And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). (Surah Al Baqarah:165)
If I asked you; have you ever felt true love, what would you say? Would you think about your spouse? Your children? Parents? Siblings? Or even friends? What would your answer be?
How many married sisters remember the day they glanced over at their husband and realised in that single moment, that they were in love? And how many sisters remember the day they gave birth and the love, joy and happiness that entered their hearts?
Although these examples are realities of life, the true love that I speak of is one that fills all hearts, without an atom’s weight left untouched.
Within our heart remains a void, one that can only truly be filled with love for The One who gave us life. The purest, most elevated and exalted type of love that exists is love for The One whom hearts were created to love. Hence, true satisfaction, true comfort and true love can only come from our Creator, Allah (SWT).
All except Allah (SWT) are loved for the love that they give in return. But He is loved for His own sake, in every respect. As a result, all goodness that occurs is one of its fruits and a branch from its roots. The love for Allah (SWT) is a love so great, it never ceases to be acknowledged, never exists without appreciation and brings about true blessings for the one that harbours such love.
When you love someone, you are willing to do anything to gain his pleasure. So what about our Lord (SWT)? Is He not worthy of having us please Him in all that we do? If the question of love was put to any Muslim, none would deny the love they have for Allah (SWT). However, the truth of the matter is, the love that is claimed does not truly exist in the heart, for if it did, the actions of the limbs would not be contrary to the claim. Thus, for a person to truly be a lover of Allah (SWT), their lives should show evidence of their love.
The true love that a servant feels for Allah (SWT) renders them completely at His service, and though a servant is fully aware that their Beloved is in no need of their actions, they continue to strive, nevertheless, so as to prove to their Lord the weight of their love. When one reaches the ultimate station of love: mahabbah, the heart becomes attached to Allah (SWT), to such an extent that it realises its complete need for and utter dependence upon its Lord (SWT). As a result, such a servant is constantly on guard to ensure that they hasten towards what is beloved to Him and leave that which might bring about His displeasure. When they speak, it is purely for Allah (SWT). When silence is observed, it is for Allah (SWT). They give for Allah and withhold for Allah. Never would their feet move, except for their Beloved and likewise their remaining still occurs only for His Sake (SWT). Such a servant is so overwhelmed by the love of their Beloved (SWT), that even difficulties and tests become a source of delight for them, as they remind themselves that it is from their Lord, thus should be accepted for Him.
Sisters, some may wonder why it is that they’ve never felt such a feeling for their Lord before, or why is it that their actions do not affirm their love for Allah (SWT). Let us remind ourselves that He (SWT) has not created anything that is sought after, without providing the causes and means that can lead to it. Thus, the question is: have we taken the time to discover what the causes and means are? If so, did we then take the appropriate steps to achieve this goal?
From some of the greatest ibaadah (acts of worship) outlined by Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah), in his book ‘The Path to Guidance’, are ways through which, to gain love of Allah (SWT): “Increasing in the remembrance of Allah (SWT) with presence of heart, reflecting upon his noble Words, acknowledging the tremendous bounty that Allah (SWT) Has bestowed upon you, standing before Him with presence of heart and due etiquette, attending the gatherings of the lovers of Allah (SWT), withholding from any statement, action or thought that will sever you from attaining the love and turning away from anything that may cut you off from any of these.”
Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Qayyim and other classical scholars (rahimahullah) have described Love of Allah (SWT) as the highest station that a servant will achieve, as it is the root of all good and the source of great blessings. So let us seek the aid of Allah (SWT) in acquiring this honourable characteristic, for it is only by His aid and assistance that such a quality can be attained.
Those who compete for this station find Allah (SWT) as their Guide and as is beautifully mentioned by Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah): ‘It is the station for which the competitors compete; To it do the workers fix their gaze; for reaching its mark do the forerunners strive; upon it do the lovers annihilate themselves; and with its refreshing breeze do the worshippers revive themselves. It is the heart’s strength, the soul’s nourishment and the eye’s splendour.’
Seek the love of Allah (SWT) by loving Him and strive for the ultimate goal, the best of all stations and the summit of all states. So if I were to pose the question to you again: have you ever felt true love? Now, your answer might be different. But if I asked you: do you long to experience such a love? Without a doubt, your answer would be yes.
For love of Allah (SWT) is a sentiment, a sincere feeling of the heart that fills the servant with benevolence and affection for their Creator. When such an immense love enters the heart, it takes over the servant’s soul to the extent that one becomes overwhelmed and completely in awe of their Lord. It creates a realisation so intense, that comprehension seems too inconceivable, an honour so great, it almost renders it beyond worldly belief and yet it remains, most certainly, an achievable goal, by many means.
‘There is a servant, who has left his own soul behind, who is attached to his Lord’s remembrance,
who is steadfast in fulfilling His rights;
who looks to Him with his heart,
his heart burning with the lights of His Divine awe.
The Almighty has raised for him the veils of the Unseen. When he talks, it is for the sake of Allah;
when he utters, it is about Allah;
when he moves, it is by the command of Allah;
when he rests, it is with Allah.
He is for Allah, by Allah, with Allah.’
(Abu Bakr al-Kattani, sited in ‘The Exquisite Pearl: The journey to Allah & The home of the Hereafter’ by Ibn al-Qayyim)
Thus, with all the things we grow to love, never will we understand the meaning of true love until our hearts experience divine love – the greatest love of all: Love of Allah (SWT). With sincere striving we can become servants who, not only love Allah (SWT) with all their heart, but who have completely fallen in-love with Him (SWT).
Thus, let us love Him and sincerely serve Him more than anything. For lovers of Allah (SWT) are true servants of Allah (SWT).
Umm Thameenah is a postgraduate in Social Science, a qualified teacher, freelance writer and poet who incorporates life experiences, underpinned by lessons from the Qur’an and Sunnah into her writing to touch the hearts of readers.