March 31, 2013
the conscious muslim .
For some reason my inbox is often filled with questions about love and marriage. I get questions that are about love for a man, or a woman and how it will kill them if they don’t marry. A tad dramatic.
They often make me chuckle, I shouldn’t, but it does.
In my humble opinion people rarely understand what love means, what it entails and what it evokes. Loving someone simply for yourself isn’t really love, love is pain. Love can be test of endurance, of patience and sometimes even the mind. It is a longing, it isn’t always suppose to work out. For this I blame films and TV culture, it has allowed people to get carried away from reality and more importantly meanings. I met Amir Sulaiman a couple of weeks ago and he was speaking about loving the messenger of Allāh ﷺ he explained that learning to love him ﷺ had broken his heart, it had caused to him to want to meet the Messenger ﷺ so much that he was besides himself. Subḥān’Allāh.
Shaykh Ḥamza Yūsuf once explained that Arabs of the jāhilī period had a better grasp and understanding of what love is than many people today, and he quoted some poetry from Layla Majnun. I too will share my favorite passage from their tale, move over Romeo and Juliet! Let me just set the scene. Majnun loves Layla dearly, his father takes him on a pilgrimage to “get over” her and this is what enfolds.
“They say, ‘Crush the desire of Layla in your heart.’ But I implore Thee, oh my God, let it grow even stronger, Take what is left of my life and add it to Layla’s. Let me never demand from heras much as a single hair, even if my pain reduces me to the width of one. Let her punish and torment me. Let her wine alone fill my cup, my name never to be spoken without her seal. My life shall be sacrificed for her beauty, my blood shall be spilled freely for her. Though I burn for her in agony, like a candle, none of my days shall be free from this pain. Let me love, oh my God, love for love’s own sake, and make my love a hundred times as great as it was and is.”
Such was Majnun’s prayer to the Almighty as his father silently listened. What could he say? He knew now that he could not loosen the fetters binding his heart, could not find a cure for its ills. There was nothing to do but leave Mecca and start on the voyage home, where they waited impatiently in sorrow and fear. And when they arrived, his entire family surrounded the Sayyid. “How was it?” they cried. “Tell us, has Allāh helped? Is he saved?”
But the old mans eyes looked tired and sad, “I have tried, I have told him how to ask God for relief from this curse, this Layla. But he clung to his own ideas.”
“What did he do?” they asked.
“He cursed himself and blessed Layla.”