The Significance of Love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in the Quran and Hadith
Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala is perfect in His attributes and the owner of the treasures of the earth and heavens. This Merciful and Generous Being has bestowed boundless and countless blessings upon humanity. If He had not provided guidance, humans would have gone astray; if He had not granted vision, humans would have been blind; if He had not given hearing, humans would have been deaf; if He had not given speech, humans would have been mute; if He had not given legs, humans would have been crippled; if He had not given hair on the head, humans would have been bald; if He had not provided sustenance, humans would have been destitute; if He had not given a good appearance, humans would have been ugly; if He had not granted health, humans would have been sick; if He had not given offspring, humans would have been childless, and if He had not granted honor, humans would have been humiliated. So, everything that humans possess is a gift from Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala.
Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala has shown kindness to the believers
The astonishing thing is that, despite bestowing countless blessings, Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala has not yet fully rewarded His beneficence. However, there is one blessing that He has given in such a way that, after bestowing it, the Bestower Himself felt the pleasure of granting a gift, and He expressed it in clear words.
لَقَدْ مَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًۭا مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُوا۟ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَإِن كَانُوا۟ مِن قَبْلُ لَفِى ضَلَـٰلٍۢ مُّبِينٍ ١٦٤
Allah has surely conferred favor on the believers when He raised in their midst a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses and makes them pure and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, while earlier, they were in open error. (3:164)
The arrival of the Prophet (ﷺ), is a special blessing from Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala upon all of humanity. It is inherent in human nature to have love for this blessing and also to have love for the one who bestows this blessing. Therefore, believers have a profound love for Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala and also a profound love for the beloved of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala. This is narrated in Sahih al-Tirmidhi.
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ، سُلَيْمَانُ بْنُ الأَشْعَثِ قَالَ أَخْبَرَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ مَعِينٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ سُلَيْمَانَ النَّوْفَلِيِّ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ أَحِبُّوا اللَّهَ لِمَا يَغْذُوكُمْ مِنْ نِعَمِهِ وَأَحِبُّونِي بِحُبِّ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبُّوا أَهْلَ بَيْتِي لِحُبِّي ” . قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ إِنَّمَا نَعْرِفُهُ مِنْ هَذَا الْوَجْهِ .
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Love Allah for what He nourishes you with of His Blessings, love me due to the love of Allah, and love the people of my house due to love of me.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)
The love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is such a clear and evident proof of love for Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala.
Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala’s Greatest and Most Magnificent Gift
Anyone who loves the Prophet, (ﷺ) will, in reality, be expressing gratitude for blessings of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala, and the principle is that blessings are praised and rewarded. This is divine guidance.
لي لئن شكر ثم لا زيدنكُمْ
If you express gratitude, we will bestow more blessings and gifts upon you.
Here, a question arises: Did Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala grant us His greatest gift in the form of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)? Now, if we show appreciation for this gift, what greater power will we receive? The answer to this is that the greatest blessing we can attain is Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala’s pleasure and love. Therefore, anyone who loves the Prophet, (ﷺ), will, in return, receive Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala’s love and be granted His satisfaction.
“You have indeed fulfilled your promise, O Muhammad
Is there anything in this realm that does not belong to you”
The love for the Prophet, peace be upon him, is the key to achieving success in both this world and the Hereafter. It is a divine mercy that pours down like a continuous rain and is indeed a sign of true happiness.
“For whoever possesses the love of Mustafa
The oceans and the lands are contained within the corner of his robe”
Anyone who immerses themselves in the love of Mustafa, (ﷺ), finds the oceans and lands contained within the corner of his robe.
The connection with the Prophet (ﷺ) is, in fact, a connection with Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala
In reality, having a connection with the Prophet, (ﷺ) is having a connection with Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala. This is emphasized in the Noble Quran.
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُبَايِعُونَكَ إِنَّمَا يُبَايِعُونَ ٱللَّهَ يَدُ ٱللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ ۚ فَمَن نَّكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنكُثُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِۦ ۖ وَمَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِمَا عَـٰهَدَ عَلَيْهُ ٱللَّهَ فَسَيُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًۭا ١٠
Those who pledge allegiance with you (by placing their hands in your hand)- they, in fact, pledge allegiance with Allah. Allah’s hand is over their hands. Then, whoever breaks his pledge breaks it to his own detriment, and whoever fulfils the covenant he has made with Allah, He will give him a great reward. (48:10)
Once on the battlefield, the Prophet, (ﷺ) threw a handful of dust towards the disbelievers, and Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala attributed it to Himself.
فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَتَلَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ رَمَىٰ ۚ وَلِيُبْلِىَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلَآءً حَسَنًا ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌۭ ١٧
So, it is not you who killed them, but in fact Allah killed them. And you did not throw when you threw but Allah did throw, so that He might bless the believers with a good favour. Surely, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (8:17)
Examples make it clear that when Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala attributes the actions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to Himself, then love for the Prophet is, in fact, love for Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala.
Or, it can be said that having a connection with the Prophet, peace be upon him, is having a connection with Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala. Whoever does not have love and a connection with the Prophet, does not have a connection with Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala either. The connection with Mustafa is indeed something remarkable; whoever is not connected to it lacks honor. It is not “yours” or “ours”; it is what Allah Himself has declared. What is not yours, is not ours.
Evidence from the Noble Quran
This is divine guidance.
ٱلنَّبِىُّ أَوْلَىٰ بِٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَأَزْوَٰجُهُۥٓ أُمَّهَـٰتُهُمْ ۗ وَأُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَرْحَامِ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلَىٰ بِبَعْضٍۢ فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُهَـٰجِرِينَ إِلَّآ أَن تَفْعَلُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰٓ أَوْلِيَآئِكُم مَّعْرُوفًۭا ۚ كَانَ ذَٰلِكَ فِى ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ مَسْطُورًۭا ٦
The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers; and those having mutual kinship are closer to one another (for the purpose of inheritance) than (other) believers and emigrants according to the Book of Allah, unless you do some good to your friends (by making a will in their favor). This had been written in the Book (the Preserved Tablet). (33:6)
If physical relationships can be a cause of love and affection, then why wouldn’t spiritual connections be a reason for love? In fact, even if spiritual connections are of the lowest degree, they can be stronger than the strongest physical bonds. Therefore, if there is love here, there will be a degree of devotion there. If there is superficial love here, there will be the impact of true love there.
This is divine guidance.
قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌۭ رَّحِيمٌۭ ٣١
Say (O Prophet): “If you really love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (3:31)
Because the effects of love from Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala have been revealed to me, and the lights of His nearness are filled within me. My obedience is, in reality, a gratitude for His love. When you follow my guidance and express gratitude to Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala, He will increase your love and knowledge.
Truth of Love
In the eyes of the mystics and lovers, the reality of love is that the heart turns into a blazing fire of passion, the soul yearns and trembles with the pleasure of love like a fish out of water, the senses drown in the sea of humanity, the ego becomes pure like crystal-clear water, and every body becomes a mere vessel to behold the beloved. Both worlds vanish from sight, and the innermost self embarks on a journey into the unseen of the unseen. Adorned by the virtues of the beloved, this is the essence of true love.
Explanation and Reality of Obedience
Obedience is the degree of compliance that is not enforced by coercion but is born out of willingness and desire. This willingness and desire can only arise when the follower attains perfect love and attachment to the one they are following. Linguistically, in the explanation of obedience, Imam Raghib Asfahani (رضي الله عنه) has spoken profound words.
والتبيع خص بولد البقرة اذا تبع امه
The term “Tabi” (follower) is used for the calf because it follows its mother (out of intense affection)
This paragraph suggests that obedience is the act in which undesirable obedience turns into the quality of obedience. An example of this is when a person commands his servant to bring a certain thing. The servant, out of extreme obedience and without any complaint, brings the item in scorching heat, showing heartfelt devotion to the master. He does not even feel the slightest discomfort for the sake of saving his job. On the other hand, a teacher advises his fortunate student to bring something without any urgency, suggesting that the intensity of the heat will decrease when the sun sets, and it can be done comfortably at that time. However, the fortunate student, with unwavering devotion, runs in the scorching heat without taking the heat and discomfort into account and brings the item with full satisfaction, not concerned about the sweat but rather seeking the pleasure of the teacher’s heart. In the first case, the servant obeyed reluctantly, while in the second case, the student obeyed willingly. This second type of obedience is called “Itbaa” (following) and we have been commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in order to become beloved to Allah. Therefore, for attaining divine love, following the Prophet is like a means and it is akin to a decoration.
