Q&A – Love on the Sufi Path

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The following is a question a brother asked in an email, and my answer. It is about love on the Sufi path, and is reprinted here with his permission.


Salaam Irving:

How are you today? I hope this email finds you well. There is one more question I would like to bother you with :) I was at the khaniqah yesterday and the Shaikha explained to me some of the things that I had not understood until now. Finally the enormity and the difficulty of what I am about to undertake started to dawn on me. She said that if I am prepared to accept that, I will be initiated.

When I think about the things she told me, the one question that keeps coming up is: when your heart only yearns for the Beloved, what happens to the way you feel about your friends, family, loved ones? Do those relationships start to feel fake or superficial or irrelevant?

Thank you again for your help.
Ya Haqq


Salaam Dear Brother:

I pray that you and your family are in the best of health and happiness :) Now, you have asked a question that bothered me too when I was first initiated. But I have found that over the years the exact opposite of what I feared has been true.

Instead of feeling less love for family and friends in turning to the Beloved, the opposite happened. When the heart eventually opens to love without reservations, it spreads like water to every corner of your life. I have found that my love for family and friends has increased with my love for God, and for the Master and the other darvishes as well. It really amazed me :)

Now every act of service is an act of love, every prayer, every day of life, is an act of love. Love begins to pervade the heart, and I mean this literally. I give thanks to the Beloved for every day of life, for every breath of zekr, for every small goodness that comes in the process of living.

It may be that the adab of not taking such things for granted anymore has opened the heart, I don’t know, but that is what happened to me. A part of it may have been being with Master, and with the Shaykhs. The loving energy that surrounds them fills the heart of all that are near them and open to it.

That may be the crux of the matter. Being open to it. The nafs are self indulgent, self absorbing, and I am still as guilty of it as anyone, but, inshallah, little by little, with the help of Master and the grace of God, it gets easier.

I don’t know if I have answered your question lol. So I will just say, don’t worry about love, it has a way of being all-inclusive on the path, to family, friends, strangers, animals, everything that lives. That may be how the heart expresses its love for Allah. It is not a narrow beam of light, it is the sun that shines on everything.

O Beloved, everywhere I look, You are!
Every sound I hear is You!
Every touch, taste, scent, all You!

Every child’s face is You,
Every stranger, every friend
Of every nation, end to end.

Every sound echoes Your voice!
The wind stirs the trees and
The leaves sway to La Illaha ill Allah!

The sea waves Your name to the shore
The earth grows Your name in its bounty
The sky colors Your name in aching blue.

In all the worlds, everywhere,
Without end, there is only You
The Merciful and Everlasting Friend.

Ya Haqq,

(The poem came out as I was preparing this post, and was not part of the email exchange.)

28 Responses to Q&A – Love on the Sufi Path

  1. otowi says:

    I am moved by your poetry. Thank you.

  2. Achelois says:

    What a beautiful Q and an amazingly beautiful A! Thank you for sharing this.

  3. yafi07 says:

    Salam Dear brother Irving,
    This is a beautiful and moving poem that expresses so well what you have explained to your friend in the letter. Love of Allah is love of Allah in all things. Looking through the outer appearance to the ever abounding Love.

  4. Darwisiy says:

    “Shuhudal kasrah fii wahdah,wa syuhudal wahdah fii-alkasrah”. This is the phrase that my shaikh taught me when i faced the similar mind-block. Alhamdulillah,for the past 2-3 years, He give me the feeling how put yourself to love Him, without leaving everyone in surrounding. My shaikh said:

    Love is a journey that we will never know where is the end….but upon time, we will feel it…

    My advise is, pray to Allah to feel what is the Ultimate Love, and continue your daily life like before without leaving Him


  5. almiskeenah says:

    Assalamu alaikum,
    Like a gateway to the Divine…the question and the answer…gratitude to you both. May we all be courageous enough to step inside the realm of “everywhere”.
    Sheikh Abd al-Qadir Rahmatullah alaihi said of love: “It is a disturbance that affects the heart. It is inspired by the Beloved, by contrast with Whom this world comes to be like the ring of a seal, or a funeral wake. Love is an intoxication that has no corresponding sobriety. It is total devotion to the Beloved, in every respect, both in private and in public, with a self-effacing predilection. It is a natural impulse, not an affectation.”
    Wassalamu alaikum

  6. Tasmiya says:

    Wonderful post as always, dear brother. :)

  7. Farhana says:

    As-salaamu’alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu

    Excellent question and answer.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, and shedding some light on it.

    Wa’alaykum as-salaam

  8. Every one initiated in truth never could regret


  9. pbsweeney says:

    I just keep sighing when I read this – I love it so much. The first time I read it, it made me cry with the poignancy of the truth as you have expressed it. And then the poem! To find that love for others actually increases as one might never imagine is one of the great gifts of the path. I add my thanks for your sharing this.

  10. Merryweather says:


    I’d wonder about the same thing… Great post.

