By Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (db)
The literal definition of the word ishq is the attachment of the heart to something. It is derived from the word ashkah, a plant that dries and yellows after staying green for a certain amount of time. Ishq Pichan is the Hindi name of a parasitic plant that kills everything it encircles, rendering its prey dull and yellow. In Urdu, this same type of plant is called akash bail. In exactly the same way, ishq pales and weakens the body when it enters the heart.
Some believe the word ishq is not derived from any other word but is a root word itself. It has not been used anywhere in the Holy Quran, a possible reason being that the word ishq was slightly unpalatable to the original and pure Arabic. In the book Qamoos, ishq has been defined as a part of madness. Shaykh Muhiuddin ibn Arabi Quds i said that the word ishq has been represented by the word muhabbah (love) in the Holy Quran. Allah u said:
But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. (2:165)
When this love becomes engraved in the heart, the lover sees nothing but the beloved. This muhabbah flows like blood through the lover, who now sees the beloved in everything around him.
By Allah, the sun does not rise nor set,
But that You are in my heart and in my thoughts.
I do not sit in the gathering of friends,
But that You are my conversation among the people.
I do not remember You in grief or joy,
But that Your love is woven into my breath.
I do not intend drinking water in thirst,
But Your image I envision in the glass.
If I had the strength to come
I would, dragging my face or walking on my hands.
This condition of the heart is called ishq. People have said ishq is intense love, but Shaykh Ibn Mansur i said the following in his book “Laisan ul-Arab”:
Ishq is the superlative form of muhabbah, extreme preoccupation with the beloved. This preoccupation can be both clean and unclean.