Lecture by Shaykh Tahir ul Qadri
Translated and Summarized by Alveena Salim
The Arabic word for `Man’ is `Insan’. If we break this word down we
obtain two definition; Uns (which means love) and Nisiyat (which
means to forget). Thus this word reflects two human characteristics;
to love and to forget. Therefore it is in a human’s nature to
automatically love someone. When this love grows and expands an
individual automatically only loves what his beloved desires, and
hates whatever his beloved hates and thus forgets about everything
and everyone else. An individual will forget about everything and
everyone that will take him away from the remembrance of his beloved.
Another definition of man is `Alaq’. There are also two definitions
of this word; `Alaq’ and `Alaqa’. In the Holy Qur’an the biological
definition of the word `Alaq’ is the joining together of the egg cell
and sperm cell in the process of fertilization and `Alaqa’ means to
have a close personal relationship with someone.
Therefore it is embedded in an individual’s fitrat (natural
disposition) to love and have a close relationship with someone.
However the Nafs-e-amara (ego) poses a serious attack on an
individual and consequently makes one love himself and become self-
conceited. The disastrous effect of loving ones self too much is that
ones manners and behavior start to deteriorate and thus one starts to
lack love, patience and compassion for others.
In the same way if an individual only loves himself and the people
that are close to him (i.e. friends and family), his love is viewed
in the eyes of Allah (swt) as limited. True love has no limits and is
infinite, therefore if one possesses true love in their hearts it is
compulsory for them to love everyone and bare no grudges or ill
feelings about anyone. When one becomes a victim of self-conceit he
possesses envy towards others; envy is a disease that stems from the
tree of hate and hate is only present in the absence of love.
If one does not feel love, mercy or compassion for others then
metaphorically speaking it must mean that one has a tree of hate
growing inside him. The tree of hate only grows in the absence of
love. This tree has many branches, and from it stems branches of
envy, finding faults with one another, backbiting, thinking badly
about one another, and general lack of love, patience, mercy and
Nowadays in society these negative characteristics are common. We are
quick to cover up the faults of people who are close to us and yet
waste no time in exposing the faults of other. Another notion that we
cannot bear to think about is the idea that someone is better then
us. On hearing the praise of others we listen with a critical ear and
are ready to interrupt the speaker with stories praising ourselves or
people who are close to us. However this is not the correct way to
behave, our Beloved Prophet (saw) never used to speak until the
person speaking had completely finished talking.
Brother/sisterhood is based on Iman (Faith): The Holy Prophet, (saw)
said: “You cannot enter paradise unless you become a total believer
and you will not become a total believer unless you love one
another.” Faith and community are inseparable in the faith community
produced by Islam. Even a casual reader of the Holy Qur’an would note
that the Holy Qur’an almost always addresses the Believers and not
the Believer. All acts of worship that are declared pillars of Islam
have a collective form. The five daily prayers are best performed in
congregation. The special Friday prayer cannot be offered
individually at all. Zakah is obviously aimed at making the rich of
the community take care of the needs of its poor. Fasting, an
essentially individual act has been given a collective form through
unity in time. Hajj enforces unity in both time and place, bringing
the believers together in the plains of Arafat in their remembrance
of Allah (swt).
Unfortunately we do not even realize that our love is limited,
because this is not a concept that people sit and ponder over. If we
had true love in our hearts we would automatically love Allah (swt)
and his beloved Messenger (saw) above everything and everyone, and
this would be conveyed in our actions and not just in our speech. For
instance it is stated in Surah Tobah 24; `’ Say: If it be that your
fathers your sons your brothers your mates or your kindred; the
wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline;
or the dwellings in which ye delight are dearer to you than Allah or
His Prophet or the striving in his cause; then wait until Allah
brings about His decision (torment): and Allah guides not the
If we possessed true infinite love in our hearts then automatically
this would be seen in our actions, and we would desire what our Holy
Prophet (saw) desired and would forbid what our Holy Prophet (saw)
forbade, consequently we would not find faults with others, back bite
or envy others.
This point is further demonstrated in the story of Seyedina Yusuf
(pbuh), who was tempted by the wife of Al-Aziz; she sought to seduce
him and told him that if he refused to obey her order, he would be
cast into prison. To which Seyedina Yusuf (pbuh), replied
that `Prison is dearer to me then to indulge in such a sinful act’.
