Perspectives on “Love” from an inner point of view

When you love someone you believe them, blindly. “Love is blind,” many would describe a lover who does not see the faults of his/her lover.

Love is the function of the heart. There are two hearts, the muscle that pumps blood around the body, and the celestial, untouchable, immaterial, heart, which we relate to when we like or dislike someone. Some of us have sensitive hearts that have “eyes,” or censors. They can tell if someone is lying or being insincere, without any further evidence other than the reaction of their heart, a trust-worthy source on hidden information, on the unseen, for some.

In Syria, we often hear people say: قلبي انقبض – قلبي ما ارتاح له. Meaning, “my heart did not open for him, my heart did not feel alright about him.”

Many people base a lot of their decisions, on this “intuition.” In fact, it is a real sensation often occupying the heart/chest/lower throat area. Some say it is “irrational,” seeing how no physical, or intellectual, proof was produced in the process of making the judgment about this thing or person we did not like… but who can beat the insistent nagging of a heart with a tight grip on it, قلب مقبوض?

A common saying in Syria, and some parts of the Arab World is: المحبة من الله, “Love is from God.” This is to explain the unexplainable motives of love of one person to another, or love of a certain ritual, place, theme, concept, way, etc.

Commonly it is believed that our hearts are steered by another force, by a higher truth, that drops in it the love of someone we might rarely see or meet, but feel great joy at their presence. This is a Sufi (i.e. Mystic Islam) concept discussed and affirmed by a host of Sufi scholars in different centuries (among them Ibn Arabi in ‘The Meccan Revelations’).

A person with a heart sincerely in love with its only dweller has the same faith as someone else from another “religion/dogma”

According to Mystics, the heart is the dwelling place of Allah. Buddhists, who are mistakenly viewed as “idol-worshipers” in main-stream/popular Islamic schools of “thought,” say that the heart is the seat of the soul. Buddhists following the authentic laws of Buddha, sincerely, are considered by a variety of Sufi masters as pure faith seekers being led on an authentic road towards the love of God, at heart they are “muslim,” since the meaning of “islam,” is surrender, and the nature of surrender is to “surrender the heart” to its ultimate lover, Allah. Gnostic Christians who emphasize the love of God, are also true seekers of The One, they follow the true teachings of Jesus Christ, and Sufis (from the Muslim crowd) often see them as brothers and sisters on the Path of Love.

So regardless of whoever we are, wherever we come from, we are “muslim” – with a small “m” – if our heart is surrendered to its only dweller, Allah – casting away all other types of dwellers (carnal things, children, possessions, husbands, wives, etc).

Prophet Ibrahim was described as being “muslim” (with a small “m”) decades before Prophet Mohammad fought oppression against the underprivileged and brought about the religion many call “Islam.” Islam, today, and being a Muslim (with capital “M”) is a tag that we attach to people who were born to parents who are also “seen” as Muslim.

But to Sufis, “islam” is the function of the heart, a heart is either surrendered to its lover (Allah), or not. Many around us, even ourselves, think they/we are “Muslim,” but in reality we are not “muslim.”

A person whom we think will go to hell because he/she did not perform the 5-daily prayers, might be “muslim” at heart, in love with his creator and very observant of ways to humble himself, and shed the robes of pride. While another who wears a scornful face and a proud resume of 5-prayers-a-day for 40 years, fasting, 4-5 times of pilgrimage, and countless charitable feats, might be simply doing it for the sake of gaining social leverage, a good name, and a beautiful image. His/Her heart might be with people, dunya, self-interest, and social-monetary gain. This is not “islam.” This is hypocrisy, and unfortunately there are a lot of supporters for the art of sustaining hypocrisy as a form of so-called “true religion.”

Hatred and conflict are between similar-hearted folk

(not between muslims and the ‘other’)

Conflict today is not between “islam/muslims” and the West, as the media (and many victim-minded Arab World/Muslim World inhabitants) would like to advertise. It is between a “branch” of a kind of people who brand themselves as being “Muslim” (capital “M”), and their foes, a branch of people who share the same traits of hatred, intolerance, an inclination to cancel others.

Both contenders play victim to the other, both trying to sway people’s hearts towards them by popularizing their dogmas and attitudes, both employing propaganda to their benefit, both wanting to cancel the other at any expense, both playing with facts, both violating the principles of love, understanding, and compassion, both lacking a vision towards a common destination of prosperity and peace, both lacking integrity and principal-ed actions.

Birds of the HEART flock together: We are sisters and brothers in heart

What makes us brothers and sisters is not the tags by which we call ourselves… it is the true essence of our hearts. “Birds of the feather flock together.” Birds of the HEART flock together.

You might not call the “power,” “force,” “secret” in your heart Allah. You might consider your self atheist, owing to the fact you don’t agree with, nor like the way, “Muslims” (with a capital “M”) speak about Islam. Yet, you are the brother of someone who is deeply in love with Allah, your hearts dance a similar dance, and beat with a similar rhythm.

You might be emitting non of the poisons and toxins another “Devout Muslim’s” heart is emitting. He might consider himself better than you with a one-way-ticket to heaven, while you might be the true beloved of Allah, because deep down inside you wish no harm for people, observe your actions with the best intentions in heart, and surrender your heart to this goodness you call “goodness.”

In my family there are women who wear the hijab, pray 5-times a day, and leave no opportunity to boast about their “devout” sons and daughters, yet back-stab their relatives, envy their friends, and look down at the poor and the needy.

In my family, there are also women who wear scanty clad clothes, follow the fashion, and look very unholy and un-Muslim, yet they do not harm a fly, are generous to the heart, kind, and a breeze of fresh air to sit with. My heart dances around the scanty clad ‘saint,’ and cringes to the voice of the self-proclaimed devout Muslima (with a capital “M”).

Yet, we very much are trapped by our looks, and are used to shunning others based on what they wear, or how they carry themselves. Once we get over the outer shell we might find a friend or a foe underneath, whose heart might sing a similar song to ours, a song of love… or a song of alienation. In both cases we shall dance together, either as lovers and friends… or as war-mates who wish to keep at each others throats since such hearts like to keep company so as to exchange the same kind of hatred and harm.


About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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4 Responses to Perspectives on “Love” from an inner point of view

  1. seleucid says:

    Beautifully put. Loved the article 🙂

  2. 50% Syrian says:

    Thank you seleucid… loved reading your post titled, “The Quiet Ones.”

    I had my struggles with halal food and animal rights, but I reached reconciliation with the topic (so I might slightly disagree with you on that one 🙂 ). Thanks for stopping by.

  3. yaak says:

    Well, is it not the heart with the “eyes” that tells us someone is not being sincere the very same one that is “trapped by the looks”?

    Sometimes, we know that someone is not being sincere, yet we can’t stop loving them. I wonder why?

    The sensation in the heart area is attributed to Adrenaline, it may have something to do with the fight-or-flight response.

    Your notes on Buddhism carry more misunderstanding than that of the “mainstream Islamic schools” – Soul and God are less buddism than reincarnation is islam.

    One aspect of love is worth mentioning. It is best articulated by Tagore (again): “Let not my love be a burden on you, my friend; know that it pays itself.”

  4. Pingback: The difference between Syria and Jordan on a Holy Friday | 50% Syrian

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