O ‘Aashiq e Rasool… do you have no shame?

In the name of Allaah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Messenger; the best of creation, the purest of hearts and the most virtuous of people.

“‘Aashiq e Rasool”, a name we hear people often applying to themselves when expressing their love for the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam). Of course, the validity of a person’s claim is not the name they give themselves, but the actions they perform.

The true witness to a person loving the Messenger of Allaah (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) is a person’s actions in implementing his Sunnah and abandoning all innovations (Bid’ah).

{Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allaah, then follow me, then Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful’} [03:31]

Unfortunately the state of some of the innocent Muslims has deteriorated to an extent whereby their scholars have convinced them that to be a true ‘Aashiq, their religion must be based upon Shirk, innovations, music and dancing.

Although the intent by this name is that they are ‘lovers’ of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam); little do they know that the term ‘Aashiq e Rasool’ in itself is disrespectful when applied to the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam).

Linguistic meaning of ‘Aashiq

‘Aashiq is an Arabic word, also used in Urdu, with the three root letters being ‘ayn, sheen and qaaf. (ع ش ق)

The Arabic linguists have defined the meaning of ‘ishq as:

‘Ishq is an excessive immoderate amount of love. They also say: a woman is (‘Aashiqah) loving towards her husband, she is ‘Aashiq.” [1]

The ‘ayn, sheen and qaaf are correct root [letters], they mean: exceeding the limit of love” [2]

‘Ishq: excessive immoderate love; it was also said that it is a lover being amazed by the one loved; it occurs with a person being chaste in his love as well as having sexual desire” [3]

We can conclude from the above definitions of the word ‘Ishq that it is:

‘Love which is excessive and immoderate, with sexual connotations of lust; this word is often used when referring to the love of a man towards his wife and vice versa’

It does not have the same meaning as Mahabba (love) which can occur between a child and his parent, two brothers, two Muslims and also when referring to loving one’s wealth, property and religion. Rather the meaning of ‘Ishq is not mere love, but love with an element of lust in it.

In classic Arabic poetry, we find the same meaning portrayed. The famous poet, al-Mutanabbi said, when complaining of being distant from his wife and stating his feelings towards her:

وعذلت أهل العشق حتّى ذقته * فعجبت كيف يموت من لا يعشق
وعَــذَرْتُهم وعَــرفتُ ذَنْبـي أننـي * عَــيرتُهُم فلقيــت منــهُ مـا لَقُـوا

I blamed the people of ‘ishq until I tasted it,
I was amazed, how can a person die who never had ‘ishq
I then excused them, and knew that my sin was
I used to criticize them, until I faced what they faced [4]

Al-Mutanabbi described ‘Ishq as being a disease that kills a person; this is due to its meaning being intimate lustful love which is extreme and immoderate.

For this very reason a person would never say that he is ‘Aashiq towards his mother, or ‘Aashiq towards his father – we seek refuge in Allaah. Nor would a person even describe himself with ‘ishq for his house, horse, the moon or stars etc… This is irrespective of whether the language being spoken is Arabic or Urdu.

Rather the word that would be used is Mahabba (محبة)

Ibn Manzoor mentions when discussing the term ‘Ishq: “Abul Abbaas Ahmad ibn Yahya was asked regarding Mahabba and ‘Ishq, which one of them is more praiseworthy?

He replied:

Hubb (love) is more praiseworthy, because ‘ishq contains excessiveness; the ‘Aashiq is called ‘Aashiq because he loses strength and energy due to excessive desires [5]

Did the early Muslims ever use this word?

No Muslim doubts that the most loving and adoring people towards the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) were his noble companions – and he was also loving towards them.

When we look into the Qur’anic Aayaat, Prophetic narrations as well as the statements of the Companions and the virtuous early scholars, we do not find any mention of this word ‘Aashiq when referring to Allaah or His Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam).

This is despite them being masters of the pure Arabic language to whom the Qur’an came. They never called themselves ‘Aashiq e Rasool,’ despite their undoubted love for the Prophet and their mastery of the Arabic language. Rather we find the word ‘Mahabba’ being used.

Examples of the word ‘Mahabba’ being used in the Qur’an and Sunnah

From the complete love of a person for Allaah and His Messenger is implementing the Sharee’ah even in the words and descriptions we use. An Arabic word found in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) is deeper in meaning, better in usage and more representative of the correct meaning.