Thus when one possesses true love for their Creator in their hearts
they have to fulfill all the conditions of love such as; loving
whatever their beloved loves and despising everything that their
beloved despises, true love is unconditional.
According Mawlana Rum, `True love for God is that flame which, when
it blazes, burns away everything except God. Love for God is a sword
which cuts down all that is not God. God alone is eternal, all else
True love is the core basis of Islam and all actions should be
derived from love. Our religious practices such as offering prayer,
performing Hajj, giving Zakah, keeping fasts, preaching, and spending
in charities etc, comprises the body of Islam. The extreme love for
Allah (swt) and his Prophet (saw) constitute the soul of Islam. Both
the body and the soul are combined to make a human. A soul can
however exist without a body as it did in the spiritual world. It
exists in the material world and will continue to exist until the
hereafter. However a body without a soul cannot exist but instead
decays. Similarly our practices and good acts without love can never
be proved to be fruitful, everlasting or rewardable.
In the same way today there are many knowledgeable Ulama’s (Islamic
Scholars). However their preaching lacks love, patience and
compassion and consequently unintentionally they convey Islam in a
strict and harsh hearted manner. Their lectures lack essence and
substance; this does not mean that Islam is strict, boring and
difficult to adhere to but the person conveying it makes it appear as
such. As a result only limited people are reformed and re-motivated.
This is because knowledge strengthens the mind while love revives the
heart. Knowledge ignites the intellect and love kindles passion.
Knowledge gives direction for practical life and gives birth to
intellects whereas love creates those who would live and die for
Islam. Therefore our da’wa (call for Islam), methods will never be
complete and successful until it is accompanied with true love and
It is stated in Sahih Bukhari that `none of you can contain Iman
(faith) until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself’.
In other words if we do not wish for others what we wish for
ourselves it must mean that we lack in Iman (faith) and consequently
cannot be called a Mo’min (believer). It is also stated in Sahih
Muslim that the Holy Prophet (saw), narrated `I swear by Allah (swt)
that none will enter heaven until he has faith, and no one shall have
faith until he loves for others what he loves for himself”. He also
told his companions about the act that spreads love, which was saying
Salam (send peace) to one another and wishing Salam for one another.
Thus an individual is required to say Salam to one another and wish
Salam for one another. This means that one should wish that the poor
become rich, the ill become better and for people to become
successful and to succeed in life. As a result this brings true Iman
(faith) and thus guarantees admittance into paradise.
Allah (swt) states in the holy Qur’an that `we put love for Iman in
ones heart so that your hearts can become enlightened’. Therefore it
is in an individual’s natural disposition to do good and wish good
for others. By nature man likes virtue and detests evil. Evil does
not have a continuous existence in this world. It is only an outcome
of the wrong use of freedom of action by man.
Our desire to do good deeds are hindered by our sins, therefore we
should clean and open our hearts and defeat our Nafs (egos). We
should bear no grudges against anyone and should keep our heart
purified with the love and remembrance of our Lord and our Beloved
Prophet (saw). Living with an open and purified heart means living in
love and in the absence of hate. It is impossible for love and hate
to live together because good and evil cannot co exist together.
A true Mo’min (believer) possesses extreme love for their Lord; Love
has its limitations and when it exceeds these limitation it is
described as extreme love, Ishq (passionate devotion).Some people
claim that Islam has no place for extreme love. However when one
possesses limited love for their beloved they are ready to give up
their wealth and happiness, on the other hand when one possesses
extreme love for their Lord they are ready to give up their lives.
This sacrifice is not possible for those whose love is within limits.
Allah (swt) states in the Holy Qur’an that `the ones, who give up
their lives for Allah (swt), are Allah (swt) beloveds’. Also Allah
(swt) states that `He loves the ones who do Jihad in Allah (swt)
These actions can only be cultivated when one begins to listen to his
heart, this is because the hearts contains the soul and the soul is
the direct orders of Allah (swt). One should always talk from the
heart and do whatever the heart tells him do to. Speaking from the
heart means speaking Haq (truth), and Haq will always prevail in the
In conclusion to acquire true Iman we should love all our Muslim
brothers and sisters and wish for them what we wish for ourselves
though sometimes it may be difficult to do as such. In reference to
this point once Imam Ghazali was asked how one should hate the sinful
actions of the Muslim but love them because Islam teaches as such.
He replied that imagine she was a beautiful wife who was corrupt, you
have to love her from one respect and hate her from another respect.