How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Love is a feeling that has destroyed nations more than empowering them. Love is a feeling that has been the cause of agony more-so for a number of individuals than real happiness. Love has been criticized and fantasized by young and old, by people of all cultures and religions.
You will notice that whatever/whoever one loves, they mention it/him/her more often. If not to others, at least to themselves inside their head.
Mothers may mention their children more often in their conversation.
Some people may mention their career and the passion they have for it.
Newly-wed, their spouses.
Gluttons- their favourite restaurants and all types of food.
Rulers, like Fir-‘awn in the Quraan, mention themselves and their power. That’s the highest form of self-love.
However, all those types of love leads to restlessness. It almost builds in a human this incessant need of reassurance by words and action. They are in need of a type of confirmation that yes they are loved. With the surfacing of that need, a human seeks the fulfillment of that need day and night. Either they seek it actively and run after it or passively wait and grow expectations. Love turns into unease, stress, unnecessary heartache and sometimes even hatred. Love then becomes the breeding-ground for confusion, the deadly disease.
To Allah SWT belongs the most Beautiful and Complete Praise, loving Allah SWT and then everyone He SWT loved/loves is the most amazing feeling that is void of all the harms that the feeling of love would otherwise bring.
In fact, the more you love Him, the more Dhikr you do,i.e.remember Him in your talk, in public and private. The more Dhikr you do, the more Allah SWT shows you His Signs in His Creations. And that leads to more peace and contentment in the heart. It seems like the love for Allah SWT opens up to your eyes things which you could not see before. I’m not referring to suddenly being able to see Jinns or something. What I’m referring to is that the eye of your mind opens up. There remains no confusion or doubt regarding anything. Certainty or yaQeen gradually gives rise to the beautiful fragrant flower of Tawakul (reliance on Allah SWT).
No doubt with certainty, heart feels at rest and one feels this ‘aura’ of happiness within one’s being not knowing where it’s coming from; yet being sure all-the-same that it exists.
A lot of people don’t realize that Allah SWT can actually show love back to His Slave. Just try loving Him more than anything in this world by donning the characteristics of those whom He loves and you’ll notice Allah SWT showing back His Love to you, and especially, you. Open the MusHaf and recite. Whatever thoughts/doubts that cross your mind will be answered by the very next ayah your eyes fall upon! Or get up and offer 2 Raka’h of Nafl prayer. He SWT will love it when you talk to Him. Can’t do any of that? Remember Him and His Attributes. Your whole world will change!
Imam ibn al Qayyim (R) mentions in his Ad-Da’a wal Dawa’a, in the chapter-‘The Praised Love and the Dispraised Love’:
Loving the Lord is more special in its quantity and description than loving any other, and this love should be attributed to Him alone. The servant should love Allah more than his son, father, his hearing, vision, and his soul which is between his sides. He(referring to Allah) should be his true God and deity and Allah should be better for servant than all other matters. We may love a certain thing from one angle, and the thing may be loved due to other reasobs, but none is loved for His Being and from all angles/sides except Allah alone and the Divinty is confined for Him Alone. Allah has said:
‘Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah , they both would have been ruined…’ [Suratul Anbiya, 21:22]
The Divinity means love, obedience and submission.
Measure yourself and see in which category you fall:
Category # 1: Those who love Allah SWT the most
Category # 2: Those who do not love Him the most (the kind of people who don’t have patience when they lose what they love, they prefer people/things over Allah SWT in obedience, those who prefer their emotions/desires & their fulfillment more than Allah SWT)
And [yet], among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they [should] love Allah . But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah… [Suratul BaQarah,2:165]
…Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him…[Suratul Ma-idah, 5:54]
Please use this Ramadan to commit to at least one category of people Allah SWT loves:
And please don’t make humans your source of love, even if it’s your parents and/or spouses. Love everyone for His Sake and you’ll see how this will remove all the harms that come with this Noble Intention for love.
Protect your heart! Protect your Akhirah!
And Allah SWT knows best.