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Abu Dujanah

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

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as-Salaamu 3alaykum,

To count them in Arabic would take far longer, and have much more meaning…as an example of what is undoubtedly the singular most expressive and enchanting language on the face of the earth…the degrees of love in Arabic:

حُبٌّ Hubb Love; affection; inclination of the nature or natural disposition, towards a thing that pleases or delights;

The degrees of حُبّ are as follows:

first هَوىً hawaa, the “inclining of the soul, or mind;” also applied to the “object of love itself:”

then عَِلاقَةٌ alaaqah or 3ilaaqah, “love cleaving to the heart;” so termed because of the heart’s cleaving to the object of love:

then كَلَفٌ kalaf, “violent, or intense, love;” from كُلْفَةٌ Kulfah signifying “difficulty, or distress, or affliction:”

then عِشْقٌ ishq [“amorous desire:” or “passionate love;”] in the Sihaah “excess of love;” and in the language of the physicians, “a kind of melancholy:”

then شَغَفٌ shaghaf, “ardour of love, accompanied by a sensation of pleasure;” like لَوْعَةٌ law3ah and لاعِجٌ laa3ij; the former of which is “ardour of love;” and the latter, “ardent love:”

then جَوىً jawaa, “inward love;” and “violence of amorous desire,” or “of grief, or sorrow:”

then تَتَيُّمٌ tatayyum, “a state of enslavement by love:”

then تَبْلٌ tabl, “lovesickness;”

then وَلَهٌ walah, “distraction, or loss of reason, in love:”

and then هُيَامٌ huyaam, “a state of wandering about at random in consequence of overpowering love.”

One of the reasons I posted this is because it is especially interesting to know this, when you think of how Allaah has used some of these words in the Qur’an.

For example, He said about the wife of al-‘Aziz, قَدْ شَغَفَها حُبّاً qad shaghafahaa hubbaa. If you read the translation it says something like, “she loves him violently,” but you can tell just how intense her love was [note that looking up each of these words separately would give an even more detailed description of what they mean].

Also in Surah al-Naazi3aat, when Allaah says, وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى wa ammaa man khaafa maqaama rabbihi wa naha’n-nafsa 3ani’l-hawaa fa inna’l-jannata hiya’l-ma’waa

Again, the translation says: “But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.”

But when you look at the word linguistically, you see that al-hawaa is just an inclination of the soul. I am not advocating taking only the linguistic meaning of words, because they often have different meanings when used in the Shari‘ah, but knowing the linguistic meaning just makes it all the more enriching.

Wallaahu a3lam.

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