We’re all in love with the idea of true love.

But now, more than ever, we’re realizing that what appears to be love in the Dunya (worldly life) isn’t the dreamy glamour of Happily Ever Afters and Till Death Do Us Parts.

The truth we’re coming to learn is that relationships of all kinds require effort, and the more sincere and persevering we are towards those whom we love, the more likely it is that our love is sound and lasting.

And it doesn’t help that our consumerist culture is constantly provoking us towards desiring things and being desirable ourselves so that we spend money, time, and effort on appearances instead of beautifying our lived-in reality. 

You can shout across the rooftops (or post all over social media) how much you love your spouse, for instance.  We’ve all seen those aesthetic snapshots of glamorous date nights and lush vacations, we’ve all seen those heart-warming captions on birthdays and anniversaries, accompanied by piles of touching gifts.

But what are our relationships like when we look up from our screens and put away our phones?

Do we still exchange loving smiles and inside jokes when no one is around?

Do we still talk to each other with love, respect, and empathy when things are not going our way and our views are clashing?

Do we still go out of our way to serve them and make them comfortable even when we’re not in the best of moods?

We can’t claim to love someone if we don’t strive to show our love to them, and the catch here is that we have to love them in a way that they want to be loved. Not in the manner that is convenient for us.

SubhanAllah, this applies to all relationships.

We rave about our parents when they surprise us with our favourite foods and keep our childhood rooms untouched for us, but when it comes to tolerating them with beautiful patience when they say things we don’t want to hear, do we just shut them out and walk away?

We proudly tell people about the achievements and milestones of our children, but when they slip up and look to us for mercy, are we harsh and unforgiving because they have hurt our ego?

And my brothers and sisters, this is just about human beings- how do we then approach our love towards the Lord of the Worlds?

Love for Allah

The first thing we must understand is that Allah is not like anyone else we love.

He says about Himself,

“And there is none comparable to Him.”   [al-Ikhlas: 4]

He is the One who originated us and our world with no precedence, He Created us perfectly, and there is not a single moment in which He does not nourish and sustain us.

Allah owes us nothing, and we owe Him everything we are and everything we’ll ever be.

Yet, the doors to His love are thrown wide open, and He calls us to His Closeness in the clearest, simplest, and most beautiful of ways.

The means to His Closeness and His Happiness are natural, pure, practical, and are a part of our Fitrah (Innate Disposition).

And what’s even more amazing is that being elevated in the Sight of our Lord does not benefit Him whatsoever, it only benefits us, both in this world and the Hereafter!

Still, my brothers and sisters, how many of us say we love Allah, but we don’t care to get to know Him through His Book and Messenger ﷺ?

How many of us proudly wear the badge of Islam but don’t look too deeply into how Allah wants us to live our lives, only following cultural traditions and reading the Qur’an out of habit instead of seeking Divine instruction?

Our relationship with our Creator is summed up in this beautiful saying by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya:

“The heart, in its journey towards Allah, is like a bird.

Maḥabbah (Love) of Allah is its head; Khawf (Fear) and Raja (Hope) are its two wings.

If both the head and wings are sound, the bird will be able to fly properly.

However, if the head is cut off, the bird dies; and when the bird loses its wings then it is susceptible to every hunter or predator.”

[Madarij as-Salikin]

And how can we not love Allah when Signs of His Love are infused into every part of our existence?

Brothers and sisters, just reflecting on the concept of Rizq (Provision) and Allah’s Name Ar-Razzaq (The Provider) are enough to flood our hearts with love, awe, and thankfulness.

Rizq is not just wealth or even the tangible, material blessings we value.

From the warm hug of a sincere soul and the moments where you feel peace and pleasure steal over your heart to someone forgiving you for a wrong done against them and the ability to get your work done without having to depend on others, all this is Divine Provision and Grace.

The very tears that break through the hardness of our hearts and bring us closer to our Rabb are sweeter than all the tastes of this Dunya, and they are also from Ar-Razzaq.

It reminds me of the famous quote from Imam Shafi’ee,

“If you knew how Allah deals with your affairs for you, your heart would melt out of love for Him.”

