Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII
When was the last time you felt truly loved? Close your eyes and think about it. You can probably think of certain people, as well as specific scenarios. And if someone were to ask you how you know that you are loved, you would list the things the person does to express their love for you. If we find it hard to interpret acts of love, we usually doubt our relationship. When you are able to point out behavior that shows love, this kind of love is not called hubb in Arabic, because hubb is simply having a feeling of love. This kind of love – one that is apparent and shown – is called wud.
Wud means love and an expression of love through the act of giving. And Allah has Named Himself al-Wadud: The Affectionate. This word was specifically chosen to show that Allah not only loves you, but that He shows you He loves you. And if we have been in the dark about this, it’s time to take notice how Allah manifests His love for us – for you, for me specifically – everyday. Your heart will melt.
When Allah loves a servant
The Prophet ﷺ ((peace be upon him)shows us some ways that Allah shows His love:
“When Allah loves someone he calls to Jibreel ‘alayhi salatu wassalam (pay Allah be pleased with him) saying, ‘O Jibreel, I love such and such a person, so love him.’ Then Jibreel will call to the angels of the heavens, ‘Allah loves such and such a person so love him.’ And the angels will love [that person]. And then Allah will place acceptance on earth for that believer.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
It would have been enough for Allah to say that He loves a person, for what more could someone want? But because Allah is Al-Wadud (the Affectionate) and Al-Kareem (the Most-Generous), He declares this love to the Angels, which does not stay in the heavens but descends to the earth because Allah puts acceptance of this person in the hearts of people. What else does Allah tell us about His love?
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: `I will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him, (so much so that) I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give him, and if he seeks My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect him”. [Bukhari]
Sometimes it is difficult to separate between Allah being affectionate, and Allah being merciful, and Allah being forgiving. Aren’t they all the same? Al-Ghazali states that “Its meaning [al-Wadud] is close to ‘the Merciful’, but mercy is linked with one who receives mercy, and the one who receives mercy is needy and poor. So the actions of the Merciful presuppose there being one who is weak to receive mercy, while the actions of the Loving-Kind [al-Wadud] do not require that. Rather, bestowing favors from the outset results from a loving-kindness.”
Look at Allah’s love for the Prophet ﷺ: in Makkah, after the revelation of a few surahs of the Qur’an, revelation stopped. The tribe of Qureish made fun of the Prophet, saying “The Lord of Muhammad has left him.” So Allah revealed the verses, “By the morning brightness, And [by] the night when it covers with darkness, Your Lord has not taken leave of you, [O Muhammad], nor has He detested [you].” [Qur’an, 93:1-3] Allah comforts the Prophet ﷺ with these words. And we too should take comfort – when you are on the right path, Allah will not leave you. He is with you, and He will comfort you.
In order to truly feel Allah’s love in your life, take a few minutes to reflect. Think about the care you were given as a child. You didn’t ask for it, it just came when you were born. Think of your family and of your friends. Think of the health God gave you in your body. Think of the opportunities you were given in your life. Then look at the world around you – the beauty of nature. It didn’t have to be this way. The world could have been bland and ugly. But there is so much beauty that only you can truly enjoy.
Allah has created us, and yet we worship other gods that we make up. They may not be physical statues, but things like money or status. God blessed us with bounties, yet we attribute those blessings solely to people. Allah’s Mercy descends to us while our bad deeds ascend to Him, and still He sends us gifts in order to bring us closer to Him, though He doesn’t need us. The Prophet ﷺ tells us that “Allah Almighty will stretch out His hand during the night, turning towards the one who did wrong during the day, and stretch out His hand during the day, turning towards the one who did wrong during the night, until the day the sun rises from the place it set.” [Muslim]
God loves those who return to Him, even though we are the ones in need of returning. In the hadith (narration), we are told, “Allah is happier about the repentance of one of His slaves than one of you would be about finding your camel which had strayed away from you in the middle of the desert.” [Agreed upon] Even though we are the ones who turned away from Him, Allah keeps the door open to us so that we return. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done; the Prophet ﷺ tells us that Allah says, “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.” [Tirmidhi] And if we leave something for the sake of God – and we know that anything prohibited to us is bad for us anyway – Allah replaces it with something greater.
Allah makes it so easy to go to Him and be close to Him. The Prophet ﷺ tells us:
“Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it down as one single evil deed.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
His Generosity is so great that not only does He give us, but if we thank for the blessings, He gives us more!1 And Allah uses the example of possibly the greatest love – that of a mother to her child – and then says that He has even more love and mercy towards us.
It is natural for us as servants to love Him considering that He is our Merciful Creator. But what is amazing is that Allah gives us so much so that we can seek to come closer to Him. Sometimes we despair and are unforgiving towards ourselves. But the Prophet ﷺ reminds us that, “Our Lord (glorified and exalted be He) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?” (Bukhari)
This is an open invitation to EVERYONE. Some of us may feel so far – where do we even begin? Yet Allah says in a hadith qudsi, “If my servant comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him or her an arms-length; and if he or she comes to Me walking, I come to him or her at speed.” (Bukhari)
So just take that first step. Make the intention to do one new thing or to fix something you weren’t doing so well.
How can we not fall in love with al-Wadud, who showers us with affection daily?
Being a Recipient of Allah’s love
1- Do good
ان الذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات سيجعل لهم الرحمن ودا
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” (Qur’an, 19:96)
If you believe and do good, Allah will bestow upon you affection. When you do good, you are within the realm of Allah’s love, and He will show you how He loves you. He is ash-Shakoor and so will give you so much more than what you gave.
2- Love for people what you love for yourself
Al-Ghazali states, “One is loving-kind among God’s servants who desires for God’s creatures what he desires for himself; and whoever prefers them to himself is even higher than that as the messenger of God – may God’s blessing and peace be upon him – said, when his tooth was broken and his face was struck and bloodied: ‘Lord, guide my people, for they do not know’. Not even their actions prevented him from intending their good. Or as he (may God’s blessing and peace be upon him) – commanded Ali (may God be merciful to him) when he said: ‘If you want to take precedence over those who are close to God, then be reconciled with those who broke with you, give to the ones who excluded you, and forgive the ones who wronged you’.”
3- Thank Him for His affection
When you thank Allah, He gives you more. So thank Him for showering you with love everyday, and watch as that increases, insha’Allah.