What is Love?

The Arabs say Love is of Ten levels

I – العلاقه – Alaaqah

This is basic attachment. The beloved is desired. It is love at its first stage.


II – الإرادة – Iraadah

Like a Mureed, the beloveds company is now desired.


III – الصبابة – Sabaabah

This is like water falling – hence correlates to the western “Falling in love”; the stage at which one begins to lose control over their actions with regards to their beloved.


IV – الغرامة – Gharaama

This is used to describe something indefinite; The desire to be with the beloved all the time.


V – الودادة – Widaadah

This is Safwatul Mahabbah; pure love. Previous types of love involved also pleasing the nafs, ie receiving, but now it is no longer about the self and is about giving love totally. Like the Prophet ﷺ said “Marry a fertile woman who is Wadud” – meaning her love is a pure selfless type of love. That is why Allah’s name is Wadud – he loves us purely. Like when Allah describes a couple as having “mawaddatan wa rahmah” a selfless pure love for one another such that neither will divorce the other when they are sick etc.


VI – الشغف – Shaghaf

In Arabic, Shighaafal Qalb is called the Pericardium in physiology – the double walled sac containing the heart. This level is when the heart is surrounded by love, it encompasses and envelopes it totally. Protection and possession is seen here.


VII – العشق – Ishq

This is a very dangerous state of love. This is the point at which a person can lose his mind and literally become insane. In Arabic, al-Ashaqah is a vine that begins to surround a tree and eventually kills it. So this stage is characterised by constriction.

The Arabs say that “The cure for Ishq is embracement (or connection)”. There is a weak Hadith also which says that “The one who hides his/her ishq for someone, remains chaste, and dies in that state, will be among the martyrs”. And love itself has slain many an Islamic legend including Imam Al-Jazuli and Imam al-Busiri for their intense love or Ishq for the Prophet ﷺ. The Arabs also say, “for love is that which slays..”


VIII – التتيم – Tatayyum

Taym means a very high degree of love. This is a stage where it’s beyond Ishq. It signifies a level of servitude for the beloved that isn’t full submission but entails a certain level of servitude. Your in the service of the beloved. Ibn Taymiyyah was named after his grandmother who was a very righteous woman – she was a woman of “Taym”.


IX – التعبد – Ta’abbud

This is a profound stage of love with complete submission and servitude. You are a slave of the beloved. You are willing to do anything for your beloved and that’s why they say to the one who disobeys Allah, “You say you love Allah yet you disobey him?” Uboodiyyah – Servitude – isn’t a mere master slave relationship. It is the most profound relationship there can be which is full of adoration such that one is willing to do anything for the beloved! Hence the root of the word means not only servitude but adoration. Aabid – is the one who adores! #Adhore is the Latin word for love!

Allah says in the Quran, “Subhaanalladhi asraa bi’abdihi” – “Glory be to the One who took his ‘abd” – because this is an honorific term of the Prophet ﷺ hence Allah is elevating his rank and mentioning His love for His Mahboob by calling him His ‘abd. This is uboodiyah to the highest level. Uboodiyah therefore means adoration to the highest degree.

The fact that we are Abdullah means we love God! That is the nature of Ta’abbud. And that’s also why Abdullah and Abdur Rahman are the most beloved of names to Allah ﷻ.


X – الخله – Khullah

The final level is the level of the Khaleel. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah took me as a friend just as He took Ibrahim عليه السلام as a Khaleel.” The Prophet ﷺ is Habeebullah – because the Hubb contains all of these but he is also Khaleelullah.

The Khaleel is the highest level of love when the Mahabbah – “Tatakhallalu khalayal jasad” – it completely permeates every cell of your body. When you perform Khilalah of your beard during wudhu, or your body during ghusul, you have to ensure water permeates every single hair follicle. That is khullah! That is Khaleel – the highest level of love. It has to permeate your entire soul.

That, is the level of love that Allah has for his Beloved ﷺ who also has this level of love for his Beloved Allah ﷻ

Allah loves the Prophet ﷺ completely, and the Prophet ﷺ loves Allah completely.

And that is why to love Allah is to love the #Messenger of Allah ﷺ and to love the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is to Allah.

The Prophet ﷺ said: “By Allah, you will not enter #Jannah until you believe; and you will not believe until you love one another.” May Allah give us the Maqaam of Mahabbah, and increase us in Mahabbah, and make us of the people of Mahabbah.

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