IF THESE VERSES DON’T MAKE YOU REFLECT YOU NEED TO RENEW YOUR LOVE
Isn’t it amazing how Allah prompts our love for Him when He does not need us or our love?
Isn’t one of His Names Al-Wadood (The Affectionate, The Most-Loving)?
“O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance. And exalt Him morning and afternoon. It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darkness(es) into the light. And He is All-Merciful to the believers. Their greeting on the Day they meet Him will be, ‘Peace.’ And He has prepared for them a noble reward.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 33:41-44]
In these verses, Allah is endearing Himself to the believers and prompting their affection by reminding them that He is the One who guides them and bestows His Mercy upon them, and that He will greet them on the Day of Judgment with an excellent reward that demonstrates His love for them. As if He is telling them: As your Benefactor who provides you with all this, don’t I deserve your love and constant remembrance (as one continuously remembers his loved one)?!
Our relationship with Allah shouldn’t be solely about anticipating worldly gains or even the rewards of the Hereafter. Rather, Allah’s Pleasure with us must remain a pursuit in and of itself. We must love Allah and eagerly seek His love —Exalted is He— and we should not tolerate living without His Love.
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Don’t you see how Allah Almighty ends many of the verses which contain His Commandments by emphasizing that He loves those who do certain acts and dislikes those who do others? What is the moral of such endings? If we were loyal to Allah Almighty and sincere in our love for Him, these endings should be enough to encourage us to obey His Commandments to attain this grand prize: Allah’s Love for us.
How often do these verse endings reoccur in the Noble Qur’an? Some examples follow :
“…Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 2:195],
“…And Allah loves the steadfast.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 3:146],
“…Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 9:4],
“…Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 2:222],
“Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you…’” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 3:31],
“Indeed, Allah loves those who fight in His cause in a row as though they are a [single] structure joined firmly.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 61:4],
“…Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 3:159]
Have you ever contemplated these verse endings before?
Have you ever felt immense joy upon qualifying for any group of people whom Allah Almighty loves? Does this Love mean the world to you? Doesn’t Allah’s Love deserve to be the loftiest goal and the most sublime meaning we live for?
If we have never reflected upon these verse endings before; if we haven’t bothered about qualifying for these groups before; if our love for Allah has not been enough to make us of the righteous, the patient, the pious, the pure, the followers of the trustworthy messenger, the ones who rely on Allah, and the fighters in His cause; if Allah’s love has not been enough to prompt us to exert our utmost effort to acquire such traits, doesn’t this indicate our apathy towards Allah and our unconcern for His love?
On the other hand, you see how Allah Almighty forbids certain things and then follows their prohibition by mentioning His dislike for those who do them:
“…and Allah does not like the wrongdoers.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 3:57],
“…Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 5:87],
“…Indeed, He likes not those who commit excesses.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 7:31],
“…Indeed, Allah does not like traitors.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 8:58]
When you read these verses, do you think: “If Allah doesn’t love me, will He afflict me with trials or deprive me of some blessings?”
Is that all that matters to you: that the worldly blessings continue and the trials end? Don’t you feel remorse or pain if Allah doesn’t love you? Isn’t losing Allah’s Love a terrifying punishment in and of itself? Isn’t this punishment enough to deter you from committing any oppression, wrongdoing, transgression, or excesses and motivate you to review your words and actions and hold yourself strictly accountable to avoid losing Allah’s Love?
Ask yourself these questions to know whether you are more like Rami, the hard-hearted Rami son, or the loyal and noble Ghassan, who couldn’t bear to see the unhappy look on his father’s face and couldn’t imagine living with the feeling that his father’s love for him had diminished.
Don’t you see how a child derives self-confidence from his parents’ love for him? He only feels calm and serene when his parents express their love for him. If his father tells him: “I don’t love you,” it shatters his world, destroys his self-confidence, and gives him a gloomy outlook on life.
Aren’t we Allah’s dependents, having no sustainer or refuge other than Him?… If Allah tells you: “I don’t love you,” doesn’t it terrify you? Doesn’t it make you tremble in fear? Doesn’t it turn your world upside down? Doesn’t it leave you in a state of unrest and unease?
Shouldn’t you hold yourself accountable for every statement and action that may place you among those whom Allah, the Exalted, doesn’t love?
