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The Disease of Desires By Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah




The Disease of Desires

By Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah "Extracted from “Diseases of the Hearts & their Cures” 


Miserliness and jealousy are sicknesses that lead to the soul hating that which would benfit it, and its loving that which would haram it. This is why jealousy was mention alongside hartred and resentment in the preceeding ahaadeeth. As for the sickness of desire and passionate love then this is the soul loving that which would haram it and coupled with this is its hatred of that which would benefit it.

Passionate love is a psychological sickness, and when its effects become noticable o*n the body, it becomes a sickness that afflicts the mind also. Either by afflicting the mind by the likes of melancholy, or afflicting the body throught weakness and emaciation. But the purpose here is to discuss its affect o*n the heart, for passionate love is the fundament that makes the soul covet that which would harm it, similar to the o*ne weak of body who covets that which harms it, and if he is not satiated by that then he is grieved, and if he is satiated then his sickness increases. The same applies to the heart afflicted with this love, for it is harmed by its connection to the loved, either by seeing, touching, hearing, or even thinking about it. And if he were to curb the love then the heart is hurt and grieved by this, and if he gives it ito the desire then the sickness becomes stroger and becomes a means trough which the grievance is increased.

In the Hadeeth there accurs, " Indeed Allah shelters His beliveing servant from the world just as o*ne of you shelter your sick o*nes from food and drink [ that would harm them]"

In the hadeeth concerning the saving of Moosa reported by Wahbibn Munabbih [ is a noble taabi ee, this hadeeth is reported from him but is not authentic.] which is recorded by Imaam Ahmad in Zuhd " Allah says indeed I drive away my friends from the delights of this world and its opulence and comfort just ask the compassionate shephered drives away his camel from the dangerous crazing lands. And Indeed I make them avoid its tranguillity and liveihood, just ask the compassionate shepherd makes his camel to avoid the resting places wherein it would be easy pray. This not because I consider them to be insignificant, but so that they may complete their porition of my kindness in Safety and abundance, the delights of the world will not attract him and neither would desires overcome him."

Therefore the o*nly cure for the sick lies in his removing the sickness by removing the blameworth love from his heart.

People are diveded into two opinions concerning passionate love: o*ne group says that it falls into the category of intentions and wishes, this being the famous opinion. Another group says that it falls into the caterory of imagination and fantasies and that it is corruption of the imagination since it cause o*ne to depict the o*ne who is loved in other than his true reality. This group went o*n to say: "And this is why Allah has not been described with passionate love [shik] and neither that he passionately love [ya shik] because He is far removed from this, and o*ne cannot be prasied who has there corrupt thoughts."

As for the first group, then from them are those who said: He is described with passionate love [ishk] because it is a complete and perfect love and Allah Loves [yuhib].." And it is reported in the narration of Abdul Wahid bin Zayd that He said, "The servant will always continue to draw close to me, loving Me and I loving him {a shiquhoo]." This is the saying of some of the Soofis but majority do not apply this word to Allah, because passionate love is a love exceeding the prooper bounds, as for the Love of Allah then it has no end and cannot exceed the proper bounds. Passionate love is to be considered blameworthy without any exceptions, it is not to be praised when it is directed toward the Creator or created because it is a love that exceeds the proper bounds.

This is also true because the word 'passionate love' is o*nly employed with regards to a man loving a woman or chid [ or vice versa]. it is not employed in things such as the love of o*ne's family, propery or status, just as it not emplayed with regards to the love of the Prophets and the righteous. Commonly, you will fidn this word being mentioned alongside a forbidden action, such as loving the woman who is not lawful for him, or loving a child joined with th eunlawful glance and touch and other such unlawful actions.

And for the love of a man for his wife or slave girl which leads him out of the folds of justice such that he does unlawful things for her and leave what is obligatory- as commonly happens- even to the extent tht he may oppress his son born of his old wife due to this love of his new wife, or to the extent that he will do things to keep her happy that would haram his religion and worldy life. For example his singling her out for inheritance that she does not deserve, or that he gives her family authorit and property that exceeds the limits set by Allah, or he goes to exceees in spending o*n her, or he makes unlawful things possible for her which is harm his religion and worldly life. This passionate love is forbidden with regards for o*ne who has passionate love for someone who is unlawful or with regards to two men. For this contains a corruption that extent of which none can assess except the lord of the servants; it is a sickness that corrupts the religion and objectives of the o*ne who possesses it, then it corrupts his intelligence and then his body. Allah the mos High, says,

" Then do not be soft in speech, lest he is whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in a honourable manner." Soorah al ahzaab :32

There are some whose hearts contain the disease of desire and whose perceptions are o*nly skin deep. When the object of the desire submits, the sickness is satiated, and this satiation strengthens the desire and pursuit of the object and hence strengthens the sickness. This is a contrast to the o*ne whose objective is not met, for this failure results is removing the satiation that would strengthen the sickness and there by the desire is weakended as is the love. This is because the person definitely inteds tht there be action accompanying his desire, for otherwise all his desire would be is just whispering of the soul, unless there is some speech or looking accompany this.

As for the one who is afflicted with this passionate love but holds back and is patient, then indeed Allah will reward him for his taqwaa as occurs in the hadeeth, " that the one who passionately love someone yets hold back, conceals this and is patient, then dies upon this, will be a martry." [ A da eef hadeeth, ] This hadeeth is known to be the report of Yahya al Qataat from Mujaahid from Ibn Abbass from the Prophet sallahu wa alyhe wa sallam but it is problematic and such a hadeeth is not to be depended upon.

But it is known from the evideces of the Shareeah that if o*ne were to hold back from performing that which is unlawful, be it looking, speaking or acting, and conceals this and does not articulate it so as not to fall into that which is prohibited and he is patient in his obedience to Allah and keep away form disobedience to Allah, despite the pain that his hearts feels due to this passionate love, [similar to the case of the o*ne who is patient throught a calaminty, then indeed this person would gain the same rewards as those who have feared Allah and been Patient. 


" Verily, he who fears Allah and is patient, then surely Allah makes not the reward of the doers of good to be lost." Soorah Yoosuf :90





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