Essential Beliefs regarding Love towards Allah: an Introduction
Source: Sheikh Falaah ibn Ismaa’eel al-Mundakar1
All praise belongs to Allah; we praise Him, seek His aid and ask for His forgiveness. And we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own selves and from the evil of our actions. Whomever Allah guides, none can misguide him, and whomever Allah leads astray then there is no guide for him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partners. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger (ﷺ).
To proceed: Indeed Allah has made love towards Him a duty upon His servants, and He has clarified that obedience to Him in what He has commanded and forbidden and excellent following of His messenger is evidence of the truthfulness of the servant’s love towards Him.
Love is one of the greatest levels of devotion, which the worshipers race towards. And it is one of the greatest stations, which the sincere believers aspire to attain.
Allah has designed the hearts of His creation with innate love and attachment towards Him, but the shayaateen of man- and jinn-kind have misled many groups of the created beings and altered the natural inclination upon which Allah created mankind. So the shayaateen approach them from every side and divert them from worship, which is the purpose of the creation of man- and jinn-kind during this worldly life. So how many people have had their hearts tested with love of idols and images? And how many have had their hearts tried with the love of women and offspring? And how many wander aimlessly and stray from the path due to the love of wealth and honor? The heart is a container which does not accept any partnership in love. So however much the love for material things and prestige is in one’s heart, so will one’s love of Allah be decreased accordingly. And however much one’s heart is filled with the love of Allah, that will expel the love of this worldly life and what it contains from one’s heart.
Allah created the creation to love and obey Him, and He revealed the scriptures and sent the messengers to guide and direct mankind to this love and obedience. He created Paradise, and He did not make any way to reach it except for the path of love and obedience to Him. And He created the Hell-fire, and He made it for whomever arrogantly disdained this love and obedience and instead traversed a path other than that of His messengers and followed a way other than that of the believers.
Allah made this worldly life as a trial and a test, and He created Paradise and surrounded it with hardships and He created the Hell-fire and surrounded it with desires. Then He granted desires authority over the hearts of His servants in order to actualize the trial and test. Then He explained comprehensive and complete ways and means to the people, in which they can find success and salvation. And He made all of that dependent on either struggling against one’s lowly desires or giving in to them. So, glad tidings to the servant who opposes his lower nature which calls him to evil and desires; glad tidings to him who prioritizes the lasting pleasures of eternal life and enduring bliss over the enjoyments of a single day or part of a day in this fleeting worldly life whose pleasures, enjoyments and desires will pass away. (But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. * Verily, Paradise will be his abode) -(Surah al-Naazi’aat: 40-41).
But as for he who gives precedence to this worldly life and its pleasures, and whose lower self follows its desires and fulfills its lusts, then He will be regretful and in loss! (But as for he who transgressed * And preferred the life of this world * Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire) -(Surah al-Naazi’aat: 37-39). And how could he not regret and be in loss, he who would trade what was less for what was better, and who preferred fleeting enjoyment and wilting desires over lasting pleasure and delight which will never end?
And the servant will only reach this path by loving Allah alone, such that his heart is filled with love for Allah, love for His messenger, and love for His Book. For here, this love aids the one who possesses it in carrying out Allah’s commands and avoiding His prohibitions, and it aids him in being steadfastly patient in the face of hardships and difficulties, and it supports him in preparing and striving to seek that which endures and to leave that which abates – just as it protects and guards him from falling into lowly activities.
In sum, love of Allah provides a person with a criterion in his heart for distinguishing between what is lofty and what is lowly, and between what is immediate and temporary and what is delayed but enduring, and between what is truly great and what is minuscule. So the small toils and trials of this life are willingly undergone in order to attain the long-lasting peace, and one leaves off this lowly worldly life in order to be recompensed with what Allah has stored up of eternal joy for him; that of which no eye has seen, no ear has hear and no heart has imagined.