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5:54 O you who have faith, if any of you turn back on your religion, God will bring a people whom He loves, and who love Him.

This verse contains an allusion for the knowers and good news for the faithful. The allusion is that God is the guardian and defender of the creed of submission, the unswerving religion, the Muhammadan Shariah, and that it will always remain. What will this religion lose if some people turn away? If some people turn back, the Lord of Mightiness will bring others who embrace this religion with spirit and heart and nurture it joyfully. With them, God will preserve the signposts of His commands and the foundations of His prohibitions. With their places, He will decorate the carpet of the Shariah. Upon them, He has inscribed the letters of love, for He says, “whom He loves, and who love Him.” Upon the page of their hearts, He has written with the divine script: He wrote faith in their hearts [58:22]. He has illuminated their inmost eye with the lamp of recognition: So he is upon a light from his Lord [39:22]. The Divinity is their nurturer, the lap of prophethood their cradle, beginninglessness and endlessness their warders, the playing field of gentleness the lodge of their gaze, and the carpet of awe the resting place of their aspiration. This is just what God says in another place: “So if they disbelieve, we have already entrusted it to a people who do not disbelieve” [6:89].

The Prophet said, “A group among my people will never cease supporting the Real. None who oppose them will harm them, and then God’s command will come. The good news is that whoever does not turn back is counted among the friends, the folk of love and faith. Those who do not fall into the abyss of turning back have the good news that the name of love will fall upon them. God says, “If any of you turn back on your religion, God will bring people whom He loves, and who love Him.” First He affirms His love, then the servants’ love. Thus you know that so long as God does not love the servant, the servant will not love.

Wāsiṭī said, “Gehenna was nullified when He mentioned His love for them with His words,‘Whom He loves, and who love Him.’ What do defective attributes have to do with beginningless and endless attributes?” Ibn ʿAṭāʾ was asked what love is. He said, “Branches that grow in the heart and give fruit in the measure of intellect.”

Whoever fails to keep away from the two worlds is excused from friendship. Whoever seeks from the Friend something other than the Friend is ungrateful. Friendship is friendship for God, all the rest disquiet. Whom He loves, and who love Him. How could the traveler not be delighted that friendship is the nearest way station to the Protector? The tree that produces only the fruit of joy is friendship, the soil that grows nothing but the flowers of closeness is friendship, the cloud that rains nothing but the light is friendship, the drink whose poison turns into honey is friendship, the road whose dust is musk and ambergris is friendship. Friendship’s inscription is beginningless, and friendship’s burning brand endless. Behold how long friendship’s good fortune lasts! Listen how fitting is the tale of the friends! The field of friendship is a vast heart, and the kingdom of paradise is one branch of friendship’s tree. He who drinks friendship’s warmth is promised vision. Whoever is truthful will one day reach his desire.

God revealed to David, “O David, he who seeks Me will in truth find Me, but how can those who seek others find Me? “O David, tell the people of the earth, ‘Turn toward companionship with Me! Become close with My remembrance! Then I will be your heart’s closeness.’ “I have created the clay of my friends from the clay of My bosom friend Abraham, from the clay of My speaking companion Moses, and from the clay of My beloved Muḥammad. “O David, I have created the hearts of those who yearn for Me from My light and nurtured them with My majesty. I have servants whom I love and who love Me: whom He loves, and who love Him. They remember Me and I remember them: So remember Me; I will remember you [2:152]. They are happy with Me and I am happy with them: God approves of them and they approve of Him [9:100]. They stay loyal to My covenant and I stay loyal to their covenant: And be loyal to My covenant; I will be loyal to your covenant [2:40]. They yearn for Me and I yearn for them: ‘Surely the yearning of the pious to encounter Me has become protracted, but My yearning to encounter them is more intense.’”

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