Love of the Messenger (ﷺ) is from the love for Allah, and likewise all love that is felt for Allah's sake is love for Allah. It is reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
For the sake of Allah
ثلاث من كن فيه وجد بهن حلاوة الإيمان: أن يكون الله ورسوله أحب إليه مما سواهما ، وأن يحب المرء لا يحبه إلا لله، وأن يكره أن يعود في الكفر بعد أن أنقذه الله منه كما يكره أن يقذف في النار.
There are three qualities, whoever has them will taste the sweetness of iman: to love Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) more than anyone else; to love a person only for the sake of Allah; and to hate to return to disbelief after Allah has saved him from it, as much as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.(1)
And he (ﷺ) said:
مَنْ أَحَبَّ لِلَّهِ وَأَبْغَضَ لِلَّهِ وَأَعْطَى لِلَّهِ وَمَنَعَ لِلَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَكْمَلَ الإِيمَانَ.
If anyone loves for Allah's sake, hates for Allah's sake, gives for Allah's sake, and withholds for Allah's sake, he will have perfect faith.(2)
Also, it is said that if two men love one another for the sake of Allah, then the best of the two of them is the one who loves his companion more. This is because this love comes from the love for Allah, and whoever's love for Allah is the deepest is the best.
The best of all of creation was Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) , and the best of creation after him is Ibrahim, as is reported in the authentic hadith, and both are Allah's khalil (close friend).
Khullah (friendship) is the utmost limit and a complete form of love, and because of this it is not possible to feel this for Allah and another. The Prophet (ﷺ) said in an authentic hadith:
لَوْ كُنْتُ مُتَّخِذا من أهل الأرض خَلِيلاً لاتَّخَذْتُ أَبَا بَكْرٍ ولكن خَلِيلاً إِنَّ صَاحِبَكُمْ خَلِيلُ اللَّهِ.
If I was to have a khalil from among the people of earth, it would be Abu Bakr, but your companion is Allah's khalil.(3)
Loving the actions that Allah loves for Allah's sake is the perfec- tion of loving Him, because it is love of Allah and for Allah. Many people do not understand much of it, so they think that some types of love are for Allah, but they are not for Allah. They think that love for Allah exists in affairs in which it doesn't exist; in fact, they could believe that the love for Allah is present when it is, in fact, absent. They may believe some forms of love to be for Allah, but they are not, like they believe that knowledge or worship or some other traits are present in some people and situations in which they are not. And they could believe many actions to be done for Allah while that is not the reality.
Therefore, love is what Allah loves of apparent and hidden actions, which are the obligations and sunan of the religion, and if you love for Allah's sake, then that is loving Allah, and this results in Allah's love for His slaves, as it is reported in the authentic hadith that Allah, the Most High, said:
When I love to Allah
مَنْ عَادَى لِي وَلِيًّا، فَقَدْ آذَنْتُهُ بِالْحَرْبِ، وَمَا تَقَرَّبَ إِلَيَّ عَبْدِي بِشَيْءٍ أَحَبَّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا افْتَرَضْتُ عَلَيْهِ، وَمَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ، كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِسُ بِهَا، وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَإِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ، وَلَئِنْ اسْتَعَاذَنِي لَأُعِيدَنَّهُ، وَمَا تَرَدَّدْتُ عَنْ شَيْءٍ أَنَا فَاعِلُهُ تَرَدُّدِي عَنْ نَفْسٍ عَبْدِي الْمُؤْمِنِ، يَكْرَهُ الْمَوْتَ وَأَنَا أَكْرَهُ مَسَاءَتَهُ.
Whosoever shows enmity to someone devoted to Me, I shall be at war with him. The most beloved thing to Me with which my slave seeks to draw near to Me is the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My slave continues to draw near to Me with nawafil (supererogatory acts of worship) until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant it to him. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about seizing the soul of My believing slave; he hates death and I hate hurting him. (4)
Likewise, loving Allah's speech, names, and attributes also results in Allah's love for His slave, as is mentioned in the authentic hadith about the Sahabi who used to always read Surah al-Ikhlas when he prayed. When his companions told the Prophet (ﷺ) about this, he said:
سلوه: لم يفعل ذلك؟ فقال : لأنها صفة الرحمن، و أنا أحب أن أقرأ بها، فقال: أخبروه أن الله يحبه .
"Ask him why he does that." [The man] said, "Because it contains an attribute of ar-Rahman, and I love to pray with it." So he (ﷺ) said, "Tell him that Allah loves him." (5)
And also, loving the angels, the prophets, and His righteous slaves, as 'Abdullah bin 'Umar used to supplicate during Hajj:
اللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي أُحِبُّكَ، وَأُحِبُّ مَلائِكَتَكَ، وَأَنْبِيَاءَكَ وَعِبَادَكَ الصَّالِحِينَ، اللَّهُمَّ حَبِّبْنِي إِلَيكَ وَ إلى مَلائِكَتِكَ وَأَنْبِيَائِكَ، وَعِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ.
O Allah, make me love You, Your angels, Your prophets, and Your righteous slaves. O Allah, make me beloved to You, Your angels, Your prophets, and Your righteous slaves.
1 Reported by al-Bukhari (1/9) and Muslim (1/72).
2 Reported by Abu Dawud (4/304), and al-Albani declared it şahiḥ (authentic).
3 Reported by Muslim (4402).
4 Reported by al-Bukhari (6502).
5 Reported by Muslim (1/557).
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