Growing in Faith: Love for the Sake of Allah (1)

Allah's love

The question of love can be summarized by this 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 generosity.

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, this 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.”

The Nourishment of Hearts

God, 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 the Hell 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 loses 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 (peace be upon him) 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 others 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.” (Al-Bukhari, 21)

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 the bitterness of disbelief. Allah, Most Gracious, says in a Divine Hadith:

“My servant persists on seeking My Nearness through voluntary acts of worship 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.” (Al-Bukhari, 95)

Love is the knot of the relationship between man and his Lord. This is because the only relationship between God, 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 honor in the present world and the Hereafter, for they will attain God’s friendship and love. This is because man is known by those whom he loves.

In the general sense, love is to show sincere heartily 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 Makkah 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 fulfill 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 God, for God, and with God.”

Affirming such love as mentioned above, God 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.} (5: 54)

Unique

The common thing agreed upon by all of those who know their Lord, 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 others, for Allah is with them, and if Allah is with them, who can ever be against them?!

{Yet there are men who take (for worship) others 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.} (2: 165)

In the above verse God tells us that those who love others 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 God in the sense that their love for Him 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.} (26: 96-8)

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:

{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.} (42: 21)

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:

{Say: ‘If you do love Allah, follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’} (3: 31)

All mankind failed to provide adequate evidence except for the followers of the beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, 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 God 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.} (9:111)

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 God 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.

How to Bring about Allah’s Love?

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, and seeking Allah’s good pleasure through voluntary acts of worship after having performed obligatory ones, for they are conducive to Allah’s love and mercy.

Remembering Him in all situations by tongue and heart, because man’s share of God’s love is determined by how much he remembers Him, preferring the things that God  loves to those that man loves, seeking His good pleasure whatever the circumstances or difficulties might be, being in constant consciousness of Allah and His Beautiful Names and Attributes, for whosoever gets to know God, His Names and Attributes, he will inevitably love Him.

Observing His bounty, kindness, favors as well as His apparent and hidden Favors, 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.

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.

To be continued…

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

Source: Source: Nabulsi.com, with minor editorial changes - http://www.nabulsi.com/en

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