بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ
ذُو الْعَرْشِ الْمَجِيدُ
فَعَّالٌ لِّمَا يُرِيدُ
Wahuwa al-ghafooru al-wadoodu, dhu al-‘arshi al-majeedi, fa’alun lima yureedu
And He is the Forgiving, the Affectionate, Honorable Owner of the Throne, Effecter of what He intends.
(Surah Al-Buruj, Quran 85:14-16)
Dear brothers and sisters, all praises are due to Allah (swt), for all the many blessings that He has given us, the ones that we know, the ones that we do not know, the ones that we are thankful for and the ones that we are not thankful enough for. All praises are due to Allah, for the greatest blessing of all which is that of iman and faith, which is that of having the blessing, the great blessing of having His guidance in the form of the Quran which was brought by His messenger Muhammad (ﷺ).
In the Quran Allah (swt) introduces Himself to us. In the Quran, Allah tells us about himself, so that we know who Allah is. Because how can we follow Allah, or how can we love Allah, or how can we obey Allah, if we don’t know who He is?
So in the Quran, Allah introduces Himself to us and He tells us about Him and His traits and His attributes and what He is like. Those attributes of Allah and those traits of Allah are called Asma ul-Husna. They are the beautiful names and attributes of Allah.
One of those beautiful names and attributes which I would like to talk about today is that Allah (swt) is Al-Wadud, The Loving, and that is a very important word for us. A very important thing that we must acknowledge that Allah (swt) introduces Himself and calls Himself by this name, which is Al-Wadud, the Loving, the Affectionate, the One who cares about you. It’s important for us as Muslims to understand.
Love and Justice
When I talk to non-Muslims about Islam and the concept of the Day of Judgment, people have this idea. So, in Judaism and Christianity, there’s the difference in the book. In Judaism, Jews read the Torah that Musa was given, and Christians read the Bible of Isa, the Gospels.
Now, when Christians talk about the Bible, they call it the New Testament. This was the New Testament that’s meant for all of mankind. And the Jews, their book that Christians call it, the Old Testament. It’s important for us to understand that because people in this country, their understanding of religion is based on this idea— that the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Jews, was harsh and punitive, meaning He punished, and that the laws were very strict.
And that the New Testament came to free humanity from those rules and those laws and that all they needed to do was to believe that Jesus was their savior and that he died for their sins, and that they are guaranteed heaven as long as they believe that.
That’s the general idea. There’s different denominations, there’s different groups, of course, but that’s the general idea.
And it’s important for us to understand that because now when we are talking about Islam, people are looking at Islam, not through what we’re saying, but through their history of religion and through what they know of religion. So when I talk about, as a Muslim, the Day of Judgment, someone who grew up Christian or with a Christian background or grew up going to church or whatever, they’re thinking, “oh, so Muslims, you guys have an Old Testament. A God that cares about punishment and consequences and accountability and so on.”
And as Muslims, we don’t fall into this trap that “is our God punishing or is our God loving,” right?
What we believe as Muslims is that Allah (swt) is loving and He is merciful, and He is compassionate, and He is affectionate. But He is also The Just. He is also ٱلْعَدْلُ – He is The Just.
So whatever consequences there are, they are not the result of being punitive or punishing or angry all the time but they are actually the result of justice. They are the result of being fair. As Muslims, it’s important for us to understand that and what our deen says.
So one of these names of Allah (swt) is Al-Wadud, The Loving and this is something that He has chosen for Himself this name, and it’s mentioned in the Quran, and it’s something which we are called upon.
We are called upon to also show love. We are also called upon to show and have this mawaddah, and to have this quality of love within us as well. And that’s something which you will hear. Any nikah, Islamic marriage you go to, the imam will recite the verses:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً
that among His signs is that He has created for you spouses so that you may find tranquility in each other and He made between you both husband and wife, مَّوَدَّةً and وَرَحْمَةً – love and mercy.
