Heavenly Affection: Living the Love of Al-Wadūd
For more on this topic, see Names of Allah
He is the Forgiving, the Loving.
Ask forgiveness from your Lord and repent to Him. Verily, my Lord is Merciful and Loving.
al-Wadūd is among the names of the Almighty Lord. In this regard there are two opinions: First, it means One Who receives affection. al-Bukharī, may Allah have mercy on him, said in his authentic work that al-Wadūd means the Beloved. Second, it means One Who is affectionate to His servants, that is, One Who loves them.
He has given you all that you asked of Him. If you were to count the favors of Allah, you would never be able to number them. Verily, humankind is most unjust and ungrateful.
There is no Muslim who supplicates to Allah, wherein there is no sin or cutting of family ties, but that Allah will give him one of three answers: He will hasten fulfillment of his supplication, He will store it for him in the Hereafter, or He will divert an evil from him similar to it.
As for My punishment, I bring it upon whomever I will, yet My mercy encompasses all things. I will decree it for those who were righteous and gave in charity, those who had faith in Our signs.
These are two names indicating that the Exalted is characterized by vast and great mercy, which encompasses all things and is general for every living being. He has decreed it for the righteous followers of His Prophets and Messengers. They will have His unconditional mercy. As for those who are hostile to Him, they still have a portion of it.
The heart on its journey towards Allah the Exalted is like that of a bird. Love is its head and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator.
Say (O Muhammad): If you love Allah, then follow me. Allah will love you and forgive your sins, for Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
Signs of Allah’s love
Allah’s love for a servant is in bringing him close to Himself by repelling distractions and sinful acts of disobedience from him, purifying his inner-self from the cloudiness of the world, and lifting the veil over his heart until he bears witness to Him, as if he can see Him with his own heart.
Allah Almighty said: My servant does not grow closer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the duties I have imposed upon him. My servant continues to grow closer to Me with extra good works until I love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something from Me, I would surely give it to him. Were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant it to him.
Allah takes charge of (the believer’s) outward and inward affairs, in private and in public. He refers to Him to arrange his affairs and beautify his character, to enable his limbs, and to direct him outwardly and inwardly. (The believer) makes his concern a single concern (for the Hereafter), and Allah makes worldliness hateful to him in his heart. Allah detaches him from those besides Him. He puts him at ease with private conversation in seclusion with Him. He lifts the veil between him and gnosis of Him. These and the like are signs that Allah loves a servant.
Wondrous is the affair of a believer, as there is good for him in every matter; this is not the case for anyone but a believer. If he experiences pleasure, he thanks Allah and it is good for him. If he experiences harm, he shows patience and it is good for him.
Verily, those who have faith and perform righteous deeds, the Merciful will appoint affection for them.
When Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel and He says: Verily, I love this person so you should love him. Then Gabriel loves him and makes an announcement in the heavens, saying: Allah loves this person so you should love him. Thus, the dwellers of the heavens love him and he is honored on the earth.
Among people are those who take rivals besides Allah, loving them with love only due to Allah, but the believers are even stronger in their love of Allah.
Allah alone is deserving of love. Whoever loves something besides Allah and not with regard to his relationship with Allah, that is from his ignorance and deficiency in knowing Allah Almighty. Love for the Messenger ﷺ is praiseworthy, as it proceeds from the love of Allah Almighty. Likewise is the love of the scholars and the righteous, as those loved by the Beloved should be loved… None is beloved in reality, for those with insight, except Allah Almighty. None deserves love besides Him.
- Reciting the Qur’an, reflecting upon it, and understanding its intended meanings.
- Performing extra, voluntary good deeds and acts of worship in addition to the religious obligations.
- Constantly remembering Allah in every situation by words, heart, and deeds.
- Giving precedence to the love of Allah over one’s desires and whims.
- Studying the names and attributes of Allah, bearing witness to them, and recognizing them.
- Bearing witness to His benevolence, kind treatment, and blessings, whether apparent or hidden.
- Presenting one’s ‘broken heart’ before Allah (by this he meant to be humble in front of Allah).
- Seeking seclusion and private conversation with Allah in worship.
- Keeping company with righteous believers whom He loves and benefiting from the ‘fruits’ of their words.
- Keeping away from anything that might come between one’s heart and Allah Almighty.
Loving-kindness among the servants of Allah involves desiring for the creation of Allah what he desires for himself, and the highest part of that is to prefer them over himself. As if one of them said: I wish I could be a bridge over Hellfire so that the creation would cross over me and not be harmed by it. The perfection of this is that anger, malice, and what he endures of harm will not prevent him from altruism and excellent behavior.
None of you has faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Firstly, that [tradition] is interpreted as a general brotherhood, such that it includes the unbeliever and the Muslim. Thus, he loves for his brother—the unbeliever—what he loves for himself of entering into Islam, as he would love for his brother Muslim to remain always upon Islam. For this reason, to pray for guidance for the unbeliever is recommended.
The narration of the neighbor is general for the Muslim, the unbeliever, and the sinner, the friend and the enemy, the relative and the foreigner, the near neighbor and the far neighbor. Whoever accumulates in this regard the obligatory attributes of the love of good for him, he is at the highest of levels.
The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.
It is befitting for them to be like that. As one hand would not love but what the other loves and one eye or one leg or one ear would not love but what the other loves. Likewise, he should not love for his Muslim brother except what he loves for himself.
Verily, Allah will say on the Day of Resurrection: Where are those who love each other for the sake of My Glory? Today, I will shelter them in My shade on a day when there is no shade but Mine.
Allah Almighty said: Those who love each other for the sake of My Glory will be upon pulpits of light, admired by the prophets and the martyrs.
Allah Almighty said: My love is a right upon those who love each other for My sake. My love is a right upon those who visit each other for My sake. My love is a right upon those who sit together for My sake. My love is a right upon those who maintain relations for My sake.
Allah has made faith beloved to you and beautified it in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief, wickedness, and sinful disobedience. Those are the rightly guided.
The people who love Allah look by the light of Allah and they are compassionate with those who disobey Allah. They hate their actions but show mercy to them so that through their warnings (sinners) might leave their actions. They are afraid that the Hellfire will consume their bodies. The believer will not truly be a believer until he is pleased for people to have what he is pleased for himself.
Creeping towards you are the diseases of the nations before you. Envy and hatred are razors. I do not say they shave hair, but rather they shave the religion. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I tell you what can affirm that for you? Spread peace amongst yourselves.
Whoever has three traits within himself will find the sweetness of faith: one who loves Allah and His Messenger more than anything else, one who loves a servant only for the sake of Allah, and one who hates to turn back to unbelief after Allah has saved him, just as he hates to be thrown into the fire.