Human Love is the Shadow of Divine Love

Week 7: Divine Love

Here is the link to the “boomerang video” I created on Instagram:

Text overlay: #DYK there is a belief in Islam  that human love is the shadow of Divine love. Just some Tuesday thots over 🍕

The readings from this week prompted me to reflect on the phrase la ilahailla’l-ishq, which translates to “there is no God but Love.” In Islam, Divine love is a cosmic principle and formulation. As a result, we spent class time trying to articulate this love and explore the literary techniques used by poets to communicate their love for the Divine.

We studied the Ghazal, a form of Islamic devotional poetry, as a means of exploring the various themes and analogies employed to convey the message of divine love as a transformative force. For me, one of the most compelling aspects of this class was interrogating the relationship between Human love and Divine love.

In Sufism, there is a clear distinction between “Human love,” which is a metaphorical love, and “Divine love,” which is real love. This relationship is best described by the phrase: Human love is the shadow of Divine love. 

I found the concept of “shadow love” incredibly compelling and chose to film my own shadow and share it on social media. More specifically, I created a boomerang post, on Instagram, to share this teaching with my social media followers. I wanted to use this medium to blur the lines between the sacred and banal, which is similarly reflected in the text I used to communicate this ideal. Additionally, I wanted to engage with a medium that would force me to communicate what I learned in the classroom in a way that would make it more accessible to a wider audience (hashtags, emojis and all). Creating content for social media forced me to engage with one of our guiding questions for the week: “How do we express that which is suprarational and beyond the senses in a human language that is bound by time and space?”

Stats on my Instagram story: my video received 140 views and I received 3 replies to the video in my Instagram inbox.

“A shadow follows you. So if you walk into the light, the shadow follows you and lets you lead. As you walk away from the light, the shadow leads you into that dark place.” – Kiki Sykes