Steps to Gain Allah's Love
the qur'an details seven qualities that almighty allah loves and seven qualities that almighty allah does not love. then, we-muslims-have a way to explore the steps to gaining his love.
human beings by nature, love rewards when they exert themselves. and when they are devoted to a cause, coupled with anticipating the rewards, they tend to strive more and bear the discomfort that comes with the struggle.
this is similar to our relationship with allah. almighty allah loves it when we exert ourselves for his sake and he describes the payoffs when he loves his servant .
as prophet muhammad says in a hadith qudsi ,
"...when i love him(my faithful servant) i am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. were he to ask [something] of me, i would surely give it to him, and were he to ask me for refuge, i would surely grant him it. i do not hesitate about anything as much as i hesitate about [seizing] the soul of my faithful servant: he hates death and i hate hurting him" (al-bukhari).
this is indeed an aspiration worth pursuing, a dream worth fulfilling and a love worth nurturing.
why would it not be?
the one who does good when displeased,
how will he be when pleased?
(the key to paradise by ibn rajab al-hanbali)
therefore, to complete one's faith and gain this love, we should seek only allah alone in love, hate, giving and withholding and allah alone must be our lord and the only one whom we worship.
let me break it down - it is total submission and the essence of submission is to love what the beloved loves and to abstain from what he does not love.
this was how our pious predecessors achieved the criteria of true worshippers and reached the highest level in their efforts. allah loves his servant to beautify his tongue through speaking the truth, his heart through sincerity, piety, repentance, trust and patience, his body through obeying and purifying it from all dirt.
seven qualities that allah loves
1. tawbah (repentance)
(truly allah loves those who turn to him in repentance ) (al-baqarah 2:222)
repentance is a form of detoxification – sincere repentance cleanses and beautifies the iman (faith).
we all commit sins but allah loves those who after committing sins, seek forgiveness with deep sorrow and regret.
this is the only way by which the past can be set right. allah has a concern for those he loves, therefore each time we slip and relapse into the abyss of desires and sincerely repent, he (exalted be him) leads us out of it to the summit of forgiveness and further relieves us of hardship and provides for us.
2. taharah (purification)
( ...allah loves those who purify themselves ) (al-baqarah 2: 222).
this is the external purification. the secret to this is performing the acts with the intention of following the example of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
the removal of filth from the body by performing wudu’ (ablution) and ghusl (ritual bath) and removal of filth from the garment, body and place of prayer. they are acts that purify the body and radiate the iman . it is a means by which almighty allah will wipe out our sins and raise our ranks.
( surely, allah loves al-muttaqun (the pious) ) ( at-tawbah 9: 4)
the fear of allah is the source of a pure soul – it is borne out of love and obedience. thus, a pious person is constantly driven to do good only.
he/she is humble and does not flaunt piety in front of others. the fear of allah beautifies the iman and is the origin of all good as one continues to strive to do only what pleases allah and stay away from the things that would displease him.
piety is an internal quality as the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“taqwa is here” and he pointed to his chest (muslim) and it is a quality that puts us above others in the sight of allah.
4. ihsan (goodness & perfection)
( verily allah loves al-muhsinun (the good doers) ) ( aal `imran 3: 34).
prophet muhammad(pbuh) says,
"ihsan is to worship allah (swt) as if you see him and if you cannot achieve this devotion, then you must know that he sees you " (al-bukhari).
ihsan goes beyond a noble trait; it is an integral part of islam. it is the secret to an attentive heart – knowing that allah is watching everything. this fills the heart with respect and veneration and one becomes too embarrassed to go against allah's commands. it promotes performance of good deeds for the sake of allah and not for show-off or to gain praise or fame.
5. tawakkul (trust in allah)
( allah loves those who put their trust in him ) ( aal `imran 3:159).
the secret and reality of trust in allah is the reliance of the heart on allah alone. therefore trusting in allah by wordof mouth is different from trusting in him by the heart.
reliance is doing and hoping; doing everything necessary within one's capability to achieve one's aim and hoping with tranquility of heart and soul and putting one's trust in allah with firm belief that whatever the outcome might be, it is as a result of the will of allah and his decree.
one should never feel that too much time has passed by without supplications being answered; rather we should always place our hope on the one who is able to do all things. prophet muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him ) says, "if you all depend on allah, with due reliance, he would certainly give you provision as he gives to birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk" (at-tirmidhi).
6. qist (justice)
( verily, allah loves those who act justly ) ( al-ma’idah 5:42).
justice is a prerequisite to peace which is missing in our contemporary society. it involves giving other people the right we give ourselves, treating people the way we would like to be treated.
justice sounds like a word meant for the leaders alone but rather it affects us all.
