In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
The question of love can be summarized by the following story: “Once upon a time, a wise man passed by a man crying near a grave. So he asked him about the reason of his crying. He said: ‘I had a beloved person, but he died. That is why I am crying.’ The wise man said: ‘You wronged yourself when you loved someone who passes away. If you love someone who does not pass away, you will not feel pain for his leaving you.’”
Love is one of the most special characteristics of man. But what is important is not to love, but to know whom you should love.
Man is endued with a mind that comprehends, a heart that loves, and a body that moves. And he is naturally pre-disposed to love perfection, beauty, and generousity.
Hence, when man’s mind comprehends, through delicate thinking in the creation of the heavens and the earth, that the universe is subjugated for him as a kind of honor and a means whereby he gets to know his Lord, Allah, the Benefactor, the Most Gracious, when he contemplates Allah’s Acts and realizes that they bespeak His Infinite Divine Justice, Wisdom, Mercy, and Bounty…etc., when man understands properly Revealed Scripture, in which Allah, Most Gracious, says that man is the prime creature whom He has created in the best stature, endued with utmost honor, created for Paradise, whose vastness is like that of the heavens and the earth, and granted His apparent and hidden Graces and Favors, and when man contemplates Allah’s Creation and deliberates His Divine Words, his mind, which is his instrument for comprehending facts, and his pure original nature, which is pre-disposed to love those who do good to him, will certainly lead him to love Allah, the Almighty, Most Gracious. Therefore, the wisest ones of all mankind are those who love Allah most; and it has been rightly said, “He who has no love has no belief.”
Allah, the Almighty, has made human hearts like vessels: the best of them are those that are filled with goodness and guidance, and the most evil are those that are filled with falsehood and corruption. He, All-Wise, has also implanted in man desires and caprices so that he may attain Paradise through objecting such desires and caprices. He has prepared mankind for a great matter and for His Paradise, in which there are persistent Grace and Bliss that no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no mind has ever imagined.
Allah’s Divine Wisdom necessitates that no one reaches the Bliss of Paradise except through difficulties and hardships, through labor and toil. In other words, Work for Paradise is very difficult, but work for Fire is very easy.
Love is the nourishment for human hearts and spirits. It is the essence of human life: those who are deprived thereof are by no means alive. It is the light: whosoever looses it is in oceans of darkness. It is the healing: whosoever is deprived thereof is befallen by illnesses and ailments. It is the pleasure: whosoever fails to attain it, his life will be full of worry and sorrow. In this context, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Three things: if they are found in someone, he tastes sweetness of Faith. (Such things are) that Allah and His Messenger should be dearer to him than anyone (or anything) else, that he should love sh3er only for the sake of Allah, and that he should hate to return to infidelity – after Allah has saved him from it – as much as he hates to be cast into fire.”If man knows his Lord, he loves Him; and if he loves Him, he seeks His Good Pleasure, complies with His Commands and does good righteous deeds for His Sake. Only then, he finds the sweetness of Faith, after having tasted bitterness of disbelief. Allah, Most Gracious, says in a Divine Hadith:
“My servant persists on seeking My Nearness through voluntary worships until I love him. When I love him, I become (as it were) his ear by which he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand by which he strikes, and his leg by which he walks. If he asks Me, I shall give him; and if he seeks My Refuge, I shall give him My Refuge.”Love is the knot of the relationship between man and his Lord. This is because the only relationship between Allah, Most Merciful, and any of His slaves is based on absolute servitude of the slave and absolute Lordship of the Lord. Love is the knot of this relationship and the essence of man’s Faith and work. True lovers will enjoy utmost honour in the present world and the Hereafter, For they will attain Allah’s Friendship and Love. This is because man is known by those whom he loves.
In the general sense, love is to show sincere heartly inclination towards the one whom you love, prefer him to anyone else, seek his utmost pleasure, whether in his presence or absence, and give all of yourself up to him: your will, effort, work, self, wealth, time …etc. just for the sake of his love and good pleasure.
