Divine Love in Islamic Mysticism: The Teachings of al-Ghazali and al-Dabbagh

DIVINE LOVE IN ISLAMIC MYSTICISM
  • Book Title:
 Divine Love In Islamic Mysticism
  • Book Author:
Binyamin Abrahamov
  • Total Pages
103
  • Size of Book:
39 Mb
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Divine Love in Islamic Mysticism – Book Sample

INTRODUCTION – Divine Love in Islamic Mysticism

1. Love in Greek philosophy

Since Sufi divine love in Islam owes much to ancient Greek thinking, a statement to be proved later, one should naturally set forth the main features of this philosophical tradition. As Singer states, every discussion of love, whether courtly love, romantic love or religious love must begin with Plato.

Most of the material on love is found in the Symposium. 1 In this dialogue, Aristophanes sets forth a myth according to which in the beginning the human race was divided into three sexes, male, female, and hermaphroditic. Each human being was spherical having four hands, four legs, and a single head. Since they were powerful, they attacked the gods but were defeated and almost destroyed, only to be saved due to Zeus’ mercy.

To prevent future rebellion by the spherical human beings, Zeus divided each of them into two parts. After that each part longed for the part from which it had been • disconnected. The division of the three sexes explains the existence of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and lesbianism; each half of a spherical being longs for the missing half.

If a man belongs to the spherical being which was composed of male and female, he will desire a woman, and the same understanding applies to homosexuality and lesbianism.2 ‘And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.’ Socrates goes further

2. Love in Judaism

Since divine love is mainly the product of the Judeo-Christian tradition,22 it is worthwhile outlining the basic doctrines and teachings of both Judaism and Christianity on love. In both Biblical and Post-Biblical Judaism love is the principal axis in the relationship between God and Israel.  

Although there is no theory of divine love in Jewish literature until the Middle Ages,24 some significant motifs often recur. In the following we shall refer mainly to man’s love for God and God’s love for man, the causes of both kinds of love and their expressions.

Deuteronomy serves as an important source for many later authorities. The cause of Israel’s love for God appears as God’s request, and moreover as His commandment.26 Furthermore, love for God is expressed through carrying out the commandments.

This kind of love, which is manifested through the fulfillment of precepts, obedience and submission to God’s will is called by scholar’s nomos. Obedience to God is manifested through keeping the

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