Love is the greatest station the seeker on the path to Allah (subḥānahū wa taʿālā) can attain. The love of Allah is the purest and greatest of all loves. It gives life to the heart, it is sustenance for the soul, and is the roadway to eternal success.
When your heart overflows with His love, you will experience genuine bliss and contentment.
Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahullāh) said, “Know that there are three things that push the hearts towards Allah: love, fear, and hope. The strongest of these three is love; and it is something that is sought-after in and of itself, since it is something that is desired both in this world and the hereafter, as opposed to fear, which will disappear in the Hereafter. Allah says, ‘For certain, the friends of Allah shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve’ (10:62).”
Love and ‘Ibadah
Our purpose in life is to worship (ʿibādah) Allah. ʿIbādah consists of:
(1) utmost humility and
(2) utmost love.
Without love, there is no ʿibādah. Without love, we fail in actualising our purpose of existence. Love is the ‘soul’ of worship.
There is nothing like loving Allah
Loving Allah (ʿazza wa jall) is beautiful. It cannot be compared to loving any of His creation, as His creation will cease to be, whilst He is the Ever-Lasting. His creation has limits, whilst He is the Limitless, the All-Encompassing and the Most Able.
Loving Allah is beautiful because there is no one kinder, more giving and more appreciative than Him. As humans, we are prone to making mistakes, and we are prone to not forgiving those who have erred. On the other hand, Allah loves to forgive and will forgive us even if we go to Him with mountains of sins.
Our fellow humans tire of our persistent questioning and begging. However, Allah, our Generous Lord, does not stop giving and is angered when we don’t ask from Him!
“Love puts the slave on the path to his Beloved; and the speed
and strength of his journey to Him is in accordance with how
strong or weak this love for Him is.” (Ibn Taymiyyah)
Love: The Driving Force
Loving Allah (ʿazza wa jall) can only be achieved when you prefer Him over everything else. You must love Him more than you love your parents, children, spouse, friends and wealth.
Love – by the consensus of the scholars – is an obligation (farḍ) and one of the fundamental aspects of the dīn. When considering matters that are farḍ in our dīn, loving Allah does often not cross our minds.
Moreover, when we reflect on loving Allah, we tend to equate love to obedience. We often limit our perception of Allah as someone Very Powerful and Scary. Yes, Allah is Extremely Powerful, and this should make us tremble, yet equally, there is nothing more soothing and comforting to the soul than His love.
There is a vast difference between someone who obeys Allah out of love for Him, and someone who obeys Him without love. When a lover obeys his beloved, the obedience is done willingly and sincerely. Such a level of obedience differs from that brought on by force. The former experiences happiness and joy in willingly complying to the orders, whereas the latter feels burdened, and may even resent the order. Love, therefore, is the driving force and the impetus of ʿibādah.
It is this love of Allah that makes the slave-Creator relationship special. This love makes the servant eager to be in His company, to converse with Him and do everything possible to please Him. Obedience with love is not just a tick-box exercise that solely involves the fulfilment of obligations. Instead, it consists of a sincere desire to be with Him and remember Him. Love makes the slave eager to meet Him.
Love is what makes him cry out in the depths of the night, “My Lord, do not deprive me of the greatest joy: the joy of seeing You in the Final Abode.”