When your heart absorbs this concept, you will feel its powerful impact as you acquire a new perception of the meanings in many verses and Hadiths, such as:
“Their Lord gives them glad tidings of mercy from Him, and good pleasure and Gardens wherein they have lasting bliss.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 9:21]
Contemplate this verse and see how Allah’s Love radiates from every word!
On the other hand, reflect upon the verses and Hadiths that describe those whom Allah will not speak to or look at. What a miserable punishment it is —for anyone with a heedful heart— when their Beloved won’t speak to them or look at them!
Reflect with me on this Hadith related by Al-Bukhari:
Allah will say to the inhabitants of Paradise: ‘O inhabitants of Paradise!’ They will respond: ‘Here we are! At Your service, O our Lord. All goodness is in Your Hand!’ He will ask them: ‘Are you content?’ They will reply: ‘Why should we not be content, O Lord, when You have given us what You have not given to any of Your creatures?’ Allah will say: ‘Shall I not give you something better than that?’ They will ask: ‘O Lord! What can be better than that?’ Allah will say: ‘I shall bestow My favor upon you, and I shall never be displeased with you.’”
The uncaring heart will find it difficult to comprehend how this is an ultimate blessing! Don’t the inhabitants of Paradise enjoy extended shade, abundant and varied fruit, and maidens with gorgeous eyes? So, what’s so special about the bestowal of Allah’s Pleasure?
Whereas those whose love is sincere know that the Pleasure of their Beloved is the loftiest goal and the utmost ambition:
“Allah has promised the believing men and believing women gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they abide eternally, and pleasant dwellings in gardens of perpetual residence; but approval from Allah is greater. It is that which is the great attainment.” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 9:72]
Yes, indeed, the pleasure of Allah is greater than the gardens, the rivers, and the splendid palaces. It’s the Pleasure of our Most Sublime Beloved Lord!
Let’s reflect upon the following verse:
“So remember Me; I will remember you…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 2:152]
Our Lord is prompting our affection by telling us to remember Him and promising us a reward. What is the reward? That He, the Almighty, would remember us.
The careless heart won’t understand what’s so special about Allah remembering His servants. As for those whose love is sincere, it’s enough of a reward to be remembered by their Almighty and beloved Lord!
Also, reflect upon the Hadith that describes how Allah rejoices, Exalted is He, over his servant’s repentance:
“Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a waterless land and then found it (unexpectedly).” [Muslim]
Isn’t it sufficient as a motive (to repent) for the noble believing servant to know that his repentance will please the Most Sublime Beloved: Allah Almighty!
There’s another even more beautiful aspect. If a loved one gives you a gift, would you be delighted with the gift itself or the fact that it reflects the love of the person who gave it? Definitely, you’ll appreciate the expression of love more than the gift itself.
Therefore, the delight of the inhabitants of Paradise is multiplied. They are celebrating, not only what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, but also what this gift shows of His love for them and His pleasure with them.
Do not forget to appreciate this meaning whenever you read the verses or Hadiths about Allah’s Divine Bounty:
“Their Lord gives them good tidings…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 9:21],
“Allah has prepared for them…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 9:89],
“Allah has promised those who believe…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 5:9],
“…what Allah has bestowed upon them…” [Qur’an Translated Meanings 3:170]
Allah’s Pleasure, manifested in His bestowal of bounty, is more important than the bounty itself.
All the aforementioned doesn’t mean that the believer obeys Allah and worships Him only out of love, without any anticipation of reward or fear of punishment. This incorrect understanding is refuted by the Qur’an and Hadiths:
“…they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 32:16]
“…and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment…” [Qur’an Translated Meaning 17:57]
Rather, what’s intended is to highlight a more important meaning that often escapes us —as it is eclipsed by our fear of Allah and our hope in Him— which is obeying Allah out of love and yearning to attain His Love and His Pleasure.
Are you convinced now that Allah, the Most Exalted, prompts our affection and draws us closer to Him? Did these verses ever make you reflect on the past? Were you keen to reciprocate Allah’s love? Or were you too distracted by the blessings to remember the Bestower of these blessings? If you were distracted, don’t be surprised if Allah afflicts you with trials to remind you to reciprocate His love. Even if the trial is difficult, it is still much better than an empty soul and an unfeeling heart that is oblivious to the prompts of Allah and that does not reciprocate His love.
Summary of this section
If your trial increases your love for Allah, then you have won everything and lost nothing, no matter how big your loss might outwardly seem!