So this love is mentioned as the thing between husband and wife and that same word, that same root word is used in the context of Allah’s name ٱلْوَدُود that He has affectionate love for you and I. He has affectionate love for His creation. He does not want to punish anyone. But the punishment that comes is the result of justice, that you either see justice in this world or you see it in the next. You either see justice now or you see it in the next. You pursue justice here in this world. You try to do your best to be fair and if that fairness does not happen in this world, then it awaits in the next life where all will be judged, all will be held accountable.
Just because I am Muslim does not guarantee Jannah. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? If someone says, “Hey, if you just believe in this religion, you’re good to go. You die, you’re going straight to heaven, my friend. It’s gonna be amazing. As long as you believe in this religion.” But as Muslims, we know that it’s not enough. That belief is not enough. That belief must be there with good action. It’s not enough for us to just exist. You know, someone might say, “I’m a good person,” and you say, “what do you mean you’re a good person?” and they say, “I’ve never done anything wrong.” So the definition of a good person today is, “I’ve never done anything wrong.”
But as Muslims, we know that that’s not enough. As Muslims, we must think about how do we make the good side of all of our life stronger and heavier on the scale than the bad side. And that whenever we do something wrong, which we inevitably will, we will definitely do something wrong. We will sin, we will make mistakes— the good should outweigh those mistakes. We must commit to good deeds that outweigh those mistakes as Muslims. And it feels like it’s pressure, but it’s the only way that our existence makes sense.
Once, there was this conversation around parenting and someone was talking about their parent, and the reply was that, “you don’t owe your parents anything. They chose to birth you.” This idea exists.
They chose to birth you. You don’t owe your parents anything that they brought you into this world. Where is this coming? This is coming from the fact that today because of things like climate change, because of the way in which humanity’s presence on the earth has been a negative influence on earth, people have begun to believe that all of humankind is negative and all of humankind is evil.
That humankind is not good. For example, there’s people who say, “I don’t wanna have children.” Why? Because if you’re just adding more evil into the world by adding human beings, it’s more pollution and more this and more that. But as Muslims, we don’t believe that humanity is evil by nature. We believe that we are good by nature and we must spend our life doing good.
7 Paths to Allah’s Love
So Allah (swt) talks about in the Quran those who He loves. Now this is a beautiful concept. When Allah says that He loves people, He’s not saying that He doesn’t love you if you’re not this, but Allah’s love— it’s more and it’s less. Allah’s love is not yes or no. Allah’s love is more and less just like anything else in life. Even your iman— it goes up and it goes down. When you’re in the masjid, you’re with Muslim friends, you pray salah, your iman goes up.
Your iman, belief and faith in Allah increases when it’s Ramadan and you’re coming for Taraweeh and you’re in the masjid or you hear a speaker giving a beautiful speech, then your iman goes up. But if you’re in the wrong environment, you’re in a sinful environment or you’re with your friends who are leading you to sin, then your iman goes down. So iman goes up and it goes down. The love of Allah can be more and the love of Allah can be less.
So who does Allah tell us in the Quran that He loves? The first group that Allah says that He loves are –
1) Al-Muhsineen. Those who do good.
So as Muslims, it’s not enough for us to be, “oh, I don’t do anything wrong. I’m a good person.”
As a Muslim, I must do good. I must think to myself, “what is the work that I’m going to do on this Earth? I have this limited time on this earth. How am I going to leave it a better place than when I came? How am I going to take advantage and use the blessings that Allah has given me? How am I going to make the most of the privilege that he’s given me? How can I accept the blessings which Allah (swt) has given me and use them in a way which is good, good for human beings, good for the creatures of the creation of Allah, good for the earth, good for everything?” This is something which the believer thinks about.
So Allah loves those who do good.
Who else does Allah love?
2) وَ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ – Allah loves those who are conscious of him.
What does that mean? That means before I do something, I think about Allah. Before I do anything, I think about Allah. Before I eat food I say, “Bismillah.” When I wake up in the morning, I say, “Bismillah.” Everything I do, I try to remember Allah. That’s a door to Allah’s love. Allah is not saying you have to do all of these things all the time, but that is one door to Allah’s love.
The first door being those who do good. Number two, those who remember Allah and are mindful of Allah and conscious of Allah. What’s the third group?
