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Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: "If the basis of practical Tawheed is the love of Allah and His Messenger, it is thus the basis of deification which is the worship of Allah Alone without any partner. The foundation of worship is the most perfect type of love with the most perfect kind of submission. And this is Islam. Likewise, the greatest sins before Allah Almighty is shirk (to associate partners with Allah). He, the Almighty, does not forgive shirk, but does forgive any other sins for whom so ever He wishes.

Shirk can be conspicuous or inconspicuous and subtle. In a hadith, it came that shirk in this ummah is more inconspicuous than the creeping of ants. Abu Bakr then said: "O Messenger of Allah! if it will be more inconspicuous than the creeping of ants, how then can we deal with it?" He (peace be upon him) said: "Let me teach you a statement that when you say it, you will be saved from the minor and major shirk. Say: Allahumma inni a'udhu bika an ushrika bika wa ana a'lamu wa astaghfiruka min ma la a'lam". (O Allah! I seek refuge in You not to associate partners with You knowingly, and I seek Your forgiveness in that which I know not). It is well known that the origin of practical association of partners with Allah was the association of partners with Him in Love. Allah says:

ﭽ ﭾ ﭿ ﮀﮁ ﮂ ﮃ ﮄ ﮅ ﮆ ﮇ ﮉ ﮊ ﮋ ﮌ ﮍ ﮏﮐ ﮑ ﮒ ﮓﮔ ﮕ ﮖ ﮗﮘ ﮙ ﮚ ﮛ ﮜ ﮝ ﮞ

{And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)}

Here, Allah informs that there are some people who take others as rivals to Allah, loving them as they love Allah. However, the believers love Allah much more than they do, as well as more than they love their taken rivals. They associate partners with Allah in Love for Him by dividing the love between Allah and the said rivals. But the believers sincerely love Allah and do not share their love for Him with any other. In fact, Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) were the most beloved to them than anything else. The love of the prophet (peace be upon him) comes from the love of Allah. Also is any love meant for the sake of Allah. In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have said that "if there are three characteristics in a person,  such a person will find the sweetness of Emaan (faith): that Allah and His prophet (peace be upon him) are dearer to him than anything else, that he loves another person solely for the sake of Allah, and that he should hate returning back to disbelief after being guided just as much as he hate being thrown into Hell Fire.'

In another Hadith it is stated that the one who loves and hates, gives and withhold all for the sake of Allah, has perfected faith. In some other tradition it states that no two persons who love each other for the sake of Allah, except that the better one of them is the one whose love for his second is stronger. This is because it is a love for the sake of Allah, and the stronger such love is the better.

It is confirmed in a sound Hadith that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the best of mankind followed by Ibrahim (peace be upon him), with both being bosom friends of Allah. And to be such a bosom friend must entail the peak and pinnacle of love. That was why such love could not be shared, as the prophet (peace be upon him) could be translated to have said in a sound tradition that "If I were to take a khalil (a bosom friend) from among mankind, I would have taken Abu Bakr. But your companion (peace be upon him) is a khalil of Allah.". Therefore, loving that individual whom Allah loves is of the most perfect kind of love. This is the real love for the sake of Allah and in His cause. Nonetheless, so many people do make mistake in recognizing this kind of love. They see some kinds of love to be for the sake of Allah but they are not in reality or believe that falling in love with certain things is the love for Allah, whereas Allah's love is not there. Same thing applies to a situation where one believes that a certain person has the qualities of a knowledgeable scholar or full of true worship of Allah, but in the real sense, they are not available in him. Also one may believe that some of his or her actions are for the sake of Allah, but truly, they are far from it.

Loving what Allah loves is both an internal and external deed. It could be compulsory or exalted. If you love for the sake of Allah, it is considered as part of the love of Allah. And this is tantamount to attracting Allah's love for His servant. In a sound Hadith Al-qudsi, the prophet (peace be upon him) is translated to have said that Allah said: "Anyone who my beloved ones (patron) his enemy, he has competed with me for a war, and none of my servants can get closer to me with anything more than performing that which I have made mandatory upon him. However, my servant would continue to get closer to me with his supererogatory acts until I love him. And when I love him, I take charge of his ear by which he hears, his eyes by which he sees, his hand by which he strikes and his leg by which he walks. Thus, he hears, sees, strikes and walks for my sake. So whenever he requests from me, I will grant him or seeks my help, I will help him. I am never as reluctant in doing anything I do as I am when I have to take the soul of my believing servant who hates to die and I hate to hurt him, but death is a must".

This is also in loving Allah's speech, His Names and Attributes; just as it came in a sound Hadith about a person who usually lead his people in Salat with (Surah Al-Ikhlas) Qul huwa Allahu Ahad, reciting it alone or with another surah. They informed the prophet (peace be upon him) of that, and he said to them: "Ask him why he was doing that". He replied: "It is because I love it." The prophet (peace be upon him) then said to him: "Your love for it has put you in Jannah."

The same thing applies to the love for Allah's angels, His prophets and pious servants. Abdullah ibn Umar used to pray in certain situations during his hajj saying: "O Allah! Make me love You, Your angels, Your prophets and Your pious servants. O Allah! Make me beloved to You, Your angels, Your prophets and Your pious servants.

From the book Qa'edah fil Mahabbah "A principle on love" by Ibn Taymiyyah.


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