Chapter Two of Part Two
On the Necessity of Loving the Prophet
Section 1: Concerning the necessity of loving him
Allah says, “Say: ‘If your fathers or your sons or your brothers or your wives or your tribe, or any wealth you have acquired, or any business you fear may slump, or any dwelling-places which please you, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and fighting hard in jihad in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His command.'” (9:25)
This is enough encouragement, advice, proof and indication of the necessity of loving him and is sufficient to show that this duty is an immensely important obligation which is the Prophet’s due. Allah censures those whose property, families and children are dearer to them than Allah and His Messenger. He threatens them by adding, “Wait until Allah brings about His command.” At the end of the verse He considers such people as having done wrong and informs them they are among those who are astray and not guided by Allah.
Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father and all people.” (al-Bukhari, Muslim & an-Nasa’i) There is something similar from Abu Hurayra.
Anas reported that the Prophet said, “There are three things which cause anyone who takes refuge in them to experience the sweetness of belief – that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than anything else; that he loves a man only for Allah; and that he dislikes the thought of reverting to disbelief as much as he would dislike being cast into the Fire.” (al-Bukhari & Muslim))
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab told the Prophet, “I love you more than anything except my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet replied, “None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than his own soul.” ‘Umar said, “By the One who sent down the Book on you, I love you more than my soul which is between my two sides.” The Prophet said, “‘Umar, now you have it!” (al-Bukhari)
Sahl said, “Whoever does not think that the Messenger is his master in all states or think that he is under the dominion of the Prophet does not taste the sweetness of his Sunna because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘None of you will believe until I am dearer to him than himself.'”
Section 2: On the reward for loving the Prophet
Anas said that a man came to the Prophet and asked, “When will the Last Hour come, Messenger of Allah?” , “What have you prepared for it?” he asked? He replied, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer or fasting or charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet said, “You will be with the one you love.” (al-Bukhari)
Safwan ibn Qudama said, “I emigrated to the Prophet and went to him and said, ‘Messenger of Allah, give me your hand.’ So he gave me his hand. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, I love you.’ He said, ‘A man is with the one he loves.'” (at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i) ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and Anas related this statement from the Prophet, and Abu Dharr also has something to the same effect.
‘Ali said that the Prophet took Hasan and Husayn by the hand and said, “Whoever loves me and loves these two and their father and mother will have the same degree as me on the Day of Rising.” (at-Tirmidhi)
It is related that a man came to the Prophet and said, “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.” Allah then revealed, “Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, will be with those whom Allah has blessed: the Prophets, the men of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And such people are the best of company!” (4:68) The Prophet called the man and recited the verses to him. (at-Tabarani)
In another hadith we find, “A man was with the Prophet, looking at him without turning away. The Prophet asked, “What is wrong with you?” He replied, “My father and mother be your ransom! I enjoy looking at you. On the Day of Rising, Allah will raise you up because of His high estimation of you!” Allah then sent down the verse mentioned above.
In the hadith of Anas, the Prophet said, “Whoever loves me will be with me in the Garden.” (al-Isfahani)
Section 3: On what is related from the Salaf and the Imams about their love for the Prophet and their yearning for him
Abu Hurayra said that the Messenger of Allah said, “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 and al-Bukhari) There is something similar from Abu Dharr.
The hadith of ‘Umar, “I love you more than myself,” has already been cited. There are similar things from other Companions.
‘Amr ibn al-‘As said, “There is no one I love better than the Messenger of Allah.”
‘Abda bint Khalid ibn Ma’dan said, “Khalid never went to bed without remembering how he yearned for the Messenger of Allah and his Companions among the Muhajirun and Ansar, and he would name them. He said, ‘They are my root and branch, and my heart longs for them. I have yearned for them a long time. My Lord, hasten my being taken to You!'”
