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The Concept of loving Allah
Loving Allah: Is when the heart feels near to its Lord and close to Him. That heart responds to Allah doing everything He asks, and its prime concern is the continuous remembrance of its Lord.
What it truly means to love Allah
To love Allah is to love worshipping, being subservient to and glorifying Him. It is to have in the heart the feelings of glorification and reverence towards Allah that urge that heart to observe Allah"s commands and avoid His prohibitions. This love is the root of Iman and Tawheed. The merits that result from this love are numerous. A part of loving Allah is to love the places, times, people, deeds and utterances He loves. Who knows Allah will love Him.
Loving Allah should be pure for Allah alone, and it does not contradict the natural love that a person feels towards his father or his children, or towards the teacher, or the love one feels towards food, drink, marriage, clothes, friends and the like.
As for the forbidden love, it means loving others the same way and at the same level one loves Allah, such as the love of the Mushrikeen for their idols and their saints, or to prefer what the self loves over what Allah loves, or to love places, people, times, actions and utterances which Allah does not love. Allah says: “And (yet), among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah” (Al-Baqarah: 165).
Merits of Loving Allah: There is no form of worship which is greater in status than loving, fearing and hoping for good from Allah.
1-This is the basis of Tawheed, for the essence of Tawheed is to single out one"s love purely for Allah alone. Moreover, it is the true state of worship. Tawheed is never complete except if the condition of loving Allah is fulfilled. This love comes first before all other types of love and also controls them in the sense that all other types of love depend upon that love, since in it there is the happiness and success of a slave of Allah. Longing for Allah and longing to meet Him is a breeze that blows over the heart, cooling the scorching heat of this worldly life.
2-A consolation for the one who loves Allah when calamities strike, for such a person finds in the pleasure of that love a relief that helps him to overcome calamities and also eases his hardships. There is no one who is more wretched on the face of this earth than that person who is deprived of the tranquility one feels when one is close to Allah and in His company.
3-Perfect bliss and the highest form of contentment: A state one can never reach unless one has that love towards Allah (mighty and majestic is He). For there is nothing that can enrich the heart or fulfill its needs or its hunger except the slave"s love and devotion to Allah, even if he had all the pleasures one can possibly dream of. This is because loving Allah is bliss to the soul. Sound and good hearts and pure minds do not have a sweeter, more pleasurable, better, happier nor do they have a warmer experience than the love they feel for their Lord, finding pleasure in His company and longing to meet Him. The sweetness that a Mu"men finds in his heart surpasses all sweetnesses, the bliss that he acquires from that love is the most perfect of all blisses, and the pleasure is the highest of all pleasures. The Prophet said: "Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith: The one for whom Allah and His Messenger is dearer than anything else, the one who loves a person only for the sake of Allah, and the one who hates to revert to disbelief just as he hates to be thrown into the fire” (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim and Nisa’i).
Causes that result in one loving Allah:
Allah (mighty and majestic is He) loves who ever loves Him and tries to draw close to Him. The first cause that results in one loving Allah is that a person loves Allah more that he loves any other being or object. There are ten causes that result in Allah loving His slave and His slave loving his Lord. These are:
1-Reciting the Qur"an, and pondering and understanding its meanings and what Allah means by its verses, for he who preoccupies himself with Allah"s Book fills his heart with love towards Allah.
2-Becoming closer to Allah by performing optional acts of worship after observing the obligatory ones, as this Hadeeth Qudsi (sacred hadith) indicates. Allah says: “And My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. 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" (Narrated by Bukhari).
3-The continuous remembrance of Allah in all conditions with one’s tongue and heart, and to remember Him in everything one does and in any situation one may be in. “a people He will love and who will love Him” (Al-Maidah: 54).
4-Preferring what Allah loves to what one"s self loves of needs and desires.
5-The heart realizing the meaning of the names and attributes of Allah, contemplating and understanding them.
6-Being aware of His bounty, benefaction, gifts and His Graces, (both) apparent and hidden.
7-Making the heart totally humble before Almighty Allah.
8-Being alone with Allah during the times He descends to this world in the late hours of the night so as to converse privately with Him, reciting His Words, politely and humbly standing in prayer before Him, and finishing by asking for forgiveness and repentance.
9-Accompanying those who truly love Him and reaping the best fruits from their words just as one picks the best fruits from a tree, and also not speaking unless it is better to speak, and it is clear that this speaking will increase your status and benefit others.
