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Scholars and Poets on Love and Compatibility

الْمَرْءُ مَعَ مَنْ أَحَب

One is with those whom He loves

Narated By Anas (son of Umm Sulaym RA) : A man asked the Prophet about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet said, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., “You will be with those whom you love.”) Therefore, I love the Prophet, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are not similar to theirs.

[Bukhari Volume 005, Book 057, Hadith Number 037.]

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When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face…

William Butler Yeats

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Umm Sulaym RA’s Love and Abu Talhah RA Benefits

It was narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “On the Day of Uhud some of the people fled and left the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), but Abu Talhah stood before him covering him with a shield. Abu Talhah was a powerful archer who broke two or three bows that day. When a man passed by carrying a quiver containing arrows, he would say: Give them to Abu Talhah. Whenever the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) raised his head to look at the people, Abu Talhah would say: O Prophet of Allaah, may my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, do not raise your head lest you be struck by an arrow shot by the enemy. My neck is before your neck. [Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3600; Muslim, 1811]

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Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him)  explains the motives and causes of love, and how these vary among people:

Compatibility between souls is one of the strongest causes of love. Every person is attracted towards that which is compatible with him, and this compatibility is of two types: original compatibility which is ingrained in the essence and that which comes later because of living together or having something in common.

If your aims match his aims, there will be harmony between your soul and his, but if the aims are different, then harmony will no longer exist.

As for original compatibility, it is a kind of similarity in attitude and similarity of souls. Each soul longs for other souls that are similar to it, because what is similar to something is naturally attracted to it, so the two souls may be similar in original creation, thus there will be a natural attraction to one another.

This is what made some people say that love is not only caused by physical beauty, and the lack of physical beauty does not mean that there can be no love; rather it is similarity between souls and similarity in their characteristics which are created in them that matter.

The reality of love is that it is like a mirror in which the lover sees his characteristics and kindness in the image of the one he loves, so in reality he loves nothing but himself and his characteristics and the one who has similar characteristics.

Hence noble, pure and sublime souls love the characteristics of perfection in particular, so the dearest things to them are knowledge, bravery, dignity, generosity, kindness, patience and steadfastness, because these characteristics are compatible with the essence of these souls, unlike base and mean souls, which are far away from loving these characteristics. Many people are motivated to be generous and kind because of their extreme love for these characteristics and the pleasure they find in doing these things, to such an extent that al-Ma’moon said: Forgiveness was made so dear to me that I am afraid that I will not be rewarded for it. And it was said to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him): Did you acquire this knowledge for the sake of Allaah? He said: To do something for the sake of Allaah is very rare, but it was something made dear to me, so I did it. Someone else said: I rejoice in giving and enjoy it far more than the one who takes from me rejoices in what he takes.

With regard to the lovers of knowledge, their love for knowledge is greater than the love of anyone else or anything else. Many of them will not be distracted from it by the most beautiful of human images.

Our Shaykh – meaning Ibn Taymiyah – told me: I felt sick and the doctor said to me: Your reading and discussing issues of knowledge is making your sickness worse. I said to him: I cannot stay away from that, and I shall discuss the issue on the basis of your (medical) knowledge. Is it not the case that when the soul feels joy, this gives strength to the body and wards off disease? He said yes. I said: Then my soul feels happy with knowledge and thus my body becomes stronger and this helps me to recover. He said: This is not part of our treatment, or words to that effect

If the love relationship is based on similarity and harmony, then it will be reinforced and become stronger, and nothing could remove it except something stronger than the cause of it, and if it is not based on similarity and harmony, then it is no more than love for a reason, which will disappear when the reason disappears.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated in his Musnad the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): A woman used to go to Quraysh and make them laugh. She came to Madeenah and stayed with a woman who also made people laugh. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: With whom is So and so staying? She said: With So and so, who makes people laugh. He said: “Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with.” The original version of this hadeeth is in al-Saheeh.

If you look at creation, you will hardly find any two people who love one another except that there is some similarity between them or they have something in common with regard to deeds, characteristics or goals. If the goals, characteristics, deeds or ways differ, there can only be aversion and distance between their hearts. It is sufficient to note the saheeh hadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him): “The believers, in their mutual mercy, love and compassion, are like a (single) body; if one part of it feels pain, the rest of the body will join it in staying awake and suffering fever.”

[Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, 66-74]

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Be careful of whom you love! And judge the worth of your soul on the basis of who and what it loves!

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