In the previous article, we explored the importance of loving Allah and we defined true love. In this article, we will explore how we can attain the love of Allah and the positive outcomes of loving Allah.
How To Attain the Love of Allah
Everything that pleases Allah is a means of attaining His love. The following are some of the ways in which we can attain the love of Allah:
1) Reciting the Qur’ān with tadabbur (reflection).
2) Drawing close to Allah by doing nafl (voluntary) actions after the farḍ (obligatory) ones, as Allah says in a ḥadīth qudsī, “My servant continues to draw closer to me with voluntary acts until I love Him” (Bukhārī).
3) Constantly remembering Allah with the tongue, the heart, and your actions. How much you remember Allah will indicate how much you love Him.
4) Preferring Allah’s love over your own love when your desire overcomes you.
5) Reflecting on the Names and Attributes of Allah, and immersing oneself in attaining the maʿrifah (deep awareness) of Allah.
6) Reflecting on the immense kindness of Allah and all the blessings He bestows upon us.
7) Standing before Allah with an utterly broken heart – and this is one of the best ways to attain Allah’s love.
8) Being alone with Him in the last third of the night to converse with Him intimately, reciting His words and sealing this with seeking His forgiveness.
9) Sitting in the gatherings of the true lovers of Allah.
10) Staying far away from everything which will come in between one’s heart and Allah.
(Adapted from Madārij al-Sālikīn by Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh))
11) Being indifferent to worldly pleasures (zuhd). The Prophet ﷺ said, “Detach yourself from the world, Allah will love you. Detach yourself from what the people have, the people will love you” (Ibn Mājah).
12) Loving for the sake of Allah. Allah says in a ḥadīth qudsī, “My love is certainly due to those who love each other for My sake, sit with each other for My sake, visit each other for My sake, and give each other generously for My sake” (Muwaṭṭa’).
13) Being humble and having excellent character with your fellow believers.
14) Being firm and striving against Allah’s enemies.
15) Not fearing criticism in one’s practice and defence of the dīn.
“Believers! Whoever among you abandons their faith, Allah will replace them with a people whom He loves and who love Him. They will be humble with the believers but firm towards the disbelievers, struggling in the way of Allah and they are not afraid of the reproach of any critic. This is the favour of Allah. He grants it to whoever He wills. And Allah is Ever-Bountiful, All-Knowing” (5:54).
The Positive Outcomes of Loving Allah
The positive outcomes and fruits of loving Allah are endless. The following are some of them:
1) A Uniquely Lofty Status
Allah says in a ḥadīth qudsī: “My servant does not draw closer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him. My servant continues to draw closer to Me with voluntary acts until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he grasps and his foot with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will certainly give him, and if he seeks My protection, I will certainly give him My protection. And I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about (seizing) the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him” (Bukhārī).
Loving Allah is extremely special. But imagine being loved by Allah! Imagine being from the “People He loves and who love Him” (5:54).
When the love of Allah saturates the heart, the lovers’ sole concern becomes Allah. Every encounter reminds them of Allah. Everything they now do, hear, see, and say is only for Allah, and in accordance with what pleases Allah. They move from the level of īmān to iḥsān: they now worship Allah as though they can see Him.
In this manner, their hearts no longer have room for Shayṭān’s whispers, as true love does not allow for a competitor.
Similarly, Allah now gives them everything they ask for. Allah does not say no to them, as they do not say no to Him. He protects them, as they protect their senses and protect the dīn of Allah.
2) The Best Life: The Sweetness of Iman and Worship
Loving Allah leads one to tasting the sweetness of īmān and worship. The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are three [qualities] which, if they are found in anyone, shall cause him to experience the sweetness of īmān: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than everything else; that he loves a person only for Allah’s sake; and that he hates to return to disbelief after Allah had saved him, just as he would hate being thrown into the fire” (Bukhārī).
The soul cannot taste the sweetness of īmān until it has conquered its weaknesses and is elevated in its love of Allah. Once it tastes the sweetness of īmān, it will no longer feel inclined to sin, or find it to be pleasurable. Instead, it will now find ‘sweetness’ and joy in worshipping Allah. The servant now experiences what the scholars have described as the ‘worldly paradise’.
Ibn al-Qayyim said, “The stronger the love is, the greater the joy of obedience and service will be. So, the servant should measure his īmān and love for Allah on this basis. He should consider: does he derive pleasure in serving his Beloved, or does he reluctantly worship Allah, feeling compelled and bored? This is the litmus test for the servant’s īmān and love for Allah.”
If a person finds acts of worship difficult, this does not mean that they do not love Allah. Reaching a deep level of love is not easy, and requires a lot of effort. There will be times when you will experience joy; at other times, you will relapse and have to really push yourself to worship. The main thing is to not to give up, and keep each tying, no matter how many times you fall down.
The love of Allah makes the believers endure the pains and difficulties of this life. The lover derives so much joy in loving Allah that he forgets the pain of the worldly difficulties, and happily remains patient. Ibn Rajab (raḥimahullāh) said, “When the heart is filled with the love of its Creator, it is pleased with everything He decrees for it, be it painful or pleasant.”
4) Longing to Meet Allah
Longing to meet Allah is the essence and secret of love. The true lover loves to spend time alone in the company of his Beloved in this world; and his deepest desire is to gaze at Him in the Abode of Eternal Bliss, in the next world.
We ask Allah al-Wadūd (The Most Loving) with the words of His beloved ﷺ:
اَللّٰهُمَّ إِنِّيْ) أَسْأَلُكَ حُبَّكَ ، وَحُبَّ مَنْ يُّحِبُّكَ ، وَحُبَّ عَمَلٍ يُّقَرِّبُنِيْ إِلَىٰ حُبِّكَ)
O Allah, I ask You for Your love, the love of those whom You love, and the love of deeds which will bring me closer to Your love. (Tirmidhī)