Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Man loves his several relatives and things, for example, he loves Allah and the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, he loves his parents, wife, children, sisters and brothers, friends, home, land, property, city, the tribe, kith and kin, business etc. The love which is so intense and crazy that it dominates all the other loves is called Ishq (an ardent love). Ishq turns all other loves into ashes and overpowers them. As the Holy Prophet says "Your faith is not complete until I am not endear to you more than your lives, wives, children, house and business and everything else" (Bukhari and Muslim). Allah considers this passionate love for Him an attribute of the true believers and it is in the very nature of the human soul.
The Zaat (Essence) of Allah was secret and hidden, then an intense passion to be recognized aroused in the Zaat (Essence), this desire was revealed with such severity that the respected sufies (mystics) interpreted it, as Ishq. In the same passion of intense love, Allah created "Noor-e-Ahmadi" (Light of the Prophet) from His own Noor (Light). Then souls of the entire creation were created from the Noor-e-Ahmadi, as, it is the sacred saying of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam that "I am from the Light of Allah and the entire creation is from mine".
Sultan-ul-Arifeen, Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo States:
■ Get to know, when Allah, the One, intended to manifest Himself in multiplicity, getting out of the chamber of solitude of Oneness, he graced the worlds with the warmth of His Love by purifying the Manifestations of His Perfect and illuminous Beauty, with which both the realms started burning like a moth over His Flaming Beauty, on this Allah concealed himself with the veil of 'meem' and appeared as the sacred self of Ahmad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. (Risala Roohi Sharif)
This statement implies that when Ishq (Allah) adorned His court, first of all, He revealed Noor-e-Mohammadi from His own Zaat (Essence), then He created the souls of the whole creation and this is the Haqeeqat-e-Mohammadiya (the Reality of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam), for whose revelation this universe is created. As Iqbal says:
Several Hadiths and traditions of the Holy Prophet re-inforce this reality.
Allah told the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam:
He also said:
Hazrat Ibn-e-Arabi beautifully illustrated his being the First and the Last by the following example:
■ A trader wraps a carpet over his treasure and layers it with several cloths, when he will open the carpet, the cloth which he would have put first, will come out last.
In his writing Shajrah-tul-Kaun, Ibn-e-Aarbi says, "same is the situation of the descent of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam that his sacred soul came into being first of all but he was descended latest of all. That is why, he is called The First and The Last".
This is the same status where He Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam is the Totality.
Since, everything is created from the Noor (Light) of Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam it is just like a small particle as compared to his great self.
The Noor-e-Mohammadiya Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam (Light of the Holy Prophet) descended in human form in the world at its fixed time. It was his human existence. Allah says about it:
Conclusion of the above discussion is that the origin of the Universe is Ishq (intense Love) and the creation of man is for the sake of Ishq. When the souls were created from the Noor (light) of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, the exclusive essence of the Divine Love was inherited by the human souls from the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. The passion of Divine Love must arouse in the heart of the seeker for Deedar-e-Elahi (Vision of Allah). In fact, the relation of the soul and Allah is that of Ishq. Without Ishq neither the soul is awaken nor can it find "the Vision" of Allah. Ishq is present in the form of a seed within the human being. Although, it is dormant but as soon as it starts to awake in the soul by the Zikr (invocation) and Tasawur (contemplation) of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah) and by Mushq Murqoom-e-Wajudia (the practice of inscribing the Name of Allah on body) and by the attention of the Murshid (The spiritual guide), the pain, the craving and the attraction for Allah starts increasing. Fuqara kamileen (The perfect mystics) stated that intense love is essential for the Vision of Allah, the faith is imperfect without the Divine love.
Ishq-e-Haqeeqi (the Divine Love) like a leader helps a seeker to access the Court of Allah. Ishq takes man ahead by adopting the spiritual path of his inner self. Only it makes the man intimate to the Divine Self of Allah within his own being. Only it burns the flame of urge in the soul to meet the Beloved Allah. Only it keeps the souls restless and anxious day and night for Deedar (Vision) and Visal (Union). Only it intensifies the fire of separation and leads to the Vision of the Haq (Divine Reality).
■ The most respected Lord of the Universe Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam, states about the lovers:
"It is a hard luck for the lovers of Allah, if they have to live in Paradise without the vision of His Beauty, but if the eagers find the Hell along with His Visal (Union), it is their great fortune and luck." (Asrar-e-Qadri)
Allah's relation with the lovers is entirely different from all others. He deals with the so called religious scholars differently while the lovers are dealt differently. Ishq leads to Mushahida (the observation of Divinity) and possesses the essence of true mystic knowledge but the intellect has superficial knowledge only.
■ Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh has explained it in this way. "It should be clarified that the path of Ishq is not written in the books of laws of religion or community. It means Rub-ul-Arbab (The Lord of Lords). When the Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam returned blessed from the Meraj (Ascension to Allah), first of all the lovers of Allah asked the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam "did you see Allah"? He replied (whoever saw me, in fact, he saw Allah).
Afterwards the Ulama (scholars) asked, "did you see Allah"? Since, the verse is revealed in his favour which means "and the Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam does not say anything on his own will" (Surah Al-Najam-3), he replied (by the will of Allah) (meditate upon His signs but not about His Entity). (Mohabbat-ul-Asrar)
■ Mehboob-e-Subhani Qutab-e-Rabbani Syedna Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi Allah Anhu states in his periodical "Asrar-e-Elahiya" (Risala Al-Ghausia) that:
"I saw Allah then I asked, oh Rub what is meant by Ishq (love)? He replied, "Oh Ghaus-ul-Azam! love me, love for me and I am love myself and get your heart and actions free from everything other than me. When you have recognized the outward love, it is essential for you to surpass the stages of (inward) love because Ishq is also a veil between the lover and the beloved. Hence, it is necessary for you to go beyond everything else other than Allah because everything other than Allah is a veil between the lover and the beloved".
■ Hazrat Rabia Basri says:
■ According to Maulana Rome:
■ Khawaja Hafiz states:
"The person who does not possess the Divine Love, surely, all his prayers are in vain, deceitful and full of hypocrisy." (Deewan-e-Hafiz)
■ Baba Bulleh Shah says in his poem "Ne mein hun sunya" :
"The religious scholars and theologians cannot even think about the spiritual elevation at which the lover of Allah reaches by crossing all the levels of knowledge and intellect".
■ Mian Mohammad Bukhsh says:
■ Allama Iqbal, like other Arifeen (knowers of Allah), also thinks that the Faith is incomplete without the intense love:
■ According to Iqbal, Ishq is the key to the path of Faqr, and only Ishq takes to the destination of Visal-e-Elahi (Union of Allah). The path of Faqr is the path of Ishq. Without Ishq the height of Faqr Deedar-e-Elahi (Vision of Allah) cannot be approached at. Allama does not consider him Muslim who does not possess Ishq-e-Elahi.
■ Ishq is the foundation and soul of Tauheed (belief in Oneness of Allah), and without Ishq Tauheed is like an empty sheath without a sword.
According to the philosophy of Faqr of Sultan-ul-Arifeen, Ishq is the key to eternal success and only Ishq conveys one to the court of Allah.
■ The lovers of Allah are neither afraid nor frightened of anybody's reproach. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
The most precious asset of life of a Momin (true believer) is his "Faith" but for a lover it is only a waystation, the true destination of the lover is "the Union with Haq" which is gained through the Divine Love. When the fire of Love becomes severe, the lover painfully feels separated from the Beloved Allah. The demand and craving for meeting the Beloved keeps on increasing. This fire of separation keeps the lover anxious and restless day and night for Union with the Beloved. When the fire of Ishq burns the nafs (the baser self), which is a veil between Allah and the soul of a Man, then the destination of Deedar-e-Elahi is attained. Vision of The Majestic Beauty of Allah makes the lover more passionate and his urge for Visal-e-Elahi (Union with Allah) increases. Fire of Ishq then burns the 'self' of the lover, thus, he annihilates in the Noor (Light) of Allah, approaching the destination of Fana-Fillah and then he is blessed with Visal (Union with Allah). Thus, he finds the secret of Oneness and Tauheed.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
■ Ishq is a subtle passion which is born invisibly in the heart and finds satisfaction with nothing except the Beloved. (Muhkam-ul-Fuqara)
■ Get to know that the Zikr (invocation) is infact Ishq and Ishq takes a high flight. The house fly can never reach the status and rank of a moth or a falcon even if it tries very hard or soars thousand times. A devout may devote much attention to mystic exercise but he can never be a confidant ardent lover.
Get to know that the lesson of love is not taught by teacher of any school because it is not easy for everyone to take this heavy burden. The tradition of Ishq is to be indifferent to the whole world.
