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‘Radical Love’ by Mubeenazam (BLW Contributor)

In a peace starved world where there is so much pain, suffering, violence, hurt and loss of life, to attend a lecture about love, in this case, ‘Divine Love’ according to the famous poet Rumi, was something very interesting to be looking forward to. 

The event was organised by the Noor Cultural Centre, Toronto. (unfortunately, my wife could not attend but we are hoping to attend an Interfaith event next weekend with the girls to celebrate ‘World Interfaith Harmony Week’).  They invited an esteemed speaker, Professor Omid Safi focusing on something entitled ‘Radical love’.  This was only his second time in Toronto, so it was a privilege to be in his company. 

This was the first time that I had entered a Centre with the same name as my wife.  ‘Noor’ (or ‘Nour’ as it can be spelt) is an Arabic word meaning light or radiance.  It was this word that was inscribed on the door handles as you enter the centre and on the back of chairs in the auditorium, as if symbolising, enter into the light and radiance of God, come in and be educated, come and be inspired, learn and go and share with others.  

As I entered, I was welcomed and my heart was embraced by beautiful classical Persian music which created a tranquil ambiance and mellow mood on a night where love can be celebrated in this peace starved time.  The speaker began by stating that the world we live in today, is in ‘urgent and immediate need of compassionate action’.

What is love?  (I know some of you are now humming or singing the famous song now). According to Rumi, it is nothing less than an eruption of love upon this being (the human being).  It is a cosmic channel of outpouring of this connection between God and His creation.

Love is so powerful, that it can propel you forward beyond your own existence.  However, what is your existence?  Where does our love begin and end?  If it stops at our own existence, then this is egotistical and selfish.  Does it go a little bit further to our family, our local community, our nation, our race, our sect, our religion?  Where does our love begin and where does it end?   If love can overflow beyond these confines, then this is when love can become truly divine, it can become beyond this temporal, earthly love.

Professor Safi explained how Rumi  described his love for God by stating ‘I used to be raw, then I was cooked, and now I am on fire’.  Our destination is to become real, divine human beings, where we reach a stage where we can manifest the beautiful attributes of God in our life in all that we say or do, how we live our daily lives, how we interact with other people, and how we treat the earth and it’s inhabitants.  When we can come to God broken, but leave whole, we can become spiritually malnourished, our love and our experience of it, takes on a whole new meaning.

He concluded by saying that the radical destruction of the planet, the radical eradication of life must be dealt with radical love, the love that we claim to have for God and His creation, it is this love that has to consume us in such a way that we live and act through nothing but love.  Peace.

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