Love is a unique feeling that one experiences for someone or something. Love attained after overcoming trials and tribulations becomes the reason for endless felicitousness. Without love there can't be any sacrifice, neither any effort for creating work. A man brimming with love may feel an illusionary love for the world's ephemeral gifts. Created things deserve to be loved because they portray their Creator. As mystical poet Yunus Emre said : " We love the creatures, due to the Creator." However, those who are contented with the level of only feeling love toward others will never experience the sublime feeling for the Creator of the world.
God expects that the feeling of love, his divine gift for man, is formed in His servants in keeping with His revelation. God told man what he should love through the Books. Man without guidance of the Quran can't know how he should demonstrate love. Baqarah 2/216 :" Perhaps you may love something while it is bad for you, perhaps you may hate something while it is good for you,; God knows while you do not know. " The feeling of love should be imagined as a path leading to Heaven by attentively climbing the steps of the ladder. This applies not only human beings but also to all that God has created. Man must give his love first of all to all believers, then animals, plants and whatever is created. The priority shall be given to parents. The love we have in our heart for the Prophet is the sign of being mature. However the ultimate true love is for God.
Human love in the light of the Quran consists of negative love as God's displeasure and Positive Love as God's pleasure. The utmost love is for the Prophet however the ultimate one is for God.
Negative Love: feeling a passion for things that lie outside the realm of love objects identified in the Quran. Depredatory desires that deify human beings and inanimate things, addiction to worldly assets, lust for fame and status are among these inclinations of negative love. These feelings hinder man's development towards maturity leading him to be punished at the end of the day.
Infatuation with Animate and Inanimate Idols. Baqarah 2/165 : "Yet there are some amongst mankind who take to themselves (for worship) peers other than God; they love them as they should love God.." There are people who lavish affection upon animate and inanimate idols instead of obeying the divine laws. They worship prophets or saints or angels or jinns, and they visit tombs hoping the spirits of departed will bring some benefits to them. They make some sacrifices and make some religious ceremonies for them. This is a heathen practice, a capital sin and a blasphemy. This pointless infatuation with animate and inanimate idols darken the souls and makes people slaves to the Devil. Thus they fail the test in this world.
Passion for the worldly assets. Fajr 89/20 : " you love wealth exceedingly.."Worldy assets are needed however they deserve only moderate relish. If people dote on goods and wealth focusing on accumulation of possesions, it means they have been captured by their nafs (ego, self). In fact this is a kind of deification. Instead of this, to share the assests surplus to their needs in good works on the path towards God, to give zakat and perform acts of charity are duties of the servants foreseen by God. Such possessions will not prevail in the afterlife.
Submission to unfavourable love of the self . Yusuf 12/30 : " And women in the city said:" The wife of Al-Aziz is seeking to seduce her young captive, indeed she has fallen in love madly with him. We think she has clearly gone astray!."" Submitting oneself to this kind of temptation may consume a man leading him to do all kinds of mad things and bringing him to disaster. The absolute way to free oneself from such passion is to take refuge in the Almighty Creator.
Excessive Love for Worldly Goods. Insan 76/27 : " They love the fleeting life (the present, worldly life) and put behind them a Heavy Day. " They yield their unending desires of their nafs. Jathiyah 45/23 : "Have you seen him who has taken his own desire as his god?..." Deriving pleasure from fleeting worldy goods was made possible in order to ensure the perpetuation of life on earth consistent with divine design. However to indulge in lust, to let oneself show excessive love for one's children, to dote on wealth or to have passion for material assets like automobiles, to indulge in the pleasures of the feast, to be extremely ambitious for fame and positions, to let oneself to be carried by human weaknesses to the point of idolizing attributes to them status equivalent to God Almighty. And this is an inexcusable capital sin. Ali Imran 3/14 : " Worldly desires, wives, children, accumulated treasures of gold and silver, horses of noble breed, cattle, and farms are all made to seem attractive to men. All these are the bounties of the worldly life but God has the best place for people to dwell..."
Positive love consists of sentiments that please God. Love for faith, love for human beings, love for one's spouse, and especially love for one's parents. All these are among the features of maturity that are encountered as successive rungs on ladder leading towards maturity. Love of the Prophet is the explicit sign of a mature soul. Ali Imran 3/31 : "(O Muhammad!) Tell people: 'If you love God then follow me, so God will love you and will forgive your sins.."
The servant who has experienced the preparatory phase will reach the level of perfection, the love for God, through pious acts and works that he has performed sincerely based on love. This is the ultimate divine level on the earth.
