Sirru al-Hubb al-Ilahi
The Secret of the Love of God
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
That which one yearns for, he loves,
And this yearning makes him great
By transforming the depth of poverty
In the yearning of His slave,
His need and his longing to give Him everything,
What his heart truly desires.
This yearning (himma) is oil in the fire of God’s Passion which makes this fire in the heart of the lover grow very hot and strong and bright. Sparks fly as the lover turns to the right and left, cooking in the fire of love, and becoming more and more tender and ready to be consumed.
The quality of Love of which we speak is such that both lover and Beloved are consumed by a single flame and whether by union or by seeming separation, by presence or absence, the flame is fanned. The lover kills himself to live in his Beloved and destroys all his qualities; he empties the cup of his existence so that it may be filled entirely with the Qualities and Presence of his Lord.
Why does Allah give the name mahabba (gift of love) to this quality of love? Because this fire purifies the heart of everything but al-mahbub, the Beloved, and al-mahbub is one who puts his neck on the doorsill of his Beloved and whose heart is inseparable from his Beloved, breath to breath, moment to moment; and his heart is eaten by the fire of the Beloved; yet this fire is not fire, but light upon light. Then when he speaks, he speaks with his Lord and when he walks he walks with his Lord and when he sleeps he sleeps with his Lord. As Allah says to His prophet David, “I forbid the hearts of My lovers any love except My Love. Understand, David My beloved.”
But the Love of Allah has two sides: the love of the truth for the human being and the love of the human being for truth. When truth loves a person, the truth of love within him moves him to love whatever he loves. Not understanding what is inspiring him to love, he attaches the energy of his feeling to what appears to him without as the object of his love. For example, when the love moves a man to love a woman and he stops with her body, the very body he thinks he loves becomes a strong veil to the essence of the love which is moving him. Then he is moving as an animal moves and loving as an animal loves. In this he touches only some of the love, the smell of the love and the heat of the fire but this is not enough for him to taste the fullness of the truth of the love which is moving him.
When the fire of his love touches the essence of the love of the soul of the woman he loves, then the sparks and the waves of flame flash out and return to their source in the blaze of Divine Passion (al-Ishq) and his body disappears; her body also disappears. All the veils, all the fascination of coming and going between them disappears in the experience of their indivisible Unity and God returns to love Himself alone. But He created these people and the fire between them to realize the essence of His Love. Whereas in the beginning, the man thought he loved a woman, when he comes to realize the essence of the fire, he sees that he himself is the Beloved and she is also the Beloved and in this, Allah alone is the Beloved and no other exists.
As Allah has said, “I was a Hidden Treasure that desired to be known. So I manifested all the creation to reveal the essence of the deep secret Knowing of Myself. He whom I created to reveal the treasure carries within himself this treasure but he must explode the mountain of his existence to discover the treasure which is hidden within it.”
When man thinks he loves the body of the woman, the body is a veil to his true Love; then the body of his entire existence is a veil, like a mountain in which the treasure is concealed and Allah created this mountain of His water and clay exactly in order that He could bury His treasure within it.
This is the first side of the love in which Allah breathes all the creation into existence, and the second part of the Love is the return in which the creature breathes his existence back into his Lord. But how to explode the mountain of your entire being? Plant the flaming seed of your yearning in your own earth. When the man loves the woman it is to know her as himself, to love her, to enter her as himself, as Adam entered Eve who was of his own substance and truth, to penetrate her body as a veil and touch the essence within her, within himself. When you use the fire of your passion to open yourself, to know yourself, and to know the treasure which is hidden within you, the fire of your yearning explodes in the depth of your own substance creating an opening within, a space within.
Before, when the fire went outside, the earth within was dense and obscure, but now the density breaks open inside after this holy fire of Love cleans the inner earth. Then plant your tree; put the seed back into your earth, water it with the living water, the essence of love; fertilize it with all the accumulated compost of your mind and self and let it grow up in the Light of Knowing and keep the breath of dhikr moving around it so that the garden of the soul does not stagnate and the tree always has space to grow in. When the tree is grown keep this tree inside you. Then sit under it and take a branch in your hand and take, from the branch, the fruit of the milk of the essence of the love. By eating this you begin to live and in so giving birth to yourself, you unearth the holy treasure which He created you to bear. Then when you look into the treasure with the eye of your soul, you see one who sees you looking into the essence of the jewel. Allah sees you as you see Him. Look again. There is no you, only He; it is He who sees Himself in the mirror of your soul, as it remembers itself in the treasure of His Essence. Then, in truth, you live in the garden of love and the breath of love has two dimensions; breathe fully in and out, to embrace the full circle of the love, without losing any breath, any side or, dimension, to experience the creation and re-creation of yourself by the Mercy of Allah and His Desire to be known. And with all this, return.
