Love, an intense feeling of deep affection, is one of the most basic human needs according to many psychologists. The human naturally loves. We love our families, we love our friends, we love our jobs, etc. Not only do we love, but we love to be loved. As Muslims, we recognize that amongst the many different types of relationships we have, the greatest relationship and one most worthy of loving is the relationship between a servant and his/her lord. If our relationship with Allah ﷻ is sound, then all our other relationships will too be sound.
When we begin to fathom this deep trait, we understand that the choice to love is not a feeling, but an action; meaning we must work to attain this love. Sure, love is innate, but that doesn’t negate the fact that love requires work. Now the question arises, in which way do we work to attain love in this blessed relationship? Ibn Rajab (rahimahu Allah), one of the greatest Muslim scholars, talked about love and broke it down into two categories. The first love he talks about is a mandatory love; a love that every servant must have in order to even consider themselves Muslim. It is to love what Allah ﷻ obligated his servants to do and to hate what Allah ﷻ made prohibited for his servants. This type of love is essential because ultimately what happens is that we begin to recognize that everything Allah ﷻ tells us to do, is for us. Allah does not need our worship, but on the contrary, we need our worship to strengthen our connection to our Creator. Also, we see that what Allah ﷻ tells us to stay away from, is in fact for our own benefit. It is the love our Creator has for His servants. When we really begin to comprehend this philosophy, it shows us how much love Allah ﷻ has for us that He ﷻ wants us to stay away from harmful things because He ﷻ knows the effects it will have on us being weak servants. This type of love trains us to love Allah ﷻ unconditionally; meaning not only when we think we need Allah ﷻ we go to Him but realizing that we are always in need of Allah ﷻ, therefore we always turn to Him.
The second form of love Ibn Rajab (rahimahu Allah) talked about is a special form of love. It’s a love the companions of the prophet (ﷺ) used to compete for. This form of love for Allah is a unique one because in order to attain it, you do more than what is obligated upon you, you involve yourself in all the supererogatory actions and worship. When someone does extra worship in order to get closer to their Creator, not only do they attain a special love for Allah ﷻ, but in return Allah ﷻ will love them back. RasulAllah ﷺ narrated that Allah ﷻ told him directly “… and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him.” So not only do we love Allah ﷻ more and more when we come closer to Him, but in return Allah will love us. Imagine a life in which you know that your Creator loves you and you are dear to Him ﷻ. It truly will be a life of peace and serenity.
My dear respected brothers and sisters, loving Allah is an action. It requires hard work and effort, but if we truly love Allah ﷻ the way He deserves to be loved, this is an indication of loving ourselves. What does this mean? We as humans want the best health, wealth, and success, and as Muslims we recognize that Allah wants that more for us than we want it for ourselves. So, if we truly love ourselves, obeying Allah ﷻ is a no-brainer, because we know that He ﷻ only wants the best for us. The more we work towards loving Allah ﷻ, the more Allah ﷻ will love us in return. And with the love of Allah ﷻ in our lives, He places your love in the hearts of those whose love is worthy of having.
By Sh Hassan Natour