Ms. Ra'ana Khan
Love – The most redundant word on this planet. It has been used so oft that it has in all entirety lost its essence and intensity. A casualness has evolved into its core essence with every use and every betrayal. “Though a love betrayed, in essence, never really was!”
Love – there is no betrayal when there is love! Blessed are those who have known love and who have the capacity to love. Love is unconditional, and those who have loved with condition have never really loved. Majority of us today, have never known love. Moreover, thus left to believe that whatever of the feelings of affection, attraction and want that we have felt were in fact feelings of love, nevertheless the tragedy of it is, that these conditional feelings of affection, attraction, desire, longing or want that we have felt were never really “love”. These in fact, when receive no reciprocation break our heart such that we become hardened of heart, scarred and damaged in ways that hinder us from ever truly experiencing love in its entirety and in its purest of nature. It is a catch 22 situation, very rarely have people lived to overcome it and truly experience Love irrespective of what may or may not have preceded.
Love – They say the feeling that the mother has for her babies. Unfortunately, we live in a world where every now and again we hear of mothers who kill their babies. We hear of mothers who betray their children. Then how can we find love? How can we know love? And how can we experience love, when even the examples to describe the word or feeling or its essence have become perverted and are lost?
Love – Bear with me, and my attempt to allow you to feel something. From here on, before you read my words, clear your mind of all negativity and all your past and everything you know holds you down. Forget about the reality of you as you know it, your job, your life, your friends and family, just for these few moments allow yourself to think and be what you most naturally were meant to feel.
You are walking in a thick green forest, dark with foliage and tiny sparkles of light seeping through. You are alone and lost. You have no memory of who you are or what you are doing here, and what your purpose is. You do not have a penny to your name. You are walking along, avoiding thorns, looking for a path. It is humid and hot and you are straining to breathe. You are walking in a direction, it’s random, you do not know what to think, your mind blank and your body working on reflex.
Suddenly you stumble and fall, and you hear a shriek and crying. Sprawled on all fours, you turn to see what it is that you tripped over. You see a baby, crying, looking tired, dirty, and weak. You instinctively pick it up and see if it is hurt. If YOU hurt it? It looks unhurt, but you are reflexively worried. You try to calm it down and look around for anyone who it might belong to. You look around and call out “HEY! anyone here?” in all directions. You get no response. You place it against your chest and cradling its head in your palm you gently pat its back with your other hand until it stops crying. You start walking again. Now you are looking for something. Now you have thoughts. You are no longer blank. Without even noticing you have a purpose, a direction. You want to find water. You need to clean this child. You need to find who it belongs to.
You move along noticing the foliage and forest in a different way. Trying to find signs or any remote suggestion where you might find water. Your eyes are open wider and your ears are straining to hear. In a distance, you hear some movement. You are apprehensive; could it be a person, maybe the parent of the child? Or is it an animal, perhaps a dangerous one? You are cautious with your steps; you call out once again “Hey! Anyone there?” you hear movement again, this time it sounds like footsteps and they are slowly moving away. You start moving in that direction. Calling out again “Anyone there?” and the footsteps break into a run away from you. You begin to reflexively run after it, cradling and holding the child closer to your chest. The footsteps stop abruptly. You stop. You are panting. You keep walking slowly in the direction you were running. After a few minutes, you find yourself in an opening within the forest.
It is beautiful. A well-hidden spot of utter beauty, surrounded by the forest. Trees acting like a boundary wall around this big open patch of clean rocks, greenery and a blue lagoon. It looks like heaven, something truly God-sent. You take the baby and move towards the water. You think about what to do first and how to go about it. You want to clean the baby. You take your shirt off, place it on a patch of grass near the water, and safely place the baby on it. You remove the clothes of the baby and realize it’s a girl. You feel an even greater urge to protect her. The child grabs your finger with her tiny hand and smiles at you. You feel immense affection and a strange gratification at the smile. You smile back. You wait until it releases your finger, then you go to the edge of the lagoon and dip your hands inside to wash them. You feel stinging and pain. You pull your hands out and for the first time notice scratches and thorns on the outer side of them. You caught them while protecting the baby when running, oddly enough you never felt the pain or even noticed it at the time. You remove the thorns and once again dip your hands in, washing them properly bearing the pain and the stinging.
You wash the baby clothes as best as you can and place them on a rock to dry. You go to the baby, slowly lifting it up, you take it to the water. Realizing that the temperature of the water is perfect you decide to dip the baby into the water. She is not very happy. The baby starts crying because she is feeling insecure. You decide to hold her against you once again and decide to go into the water yourself cradling it against you. This time the baby is happy and comfortable. Her tiny hands garb on to you as best as they can, while you cradle its head cleaning it with your spare hand. You both thoroughly enjoy the water and after a while step out. You place her on your shirt again and go to check if the baby clothes are dry by now. Luckily enough they are, so you cloth her again. You feel hungry by now and realize the baby must be hungry too.
You look around and find some grape vines. You reach out and grab some grapes. You come back to find the baby asleep, her mouth ajar, you’re worried, you check her breathing, realizing it’s normal you smile to yourself. You take the grape and lightly squeeze the juice into her mouth tilted to the side. You see her licking the juice even in her sleep. You squeeze a number of grapes into her mouth, then decide to rub her gums with your finger to check if she has any teeth. You feel two tiny sharp things trying to poke out of her lower jaw. You smile. Suddenly you hear your own stomach growling and you realize how hungry you are. You then devour some grapes yourself and go to find some other fruit to eat. You find some banana trees full of ripe bananas. You grab some for yourself and the baby. You go back to the baby and decide to take a nap along with it. You wake up to baby crying. You realize the baby must be hungry so you mash up a banana in your palm and slowly scoop bits of it with your finger, placing it in her mouth. She hungrily enjoys each mouthful. There is a strange feeling of gratification you receive at seeing her hunger being satisfied.