  11. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brothers and Sisters:

    Thank you all for the kind comments. Of course, the answer I gave my friend is only the experience of an unworthy darvish, and all knowledge is useless when it comes to Love. As my Master, Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, has written:

    O heart! How conceitedly you pride yourself in your knowledge!
    Beware! Only in Love lies the true way.

    Ya Haqq!

  12. serenity says:

    Exquisite post and reply. What I have found in my own life and journey is the closer I draw to that which is true Love and devote myself to that which is eternal, the more capacity I have for love of others that is based so much less on my needs and more on service and devotion to the truth of who they are. I love the energy that flows from your writing and your site, created so obviously out of your devotion.

    blessings and peace be with you, dear friend.

  13. poeticmuslim says:

    thats a beautiful poem, if only i can read what I am writing lol. I have a question. I have always been generally very spiritual and what you said about love I can relate to …but what I don’t understand is why do you need to join a ‘sufi’ group? to be spiritual and to know Allah ….we need to be spiritual but don’t we also need to obey fiqh laws, do you know what I am getting at? not sure whether I explained myself properly .

  14. shibly says:

    salams dear brother,

    May allah’s light be always with you,
    Subhanallah, what a great post. The true lover Himself has written through your hands.
    I feel very thankful to Allah to give an opportunity to read this. Alhamdulillah.
    True lover is Him only. When we are with Him always, with His true believers; that love spread to our hearts too with no end. Then the selfish nafs is gone. Only His love and grace remains..


  15. lulando says:

    A Fruitless Tree?

    If your spiritual path does not connect
    to your daily life and experience,
    it is just as good as reading about
    it in any book or magazine.

    If by the practice of whatever you
    do not become a better son, daughter,
    husband, wife, f…

    Author’s Note: Read the complete poem by clicking the name Lulando. It is worth it :)

  16. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Brothers and Sisters:

    Thank you all once more for the kind and generous comments. And PoeticMuslim, of course we do not need a Sufi group to be a spiritual person, and the fiqh laws are part of most Sufi Orders. But I have found that without a guide to lead you past the traps of the nafs, you end up worshipping yourself, your own life and joy and pain and intellectual idea of God, and He is beyond all such ideas.

    The goal and end of the path is to become less and less, not more in your own eyes, until you are finally nothing, nothing but Hu!

    Ya Haqq!

  17. chaiwala says:

    Excellent post Irving. Even more excellent is ” the goal and end of the path is to become less and less”. As the poet said: tu mubash aslan kamal ein ast o bas; raw dar raw gom shaw wisal ein st o bas. i.e Be thou not that is true perfection; lose yourself that is union.

  18. Abdur Rahman says:

    Salaams Baba Darvish!

    Ma sha Allah. Excellent advice, as ever.

    Abdur Rahman

  19. EFfloresce says:

    Y’know….that poem would translate brilliantly to children. Put together with beautiful illustrations it would be a good way to reaffirm to children where they are at. There is another book similar to this (as yet fantasy book!! But perhaps – one day? Maybe you will write also for smaller children…) on the market called ‘All I See Is Part Of Me’ (“Your body is just a little part of the light that shines within your heart”) which is great, but contains the words..”Im even found in candy bars..” which doesn’t quite carry the light so clearly.

    But this poem..I could see the pictures. See, we have to explain to eachother, but I also have to explain to my children :)

    Also, the question about what happens to the love…I have found sometimes (am chuckling at me) when I am full of ‘it’, or so I think, that personalities pale in comparison to the light…and I don’t know if that means I am seeing personalities for what they are or if the love doesn’t wash over all.

    But those true moments of surrender when all I hear is the vibration of some massive cosmic bell ringing to love, then love is all inclusive and my scorn at personality crumples away like a cellophane wrapping in a fire. Nothing really matters then except love :)

    I look forward to the moment when I surrender my life to service, this being after my children have flown the nest….in some time. Until then……..

  20. […] Karchmar presents Q&A – Love on the Sufi Path posted at Darvish. Irving addresses a brothers concern in regards to love that one has for […]

  21. spirituality and health

    It was quite useful reading, found some interesting details about this topic, Thanks…

  22. Faraaz says:

    thank you very much sir for directing me to this post…it was indeed greatly helpful


  23. Rabu says:

    Salam dear brother :)

    I love it.

  24. Nugroho says:

    Thanks for the post dear brother :)

  25. nina says:

    masya Allah, pray for me to come to your way……….

  26. Bengt Erik Stendlert says:

    Enjoyed reading very much. Thank you!

    With peace and joy,

    your brother on the path,

    Abdul Hadi

  27. Naushad Somji says:

    In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

    Dearest brother Irving,

    As-salaamu’alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu.

    I have sent you an email regarding my spiritual and mystical experiences and humbly request you to kindly respond to the same and oblige.

    Wa’alaykum as-salaam

    Brother Naushad Somji.

  28. Zainab says:

    Watch peace tv channel and huda channel.please leave Sufism .it is very wrong.Allah will guide u inshallah and this my advice.I don’t know who u are but please check what rasullulah saw taught us.please brother

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