by Nabil Ahmed
If these past few years have taught me anything, it is that as long as we do not have love firmly implanted in all our hearts, we will never succeed.
You see, when love truly exists, nothing else matters. Nothing matters at all. You don’t do something for another because you have to do it – you don’t even question it. You do it out of love; it comes from your heart, from your consciousness; a will so great, so beautiful, that it is overpowering. It naturally emanates from within. This is love.
We are a people that are inspired to love, sisters and brothers. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says in the Qur’an, “There are some who choose to worship others beside Allah as rivals to Him, loving them with the love due to Allah; But the believers are overflowing in their love for Allah.” (2:165).
And how can we not have such a spiritual state? We should want to please and obey Him, out of our immense love for Him. Do we love Him for all that He has given us? I find that gratefulness increases such love. As we bow down to the ground in prostration, it is Him that has enabled us to do so. It is Allah that wakes us in the morning. It is Allah that gives us the ability to read this. It is Allah that has given us the ability, the ability itself, to worship Him. How can you not love The One for all of this, The Giver of All who makes our hearts beat?
Imam Ghazali (may Allah be pleased with him) said “If the servant knows that true perfection belongs to none other than Allah, that any good he sees in himself is from Allah, and that his love is only for Allah’s sake, he becomes motivated to obey Him and begins to love whatever brings him closer to Allah.” And Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) said if you know Allah, you will love Him. How could you not love the One who answers du`a’ (supplication), who rewards more than you give, who forgives, who veils faults, and who is more merciful towards you than your mother?
Do we know the status of love? A man once came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked, “When will the last Hour come, Oh Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger ﷺ responded, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer nor fasting nor charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “You will be with the one you love” (Bukhari). Subhan’Allah.
So, you may ask, what is the personality of the one that truly loves Allah? Imam Ghazali noted a scholar who said that, “It is one who spends little time with people and much time alone; who is always in thought and outwardly silent; who is in a spiritual state that overtakes his sight, hearing and speech…who does not become sad if inflicted with a calamity, and if inflicted with hunger he is not aware…who looks to Allah in times of solace, who is happy with His company and speaks to Him intimately, and does not contend with the people of this world over their world.”
What we should also realise is that our love for Allah does not stop there. Let us love the Prophet ﷺ by following him. The Prophet ﷺ was addressed by Allah in the Qur’an:
“Say [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. ” (Qur’an, 3:31).
Nor does our love stop with the Prophet ﷺ. As Muslims, just as we love Allah, our love also extends to each other. Famously, narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra), the Prophet ﷺ said: “You will not enter Jannah (Paradise) until you believe (or have faith) and you will not believe (or have faith) until you love one another.” Anas Ibn Malik (ra), the servant of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily one will not have faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” Let us overcome our differences and focus on what matters. With love, you only want the best for one another.
As we know, Islam enjoins the concept of love between mankind, manifested through our understanding of “rahmah.” We know the Prophet ﷺ, as Allah said, was sent as a “Mercy to Mankind.” The Prophet ﷺ told his companions (al-Targheeb): “You don’t truly believe until you have rahmah (compassion) for others.” His companions responded, “We all have rahmah.” The Prophet ﷺ then told them, “Verily, you don’t reach this level of faith by just having rahmah for those who are close to you, but you must have rahmah for everyone.” I become frustrated by our young people who harshly refer to everyone else as “kuffar” and yet treat our own hard-working people very poorly – those who are contributing in our classes and fields for a better society. Rather, with love for His sake for humanity, we want the best for everyone. Think of your neighbour; imagine what your neighbourhood would be like with love instilled within it. With true love, we should want a just world for all, and we should want humanity to believe in and love Allah.
So where to go from here? The message is clear for those that seek His love. Our Creator says,
“…But the Lord of Mercy will give love to those who believe and do righteous deeds” (Qur’an, 19:96).
Sisters and brothers – how can we even dare to think to sin when we love Allah? How can we dare to do anything but to constantly remember Him, constantly obey Him?
And The Loving One tells us in a phenomenally powerful hadith qudsi: “Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with the supererogatory (nawafil) so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.” (Bukhari)
Let us be a people with love for Allah at the heart of it – spreading love to people everywhere and cultivating a loving world.