This letter, written to Muhammad Sâlih-i Ghulâbi, informs that every deed of the Beloved One will be liked, that the Beloved One's inflicting torment is sweeter than His favours, and that hamd is higher than shukr (thanks).
May our hamd be to Allâhu ta'âlâ. Salâm to those slaves of His whom He has chosen!
O Mawlânâ Muhammad Sâlih, my dear brother! Know that something loved, in the eyes of the lover, and even actually, is beloved always, no matter in whatever state it is. It is loved when it hurts the lover as well as when it does him a favour. Many of those who have been honoured with the blessing of loving and who have tasted loving love even more whenever they receive a gift from the Beloved One. Or their love never changes when He hurts them as well as when He does them favours. Among these lovers, however, there are very few whose love is increased by the Beloved's hurting them. Attaining this most valuable blessing requires having a good opinion about the Beloved. Even if the Beloved thrusts His dagger into the lover's throat or cuts him into pieces, the lover should deem this useful for himself and see it as a great favour and happiness. When he obtains such a good opinion, none of the Beloved's actions seem unbecoming to him, and he gets honoured with Muhabbat-i Dhâtiyye. Loving the Divine Person only (Allah Himself) without any attribute, any comparison, any condition in between, is only peculiar to Habîb-i Rabb-il-âlamîn 'alaihi wa alâ âlihissalawât wattaslîmât'. To those who are honoured with such love, the sorrow given by the Beloved is more delicious and more relieving than His favours. I think this grade is higher than the grade of ridâ. For, a person who is in the grade of ridâ does not loathe the sorrow given by the Beloved. But the one in this grade takes flavour from the sorrow. The more the Beloved tortures him, the more relieved and happy the lover feels. Can these two ever be alike? Because the Beloved is Beloved in the eyes of the lover, even in his essence, He becomes Mahbûb in his eye, and even in his essence. Then He is praised all the time; in His every action, he is paid hamd. The lover always praises both His sorrow and His blessings. For this reason, it is suitable for the devoted lovers to say, "Al-hamdu lillâhi rabbil 'âlamîn alâ kull-i hâl." Then they will be included among those hâmids who are grateful during times of trouble as well as at times of happiness. This is the reason why saying hamd is more valuable than saying shukr (thanks). For, in giving shukr the Beloved's blessings are in consideration, which in actual fact come out of His attributes or, to be more precise, out of His deeds. But when paying hamd the Beloved's husn-i jamâl, that is, He Himself, is in consideration. In other words, both His Person and His attributes and His deeds and His gifts and His giving sorrow are always loved and lauded. For, the sorrow given by Allâhu ta'âlâ is beautiful as His gifts are. As it is seen, hamd is the highest manner of praising and lauding and shows the husn-i jamâl in the most compact way. Hamd is paid both at times of happiness and at times of trouble. But shukr is done only at times of blessing, and is not continuous. When there are no more blessings, when favours are finished, shukr also comes to an end.
Question: In some letters, you have informed that the grade of ridâ was above loving and the grade of love. But now you say that the grade of love is higher than the grade of ridâ. How will these two statements be reconciled?
Answer: The grade of muhabbat (love) which we are now explaining is different from the grade of muhabbat which we have written in other letters. That kind of love, more or less, includes other attachments, respects. Though that kind of love is said to be muhabbat-i dhâtiyya and loving the Divine Person Himself, it is not love for (Allah) Himself only. For, a person who is in that grade of love cannot get rid of seeing other attachments. But there are no attachments, no other respects in this grade. We have said in some of our letters that above the grade of ridâ there is a way on which only the last Prophet 'alaihi wa alaihim wa alâ âli kullinissalâtu wassalâm' can make progress, and that no one else can go further than there. Allâhu subhânahu, alone, knows the truth, the real essence of everything.
It should be known very well that something's coming loathsome to the nafs, to the body, does not mean that the heart dislikes it. Its being seemingly bitter does not prevent it from being sweet in fact.