It is related that Abu Bakr said to the Prophet, “By the One who sent you with the truth, I would be happier if Abu Talib [the Prophet’s uncle] were to become Muslim than if Abu Quhayfa [his own father] were to. That is because the Islam of Abu Talib would delight you more.” ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab told al-‘Abbas, “Your becoming a Muslim is dearer to me than al-Khattab becoming a Muslim because it is dearer to the Messenger of Allah.”
Ibn Ishaq said that the father, brother and husband of one of the women of the Ansar were killed in the Battle of Uhud fighting for the Messenger of Allah. She asked, “What has happened to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?” They said, “He is as well as you would like, praise be to Allah!” She said, “Show him to me so I can look at him.” When she saw him, she said, “Every affliction is as nothing now that you are safe.”
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib was asked, “How was your love for the Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “By Allah, we loved him more than our wealth, our sons, our fathers and our mothers, and more than cold water in a time of great thirst.”
Zayd ibn Aslam said, ‘Umar went out at night to observe the people and saw a lamp in a house where an old woman was teasing some wool, saying:
“The prayer of the good be upon Muhammad, may the blessed bless him!
I was standing in tears before dawn. If only I knew,when death gives us different forms,
Whether the Abode will join me to my beloved!”
She meant the Prophet. ‘Umar sat down in tears.
It is related that once ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar’s foot went numb. He was told, “Remember the most beloved of people to you and it will go away!” He shouted, “O Muhammad!” and the feeling returned.
When Bilal was near death, his wife called out, “O sorrow!” Bilal said, “What joy! I will meet those I love, Muhammad and his party!”
It is related that a woman said to ‘A’isha, “Show me the grave of the Messenger of Allah.” She showed it to her and the woman wept until she died.
When the Makkans drove Zayd ibn ad-Dathima out of the Haram to kill him, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb said to him, “I ask you by Allah, Zayd, don’t you wish that Muhammad were with us now to take your place so that we could cut off his head, and you were with your family?” Zayd said, “By Allah, I would not wish Muhammad to be now in a place where even a thorn could hurt him if that was the condition for my being with my family!” Abu Sufyan remarked, “I have not seen any people who love anyone the way the Companions of Muhammad love Muhammad.”
Ibn ‘Abbas said, “When a woman came to the Prophet (i.e. from Makka to Madina), he made her take an oath that she had not left because of her husband’s wrath or desire for a new land and that she had only left out of love for Allah and His Messenger.”
Ibn ‘Umar stood over Ibn az-Zubayr after he had been killed and asked for forgiveness for him and said, “By Allah, according to what I know you were someone who fasted and prayed and loved Allah and His Messenger.”
Section 4: The signs of love of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace
Know that someone who loves a person prefers them and prefers what they like. Otherwise, he is a pretender, insincere in his love.
Someone who has true love of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, will manifest the following signs.
1) The first sign is that he will emulate him, apply his Sunna, follow his words and deeds, obey his commands and avoid his prohibitions and take on his adab in ease and hardship, joy and despair. Allah testifies to that, “Say: if you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you.” (3:31) 2) He will prefer what the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has laid down as law and encouraged, over his own passions and appetites. Allah said, “Those who were already settled in the abode, and in belief, before they came, love those who have emigrated to them and do not find in their breasts any need for what they have been given and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are in want.” (59:9)
3) His anger against people will only be for the sake of the pleasure of Allah. Anas ibn Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘My son, if you can be without any grudge in your heart against anyone in the morning and evening, be like that.’ Then he added, ‘My son, that is part of my Sunna. Whoever gives life to my sunna has loved me and whoever loves me is with me in the Garden.'” (at-Tirmidhi)
Anyone who possesses this particular quality has perfect love for Allah and His Messenger. Anyone slightly lacking in it is imperfect in his love, while not entirely devoid of it. The proof of this is in what the Prophet said about the man who was given the punishment for drinking. A man there cursed him and the Prophet said, “Do not curse him. He loves Allah and His Messenger.” (al-Bayhaqi)
4) Another of the signs of love for the Prophet is to mention him often. Whoever loves something mentions it a lot.
5) Another is great yearning to meet him. Every lover yearns for their beloved.
