THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE & DESIRE: The Levels al-'Ishq || deep in love || Carnal Love

The Levels al-'Ishq

If people are infatuated with things from the creation instead of Allah, so they are satisfied when they are present and bitter and upset when they are not, then this love is a form of worship, and the level of worship that is in it is dependent on the amount of satisfaction or anger they feel on account of its presence or absence.

This is why it is said that al-'ishq has different levels: connection (al-'alagah), then longing (as-sababab), then infatuation (al-ghiram), and they say that the last level is to be enslaved by love (tatayyum). And at-tatayyum is worship; for example, Taymullah is a name with the same meaning as Abdullah. Therefore, the ashiq (the one deep in love) in some instances may be a slave to the object of his infat- uation.

Allah the Exalted only mentioned this type of al-'ishq in the Qur'an in conjunction with the mushrikün, because al-'Aziz and his wife and the people of Egypt were mushrikun, as Yusuf said to them:

 قَالَ لَا یَاۡتِیۡکُمَا طَعَامٌ تُرۡزَقٰنِهٖۤ اِلَّا نَبَّاۡتُکُمَا بِتَاۡوِیۡلِهٖ قَبۡلَ اَنۡ یَّاۡتِیَکُمَا ؕ ذٰلِکُمَا مِمَّا عَلَّمَنِیۡ رَبِّیۡ ؕ اِنِّیۡ تَرَکۡتُ مِلَّۃَ قَوۡمٍ لَّا یُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِاللّٰهِ وَ هُمۡ بِالۡاٰخِرَۃِ هُمۡ کٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۷  وَ اتَّبَعۡتُ مِلَّۃَ اٰبَآءِیۡۤ اِبۡرٰهِیۡمَ وَ اِسۡحٰقَ وَ یَعۡقُوۡبَ ؕ مَا کَانَ لَنَاۤ اَنۡ نُّشۡرِکَ بِاللّٰهِ مِنۡ شَیۡءٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ مِنۡ فَضۡلِ اللّٰهِ عَلَیۡنَا وَ عَلَی النَّاسِ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَشۡکُرُوۡنَ ﴿۳۸  یٰصَاحِبَیِ السِّجۡنِ ءَاَرۡبَابٌ مُّتَفَرِّقُوۡنَ خَیۡرٌ اَمِ اللّٰهُ الۡوَاحِدُ الۡقَهَّارُ ﴿ؕ۳۹ مَا تَعۡبُدُوۡنَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِهٖۤ اِلَّاۤ اَسۡمَآءً سَمَّیۡتُمُوۡهَاۤ اَنۡتُمۡ وَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ مَّاۤ اَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ بِهَا مِنۡ سُلۡطٰنٍ ؕ اِنِ الۡحُکۡمُ اِلَّا لِلّٰهِ ؕ اَمَرَ اَلَّا تَعۡبُدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِیَّاهُ ؕ ذٰلِکَ الدِّیۡنُ الۡقَیِّمُ وَ لٰکِنَّ اَکۡثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۴۰

Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people who believe not in Allah and are disbelievers in the Hereafter (i.e., the Kan'aniyyün of Egypt who were polytheists and used to worship the sun and other false deities). And I have followed the religion of my fathers Ibrahim, Ishaq, and Ya'qub, and never could we attribute any partners whatsoever to Allah. This is from the grace of Allah to us and to mankind, but most men thank not (i.e., they neither believe in Allah nor worship Him). O (my) two companions of prison, are separate lords better, or Allah, the One, the Prevailing? You do not worship besides Him but only names which you have named (forged), you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. The command (or the judgment) is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him; that is the (true) straight religion, but most men know not. [Surah Yusuf 12:37-40]


And Allah, the Most High, said:

 وَ لَقَدۡ جَآءَکُمۡ یُوۡسُفُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ فَمَا زِلۡتُمۡ فِیۡ شَکٍّ مِّمَّا جَآءَکُمۡ بِهٖ ؕ حَتّٰۤی اِذَا هَلَکَ قُلۡتُمۡ لَنۡ یَّبۡعَثَ اللّٰهُ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهٖ رَسُوۡلًا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یُضِلُّ اللّٰهُ مَنۡ هُوَ مُسۡرِفٌ مُّرۡتَابُۨ ﴿ۚۖ۳۴  الَّذِیۡنَ یُجَادِلُوۡنَ فِیۡۤ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰهِ بِغَیۡرِ سُلۡطٰنٍ اَتٰهُمۡ ؕ کَبُرَ مَقۡتًا عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ وَ عِنۡدَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا ؕ کَذٰلِکَ یَطۡبَعُ اللّٰهُ عَلٰی کُلِّ قَلۡبِ مُتَکَبِّرٍ جَبَّارٍ ﴿۳۵

And indeed, Yusuf did come to you, in times gone by, with clear signs, but you ceased not to doubt in that which he did bring to you, till when he died you said, "No Messenger will Allah send after him." Thus Allah leaves astray he who is a musrif (a polytheist, oppressor, criminal, sinner who commits great sins) and a murtab (one who doubts Allah's warning and His oneness). Those who dispute about the ayat of Allah, without any authority that has come to them, it is greatly hateful and disgust- ing to Allah and to those who believe. Thus does Allah seal up the heart of every arrogant tyrant. [Surah al-Ghafir 40:34-35]

And He, the Most High, said:

 وَ قَالَ نِسۡوَۃٌ فِی الۡمَدِیۡنَۃِ امۡرَاَتُ الۡعَزِیۡزِ تُرَاوِدُ فَتٰىهَا عَنۡ نَّفۡسِهٖ ۚ قَدۡ شَغَفَهَا حُبًّا ؕ اِنَّا لَنَرٰىهَا فِیۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِیۡنٍ ﴿۳۰

And women in the city said, "The wife of al-'Aziz is seeking to seduce her (slave) young man. Indeed she loves him violently; verily, we see her in plain error." [Surah Yusuf 12:30]

Allah mentioned that Yusuf guarded himself by making the religion sincerely for Allah, and Allah, the Most High, said:

 وَ لَقَدۡ هَمَّتۡ بِهٖ ۚ وَ هَمَّ بِهَا لَوۡ لَاۤ اَنۡ رَّاٰ بُرۡهَانَ رَبِّهٖ ؕ کَذٰلِکَ لِنَصۡرِفَ عَنۡهُ السُّوۡٓءَ وَ الۡفَحۡشَآءَ ؕ اِنَّهٗ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَا الۡمُخۡلَصِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴

And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of our chosen, guided slaves. [Surah Yusuf 12:24]

Carnal Love

So He, the Exalted, informs us that he refrained from "bad" and "crude" actions. What is intended by "bad" is desiring her and loving her, and what is meant by "crude" actions is zina (illegal sexual intercourse/Carnal Love). A person may commit zină but not be overcome by passion and longing, and vice versa. Zina with the private parts is worse than committing a minor sin, such as looking or kissing, but willfully persevering upon ishq (desire, longing, passion) and the things that accompany that, such as looking at women a lot, could be worse than committing zina (Carnal Love) once. Allah removes bad thoughts and crude behavior from those who are sincere to Allah. Yusuf was, of course, one of the sincere worshipers of Allah. He worshiped Allah alone, without associating any partners with Him, and he placed his trust in Allah and sought aid from Him alone, as Allah, the Most High, said:

 قَالَ رَبِّ السِّجۡنُ اَحَبُّ اِلَیَّ مِمَّا یَدۡعُوۡنَنِیۡۤ اِلَیۡهِ ۚ وَ اِلَّا تَصۡرِفۡ عَنِّیۡ کَیۡدَهُنَّ اَصۡبُ اِلَیۡهِنَّ وَ اَکُنۡ مِّنَ الۡجٰهِلِیۡنَ ﴿۳۳  فَاسۡتَجَابَ لَهٗ رَبُّهٗ فَصَرَفَ عَنۡهُ کَیۡدَهُنَّ ؕ اِنَّهٗ هُوَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۳۴

He said, “O my Lord! Prison is more to my liking than that to which they invite me. Unless You turn away their plot from me, I will feel inclined towards them and be one (of those who commit sin and deserve blame or those who do deeds) of the ignorant." So his Lord answered his invocation and turned away from him their plot. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. [Surah Yusuf 12:33-34]

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