Monday, February 23, 2009

" The Greatest Love Of Your Life................"

The Greatest Love of Your Life..............
(Tue, November 6, 2007 - 7:21 PM)

Where is the greatest love of your life? Where do you lavish most of your affection and attention?

Is it your wife, your husband, your child, your parents, your beautiful home, your nice car, your studies, your job, your hobby or sport?

Is your most beloved person or activity, the most deserving of your love? And, very important, is your love reciprocated, or are you in an emotional One-way-street? These questions hold the key to our success in this world and the life hereafter.

What am I talking about? - I'm talking about love reciprocated; love that’s given, and love that’s returned. I have no doubt in my mind that every one of us here has felt the power and influence of love, in its many different forms, throughout our lifetime.

We first experienced love at the very moment of birth. Seeing their newborn baby, our parents must have felt so much joy and gratitude to Allah. With our mother’s warm embrace and that very first drink of our mother’s milk, we must have looked up at her face, feeling her love and security as she gazed down, exuding love and satisfaction. From the first few minutes of life, we were enjoying our parents’ love; at the same time we were showing them our love in return.

As we grew up, we continued to love and be loved by our parents, but then, our relationships expanded horizontally and vertically. We now enjoy the love of brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, friends and wider relations. In time, we become parents and later, grandparents, and so the story of love moves on in ever widening circles, and repeating itself infinitely.

The most important point about love is that it needs to be rewarded, returned, and reciprocated. This is the essence of love, that it is given and received, in equal measure.

When love is given but not reciprocated, then it is as if a big light has gone out in our lives. Love always needs to be returned, to find completeness and fulfilment within itself. This is not a one-way street. No one enjoys loving, and not being loved.

Can you imagine for a moment what it must be like to love someone, and not to be loved in return? Unreciprocated love, Love without love returned, leaves a sense of despair, depression, unworthiness, hollowness and emptiness. Love needs love, and love deserves love to enrich and complete itself. To love and to be loved puts meaning and value into our lives.

Now think for a moment, as we sit here, that we are also enjoying a love of a different, deeper and yet subtler kind: the Divine love of the Creator for His creation. None of us can doubt that Allah, loves us. Whether we are tall or short, fat or thin, black or white, Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, our Creator’s love and provision reaches us all, and we owe Him a debt of gratitude. His sustenance reaches even those who deny His existence, even those who disbelieve in Him.

In Surah Yunus, we read:

“There is not a moving creature on earth, but its sustenance depends on Allah, He knows the time and place of its definite abode, and its temporary deposit: All is in a clear record.”
[10: 93]

We depend so completely on Allah, and we owe him everything. He deserves our thanks, our obedience and worship. How do we show our gratitude to Allah? How do we show gratitude to anyone who has authority over us?

At the very least, we show respect and obedience. The best way to show gratitude to our Allah, is to worship him, to obey him and to avoid displeasing Him. This is how we can reciprocate the divine love, to the One Who gave us life, and Who sustains us for every moment of our lives.

If we can accept that love must always be rewarded, should we not then return the greatest of all loves, the unselfish love of Allah?

Just think about it. How does it feel when you’ve shown love, kindness and generosity to someone, and your reward is rudeness, ingratitude or indifference! Do you know the feeling? When someone repays your kindness with cruelty. Doesn't it make you hurt and sad? Doesn’t it make you feel angry? Why then, should Allah not be angry towards those who repay His love with disobedience, ingratitude and disbelief?

I would like to remind myself and you, about the secret of true love and true happiness. It is not simply to indulge the object of our love, leaving Allah aside, or to place our love for Allah right at the end of the queue.

The way to real happiness is to place our love for Allah at the centre of our lives. Our love for Allah must be greater than any other love. It must come before our love for anyone or anything else. In fact, we only have the capacity to love and care for someone, because Allah gave us that capacity in the first place!

Allah alone is the creator and author and facilitator of all love. Therefore, it follows that the first and most deserving love, should be our love for Allah. When we love Allah first, we give meaning, and purpose and balance and harmony to every other aspect of our life.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, we read:

“Yet there are men who take [for worship] others besides Allah, as equals with Allah. They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love of Allah. If only the unrighteous could see the Penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the Penalty.”
[2: 165]

Look what happens when we fail to put our love for our Creator at the top of our agenda: Our loving nature loses its sense of proportion. It loses direction. Excessive love for oneself then becomes vanity, conceit and egotism. Excessive love for one’s community or race becomes bigotry and racism, and excessive love for one’s nation becomes arrogant Nationalism, or Fascism. Zionism, like Nazism and Apartheid before it, is a distorted Nationalism pretending to be a respectable political idea.

It is only the Love of Allah that brings proportion and harmony to life, and illuminates all our other loves and relationships. If we can all remember this and live by it, we will go a long way towards making our lives happier and more meaningful.

So How do we begin to place our love for Allah at the centre of our lives, at the top of our priority love-list? The short answer is Dhikr, the constant Remembrance of Allah. Dhikr is not just an optional thing we do after completing Salah. Dhikr is an integral part of Islamic worship. Remembering Allah must become a way of life.

It is only through constant remembrance of Allah that human hearts will find true happiness and satisfaction, in good times and in times of distress. There is a beautiful verse in Surah Al-Ra’d that confirms this:

“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the Remembrance of Alláh; for without doubt, in the Remembrance of Alláh do hearts find satisfaction.”
[Al-Ra'd, 28]

We should train ourselves to be Allah-conscious during every waking moment. Some Sufis recite the Asma-ul-husna, the Beautiful Names of Allah, with every breath and every heartbeat. We can at least think consciously of pleasing Allah, and avoiding His displeasure, every time we make a decision or start an action. We must constantly ask ourselves, why am I doing this? Is this decision, this action going to bring me closer to Allah? Or, is this decision, this action going to arouse Allah’s anger? If we do this exercise regularly, consistently, this attitude will transform our lives at the most basic level. Seeking to please Allah, instead of seeking to satisfy our own lusts, will transform us from mere humans beings, wandering aimlessly, to the true Believers that we Muslims ought to be.

We must expect the going to be difficult at first, because this is a major turning point in our lives. But if we persist in our efforts, and we are patient, we will, in time, inshAllah reap the rewards of returning Allah’s love with our love and obedience.

Let us ask Allah to make us all worthy and deserving of His love. Let us make the effort, and seek Allah’s help, in completing the circle of love given and love returned. Let us show the Creator of love, that we have worked hard to bring our free will, and our heart’s desires back into alignment with Him, the way He created our true nature before we were exposed to temptation. Let us teach our children that the way to live successfully is to recognise Allah’s loving hand in everything we see around us, and to return that love with every good thought, every good word and every good action in our lives.

.("....O Allah, help us to purify ourselves in body, mind, heart and spirit. Help us to seek and find your good pleasure.
O Allah, remember us in the company of Your beloved friends...... ........
Ameen. ....")

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