Islam : The Obligation of Loving Allah.

Islam : The Obligation of Loving Allah.

From the obligatory and necessary aspects of the Faith is for Allah, love for His Messenger (SAW), love for His believing slaves and love for what Allah and His Messenger (SAW) love of faith and good deeds. This love of Allah and His Messenger (SAW) must take precedence over the love for children, wealth and souls. Allah says in the Qur’an:

قُلْ إِنْ كَانَ آبَاؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَاؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَانُكُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَالٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَارَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَاكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَجِهَادٍ فِي سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُوا حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ اللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِ وَاللَّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْفَاسِقِينَ

“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwelling in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger (SAW) and striving hard and fighting in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are disobedient.” (Surah Tawbah 9: 24)

Ibn Katheer explains this verse saying it means wait for what punishment in store for you. And such a warning only takes place when the deed is necessary obligatory or certain requirement.

Excellence of Loving Allah.

Love for Allah and His Messenger above the love of everything else is one of the characteristics of Faith and a sign that he has tasted the sweetness of Faith, according to the saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW): “There are three characteristics that if one possesses then, he has tasted the sweetness of Faith; that Allah and His Messenger is more beloved to him than anyone other than them, that he loves a person and he only love him for the sake of Allah, and that he hates to return to disbelief just as he hated to be thrown into the Fire.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Nawawi stated: “the meaning of ‘the sweetness of Faith’ is that the person gets pleasure out of obedience and bearing hardships and he prefers that over worldly desires.”

What is Loving Allah?

The love of the slave to His Lord and His Messenger is in their Obedience and avoiding their Disobedience. One who claims to love Allah and His Messenger of Allah (SAW), lacking to obey them and give precedence to their words over and above everybody else’s, is indeed a liar with respect to his claim of loving Allah and His Messenger (SAW), since Faith has been denied for those who turn away from obeying Allah and His Messenger. He, the All-Just has declares them to be hypocrites and nonbelievers in the Qur’an saying:

وَيَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَبِالرَّسُولِ وَأَطَعْنَا ثُمَّ يَتَوَلَّى فَرِيقٌ مِنْهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ وَمَا أُوْلَئِكَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“They (hypocrite) say, “We have believed in Allah and in the Messenger and we obey, then a party of them turn away thereafter, such are not believers.” (Surah Nur 24: 47)

The Height of Love for Allah, the Exalted

Love of Allah has two levels:

The 1st level is a must for every Muslim to complete the obligatory aspect of Faith. It is to love Allah with a love that requires one to love what Allah has obligated upon him and to hate what Allah has forbidden for him: i.e. to perform the obligatory deeds and avoid forbidden deeds. To love His Messenger who conveyed from Him, His Commands and prohibitions and to be pleased with what Rasulullah (SAW) has conveyed from Allah of the religion and to accept that with pleasure and submission.

فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىَ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُواْ فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيمًا

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Surah Nisa 4: 65)

Loving the Prophets and Messengers and those who follow them in good for the sake of Allah, since Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Indeed, the firmest handhold from Iman is that you love for Allah and hate for Allah.” (Ahmad)

Therefore, a Muslim loves the Prophets, the righteous ones loved by Allah, the sincere followers of the prophets, the martyrs and the pious, since they carry out that which Allah loves, so he loves them for Allah and this is from the completion of his love for Allah since loving the beloved of the one that you love is from the completion of the love for the one that you love. Further, a Muslim hates the unbelievers, the hypocrites and the people of innovation and sin, since they do that which Allah hates so he hates them for Allah. Anyone lacking in any of these matters, is lacking the obligatory aspects of Faith.

Consequently, Loving Allah means to give precedence to what Allah loves and wants for a slave, over what the slave loves and wants for himself. He must love what Allah loves and hate what He hates, make alliances and opposition for His sake and follow the Messenger (SAW). And this results to the completeness of his Faith.

The 2nd level of loving Allah is the level of the forerunners in good. This is where the love is raised to the loving whatever Allah loves of voluntary acts of obedience and disliking whatever Allah dislikes in the minutest aspects of disliked acts. It includes being pleased with whatever Allah decreed and foreordained of pain to the soul in the way of afflictions…

Causes that bring about Love for the Lord of the worlds.

1) Recognizing the Bounties of Allah: The Bounties of Allah upon His slaves are so numerous, that it cannot be counted or enumerated, as Allah, the All Merciful says in the Final Revelation:

وَآتَاكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مَا سَأَلْتُمُوهُ وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لاَ تُحْصُوهَا إِنَّ الإِنسَانَ لَظَلُومٌ كَفَّارٌ

“And who gave you all that you asked Him for. Were you to count the favours of Allah you shall never be able to encompass them. Verily, man is highly unjust, exceedingly ungrateful.” (Surah Ibrahim 14: 34)

The heart holds love for the one, who acts good to him, or when he acquires something beneficial from him. This is a common phenomenon, which takes place in every human, so according to this observable fact, in order to love Allah one should know the Great Blessings and Bounties bestowed upon him by Lord, which will lead him to loving his Allah, the Exalted.

2) Knowledge about the Names and Attributes and Actions of Allah: Another phenomenon, which leads to love, are the attributes and actions, one may love the other being pleased by his excellent attributes or actions. So, by knowing Allah by His Exalted Names, Absolute Attributes and Righteous Actions is one of the ways that leads to His Love, since one who knows Allah loves Him. And one who knows Him obeys Him, and is honored by Him, and whomever Allah honors will have himself close to the Exalted and will consequently lead to the glad tidings.