10-Being far from all that comes between your heart and Allah (mighty and majestic is He).
Fruits of Allah"s love for His slave:
- Whoever Allah loves, He guides him and draws him closer to Him: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah (mighty and majestic is He) said: ‘I am as My servant thinks of me. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him two arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’” (Narrated by Bukhari).
The more Taqwa (piety) towards Allah a person has the more guidance he will receive. The more a person reveres Allah, the more guided he becomes, and the more guided he becomes the more he reveres Allah.
- Whoever Allah loves, He decrees that the people will find him agreeable wherever he goes.
Being agreeable means that the person is treated respectfully everywhere and that people like his company and praise him when he is absent. Everybody loves that person except the Kufaar for they do not love Allah, so how could they love those who love Allah?! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah loves a slave of His He calls Jibril and says: ‘I love so-and-so; so love him.’ So Jibril loves him and he announces to those in the heavens (angels), saying: ‘Allah loves so-and-so so love him.’ So those in the heavens love him. Then he is granted the acceptance of those on the earth” (Narrated by Muslim).
Thus when Allah loves a servant, He surrounds him with His care and His guardianship. Allah makes everything subservient to that person and facilitates all difficulties for him. He also makes reachable for that person all that is unreachable, and makes all worldly matters easy for him. That person, therefore, does not feel any fatigue or distress. Almighty Allah says: “Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection” (Mariam: 96).
- Whoever Allah loves, He decrees that he will be in His company everywhere the person goes. When Allah loves a slave, He is always with him taking good care of him and surrounding him with His guardianship. Allah never allows others to harm or hurt the person He loves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allah the Exalted has said: "I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is that which I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (prayer or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give will him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I will protect him’" (Narrated by Bukhari). True Iman is life for the soul and fields of pleasures. Kufr, on the other hand is death for the soul before it is actually dead and fields of miseries.
- When Allah loves a person He accepts his supplication: One of the signs of Allah"s love for the Mu"meneen is that He answers their supplication and blesses them the moment they lift their hands to the heavens calling on Him: "Oh Lord!" Allah says: “And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me (by obedience) and believe in Me that they may be (rightly) guided” (Al-Baqarah: 186).
Salman Al-Farsi said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, Allah is One Who is modest, Munificent and Generous, and when a man raises his hands to Him, He feels too shy to return them to him empty and rejected” (Narrated by at-Termidhi).
- When Allah loves a person, He commands the angels to ask for His forgiveness for that person: The angels ask for forgiveness for the person whom Allah loves and ask Allah to send His mercy on him. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: “Those (angels) who carry the Throne and those around it exalt (Allah) with praise of their Lord and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, (saying): ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and (who have) followed Your way, and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire’" (Ghâfir: 7).
Allah the Exalted says: “The heavens almost break from above them, and the angels exalt (Allah) with praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth. Unquestionably, it is Allah who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” (Ash-Shûra: 5).
- When Allah loves a slave, He takes his soul (i.e. causes him to die) while he is carrying out a good deed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah wills good for His slave, He sweetens him.” He was asked, “What is this sweetening?” He said, “Allah guides him to do righteous deeds before he dies, then He takes (his soul) whilst he is in that state” (Narrated by Ahmad).
- When Allah loves a person, He will protect him at the time of his death:
When Allah loves His slave, He protects him in this worldly life and also protects him and makes him steadfastness at the time of his death. Allah sends to such a person angels that tenderly hold his soul, make him firm at the time of death and give him glad tidings of Jannah. Allah the Exalted says: “Indeed, those who have said: ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, (saying): ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised’" (Fussilat: 30). There is no delight in life but that which results from loving and obeying Allah, and no (greater) pleasure in Jannah but that which results from looking at and beholding Him.
- When Allah loves a person, He grants him eternal life in Jannah: A person who is loved by Allah is granted in the Hereafter eternal life in Jannah. Allah"s generosity to those who He loves is unimaginable. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) promises those He loves eternal Jannah in which they will find all that they desire and more. In a Hadeeth Qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us: “Allah said: ‘I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, nor has it occurred to the human heart.’” The narrator added: Thus recite if you wish: “And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes” (Narrated by al- Bukhari).
