Timeless Lessons From Karbala: Lesson 5/5 - Love

'A'udhu billahi min al-shaytan al-rajim . Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim wa bihi nasta'een. Wa as-salaatu wa as-salaamu 'alaa sayyidina wa nabiyyina wa habibi qulubinaa wa shafi'i nufusina Abil Qasim Muhammad wa 'alaa ahli-bayti at-tayyibin at-taahirin. A'dhamal lahu ujuruna wa ujurakum bi masaa'ibina bi sayyidina wa mawlaana Abi 'Abdillah Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaatu wa as-salaam.

My dear sisters and brothers thank you for joining joining us in the fifth part and the last part on our series of Timeless Lessons that we learn from the Tragedy of Karbala and the massacre of Imam al-Husayn, 'alayhi as-salam, his family members and his companions on the 10th of Muharram sixty one years after Hijrah.

When we talk about the unique themes that we have been reflecting upon over the last several sessions. We speak about virtues that every human being aspires and desires toward attaining. What I mean when I say that, is that universally, regardless of what religion one follows, regardless of whether one has been exposed to the light of 'Aba 'Abdillah Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaam or not, we all recognize qualities like that of God consciousness, of generosity, of mercy and compassion, sincerity as being amongst the most important virtues and qualities that any human being should have, must have and seeks to virtually illuminate on this path, on this journey of life toward attaining perfection.

And among those qualities which are often spoken about, but not necessarily in the context of our religious tradition for whatever reason is that of love, because often times we see that the word love in and of itself is something that is very ambiguous. How can you, you know, demonstrate by means of a PhD dissertation, for instance, how you love someone like that of your spouse, like that of your children? It's an emotion, it is a feeling that only one who has experienced that knowledge can truly attest to the reality of what it means. Think about it.

At the first time that your child is born into the world, you obviously have an intense love for him or her and you think that your love cannot be dispensed or distributed anywhere else. Then if you have a second child, you realize that that love that you have for the first child is still the same intensity, but rather you have reached a new level in terms of that which you are able to emanate.

When you talk about our love for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala that which we should be seeking toward, we see a hadith from the Messenger of God sallalahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, in which he states 'Laa yakunu mu'min, mu'minan hatta yakunu khaa'ifan raaji'a,' that 'A believer cannot be a believer until he or she is between hope and fear.' Fear in slipping, fear in Divine Punishment, fear in terms of acknowledging how incredibly awesome Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is. Awesome in the way that He is so Unique for He is the Creator of all of these things around us, the skies, the oceans, the rivers, the trees, so on and so forth.

And at the same time, 'Laa yakunu mu'min mu'minan hatta yakunu khaa'ifan raaji'a,' that 'A believer cannot be a believer until he is, he or she is both fearful but also hopeful.' Hopeful in God's Mercy, hopeful in God's Compassion, hopeful in God's Pleasure, hopeful in God's Ultimate Reward that of paradise. In reality, the highest level of hope is to have a hope in the fact that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala loves us, that He is satisfied with us.

In the words of Imam Amirul Mu'minin as-salaamul laahi 'alayhi, in which he states, 'Ilaahi anta kamaa uhibb, faj'alni kamaa tuhibb - Oh Allah! You are exactly that which I love, don't change.' Imagine Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, He himself changed His Sunnan, the laws that He utilizes and applies to governing this universe.

I like to often give this example. Imagine if Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala had only created one type of fruit and one type of vegetable. We didn't necessarily have the assortment of that which is all around us. Take a look, you go to the grocery store for instance, you see that God gives us mangoes and gives us pineapples, gives us apples, gives us bananas, gives us kiwis and strawberries and blueberries and blackberries and so on and so forth. And not only do they all have their own special, unique taste, but they have their unique fragrance, they also have a very unique colour.

Similarly when it comes to vegetables, you see that if only Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala had given us tomatoes, then you know, not everyone would be so satisfied because maybe tomatoes is not the most enjoyable vegetable for them or if you consider it a fruit. And for instance, if Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala had only given us cucumbers, but out of God's Mercy and out of His love for His creation, He decided that I am going to give you this wide array and vast assortment, because that is just how loving and caring that our Lord is for us. Out of His knowledge, He has given us this variety and this diversity when it even comes to things as simple as fruits and vegetables. But imagine God taking that away from us. We do not want to.

Of course, Allah Subhanhu wa Ta'ala to change up the way that He utilizes the application of His laws to govern this universe, which is why Imam Amir ul-Mu'minin and we say with him as-salaamul laahi 'alayhi, 'Ilaahi anta kamaa uhibb - Oh Allah do not change.' You are the Most Merciful of those who show mercy, the Most Generous of those who are, the Most Generous of those who show generosity. You are the Most Beautiful, You are the Most Loving, You are the Most Caring. You are closest to, closer to us than our own jugular veins. Why would we want anything else from our Creator? Of course we don't.

