We have been commanded to obey him; we have been commanded to respect him; but the key to both these things lies in the fact that we are commanded to love him. This love is more than just mere lip service; it is a love that should encompass our lives. Nothing on this earth should be more dear to our hearts than the blessed Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him). This is not simply a recommended emotion; rather it is one that we must feel in our hearts. It is narrated that the Prophet said: “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father and all people.” (Bukhari)
There are many benefits that one can reap by loving Rasulullah (the Prophet of Allah) , both in this life and the next. The Messenger of Allah told us that that there are three things which, if one was to take refuge in them, makes one experience the sweetness of faith. We all crave this sweetness, which grants an internal happiness that cannot be matched. This sweetness can be enjoyed in this life, and makes worshiping Allah and striving in His cause much easier and enjoyable. The first of these three things is that Allah and His messenger are more beloved to the believer than anything else (Bukhari). Another benefit that we may receive from wholeheartedly loving the Prophet is His companionship in Jannah (paradise). A man came to the Prophet and asked, “When will the last Hour come, Oh Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger responded, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer nor fasting nor charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet then said, “You will be with the one you love.” (Bukhari)
Simply reading the accounts of how the companions loved and expressed their love for the Prophet cause one’s emotions to stir in yearning for that nearness of heart to him. It is through their stories that we can find motivation to get to know and learn about him so that we too may love him as they did. Of these stories is that of a man who went to the Prophet and declared his love for him, as well as one of his biggest concerns. He said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I love you more than my family and my possessions. I remember you and I cannot wait until I can come and look at you. I remember that I will die and you will die, and I know that when you enter the Garden, you will be raised up with the Prophets. When I enter it, I will not see you.” It was not enough for this man to just want Jannah; rather his immense love caused him to crave the companionship of his beloved at that time when he could have anything and everything he wanted. It was at this point that Allah revealed,
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger -
those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets,
the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous.
And excellent are those as companions.” (Qur’an, 4:69)
Another heart-gripping story is that of a woman who went to our mother, Aisha , and asked her for permission to see the grave of Rasulullah . Aisha took her to the grave and the woman, simply seeing the resting place of the Prophet , wept until she died. Allahu akbar (God is the Greatest).
Seeing the immense love of the companions for the Prophet can, at times, make us feel discouraged, thinking that we can never reach this level of love having never met him. These are the whispers of Shaytan (Satan) trying to drag us away from one of the most rewarding feelings ever gifted to man. The Prophet himself reassures us of this by saying, “Those in my community with the strongest love for me are the people who will come after me. Some of them would give their family and wealth to have seen me.” (Muslim, al-Bukhari)
Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam, spoke of the reverence held for the Prophet :”Whoever saw him suddenly, was in awe of him; and whoever mixed with him, loved him.” In order to know what it is we are striving for, we should try to understand what is meant by the word love in the first place. When dealing with love, we find that it can be of different types:
1. Pleasure in outward perfection.
a. General: This can manifest in a ‘worldly’ manner as the false love for beauty and appearances. This is the fastest kind of love to attain, but if other reasons are not present, this love can fade quickly.
b. Concerning the Prophet : we can work towards attaining this love for him by studying his outward qualities such as his appearance, his style of dressing, his etiquettes of eating, and his general lifestyle.
2 Gaining benefit from the object of love.
a. General: This can manifest in a ‘worldly’ manner as the false love of wealth and fame.
b. Concerning the Prophet : we have briefly discussed already some of the benefits and the blessings of loving Rasulullah in Part I; there are many other stories andahadeeth that can be found, read, and pondered upon.
3 Pleasure in the perfection of its noble inner qualities
a. General: This type of love holds together the first two types of love; it lasts the longest.
b. Concerning the Prophet : we can work towards attaining this love for him by studying his inward qualities such as his haya’ (modesty), his humility, and his generosity.
Now that we know what love actually is, how do we know that we actually love him? How do we know that our hearts are actually inclined to him and that we are not merely uttering words that do not resonate within us? There are signs that one can look for and strive for so that we may be sure to have this needed and craved love.
1. Itiba` (Following him) and ta`ah (Obeying him): In the Qur’an we are not only commanded to obey the Prophet (May God peace and blessings be upon him), but also to follow him. There are many benefits that come from obeying him and following him aside from the great reward of it being a sign of loving him.
a. Obeying him is a means of becoming guided. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (Glorified is He) said in the Qur’an:
Say, “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; but if you turn away -
then upon him is only that [duty] with which he has been charged,
and upon you is that with which you have been charged.
And if you obey him, you will be [rightly] guided.
And there is not upon the Messenger except the [responsibility for] clear notification.”(Qur’an 24:54)
b. Obeying him is a means of attaining the mercy of Allah . Allah said in the Qur’an:
And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy. (Qur’an 3:132)
c. Obeying him is a means of entering Jannah (Paradise)
And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and fears Allah and is conscious of Him -
it is those who attain (of Jannah) (Qur’an 24:52)
d. Following him is a sign of loving Allah and will actually cause Allah to love you and forgive your sins!
Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me,
[so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. [..].” (Qur’an 3:31)
2. Preferring the law that the Messenger of Allah brought over our own desire. Allah says in the Qur’an:
But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you,
[O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves
and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged
and submit in [full, willing] submission (Qur’an 4:65)
3. Constantly mentioning him: When we love something or someone, that thing becomes frequently mentioned in our conversations and becomes the thoughts we drift to when our minds wander.
4. Yearning for him: Every lover yearns for his/her beloved. If you find your heart yearning for him, and craving to see his face, know that this is a sign of true love for him, alayhisalam (Peace be upon him).
5. Respecting him and displaying humility at his mention
6. Loving those whom he loved: When we truly love someone we love those who brought happiness to the heart of our beloved. Of those the Prophet truly loved were Khadija, Aisha, Hassan and Hussain, the companions, and the Ummah (Muslim community) as a whole (may Allah be pleased with them all).
7. Love for the Qur’an
8. Naseeha (sincere counsel) for His community
9. Living without the Dunya
May these signs of love and compassion for our beloved Prophet be prevalent in our daily lives, bringing us closer to drinking from his hands on the Day of Judgment and entering Jannah with him.