In class we discussed Imam Al-Ghazali’s definition of “love.” One of the definition’s included loving something because of what it offers in the hereafter or loving something based on a ‘condition’ or a personal agenda. My question is: 1) When we think of Jannah and the love of Allah, do we only love Allah based on going to Jannah(which is a condition) and 2) how do we make it so the ultimate goal is the love of Allah itself? 3) How do we increase our love and God-consciousness?
JazakAllah and may Allah reward you, this has got me really reflecting!
Time: Friday April 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm
Answers: وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته
I appreciate your question. It is not fiqh based. It seems to me that you want more out of life then then the regular. This is a great thing. You seem to have placed some supreme thought on the matter of love. Your question is a little compounded. We have tried to sift it out to give you our best response.
Answer 1) One can love Allah with the intent of attaining Jannah. Likewise, one can do just enough good deeds to get themselves into paradise. This type of love is not supreme for it shows lack of appreciation for that which Allah has bestowed upon His creation. It is a reluctant and selfish love. It is a conditional type of love. ‘I love you because you give me air, food water, attain something i want, etc.’ It is the type of love many take part in, it is an immature love of Allah.
Such a lover must realize that they are being unfair to themselves. They are not extending themselves to their maximum potential. Allah is not limited in what He gives to His creation. ‘If you are to count the bounties of Allah, you would not be able to do so (ayah). To get more, we must be willing to give me. To our amazement, giving more to Allah does not change the Kindness or Greatness. It makes us better people. The idea is not to love Allah for Jannah. It is to love Allah to attain His pleasure!
Answer2) If your ultimate goal is to love Allah, then your internal and external thoughts must be passionately monitored. To attain this type of ‘ultimate love,’ kindly reflect upon the following:
- you can never truly love Allah if you cannot accept all His claims/laws unconditionally as outlined in the Quran. Placing restrictions and conditions on Allah — even unknowingly inhibits spiritual growth.
- One cannot ever reach the feat of spirituality until one makes their ideas the ideas and actions of the Prophets (peace be upon them all.)
- Every reservation held towards Allah or any of the prophets and their families is to reduce the effect of maximizing ones loftiness before Allah.
Here are examples on how to achieve maximum benefit
EVERYTHING IS FROM ALLAH:
Jesus (PBUH) was once enjoying some shade. The owner chided him away from it. His response: You did not move me away from this wall. It is Allah that was dissatisfied with me being in this shade and thus I was moved! (Now this is ultimate love for Allah.) (page 205 vol iv Gazalli)
Hasan al Basri used to say whenever he met anyone: You are better than me. (page 204 vol iv Gazalli)
Abu Solaiman Darani said: Give up what keeps you away from Allah (page 204 vol iv Gazalli)
Answer 3) To increase love for Allah, one must ask themselves a key question: What is my relationship with my Allah? Is it 5 times a day? Or is it 24/7? Do I look at what Allah wants me to look at? Do I love what Allah wants me to love? Do I eat what Allah wants me to eat? Do I speak what Allah wants me to speak?
Imaam Ghazille states:
… sever all worldly connection and remove love of things not linked to Allah. If water is not taken out of the mind, then in such an instance the mind would not become vacant. Allah has not given any person two minds/brains. Love of Allah lessens when love of other entities come into its vessel. Love of Allah diminishes as other things gain love within our hearts. (Ghazalli iv p.307)
…The weakness of the heart is leaving Allah for love of the world…
Second way to increase our love for Allah is to focus on the Greatness of Allah and extend His Greatness to the entire heart. This love only becomes a reality when the mind is purified from all worldly delights/pleasures/engagements (that remain futile). This removal of weeds is half the work of harvesting a good crop. From here shall grow love and recognition of Allah. (Ghazalli iv p.308) Is not that what we all want?
I sincerely appreciate this question. It has helped me reflect as well. I cannot thank you enough.
Allah Certainly Knows Best.
p.s. Parts of the above can assist in better understanding relational love as well. That however is a separate issue.