What Does it Mean to Love God?
By S.M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)
What does it mean to love God?
By S. M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)
There is no human being who has no love. Everybody loves. The question is: who loves whom or what?
Mina loves money. Shilpi loves dolls. Maya loves wealth and children. There is no escape from love. The question is: What is it that I love most?
Badol loves fame. Suzanne loves music. Mary loves saving money. Kashem loves to be praised. So, actually, the question is what should I love most?
The greatest pull of love that a human being feels is his or her love with is or her fiancé. The intensity of love felt during teen-age is the strongest. As long as a lover is separated from the beloved in such a case, the pull is felt so strongly that it even acts as an intense meditation, a piercing one-pointed concentration, from which the attention cannot be diverted by using any force. That is because the attention / focus of the mind belongs to the beloved, and not to the lover.
In this way love unites two minds, and then two bodies. Children are born. Because the children are the product of love, they also attract the focus of the mother’s as well as father’s mind in a terrible way. Can I love somebody else’s child as much as I love my own child? No. I can only do my duties to other’s children for some time. But I can’t do for them all the things that I do for my own children. I simply will feel tried.
Now, is my feeling for my own children pure love? How can I be sure that that attraction is love? Before they were born, how much attraction did I feel for my spouse, who was my only friend? That attraction was overwhelming. But now, after the children have been born, do I love him or her with the same intensity with which I used to love him or her earlier? No. Why? What is it that has stood in the way - has acted as a barrier? What is it that has shared a great portion of my love for my spouse?
Actually, when the children were not born I used to love my spouse so much because I loved my children who were not yet born! In the past what I actually loved was my future. Now that they are born, my attention has got detached from my spouse and fixed on my children.
Can I love others’ children as much as I love my own children? No. If God told us to love everybody equally, would it be possible for us? No. If we did not feel the intense love for our children, could we bear all the suffering to bring them up? No. Love only has made our duties easy for us.
Now, what is love for God? Is it love for a human being just as I used to love my fiancé? No. Because God is not a single person. If He were a person - male or female – then there would be no problem in worshiping idols. So loving God and loving a human being, in the first place, are different.
But, paradoxically, LOVE – it does not matter for whoever it is - is always the same in all the cases. That is because every human being has only one Heart. And love is nothing but an inescapable communication with the Heart.
Now, let’s ask the old question again: What does it mean to love God? Let’s proceed with this question in mind.
Loving God does not mean that you have to remove your love from your children and husband and brother and sister. At the same time, loving God does not mean that you have to love somebody against your will. There is no fight in love. Rather, love removes all conflict. How? By removing the narrowness of the ego.
All that we see around us – they are manifestations of God’s own entity, His own Beauty. He is the Manifest as well as the Hidden. So loving God means loving everything according to the demand of nature.
If I don’t love my husband, then somebody else will become his wife. But if I don’t love my child, nobody else will be his or her mother. The child will be a helpless, wretched one. Poor child! It will look for a mother or father but nobody will feel for it because it is not a product of anybody else’s love.
Different people feel the love for God in different ways. For some people, it is too personalized. For example, Saint Teresa loved Jesus (alaihe wasallam) so much that she lost herself in his meditation. One day, she saw Jesus (alaihe wasallam) come and kiss her on the forehead.
When true LOVE appears in the Heart there is a feeling that destroys all narrowness. A one-pointed concentration gives a pain and at the same time infinite bliss. It seems as if a gentle southern breeze is blowing through the Heart. This feeling makes the body feel like dancing. Then it becomes very easy to forgive everybody, to forget all insults, to do duties to all. Then if you see a helpless child you will feel as if God Himself is seeking help through him or her. Then you will feel that loving your husband or wife is the same as loving God. When that feeling comes to the Heart your duty to humankind is automatically done. The world will remain ever grateful to you for that moment.
When there is real love, even the attraction to worshiping decreases (not the attraction to compulsory worship). That is because such feeling of love is a reward. God gives it to His friends so that they have a moment of rest, a moment of relaxation, and have a different way of relationship with Him. It is more than the pleasure of salaat or worship. But at the same time, it is not something that tells somebody to do illegal things. No. Love is the Purest feeling. Actually, it is not a feeling; rather, it creates other feelings; it floods all other feelings.
So if the desire of running away from duties arises in the mind and the mind wants to pray salaat (do worshiping only), then some questions need to be asked to the mind:
a Am I running away from my duties and taking shelter in salaat and thus trying to please God by deceiving others?
a There is too much love in me. It is a special gift from God. But is Iblis or my nafs (mind) playing false with it?
a Isn’t it possible for me to sacrifice some of my time and energy for my family? That would be the best form of love for God.
Leaving everything back in the past and being lonely for God is also a way toward the Love for the Lord. There would be no problem in it. But that is not for those who have already entered family life and have got responsibilities to do. Anybody who has not already entered family life can follow that way. If a family life is written in his or her fate then God will bring him or her back to it. But for those who have already entered the domain of responsibility, that can’t be the way. Now we must love God through loving the world according to our ability.