When the Ash’arite clan came to Madina, they chanted, “Tomorrow we will meet those we love, Muhammad and his Companions!” 6) One of its signs is that as well as mentioning him often, someone who loves him will exalt and respect him when he mentions him and display humility and abasement when he hears his name. Ishaq at-Tujibi said, “Whenever the Companions of the Prophet heard his name after he died, they were humble, their skins trembled and they wept. It was the same with many of the Followers. Some of them act like that out of love and yearning for him, others out of respect and esteem.”
7) Another sign is love for those who love the Prophet and the people of his house and his Companions, both of the Muhajirun and Ansar, for his sake. Such a person will also be hostile to those who hate them and curse them. Whoever loves anyone, loves those he loves.
The Prophet said about al-Hasan and al-Husayn, “O Allah, I love them, so love them.” In al-Hasan’s variant, “O Allah, I love him, so love the one who loves him.” He also said, “Whoever loves them loves me. Whoever loves me loves Allah. Whoever hates them hates me. Whoever hates me hates Allah.” (al-Bukhari) He said, “Allah! Allah! My Companions! Do not make them targets after me! Whoever loves them loves them by loving me. Whoever hates them hates them by hating me. Whoever does something hurtful to them does something hurtful to me. Whoever does something hurtful to me does something hurtful to Allah. Whoever does something hurtful to Allah is about to be seized.” (at-Tirmidhi)
He said about Fatima, “She is a part of me. Whoever hates her hates me.” (al-Bukhari)
He said to ‘A’isha about Usama ibn Zayd, “Love him for I love him.” (at-Tirmidhi)
He said, “The sign of true faith is love for the Ansar and the sign of hypocrisy is hatred for them.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In a hadith related by Ibn ‘Umar we find, “Whoever loves the Arabs, loves them because he loves me. Whoever hates them hates them because he hates me.” In reality, whoever loves someone loves everything he loves. This was certainly the case with the Salaf, even regarding permitted things and the appetites of the self.
Anas once saw the Prophet reaching for the pumpkin in the plate. He said, “I have loved pumpkin from that day.”
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Ja’far came to Salma [a servant of the Prophet] and asked her to prepare some food for them which the Messenger of Allah liked. Ibn ‘Umar began to wear tanned sandals dyed yellow when he saw the Prophet wearing ones like that.
8) Another sign is hatred for anyone who hates Allah and His Messenger, having enmity towards all who have enmity towards him, avoidance of all those who oppose his Sunna and introduce innovations into his Deen, and finding every matter contrary to his Shari’a burdensome. Allah says, “You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day who having love for anyone who opposes Allah and His Messenger.” (58:22) His Companions killed their loved ones and fought their fathers and sons to gain the pleasure of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy said to him, “If you had wanted, I would have brought you his head (his father’s).”
9) Another sign of it is love for the Qur’an which the Prophet brought, by which he guided and was guided, and whose character he took on so that ‘A’isha said, “His character was the Qur’an.” Part of love for the Qur’an is its recitation and acting by it and understanding it, and loving his sunna and keeping within its limits.
Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah said, “The sign of the love of Allah is love of the Qur’an. The sign of love of the Qur’an is love of the Prophet. The sign of love of the Prophet is love of the Sunna. The sign of love of the Sunna is love of the Next World. The sign of love of the Next World is hatred for this world. The sign of hatred for this world is that you do not store up any of it except for provision and what you need to arrive safely in the Next World.”
Ibn Mas’ud said, “No one needs to ask himself about anything except the Qur’an. If he loves the Qur’an, he loves Allah and His Messenger.” 10) One of the signs of love for the Prophet is having compassion for his community, giving them good counsel, striving for their best interests and removing what is harmful from them just as the Prophet was “compassionate, merciful to the believers.” (9:128)
11) One of the signs of perfect love is that the one who aspires to it does without in this world and prefers poverty.