Share with others the things you love most. Ali Imran 3/92 : "You will never attain righteousness and happiness unless you spend from what you love"
The most commendable act for attaining God's favor is sharing one's most cherished goods, both material and immaterial, knowledge and spiritual values with those who are in need of them. This act requires self-sacrifice. Through these acts one's soul is purified and sublimated in the sight of God.
Love of faith. Hujurat 49/7 : "...God has endeared to you the faith and has made it pleasing in your hearts." Love, the unique sentiment that has been given to mankind by God is beyond the mind, an irrational phenomenon. On the other hand faith is believing in God. God has caused His servants to find joy in the faith in their hearts and they believe in God sincerely. To believe in God only with the mind is not enough, the servant must love God with the heart also. In that case religion is an affair of pure love and the highest point, the purest form of the love, is the servant's love for his Almighty Creator.
Love for human beings. Ali Imran 3/119 : "O believers! You are the ones who love them, while they don't love you." The explicit characteristic of believers is a heart which is replete with love. Their hearts are soft and they always display goodness and beauty. They love all human being regardless of whether the others are believers or not, friend or foe. Even though the unbelievers don't love them, believers love them because of the Creator. Love for human beings, animals, plants and all createion is required because they symbolize the Creator. The great mystic poet Yunus Emre said: : " I love the creatures, due to the Creator." The believer does not have the feeling of vengeance toward enemies even though they have maltreated him, he behaves with forbearance. Love between human beings is absolutely necessary for their maturation into perfection. This love is a step toward divine love which is the ultimate level.
Love for one's Spouse. Rum 30/21 : "He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion" God has created every living creature and everthing in pairs. Human beings have also been created according to this rule and God has instilled the miraculous feeling of love between spouses. The believers must pray to God that he willl select spouses for them who will make them happy. Furqan 25/74 : "...Our Lord! Bless us spouses who will be the joy of our hearts"
Sexual love between spouses is absolutely necessary for the perpetuation of life, contributes to attainment of maturity, and represents an intermediate phase between human and the divine loves. The sexual union between spouses links them to life. Spouses gain maturity by learning to make sacrifices for each other. That is why God Almighty has prohibited adultery. Isra 17/32 : "Do not commit adultery! It is indeed an abomination and an evil path.." Venereal diseases and particularly AIDS are punishments brought upon people by adultery.
Marriage and sexual love are necessary for the maturation of human beings and also for the propogation of future generations. Those who fail to fulfil this are unable to engage in all the experinces requiered in this world. All the prophets experienced matrimony as an experience in preparation for divine love.
Love for parents and children. Isra 17/23-24 : " Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him and always be kind to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age (while) with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them kind words. Treat them with humility and tenderness and say 'My Lord, Have compassion and love on them both for they did take care of me and raised me up when I was a little child..'"
God commands man to love and respect his parents, just secondary to prayer to Him. Reverence and serving them must be unconditional and with deep love and without waiting for any reward or compensation. Love for parents is the highest step in the ladder reaching to divine love. Compassion for them in fact is equal to love for God. In the verse a relationship has been emphasized between the old age of the parents and our state of childhood. We love our children sincerely and without waiting anything in return. The love for our parents has to be the same kind of love, given sincerely and without waiting for anything in return.
A mother has a supreme status because of loving and devoting herself her children. She experiences the difficulties of bearing her child in her womb. And, after she brings her child into the world, she nourishes it without expecting any consideration in return and loves her child sincerely.
Believers must pray and take refuge in God's mercy to bestow upon them children that will be respectful, hardworking, honest and righteous in performing deeds. Furqan 25/74 : "And those who pray 'Our Lord, bestow on us children who pleases our eyes'"
LOVE OF THE LAST PROPHET
God Almighty states in the Quran regarding Hz.Muhammad:
Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; Your suffering distresses him: he is deeply concerned for your welfare and full of kindness and mercy towards the believers. (Taubah 9/128)
The Prophet is closer to the believers than they are to themselves. (Ahāb 33/6)
Holy Muhammad was sent to mankind as a mercy. He empathized with he suffering of men, he couldn't bear to see their sadness because he loved them heartily. He desired that they reform their ways and follow the path traced by God. Towards believers he was kinder (Ra'uf) and more merciful (Rahiym). Ra'uf and Rahiym are epithets used only for the Last Prophet by God amongst the Prophets. We must love our eminent Prophet, who was full of clemency and mercy, more than we love anything, including ourselves. To love the Prophet is, in a sense, to have reached a level of maturity and divine love.
Prophets are perfect men selected from among the generations and endowed with characteristics possessed by no other human being.