The question of love was once raised in Mecca during pilgrim days. So all scholars talked about it, including Al-Jounaid who was the youngest. They said: “O Jounaid! Give us your opinion.” He said: “(It is the story of) a slave who gives up himself, is constantly conscious of his Lord, strives to fulfil His Rights, and observes Him by his heart. Whenever he speaks, he speaks by Allah; whatever he utters is about Allah; whenever he moves, he moves according to Allah’s Commands; and whenever he stops work or keeps silent, he is with Allah. Hence, he is by Allah, for Allah, and with Allah.”
The following Quranic Verse affirms such love as mentioned above. Allah, Most Gracious, says,
“O you who believe! If any from among you turn back from his Faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him, lowly with the believers, mighty against the rejecters, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault. That is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah encompasses all, and He knows all things.”The common thing agreed upon by all of those who know their Lord, Allah, Most Merciful, is that He loves them and they love Him. Moreover, they all believe that Allah’s Love for His Messengers, Prophets, and Friends is something different from His Mercy, Kindness, and Grace that He bestows upon them. It is in fact the source from which do issue His Mercy, Kindness, and Grace. In other words, when He loved them, He endued them with His Mercy, Kindness, and Grace. A slave’s love for his Lord must be sublime and unmatched by any other kind of love. It is the essence of Monotheism and the reality of the testimony that“There is no god but Allah”. One sign of the love of lovers for their Lord is that they are humble before believers - i.e. they have mercy upon them, like a father before his son - and mighty before disbelievers - i.e. they are powerful before them, and they do not flatter or fear them. Another sign is that they fight for the Cause of Allah by their souls, tongues, wealth, and hands. The third sign is that they do not give up doing their good deeds despite the blames or reproaches they might sometimes receive from sh3er, for Allah is with them, and if Allah is with them, who can ever be against them?!
Allah, Most Gracious, also says:
“Yet there are men who take (for worship) sh3er besides Allah, as equal (with Allah), they love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the Punishment, that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the Punishment.”In the above Verse, Allah, the Almighty, tells us that those who love sh3er besides Allah as much as they should love Allah are those who have taken partners unto Him. They give such partners love and allegiance although they did not create them. In fact, the majority of mankind have taken partners unto Allah in love and magnification. True believers, however, are overflowing in their love for Allah in the sense that their love for Allah is much more than polytheists’ love for their false deities that they take as partners with Allah. If only you see those polytheists, in their love and glorification to their gods and partners, when they are in Fire, with their partners:
“They will say there in their mutual bickering. By Allah, we were truly in manifest error when we held you as equals with the Lord of the Worlds.”Polytheists love their partners and false gods as much as believers love Allah. This love is mingled with humiliation, glorification, and sanctification, which drives them to worship such false deities by supplication and to obey their legislations. To this effect, Allah, All-Mighty, says,
“What! Have they partners (in godhead), who have established for them some religion without the permission of Allah? Had it not been for the Decree of Judgment, the matter would have been decided between them (at once). But verily, the wrongdoers will have a grievous Penalty.”
When claimers of love became numerous, they were demanded to provide evidence for their claim. This is because if people are judged according to their claims, then the heart-free will claim the yearning of the grieved. Therefore, such claim is not accepted without evidence. Allah, All-Wise, says:
“Say: ‘If you do love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’”All mankind failed to provide adequate evidence except for the followers of the beloved Prophet, Muhammad, (PBUH), in his deeds, sayings, and morals. Then they were demanded to vindicate their proof, because lovers’ souls and property are not theirs. To this purport Allah, Most Gracious, says,
“Allah has purchased of the Believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain - a promise binding on Him in Truth, in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his Covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded; that is the supreme achievement.”When they saw the greatness of the price, and the Majesty of the Buyer, and when they knew that it is very unjust to sell their souls and property to other than Allah for a very low price, they concluded with him contentedly Ar-Radwan Pledge of Allegiance. When they concluded this contract, and delivered the sold thing, they were told by the Lord, Most Merciful: When your souls and property became Ours, we returned them to you better than they had been and many other good things.
