Why Is Love So Important?

Love is one of the great secrets of life. It is an integral part of our life and yet many of us don't really quite get it. Let us explore on how Islam helps us define what love is.
by Ustazah Nurul ‘Izzah Khamsani 2021-05-18 • 14 min read
After spending 12 years of her education at Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah, Ustazah Nurul 'Izzah furthered her studies at Al-Azhar University and was conferred the B.A. of Islamic Theology. Her melodious recitation of the Quran has brought her to represent Singapore in many of the Quran Recital and Memorisation Competitions both at the national and international level.
2021-05-18 • 14 min read

What is love and what is its role in life?

Love is something intrinsic in the core of all human beings. It is the powerful feeling of immense liking of the heart towards someone or something. It can drive people to do many things to please the beloved or to sacrifice for the beloved. Love also can be defined as the soul’s inclination to something which suits it and pleases it.

 Love as described in the Quran

وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ ٱللَّهِ ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ يَرَى ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ إِذْ يَرَوْنَ ٱلْعَذَابَ أَنَّ ٱلْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعَذَابِ 

"Still there are some who take others as Allah’s equal—they love them as they should love Allah—but the believers love Allah even more. If only the wrongdoers could see the punishment (awaiting them), they would certainly realize that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is indeed severe in punishment."

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:165)

Love is mentioned as "hubb" in the Quran. Some mentions of love in the Quran are related to Allah as in the verse above where the believers are positively described by Allah as those who have a strong love for Him. Allah s.w.t. also mentions those whom He loves and those He doesn’t in the Quran.

These are the people whom Allah loves:

Al-Muhsinīn - The doers of good

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ

“for Allah certainly loves those who do good.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:195)

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, 3:134)

(Surah Ali ‘Imran, 3:148)

(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:13)

(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:93)

At-Tawwābīn - Those who constantly repent

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ

“Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:222)

-

Al-Muttohhirīn - Those who purify themselves

وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُطَّهِّرِينَ

“And Allah loves those who purify themselves.”

(Surah At-Taubah, 9:108)

-

Al-Muttaqīn - Those who are the righteous

فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ

“Surely Allah loves those who act right (righteous)”

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:76)

(Surah At-Taubah, 9:4)

(Surah At-Taubah, 9:7)

As-Sābirīn - Those who are steadfast

وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

“Allah loves those who persevere”

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:146)

-

Al-Muqsitīn - Those who act justly

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُقْسِطِينَ

“Surely Allah loves those who are just.”

(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:42)

(Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:9)

(Surah Al-Mumtahanah, 60:8)

Al-Mutawakkilīn - Those who rely upon Allah

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ

“Surely, Allah loves those who place their trust in Him”

(Surah Ali-’Imran,3:159)

-

Yuqotiluuna fi sabīlihi - Those who fight in Allah’s cause

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ

“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His cause”

(Surah As-Saf, 61:4)

-

 

Those whom Allah does not love: 

Al-Mu'tadīn - The Transgressors

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُعْتَدِينَ

“Verily, Allah does not like the transgressors.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:190)

(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:87)

(Surah Al-A'raf, 7:55)

Kaffārin Athīm - Every sinning disbeliever

وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ كَفَّارٍ أَثِيمٍ

“And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:276)

-

Al-Kāfirīn - The Disbelievers

فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ

then truly Allah does not like the disbelievers.

(Surah Ali-'Imran, 3:32)

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:32)

(Surah Ar-Rum, 30:45)

Az-Zholimīn - The Wrongdoers/Oppressors

وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

“And Allah does not like the wrongdoers”

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:57)

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:140)

(Surah Ash-Shura, 42:40)

Mukhtālan fakhura - Those who self-deluding and boastful

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا

“Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful”

(Surah An-Nisa, 4:36)

(Surah Luqman, 31:18)

(Surah Al-Hadid, 57:23)

Khawwānan Athīma - Sinful deceiver    

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَن كَانَ خَوَّانًا أَثِيمًا

“Surely Allah does not like those who are deceitful, sinful.”

(Surah An-Nisa, 4:107)

-

Al-Mufsidīn - The corruptors

وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

“And Allah does not like corruptors.”

(Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5:64)

(Surah Al-Qasas, 28:77)

Al-Musrifīn - Those who commit excess

إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَ

 “Surely He does not like the wasteful.”

(Surah Al-An'am, 6:141)

(Surah Al-A'raf, 7:31)

Al-Khā-inīn - The traitors

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْخَآئِنِينَ

“Surely Allah does not like those who betray.”

(Surah Al-Anfaal, 8:58)

-

Al-Mustakbirīn - The arrogant

إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ

“Surely, He does not like the arrogant.”

(Surah An-Nahl, 16:23)

-

Khawwānin kafuur - Treacherous and ungrateful

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ خَوَّانٍ كَفُورٍ

“Surely Allah does not like whoever is deceitful, ungrateful.”

