The love of Allah is not necessarily to the exclusion of all other love. This would be impossible and absurd. However, whatever love we have for each other should be regulated by the highest form of love, which is the love for the sake of Allah. This is exemplified by the people who love each other solely for the sake of Allah, even if they are not blood related or get rewarded for such love during this life. Such are the ones who will be given the protective shade of Allah’s Throne on the Day of Judgment.
Mu’adh ibn Jabal (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Allah Almighty said: Those who love each other for the sake of my glory will be upon pulpits of light and they will be admired by the prophets and the martyrs.” (Tirmidhi)
Such love is a much nobler emotion than basic human desires. It is founded on quality and beauty. On one level, we love beauty, order and cleanliness. On a greater plane there is love based on what Allah loves, which covers aspects of purity, kindness, patience, justice and good behaviour.
The sincere love of Allah will busy a person with safeguarding that love. It is impossible to attain if we have conflicting love of dunia. Such worldly love will pollute the heart and compress the space to love for the sake of Allah.
If your hands are full of useless objects, can you carry something more valuable if you refuse to let go of what is in your hands?
We all claim to have this love of Allah to some degree. In reality, what happens when a tragedy, like cancer, divorce, failed businesses, unemployment or death, strike? What happens when we yearn for something? Do we behave in a way that Allah loves? Many of us, at these critical crossroads, forget what Allah has promised and instead revert to the short sighted reaction of dunia. We get worried, hysterical, tearful, or sullen. We panic or lose hope. We do things our way. We reach out desperately to anyone – friends, business associates, family, and even the social media, but we don't reach out to Allah. When tested with dunia, we apply the shortcuts of dunia even if it jeopardises our long term future with Allah.
This is the crux of the problem – when what we say on our lips do not translate into how the heart and minds behave. At the crucial times of the trials from Allah, do we choose Allah above others? Or do we lapse into behaviour that Allah dislikes – rebellion, lack of gratitude, complaining, disobedience and pessimism?
What about who we are seen with? Many of us claim to honour Bilal RA, a dark skinned former slave who is one of the most exalted Companions, but still carry racial hatred and prejudice in our hearts, believing that one race is superior to another. Can these two concepts co-exist in the same space?
Khabbab ibn al-Aratt (RA) embraced Islam publicly in the early days of Islam. As punishment, he was brutally tortured with hot stones and cinders by the disbelievers. His body bore grotesque scars. Were we to see such an unsightly person today, would we be willing to marry him, or allow our daughters to marry him? During the time of Rasulullah SAW, Khabbab (RA) was highly sought after because of the firmness of his faith. Today, majority of us would be embarassed to be associated with him because we are only concerned about the superficial beauty. Our yardstick is based on what is acceptable in the naked eyes of dunia, and not the unseen superiority of akhirah.
Dunia is an illusion. Peel the mirage away and look beyond. Only then can you see the reality, and your heart will translate what your eyes have always seen but never realised. Only then can you gain closeness to Allah and evolve positively in your journey towards Him.
When we seek to please Allah, we will not see immediate and visible results. It is unlike working for a fixed salary where we know what our budget is. When we endeavour to please Allah with our faith, obedience and sacrifice, He will please us in tangible and intangible ways. Part of the dividends of our efforts will materialize in this life. For example, Allah will grant us iman and draw us close to Him. He will reduce the devotion of the material world and increase our love for Him. For every trial in life that we overcome by responding in the way pleasing to Allah, the corresponding ease will be even greater than the original hardship.
And know that among you is the Messenger of Allah. If he were to obey you in much of the matter, you would be in difficulty, but Allah has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts and has made hateful to you disbelief, defiance and disobedience. Those are the [rightly] guided. (Al Hujarat verse 7)
In the above verse, Allah says that He makes iman beloved to us. As guidance comes from Allah alone, this is the ultimate goodness and show of love from Allah.
The stumbling block for many of us is to maintain our consistent belief in the unseen, and suppressing our own natural instincts for immediate gratification. We are hasty and we want to see the results straightaway. The rewards in the afterlife are immense and even incomprehensible, but they are invisible in this life, we lack steadfastness and patience for the rewards to bear fruit.