Why do Muslims love one another? What is the measure by which Muslims love one another?
One of the main characteristics of Muslims is that they have a great love of Allah, Allah’s messengers and prophets and for all Muslims who seek Allah’s approval. This bond of love and friendship between believers is revealed as follows in the Qur’an: “Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and those who have iman: Those who establish prayer and pay alms, and bow.” (Qur’an, 5:55)
The true source of Muslims’ love for one another is their profound love of Allah. Believers whose aim in the life of this world is to earn the approval and mercy of Allah and paradise spend their whole lives for Allah. As revealed in the Qur’an in the verse “Say: ‘My prayer and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allah alone, the Lord of all the worlds,” (Qur’an, 6:162), they seek to earn Allah’s approval in all they do and in all their behavior. The love of believers who dedicate all they have to earning Allah’s approval is also for Allah alone.
The love of a believer who knows Allah, who witnesses His might and greatness at every moment and who feels His love, affection and mercy throughout his life, is incomparable stronger than any other love. His love for other believers will similarly be powerful and profound since it is based on love of Allah. The fact that he knows that the friendship he enjoys with other believers will last for all time in the hereafter is another reason for that being very strong and permanent.
Allah cites the moral values of the Prophet Yahya (peace be upon him) in the Qur’an as an example of the love of believers: “[After the child had been born and grown We said], ‘John, take hold of the Book with vigor.’ We gave him judgment while still a child, and tenderness and purity from Us — he had piety.” (Qur’an, 19:12-13)
Our Prophet (peace be upon him) also reveals in the Hadiths that believers’ love for one another is for Allah’s approval. Abu Zarr relates: “Rasulullah (peace be upon him) said: “The most virtuous of deeds is to love for Allah’s sake and to hate for Allah’s sake.” (Kutub-i-Sitte, Vol. 10, p. 140; Abu Davud, Sunnet 3, 4599)
“The strongest bonds of faith are friendship for Allah, enmity for Allah and love for Allah.” (Kutub-i-Sitte, Vol. 10, p. 141)
Believers with a great love and fear of Allah and who honestly strive for His approval of them, are auspicious people who bring beauty to the world. Because of these superior virtues they also love Allah’s creations, feel affection and compassion for them, and wish to protect them and do them good.
Allah has revealed that in return for this fine love and their sincere devotion to our Lord that stem from the faith in believers’ hearts and their fear of Him, they will be rewarded with paradise, the place of the best love and devotion.
The Qur’an is the Basis of Love.
Our Lord does not only command His servants to love in the Qur’an. He also describes in detail what form the foundation of love will take. For example, He reveals that at the basis of a person’s love for someone else will lie patience, loyalty, generosity, care, truthfulness, courage, protectiveness and loving other more than one loves oneself. Allah refers to this love as follows in the Qur’an:
“Those who were already settled in the abode, and in faith, before they came, love those who have made pilgrimage to them and do not find in their hearts any need for what they have been given and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy. It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful.” (Qur’an, 59:9)
As revealed in this verse, characteristics such as consideration, loyalty and fortitude are the most significant indicators of love. People who are egotistical and selfish, and not patient and forgiving, are totally devoid of true love. Our Lord, who of course has a flawless knowledge of the behavior and attitudes of the servants He creates, their psychology in other words, describes the features of people who are loveless and do not behave in accordance with the moral values of the Qur’an in detail in that book, and thus makes it easier for Muslims to identify those characteristics.
Allah reveals in the Qur’an that hard work and care and attention are necessary for love. He notes that loves needs to be tended, just like a flower. Some people who do not know the true love that Allah describes in the Qur’an imagine that love is dependent on physical appearance and that people can only be loved if they are attractive. Yet people’s anatomical structures consist of flesh, fat, bone and blood; therefore, were it not for the skin, the work of Allah’s matchless creation, there would be very little about people to like.
People who turn their love toward matter do not in fact love that appearance. It is at this point that the basis of the true love that believers feel for one another emerges. This is because believers love people, not just for their external appearance, but for the moral virtues they embody in their souls. And it is believers who live by the moral values of the Qur’an and seek the approval of Allah who possesses these moral qualities. For that reason, Muslims love other Muslims. And among Muslims, they most love those they regard as having the most piety and being the most sincere because according to the Qur’an, love is dependent on piety, and Muslims most love the person they regard as having most of Allah’s approval. This is revealed as follows in a verse: “Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who have faith have greater love for Allah. If only you could see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that truly all strength belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
Written by Haruna Yahya: The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.