allah, the exalted, says:
"say (o muhammad (pbuh) to mankind): `if you (really) love allah then follow me (i.e., accept islamic monotheism, follow the qur'an and the sunnah), allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. and allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful.''' (3:31)
"o you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion (islam), allah will bring a people whom he will love and they will love him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. that is the grace of allah which he bestows on whom he wills. and allah is all-sufficient for his creatures' needs, all-knower.'' (5:54)
386. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah, the exalted, has said: `i will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of mine. and the most beloved thing with which my slave comes nearer to me, is what i have enjoined upon him; and my slave keeps on coming closer to me through performing nawafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until i love him, (so much so that) i become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks me something, i will surely give him, and if he seeks my protection (refuge), i will surely protect him".
commentary: this hadith tell us the status and distinctive signs of the favoured men of allah ('auliya' allah) the noble qur'an has defined them as:
"those who believed (in the oneness of allah) and used to fear allah much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds)". (10:63).
according to this definition, every believer who really fears allah is a favoured of allah. it means that except for faith and piety, favoured of allah are neither people of the special kind nor have they any special distinctive signs, as is generally thought by some people. in this respect, the ignorance of the general public is shocking because they regard even such persons as favoured of allah who not only neglect the religious obligations and the practice of the prophet (pbuh), but also woefully lack cleanliness. sometimes they call even mad or half-mad persons as favourites of allah, whereas a wali in the true sense is one who is meticulous about observing the obligations and is fearful of allah.
this hadith brings about the following four points:
firstly, the love of those whom allah loves entail the love of allah, and hating them entails the hatred of allah..
secondly, when a true muslim acquires nearness and love of allah by means of performing religious obligations, supererogatory and voluntary prayers, allah then becomes his special helper and protects his limbs and organs and does not let them work for his disobedience. then he does not use any part of his body for things which are disliked by him. it is wrong to infer from this hadith, as men of heretical and polytheistic trend try to do, that auliya' become the eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. of allah. that is to say that almighty allah descends in them. thus, on the basis of this contemptible reasoning, they conclude that it makes no difference whether one begs from allah or auliya because the two are one being. for such people supplicating "o allah! help us'', "o prophet of allah! help us'' and "o ali! help us'' etc., are all right. one who says so has certainly gone astray, rather commits shirk (polytheism). may allah save us from these sins. according to the hadith, a true pious man likes and adopts what is liked by allah, and avoids all such things which are not liked by him.
thirdly, the performance of the obligatory acts of worshipping has the first and foremost importance for attaining the pleasure of allah because their fulfillment is liked the most by allah and also because they furnish the foundation, on which the edifice of islam is built. as we cannot think of a building without foundation, similarly, we cannot think of voluntary worship without fulfilling the basic obligations. the fact is that one who neglects them ceases to be a muslim. this is the reason for the severe warnings of allah to those who default on this account. those who neglect voluntary prayers have not been given any warning. it is, however, true that their performance in addition to the obligatory ones increases lustre of obligations. nawafil (voluntary acts of worship) help one to attain the exalted place of being loved by allah by virtue of which one is endowed with the special help of allah.
fourthly, almighty allah certainly grants the prayers of those whom he loves. but acceptance of their prayers, however, does not mean that their results appear at once. sometime the results of these prayers appear after a long time. the prayer of virtuous persons is certainly granted but whether it takes a long or short time depends solely on the will of allah.
387. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "when allah loves a slave, calls out jibril and says: `i love so-and-so; so love him'. then jibril loves him. after that he (jibril) announces to the inhabitants of heavens that allah loves so-and-so; so love him; and the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him and then make people on earth love him".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration of muslim is: messenger of allah, (pbuh) said: "when allah loves a slave, he calls jibril (gabriel) and says: `i love so-and-so; so love him.' and then jibril loves him. then he (jibril) announces in the heavens saying: allah loves so-and-so; so love him; then the inhabitants of the heavens (the angels) also love him; and then people on earth love him. and when allah hates a slave, he calls jibril and says: `i hate so-and-so, so hate him.' then jibril also hates him. he (jibril) then announces amongst the inhabitants of heavens: `verily, allah hates so-and-so, so you also hate him.' thus they also start to hate him. then he becomes the object of hatred on the earth also".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith mentions the reward of love for the sake of allah. a person who loves for the sake of allah is not only loved by allah but also by the inhabitants of the earth as well as the heavens. on the other hand, those who are hated by allah are also hated by the inhabitants of the earth and the heavens. it must be borne in mind that they alone remain popular in this world who are righteous by nature - who strictly maintain the distinction between the lawful and the unlawful (ma`ruf and munkar). but those whose nature is defected by constant sins, cease to distinguish between right and wrong and lose their credibility. they generally hate the pious persons for the reason that every category of people loves and likes people of its own kind.
388. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: messenger of allah, (pbuh) appointed a man in charge of an army unit who led them in salat (prayer); he always concluded his recitation with surat al-ikhlas: "say (o muhammad (pbuh)): 'he is allah, (the) one. allah-us-samad (allah - the self-sufficient). he begets not, nor was he begotten. and there is none equal or comparable to him.''' (112:1-4) upon their return to al-madinah, they mentioned this to messenger of allah (pbuh), who said, "ask him why he does so?'' he was asked and he said, "this surah contains the attributes of allah, the gracious, and i love to recite it. messenger of allah (pbuh) then told them, "tell him that allah loves him".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: we learn from the hadith the following:
1. the companions always rushed to the prophet (pbuh) to ask his opinion about anything they noticed strange to them.
2. the superiority of surat al-ikhlas as it clarifies points of tauhid.
3. the permissibility to recite two surah during salat, apart from surat al-fatihah, in one single rak`ah.
4. the permissibility of reciting the same surah over and over again, as this sahabi (companion) who led the salat used to recite surat al-ikhlas after each recitation.