But when it comes to balancing between hope and fear, this is where many of us swerve to extremes.

Sometimes we lack hope.

And this can be for many reasons, but a predominant one is that our perception of Allah has been negatively influenced by our culture, society, and upbringing.

That’s why it’s so important for us to know what Allah tells us about Himself in the Qur’an and through the blessed narrations of our Prophet ﷺ.

Because to know Allah is to Love Him, Blessed and Exalted is He.

And sometimes we lack the fear necessary to balance our souls.  

Yes, Allah is the Most Merciful, and that will never change, SubhanAllah. 

But He is also Wise and Just; He puts things in their rightful place, and if a slave doesn’t deserve His salvation and reward then no one has any power to avert His punishment. 

May Allah keep us safe from His anger and punishment, Allahumma Aameen.

Allah is above all examples.

But let us, for the sake of understanding better, think about this in light of an analogy. 

Imagine you have an amazing professor in college who teaches a course that anyone can get top marks at. The guidelines and work are as clear and practical as can be and appeal to all levels of ability, interest, and intellect. And what’s more, this professor is extremely lenient at marking your tests, as long as you make an effort to follow his guidelines.

So, what if a person attempts the course and ignores the guidelines, preferring to follow his way of doing things? Even though the course requirements are so specific and simple, and ignoring them makes it hard and burdensome for him.

Will any rational, just, and reasonable person expect him to pass the class?

Absolutely not!

My brothers and sisters, how can we expect Allah’s Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness if we don’t take the path that leads toward Him?

Instead, many go their own way, taking Allah’s Deen like a garment that they can slip on and off at their convenience!  

May Allah protect us, Aameen.

How can we feel entitled to be guests in His Eternal Paradise if we don’t care about whether we’re purifying and beautifying ourselves in this world according to His Revelation?

The element of fear needs to be renewed in us; that’s the only way we can truly succeed in moving out of our comfort zones for the sake of Allah.

What the believer should fear the most is losing Allah’s Love and losing the chance of being close to the Most Merciful for the rest of our existence.

A Simple Formula

True love shouldn’t be difficult; it should feel natural and settle soundly in our hearts.

Allah doesn’t make things hard for us, it is we who do so by deviating from His Way. One of the proofs that our Lord intends ease for us is that He sent us a man who embodies everything He loves; who was a walking Qur’an ﷺ.

“Say, [O Prophet], “If you [sincerely] love Allah, then follow me; Allah will love you and forgive your sins. For Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” 

[Ali ’Imran:31]

SubhanAllah! This Ayah is a test, my dear brothers and sisters, for us to check whether our claim to love Our Creator is true.

‘Ittiba’ in Arabic is to follow someone very closely to put your foot on the footprint of another.

And this means that we need to follow our Messenger ﷺ in beliefs and practice in every situation and circumstance no matter where we are.

This is such a powerful reminder because how many times do we forfeit the Sunnah?

But Allah Himself directs us to closely, meticulously, and unapologetically follow the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in everything he did, just as the Sahabas strived to imitate every detail of his life, from the way he prayed, smiled, and treated people to how he walked, ate, drank, slept, and awoke.

This is true love on our part because it translates into the actions that Allah loves - not just empty claims.

And what’s incredible is that when your love is true for the One Who is most deserving of it, then that genuine love will permeate all your relationships because now you love for His sake.

In Shaa Allah, we will explore this spiritual and emotional phenomenon in detail in your next read!

Until then, I have a loving bit of advice for you all: Learn Allah’s Book.

We have a holistic guidebook to Allah’s Love in the Qur’an, and in personally doing the Taaleem Al Qur’an Course offered by Al Huda Institute, my life has been transformed for the better, transformed by loving Allah more than I ever have before and striving to be more beloved to Him.

 Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen.

Ya Allah, envelop us with Your Love and Mercy and decree it that the best day of our lives will be the Day on which we will return to You.

Allahumma Aameen.

Link to Sign up for Taaleem Al Quran- Bismillah:  https://www.alhudasl.com/site/tq/