Know my beloved, the love is eternal between Allah and His creation and the electric circuitry of His love flows through everything. If not for this, nothing would move that moves; nothing would live that lives. Because every planet in its orbit and every cell in its course is a witness to the Love of Allah and a sign of His Wisdom. Keep this love inside you and live with it all the time, because the moment you lose it, you lose yourself; you lose Him. This is your message from your Beloved Allah, if you know Who speaks with you. I am the Love. I am the Wine. Drink this Wine to know Me well.
And as you drink, I ask you, beloved, to listen with deep Ear of the Presence of Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, within you, in which you are one of his people. Be with Me in all your senses and prepare to receive wisdom from within your heart which is bound to his heart having been annihilated in the overwhelming Love of your Essence. The language of speaking is inadequate to reveal this teaching and also the language of body, heart and soul are not high enough. Listen to the tongue of God’s caring because if He did not care, He would not be calling you now. For that reason, He speaks to you by means of the tongue of His Love for you, saying: “Oh, you who believe…”
Dearly beloved, who believes in everything that has been revealed to your heart, all of the meanings of the knowledge of Truth which you have come to realize and embrace, be with Me in everything that I want from you in the way of knowledge. If you don’t listen, you will have lost the chance to see Me, and the advantage of My Wisdom and the secrets of My Love, which you must know and which you cannot live without. I mean by life, that you live for My sake and I live for yours. Then you shall be Mine and I shall be yours.
When one is in this state he is prostrate before his Beloved in the qiblah of love; he is annihilated in his Beloved so as to remain beloved by Him. And this is the meaning of the term of absolute eternal life. The two are annihilated in each other so that both will remain beloved of the other. And it is here that I say:
He who loves Me, knows Me,
And He who knows Me, finds Me,
And He who finds Me, becomes inflamed by My Passion.
I have killed him, so that I may bring him back to Life
And he whom I have killed, I owe him,
And to the one that is owed,
I become That which is owed,
There is no difference between Me and him
Because I am he and he is I.
So for the one who loves Me in this fashion it is imperative that he truly taste the fire of My Passion. This fire is not a fire of the senses, it is light upon light; light issuing like the fire of Moses when he stopped on the Mountain of Tajalli (revelation; supreme eternal power; the power of the constant uninterrupted connection between Moses and God). And it is the same fire which issues from the Lights of God to all His lovers and through the Perfected Ones (Insan al-Kamal) who carry the Presence of the reality of the love of essence which is inherent in everything.
From this love is extended all of the species of animals and birds and all creatures like a network of electrical wiring and it is for this reason that I say, this fire is the electricity of love. No one knows it except the one who is immersed in the flow of currents. And I would like you to be one of those people who forever swim in the ocean of this love, not only swimming therein but drinking of its wine; wine which absents one from all things except the One in Whose Passion he is inflamed. And by wine I mean his return to the reality whence he came.
So know beloved, that the basis of love is knowledge and the basis of knowledge is existence. This is the station of ascension by means of love. As one knows and becomes known, he finds and becomes found; has come to know, has come to love. And then he comes to a love higher than that, and he comes to know with a higher knowledge, and he finds that he exists in a higher existence.
As for the station of descention, it is not really descending; verily its possessor stands on the summit of Divine Existence. One who is inflamed in passion and slain by the One in Whose Passion he is inflamed, becomes the One Who owes and he becomes that which is owed.
Therefore, the station of ascension teaches him about existence and the station of descention makes him realize that he is existence and none other. And there is nothing contained in existence except Allah. Understand, my beloved, that the station of ascension is a path that has two dimensions: the human being and God, and each of these is distinguishable. And as for the station of descent, it is Absolute Truth. When all the senses disappear from a person and he is slain by the One in Whose Passion he is inflamed, he is finished with all the worlds. The image of the human being disappears from him and he reverts to his initial reality. He returns to where he was in pre-eternity without method or dimension, without color or form, without sex, male or female. And know that his reality is the Reality of God. For this reason:
He who loves Me by means of the veil of My image
knows Me by means of My knowledge that it is My image.
And he who knows Me by means of My knowledge that it is My image
finds Me in his image by means of My image.
Then he who finds Me in his image by means of My image
becomes inflamed in My Passion by means of My Reality.
And he who becomes inflamed in My Passion by means of My Reality
is slain by My Reality.
And whoever is slain by My Reality,
My Reality is the One who owes him.
Whomever My Reality owes,
there is no difference between him and My Reality.
This is talawwuh: consumption in the fire of Divine Reality (which fire toucheth not), because when one has become inflamed in My Passion in this station, he becomes light upon light; a guiding light that reveals the way to people, outwardly to those who look without, and inwardly to those who look within. Thus God, who is the Perfect Person (Insan al-Kamil) who has become myself, guides whom He will, and that one is Himself. That is to say, when he arrives at the Truth, he realizes that he is the Truth and the Truth is only known by Truth.
Oh you who love and you who yearn in passion, do you not know Who he is, the Perfected One who bears the image of Absolute Love which has no beginning or end? His reality is your reality. By means of this, you realize that you are the one whom you seek and you are renewed in eternal life after which there is no death. Understand.