Indeed, God chose Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran above mankind. They were descendants one of another...(Ali Imran 3/33-34)
Our Lord, as a law of creation, predestined some people to be prophets and endowed them with outstanding characteristics denied to other human beings. God first created Adam out of clay and sent Adam and Eve to the earth to reproduce. Then Noah, then Abraham and then many descendant of Abraham, including Muhammad, were assigned as prophets. Muhammad, who is the last of the line of prophets, was a symbol of perfection who attained maturity. Thats why God assigned him to deliver His messages to mankind through the Quran, the excellent one amongs the other Holy Books, which will never be changed or destroyed.
Prophets are endowed with special characteristics and are the most worthy servants in the sight of God however they are not deities. Being humans they may make mistakes. Kasas 28/56 : " O Prophet! You can not guide whoever you wish: but God guides anyone He wants, indeed He knows those who would accept guidance.." The mission of the Prophets is only deliver the divine messages. Jinn 72/23 : "My mission is only to deliver what I receive from God and make His messages known. "
Indeed, God and His angels bless the Prophet, so, believers, Send your blessings on him (Muhammad), greet him with greetings and give yourselves to his way with perfect submission. (Ahzāb 33/56)
Salat; primarily meaning prayer, additionally and simultaneously is a blessing exended to our Prophet for loyalty and gladness. God and His angels bless the Prophet and command the believers to also send their blessings and greetings upon the Prophet. The blessing for the Prophet can be made as follows: "O God! Send blessings upon Muhammad and His family" Every daily prayer includes this pray.
Indeed you (O Muhammad) are of a high moral character. (Qalam 68/4)
Muhammad spent his life facing countless tribulations and making sacrifices. However, in respecting that unbelievers also face all sorts of oppression, he was a symbol of interminable patience. He distributed all his belongings among the needy and didn't leave any material legacy, his closest ones had financial difficulties after his departure from life.
Some disbelievers criticized the Prophet over his plurality of wives. Muhammad was twenty-five years old when he married Khadija, his first wife, who was a widow with two children. He lived happily for twenty-five years with this exaltad woman who spent all her goods for the expansion of Islam. They had six children. Since he had been given the mission of spreading Islam, after losing Khadija, he entered other marriages . All his life he had been an example with his morals, virtue and his sacrifices. God Almighty states His compliment for him with this verse also: " Indeed you (O Muhammad) are of a high moral character."
O Prophet! We sent you as a mercy for humankind. (Anbiya 21/107)
My mercy encompasses all things. (Araf 7/156) The messenger of the last holy book had been sent to the entire universe, not to a particular community, as a mercy for the happines of mankind. Saba 34/28 : "O Prophet, We sent you to mankind, to give them good news and forewarn them."
Say (O Muhammad): "If you sincerely love God, then follow me; So God will love you and forgive your sins..."(Al-Imran 3/31)
To pattern ourselves on our Prophet, to emulate his worship, his morals, his relationships with others as much as we can, follow his footsteps to enable us to reach divine love. The ultimate extent of our reach is the possibility to imitate the Prophet as he is the living the Quran. Ahzab 33/21: "The Messenger of God is an excellent model for anyone who puts his hope in God and the Last Day, and remembers God often.." To follow the Prophet, contribute to purification of the nafs, gain divine attributes and, finally, reach maturity to attain divine love of the merciful and blessed God.
LOVE FOR GOD
Some verses from the Quran about this highly important topic:
...Those who believe are more ardent in their love of God...(Baqarah 2/165)
...Those who love Him and are loved by Him...(Maidah 5/54)
...Our Lord, You are the Most Compassionate, Merciful-to-all! (Hashr 59/10)
...Your real ally is God!...(Maide 5/55)
According to the one of the hadiths, God revealed: " I was a hidden treasure, I desired to be known, so I created the universe " Love is the motive for creation. Love is the symbol of the mystery and one of the characteristics of God. It is love and not dread or self-interest that leads one to God. God is the true friend of man and indeed He created man as a khalifa. As a matter of the creation fact, love for created things such as the opposite sex, children, and wealth is normal. However this kind of love is considered as the preparatory stage along the path to divine love. The true love is love for the Almighty Creator. The Quran says: "...Those who believe are more ardent in their love of God." The believers love their Creator effusively. Love for the human being is a sign that one has the capacity to scale the ladder of faith. "Those who love Him and are loved by Him" This verse points out that love is the essence of the relationship between God and his servant. Love human beings, spouse, parents and children are steps on the ladder to maturity. Love for the prophet is the ultimate step and love for God is the peak.
