The Greatest Love Story

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

It is related that Shaykh Ibrahim Khawwas went to a certain village to visit a devout and reverend man who lived there. “When I entered his house, I saw that it was clean, like a saint’s place of worship. In its two corners, two niches had been made; the old man was seated in one of them, and in the other niche an old woman was sitting, clean and bright; both had become weak through much devotion. They showed great joy at my coming, and I stayed with them for three days. When I was about to depart, I asked the old man, ‘What relation is this old woman to you?’

“He answered, ‘She is my wife.’ I said, ‘During these three days, your interactions with one another has been very much like strangers.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘It has been so for five and sixty years.’ I asked him the cause of this. He replied, ‘When we were young, we fell in love. On the wedding night, she said to me, “You know what happiness God has bestowed upon us in bringing us together and taking all fear away from our hearts. Let us therefore tonight refrain from sensual passion and trample on our desires and worship God in thanksgiving for this happiness.” I said, “It is well.” The next night she bade me do the same. On the third night I said, “Now we have given thanks for two night for your sake; tonight let us worship God for my sake.” Five and sixty years have passed since then, and we have never touched one another, but spend all our lives in giving thanks for our happiness.'”

Excerpt adapted from the Kashf al-Mahjub, the Unveiling of the Veiled (also called the Revelation of the Mystery), the oldest Persian treatise on Sufism, by Shaykh Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn Uthman al-Jullabi al-Hujwiri.

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12 Responses to The Greatest Love Story

  1. Bilquees says:

    Wonderful story and very humbling! There are saints, and then there’s the rest of us. And God is merciful. May we love one another well, no matter what our spiritual capacity.

  2. Maliha says:

    Salamaat ya darvish;

    me thinks someone is planting ideas into my head:p

    nice story though:)

  3. Irving says:

    Humbling indeed, dear sister Bilquees. And Maliha, nothing I could plant would be better than your own beautifully written stories.

    Love all ways,

    Ya Haqq!

  4. aiman says:

    Masha’Allah. Thank you for sharing this, dear Irving. The female saint Rabia was similarly inclined. And though I may not completely agree with it, I find it a great love story indeed.

  5. pbsweeney says:

    Makes me think a little also, of Abelard & Heloise: a relationship born in scandal, a secret marriage between teacher and pupil, separation and longing, and eventually the turning wholly to God who bestowed upon them such mercy, that their lives were full of nothing but love as expressed in their letters to each other till their death. Though physically separate, they were content. Their consciousness of God’s love and mercy was the sweetest embrace.

  6. Sadiq says:

    just reminds me a saying of Sri Ramakrishna of India whose life was a similar example.
    He said, after you have children live with your spouse like brother and sister. and in fact he did. Both Sri Ramakrisha and his noble wife devoted their lives for the sake of humanity in the path of God and spirituality.
    May Allah bless their beautiful souls and I send my saalams to them.

  7. froginthewell says:

    Sorry for intruding, but I just wished to clarify in case of possible misunderstanding; Sri Ramakrishna never had children. And according to him he never had any sensual interaction even in his dreams.

    Thanks and regards. Thanks in particular for this very inspiring and elevating story.

  8. Muse says:

    hmm. thank you for sharing this story, but it makes me wonder – why is rejection of the senses regarded as higher virtue than their indulgence? not over-indulgence ofcourse, but if the man and wife had chosen to give thanks to God by enjoying each other physically, i would not have deemed it a lesser form of worship than their sitting by each other w/ no physical intimacy. in fact, i might place a higher value on it.

  9. Irving says:

    Since I have always indulged my senses, I am not qualified to answer, dear Sister Muse. On the Sufi path, however, any self indulgance is a distraction from Allah! That is all I can say without speculation on the story and their motives. My Master says that marriage is the perfect human training ground for the spiritual path of love, because of the virtues it teaches: love, patience, kindness, devotion, and the simple day to day living in the service of another person. Allah knows the truth.

    Ya Haqq!

  10. Muse says:

    “On the Sufi path, however, any self indulgance is a distraction from Allah!”

    Ah then I cannot be a sufi :) Though I would like to have the inner peace that seems to come from people like you who follow that way.

    “My Master says that marriage is the perfect human training ground for the spiritual path of love, because of the virtues it teaches: love, patience, kindness, devotion, and the simple day to day living in the service of another person.”

    This, I agree with. Its a very beautiful way to describe it. I will share it with my husband, thank you.

    (I posted my earlier comment on Ali’s blog too, Wasnt sure where you were likely to check first).

  11. Mariam says:

    Wow, it’s soo amazing. Just reminds me that in life we can take something that has been made bad and make it good also.

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