By Sancheet Hoque
In the modern world, many spend their life searching for it. It is the main topic in many movies, novels, songs, and other mediums alike. It wouldn’t be farfetched to say it is the most powerful emotion as many become irrational when it surfaces. What is this “it”? It is the emotion humans call love. An emotion that is used to describe a feeling that can branch into other emotions such as desire, attachment, and infatuation. It could be said that many of these emotions could cause harm if put in the wrong place. It could also lead to making poor decisions if the object of love comes into the picture.
What does love have to do with Islam though? Many might say that Islam does not promote love due to arranged marriages or strict rules, but these are the words of the ignorant. Learning how to love and directing it for Allah is the essence of Islam. If one desires Allah and is infatuated by Him, then one will do everything to show it. Unfortunately many are taught to only fear Allah which in a way could cause distance between the servant and the Lord. One has to love and fear in a perfect balance. It is like when one was younger they were scared of their parents, but it didn’t take away their love for them either. Allah loves his servants more than their parents! Let’s dive into the Quran and see what He says to us about love.
Directing One’s Love
When the night grew dark upon him, he saw a star and said, “This is my Lord!” But when it set, he said, “I do not love things that set.” [6:76]
This verse in the Quran refers to an experience of the childhood of Prophet Ibrahim (as). When he was a child it did not make sense that the gods that his community worshiped were statues as these were made by humans. This led to Ibrahim (as) looking for a God to worship that made sense to him. During this time period, he thought maybe the sun could be his god, but it disappears from his sight during the night. He says the line, “I do not love things that set.” From this line, readers can realize that he is not looking to just worship but also to find true love. This true love is none other than Allah and since Ibrahim (as) sought it with sincerity, he was able to find it through Allah’s will. His relationship with Allah gave him the title Khalilullah which means friend of Allah. Without love, one cannot be a true friend. Directing the love and desire one has to Allah can create miracles as Allah protected Ibrahim (as) from the fire his community threw him into.
˹They are˺ those who donate in prosperity and adversity, control their anger and pardon others. And Allah loves the good-doers. [3:134]
This verse showcases that Allah also can love His servants. His love is simple to obtain as His love increases for one as they do more good. There are many verses in the Quran similar to this one in which Allah states actions that one can do to obtain His love. This verse specifically refers to donating regularly, forgiving others, and controlling one’s anger. Other verses that speak of obtaining Allah’s love refer to being just and also perseverance. All these things are beneficial to oneself, so there is no loss and only gain. If one truly loves Allah these actions become enjoyable. Imagine obtaining the utmost love of the one who created the entire universe, the heavens, the earth, and all creatures. Allah is also the most kind and loving and only wants the best for you. So learn about what Allah has provided for mankind and be grateful for everything He has blessed you with. Reflecting on blessings and appreciating them will slowly turn into love.
Khutbah: How to Increase Your Love of Allah
Trusting the One You Love
It is out of Allah’s mercy that you ˹O Prophet˺ have been lenient with them. Had you been cruel or hard-hearted, they would have certainly abandoned you. So pardon them, ask Allah’s forgiveness for them, and consult with them in ˹conducting˺ matters. Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who trust in Him. [3:159]
This verse is similar to the previous one, but it does not pertain to a certain action. It points to how kind our Messenger (pbuh) was no matter what person came to him. It was only through Allah’s mercy that it happened and through this kindness and patience many people turned to Islam.
It refers to another type of emotion called trust. This specific verse talks about how one should be firm in decisions and put one’s trust in Allah. Think about someone that you love in this world. Do you fully trust them? Does one necessarily love someone that they trust? For example, one could love his brother, but not fully trust him with certain tasks. To fully obtain the love of Allah and also love Allah without shackles, one has to learn to trust Him and love Him. Think about Allah’s greatness and what He is capable of, how can one not trust Him?
Khutbah: How to Increase Your Trust in Allah
Loving the Messenger
Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “If you ˹sincerely˺ love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive your sins. For Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]
This verse is important because it tells the believers that if one sincerely loves Allah then they will not disobey His messenger. If one follows Prophet Muhammed’s (pbuh) teachings and also learns to love him, then Allah will also love you. This is because a believer can obtain the love of our Messenger (pbuh) and Allah loves what he loves and vice versa. Read the hadith below narrated by A’ishah (ra)
“Once, when I saw the Prophet in a good mood, I said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah for me!” So, he said: “O Allah! Forgive ‘A’ishah her past sins and her future sins, the sins which she has hidden and the sins which have been made apparent.” So I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into the lap of the Messenger of Allah out of joy. The Messenger of Allah said to me: “Does my supplication make you happy?” I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?”
He then said: “By Allah, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah in every prayer.” [Al Bazzaar, Hasan Al-Albani]
This shows how much love Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) had for his ummah. There are many hadiths like this that refer to his followers. The Messenger of Allah directed his love to his Lord and others that followed him. It is important for believers to learn how to love without bound in order to be happy. Make a lot of dhikr (remembrance) glorifying Allah and also sending peace and blessings upon the Prophet (pbuh) and all those that he loves.
Still there are some who take others as Allah’s equal—they love them as they should love Allah—but the ˹true˺ believers love Allah even more. If only the wrongdoers could see the ˹horrible˺ punishment ˹awaiting them˺, they would certainly realize that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is indeed severe in punishment. [2:165]
This verse refers to those that direct their love to something else besides Allah. This could be an idol or another god created through their imagination. It could also refer to loving their wealth, children, parents, and other worldly things. Nothing is wrong with these things, but one should love them for the sake of Allah. Many people become lost once they lose their object of love. For example, it’s okay to feel sad when one loses their parent, but if it causes one to commit suicide then their love for their parents exceeded their love for Allah. Think about any attachments that can spiral out of control and renew the intention for the sake of Allah. The most powerful love should be for Allah even over our own selves!
The importance of love in Islam is undeniable. If one has a pure heart and directs their love to Allah and His Messenger (pbuh), then they have achieved success. Love will allow one to enjoy Islam and pursue it correctly. Many people go through the rituals of Islam without ever understanding them. Some might even feel contempt as they think they are restricted in some way. Unfortunately, this is a sickness in the heart, but it can be cured. Once true love enters the heart one will move forward with purpose. Remember to hone this emotion with your family and friends, this will allow one to gain experience to love Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) even though we have never seen them.
What does it mean to love Allah? Share your reflections in the comments below!