Know, that an ardent lover remains the seeker of death because his destination is La-Makan (station beyond all stations) which he gains after his death. The death of the lover actually means Union with Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
■ Get to know that there are two types of Faqeers (mystics), the first one is a salik (traveller) and the other is a passionate lover. The salik remains busy in mystic practices and spiritual combat but the passionate lover possesses the Secret and remains busy in observation of Divinity. Extreme level of salik is just the beginning for the lover, as the lover is nourished by his spiritual combat and his sleep is infact observing Divinity. The bodies of the lovers remain in this world but their hearts are in the hereafter. (Muhkam-ul-Fuqara)
■ Ishq is like a goldsmith who testifies the purity of gold and separates the pure and impure gold. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
■ Oh devout! The labourer of the paradise (who toils hard to get paradise) listen carefully! the nourishment of the lovers of Allah is the Light (Noor) of Allah which they find from Ism-e-Allah Zaat (The Personal Name of Allah) because of which their inner selves are like a stove of fire. Their sleep is Ain Visal (exactly the Union) of Allah, as during their sleep they find perfect presence in the court of Allah and His prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. (Muhkam-ul-Fuqara)
■ He explains the identity of the lover as:
■ Faqeer-e-Kamil Mukamal (the Perfect and accomplished mystic) is a lover, while the Faqeer-e-Akmal Jamia (The absolute and supreme mystic) is the beloved of Allah. The highest station of a Faqeer is Deedar (Vision) of Allah and Faqeer (The mystic) who is an ardent lover of Allah, is the beloved of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. This saying of the Faqeer is not self fabricated but it is according to the sacred verse "O' Beloved (Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) you remain in the company of those, who ever request for the Vision of Allah day and night. Leaving them, your eyes must not move about in search of the beauties of the world, and do not obey him, whose heart, I have turned oblivious of my Zikr (invocation). He is the slave of the desires of his lower self and he is always violating the limits." (Surah Kahaf-28)
■ This Qudsi Hadith is also about the Ashiq Faqeer, Allah says:
■ Get to know, there are two stages of the Lover, at the start he is an Ashiq (lover) and at the end he becomes a Mashooq (beloved). Riyazat (the mystic exercise) of the passionate Lover is the Vision of Allah. Zikr (Invocation), Fikr (meditation) and recitals are forbidden for a high ranked lover. He has no concern with virtues or evils or seeking personal desires. (Noor-ul-Huda Kalan)
The seekers of the path of Divine Truth know it very well that to sacrifice one's life is not a difficult task in the way of Truth. The real task is to stay alive and kill the ego and personal wishes and remain happy and satisfied with Allah's will. It is to say, "die before death" i.e. kill your own wishes and submit to Allah fully and completely which is very difficult to attain but Ishq makes it easier for the divine lover, as it gives him the courage to annihilate his inner self and sacrifice everything belonging to him to make his Allah happy and find His closeness, Vision and Union. Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo states about having this blessing of Ishq:
Now the question arises, how the hidden passion of Divine love be awaken in our selves, as our love is for the things and the people whom we see, while Allah is incorporeal. How can we love Him? According to Fuqara Kamileen (the perfect mystics) we can reach Ishq-e-Haqeeqi (the Divine Love) by means of Ishq-e-Majazi, i.e. Ishq-e-Murshid (the metaphorical love). Usually, the metaphorical love is thought to be for a man by a woman and for a woman by a man which is actually lust and a devilish game, the Islamic law does not allow it. On the path of Faqr Ishq-e-Majazi (the metaphorical love) means Ishq-e-Murshid (love of the spiritual mentor).
Now the problem is how this metaphorical love is acquired?
For Ishq-e-Murshid the method adopted in all the spiritual chains and paths is that the seeker is advised to contemplate image of his Murshid. Now a days, in some of the chains, even the pictures of the mentors are actually provided for this purpose. The seeker remains absorbed in imagining and thinking about his Murshid. This method is deceptive, as, today's age is full of deception. This method is a form of idol worship and shirk (polytheism or making partner with Allah). As, it is the human nature to develop love for the one in whose imaginations or thoughts he ever remains absorbed and lost, then this love turns into Ishq (intense love). In Sarwari Qadri way, this method is never adopted. In it, the metaphorical love (Ishq-e-Murshid) grows through the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. It means, when the seeker starts contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, he gets the image of the Murshid first, and in this way the passionate love, Ishq of Murshid begins. This method has two advantages, first one is that in it, there is no deception because it has been gained through Ism-e-Allah Zaat and whatever is gained through the Name of Allah can never be deceptive. When this image is gained through the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, then it is confirmed to the disciple that his Murshid is the Perfect one and he is on Sirat-e-Mustqeem (the straight path). Then, this Ishq turns into the Ishq of Holy Lord Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam and after that transforms into Ishq-e-Haqeeqi (the Divine Love) and the seeker climbs up the destination of Fana Fillah Baqa Billah (annihilation in Allah and be perpetual with Allah).