Guidance of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala
قُلْ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَإِخْوَٰنُكُمْ وَأَزْوَٰجُكُمْ وَعَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَأَمْوَٰلٌ ٱقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَتِجَـٰرَةٌۭ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَمَسَـٰكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ وَجِهَادٍۢ فِى سَبِيلِهِۦ فَتَرَبَّصُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِىَ ٱللَّهُ بِأَمْرِهِۦ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ ٢٤
Say, “If your fathers and your sons and your brothers and your spouses and your clan and the wealth you have earned and the trade you apprehend will recede and the homes you like are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and Jihād in His way, then, wait until Allah comes with His command. Allah does not lead the sinning people to the right path.” (9:24)
Islam is a religion based on human nature (fitrah). It takes into account the needs and natural inclinations of human beings. Therefore, it does not command that all relationships and ties be severed, or that love for loved ones and relatives be destroyed, as has been the practice of some religious communities in the history of religions, where people abandoned a life of priesthood and chose to live in the wilderness. Islam, while advocating moderation and balance, has stated that the path to Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala is not only through the wilderness and caves but also through the bustling markets.
Islam shows that the purpose of human life is not to get lost in worldly possessions and to be consumed only by familial relationships. The love for these things is not prohibited; rather, it is excessiveness that is discouraged. Hence, these things should not hinder your spiritual growth on the path of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala and His beloved Messenger.
If you are called to the fields of charity and martyrdom, and your path is not blocked, then the love for Allah and His Messenger should not be hindered. And if there ever arises a situation where these things obstruct your path towards God, then overcome these attachments and things, and move forward.
So, it is clear from these verses that the love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) should surpass all other things.
From Prophetic Traditions
This narration is reported from Hazrat Anas (رضي الله عنه).
أَخْبَرَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، قَالَ أَنْبَأَنَا جَرِيرٌ، عَنْ مَنْصُورٍ، عَنْ طَلْقِ بْنِ حَبِيبٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ ثَلاَثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ بِهِنَّ حَلاَوَةَ الإِيمَانِ وَطَعْمَهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا وَأَنْ يُحِبَّ فِي اللَّهِ وَأَنْ يُبْغِضَ فِي اللَّهِ وَأَنْ تُوقَدَ نَارٌ عَظِيمَةٌ فَيَقَعُ فِيهَا أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَنْ يُشْرِكَ بِاللَّهِ شَيْئًا ” .
It was narrated that Anas bin Malik said: “The messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘There are three things, whoever attains them will find therein the sweetness of faith: When Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, and His Messenger (ﷺ) are dearer to him than all else; when he loves for the sake of Allah and hates for the sake of Allah; and when a huge fire be lit and he fall into it, than associate anything with Allah.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
The essence of faith is that one experiences pleasure in performing acts of worship and is willing to endure even the most challenging hardships for the satisfaction of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The love of Allah Subhanahoo Wata’ala is because He is the Supreme Giver and the Bestower of true blessings. All blessings are dependent on His grace and generosity, and the love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), is because he is the means to receive spiritual gifts and divine knowledge. This is the saying of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi, may Allah have mercy on him.
اھل الليل في ليلهم الذ من اهل الهوى في هواهم
The people of luxury do not find the joy in their indulgences that the people of Allah find in the worship of the night. If a person cannot attain the quality of this worshipful joy, they should at least not deny it, but rather accept the testimony of the perfect and the righteous. ‘And if you do not see the crescent, then complete the number (of days) and fast.’ So, if you yourself haven’t seen the moon, then accept the words of those who have seen it. Thus, it is established that the Prophet (ﷺ) said that to have love and affection for Him is the greatest sign among the signs of true faith.
The Prophet Muhammad, (ﷺ) said.
وَعَنْ أَنَسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَالِدِهِ وَوَلَدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ»
Anas reported God’s messenger as saying, “None of you believes till I am dearer to him than his father, his child, and all mankind.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Human beings naturally and inherently have love for their parents, children, and dear ones, and it is through this love that they willingly shoulder various responsibilities. At times, they even choose the path of sin, as explained in the above Hadith with great clarity. Believers should have the utmost love for the Noble Prophet (ﷺ) above all. When the heart is dominated by love for the Messenger, no one will engage in any act contrary to kinship and relationships. By using the term ‘people,’ the scope has been broadened significantly. Therefore, in the heart of a believer, love for the Prophet (ﷺ) should surpass all of creation. This has been made a condition of faith, which emphasizes its importance even more.
