Passionate love – Disease of the heart

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By Pure Matrimony -

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Passionate love is one of the diseases of the heart. Ibn Al-Qayyim made a magnificent statement in his book “The Prophetic Medicine”, while commenting on the manner which the Prophet guided us, in order to treat passionate love, he said: ‘It is one of the diseases of the heart. It differs from all other diseases in its nature, its causes and its treatment. If the heart is controlled by such a disease, it becomes very hard for doctors to treat it, and it causes great harm to the person afflicted with it. The hearts that are void of the love of Allaah and are disobedient to Him are afflicted with loving pictures passionately and loving other than Allaah. However, if one’s heart is full of the love of Allaah and longs to meet Him, the disease of loving pictures will vanish.’

Allaah says (which means) about Prophet Yoosuf : {And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.}[12: 24].

One will not reach the rank of being of the chosen guided slaves unless he truly fulfils sincerity, thus the above-mentioned verse is an evidence that sincerity repels passionate love and the evil of adultery and/or fornication to which it leads. Repelling the cause means repelling its effects. Thus, some of our righteous predecessors said: ‘Passionate love is an act in an empty heart, i.e. empty of everything except the person that is passionately loved.’
Passionate love consists of two things: To like the beloved person and have a desire to be with him (her). The absence of one of these two things means the absence of the passionate love. Passionate love is a matter which is considered very difficult by many scholars and wise people. Then Ibn Al-Qayyim said: ‘The point is that since passionate love is a disease that can be treated and it has some forms of treatment.’

If the lover can reach his beloved through legal ways (i.e. Islamicly), then the treatment is as confirmed by Ibn Mas’ood who narrated that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wassallam said: “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is unable should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual desire (i.e. helps one control it).” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

The above narration presents two ways of treatment for passionate love:

A Fundamental treatment (marriage) and a substitute one (fasting). But in the narration the Prophet commended the young people to opt for the fundamental treatment as this is the treatment for this kind of disease. So no one should turn away from this kind of treatment and resort to another if he is able to do so. Ibn ‘Abbaas also narrated that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wassallam said:

“Marriage is the best solution for those in love.” [Ibn Maajah] [Excerpted from Ibn Al-Qayyim’s statements]

Based on the above, the following may be stated about passionate love:
1) Passionate love is one of the diseases of the heart that needs treatment.
2) Passionate love is of two kinds: Lawful and forbidden, and the following are ways to treat it:

a)One of the ways of treating passionate love is marriage, if possible; this is the primary treatment and the most beneficial.

b)If there is no way for the one in love to reach his beloved through permissible ways or because Allaah did not decree their marriage, the treatment in such a case according to Ibn Al-Qayyim is to give up hope in achieving such a goal. When a person despairs of achieving a goal, he will not give consideration to such a matter and ultimately forget it. For instance if the woman whom the man loves is married to another man, or in a situation where love is between two people that could not be married, like a dustman loving the king’s daughter and so forth.

c)If this condition persists after the previous treatment, then one has to resort to another way of treatment which is to treat his mind. He has to know that having one’s heart attached to something that is impossible to achieve is a form of madness. This is similar to someone who loves the sun and desires to ascend to it and turn around with it in its orbit. Such a person is considered by sane people as being mad.

d)If the mind of such a person still does not accept this treatment, then he has to consider the evil of such a lust and the benefits from which it deprives him. Passionate love is the most destructive to ones life and the most detrimental to its welfare.
In fact, it comes between a slave and his consciousness on which his life and interests depend.

e)If one’s state still persists after this treatment, then he has to remember the shameful things and disadvantages of his beloved person and remember whatever could cause him to run away from Her. If he ponders on these shameful things, he will find out that they are much greater in number than the good in the beloved person.
Additionally, he may ask the neighbours about other disadvantages that he is not aware of. Good qualities incite love and affection while bad characteristics incite hate and repulsion.

So, one has to balance between the two motives, and then love that which he considers nearer to him. One should not be lured by the beauty of one who has a leprous body. He should rather look to the bad deeds and to an ill heart rather than the attractive appearance.

Finally, Ibn Al-Qayyim said: ‘If all the above ways of treatment are of no avail, then the only choice left for him is to sincerely turn to Allaah, supplicating and invoking him earnestly expressing his need and humbleness, as He is the One Who answers the call of a distressed person when he appeals to Him. So if a person is enabled to do this (to turn to and supplicate Allaah) then he has really knocked the door of success. Thus such a person has to conceal the secret of his passionate love. He should not expose himself to others and thereby expose himself to harm. If he does so, he is an unjust aggressor.’ [From Zad Al-Ma’ad by Ibn al-Qayyim]

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