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Maḥabba: Loving Others

Salman Rasheed

The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.

One of the main qualities of Muslims is that they have a great love of Allah (SWT), Allah’s messengers and prophets, and for all Muslims who seek Allah’s (SWT) approval. The Holy Quran reinforces this in the following ayat, “Your only guardians are Allah, His Messenger, and fellow believers—who establish prayer and pay the alms tax with humility.” (Surah Al-Maidah Ayat 55). 

Also, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us how we can attain Allah’s (SWT) mahabba or love, “Allah Almighty said: My love is assured for those who love each other for My sake, who sit together for My sake, who visit each other for My sake, and who spend on each other for My sake.” (Musnad Aḥmad 22030).

There is a strong connection between love and faith as explained to us by our Nabi (SAW), “Indeed the strongest bond of faith is to love for the sake of Allah and hate for the sake of Allah.” (Musnad Ahmad 18524). This demonstrates that love is the determining characteristic of the iman.  It is a very simple message if we do not love the faithful, then we do not have Iman. A person who has love in his heart for all and has no hate, bitterness, or ill will toward others then they are a person of Jannah.

The Prophet narrates the following story of a man from the previous nations who sets out to visit his brother in faith residing in another town, “A man set out to visit a brother (in Faith) in another town and Allah sent an angel on his way. When the man met the angel, the latter asked him, “Where do you intend to go?” He said, “I intend to visit my brother in this town”. The angel said, “Have you done any favor to him?” He said, “No, I have no desire except to visit him because I love him for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious.” Thereupon the angel said, “I am a messenger to you from Allah (to inform you) that Allah loves you as you love him (for His sake)”. (Riyad as-Salihin 379). 

Islam is so easy, but we make it difficult for ourselves and others. 

Our Nabi (SAW) in another hadith described the people that even the prophets and martyrs will be envious of on the Day of Judgement for their rank from Allah (SWT), “They are people who love one another for the spirit of Allah (i.e., the Quran), without having any mutual kinship and giving property to one. I swear by Allah, their faces will glow and they will be (sitting) in (pulpits of) light. They will have no fear (on the Day) when the people will have fear, and they will not grieve when the people will grieve.” (Sunan Abi Dawud 3527).  People who love each other for the sake of Allah (SWT) will receive many blessings such as forgiveness, the love of Allah (SWT), and be of the people of Jannah.

The following hadith should give all of us hope that even if we lack good deeds to present to Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement that we can still enter Jannah if we love others for the sake of Allah (SWT), “A man asked the Prophet (SAW) about the Hour (i.e., Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet (SAW) said, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “Nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “You will be with those whom you love.” We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (i.e., “You will be with those whom you love.”)” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3688).  Many Sahabas wept when they heard the hadith.  Moreover, it is a great lesson for us to never lose hope in Allah’s vast mercy and forgiveness.

Islam is so easy, but we make it difficult for ourselves and others. We should realize that Islam is about two equally important things, simple rituals, and Akhlaaq, or how we treat others. Our Nabi (SAW) gave us the golden rule to follow, “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Sahih Bukhari and Muslim). This hadith encapsulates the meaning of the Akhlaaq being to do to others as we would have them do to us.  Let us remember that all the prophets of Allah (SWT) preached this simple message.






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