In the following evidences, the word ‘Mahabba’ is used when referring to love. Examples of this are:

The saying of Allaah,

{يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ} 

{They love them as they [should] love Allaah, but those who believe are stronger in love for Allaah} [02:165]

The saying of Allaah,

{ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ }

{Allaah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers} [05:54]

The saying of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam),

Three characteristics, if they are found in a person, he will find the sweetness of Imaan: Allaah and His Messenger are more loved to him than anybody besides them; he does not love a person except for the sake of Allaah; he hates to return to disbelief as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire. [6]

The saying of the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam),

One of you does not truly believe, until I am more loved to him that his child, father as well as the rest of the people.[7]

We do not find any usage of the word ‘ishq in the above examples, nor any other evidence. The above texts of the Sharee’ah show that a more appropriate and respectful word, when ascribing it to Allaah, His religion or His Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) would be: Mahabba (love) and not ‘Ishq (lust).

The statements of the scholars regarding the word: ‘Ishq

The usage of the term ‘ishq to refer to the love of Allaah, His Messenger or His religion is not a modern phenomenon. Rather it was also used by the extreme “Soofis” of old, and thus criticised by a number of classic scholars as well as contemporary scholars.

Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Khafeef said, in his book ‘I’tiqaad at-Tawheed bi ithbaat al-Asmaa was-Siffaat:

That which we believe is that one should leave off using the word ‘ishq with Allaah (the most High).

He then explained the ruling of why it is not permissible – due to where the meaning of the word is derived and that it is not found in the Sharee’ah. He said:

the least that can be said regarding this is that it is a Bid’ah (innovation) and misguidance; what Allaah has mentioned regarding ’Mahabba is sufficient. [8]

Al-Qaadhi Abu Ya’la said,

The Halooliyyah said that Allaah (the Most High) is loved (with the word ‘ishq). But it is not permissible for the essence of the Creator to be loved (with the word ‘ishq). This is because ‘ishq is a person’s desires wanting the one who is loved, and wanting to enjoy him [or her] [9]

Ibn Jawzee said;

Ishq, according to the people of the language, is only used regarding the person who one can marry [for intimate relations]. [10]

Ibn Jawzee narrates, that as-Siraaj said: “It has been conveyed to me that Abul Hussayn an-Nooree claimed he heard the servant of al-Khaleel saying: “I have ‘ishq of Allaah (the Exalted and Majestic) and He has ‘ishq of me”

So an-Nooree said, “I hear Allaah saying: {Allaah loves them and they love Allaah} [05:54] and ‘ishq is not better than Mahabba (love).” [11]

Ibn Jawzee said:

This is ignorance from three angles. Firstly, from the angle of the name, ’ishq according to the people of the language is not used except regarding [a person] who is married. Secondly, that the attributes of Allaah have been transmitted he is loved (with the word Mahabba) and ‘ishq… and thirdly: how can one claim that Allaah loves Him? This is a mere claim without any evidence… [12]

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

The majority of scholars do not use this word (‘ishq) with regards to Allaah, because ‘ishq is extreme immoderate love that exceeds the limits that should be observed. The love of Allaah (the Most High) has no limit to it, and should not be exceeded.

They (the majority of scholars) said: ‘Ishq is dispraised in all situations, it is not praised when used in referring towards love toward the Creator or even creation. This is because it is unrestricted love which exceeds the limits set.

The word ‘ishq is culturally used when referring to a man loving his wife, or a young person. It is not used when referring to love of one’s family, wealth, country, status or when referring to the love of prophets and righteous people.

In many instances, ‘ishq is accompanied by impermissible actions, like the love of a non-related woman or a young person, and looking at them in an impermissible manner, or impermissible touching etc…

‘Ishq is from the diseases that corrupt a persons’ religion, honour and intellect, and then after this one’s body.” [13]

Allaah (the Most High) said,

{Then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet} [33:32]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

…the words ‘ishq, gharaam (fondness)… and hawaa (desires) should not be mentioned [regarding Allaah]. Rather the word Mahabba can be used, like His saying {He loves them and they love Him}. [14]

Ibn Al-Qayyim also said:

Similar to this is the word ‘ishq, it has not been mentioned [in the Islamic texts] and therefore is impermissible to use with regards to Allaah (the Glorified). The word that He (the Glorified) used for himself and informed us regarding it is more complete and more exalted in status – it is the word Mahabba… He did not describe himself with any other word apart from this such as ‘Alaaqah (having a relationship), Mayl (inclinations of desire), ‘Ishq (lust), Gharaam (devotion of fondness) or other than it. Indeed the word Mahabba is more noble and perfect than these other names; thus it came with regards to Allaah… [15]

Ibn Abi al-‘Izz al-Hanafee said:

the Seventh [level of love] is ‘ishq: it is an excessive immoderate amount of love, the one who possesses it is feared over, however the Lord (the Most High) is not to be described with it; neither is the slave [described with it] when affirming his love for his Lord…perhaps the reason why it is impermissible is because ‘ishq is love with intimate desires. [16]

Bakr Abu Zayd said:

