Ibn Qayyim’s Theory of Love

The book (theory) to be discussed here is the one entitled Rawdet Al Mauhebeen Wa Nuzhat Al Moshtaqeen (روضة المحبين ونزهة المشتاقين), by Muhammad Bin Abi Baker Shams Aldeen, Ibn Qayyim Al Jawzeya (691-751 AH). The author was one of the most famous pillars of reform in the Islamic World. Ibn Al Jawzeya excelled at authoring the aforementioned.

This book was classified in some old and recent critics as the best book written on passion because the author was specific in recognizing the purpose of the book. Thus, he explained it to the public and to the elite in a way that everyone could understand.
The author declares that this book is written to establish reconciliation between passion and mind. When this reconciliation is attained, the person in love will find it much easier to fight against the devil and his human weakness. This, in itself, is the ultimate purpose of the jurist who shows people the right path to follow. By doing so, the author provides the explanation for writing this book as it links love to the divine wisdom to stimulate the noble intentions which creation was established upon, and creatures naturally believed in. He also talks, in his initial lines, about the different kinds of lovers and their situations. This book is comprised of 29 chapters. Some of these chapters are the following:

  • o The names of love and their meanings and relational adjectives;
    o The fact that this world and heavens were found by affection and for it;
    o The causes of love among other related things;
    The regulations that govern men and women when looking at each other and the debate between the eye and and sects as well as the arguments that allow men to look at women and what responses there are towards
    o The reality of love and its description as well as analyzing it by mentioning different views on it;
    o Talking about those who praise love and those who dispraise it, and judging these two stances;
    o The remedy for lovers which is found in their reunion as permitted by Allah;
    o Signs of love and their pieces of evidence;
    o Emphasizing the importance of chastity; and
    o This pain and evil consequences of committing sins.

Ibn Al Qayyim addresses whatever is in relation to passion in his book. This is presented in an organized, easy and interesting manner. He also manages to give love a sacred position so that he succeeds in achieving his purpose in making the book one of those literary works that fit every time and place so as to help people in controlling their feelings.
The effort of jurists in the Arab-Islamic civilization in dealing with the theme of love, as believed by many critics, has resulted in them- the jurists – being more aware of the reality of human nature. It has also been more related to the characteristics of the Arab nation. The contemporary researchers of these effects have distinguished between the concept of love as presented by the scholars of the Thaheri doctrine such as Ibn Daud and Ibn Hazm, and that presented by the scholars of the Hanbali doctrine such as Ibn Al Jawzi and Ibn Al Qayyim. This difference in the concept of passion among the aforementioned doctrines results from the fact that the followers of the Thaheri doctrine were interested in monitoring the literary position of Ibn Daud, and the behavioral position of Ibn Hazm. On the other hand, the followers of the Hanbeli doctrine were interested in things related to religious issues such as discussing the situations when lovers look and listen to each other as well as things attributed to prophets and the righteous.
In her book, Theory of Profain Love among the Arabs, Giffen (1996) thinks that Ibn Al Qayyim was particularly able to establish a monument that was a doctrine and theory on love. Ibn Al Qayyim succeeded in doing that by opposing many of popular theories, and in reinterpreting many stories, anecdotes and poems while those who preceded him simply mentioned these things under different headings. Giffen also thinks that the elements of the material used by Ibn Al Qayyim, despite what may seem to be in a state of repulsion, move towards serving his religious and moral beliefs, and the most important belief of Ibn Al Qayyem is that human love finds its most perfect image in marriage alone.

The Literature of Love by Three Theologians in the Arab Islamic Tradition
Basma Dajani  Hala Khalidi
World Conference on Psychology and Sociology 2012