If the tree of love is planted in the heart and watered with sincerity, it will bear different kinds of fruits, and will yield its produce plentifully by its Lord’s Leave. Its root is firm in the depth of the heart, and its branches are outstretched up into the heavens.
The things that bring about love are:
reciting the Quran contemplatively and understanding its meanings, seeking Allah’s Good Pleasure through voluntary worships after having performed obligatory ones, for they are conducive to Allah’s Love and Mecry, remembering Allah in all situations by tongue and heart, because man’s share of Allah’s Love is determined by how much he remembers Him, preferring the things that Allah, Most Gracious, loves to those that man loves, seeking Allah’s Good Pleasure whatever the circumstances or difficulties might be, being in constant consciousness of Allah, All-Mighty, and His Beautiful Names and Attributes, for whosoever gets to know Allah, His Names and Attributes, he will inevitably love Him, observing His Bounty, Kindness, Favours as well as His apparent and hidden Fvors, being in solitude with Allah, invoking Him, reciting His Words, and feeling absolute servitude to Him, being in company with sincere devoted lovers, of the pious and righteous, and getting admonition from them, and keeping away from everything that stands between man’s heart and the Lord, Most Gracious.
The shortest and easiest way through which man attains Allah’s Love is to be like those whom He loves, and to keep away from such qualities as Allah abhors.
On the one hand, Allah, Glory to Him, loves those who are patient, purified, beneficent, reliant on Him, fair, and devout; and in fact, Prophetic Sunna and Tradition abound in traits and qualities that Allah, All-Mighty, loves. On the other hand, He, Praise to Him, hates those who are unjust, aggressive, corrupting, squandering, arrogant, indulged (in the perishable pleasures and enjoyments of the present world), disloyal, and arrogant.
Allah, Most Gracious, loves assisting grieved people, proper performance of work, and equality in treating one’s children - even in kissing. He also loves to see His slave exerting his efforts in seeking lawful things. He loves that His slaves preserve friendship and amity among themselves. He loves leniency and moderation in all matters. He loves tolerant buyers and sellers. He loves young repentants, gainfully employed believers, chaste poor people, enthusiastic believers, and humble submissive hearts.
Allah, All-High, detests misers, insistent beggers, unfair wealthy people, those who are vulgar and indecent, those who are dirty, untidy, wasteful, spend thrift, prodigal, and frivealous. He hates those who are knowledgeable concerning the present world but heedless of the Hereafter. He does not like divorce, ingratitude, disobedience, indecency and obscenity.
The most beloved work to Allah is the most persistent, even if it be little, bringing happiness to Muslims, love and hatred motivated by one’s love for Allah, guarding one’s tongue against evil talk, performing prayers on time, and offering food. The most beloved house to Allah is that in which an orphan is being well-treated. The most beloved places to Allah are mosques. The most beloved words to Allah are the most truthful. The most beloved food to Allah is that upon which lots of people gather. The most beloved of mankind to Allah are the most beneficent to His creatures and the best-mannered. The most detested people to Allah are the enemical and disputatious, those whose clothes are better than their deeds. The most abhorred to Allah are liars.
In this context, the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“There is nothing more beloved to Allah than a repentant young man; and there is nothing more detested to Allah than an old man who is persistent on his sinful deeds.”He (PBUH) also said:
“I love three (people), but my love for other three (people) is greater. I love the obedient, but my love for an obedient young man is greater. I love the generous, but my love for a generous poor man is greater. I love the modest, but my love for a modest rich man is greater. I detest three (people), but my detestation for other three (people) is greater. I detest the disobedient, but my detestation for a disobedient old man is greater. I detest the niggardly, but my detestation for a wealthy miser is greater. I detest the arrogant, but my detestation for an arrogant poor man is greater.”Here is a very delicate and serious issue, namely the fact that there is a great difference between love for the sake of Allah and love with Allah. Love for the sake of Allah is the token of perfection of belief, but love with Allah is mere polytheism. If love for Allah is deeply rooted in man’s heart, it necessitates that he should love only the things or people that Allah loves. In other words, he should love all of Allah’s Prophets and Messengers, His Friends and Callers for Him; and he should also love true believers and pious righteous people. Also, he should hate all of the things or people that Allah hates, such as the infidel, rebellious, and disobedient.