The Prophet said to Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, “Poverty for those among you who love me comes quicker than a flood from the top of the mountain to the bottom.” (at-Tirmidhi)
In a hadith from ‘Abdullah b. Mughaffal, a man said to the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, I love you.” He said, “Take care what you say!” He said, “By Allah, I love you” three times. He said, “If you love me, then prepare for poverty quickly.” There is a similar hadith from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri.
Section 5: On the meaning and reality of love for the Prophet
People disagree about what constitutes love of Allah and the Prophet. They have many things to say about it, but in reality, they are referring to different states.
Sufyan said, “Love consists of following the Messenger of Allah.” It was as if he were thinking of the words of Allah, “Say: if you love Allah, then follow me.” (3:31)
One of the scholars said, “Love of the Messenger is to believe in his victory, protect his Sunna, obey it and to fear being in opposition to him.”
One of the scholars said, “Love is constant remembrance of the beloved.”
Another said, “It is preferring the beloved.”
Another said, “Love is yearning for the beloved.”
One of the scholars said, “Love is the heart following the will of its master, loving what he loves and hating what he hates.”
Another said, “Love is the heart’s inclination to be in harmony with the beloved.”
Most of these statements indicate the fruits of love rather than its reality. The reality of love is to incline to what one finds agreeable and harmonious, either:
(1) by the pleasure in its perfection – like love of beautiful forms, melodious sounds, delicious foods and drink to which one naturally inclines because they are agreeable; (2) or by pleasure in the perfection of its noble inner qualities which is sensed by the intellect and heart–- like love for the righteous, scholars and people of correct behaviour whose marvellous lives and good actions have been related. Man’s nature inclines to intense love for these sorts of things to the point of fanaticism. Such partisanship of one group against another and sectarianism within a nation can result in homelands being abandoned, inviolable things being dishonoured, and lives lost;
(3) or someone can love something because he finds it agreeable by reason of gaining benefit and blessing from it. The self is naturally disposed to love that which is good to it.
When you have understood this well, then examine these three causes of love in respect of the Prophet and you will find that all three things which inspire love apply to him.
The beauty of his form and outward appearance and the perfection of his character have already been mentioned, so there is no need to say any more about them.
As regards the benefit and blessing his community gain from him, we have already mentioned the qualities of Allah he possessed – his compassion for them, his mercy for them, his guiding them, his tenderness for them and his striving to save them from the Fire. He is, “merciful, compassionate to the believers,” (9:128) and “a mercy to the worlds,” (21:107) and, “a bringer of good news, a warner and a caller to Allah by His permission.” (33:45-46) “He recites its signs to them and purifies them and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom,” (62:2) and “guides them to a straight path.” (5:16)
What goodness could be worthier or of greater importance than his goodness to all the believers! What favour could be more universally beneficial and of greater use than his blessing to all the Muslims since he is their means to guidance, the one who rescues them from blind error, and the one who summons them to success and honour? He is their means to their Lord and their intercessor. He speaks up on their behalf and bears witness for them and brings them to eternal life and everlasting bliss.
So it should be clear to you that love of the Prophet must be an obligation in the Shari’a because of the sound traditions we have related and the nature of his overflowing goodness and universal beauty we have just mentioned.
If a man can love someone who is generous to him just once or twice in this world, as is well known to be the case, or someone who saves him from destruction or harm even once, when that damage and harm are only of a temporary nature, then the one who gives him undying bliss and protects him from the eternal punishment of Hellfire should be loved more. A king is loved when his behaviour is good and a ruler is loved for his upright conduct. Someone who lives far away is loved for their knowledge or noble character. Whoever possesses all these qualities in total perfection is more entitled to be loved and more deserving of attachment.
‘Ali, describing the Prophet, said, “Whoever saw him suddenly was in awe of him. Whoever mixed with him loved him.” We mentioned that one of the Companions could not turn his eyes away because of his love for him.
Section 6: The obligation of faithfulness to the Prophet
Allah says, “Nothing is held against the weak and sick nor against those who find nothing to spend, provided they are true to Allah and His Messenger – there is no way open against the good-doers. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (9:92) The commentators say, “If they are true in sincere conduct towards Allah and His Messengers, they are sincere Muslims secretly and openly.”
