When God created us, he left an aching void in us that could only be filled up by His love. Therefore, mankind embarked on a painstaking journey to find Him back and since nobody had actually seen God or knew what He looked like, the only tool they had to identify Him was the love-void inside of them: whatever filled that void up was to be the God!
As long as His Beauty transcended the reach of their senses, they kept searching for it until they caught a reflection of it somewhere. Every time that happened, the caravan would halt there, closely inspect the thing that’s apparently exuding the Light of God, term it as mere illusion, discard it (or carry it as a relic) and move on. The ancient journey stretches to and continues up until our time.
Our unconscious mind is a mysterious, intricate web of memories, lived and default. The Promise of Alast عہدِاَلَست is one such default memory that’s not actually lived by our bodies (although our souls were made witness to it in The World of Souls i.e. عالمِ اَرواح), is weak and hazy and lacks objective details like all other memories – but amazingly, it has a surprising capacity to override much stronger memories in order to storm our conscious mind to remind us that we have a Beloved to seek. The dormant yearning, thus catches fire. The torture it brings is familiar to us all.
Our love-void is like a massive black hole consistently drawing us into anything that resembles God in the least. It could be anything from purity to strength to character to beauty because God alone is the origin of all likable attributes. Even if we encounter a single one of these traits, in the least of degrees, in somebody or something, we might feel immensely attracted to them because of our predisposition to fill up the void in ourselves, and start loving them. We can love them for as long as they stay true to our idea of God. Obviously, none but God fulfills this promise. So there come disappointments and the love eventually fades away with time as we start again to seek His Beauty until we find someone else. Only this time round, we make sure they last longer in the face of our godly ideal.
People ask if the journey ends somewhere. No, it doesn’t. They’ll keep asking for more. At least, that’s the case with the perfect lover and the perfect Beloved: no one can love Allah more than Muhammad (S.A.W.) did, yet in His last days He used to say, “Forgive me, God, I couldn’t know Thee as I should have.” You see, he yearned for even more of His love.
Don’t you hate your Nafs ever. It’s something that eventually gets you to your destination. What happens when you place an obstacle in a fast moving river. The water initially stops, gathers around the obstacle and its level begins to rise. The river gains greater strength near the obstacle until it either breaks it apart or sweeps it along. Same goes for Nafs. While attempting to resist our pursuit of Beauty by engaging us in distractions, it only manages to be an obstacle in the course of the free river of Love flowing inside of us. Every time that happens, our river stops for a while, we feel that we are missing something important though we might not know exactly what it is and we may even fall into depression. But ultimately we break away the obstacle and come out stronger and nearer to God in the journey of love. That’s how it goes. Had there been no obstacle, there would have been no progress either, see?
Last and the most important question: How can you gain His love in this world? There’s a mystic saying about it: there are as many paths to God as there are human souls on earth. However, there are some baby steps that we can take. Read about the people who actually gained His love. Drop your guard for your inner sense of Beauty in order to let it guide you freely. But above and beyond everything else, read Allah. He, of all the beings, knows how do we get to Him and He has made no secret of the Path. The opening chapter of Quran, Surah Fatiha, consists solely of the supplication that addresses this fundamental need of ours: اھدنا الصراط المستقیم i.e. Guide us to the right Path and it seems like, as Dr. Israr says, the whole of Quran that follows, is a divine response to this supplication.
So it’s definitely well worth a read. But what happens when you first open it? I’ll hopefully write on this later and I’m quite positive you’ll be able to relate!
P.S. This was originally written in response to a host of questions posed by an old fellow who grew up mainly in a liberal atmosphere but felt a growing void and a yearning for the divine inside of her. I just wanted to connect the two using Iqbal, Dr. Israr and Dr. Rafiuddin. Another thing that i had in my mind while writing this, was a casual discussion with a fellow blogger. Please feel free to comment, add, discuss or correct!