abia Basri, the greatest Sufi mystic of her time, had no hesitation in declaring her intense divine love without any ‘fear’. She chose Love and won over fear and hatred.
Once someone asked Rabia: “How much do you hate Satan because you love God so much”. She replied, “My heart is so filled with the divine love that I find no space in my heart to hate Satan!”.
She believed it was not the fear of Hell that brought her to devotion, but the divine love. She expressed this in her poetic verses:
I carry a torch in one hand,
and a bucket of water in the other.
With these things I am going to set Heaven on fire,
So that people can stop praying in fear of the Hell.
And see the real goal: Love.
From time immemorial, there have been two different paths in the world—Love and Fear. While one tells us that the Divine path is all about love and forgiveness, the other overlooks the limitless divine mercy (Muhabbat) and creates more panic and fear (Khauf) in human hearts.
One of the most beautiful names of God in the holy Quran is: Al Wadud (the Most-Loving). This divine attribute instills in us so much love and devotion towards our Most Beloved…….
This clearly shows that the divine love is infinite, all-inclusive and all-encompassing. It exhorts mankind to follow it as the basic tenet of spirituality. Those claiming God’s love for His creations is restricted are doing a blunder. Not a single creature is exempted from His bountiful grace and divine mercy. Prophet Muhammad said, “When God created His creatures, He wrote in the book: “Verily, My mercy (Rahmat) prevailed over My wrath (Ghazab)”.
This hadith tells us that Allah is truly all-embracing in His love. Going by this, those who believe that “God is love” embrace a world of differing traditions and are devoted to saving the planet and mankind rather than destroying them. They espouse the most universal and spiritual message of the Qur’an— “to save a life is to protect the whole mankind”.
Such Divine Lovers are the healthy human beings who create everywhere an atmosphere of peace and harmony and pose no threat to any section of society. Believers, non-believers, theists, atheists, Muslims and Non-Muslims, leftists or rightists, secularists or liberals—these find no word of discrimination in their inclusive dictionary. People of any faith tradition have nothing to fear from these Divine Lovers. They live by universal values of unconditional love, mutual compassion, tolerance and all-embracing acceptance. They only benefit the whole mankind with their large uplifting spiritual experiences.
But the other group of believers are obsessed with the “fear of God” so much so that Allah’s Wrath (Ghazab) is given preference over His Mercy (Rahmat). This line of thinking helps those ungodly men who appoint themselves as false ‘gods’ on the earth. Then they forcibly impose their fear and power in the name of “God’s will”. In this crazy bid to showcase their religiosity, they even usurp the basic human rights of one’s freedom of conscience, faith, expression and to pursue their political motives in the name of God.
Once, Prophet Muhammad PBUH and his companions saw a mother bird with her babies in a nest. She was feeding worms to her babies. Her actions were so loving, tender and gentle that the companions were pleasantly surprised at the display of her natural love.
This beautiful and fascinating scene reminded the Prophet of God’s infinite love for man and, therefore, he smiled and asked his companions, “Are you surprised at the love this mother bird shows to her babies? Let me tell you that God loves man 70 times more than this mother!”
According to a prophetic tradition, Allah has divided His mercy into 100 parts, and kept with Him 99 parts, and then sent only one part down from heaven to earth.
So, if Allah has unveiled only one per cent of His infinite mercy, imagine what would be His entire Mercy. Through this one percent only, all human beings, animals and other creatures treat one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its child lest it should hurt it. From women to female animals who love, hug, care and breastfeed their babies with loving tenderness, there are innumerable instances of pure, selfless, inherent and innate love reflecting the divine love and infinite mercy of God.