Tamim ad-Dari said that the Messenger of Allah said, “The deen is nasiha (good counsel/faithfulness). The deen is nasiha. The deen is nasiha.” They asked, “To whom, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “To Allah and His Book and His Messenger and the Imams of the Muslims and the common people.”
Our Imams said, “Nasiha for Allah and the Imams of the muslims and their common folk is an obligation.”
Imam Abu Sulayman al-Busti said, “Nasiha is a word used to designate the desire for what is good for the one who is its object, and it is not possible to explain it with a single word which will contain it all. Linguistically, it means sincerity (ikhlas) from the statement, ‘I made the honey pure (nasahtu),’ when it is clear of wax.”
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Ishaq al-Khaffaf said, “Nasiha is doing something which contains rightness and harmony. It comes from nisah which is the thread with which a garment is sewn.”
Nasiha to Allah consists of having sound belief in His Oneness, describing Him in the way that He deserves to be described and disconnecting Him from what cannot be attributed to Him. It is desire for what He loves and distance from what He hates and sincerity in worshipping Him.
Nasiha to His Book is belief in it, acting according to it, reciting it well, humility with it, esteem for it, understanding it and seeking fiqh in it and protecting it from the interpretation of the extremists and the attack of heretics.
Nasiha to the Messenger is confirming his prophethood and obeying him in what he commands and forbids.
Abu Sulayman and Abu Bakr said, “It is to support, help and protect him, both in life and death, and to bring his Sunna to life by seeking, protecting and spreading it and taking on his noble character and behaviour.”
Abu Ibrahim Ishaq at-Tujibi said, “Nasiha to the Messenger of Allah is to confirm what he brought and to cling to his Sunna, spread it and urge people to it and to call to Allah, His Book and His Messenger and to the Sunna, and acting by it.”
Ahmad ibn Muhammad said, “One of the obligations of the heart is to believe in nasiha for the sake of the Messenger of Allah.”
Abu Bakr al-Ajurri and others said, “Nasiha for his sake includes two types of sincere conduct. One is nasiha during his lifetime and the other is nasiha after his death.”
In his lifetime, the nasiha of his Companions was by helping him, protecting him, opposing his opponents, obeying him and expending their lives and property in his service as in Allah’s words, “Men who were true to their contract with Allah.” (33:23) “They help Allah and His Messenger.” (59:8)
The nasiha of the Muslims for his sake after his death is by maintaining esteem, respect and great love for him, persevering in learning his Sunna, understanding his Shari’a, love for the People of his House and his Companions, avoiding things disliked in his Sunna and what deviates from it, hating doing that and being on guard against it, compassion for his community, seeking to learn about his character, his life and behaviour and steadfastness in acting according to it.
So from what has been said it can be seen that nasiha is one of the fruits of love as well as one of its signs.
Imam Abu’l-Qasim al-Qushayri related that ‘Amr ibn al-Layth, one of the Kings of Khurasan and a famous hero who was known as as-Saffar, was seen in a dream and was asked, “What did Allah do with you?” He replied, “He forgave me.” He was asked, “Why?” He said, “One day I climbed to the peak of a mountain and looked down at my armies and their vast number pleased me. Then I wished that I could have been present with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to aid and help him. Allah thanked me and forgave me because of that.”
Nasiha to the Imams of the Muslims is to obey them when they command to the truth, help them, command them to the truth, remind them of it in the best way, inform them about what they have overlooked and what they do not see of the Muslims’ affairs, and not to attack them nor cause trouble and dissension for them with people and alienate them from people.
Nasiha for the sake of the common Muslims is to guide them to their best interests, help them in the business of their deen and this world by word and action, warning those of them who are heedless, enlightening the ignorant, giving to those in need, veiling their faults, and repelling what will harm them and bringing what will benefit them.
(Courtesy of Shaykha ‘Aisha Bewley)