THE PRINCIPLE OF LOVE & DESIRE: Loving Allah Requires Loving the Obligations that Allah Loves

Love in Islam

Loving Allah requires loving the obligations that Allah loves, as He, the Most High, said:

 قُلۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ اللّٰهَ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِیۡ یُحۡبِبۡکُمُ اللّٰهُ وَ یَغۡفِرۡ لَکُمۡ ذُنُوۡبَکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِیۡمٌ ﴿۳۱

Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e., the Qur'an and the Sunnah); Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins." And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah Ali Imran 3:31]

Indeed, following His Messenger is one of the greatest things that Allah obligated for His slaves and the most beloved to Him, and the thing that angers Him the most is someone who does not follow His Messenger. Therefore, if someone is honest in their claim of loving Allah, then they will follow His Messenger without any change, and Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to the slave than anyone or anything else.


The Messenger of  Allah

Sins lessen one's love for Allah in accordance to the amount of sins performed, but they will not remove the love for Allah and His Messenger if the love is firm in the heart and as long as the sins are not due to hypocrisy. It is related in an authentic hadith narrated by 'Umar bin al-Khattab that there was a man who drank alcohol, so the Prophet (ﷺ) established the punishment upon him, but the man kept drinking alcohol, so someone said to him, "May Allah curse you." So the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

لا تلعنه فإنه يحب الله ورسوله.

Do not curse him, for he loves Allah and His Messenger.(1)

In this hadith is evidence that we are forbidden from cursing someone specifically if he loves Allah and His Messenger, even if he is a sinner.

Therefore, obligatory love results in the performance of the oblig- atory acts, and the preferred love results in the completion of the Sunnah acts, and disobedience lessens love. This is the meaning of ash-Shibli's (2) response when he was asked about love-he recited the following poetry:

You disobey the Lord and you claim you love Him;
This is inconceivable, a repugnant analogy. 
If you truly loved Him, you would obey Him; 
Indeed, a person is obedient to the one they love.

This is similar to the Prophet's saying:

لا يَرْنِي الزَّانِي حِينَ يَزْنِي وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ، وَلا يَسْرِقُ السارق حِينَ يَسْرِقُ وَهْوَ مُؤْمِنٌ، وَلاَ يَشْرَبُ الخمر حِينَ يَشْرَبُهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ.

The fornicator is not a believer at the time of committing fornica- tion, and a thief is not a believer at the time of committing theft, and a person is not a believer at the time of drinking alcohol. (3)

The point here is to differentiate between love for Allah's sake and love for Allah (which is included in love of Allah) and love of other than Allah, which is loving others alongside Allah, as Allah says:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ الله

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). [Surah al-Baqarah 2:165]

So they love others alongside their Lord equally and take them as idols, but the believers make their religion purely for Allah, so their love which is the basis of their religion-is all for Allah, and this is what Allah sent with his messengers and revealed in His Books. And He, the Most High, said:

قُلۡ اِنۡ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اَبۡنَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اِخۡوَانُکُمۡ وَ اَزۡوَاجُکُمۡ وَ عَشِیۡرَتُکُمۡ وَ اَمۡوَالُۨ اقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡهَا وَ تِجَارَۃٌ تَخۡشَوۡنَ کَسَادَهَا وَ مَسٰکِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَاۤ اَحَبَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَ رَسُوۡلِهٖ وَ جِهَادٍ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِهٖ فَتَرَبَّصُوۡا حَتّٰی یَاۡتِیَ اللّٰهُ بِاَمۡرِهٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ لَا یَهۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴

Say: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striv-ing hard and fighting in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His decision (torment)." [Surah at-Tawbah 9:24]

It is well-known that the believer's love for their Lord is deeper than the mushrikun's love for their Lord and their false idols, and that worshiping idols is the worst of all sins, as is narrated by 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud:

قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَيُّ الذَّنْبِ أَعْظَمُ؟ قَالَ « أَنْ تَجْعَلَ لِلَّهِ نِدًّا وَهُوَ خَلَقَكَ قُلْتُ ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ أَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ خَشْيَةَ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَكَ» قُلْتُ ثُمَّ مَاذَا؟ قَالَ أَنْ تَزْنِي بِحَلِيلَةِ جَارِكَ وَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَصْدِيقَ قَوْلِ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَدْعُونَ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَلَا يَقْتُلُونَ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ النَّبِيِّ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا يَزْنُونَ  ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ يَلْقَ أَثَامًا.

I said, "O Messenger of Allah, what is the worst sin?" He said, "That you worship another besides Allah, while it is He who created you." I said, "Then what?" He said, "That you kill your child fearing that he will eat with you." I said, "Then what?" He said, "That you commit adultery with your neighbor's wife." Then Allah revealed the confirmation of the Prophet's (ﷺ) speech: "And those who invoke (make du'a' to) not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, nor kill such life as Allah has forbidden, except for just cause, nor commit illegal sexual intercourse, and whoever does this shall receive the punishment." (Surah at-Tawbah 9:68) (4)

Therefore, supplicating to another alongside Allah is to take other than Allah as a deity alongside him and to love that thing as one loves Allah, since the basis of worship is love.

تَعِسَ عَبدُ الدِينَارِ والدِرْهَم والقَطِيفَة والخَمِيصَةِ، تَعِسَ وَانْتَكَسَ، وَإِذَا شِيكَ فَلَا انْتَقَشَ، إن أُعْطِيَ رَضِيَ، وَإِن لَمْ يُعْطِ لَمْ يَرْضَ.

Wretched is the slave of the dinar, the dirham, (5) the qatifah, and the khamisah.(6) He is wretched time and time again. If he is pricked with a thorn, he doesn't attempt to remove it. If he is given something, then he is satisfied, and if he is not given anything, he is bitter. (7)

He called the people who are satisfied when they are given something and bitter and angry when they are denied anything "slaves of the dinar, dirham, qatifah, and khamisah," because these things are what they love and strive for.

1. ' Reported by al-Bukhari (8/158).
2. "He is Abu Bakr Dalaf bin Jahdar ash-Shibli. He was one of the leaders of the Sufis.
3. " Reported by al-Bukhari (3/132).
4. Reported by al-Bukhārī (6/18), Muslim (1/90), and others. 
5. Gold and silver coins.
6. Qatifah and khamisah are types of luxurious clothes.
7. Reported with similar wording by al-Bukhari (4/24) and by Ibn Majah in his Sunan (2/1386).

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