The sign of love and hate for the sake of Allah is that your detestation for those whom Allah detests should by no means turn into love if they do good to you or satisfy your personal needs. Similarly, your love for those whom Allah loves should not turn into hatred if something unpleasant befalls you from them, intentionally or otherwise.
In the light of the above-mentioned facts, it can be said that the whole religion is based on four rules that stem from the principle of love and hate, which results in action or abstention. In other words, those whose love, detestation, action or abstention are for the sake of Allah are true believers whose Faith is perfect.
The kinds of love with Allah:
Love with Allah, however, is of two kinds, one that corrupts the notion of Monotheism and is, hence, inevitably a kind of polytheism; and another that corrupts perfection of sincerity but does make man a non-Muslim or a disbeliever.
The first kind of love with Allah
The first kind of love is that which polytheists have towards their idols and false gods, which they worship besides Allah: a love of deification and devotion conducive to fear, hope, prayer and supplication. Such love is the very Polytheism that is unforgiveable by Allah, All-Mighty.
The second kind of love with Allah
The second kind of love is to love the things that Allah has adorned for mankind and are, therefore, so beloved to them, such as women, children, heaped up hoards of gold and silver, branded horses, livestock and farmland …etc. This love is of three kinds: if man loves them for the sake of Allah and for attaining thereby His Love and Good Pleasure by showing adequate obedience and devotion, he is well-rewarded. It is, as is wisely said, “How good money is whereby I preserve my honor and attain my Lord’s Good Pleasure!” If he loves such things for the satisfaction of his own desires but does not give them preference to the things that Allah loves and accepts, they are considered as permissible things for which he will not be punished. If, however, he loves them, and strives to attain and enjoy them, giving them preference to the things that Allah loves and accepts, he turns out a great wrong-doer and loser.
The first kind of love with Allah, as above-mentioned, is that of the excellent outdoers, the second is that of the languid, and the third is that of the wrong-doers.
Were the question of love abolished, all ranks of Faith and good-doing would also be abolished, and no one would strive for Allah’s Cause or seek His Good Pleasure. This is because love is the essence and spirit of every rank, work and effort. In other words, if man’s work is void of love, it is like a dead body that has no spirit. Morever, love is not only related to man’s work just as sincerity is, but it is the essence of sincerity as well. Love is also the essence of Islam, for Islam means to surrender to Allah with submission, veneration, love, and obedience. Hence, whosoever does not have love does not have Faith. Furthermore, love is the essence of the testimony of Monotheism: “There is no god but Allah” . This is because the God (Allah), Whom people deify out of love, humbleness, fear, and submission, Whom their minds necessitate that love for Him should be given priority over love for their own selves, families, properties, and children, and Whom man’s mind and original nature as well as logic and Divine Revelation call for loving Him and even singling Him out for true sincere love, must be loved and turned to with submission, devotion and obedience. This was reiterated by all of the Holy Prophets and Messengers, who confirmed that Allah does not love and does not accept the heart that contains love for sh3er besides Him or work that is done for the sake of sh3er besides Him.
Some scholars said: “There are ten things which are waste and useless: a heart that is void of love for Allah, eagerness unto Him, and affability with Him, love that is not confined by Allah’s Good Pleasure and Commandments, knowledge that is not put into practice, work that is neither sincere not rightly guided, a body that is not used in the Way of Allah or for serving His slaves, an intellect that is utilized for futile vain things, wealth that is hoared up and not spent for the benefit and welfare of mankind, time that is not spent in the Way of Allah or for good deeds, service that you give to those who do not bring you nearer to Allah or benefit you in the present world, fear of and hope for those who are under Allah’s Power and in His Grasp, and, therefore, can do you neither harm nor good, and can bring you neither life nor death.
Undoubtedly, knowledge of Allah, Most Gracious, leads to love and love to obedience; and obedience is the price for Allah’s Love, Help, and Victory.
