THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE & DESIRE: When The Shaytan loves al-'ishq

The People of 'Ishq Take the Shaytan as an Ally & Associate Partners Through Him with Allah

The Shaytan loves al-'ishq, and many of the people of ishq take him as an ally and commit shirk due to their lack of sincere love for Allah. The Shaytan and others are taken as partners alongside Allah to share in the love that should be for Him alone, so they become like deities and the people become slaves to them, the objects of their infatuations. So their 'ishq contains love and desire for actions hated by Allah, open and hidden sins, oppression, associating partners with those who have no authority, saying things about Allah that have no basis in knowledge, etc., so there is within it major and minor shirk, unjust killing, fornication, lying, consuming people's wealth unjustly, and other things hated by Allah and perpetrated by the people of ishq. These actions come from an absence of sincere love for Allah alone and sharing that love between Him and others, or making all of a person's love for something other than Allah. These things breed certain actions, and if anyone perpetrates these actions, then that is a following of desires with no guidance from Allah.

Those who follow their own will

It was said in a narration that there is one thing under the heavens that is worshiped that is worse to Allah than the following of desires. Allah, the Most High, said:

اَرَءَیۡتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ اِلٰـهَهٗ هَوٰىهُ ؕ اَفَاَنۡتَ تَکُوۡنُ عَلَیۡهِ وَکِیۡلًا ﴿ۙ۴۳  اَمۡ تَحۡسَبُ اَنَّ اَکۡثَرَهُمۡ یَسۡمَعُوۡنَ اَوۡ یَعۡقِلُوۡنَ ؕ اِنۡ هُمۡ اِلَّا کَالۡاَنۡعَامِ بَلۡ هُمۡ اَضَلُّ سَبِیۡلًا ﴿۴۴

Have you (O Muhammad) seen him who has taken as his ilah (god) his own desire? Would you then be a wakil (a disposer of his affairs or a watcher) over him? Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the path (i.e., even worse than cattle). [Surah al-Furqan 25:43-44]


Due to this, only those who commit shirk in their religion and have a weakness in their ikhlas for Allah will be tested with this kind of ishq, because as some have mentioned the only thing that can fill the heart is the love for Allah or the love for a person. Mankind was created for the purpose of loving Allah and it is the key to their happiness, as we have discussed previously.

Weakness of ikhlas in religion

But as for loving a person, then that is accompanied by problems, and because of that, the love for people loved for other than Allah's sake does not fully occupy the heart unless the person loses his reasoning and understanding, and this only occurs due to a weakness of the person's love for Allah and ikhlas in his religion for Him. Therefore, he commits shirk and allows the Shaytan to have a power over him until the Shaytan tempts him and he becomes an ally of the Shaytan, commits shirk, and is obedient to him.

Indeed, this person who loves other than Allah may love that thing more than he obeys Allah, to the extent that he may fight for the thing that he loves, like the believers fight in the way of Allah. Hence, if his love is obedient to him and a slave for him from one aspect, then it is more likely that he is obedient to it and a slave to it from another aspect.

The Prophet used to say:

شَارِبُ الخَمرِ كَعَابد وثن.

`The one who drinks alcohol is like the worshiper of idols.' (*1)

Drinking and drugging is an abomination

Once 'Alipassed by some people playing chess and he said, "What are these sculptures that you are all infatuated with?!" And I think he threw over the table.(*2)
Additionally, Allah mentioned alcohol, gambling, anṣab, and azlam all in the same verse in His saying:

 یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنَّمَا الۡخَمۡرُ وَ الۡمَیۡسِرُ وَ الۡاَنۡصَابُ وَ الۡاَزۡلَامُ رِجۡسٌ مِّنۡ عَمَلِ الشَّیۡطٰنِ فَاجۡتَنِبُوۡهُ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ ﴿۹۰  اِنَّمَا یُرِیۡدُ الشَّیۡطٰنُ اَنۡ یُّوۡقِعَ بَیۡنَکُمُ الۡعَدَاوَۃَ وَ الۡبَغۡضَآءَ فِی الۡخَمۡرِ وَ الۡمَیۡسِرِ وَ یَصُدَّکُمۡ عَنۡ ذِکۡرِ اللّٰهِ وَ عَنِ الصَّلٰوۃِ ۚ فَهَلۡ اَنۡتُمۡ مُّنۡتَهُوۡنَ ﴿۹۱

O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, al-ansab, and al-azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytan's handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) so that you may be successful. The Shaytan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks) and gambling, and hinder you from the remem- brance of Allah and from as-salah (the prayer). So will you not then abstain? [Surah al-Ma'idah 5: 90-91]

When someone becomes intoxicated by alcohol, they usually remain in that state for a day or part of a day, yet when someone is intoxicated by desires and false love like al-'ishq, their intoxication is permanent. Allah, the Most High, said about the people of Lut:

 لَعَمۡرُکَ اِنَّهُمۡ لَفِیۡ سَکۡرَتِهِمۡ یَعۡمَهُوۡنَ ﴿۷۲

Verily, by your life (O Muhammad), in their wild intoxication, they were wandering blindly. [Surah al-Hijr 15:72]

So what if the person escalates beyond the level of intoxication into the level of insanity? This is absolute insanity but not retardation, like the poetry of Muhammad bin Ja'far's that he recited in his book I'tilal al-Qulub.

She said I was insane, so I said to her
Passion is worse than what afflicts mad men. 
Time does not revive someone afflicted by passion;
Their madness is only overcome by death.

Another poet said:

Intoxication is intoxication from passion and intoxication from wine; 
And when does the intoxicated become sober?

Therefore, a person intoxicated by love like this resembles the worshipers of idols and those obsessed with sculpting statues into human images.

Indeed, Allah, 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 obsessively." [Surah Yusuf 12:30]

Meaning, she was infatuated with him to the point that the love had reached the pericardium,(*3) which is a thick skin that surrounds and protects the heart. So due to this extreme love, one may take the object of desire as a deity that he loves in the same way he loves Allah.

(*1) Reported by Ibn Majah (2/1120). Al-Albini declared this hadith to be authentic. 
(*2) Ibn Kathir mentioned this narration in his tafsir for verse 52 of Surah al-Anbiya".
(*3) In Arabic, the word for pericardium is shighäf, which comes from the root verb shagh afa, which is the word used in the verse to mean extreme feelings of love, passion, and infatuation.

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