7. sabr (patience)
( and allah loves as-sabirin (the patient) ) ( aal `imran 3:146).
patience is one of the most noble of virtues and traits. it is to endure what one dislikes with a sense of acceptance and submission and anticipating allah's reward.
ali (may allah be pleased with him) said: "patience to iman is like the head to a body: if the head is cut off, the body perishes as well."(gems and jewels)
muslims should adhere to patience when afflicted with calamity and should not yield either to desperation nor despondence because if we are patient, everything that was destined and preordained for us will occur and we will be rewarded. if we complain and are hopeless, then all that was destined for us will still occur, but we will be blamed for our impatience at allah's will.
seven qualities that allah does not love
1. israaf (extravagance)
( verily, he likes not al-musrifun (those who waste by extravagance)) (al-an'am 6:141)
excessive spending and lavishness in everything is the core of evil and leads to greater evil. it makes one forget the hereafter and preparing for it. such acts would be a cause of humiliation and disgrace on the day of judgment.
that is why almighty allah has prescribed zakah (obligatory alms) and sadaqah (voluntary charity) in order to bless the wealth and to curb extravagance in eating, drinking, clothing and in everything we do.
2. istikbaar (pride)
( he likes not the proud) (an-nahl 16:23)
and the prophet says,
"pride is to completely disregard the truth and scorn (looking down upon) the people" (muslim)
sometimes a person might be deceived by his/ her knowledge, wealth and property, lineage and ancestry, or worship and be arrogant and boastful.
al-hasan al-basri advised that: "do not become proud merely because you worship often, for consider what happened to iblis after he spent a great deal of time worshipping" (gems and jewels)
pride is among the greatest means of damage to a person's wealth and circumstances. it distances one away from allah's love and "whoever has an iota of pride in his/her heart will not enter paradise"(muslim).
3. mukhtal fakhoor (arrogant boaster)
( verily, allah likes not any arrogant boaster) (luqman 31:18).
being arrogant and boastful are a deadly combination –beauty, knowledge, wealth and noble lineage should be taken as gifts from almighty allah and one should be humble and grateful for them rather than make them a means of pride and oppression.
servants of allah cannot be true to themselves as long as they are flattering themselves, walking in an arrogant manner and looking down on people who are inferior to them and not mix with them.
the one who is arrogant in this world will be disgraced on the day of judgment.
prophet muhammad says,
"the arrogant will be gathered on the day of judgment in the form of small ants. humiliation will surround them from everywhere"(at-tirmidhi).
4. udwaan (transgression)
( verily, allah does not like the transgressors-(mu'tadeen ) ) ( al-ma’idah 5: 87).
human characteristics have limitations, which if surpassed would be transgression and if one falls short of it, it would be a defect – for example, generosity has a limitation, when surpassed, it becomes extravagance, when courage is surpassed, it becomes rashness; when ibadah (worship) is surpassed, one falls into the risk of adopting bid’ah - some of the companions almost fell into this trap when one of them said, "i will not eat meat,'' another said, "i will not marry women,'' while the third said, "i will not sleep on the bed.''
when the prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) heard these statements, he said, “what is the matter with some people who said such and such? i fast and break the fast, sleep and wake to stand to pray, eat meat, and marry women. he who is not pleased with my sunnah is not with me.”(al bukhari)
therefore, moderation is the best way to deal with all matters – it is not to exaggerate and make it hard for ourselves by prohibiting the permissible things. and not to transgress the limits by excessively indulging in the permissible matters but rather we should only use what satisfies our need and not fall into extravagance.
5. zulm (evil, wrongdoing)
( and allah does not like the zalimun (oppressors, polytheists and wrong doers)) (al-imran 3:57).
this is a reprehensible trait whose existence spoils the iman and darkens the heart. the wrongdoers are those who have chosen the tempting transient life instead of the hereafter.
all acts of wrongdoing such as stealing, breach of trust, embezzlement, usurping the rights of others, and bribery, have serious consequences in the hereafter.
in a hadith qudsi, almighty allah says : "o my servants, i have forbidden oppression for myself and have made it forbidden among you. therefore, do not commit oppression" (muslim).
6. khiyaanah (treachery)
( certainly, allah likes not the treacherous) (al-anfal 8: 58).
the treacherous one is two-faced and inconsistent in words and deeds. acts of treachery lead to betrayal, disloyalty, perfidy, deception and hypocrisy which in turn soil the iman.
7. ifsaad (mischief-making)
( and allah does not like the mufsidun (mischief makers)) (al-ma’idah 5: 64).
this is a comprehensive term which includes great crimes, sins, oppression, carrying false tales, hypocrisy, tyranny and all kinds of mischief. all these acts are despicable and stain the iman.
hasten today to adopt the qualities that almighty allah loves and don't rest until they become second nature to you; hasten today to abandon all the qualities allah does not love and don't relent until you hate them with all your heart. the prophet said: "faith wears out in the heart of any one of you just as clothes wear out, so ask allah to renew the faith in your hearts." (al-haakim in al-mustadrak and al-haythami in majma az-zawaa'id)
therefore the key is supplication, resorting to allah and sincere desire to please him followed by action, so we say,
"allahuma habbib ilayna –al-iman wa zayyinhu fi quloobina.
"o allah make iman beloved to us and beautify it in our hearts".