It is narrated in “Tarikh At-Tabari” [Chapter 6, page 501], and “Al-Bidaya Wan- Nihaya” [Chpter 9, page 141] that Qutaibah Ibn Muslim, may Allah have mercy on him, advanced quickly into the East conquering its countries. After he had conquered Kashghar, and entered China from the west, the Emperor of China wrote a letter to him asking him to send a noble man of his in order to inform the Chinese Emperor and his men about Muslims and Islam. Therefore, Qutaibah chose twelve men, who were good-looking, eloquent, strong, and smart. Then he talked to them, tested their abilities and found that they were mindful and handsome. Therefore, he ordered that good arms and equipment be given to them, and he appointed Al-Hubairah Ibn Al-Mushamraj, whom he found most eloquent and fluent, as their leader. Then he said to them: “Go ahead with Allah’s Blessing! And may Allah provide you with His Help and Victory. When you see their king, tell him that I have sworn to enter their land and to collect tributes from them before I leave.” So they went ahead, and when they arrived, the king of China invited them to his palace. So they came to him after they had put on white clothes over mantillas, nice shoes and perfumes. They came to him where there were his retinues with him. Then they sat down, but the king did not talk to them. So they got up and left. Then the king asked his retinues: “How did you find those people?” They said: “We saw people who are just like women.” On the next day, he invited them again to his palace. They put on brocade clothes and turbans of silk, then they went to him. When they entered, they were told to go back. Then he asked his retinues: “How did you find their apparel?” They said: “This apparel is more similar to the apparel of men than the previous one.” On the third day, he invited them again to his palace. So they took up their arms, put on their helmets, held their swords and spears, and rode their horses into the palace. But they were told to go back before they entered, because the king and his men were afraid of them. Then the king asked his retinues: “How did you find them?” They said: “We have never seen people like those.” In the evening, the king sent for their leader. So they sent Al-Hubairah. When he entered, the king said to him: “You have already seen the greatness of my kingdom, and that there is nothing to protect you from me, because you are in my state like an egg in my hand. And I will ask you something; but if you do not tell me the truth, I will kill you all.” Al-Hubairah said: “Ask me.” The king said: “Why did you do that with your clothes on the first, second, and third days?” Al-Hubairah said: “Concerning our clothes on the first day, they are what we wear when we are among our families. The clothes that we wore on the second day are those that we wear when we meet our leaders. And the clothes that we wore on the third day are those that we wear when we meet our enemies. The king exclaimed: “Well done!” Then he said: “Go to your leader, Qutaibah, and tell him to go away, for I have known his over-eagerness but the fewness of his companions; otherwise, I will send to you men who will kill you and him.” Al-Hubairah said: “How could his companions be that few, while the first of his horses is on your land and the last one is at the place where olive-trees grow?! And how could he be too eager, while he has forsaken the present life, though it is in his grasp, and has invaded you in your own land?! And concerning your threatening us with killing, we believe that our lives have predestined times on which we will die. And the best and most honorable way to die is to be killed for the Cause of Allah. Therefore, we neither fear nor hate death.” The king asked: “Well then, what satisfies your leader?” He said: “He has sworn not to leave until he treads on your land.” The king said: “We can release him from his oath by sending some sand from our land to him in order to tread on, and we shall send the money which he demands in return for guarding and protecting us.” Hence, out of fear and respect, the king of China submitted to Qutaibah’s demand without fight.
Allah, Most Gracious, All-Mighty, says:
“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them, that He will establish in authority their religion – the one which He has chosen for them, and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace. They worship Me (alone) and do not associate aught with Me. If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.”But, in answer to a question that could exist in the minds of our dear readers, Allah, Glory to Him, also says:
“But after them there followed a posterity who missed Prayers and followed after lusts; soon, then, will they face Destruction.”And if it is asked: “What should we do?”, the Holy Quran Answers:
“If you return, so shall We. Not the least good will your forces be to you even if they were multiplied, for verily, Allah is with those who believe!”
“Verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change that which is in their own selves).” [XIII ; 11], and “O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make your foothold firm.”