What has Islam taught us about love for Allah and His Messenger:
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ “Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [3:31]
The Prophet ﷺ said: «ثَلاَثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ بِهِنَّ حَلاَوَةَ الإِسْلاَمِ مَنْ كَانَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ الْمَرْءَ لاَ يُحِبُّهُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ وَمَنْ يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يَرْجِعَ إِلَى الْكُفْرِ كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُلْقَى فِي النَّارِ» “There are three things, whoever attains them will find therein the sweetness of Islam: When Allah [swt] and His Messenger [saw] are dearer to him than all else; when he loves a person and only loves him for the sake of Allah [swt]; and when he would hate to go back to disbelief as much as he would hate to be thrown into the fire.”
What is the meaning of this love:
- Al-Azhari said: “A servant’s love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger ﷺmeans obeying them and following their command.”
- Al-Baydaawi said: “Love is the will to obey.”
- Ibn ‘Arafah said: “Love in the language of Arabs means willing a thing uprightly.”
- Az-Zajjaaj said: “Man’s love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger ﷺ is to obey them and to accept what Allah (swt) has commanded and the Messenger ﷺ has brought.”
What has Islam taught us about disobedience in this matter:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُوا مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا وَرَأَوُا الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الْأَسْبَابُ وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوا لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُوا مِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ حَسَرَاتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا هُم بِخَارِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ “And of Humankind are some who take (in obedience), others besides Allah (swt) as rivals (Andaad); they love them as they love Allah (swt). When those who are followed disown those who followed them, and they see their torment. And all their relations will be cut off from them. And those who followed will say, ‘If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would disown them as they have disowned us’. Thus Allah (swt) will show their deeds as regret for them. And they will never be able to get out of the Fire” [Surah al-Baqarah 165-167]
On the authority of Imam Bukhari, ‘Abdullah (ra) narrated: حَدَّثَنِي عُثْمَانُ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ، عَنْ أَبِي وَائِلٍ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ شُرَحْبِيلَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، قَالَ سَأَلْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَىُّ الذَّنْبِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ قَالَ «أَنْ تَجْعَلَ لِلَّهِ نِدًّا وَهْوَ خَلَقَكَ». قُلْتُ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ لَعَظِيمٌ، قُلْتُ ثُمَّ أَىُّ قَالَ «وَأَنْ تَقْتُلَ وَلَدَكَ تَخَافُ أَنْ يَطْعَمَ مَعَكَ». قُلْتُ ثُمَّ أَىُّ قَالَ «أَنْ تُزَانِيَ حَلِيلَةَ جَارِكَ» “A man said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Which is the greatest sin in Allah’s (swt) sight?’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘To set up a rival unto Allah though He alone created you.’ The man said, ‘What is next?’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.’ The man said, ‘What is next?’ The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘To commit illegal intercourse with your neighbour’s wife’.”
We are disobedient in this matter, when we love others besides Allah and His Messenger, when we set up rivals to Allah:
The reality is that knowingly or unknowingly rivals are set up in worship with Allah (swt). And this doesn’t necessarily mean Allah (swt) is rejected, as we can read in the above verse. It means that others are loved besides Allah; others are obeyed, their opinion, their commands are taken over what Allah has revealed on the matter.
Practically, we see that when these rivals act against the order of Allah (swt), those who set rivals to Allah will defend or even follow these actions, just because they are also loved, even if it goes against the rule of Allah.
So it is not allowed to say when the one we love goes against the rule of Allah, “He is our father, our king, our leader or sheikh and for this reason we need to follow”, as we will be assigning them the position only Allah (swt) can have in our lives. Instead, we need to account them and remind them of the rule of Allah (swt). Only then will we become true believers and take on the role of being a Shuhada an-Naas.
Only the true believers, who love only Allah, without setting any other rival will attain the true obedience to Allah (swt) and only they will rely on Him solely in every matter. They will be the ones who will stand firm and favour Islam and the well-being of the Ummah over any other interest even at the expense of their own well-being. They will fear no one but Allah and will be able to speak truth without compromising Islam. The Qur’an and the Sunnah will be their reference point at all times and in all matters, no matter who they are dealing with.