Thursday, May 17, 2007

Divine Love | Sufi Essence: Stages of Love

The pen faces difficulties or even fails when trying to describe love. As you know steps can be seen leading up to the ocean, but what happens then? The well-known Chishti Sufi Khwaja Nasiruddin Cheragh (the “lamp”) of Delhi, who was the successor of Nizamuddin Awliya has described the indescribable. He not only described ten stages and fifty phases of love, but he also experienced them.

i am only taking the essence of 10 stages, each of which has 5 phases so to speak. for elaboration pls read the from the original link at the end of this post.

According to the Chishtiyya Sufis the first stage of love is olfat (friendship, attachment, familiarity, companionship, intimacy). It is another name for the inclination of the heart towards the object of love

The second stage of love is sadaaqat (true friendship, sincerity, candour, loyalty, fidelity). In this stage the heart remains unaffected by the Beloved’s fidelity or infidelity, disregards and denials, and by bestowal of favours.

The third stage of love is termed mavaddat (friendship, love, benevolence), which is marked by the excitation of the heart and passionate desire (hayajaan-e qalb o ettisaafe baa-l havaa) for the Beloved.

The fourth stage of love is styled havaa (affection; favour; love; desire). In this stage the lover is always inclined towards the Beloved or longs for Him.

The fifth stage of love is called shaghaf (violent affection, violent love; alacrity; love, longing, yearning; joy). The word has been used in Qur’an 12:30 in connection with the love affair of Zulaykha with Joseph:Qad shaghafa-haa hobbaaTruly he has inspired her with violent love.

The sixth stage of love is exclusive attachment to the Beloved. It means emptying the heart of all save the Beloved.

The seventh phase has been styled mahabbat (love, affection; friendship, esteem, benevolence). This is a sublime phase and it has been mentioned in Qur’an 5:54 thus:

Allah will certainly produce a people
Whom He will love
And they will love Him.

Love is a gift. You cannot start to love somebody. In the above Qur’anic sign the love of Allah precedes human love, the Beloved is in fact the first lover.

The eight stage is ‘eshq (pure love), which is another name of excessive and intense affection. At this stage one looses one’s reason and senses

The ninth of the Chishti stages of love is called enslavement or becoming a servant. At this stage the manacles of humiliation and submission are put around the neck of the lover whose feet are bound by the fetters of slavery.

The tenth and final stage of the Chishti stages of love is valah or bewilderment (other translations are: being sad, afflicted, distracted or impatient from love or grief; perturbation of mind). This stage is beset with tremendous dangers, consequently it has been said:

In distance there is torment
And in nearness bewilderment.

This sense can be grasped in the following words uttered by a lover:

If I see You I lose my life!
If I don’t see You, how can I live?
Confusion has come to my affair:
Should I offer my life or should I abstain from seeing You?

The Chishti stages of love show that a true lover, due to the prompting of the feeling of love, merges totally in the Beloved, effaces her or his soul and body in this love and with all energy available wants the Beloved alone. As it has been said: ‘If you seek an object and strive for it, you will find it’. You will succeed and the promise of ‘The one who seeks Me, finds Me’ is fulfilled. Ebn-e-‘Abbaas has said that God said: “I am present. Seek Me and you will find Me. If you seek anything else besides Me, you will never find Me’.

For this very reason all the eminent Sufis have regarded the path of love as the most effective approach to God. - Siraj

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