-One of the fruits of Allah"s love for the slave is to allow him to see and behold Allah the Exalted (in the Hereafter): Allah unveils His light to His slaves whom He loves. They have never beheld anything that is dearer to them. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) looked at the full moon and said: "Certainly you will see your Lord (in the Hereafter) as you see this moon, and you will have no trouble in seeing Him. So if you can avoid missing (through sleep or business etc.) a prayer before the sunrise (i.e. Fajr prayer) and a prayer before sunset (i.e. `Asr prayer), then you must do so." He then recited: "And exalt (Allah) with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).
Conditions and important notes about loving and being loved by Allah:
1-Allah"s love for His slave does not mean that he will not be exposed to trials: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Indeed a greater reward comes with a greater trial. And indeed, when Allah loves a people He subjects them to trials; so whoever is content, then for him is pleasure, and whoever is discontent, then for him is wrath" (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi).
Allah exposes the slave to different types of trials in order for the slave to become completely purified from the sins he has committed, and for his heart to become totally healed from being preoccupied by worldly interests. Allah says: "And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you (for the cause of Allah) and the patient, and We will test your affairs" (Muhammad: 31).
Allah also says: "155- And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, 156- Who, when disaster strikes them, say: "Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return." 157- Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the (rightly) guided" (Al-Baqarah: 155-157). "True Freedom is attained when the heart is free of shirk, desires and doubts. Enslavement also refers to the enslavement of the heart, and it must be only for Allah the Exalted"
2-If a slave disobeys His Lord then his love for Allah decreases and is less perfect. Love is like Iman, there is a basic level all Mu’meneen must have to be considered as a Mu’men, and also a perfect degree. Depending on the sins one commits, the love one has for Allah decreases so becoming less than the perfect level, and if the person starts to doubt and commit major hypocrisy then even the basic level of that love is destroyed. He who does not have love for Allah the Exalted in his heart is either a Kafer, a Mortadd (apostate) or a Munafiq (Hypocrite) who does not truly fulfill any aspects of the religion at all. As for wrongdoers, it cannot be said that they do not have any love for Allah, but one should say that their love is less than what it should be. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sins (and Allah) would have forgiven them" (Narrated by Ahmad).
But these wrongdoers will be treated according to the amount of love they have for Allah.
3-Love for Allah does not contradict the natural love a person feels for food, drink, women and the like. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Women and perfume have been made dear to me, but my comfort has been provided by prayer" (Narrated by Ahmad).
There are then things in this life that are permissible to be loved, and it is not considered shirk to love them as long as they are not haram (impermissible). The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved such things.
4-He who loves a person as he loves Allah, then he has committed shirk. Allah says: "And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. And if only they who have wronged would consider (that) when they see the punishment, (they will be certain) that all power belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment" (Al-Baqarah: 165).
In the ayah there is a strong threat directed to those who love someone as they love Allah with regards to worshipping and glorifying them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The action that Allah loves the most is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah" (Narrated by Ahmad).
Allah says: “Say (O Muhammad): ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command’" (At-Taubah: 24).
In the ayah there is a strong threat against those who love any of these eight groups more than they love Allah. Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his child, his father and all the people" (Narrated by ibn Majah).
5-Supporting and loving the Mushrekeen more than the Mu"meneen contradicts one"s love for Allah: for the Mushrekeen ascribe partners to Allah and are not on the correct religion. Loving for the sake of Allah and hating for the sake of Allah is a great fundamental principle of Iman. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever (of you) does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence” (Âl-"Imrân: 28).
Allah forbids the Mu"meneen to support the Kafreen and emphasizes that he who does that completely abandons Allah, for a person cannot support his friend and his friends"s enemy at the same time: "except when taking precaution against them in prudence" (Âl-"Imrân: 28).
But Allah permits the Mu"meneen to support the Kafereen only if they are afraid of them and cannot be safe of their threat but by doing that. The Mu"meneen are permitted to show that support as long as their hearts still have Iman and still hate the Kafereen. As Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: "except for one who is forced (to renounce his religion) while his heart is secure in faith" (An-Nahl: 106).
A display of love An indication of a Mu"men"s love for Allah is that he remembers Him much and longs to meet Him, for he who loves someone remembers him much and looks forward to meeting him.
Ar-Rabea" bin Anas
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the choice between this worldly life and meeting Allah(mighty and majestic is He), he replied: "…(I want to be with) the Highest Companion" (Narrated by Ahmad).
He (peace be upon him) chose his love for Allah and meeting Him and its merits, and preferred it over the love for this world, its desires and its pleasures.