3) وَ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ – Allah loves those who are just, who are fair.
As Muslims, we can’t get in the way of justice. If someone seeks justice, and if we cannot support them, we must allow them to seek justice. We can hide away from justice. Sometimes someone is seeking justice and we say, you know “forgive that person.” It’s up to them whether they want to forgive or not. We can’t get in the path of justice and we must support it where we can, where it’s needed. We see oppression. We should stop oppression. We see bullying. We should stop bullying. We see something wrong. We should try to change it with our words or our actions. So Allah loves those who are just. Allah loves those who are fair in how they treat others.
Now someone might say, “to be just, it requires power. It’s hard to be just, unless you have some kind of power to deal justice.” But Allah (swt) leaves a category that’s accessible to everyone.
4) وَ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ – Allah loves those who repent and return to Him.
You do something wrong, you apologize to Allah. You do something wrong to someone you apologize to that person. You do something that’s a sin, that’s haram, you seek forgiveness from Allah (swt) and He loves you. So you don’t have to do some extraordinary thing. All you have to do is turn back to Allah. You have to say Astaghfirullah – أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللّٰهَ and as a result, Allah (swt) loves you.
So Allah loves those who return to Him.
5) مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ – He loves those who purify themselves, who are pure people.
Not just cleanliness, like cleaning your room. I know your parents probably tell you, cleanliness is half of your religion, so you should clean your room. But the cleanliness that’s talked about is not just the external. It’s important to be clean externally, but also internally, your actions, your words.
Are your words pure? Are your actions pure? When you talk to someone, are you genuine or are you thinking of other things or are you trying to manipulate them or are you trying to get them to do something they don’t want to do? Or are you genuine and pure in your words and your actions?
So Allah loves those who are pure.
6) الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ – Allah loves those who trust in Him.
So when your work announces that there’s going to be layoffs, right? Or you find out that your parents been informed that they’ve been laid off, that they don’t have a job from this day forward or from that day forward. And that’s a stressful situation. That’s a stressful situation that people are going through right now.
And if you’re not in that situation, you should thank Allah (swt).
And if you are in that situation, then one of the things which you can do is be from الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ, those who trust in Allah (swt). Instead of panicking about it, instead of being overwhelmingly worried about it. Although it is a worrying thing, of course, I’m not saying it’s not a worrying thing, but to focus on “what can I do? What is my part? And how can I leave the rest in Allah’s hands? How can I do my part and then leave the rest in Allah’s hands and to trust in Allah that whatever He decides for me, whatever He decrees for me, whatever happens next, it’s going to be okay. It’s in His hands. And I trust in Allah.”
And so, when you place your trust in Allah, He loves you.
And finally, the seventh category of people who Allah (swt) loves is
7) الصَّابِرِينَ – those who are patient, those who keep going despite the odds.
You try to study this subject and you just can’t get it, but you keep going and going. You pray your salah and you don’t feel anything, but you still pray the next one because you know it’ll get better. You’re applying for a job and you don’t get a job. You keep applying and you persevere. You’re trying to do something good and you’re getting wall after wall, obstacle after obstacle, but you keep going anyway then Allah rewards you.
And His reward for those that are patient is more than anything else. He gives them reward بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ – without any account. There’s no limit. There’s no maximum. There’s no maximum limit to the reward of the one who perseveres and keeps going despite what might go against them.
So these are the different groups who Allah (swt) loves.
Does it mean that if you are not patient today, that in this situation you could have been patient and you are not patient that Allah does not love you? No. What it means is less love and more love. Allah loves all of His creation. Allah doesn’t want to punish any of His creation. Allah gives us opportunity after opportunity to turn back to Him and for Him to show us His mercy.
And that is why every single surah in the Quran talks about Allah (swt) as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem. He could have used so many other names of His to start every single chapter in the Quran. But the verse that He chose to start every single surah in the Quran with is بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم — the phrase: In the name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate. Those two are the most important names that are given to us time after time.
