`Abd al-Rahmân al-Barrâk, professor at al-Imâm Islamic University
All praise is due to Allah.
Allah says: “Say (O Muhammad): If you do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” [Sûrah Âl `Îmrân: 31]
This verse affirms the believer’s love for Allah as well as the relationship between that love and the believer’s love that a believer has for the Messenger. There are other verses that add to this understanding
For instance, Allah says, confirming that our love for Him is the essence of our faith: “O you who believe, if any from among you turn back from his faith, soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as who will love Him.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 54]
Allah also says: “Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, or your kindred, the wealth that ye have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger, or striving in His cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 24]
This verse show the honor of having sincere love for Allah and for His Prophet (peace be upon him). The love that a believer has for Allah must be greater than anything. The love that a believer has for Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) should be more than that for any other created being, such as love for family, children, parents, and others.
In an authentic hadîth, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No one truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his son, his father and all other people.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (14) and Sahîh Muslim (63)]
In another hadîth, it reads: “If anyone possesses three qualities, he will experience the sweetness of faith: That Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anything else, to love someone only for Allah’s sake, and to hate relapsing into unbelief as he would hate being thrown into the fire.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (15) and Sahîh Muslim (60)]
The meaning of love is clear. On a most obvious level, it is an emotion, the emotional opposite of hate. It is a function of the heart. Our love for Allah, moreover, is the essence of our worship, since pure and sincere worship means complete love together with the complete humility. The worshipper’s faith in his Lord and his knowledge of Him vary with the degree of the love and honor in which he holds his Lord. The worship which is prescribed by Allah depends on the true state of the heart.
Our love of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is quite different. It follows as a consequence of our love for Allah. We love the Prophet (peace be upon him) because he is the Messenger of Allah, because he is the best in character, because the most sincere and kindest person among all human beings. We love him for what he brought us: the guidance and the true religion. We must love him more than we love any other created being, but still it is from the type of love that we have for a created being, and not the love that we have for the Creator. It is as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “No one truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his children, his parents, and all other people.”
Love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) is a sincere love inspired by knowledge of his great character and his kindness, and by an appreciation of his efforts and sacrifices in calling to Allah and advising the people.
Allah says: “Now there has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should suffer, ardently anxious is he over you: to the believers is he most kind and merciful.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 128]
Therefore, the love we must have for Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him) must both be genuine.
The difference between the two is that the love we have for Allah is for His very being, His essence. It is enriched by our knowledge of Allah’s most beautiful names and His supreme attributes that inspire reverence, awe, and feelings of glorification, humility and submission to His greatness. This is the love we have for Allah: a love of reverence, veneration, and awe. This is exclusively for Allah and must never be given to any created being.
Our love for the Prophet (peace be upon him) comes as a consequence of our love for Allah. In other words, we love the Prophet (peace be upon him) because he is the Messenger of Allah, and the kindest, most gentle, and ethical human being there ever was. He was kinder and more merciful to people than their own parents are to them. It is obvious that the right of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to be loved, respected and honored, is more than that of parents.
This is a weighty love indeed, since we know that Allah holds in honor the rights of the parents and mentions being kind to them along with His own rights upon us.
Allah emphasizes just how important their rights are by making mention of their rights at the same time that He orders us to worship Him. Allah says: “Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good to parents.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 36]
He says: “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 23]
May peace and blessing be upon the Prophet Muhammad and upon all the other Prophets.