Does Allah Love You?
Much is said about the first two of the three components in our relationship with Allah: fear, hope and love. But less is said about Allah’s Love. And this is important to know, because by realizing Allah’s Love, those of us whose hearts are hard are softened; those of us who feel deep inside that we can never be forgiven will be awoken with hope; and those of us whose relationship with Allah is mechanical will be enriched.
Not Just Fear
For many people, the relationship with Allah has become either that of fear or of something ritualistic: “I have to pray, so let me just get up and do it. If I don’t pray, I’ll go to hell.”
Fear is important, but at the base of our relationship with Allah is love. In the following Hadith Qudsi, Allah demonstrates the nature of His relationship with us:
“Myself, Mankind and Jinn are in a great serious state. I create them, then they worship other gods that they make for themselves; I bless them with my bounties, then they thank someone else for what I sent them; My Mercy descends to them while their evil deeds ascend to Me; I endear them with my gifts even though I have no need for any of them while they alienate themselves from Me with their sins even though they are desperate for My help.
Whoever returns to Me, I accept him no matter how far he is; and whoever turns away from Me, I approach him and call on him. Whoever leaves a sin for my sake, I reward him with many gifts and whoever seeks to please Me, I seek to please him. Whoever acknowledges My Will and Power in whatever he does, I make the iron bend for his sake. My dear people are those who are with Me (i.e. whoever would like to be with Me, let him supplicate to Me and remember Me). Whoever thanks Me, I grant him more blessings; whoever obeys Me, I raise him and endear him more. Whoever disobeys Me, I keep the doors of My Mercy open for him; if he returns to Me, I bestow him with My Love since I love those who repent and purify themselves for My Sake. If he does not repent, I still treat him by putting them in hardship to purify him.
Whoever favors Me over others, I favor them over others. I reward every single good deed ten times over or seven hundred times over to countless times over. I count every single bad deed as one unless the person repents and ask for My Forgiveness in which case I forgive even that one. I take into account any little good deed and I forgive even major sins. My Mercy supersedes My Anger; My Tolerance supersedes My Blame; My Forgiveness supersedes My Punishment as I am more merciful with My slaves than a mother with her child.” (Madarij As-Saalikeen by Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziya)
What is amazing is not a servant who seeks to get closer to his Lord, but that the Lord endears His servant to get closer to him. Many of the ahadeeth that I will recount are those ahadeeth that we already know; yet reading them one after the other shows us the extent of Allah’s Love and Mercy. Allah says, “If my servant comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him or her an arms-length; and if he or she comes to Me walking, I come to him or her at speed.” (Bukhari)
Sometimes we despair, yet the above ahadeeth show us how silly that is. All we have to do is turn to Allah, return to Him and remind ourselves of these words: If we go to Allah walking, He will come to us with speed. The Prophet (pbuh) told us of another way Allah shows His love to us:
“Our Lord (glorified and exalted be He) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give it him? Who is asking forgiveness of Me that I may forgive him?” (Bukhari)
We have to see – Allah doesn’t need to be like this with us. All He has to do is command, and we should obey. If we don’t obey, it’s our loss. And many of us do not even deserve to have such a relationship with Allah; yet we are told this in order for us to strive to build this relationship of closeness with Allah. We are told this so we never despair and so our hearts fill with love, awe and amazement at our Creator’s Love and Mercy. Ali (R) truly understood this relationship, and this is why he said that if he were given the choice to be judged by his parents on the Day of Judgment, he would refuse. Why? “Because Allah is more merciful to me than my parents.”
When Allah loves a servant
“When Allah loves someone he calls to Jibreel (as) saying, ‘O Jibreel, I love such and such a person, so love him.’ Then Jibreel will call to the (angels) of the heavens, ‘Allah loves such and such a person so love him.’ And the angels will love [that person]. And then Allah will place acceptance on earth for that believer.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
It would have been enough for Allah to say that He loves a person, for what more could someone want? But because Allah is Al-Wadood (the Loving) and Al-Kareem (the Most-Generous), He declares this love to the Angels, which does not stay in the heavens but descends to the earth because Allah puts acceptance of this person in the hearts of people.
So who is eligible for this love?
“…God loves those who do good” (Surat Al Baqara, 2:195) ”
“…God loves those who repent to Him, and He loves those who keep themselves clean” (Surat Al-Baqara, 2:222) ”
“…God loves those are mindful of Him” (Surat Aal-Imran, 3:76)
“…God loves those who are steadfast” (Surat Aal-Imran, 3:146)
“…God loves those who put their trust in Him” (Surat Aal-Imran, 3:159)
“…God loves the just” (Surat Al-Maida, 5:42)
So not only does Allah love the Prophets (as), the Companions (ra) and the scholars, but all the people listed above as well. And though those who repent are those who committed sins, maybe even grave sins, Allah loves them because they return to Him. By being one of those people above we are eligible to be loved by Allah.
Look at another manifestation of Allah’s love. He says in a hadith qudsi: “Whosoever acts with enmity towards a closer servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him.” (Bukhari)
And who are the awliya? ”Now surely the friends (awliya) of Allah – they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve – those who believe and are conscious of God.” (Surat Yunus, 10:62-63)
Allah continues in the same hadith qudsi, showing us how we can be of the awliya: ”Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with the supererogatory(nawafil) so that I shall love him.”
That’s it? Start with the obligatory and then add the things that are sunnah? Then what happens?
“When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.” (Bukhari)
Our problem is that we invest so much in people’s love, yet forget that the everlasting love is that of Allah. Some of us are taught to believe that because of our sins, we can never be eligible for this love, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The examples above are only a tiny glimpse of Allah’s dealings with us. May we always be of those who have hope in Allah’s Love and Mercy and seek to get closer to Him. Ameen.
The above was adapted from a lecture by Amr Khaled.
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