This book is written by one of my favourite instagram writer/poet, “Arslan_writes” and I got this book because of him (I don’t usually read books like this). But as I started reading, I started to love this book more and more, because of the depth of spiritual knowledge it contains. This isn’t the kind of book you’d read over a weekend but the kind of book you’d read slowly, trying to soak in all the spiritual depth it contains. Disciples of Ishq seeks to define love as the basis of life, and contrary to what many may believe, it is a concept at the core of Islamic ideology.
The book is divided into four sections, each serving its own unique purpose. The first section, the introduction, starts off with paying attributes to the 99 names of Allah (the only God Muslims believe in) and talks about how he has learned what true love is through the love of God and his understanding of Islam. He then further defines love as the core of the universe, just as atoms are the basic units of chemical matter and how there is no better blessing to a man and woman who claim to love each other, than marriage. This then leads to the first chapter of the second section – Conspiracies of the Universe. Section two contains two chapters, “Conspiracies of the Universe” and “What is Love?”. The first talks about how the universe and its actions are subject to the will of Allah and like everything that is decreed by Him, one’s soulmate is also a provision that is decreed for him/her. He also elaborates on the idea of love not being coincidental because “If leaves cannot move without his permission and lightning cannot strike without being given its direction, how can our hearts be moved towards one another without the will of Allah. He ends the chapter by talking about how Du’a (prayer in Arabic) plays an important role in uniting us with our beloved in both this world and the hereafter. He starts the second chapter by giving his definitions of love, of which my favourite was “To love is to breathe to your fullest potential, and to breathe without restrictions is to live; love is the essence of being alive.” Throughout this chapter, he further elaborates on the idea of love and it itself being a form of worship. He then ends the chapter by emphasizing how love means to commit to one another and to work together in making a marriage work. The third section, my favourite part of the book, has 10 chapters in total.
The first chapter is “Stages of Love”, leads the readers on to the next few chapters in this section by explaining how love can be divided into different stages, states different kinds of love and the principles of metaphorical love.
Chapter 2 is the very first stage of love – Ulfat (Attraction), which inclines the heart towards the object of love as “Human love begins with an encounter”, our conceptions and descriptions of the person we love come later.
The next stage – Unsiyat (Attachment), this stage has been described as true friendship; the strong attachment between two people as the lover and the beloved.
Mavaddat (Higher Dimension of Unsiyat), is the stage where the lover constantly find him/herself in the state of moaning and expressing great agony as to still being so far away from the beloved. This stage involves being occupied by great anxiety, and the thought of the beloved is always on one’s mind like an obsession.
Hawaa (Affection and Longing), is the falling of love or any kind of passion into the heart.
Shagaf (Violent Love), a state of extreme passionate desire of the desire, distinct from the passionate desire in the earlier stages because the lover now has developed a sense of ownership over the beloved.
Ishq (True Love), is the most beautiful of the stages of love and anything beyond this stage is madness.
Ibadat (Worship and Enslavement), one begins to idolize the beloved in a way that he/she begins to forsake Allah and His commands, which is completely opposite to the purpose of his/her creation which is to worship Allah alone.
Junoon (Madness and Bewilderment), a stage that does not follow a specific order, and it is entirely possible for the lover to be inflicted with Junoon (madness) at any point. And is not only for the lovers yearning for the beloved, as Junoon can also be experienced after being united with the beloved. The last chapter of the section,
Maut (Death of the Self), a stage where the lover loses a sense of their own self completely, and instead gains a sense of identity in the beloved.
Section four, the very last section of the book – Ishq-e-Haqiqi (Divine Love), explains what divine love exactly is and emphasizes on how the lover of the material world can never become a lover of Allah, because there would always be excuses that would come in between him and Allah. Then the book is ended with a note from the author, Arslan, summarizing the whole discussion between metaphorical and divine love.
For those who have loved, those who have lost and those who are still looking – this book is definitely for you! This is a book you can read and come back to when you need it!