he wished, he could have asked Allah to change his fate and thus would not have faced the incident of Karbala. But he chose to submit to the will of Allah. Sultan Bahoo says in Punjabi poetry.
عاشق سوئی حقیقی جیہڑا، قتل معشوق دے منے ھوُ
عشق نہ چھوڑے مکھ نہ موڑے، توڑے سے تلواراں کھنے ھوُ
جت ول ویکھے راز ماہی دے، لگے اُوسے بھنیّ ھوُ
سچا عشق حسینؓ ابنِ علی دا باھوؒ، سر دیوے راز نہ بھنے ھوُ
Explanation: In this verse, Sultan Bahoo mentions the height of Imam Hussain’s ardent Divine love. He was the Universal Divine Man of his era and was the spiritual vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). A Universal Divine cannot pledge allegiance to anyone else as his tongue has the power of ‘Kun’. Had he ordered the Euphrates River, it would have made its way to their camps. Had he ordered the clouds, they would have showered. And if he had ordered the sand of Karbala, it would have ruined the army of Yazid. On one hand was all this spiritual authority and on the hand was the will of Allah. Imam Hussain surrendered to the will of Allah. Sultan Bahoo has alluded to this subtle point here that an ardent Divine seeker sacrifices his life and every belonging for the pleasure of Allah. (Abyat e Bahoo Kamil)
Loyalty and Sacrifice
Allah says in Quran:
You can never attain to piety unless you spend (in the cause of Allah) out of that which you like the most; and Allah surely knows well whatever you give away. (3: 92)
And (O Prophet! [PBUH]) do not take (any of) them as an ally until they migrate for the cause of Allah. (4: 89)
A seeker cannot succeed on the path Faqr until he (she) sacrifices everything in the way of Allah. The Universal Divine Man of this age, Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman says:
The path of Faqr demands that the seeker’s loyalty won’t falter and when the time comes for a sacrifice then the seeker would not shy away from making any kind of sacrifice – be it financial or physical. The sincere seeker has his eyes on pleasing his beloved rather than his wealth and belongings. He sacrifices everything but does not demand anything in return except Divine vision and closeness.
Sultan Bahoo about Loyalty and Sacrifice:
عاشق نیک صلاحیں لگدے، تاں کیوں اجاڑ دے گھرنوں ھوُ
بال مواتا برہوں والا، نہ لاندے جان جگرنوں ھوُ
جان جہاں سب بھل گیونیں، پٹی لٹی ہوش صبر نوں ھوُ
میں قربان تنہا توں باھوؒ جنہاں خون بخشیا دلبر نوں ھوُ
Explanation: If the Divine lovers had paid heed to the advice of the friends and close ones then they would have never sacrificed their life and belongings in the way of Allah. Since they tasted Divine vision, it is as if they have lost their mind (i.e. they do not pay heed to anything else). May I sacrifice my life for those seekers of Allah who devoted everything, even their lives in the way of Allah. (Abyat e Bahoo Kamil)
Ishq demands sacrifice. As the ardent Divine lover seeks closeness and pleasure of Allah, similarly Ishq demands sacrifice. Sultan ul Faqr VI Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali says:
‘Ishq demands sacrifice. A seeker cannot succeed on this path until he sacrifices everything in the way of Allah. A seeker should keep in mind the sacrifices of the Companions for Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) as they are a beacon for Divine seekers. (Mujtaba Akhir Zamani)
Ibrahim ibn Adham about Loyalty and Sacrifice:
The Beloved is not pleased with you unless you sacrifice all your worldly relations and get detached from your loved ones considering your sons as orphans and wives as widows, disgrace your ownself, give all your possessions in the way of Allah complying with the verse:
You can never attain to piety unless you spend (in the cause of Allah) out of that which you like the most; and Allah surely knows well whatever you give away. (3:92)
When you make Allah your sole friend inwardly and outwardly, then He will love you as He says:
He will love (them) and they will love Him. (5:54)
Further Allah says:
Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. (98:8) (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Renouncing PolytheismShaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani writes in Ar Risala tul Ghausia, Allah said to me: “O Ghawth al-Azam! Love is also a veil between the lover and the Beloved. Hence it is necessary for you to go beyond everything else other than Allah because everything other than Allah is a veil between the lover and the Beloved.” This means the Divine lover has a sentiment of love that keeps him restless all the time. He always tries to get closer to Allah. However, this relationship of Divine love portrays duality i.e. the lover and Divine Essence. Whereas, on the path of Faqr, this duality vanishes when this inward journey reaches its peak and the seeker completely annihilates in Divine Essence and becomes immortal with Him. That is why Allah said to Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani that the emotion of love between the Divine lover and Beloved is a veil. (Sharha Ar Risala tul Ghausia) The Divine seeker does not succeed on the path of Faqr until he truly adopts to the below verses of Bulleh Shah:
Ardent Divine Love and Bulleh Shah
رانجھا رانجھا کردی نی میں آپے رانجھا ہوئی
آکھو نی مینوں دھیدو رانجھا ہیر نہ آکھے کوئیExplanation: In this couplet, Bulleh Shah mentions the example of Heer and Ranjha and says that when the seeker of Allah reaches the peak of Divine love, he sees His beloved i.e. theophanies of Divine Essence where ever he looks. As he gets so engrossed in Divine love that he renounces everything other than Allah. Therefore, in light of the above a seeker must continue his inward journey and must not stall at any station until he completely annihilates in Divine Essence and becomes immortal with Allah. As with obtaining any knowledge or a skill, one needs to learn from a teacher who is accomplished in that field. Similarly, for a seeker to succeed on the path of Faqr (ardent Divine love), one needs to adopt the company of a perfect spiritual guide (Murshid). Allah says in Quran: O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (pbuh) and those (men of truth) who hold command amongst you. (4: 59) In the aforementioned verse, men of truth means perfect spiritual guide. A perfect spiritual guide who has crossed the stations of annihilation in Prophet Mohammad and annihilation in Allah and whose way of inculcating the disciples is exactly how the Holy Prophet (pbuh) used to inculcate the Companions. Only such a spiritual guide can cleanse the inwards of his disciples and bless them with presence in the Divine court.
Shaikh Mohammad Al-Hashimi says bout the perfect spiritual guide:
Give your hand in the sacred hand of such a spiritual guide who is alive and is a Mystic annihilated in Allah. He must be sincere, truthful and should have the inward knowledge and pure nature. He must have covered the path to Allah under the guidance of a perfect spiritual guide. In addition, he should be the knower of the intricacies of the path of Sufism so that he could save you from the difficulties, apprehensions and spiritual destructions encountered in this way and teach you how to get rid of everything that is other than Allah. Only such a spiritual guide can end the flaws of innerself and when you recognise his reality you will start to love him and when you will start to love him you would not hesitate to obey his orders and in this way he will lead you to Allah.
Data Ganj Bakhsh says about perfect spiritual guide:
Without opting for the company of a perfect spiritual guide or without coming in his servitude, no one can become a Sufi and Mystic immortal with Allah.
Only a perfect spiritual guide can truly guide the seekers on the path of ardent Divine love. And only the spiritual sight and company of an accomplished spiritual guide is what makes a seeker to succeed on this path. A perfect spiritual guide is the one who is the complete embodiment of Divine Essence and attributes.
Shah Syed Mohammad Zauqi says: ‘The Universal Divine Man is comprehensive of entire creation. With respect to his wisdom and soul, he is titled as ‘the mother of Book’.
Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
When a seeker finds such a spiritual guide then it is not difficult to reach the destination. One must bear in mind that in every age, there is a spiritual vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad. In Sufi terminology, he is known as Universal Divine Man. He guides the seekers of Allah on the righteous path through Ism e Allah Zaat. The Universal Divine Man of this age is Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman. He has turned numerous seekers of the materialistic world into seekers of Truth. It is an open invitation to all seekers of Divine path to pledge allegiance to Sultan ul Ashiqeen and begin their inward journey.
- Ar Risala tul Ghausia – Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani
- Risala Ruhi Sharif – Sultan Bahoo
- Ain ul Faqr – Sultan Bahoo
- Sufism – The Soul of Islam – Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman
- Kashf ul Mahjub – Data Ganj Bakhsh Usman Ali Hajveri
This is an English translation of the Urdu Blog. شرحِ عشق that appeared in the May 2022 issue of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr Magazine. Mrs Uzma Shakeel Sarwari Qadri authored the original article. Waheed Hassan Sarwari Qadri has translated it into English.
What does Divine Love mean?
Ardent Divine love is the emotion that takes a man closer to Allah Almighty. A perfect spiritual guide nurtures this emotion within the seeker and slowly removes everything other than Allah from the inward of the seeker. Thus, making the man capable of absorbing Divine theophanies and enlightening the inward such that one observes and converses with Divine Essence inwardly. This is the real success in life and the purpose of our creation. However, for a seeker to succeed they must adopt company of a perfect spiritual guide and cover the spiritual journey under his supervision.