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Is This Love Im Feeling?

Love is a serious mental disease. At least thats how Plato put it. And while anyone
whos 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 its 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 weve grown up watching in movies, that type of allconsuming obsession is not love. It goes by a different name. It is hawathe word
used in the Quran to refer to ones 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 selfrespect, 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 ones 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: Ill tell youwhat 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 calmnot 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 everyones 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 toor farther
fromAllah? In a sense, has this person replaced Allah in my heart?
True or pure love should never contradict or compete with ones 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. (Quran, 79: 40-41)
Republished from InFocus News.