O Allah, grant me a swift reunion with my loved ones
In one tradition, it is narrated that the Noble Prophet (ﷺ) prayed, ‘O Allah, grant me a swift reunion with my loved ones.’ Upon hearing this, Hazrat Thawban was amazed and asked, ‘Whom are you praying to meet so urgently?’ The Prophet (ﷺ) replied, ‘Thawban, you have seen me, received revelations with me, witnessed angels descending, and had the honor of being in my company. So, your faith is precious. Until the Day of Judgment, some people will come who have not seen me, only read about me in books, but their love for me will be so intense that if they could sell their children to have a glimpse of me, they would. Thawban, I am praying to meet such loved ones.’
Hazrat Umar once presented himself before the Noble Prophet (ﷺ) and asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah, is my faith complete because I love you more than everything, even my own self?’ The Prophet (ﷺ) responded, ‘No, Umar, your faith is not complete until I am more beloved to you than your own self.’ Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umar was overcome with emotion and immediately exclaimed, ‘Now, by Allah, you are indeed more beloved to me than even my own self.’ It is essential to understand that Hazrat Umar initially believed that when a person is injured, the pain is shared equally among those who care about them. However, when the Prophet (ﷺ) stated that his love should surpass even one’s own self, Hazrat Umar realized that if an enemy attacked the Prophet (ﷺ), he would sacrifice his own life to protect him. Thus, he promptly replied, ‘Praise be to Allah, now you are more beloved to me than my own self.
Love for Muhammad (ﷺ) is the first condition of true faith
If it is lacking, everything is incomplete
A person will be with the one they love. An Arab, who was in the service of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), approached and asked, ‘When will the Hour (the Day of Judgment) come?’ The Prophet (ﷺ) asked, ‘What preparation have you made for it?’ The Arab replied, ‘I have not offered many prayers, nor have I observed many fasts. I only have one thing, that I love Allah and His Messenger.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘A person will be with the one they love.’
The Height of the Joy of the Companions
The companions used to say that after embracing Islam, they never experienced as much joy as they did when they heard this hadith. For the lovers, there is no better news. The gratitude we express for this is still insufficient. It is narrated that a sincere lover of the Prophet, Hazrat Thawban, was once present, and his face was pale, and he appeared distraught. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) inquired about the reason for his condition. The afflicted lover replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, neither physical suffering nor worldly problems afflict me. The matter is that when your blessed countenance is not before my eyes, my heart becomes restless, and I immediately long for your blessed presence.’ Now, it haunts my heart that in paradise, your station will be the highest while I will be in a lower rank. If I do not have the opportunity to visit you there, what joy will there be in paradise?’ The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) listened to this story and remained silent. It was at that moment when Hazrat Jibril (Gabriel) came with the good news that we, the obedient lovers, will not be separated from you in paradise.
وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّهَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ رَفِيقًۭا ٦٩
Love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in Inanimate Objects and Animals
The beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is not only cherished by humans but also by animals, plants, and inanimate objects. There are several signs of this love. On the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, when the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) began sacrificing camels with his blessed hands, the noble companions were astonished to see that the camels were eagerly rushing forward, competing with each other to be sacrificed first, as if they were saying, ‘Sacrifice me first, sacrifice me first
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) cried so much upon the separation of the sacred tree (the trunk of a date palm) known as “Hananah” that the Mosque of Ghamama (the Cloud Mosque) trembled, leaving the noble companions astonished. On various occasions, trees greeting the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is a clear indication of their love for him, a love for the Prophet that is evident in plants. In a narration found in Bukhari and Muslim, it is mentioned that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) once looked towards Mount Uhud and said, “This mountain loves us, and we love it.” This statement also serves as evidence of the presence of the Prophet’s love in inanimate objects. All these examples demonstrate the widespread love for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
May Allah grant us all true and complete love for the noble Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Amen.
“I ask for nothing from this world, O beloved,
All I desire is the imprint of your foot on my chest.”