Sometime later, you notice she has soiled her clothes and you need to clean her. You begin taking care of her as if it is the most natural thing. As evening sets in you realize you will need to make some shelter for the night. You begin to look for branches and twigs, leaves and other foliage to create some sort of a shed or shelter. You suddenly notice a semi broken hut; you hurriedly walk to it, excited and nervous. You look around it seems safe enough.
You run back to get the baby girl, you grab her and holding her against yourself bring her back to the hut. You try to fix the broken bits as best as you can and bring in some foliage to make a soft bed for resting at night. Night befalls; you and the baby fall asleep.
In the morning, you wake up and find the baby gone. You freak out and jump out of the shed. Your heart pumping hard, your thoughts running hay wire. You look around in search. You see a woman seated near the lagoon with her back towards you, holding the baby girl. You find yourself a little confused. You feel mixed emotions, you are happy at the thought that the baby girl’s mother has been found, yet apprehensive about the situation. You walk up to her, and you call out “Hey”, she looks up and you feel this sudden shock, fear, anxiety and you snatch the baby girl from her hands and rush away. The woman calls behind you “She’s mine, I’m her mother!” You holler back “I don’t care, you have leprosy, do you realize how contagious that is, even if she were yours you have no right to expose her to the disease like that!” She shouts back “she might have contracted it already, she might give it to you” … “I don’t care! We’ll see about that!” You scream back in retort!
This is love! When you are willing to lose all you have for the purpose of your existence: protecting and keeping alive “your beloved”, nourishing it and cherishing it, without caring what you will eventually get in return. “Your beloved”: the center of your focus, your world, the object of your affections. Because the gratification you are receiving every moment from that unconditional love, does not require the waiting of “a final outcome”! No doubt, if after the child grew up, she left you with absolute and complete indifference; stating something like “you’re not my real parent”. It would hurt you to bits and cause immense pain, yet it would never make you love her any less. Furthermore, when and if in life she were to return, she would find you with open arms, a wide smile and tear filled eyes. Moreover, the happiness that she would bring you, nothing else can; for she was your love, the meaning to your life, the purpose, when all else was lost and you knew not even your own self.
Now imagine that the child grows up to love you unconditionally back. Addedly, she feels the inherent need to try and honour your parental unconditional love with every ounce of life in her. This is our relationship with Allah-SWT, the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW and Islam. Unconditional love!
Muslims, is another name for people who still have the capacity to love in its purest of essence. We Love the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW for he guided us and showed us the path when we were absolutely lost and had completely forgotten our purpose and direction. We love Allah-SWT for HE has loved us unconditionally. We feel that love, at whatever level depending on our own level of spiritual purity; nonetheless, we feel it all the same and in turn recognize His right to be loved back, thus feeling the intense need to reciprocate it. HE has created us to experience the joys of life and further more experience the joys of love, most intensely HIS OWN LOVE. We Love Islam for it is the perfect guide in all matters, teaching us the easiest and shortest ways to reach our goals, perfection, success and most of all experience happiness, not only in this life, but also in the hereafter. The intensity of what we feel towards Allah-SWT and Prophet Muhammad-SAAW is unimaginable. We lose all bookish logical reasoning when it comes to them. We put them before our own selves. Not only that, we put them before our own children, parents, siblings and spouses. In fact, besides our Love for Allah-SWT and the Prophet Muhammad-SAAW, no other love is unconditional, all the rest of our love and affection is pre-condition to the persons mutual love (and intensity thereof) of Allah-SWT and His Messenger-SAAW. We love Allah-SWT and the Prophet-SAAW with such intensity that for a disbeliever it might even seem unreasonable, ridiculous or self-harming. Nonetheless, for us our unconditional love compels us such that we would do anything at all within or even beyond our reach, to uphold Allah-SWT’s and His Messenger-SAAW’s honour and Love, even if it meant jeopardizing our own lives! Therefore, if you cannot understand us Muslims and what it is that makes us react the way it does when it comes to the matter of Allah-SWT’s and His Messenger Muhammad-SAAW’s honour, evidently - you haven’t known love!
Love is: Intense, fierce, earth-moving, passionate, pure, immense affection, earnest caring, harmonious, peaceful, placid, calm, severe, serene, hopeful, supportive, honourable, sincere, earnest, driving, compelling, loyal, unconditional, it is these emotions and much more, all at once!
May Allah-SWT allow us all to experience and reciprocate His-SWT’s and His Messenger-SAAW’s Love in the most pure and intense of its form. Aameen!
For those of you who wish to experience a glimpse of Allah’s everlasting love, I am sharing here the easiest and the quickest way, I know how.
Basic method of Meditation for calling out to Allah-SWT (zikr-Allah) (to be done for at least 5-10 min twice a day, the longer you do this the better it is for you, in the morning and evening): Before you proceed further, clear your mind of all thoughts, preconceived ideas, beliefs and expectations:
- Sit in a comfortable relaxed position.
- Close your eyes.
- Concentrate on your breathing. Inhale deeply and exhale with deliberate force.
- When you inhale recite the word ‘Allah’ in your heart.
- Visualize the word ‘Allah’, descending on you in the form of light and penetrating into your soul, going straight into your heart (Qalb).
- When you exhale, recite the word ‘Hoo’ in your heart.
- Visualize the light that seeped into your heart now coming out of your heart and flowing out with your breath, only to come back and strike at/jolt your heart again.
- Continue this exercise until you feel that you want to stop.
- Now you may stop the deliberate breathing, and come back to your natural pace.
- Continue the exercise for a few minutes in shallow, passive normal breathing.