'Ilaahi anta kamaa uhibb, faj'alni kamaa tuhibb - So Allah you are exactly that which I love, don't change but make me that which You love.' Make me the best of your servants, make me the closest in proximity to You Oh Allah. Allow for me to be those who walk in the footsteps of the Messenger of God, Muhammad sallalahu 'alayhi wa aalihi i wa sallam. Let me be at the forefront of those who are ready to respond to the time of prayers, toward the recitation of the Qur'an, let me be in a state of enjoyment when I am supplicating and making dua to You. 'Faj'alni kamaa tuhibb.'

And when we go toward the tragedy of Karbala, we see one by one the uniqueness of the companions of Aba 'Abdillah Al-Husayn, of his children, of his nephews, of his brothers. What we learn from every one of them is their unique love for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.

We may have given this example the other day, that when Imam Al-Husayn as-salaamul laahi 'alayhi has the six month old infant in his hand and he struck with the arrow of Hurmala Ibn Kahlil al-Asadi, the words that Imam Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaam speak and they call out really demonstrate the uniqueness of the love that he has for his Creator.

He states 'Hawwana maa nazala bi innahu baynana - Suffices and comforts my heart to know that these are in the, that this action, that this this this awful crime is in the eyes of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala.' He knows that the steps that he's making is to demonstrate his love for his Creator.

The fact that on the night of Ashura, Imam Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaam, dispatches Abul Fadl Al-'Abbas toward going to the camp of 'Umar ibn Sa'd and asking him to postpone the battle from the night until the day to which Imam Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaam tells Abul Fadl Al-'Abbas 'Li anni uhibbu salaat - Because I love to pray, I love to recite ayaat of the Holy Qur'an'. He loves to be in a state of communication with his Lord.

We often narrate the story of Burayr, that companion of Imam Al-Husayn as-salaamul laahi 'alayhi, who had gone through so much difficulty during the course of his life but on the night of Ashura, who is seen smiling and joking and having a really sort of positive time. When all of his companions, they asked them, they said 'Oh, Burayr, you have gone through so much, we have never seen you in this state of joy.' He said 'What better honour do I have tomorrow, I'm going to be in the company of the Messenger of God sallalahu 'alayhi wa aalihi.'

This love, intense love, that when there is love and you realize that we are seeking that object of utter and absolute affection, nothing can come in your way.

See the example of that of Aabis, that companion of Imam Al-Husayn, 'alayhi as-salaat wa as-salaam, who, despite the fact that he was so elderly would rush himself into the middle of the army of 'Umar ibn Sa'd virtually sacrificing his life at that very moment. And when they asked him 'Oh Aabis! What is this? What are you doing?' He demonstrated that it was the love that he had for the grandson of the Messenger of God, Imam Al-Husayn as-salaamul laahi 'alayhi that was drawing him into the middle of the battlefield.

My dear sisters and brothers, when it comes to love, it starts with understanding that our relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala can be based upon that sort of uniqueness. Oftentimes the way that we are taught this religion is by a way of a very angry God in the sky who is ready to punish us at every opportunity that He has and every juncture. But we know that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala is with us at all times, he wants our success, He cares about us, He loves us.

And from Imam Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaam's relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, as we see on the 10th of Muharram, as we see by the companions of Aba 'Abdillah Al-Husayn on the day of Ashura. They recognize that the object of their love was their Creator, so nothing comes in their way. Nothing fazes them in reaching their ultimate objective.

When we are in the course of prayers, when we are in the course of supplicating, when we are in the course of recitation of the Holy Qur'an or making dua or even just talking or thinking about our Creator, remember that the foundational relationship that we need to build upon, that we learn from Ahlul Bayt 'alayhim-us as-salaat wa as-salam on this foundation of hope, on this foundation of love, on this foundation of fear but that it is also drawn out of love because we do not want to disappoint the one that we love. We never want to disappoint our children, our parents, teachers, our spouses, those we love and adore and respect.

And by sort of changing our lens and our worldview in terms of how we approach our relationship with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, will make those necessary steps to walk in the footsteps of Aba 'Abdillah Al-Husayn 'alayhi as-salaat wa as-salaam and his grandfather, the Messenger of God, Muhammad sallalahu 'alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam.

We ask Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala for tawfiq to make the most of these days and nights of Muharram in the hope that our hearts are filled with the love of God, the love of His Messenger, with the love of the Leader of the Youth of Paradise.

Wa sallillahumma 'alaa sayyidina wa nabiyyina Muhammad wa 'alaa ahli-bayti at-tayyibin at-taahirin.