The servant who reaches maturity begins to yearn for the entity from whom he had separated. As the nafs (self) purifies and sublimates through divine attributes, the servant begins to perceive the mystery of eternity. This is a process which has various stages consists of dual poles. On the one hand there is Almighty God who is the source of love and beauty and, on the other hand, there is the servant who has reached to the maturity with his luminous heart. Two poles converge towards each other but God is the first one to transmit His love. Shura 42/13 : "...God chooses for Himself whoever He wills..." Eventually the mystical union is realized whereby the servant achieves oneness out of plurality.
Without feeling love for human beings and all creation the servant can't experience divine love. Mankind and all creatures constitute the limitless attributes of God. Every created one owes its being to a cause derived from God's wisdom. Man occupies the pinnacle of all reasons for the creation mystery. Our Lord projected His sublime characteristics to man so in other words, man is considered as the mirror of the Creator. Love should be the essential element among human beings. Love is the divine guide that leads the part (man) to the whole (God).
Love should be directed toward all of creation not only toward human beings because all created things reflect the image of God. Beginning with believers, all mankind, animals, plants as well as the creatures of whose existence we are aware and unaware must be loved. The great mystical poet expressed this realitiy following: "We love the creatures, due to the Creator"
One can't reach divine love without loving faith. God has endowed man with the capacity to have insight into Him. Faith is the state that the servants wholeheartedly embrace in believing in the existence, power, and benevolence of God. Hujurat 49/7 : "God has endeared the Faith to you, and has made it beautiful in your hearts" Religion is a love affair between two poles ,the Almighty Creator and man. Baqarah 2:152 : "...So you remember me and I will remember you... " God Almighty, the source of love, answers the prays of His servants rapidly, turning their wish into reality immediately. However, as man is left free to choose between belief and unbelief, some partion of humanity has chosen unbelief under the influence of their nafs and satan. Yusuf 12/103 : "...most of the people are not going to be believers."
The path to God Almighty goes through faith. Faith begins with a spark in one's heart and expands until becoming divine love. Man sublimates as long as he loves faith. Anfal 8/2 : " The true believers are only those whose hearts tremble with awe when God is mentioned, whose faith increases when His revelations are recited to them." The Quran states: Fath 48/4 : " God sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers, so that they add belief to their belief " The peak of loving the faith is the point where man attains divine love. Baqarah 2/165:"Those who believe are more ardent in their love of God..." Attaining divine beauty can be possible through the heart, elevating love for the faith beyond the limits of the mind and knowledge.
One can't reach divine love without loving Prophet. Almighty God stipulated that one's love for the Prophet preceeds attainment of divine love. God endowed the Prophet with special attributes and revealed the Quran through him. That the Prophet is the living Quran and the mirror of God has beautiful examples: Ahzab 33/21 : " You indeed have in the messenger of God, an excellent example of conduct, for anyone whose hope is in God and the Last Day, and who engages much in the praise of God..." One whose faith is deepest and unshakeable is the one who imitates him best. The servant becomes mature when his love for the Prophet becomes dominant. To love God is possible by loving and following His perfect image. Ali Imran 3/31 : "Say (O Prophet)! : If you love God then follow me so God will love you and forgive your sins..."
One can't attain divine love without reaching maturity. Love for God becomes possible after lifting the curtain of nafs that stands between the Creator and the Created. It is expected that we must abandon the evil attributes of nafs as well as embrace the divine attributes through our patience and effort before reaching the higher grades of love. This becomes possible by pious performance of taqwa in our lives. Ridding ourselves gradually from nafs such as the glamour of the fleeting world of gifts, allows us to assume certain features like love, infaq, regular prayer, repentance, patience, benevolence and knowledge. One becomes conscious of the fact that only love and reliance for the Absolute Being is essential; that love for the created is only a step towards divine love. According to one of the hadiths as follows: " No space can encompasse me but the heart of my servant." The nafs wane and even disappear, in direct proportion to the love ignited in the believer's heart for God. The Prophet said: "Die before you die". It is considered that understanding this mystery will bring about waning of the evil attributes of nafs and lead to embracing divine attributes. Then, the servant reaches the summit of the stage in the world, according God's will. Fajr 89/27-30: " O soul at peace! Return to your Lord well-pleased and pleasing (to Him). Enter among My ( righteous) servants, enter My Paradise."
O young men! There is a POWER that loves and protects us more than our parents, spouses and children: He is called GOD ALMIGHTY. We take refuge in Him because of our biggest difficulties. We should understand and implement the Qur'an in our lives as a guide so that we may be blessed by God both in the world and and in the next life.
THE NEXT WORLD