In the other spiritual chains, firstly, the muraqbah (meditation) of Fana-Fi-Shaikh (annihilation in the self of the mentor) is done and then the muraqbah of Fana-Fi-Rasool (annihilation in the Prophet) is practiced and in the end the muraqbah of Fana-Fillah (annihilation in Allah) by means of Ism-e-Allah Zaat is acted upon (every chain has its own way). This process demands a long time, but in the Sarwari Qadri way, the spiritual Mentor grants Tasawur of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the contemplation of the Personal Name of Allah) on the very first day. That is why, it is said that the extreme point of the other chains is just the beginning of the Sarwari Qadri way.
■ Shah Shams Tabraiz Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh tells about the Ishq of Murshid:
■ Maulana Jami Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
■ According to Baba Bulleh Shah Ishq-e-Majazi (the metaphorical love of mentor) is the fountain head of Ishq-e-Haqeeqi (love of Allah). From Ishq-e-Majazi, Ishq-e-Haqeeqi is generated.
■ Hazrat Mian Mohammad Bakhsh Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh expounds:
■ Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh also considers the Ishq-e-Murshid (love of the mentor) as the means of ascending to the Ishq-e-Haqeeqi. Most of his Punjabi couplets are about Ishq.
According to the teachings of Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh, Ishq is that spiritual passion which unites the creation with the Creator. Only due to Ishq a seeker annihilates himself into the Essence of Allah by renouncing pleasures of his Nafs (lower self), devilish perceptions and all the minor and major sins. The seekers of Ishq-e-Haqeeqi (Divine Love) must know that it initiates from Ishq-e-Majazi (metaphorical love, love of the Murshid).
The extreme level of a lover is that when he reaches the highest point of Ishq and proves his sincerity completely, he becomes the beloved and then Beloved (Allah) becomes his Lover. About it, Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo expresses in "Noor-ul-Huda" that:
■ The completion of Ishq is that the ashiq turns into Mashooq (beloved) by loving Allah continuously and sincerely and the Beloved turns into the Lover. The status of Faqr, infact, is that of the Belovedness. Whatever, the beloved (seeker of Allah) wishes, Ashiq (Allah) provides him, rather, whichever thought flashes into the beloved's mind Ashiq (Allah) comes to know that and He instantly fulfils the wish of His beloved.
Allama Iqbal says about this status of belovedness that:
The source of wisdom is brain while the center of love is heart. In the heart is the manifestation of Allah. The base of all the worldly knowledge is intellect and wisdom. All the material knowledge is gained through wisdom and in return it increases the intellect and wisdom as well. Human intellect and its knowledge are limited as they are based on the information received within the dimensions of time and space, so they keep the man bounded within the limitations of time and space. Human brain does not have the capability of thinking beyond these dimensions, while Allah is beyond these limitations so man cannot get the recognition of Allah on the basis of intellect and knowledge. But, when a man enters the realm of Ishq after crossing the boundaries of his knowledge and intellect, then, the power of Ishq takes him to La-Makan (the station beyond all stations) by crossing all the boundaries of time and space where he meets and sees his Beloved Allah.
■ Maulana Rome says "we can never describe Ishq of Allah by intellect and knowledge".
■ He further states:
■ Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo states:
Knowledge and intellect are regarded as a great hurdle in the path of Ishq-e-Elahi (The Divine Love). There is such a pleasure and ecstasy in Ishq-e-Elahi that if an excellent scholar finds a little bit of it, he will be lost in Ishq-e-Elahi, forgetting all his knowledge. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
■ He says in his Punjabi couplets:
The game of Ishq (intense love) is such a unique one, which is played by the restless, anxious and true hearted seekers, in the love of Allah by getting out of the boundaries of wisdom and intellect, keeping their lives and wealth at stake. If they prove the truth and sincerity of their passion, then the presence in the Majlis-e-Mohammadi (Assembly of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) and Deedar-e-Elahi (the Vision of Allah) are granted to him, as Allah Almighty does not let anybody's struggle go in vain. It must be understood that only the Divine Love opens the door to the Vision of Allah. Otherwise, thousands of caravans of wisdom are ruined in trying to understand the secret of Allah but could not get to it. Although Fuqara (saints) got the blessing of Deedar-e-Elahi (the Vision of Allah), and found the secrets of Allah through the path of the Ishq (love).