This was published as a guest post in Muslim Matters first.
Ever been in love? Stayed up nights thinking about the object of your adoration? Ever felt the helplessness, the vulnerability of falling in love? Ever felt your life was on a standstill, revolving as though in a strange cacophony of thoughts, emotions and words around the one you love? I’m talking about the feeling, which when unrequited can tear your heart into a million little pieces. The feeling that overpowers you, envelops you and controls you in such a way that defeat in its game is too unspeakable an option to even think about, for it can annihilate you thoroughly — almost without hope of a rebirth.
The above may not be an ideal opening paragraph, but you know why I felt compelled to begin this way? Well, because in all age-groups, especially in that of teenage and young adulthood, this phenomenon called ‘love’ creates waves. If we look at college life, the workplace, the TV-shows we follow, the movies we watch, to books we peruse we learn that love seems to be on everyone’s mind. So coming to my original question: Have you ever been in love?
If you have, you’ve probably been through profound grief as well. You know that the one thing that can bring pleasure and pain in equal quantities is in fact: love. Just about everyone around us seems to be yearning for ‘love’ yet few around us have found that proverbially ‘happy ending’.
So what is this elusive entity anyway? My mind is a cauldron of thoughts which only confuse me more than before. I look to the perfect deen of Allah to find some answers. And then I realize the solution, the answer to my question, has been there all along – I just didn’t look hard enough.
It is narrated in Al-Bukhari in a Hadith Qudsi:
“When Allaah loves a slave, He says to Jibreel (Alayhis Salam)l, ‘I love so-and-so, so love him,’ so Jibreel (AS) loves him and then calls out to the people of heaven, ‘Allaah loves so-and-so, so love him,’ and the people of heaven love him, and then acceptance is placed in the Earth for him.”
Take a moment to read the last part again – ‘acceptance is placed in the Earth for him’. So that’s how it works! The acceptance, the love we sometimes crave from people comes from – Allah’s love? Does this mean that if Allah begins to love us, the whole world will follow suit? Actually, it means more than only that (although it does mean that too!).
When a believer is blessed by the love of Allah, life suddenly begins to look better – indeed the fixation with the love of others is finally given a rest. Imagine, a person who is so close to Allah that Allah becomes the eyes which he sees with, and the hand with which he strikes, and the tongue with which he speaks, wouldn’t the contentment of the entire universe be at his feet? Would a person so spiritually elevated even crave the recognition and love that we sometimes do from the dunya? To quote the words of another hadith qudsi:
“….When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it.
But how does one get Allah’s love? This ayah of the Quran puts things in perspective:
“Say (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to mankind): If you (really) love Allah, then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31]
As we are all aware, Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu alayhi Wa Sallam) was the most perfect man ever to tread on the earth and by following him we are making Allah love us. It’s that simple! Following the sunnah of our blessed Prophet (Sallallahu Alyhi wa Sallam) is not only good for us in deen, but also dunya. After all, who doesn’t like an honest, humble, trustworthy and pure person? Truly, like Ayesha (Radi Allahu Anha) once commented, his conduct was the Quran.
Remember Allah says in the first part of the abovehadith al-qudsi:
My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.
So that is one way to gain Allah’s love. Perform the religious duties (fard) and supererogatory (nafl) ibadahs until Allah begins to love us. However, that is not the only way – far from it. Concealed inside the pages of the Quran are myriad ways of soliciting the Creator’s love. Below are only a few glimpses of it.
“And Allah LOVES as-Sabirun (the patient).” (Quran: 3:146)
Putting Trust in Allah
“Certainly, Allah LOVES those who put their trust (in Him).” (Quran: 3:159)
“Truly, Allah LOVES those who turn unto him in repentance.” (Quran: 2:222)
“Verily, then Allah LOVES those who are al-Muttaqun (the pious).”
“Truly, Allah LOVES Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Quran: 2:195)
Purification of the Body
“And Allah LOVES those who make themselves clean…..” (Quran: 9:108)
Ahadiths to show us how to earn Allah’s love:
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Allah LOVES kindliness in all matters.” (Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Allah LOVES the slave-believer who is poor but virtuous enough to refrain from begging though he has many children.” (Muslim and Ahmed)
Love for the Sake of Allah
Al-Tabarani, Ibn Ya’la, Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim narrated: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:
“If two men LOVE each other for the sake of Allah, the stronger in love to his brother will be more loved by Allah.”
I think the above is pretty self-explanatory. There is another aspect of love without discussing which, this article, or indeed our lives and our Eman, would be incomplete.
It is narrated in Al-Bukhari that Prophet Muhammed (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said:
“None of you believes until he loves me more than he loves his children, his parents, and all people.”
When was the last time you and I made Allah and His beloved Prophet, the epicentre and the focal point of all our love? Take a moment to go back the first paragraph, and ask yourself – have I ever been in love with God?
Why are we lost in the love of this dunya when the real love we should yearn for – the only one that can bring us true solace, both in this world and the next, is all that we need? And for someone who gains this sublime, Supreme love, is anything else in the world sweeter and more beautiful?
May Allah create love for Him and for His beloved Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) in our hearts, and may it grow therein forever.