So, it’s important for us to remember that Allah (swt) loves us and that there are ways for us to increase that love, and those are all things that are actually good for us. If we persevere and we are patient in whatever situation we have that is actually good for us, we’re not doing Allah any favors. That’s actually good for us. If we do not panic and trust in him, then that is actually good for us. If we can be people that do good for the world, then that is good for us. That’s good for our family, that’s good for our community. If we can be people who are reminded of Allah throughout our day, who remember Allah throughout our day, then that is something which is good for us.
So even these things which Allah says He loves us to be, they are things that are good for us anyway, and He’s just encouraging us, that these are the different paths to Allah’s love. So we ask Allah (swt) that He helps us to love Him and that He loves us more and more, and that He helps us to build a connection with Him of love. Ameen.
The Meaning of Mawaddah
So in conclusion, today we discussed the name of Allah, which is Al-Wadud, The Loving, and we talked about the different kinds of people who Allah loves. Now, one thing before I close, is an interesting thing about the word Al-Wadud. The root word of this is موضه (mawaddah) which is affection or love.
And there’s other words in Arabic for love as well. The other word in Arabic for love is حب (Hub) like Habib. You might have heard someone say, Habibi- my love, my beloved. A third word for love in Arabic is عشق (ishq)
So you have حب , you have موضه and you have عشق. What is the difference between all of these?
عشق is temporary. Ishq is passion, right? People think that عشق is love, but ishq is something which is fleeting, it’s something which goes. When people are young, they have ishq and they think that it’s love, but they think that it’s hub or they think that it’s mawaddah but actually it’s just that novelty that something is new and people think that is love. And so they go from person to person seeking love. That is actually ishq, it’s actually just temporary passion.
And then you have حب (Hub), its the internal feeling of love that you have towards your family members, towards your friends, right? That internal feeling of love is Hub.
And then you have موضه (Mawaddah), its the expression of love. Expression is the love. It’s one thing to say,” I love you,” right? And if you keep saying, “I love you” to someone and you don’t actually do anything about, you know, then they’ll say, well, “do you really love me? You know, you treat me this way. You call me this name, or you do this to me. You do that to me. Do you really love me?” Right? If someone might say to their mom, “I love you, mom.” And mom will say, “well, if you love me so much, take out the trash.” Right? So one thing is the feeling of love. And another thing is the expression of love. So in Islam, we’re encouraged to have the feeling, but we’re also encouraged to express and to act on that love.
When we love Allah (swt) we want to pray. We want to pray. We want to give in charity. We want to fast because we love Allah and we want to please him. When you love someone, you want to make them happy. We love our mother, our father. We want to do things that please them and make them happy. Right? So موضه is the emphasis of the expression of love. That what are the things that you actually do for love? What are the things that you do for the people that you love and for Allah (swt)?
I’ll end with this hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) from hadith Qudsi, where he said that “Allah says that my servant continues to worship me, until I become the hearing with which he hears, and I become the sight with which he sees, I become the hand that he uses. I become the feet that he walks with.” What does that mean?
That means that when Allah (swt) loves us and we love Him then the things that we see we’re careful of because we think about Allah. And the things we hear we’re careful of because we think about Allah. The things that we do with our hands we’re careful of because we’re thinking of Allah. The places we go we’re careful of because we’re thinking about Allah.
So I ask Allah (swt) that He helps us to love him. I ask Allah (swt) that He forgives our sins and our mistakes, that He helps us to be amongst the tawaabin, those who return to Him. I ask Allah (swt) that He accepts and multiplies our good deeds and helps us to love Him and that He loves us. Ameen.
عِبَادَ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَيَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ
Servants of Allah. Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.
اُذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ واشْكُرُوهُ يَزِدْكُمْ واسْتَغْفِرُوهُ يَغْفِرْ لكُمْ واتّقُوهُ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَمْرِكُمْ مَخْرَجًا
Remember Allah, the Great – He will remember you. Thank Him for His favors – He will increase you therein. And seek forgiveness from Him – He will forgive you. And be conscious of Him – He will provide you a way out of difficult matters.
And, establish the prayer.
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