(Surah Al-Hajj, 22:38)

-

Al-Farihīn - The exultant

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْفَرِحِينَ

“Surely Allah does not like the prideful.”

(Surah Al-Qasas, 28:76)

-

 

Love for others (marital, familial and communal) and the meaning behind it

Allah has bestowed upon us the feeling of wanting to love and to be loved by others. It’s inherent (fitrah) in us and other beings. As such, Allah creates for us our spouses and families as a source of love, mercy, cooperation and protection. 

Marital

It is described in the Quran: 

وَمِنْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦٓ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَٰجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوٓا۟ إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَـٰتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

“And of His signs is that he created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for people who give thought.”

(Surah Ar-Rum, 30:21)

Both husband and wife need to have love, mercy, trust and respect towards each other. Love is manifested through open, honest and respectful communication where both partners can easily share and express each other’s aspirations and feelings. Love is also shown through loyalty and fulfilling responsibilities towards each other. As marriage is not a bed of roses all the time, husband and wife need to learn how to manage conflict as and when it arises and to be forgiving. Love and trust that have been built over time are crucial in helping to cushion the impact of a conflict.

Familial

When we talk about familial love, what comes into the mind as an ideal familial love is one that is full of love, care, responsibility, kindness, gentleness and togetherness. 

A loving and caring family begins with a loving couple. From both parents, the children will learn the beauty of being loved and how to be loving. These children tend to grow up in appreciation of good values nurtured by their parents and hopefully, they will cherish & uphold these values in their lives.

For the love of the family, the leaders of the family are responsible to keep the family members safe and well protected, not only in this world but also in the Hereafter. Allah reminds us of this responsibility in Surah At-Tahriim: 

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ قُوٓا۟ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا ٱلنَّاسُ وَٱلْحِجَارَةُ

“O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones...”

(Surah At-Tahrim, 66:6)

Communal

A loving and caring family is the building block of a compassionate community; one that cares for its members and wouldn’t leave anyone behind. This is essential in building a successful nation and future generation. It is an expression of the golden rule mentioned by the Prophet s.a.w.

لا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ

"None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself"

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Falling in love with God

We learn to know and believe in Allah from our parents and teachers and these blessed people learnt from those who came before them until it reaches the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w, the master of all teachers. 

Our beloved Prophet s.a.w. taught us that Allah loves us as His servants. Among His 99 Divine Names, we most frequently call upon Him ‘Ar-Rahman’ and  ‘Ar-Rahim’. These two names are chosen to be in the most read kalimah (word), ‘Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Rahiim’. He loves to be known as ‘Ar-Rahman’ (the Entirely Merciful) & ‘Ar-Rahim’ (Especially Merciful).

We and all beings are in constant need of Him and totally rely on Him while He doesn't need anyone or anything as He is The Creator of all beings. Allah is the one who loves us, knows us, and understands us. He knows our needs and wants, our deepest fear & hope, our deeds be it in secret or open. He is the One who fulfils and gives us all the blessings in this world and in the Hereafter. In fact, the biggest blessing is to know Him, to be loved by Him and to love Him back in return.

Allah’s love is so vast such that it encompasses all things. This is mentioned in the Quran:

قَالَ عَذَابِىٓ أُصِيبُ بِهِۦ مَنْ أَشَآءُ ۖ وَرَحْمَتِى وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ ۚ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَٱلَّذِينَ هُم بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ

“…Allah said, “My punishment – I afflict with it whom I will, but My mercy encompasses all things.” So I will decree it (especially) for those who fear Me and give zakah and those who believe in Our verses.”

(Surah Al-A’raf, 7:156)

If we say we love Allah, we should try our very best to follow our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his teachings. Allah taught us in the Quran how to love Him:

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ ٱللَّهَ فَٱتَّبِعُونِى يُحْبِبْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“Say, (O Muhammad), “If you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:31)

In yearning for Allah’s love, I would like to share with you a beautiful prayer. The companion, Abud-Darda' r.a. reported: The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, 

كَانَ مِنْ دُعَاءِ دَاوُدَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ حُبَّكَ وَحُبَّ مَنْ يُحِبُّكَ وَالْعَمَلَ الَّذِي يُبَلِّغُنِي حُبَّكَ اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ حُبَّكَ أَحَبَّ إِلَىَّ مِنْ نَفْسِي وَأَهْلِي وَمِنَ الْمَاءِ الْبَارِدِ

Allahumma innī as-aluka hubbaka, wa hubba man yuhibbuka, wal-'amalal ladzī yuballighunī hubbaka. Allahummaj'al hubbaka ahabba ilayya min nafsī, wa ahli, wa minal-ma-il-baridi

"One of Prophet Dawud's supplications was: (O Allah! I ask You for Your Love, the love of those who love You, and deeds which will cause me to attain Your Love. O Allah! Make Your Love dearer to me than myself, my family and the cold water)."

(Sunan At- Tirmizi)
 

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