As a teacher, I was recently asked to run workshops where pupils explored the purpose of their studies. We looked at themes such as intentions, tawakkul (trust in Allah swt’s plan) and ihsan (excellence in faith) and it led me to realise that they all lead to one path- the path of loving Allah swt.
We all have our own definition of love, some believe it is do with emotional feelings towards another, some think it is more about the physical aspect of relationships and others say love is such a thing that cannot be defined, often relating it to emotions between worldly beings. However, as Muslims our concept of love should be clear and alhamdulillah Islam teaches us about this beautifully.
We need to understand that there can be no greater love then the love Allah swt has for us, His servants. After all Allah swt is Al-Wadud, The Loving One. Once we realise this and accept it fully, then everything else will fall into place for us like pieces of a puzzle inshaAllah.
A few days ago I was reminded of this love when my daughter came home upset that her best friend was leaving school. Whilst comforting her, I asked her that people will come and go, friends will leave, siblings will move away, parents will one day die but who will always be there for you? Not only does Allah swt love us, but His love is constant, eternal and everlasting unlike the love of worldly beings.
“If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Quran 16:18
If this is not love, then what is? If we think about all the blessings, it is beyond our comprehension and imagination when we think of all the unasked blessings Allah swt has bestowed on us. Arrogance, ingratitude, ignorance…call it what you want but sometimes we focus so much on what Allah swt has not granted us that we forget to remember all that He swt has. Are we truly grateful to Allah swt for our very being and everything our life encompasses? And in striving for this how can we show our gratitude and our love to Allah swt?
“Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Quran 3:31
Follow the Quran and Sunnah and inshaAllah Allah swt will forgive us, because He swt is the Most Merciful and He swt loves us. As muslims we know that we show our obedience and love for Allah swt through additional acts of worship such as nawaafil salah, fasting and abundant recitation of the Quran etc.
By doing the above acts we could attain closeness to Allah swt inshaAllah but what about those of us who aren’t able to do as much of the above as we would like to? For me and many others, especially women, by the time we fulfil our daily duties there is not much time or energy left! Alhamdulillah many of us are blessed with the role of daughter, wife, daughter in law, mother, sister etc. Not to mention the women who also have to juggle working in different professions. MashaAllah there are many who are doing it all!
May Allah swt continue to grant them strength, patience and success, aameen.
So what else can we do? After all, every muslim be it man or woman wants to love Allah swt and be loved by Him.
One thing we can see in Islam is that many if not all acts of worship are based on intentions. We have to make intention for our daily acts of worship, such as wudu, salah or fasting etc. Even major acts of worship require intention first such as Umrah and Hajj.
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim
So every time we plan to do something, even the tiniest most menial chore, we should try to make intention that we are doing this for the sake of Allah swt, starting our day with “ya Allah , whatever good I plan to do today, reward me for it and know that I do it because I love You”. This way cooking, cleaning, laundry etc can be transformed from chores to actual acts of worship.
“The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Allah says, ‘When My slave intends to do an evil action, do not record it. If he does it, then write it down as one say’ah (evil deed). If he intends to do a good deed and does not do it, then write down as one hasanah (good deed), and if he does it, then write it down as ten.” Saheeh Muslim (1/117, hadeeth no. 128
SubhanAllah what better then to gain reward even if we don’t manage to get the task done!
In relating EVERYTHING back to Allah swt and having the intention of doing everything for His pleasure will make us more conscious of Him, and will inshaAllah prevent us from sinning and enable us to develop the characteristics loved by Allah swt, such as generosity, compassion and kindness.
Every day we are put through various levels of hardship. Ranging from the traffic jam on the way into work, the flu bug making your child sick, feeling exhausted 24-7 etc . And then there are those really serious long term difficulties we have no control over such as major illness of a loved one. It is really important to remind ourselves and others that:
- a) it is a test of your patience, and Allah swt is doing this to forgive your sins and to raise your rank in the akhirah
- b) He swt wants you to seek help from Him through patience and prayer
- c) perhaps there was something worse written for you and instead through His swt love and mercy he changed it to a lighter difficulty
- d) there is good in this hardship that is beyond our capability of understanding
- e) we will inshaAllah get something better in return
“And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the patient.” The Quran 3:146
We need to remind ourselves in all our daily difficulties, challenges and hardships that Allah swt tests those He loves most and He loves those who are patient with His decisions.
- Forgiveness and remembrance
Instead of just “thinking aloud” why not change that to “talking to Allah swt”. In the car whilst driving or in the kitchen whilst cooking? Who else is better to talk to, to cry to, to seek forgiveness from or to just say thank you to?
“Indeed Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves.” The Quran 2:222
Some people think praying salah is the only conversation between us and Him, but if we believe and know that he is Al-Alim, the All-Knowing then conversation and dua should be outside of the salah too. In seeking forgiveness and remembering Him often, not only will Allah swt love us but our own hearts will find peace and contentment inshaAllah.
With the daily challenges we face, and the disappearance of time we need to take every opportunity available to become closer to our Creator and not treat other acts of worship such as salah or fasting as the only means of attaining closeness to Him, or to loving Him swt.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘if Allah loves a person, He calls Jibrael saying, ’Allah loves so and so; O Jibrael love him.’ And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven: “Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also, and so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim
How beautiful is the thought that perhaps our name could be among the announced? InshaAllah!
May Allah swt love us and may He enable us to love Him in the way He wants us to. Aameen.