Aashiq Allaah: some of the non-Arabs – Indians and other than them – name themselves with this word. It is a name not permitted because it contains bad manners with regards to Allaah (the most High). The word ‘ishq is not used for the creation toward the creator with the meaning: the love of Allaah, neither is Allaah (the Glorified) described with it. [17]

Bakr Abu Zaid also said,

…’ishq is a person falling for another with intimate desires… [18]

Ibn Naasir al-Barraak said

As for the word al-’Ishq, it is not found in the Qur’an nor in the Hadeeth; only the ignorant people from the Philosophers and Soofiyyah use it… it is an innovated term and it is not permitted to use it when expressing one’s love [19]

Conclusion

From what has preceded, a number of conclusions can be made:

1. The word ‘Ishq refers to love with connotations of lust and sexual intimacy, and therefore it is shameless ignorance to use it when referring to Allaah or His Messenger (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam).

2.The past generations of pious Muslims who truly loved Allaah and His Messenger (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam) never used the word ‘ishq when referring to the Prophet (sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam).

3. The correct word, which is legislated and found in Islamic texts is: Mahabba (love) and not Ishq (lustful love)

In ending, I urge my Muslim brothers and sisters who follow the way of the modern day Soofees, with its lack of knowledge and ignorance based innovations, to leave this path and sincerely look into the evidences of the Qur’an and Sunnah upon the methodology of the Salaf.

True salvation and success is in following the methodology of the Salaf, and not in innovations and acts of Shirk. Mere claims of love and devotion are worthless, when they are not justified with Tawheed and being firm upon the Sunnah, as well as warning against Shirk and innovations.

{Say, [O Muhammad to the people], ‘if you should love Allaah, then follow me, [so] Allaah will love you and forgive you your sins. Allaah is Forgiving and Merciful’} [03:31]

O Allaah, I ask you for Your Love, the love of every person who has loved You, and the love of every action which brings me closer to your Love.

May peace and blessings be upon your beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family, companions and his sincere followers and devotees until the Day of Resurrection.

 

Written by the one in need of Allaah,

Abul Abbaas Naveed Ayaaz
Nelson, Lancashire
9th Jumaada ath-Thaani 1436h
29th March, 2015

 

Footnotes

[1] Ismaa’eel ibn Hammaad al-Jawharee [died 393h]; Taaj al-lughah (as-Sihaah)
[2] Ahmad Ibn Faaris [died: 395h]; Maqaais al-lughah
[3] Muhammad Ibn Manzoor [died: 1233h]; Lisaan al-Arab
[4] Abu Tayyib Ahmad al-Mutanabbi [died: 354h]; these verses of part of a longer composition which he begins by blaming the people of ‘ishq, due to the detrimental effect of ‘ishq upon a person. However, he later blames himself for blaming them, asking how he can blame them for ‘ishq whilst he has never felt it. When he did feel it towards his wife, he then complains how anybody can die from a disease other than ‘ishq.
[5] Muhammad Ibn Manzoor [died: 1233h]; Lisaan al-Arab
[6] Narrated by Anas Ibn Maalik; Collected by Bukhaaree & Muslim
[7] Narrated by Anas Ibn Maalik; Collected by Bukhaaree & Muslim
[8] Abu Abdillah Muhammad ibn Khafeef Ash-Shayraazi [died: 371h]; mentioned by Ibn Taymiyyah in al-fatwa al-kubraa; Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 5/80
[9] [Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abu Ya’lah [died: 458h] al-Mu’tamad fee Usool ad-Deen (mentioned by Ibn Jawzee in Talbees Iblees)
[10] Abul Faraj AbdulRahman Ibn Jawzee [died: 579h]; Talblees Iblees
[11] Abul Faraj AbdulRahman Ibn Jawzee [died: 579h]; Talblees Iblees
[12] Abul Faraj AbdulRahman Ibn Jawzee [died: 579h]; Talblees Iblees
[13] Taqi-udeen Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyah [728h]; Al-‘Uboodiyya
[14] Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr al-Jawziyyah [died: 751h]; Iqhaathat al-lahfaan 2/133
[15] Muhammad Ibn Abee Bakr al-Jawziyyah [died: 751h]; Tareeq al-Hijratayn
[16] ‘Alee Ibn ‘Alaa ad-Deen, Ibn Abee al-‘Izz [died: 792h]; Sharh at-Tahaawiyyah
[17] Bakr Abu Zayd [died: 1429h]; Mu’jam Manaahi al-Lafdhiyyah
[18] Bakr Abu Zayd [died: 1429h]; Mu’jam Manaahi al-Lafdhiyyah
[19] AbdulRahman Ibn Naasir al-Barraak [born: 1352h]; audio fatwa can be listened to at: http://ar.islamway.net/fatwa/8500

http://www.SalafiEventsUK.com

He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire.

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