Turn from the Love of Corpses

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Turn from the love of corpses to the love of the Ever-Living One who does not die.  

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Sometimes we form really strong bonds with people and become greatly attached to them. And then when they inevitably pass on, we find it difficult to deal with. Some people, at such times, may even be overcome with emotion and behave in ways that are sinful and inappropriate: wailing and screaming, tearing one’s clothes, beating oneself and so on. These are acts of jahiliyyah that are unbefitting of a believer. Our love for people should be tempered with love for Allah. Rather, our love for Him should be stronger and greater than the love we have for others. And if it were such, then we would not behave in such a manner, but would be content with His Decree.

This does not mean that we should not express any emotion at all and be cold, heartless people. One of the most touching incidents in the life of the Prophet  is the passing away of his infant son, Ibrahim. The Prophet wept on this occasion, and the Sahabah radiyallahu ‘anhum then expressed their surprise at this. He then gave a most beautiful reply: “Indeed, the eyes shed tears and the heart grieves; but we will not say except that which pleases our Lord.” [1] Sallallahu ‘alal habeeb. This is the beautiful balance that should be there: we love those who are close to us and so are naturally grieved at their passing – but due to our greater love for our Lord, we do not do or say anything which would incur His displeasure.

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This is one way of understanding the reflection mentioned above. But a better and deeper insight would be to regard “corpses” as not merely referring to those who have passed on, but to all of creation – whether living or dead. Those who are living may be characterised as being dead, due to the fact they have no power of their own to do anything at all. They have no power or ability to cause harm or bring about benefit, to cause death or bring forth life, or to effect any change whatsoever. We live in a world of means, of cause and effect, and so are deceived and deluded by this. We see the acts people do and so attribute the effects of those deeds to them. But in reality, nothing happens in this world, except that He wills it to happen. In reality, whatever people are able to do is but by His permission and because He gave them the power and ability to do it. Remember: “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah – There is no power and no might except by Allah.”

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If we truly recognised and acknowledged this, then we would not have any overpowering attachments to any of the creation. Instead, our hearts would be devoted to Him. And the love we have for the creation would be love for His sake. So do not let your heart get too attached to the creation. Let it be filled with love of the Creator instead, for the creation are weak and powerless, and they will soon perish – but He is All-Powerful, and He will always remain.

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The way it’s been said there, “Don’t let your heart get attached to the creation,” makes it seem like such an easy and simple thing to do. But in truth, it is hard. It is extremely hard. This is because the heart is fickle. It is constantly turning and constantly changing (and this is why it is called ‘al-qalb‘). The one minute your iman is up, and the next it is down. The one minute your focus is on the akhirah and the next you’re engrossed in the dunya. Perhaps this is why the dua most often recited by the Prophet was: “Yaa muqallibal quloob, thabbit qalbee ‘alaa deenik – O turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon Your deen.” [2]

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When we have too strong an attachment to people we can and should love, such as our family, it can at times lead to sin, as was seen above. But what is really a problem, is when we allow into our hearts those who have no place being there: when we start to have an attraction to someone of the opposite gender. This is where the real danger lies, because being in such a relationship and having such companionship is something that we all naturally crave. And this desire is a powerful force. What makes matters even worse is that this attachment can grow without us even realising it.

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So what to do if you find yourself in such a situation?

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It could either be that you have already acted on your feelings and are now in a relationship with her, or you may not have done so yet. In the former case, then know that what you are doing is totally haram – no matter how platonic the relationship may be. You may already be well aware of this and don’t need me telling you it. But sometimes people in such situations may feel that they are in love, and thus deem their relationship to be permissible because of that. They may have the intention of getting married one day, and then see that as a justification of what they are doing now. Whether love can exist in a relationship outside of marriage is a debatable issue, but I believe that it can – as there is a hadith which indicates such. [3] In most cases though, I would regard it as mere infatuation instead.

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How then would you know which of the two it is: love or infatuation? How would you know if you’re truly in love with her or not? It’s simple. If you really love someone, you will not want to see any harm befall them. Rather you would do whatever you possibly could to protect them from that. But if you are in an illicit relationship with a girl, then you are the one who is harming her. You are harming her because you are leading her to the Hellfire. If you speak to her, it’s like shaytan whispering to her. If you touch her, it’s like you are stabbing her in the head with an iron rod, or even worse than that. [4] And if you are intimate with her, then you are the cause of her meeting with an evil, humiliating punishment on the Day of Resurrection. [5] So if you really loved her, you would break up with her… If you don’t, then know that you are merely moved by lust and desire, not love.

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If it is the case that you’ve not yet acted on your feelings for her, that it is simply something that has consumed your heart – then know that your only option is to pursue her hand in marriage, in a manner that is permissible. Do not do so in the wrong way. How many people have not already followed that path – gotten to know one another without involving their parents and eventually deciding to get married – and then have it ended in misery when their parents refused? It’s an all too common occurrence nowadays, unfortunately…

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And if marriage with her is not possible, then turn away. Turn your heart away from her and direct it to Allah. “Turn from the love of corpses to the love of the Ever-Living One who does not die.” This is difficult to do – and can be painful – but it is necessary. Your attachment to her is like a poison in your heart that is being pumped through the rest of your being. If you allow it to persist unchecked, it will weaken all of you. It will affect your mental, emotional, and spiritual state and could even affect your physical wellbeing. So think of it as being like a tumour: the longer it remains untreated the more deadly it becomes. And the surgery required to remove it is painful and difficult – and the recovery period thereafter perhaps even more so – but it is essential for the survival of the body. So cut her out of your life, no matter how painful it may be. And know that if you turn to Allah, He will suffice you.

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May Allah ta’ala direct our hearts towards Him and away from the creation, and safeguard us from misdirected love, ameen.

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[1]:  Sahih Bukhari.

[2]: Sunan Tirmidhi.

[3]: The Prophet said, “We have not seen [anything better] for two people who love one another than marriage.” (Sunan ibn Majah)

[4]: Link.

[5]: Surah Furqan, Ayat 68 – 70.

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