What Is Love?
Love is the most essential element of every being, and it is the most radiant light, and it is the greatest power; able to resist and overcome all else. Love elevates every soul that absorbs it, and prepares these souls for the journey to eternity.
Souls that have been able to make contact with eternity through love exert themselves to inspire in all other souls what they have derived from eternity. They dedicate their lives to this sacred duty; a duty for the sake of which they endure every kind of hardship to the very end, and just as they pronounce “love” with their last breath, they will also breathe “love” while being raised on the Day of Judgment.
It is impossible for souls without love to be elevated to the horizon of human perfection. Even if they lived for hundreds of years, they could not advance on the path to perfection. Those who are deprived of love, as they are entangled in the nets of selfishness, are unable to love anybody else and die unaware of the love that is deeply instilled in the very being of existence.
A child is received with love when he is born, and grows up in a warm atmosphere composed of affectionate, loving souls. Even if children may not enjoy the same love to the same degree in later phases of their life, they always long for it and pursue it throughout their life.
There are impressions of love on the face of the sun; water evaporates, rising toward those impressions, and after it has been condensed in drops high above, the drops fall joyfully onto the earth on wings of love. Then, thousands of flowers burst through with love, offering smiles to their surroundings. Dew drops on leaves glitter with love and twinkle with amusement. Sheep and lambs bleat and skip about with love, and birds and chicks chirp with love and form choruses of love.
Each being takes part in the grand orchestra of love in the universe with its own particular symphony and tries to demonstrate, by free will or through its disposition, an aspect of the deep love that is found in existence.
Love is ingrained in the soul of a human being so deeply that many people leave their home for its sake, many families are ruined, and, in every corner, a Majnun groans with love, longing for his Layla.1 As for those who have not been able to uncover the love inherent in their being, they regard such manifestations of love as madness!
Altruism is an exalted human feeling, and its source is love. Whoever has the greatest share in this love is the greatest hero of humanity; these people have been able to uproot any feelings of hatred and rancor in themselves. Such heroes of love continue to live even after their death. These lofty souls who, by each day kindling a new torch of love in their inner world and by making their hearts a source of love and altruism, are welcomed and loved by people, have received the right to an eternal life from the Supreme Judge. Death, not even Doomsday, will be able to remove their traces.
A mother who can die for the sake of her child is a heroine of affection; individuals who dedicate their lives to the happiness of others are entitled “valiant devotees,” but those who live and die for all of humanity are commemorated as monuments of immortality who deserve to be enthroned in the hearts of humanity. In the hands of these heroes, love becomes a magic elixir to overcome every obstacle and a key to open every door. Those who possess such an elixir and key will sooner or later open the gates to all parts of the world and spread the fragrance of peace everywhere, using the “censers” of love in their hands.
The most direct way of going to the hearts of people is the way of love, the way of the Prophets. Those who follow it are rarely rejected; even if they are rejected by a few, they are welcomed by thousands. Once they are welcomed through love, nothing can prevent them from attaining their ultimate goal, God’s pleasure.
How happy and prosperous are those who follow the guidance of love. How unfortunate, on the other hand, are those who lead the life of “the deaf and dumb,” unaware of the innate love deep in their souls!
O God, the Most Exalted! Today when hatred and rancor have enveloped everywhere like layers of darkness, we take refuge in Your infinite Love and entreat at Your door, begging You to fill the hearts of Your mischievous, pitiless slaves with love and humane emotions!
By M. Fethullah Gulen
1 Layla and Majnun are legendary lovers in Eastern literature.