As I began writing, the first question that came to my mind was: what does it mean? To love Allah? Is it actually a real feeling? Allah cannot be compared to any of His Creation. Which means any feelings associated with Him must also, by necessity, be different, no in fact they must be unique! So how would I even know that I love Him?
If asked, each person will say he or she loves Allah.
However, some of us observe that we should simply be afraid of His anger and should be cautious of Him.
Others simply view Him as full of Mercy and love.
Some talk to Him in their own language and thoughts on a daily basis.
Some usually call Him when they need a problem resolved.
Yet many of those described above and yet others don’t really know if they truly truly love Him…they’ve never thought about it…. REALLY thought about it.
The kind of thinking one does when one is alone, resting, looking out into space and wondering…mulling over the day’s events…designing an outfit …planning the menu for an upcoming dinner party…planning how you’re going to impress your boss…and while NOT being on any screen or hand-held device!
So, do I recognize the feeling? How is it that we know when we have fallen in love with another person, or that we love our children, or that we love the weather etc. etc.? Why do we “like” things on Facebook or Instagram? There isn’t really any answer except that it’s a strong feeling, a recognizable emotion!
Our beloved Prophet ( sallalahu alaihi wassalam) taught us : “Deeds are only ( valued by Allah) in accordance with the intention ( of the doer)” [al-Bukhari] When I stand up for salah, or choose not to…what’s going through my mind? Is it a habit? Programming? A duty fulfilled to be checked off or sidelined? Then I move on to other duties…towards others in my life. Then I try to scramble together some “me time”.
I can identify what I enjoy and exactly how…but why is it that I cannot say the same about my connection with Allah? Allah talks about the concept of loving Him…. talks…speaks? to us? What does He say…. I want to hear!
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلّهِ
Before we go on with our topic stop for a few seconds…. what if there is no translation under this ayah? How can I hear Him? Some might think…. Oh please! Let me skip ahead and read on and get to the point already! But I want you to wait. And think!
How long did it take you to understand the words of your first-born child?
Did anyone decipher it for you?
Did you ask the nurse or your mom to translate?
Well maybe you needed some guidance and had to learn to read those signals…but as time passed by…you just KNEW!
In which language do you give your spouse a loving text message? A friend once told me “Don’t send me any emojis because I can’t understand them!” Lol! And yes, I know I still haven’t given you the translation. The point of this digression is WHY, WHY, WHY do I need SOMEONE ELSE to tell me in THEIR words what ALLAH is saying to me?!!
Coming back to the translation. Here, you can have it in my words:
“And those who believe are the most أَشَدُّ (ashaddu) in their love for Allah!”
Subhaanallah! I must ask myself…can I use any of these adjectives to describe my connection with Allah? If yes then alhamdolillah Allah has blessed you with the greatest gift! Barakallahu feeh!
But if not…. then …wait…catch that feeling of disappointment…no don’t close the tab! Hold onto it. Don’t fall into the trap which psychologists call “avoidance coping, which they define as” a maladaptive coping mechanism characterized by the effort to avoid dealing with a stressor. Coping refers to behaviors that attempt to protect oneself from psychological damage.”
What psychological damage? A critical look at my heart.
No matter how hard, don’t avoid…stop and close your eyes and FEEL! Each one of us can truly identify our connection with Allah if we just stop long enough to engage our heart and mind.
بَلِ الْإِنسَانُ عَلَى نَفْسِهِ بَصِيرَةٌ (75:14)
Rather, man, against himself, will be a witness,
Or because this is a nominal sentence, it has no limit on time and space so it can also mean that rather, man has insight into his own soul/himself.
Insight! Human beings have this innate ability, unique to us. Let us stop being slaves to our own programming, our surroundings, our “duties”.
We all believe in Him alhamdolillah, and each one of us has a unique relationship with Him. But then I thought a precursor to the concept of intensely loving Allah is: is it necessary?
Imam Muhammad bin Ibraaheem al-Tuwaijiri writes most poetically in the preface of his monumental book “Fiqh-ul-Quloob”:
وﻟﻴﺲ ﰲ اﻟﺪﻧﻴﺎ ﻧﻌﻴﻢ ﻳﺸﺒﻪ ﻧﻌﻴﻢ اﻵﺧﺮة إﻻ ﻧﻌﻴﻢ اﻹﻳﲈن ﺑﺎﷲ
There is no blessing on the face of the earth which even closely resembles the blessings of the afterlife except faith in Allah
،وﻟﻴﺲ ﻟﻠﻘﻠﻮب ﴎور وﻻ ﻟﺬة ﺗﺎﻣﺔ إﻻ ﰲ ﳏﺒﺔ اﷲ وﻣﻌﺮﻓﺘﻪ ،وﺻﻔﺎﺗﻪ وأﻓﻌﺎﻟﻪ
Hearts do not experience a greater joy and more complete delight except in the love of Allah, in knowing Him, His Attributes and His Works
وﻻ ﲤﻜﻦ ﳏﺒﺘﻪ اﳌﺤﺒﺔ اﻟﻜﺎﻣﻠﺔ إﻻ ﺑﻌﺪ ﻣﻌﺮﻓﺘﻪ ،واﻟﺘﻘﺮب إﻟﻴﻪ ﺑﲈ ﳛﺒﻪ وﻳﺮﺿﺎه واﻹﻋﺮاض ﻋﻦ ﻛﻞ ﳏﺒﻮب ﺳﻮاه
And it is not possible to achieve this state of complete love except after recognizing Him, coming close to Him with what He loves and is pleased with, and at the same time, turning away from every beloved except Him.
And the author goes on to say: “Hearts in this world, have a greater need for tawheed ( belief in the Oneness and Singularity of God) and faith than bodies need nourishment and drink. In fact, there is no comparison between the two ( needs).
Experiencing (this pleasure) gives rise to longing, so when one tastes the nourishment of faith, he begins to desire its fulfillment and ( the desire to do ) good works. He now finds delight in the worship of Allah. The branches of faith begin to sprout in his life. His soul is elevated to the life of the highest angels. So Allah (now) loves him, every single creation in the heavens loves him, and Allah creates acceptance for him upon earth.
Our beloved Prophet, may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said, according to Abu Huraira RA:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying, ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also.’ So, all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 7485)
One who has not felt the love of Allah, truly, intensely, wondrously, unceasingly, has not experienced beauty beyond imagination!