What is Muhabbatullah (love of Allah)? Whom does man need to love and to what extent?

The Details of the Question
What is Muhabbatullah (love of Allah)? Whom does man need to love and to what extent?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Muhabbatullah (love of Allah) is a divine light that forms in the heart based on the rate of understanding and appreciating the perfection and beauty of Allah. Through this love, the spirit of man is freed from grief and distress. Man attains pure joy and peace. The strongest cause that makes the spirit of man attain virtue is the love of Allah.

God Almighty has placed an ability of eternal love into the heart of man. This eternal love is only for Allah, who has eternal perfection with His personality and attributes. That is, this ability of love, which has been granted to man, is for the love of Allah.

Man loves something due to its perfection, or the pleasure and the interest he takes from it. For instance, a Muslim loves the prophets, saints and virtuous people due to the “perfection-maturity-virtue” in them. He loves those who grant him something due to the grants and bounties he receives from them. He loves the meals and fruits he eats due to their flavor. Man knows through his mind and conscience that all of those beings whose perfection he appreciates, whose grants he is pleased with and from whom he takes pleasures belong to Allah. He created all of them. All of the perfection, beauty and grants that become manifest on them come from Him.

Then, man needs to give this eternal love in him to Allah first and then he needs to love all of the other people that deserve to be loved, the bounties and the grants for the sake of Allah. Every mind and conscience will accept this reality.

Therefore, we, Muslims, love our Prophet (pbuh), the four Caliphs, the household of the Prophet and his Companions on behalf of Allah and because “Allah wants us to love them”. If we love those people just because of their personalities not because of Allah, we will face the danger that Christians faced. They love Jesus like Allah not like a messenger of Allah on behalf of Him. They exit the religion by associating him as a partner to Allah.

Every Muslim must take this issue into consideration: The Quran has brought criteria for all of the worldly and otherworldly states of man. It has imposed criteria not only on their talking, eating, drinking, buying and selling but also on their feelings.

For instance, Islam has brought criteria regarding talking: A Muslim is not allowed to tell lies. It has brought criteria regarding thinking: Man is not allowed to think of the personality and nature of God Almighty. Similarly, it has brought criteria regarding loving Allah and fearing from Him. The criterion for love of Allah is to “do good deeds” and the criterion for fear of Allah is “taqwa” that is, avoiding committing sins.

We regard it useful to explain the “criteria regarding love” a bit more since it is related to our topic.

We, Muslims, love only Allah eternally and without any conditions. Then, we love our Prophet (pbuh). However, we love him as the slave and messenger of Allah, not as a deity – God forbid. We believe that all of his perfection originates from Allah not from himself. We know that he is a large mirror for the manifestations of the names and attributes of God Almighty; therefore, we love him more than our souls, goods and relatives, in short, everything.

After Allah and His messenger, we love the other prophets, the four Caliphs and the other Companions. Then, we love all of the saints and believers based on their degrees. In conclusion, we pay attention to the criteria imposed by Islam for our love.

As for the love of Allah, the Quran has imposed the following criterion regarding it:

Say: "If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Aal-i-Imran, 3/31 )

The following is stated in the interpretation of the verse above:

If you believe in God, you will surely love Him. Since you love God, you will act in the manner He loves. To do that, you must resemble the one God loves. And he may be resembled by following him. Whenever you follow him, God will love you too. Anyway you have to love God so that He shall love you (Lem’alar: Flashes, p.21)

As it is understood from the verse and its explanation, the way of loving Allah is obeying His Prophet. A believer is regarded to love Allah to the extent that he resembles the Messenger of Allah in terms of creed, ethics and worshipping and to the extent that he applies the judgments he brought. The greatness of the Companions originates from the fact that they followed the Messenger of Allah in the furthest level. Hazrat Ali and the household of the Prophet also have an important place regarding the issue. Then, every believer that loves them must follow the Prophet, too.

In conclusion, our Prophet (pbuh) is the model that Allah loves and gives consent to. A person is regarded to love Allah and to attain His love to the extent that he resembles the Messenger of Allah.

In order to resemble the Prophet, it is necessary to follow his sunnah with deeds, words, ethics and attitudes.

Accordingly, a person who wants to follow the sunnah of the Prophet has to perform  all of the prayers – fard, wajib, sunnah – like the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), perform fasting, go to hajj and pay zakah if he is rich, read the Quran, love those that he loves and dislike those that he dislikes. He has to follow the ethics of the Prophet as much as he can.

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