3) Pondering over His Creation: Pondering over the Creations of Allah, the All Able, will lead one to the specific knowledge of the heavens and the earths and the all what He created, for all this will indicate His Greatness, Power, Majesty, Perfection, Eminence, Compassion, Mercy, Strength, Subjugation, and other of His beautiful Names and Attributes. One whose knowledge of Allah is strengthened, one’s love for Him is also strengthened as well the love of obeying Him. He will then experience the pleasure of worship, whether it is in prayer, remembrance or other forms of worship.

4) Acting towards Allah with Sincerity: To act towards Allah with sincerity and purity, while going against one’s desires is a cause of Allah to bless a slave and when the slave is blessed, he further loves his Lord.

5) Remembrance of Allah: One of the greatest causes that bring about one’s love for Allah is increasing one’s remembrance of Allah. Whenever a person loves something, he remembers him more often. And it is through the remembrance of Allah that the hearts find tranquility:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُمْ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Such are the ones who believe in the message of the Prophet) and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in Allah’s remembrance do hearts find rest” (Surah Ra’d 13: 28) And in fact one of the signs of love for Allah is the constant remembrance of Allah by one’s heart and tongue.

6) Reciting the Qur’an and pondering over its verse: One of he causes that bring about Allah’s love for His Slaves is reciting the Qur’an and pondering over its verses, in particular those verses that contain Allah’s Names, Attributes and Actions. Having fondness for His Actions will lead the slave to love Allah and Allah to love Him.

7) Remembering the Day when the believers will meet their Lords: Another cause of love for Allah is remembering what has been mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning the believers seeing their Lord in the Hereafter, visiting them and gathering them on the Day of Abundance.

Ibn al-Qayyim mentioned ten causes that result in Allah’s love for a slave and the slave’s love for His Lord.

1)     Reciting the Qur’an while pondering over its meaning and what is meant by it.

2)     Getting closer to Allah by performing voluntary deeds completing obligatory deeds. This is as in the Hadith al-Qudsi: “My slave continues to getting closer to Me by performing voluntary deeds until I love him.”(Sahih Bukhari)

3)     Continual remembrance of Allah under all circumstances, with one’s tongue, heart and actions.

4)     Giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when you are overtaken by your desires.

5)     The heart being avid of Allah’s Names, Attributes and the heart roaming in that garden of knowledge.

6)     Observing Allah’s kindness, goodness and bounties, both open and hidden.

7)     This is the most wonderful: the heart becoming soft, subdued and meek before Allah.

8)     Being alone with Allah during the time when the Lord descends during the last portion of the night while reading His Book and ending by asking for forgiveness and repenting.

9)     Sitting with the beloved and sincere, benefiting from the most fruitful of their speech. And not to speak unless speaking is more beneficial and you know that it will improve your state and be beneficial to others.

10) Remaining away from every cause that comes between the heart and Allah.

These 10 causes take the lovers to the station of true love and bring them to their Beloved.

Signs of Sincere Love.

From the signs of sincere love for Allah ad His Messenger (SAW) is adherence to obedience of Allah, Jihaad in His path, seeking the pleasure of the reproach one may face for his striving and following the way of His Messenger. Allah has said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ يُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لاَئِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“O believers! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion, Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him, humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All Sufficient for His creatures needs, All Knower” (Surah Ma’idah 5: 54)

And Allah says:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“(O Messenger!) Tell people: ‘If you indeed love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you and will forgive you your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.” (Surah Imran 3: 31)

Allah has described those who love Him with 5 characters:

1st:  They are humble towards the believers. That is they are soft, compassionate, and merciful towards the believers. They ‘lower their wings’ to them in mercy and kindness. Allah says:

إِنْ أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ

“And be kind and humble to the believer who follow you” (Surah Shu’ara 26: 215)

2nd: Allah describes them as harsh against disbelievers. The meaning of this is toughness and harshness to them. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ

“O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbeliever and the hypocrites, and be severe against them.” (Surah Tahrim 66: 9) This is related to the fact that those who love Allah must dislike His enemies. This is a necessary component of sincere love.

3rd:  They strive in the way of Allah. They strive against His enemies with their souls, hand, wealth and tongue. This is a part of the completeness of one’s enmity towards the enemies of Allah, which is a required component of love.

4th: They do not fear the reproach of anyone who may reproach them. That is, they strive to perform those acts that He is pleased with and they do not care if anyone reproaches them as long as they are doing a deed, which is pleasing to their Lord. The lover is occupied with what his Beloved loves and to him it is the same if he is reproached or praised by the people for his deeds.

5th: He follows the way of the Messenger (SAW). Obeys him, implements his commands and refrains form what he prohibited. Allah has associated love for Him with love for His Messenger in His Words:

“…are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger (SAW)” (Al-Quraan 9: 24)

Consequently, the love of Allah cannot be sought except through following the path and obeying His Messenger and neither can one have complete Faith except by following His Messenger as He, the Exalted says:

فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىَ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُواْ فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيمًا

“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Surah Nisa 4: 65)

Allah says:

مَا عِنْدَكُمْ يَنفَدُ وَمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ بَاقٍ وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّ الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا أَجْرَهُمْ بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

 “Whoever does righteous deeds – whether man or woman – and has faith, We shall surely grant him a new life, a life that is good. And We will certainly reward such people according to the noblest of their deeds.” (Surah Nahl 16:96)


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