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How Do We Best Show Our Love for the Prophet?

This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.

Love is a beautiful emotion that affects every relationship.

What makes someone love another?

In some relationships, love comes naturally without any effort to inculcate it, e.g. the love a parent feels for their baby as soon as it is born, which allows them to care for him/her around the clock.

In other relationships, love stems and gets nurtured over time, usually after a person gets to know another more closely, after which they begin to admire and appreciate the qualities and behavior of the latter.

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Even in the most close, biological relationships, however, love wanes and increases, as various experiences and changing circumstances of life affect the relationship.

For example, when a parent transforms from a loving, supportive pillar of strength into a weak, demanding and clingy dependent, his/her (now adult) child might feel their love for that same parent put to a test.

Similarly, in all those relationships that are not biological in nature, feelings of love fluctuate, depending on a person’s life situation, and his/her state of mind and heart.

However, love for the Divine is the only kind of love that is constant, because it is felt for a deity whose state of majesty never changes, even slightly; a deity that possesses attributes and qualities that are constant and invincible.

The Love of Allah Requisites the Love of Prophet Muhammad

Like all other kinds of love, the love of God also comes with knowledge – knowledge of His attributes, His powers, and the way He works wonders in one’s life, in addition to recognizing Him through His clear signs and His words (the Quran). The more knowledge one gains about God, the more one recognizes Him, and loves Him.

Love for God is the only kind that increases one’s awe; the more fear and reverence of Him, the more it gains intensity. And love for God comes with another condition:

{Say: “If you do love Allah, follow me. Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.} (3: 31)

The abysmal difference between deity and human being becomes profound in the relationship between God and those of His human creation that believes in and loves Him.

Whereas, the Creator is free from any defect and absolutely perfect, His human creation is prone to err. Therefore, in order to guide His human slaves about how to obey Him, worship Him, and how to live their lives on earth in accordance with His commands to earn His pleasure, He sent among them human “messengers” who were physically like them, yet were divinely guided, to practically show them how to become the person that God would love in return.

Hence, the Quran clearly states that if a believer loves God, he or she should “follow” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), do everything exactly as he did in order to gain God’s love.

How to Increase Our Love for Prophet Muhammad

The love of Prophet Muhammad is a prerequisite to loving God. The Quran says:

{He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah…} (4: 80)

In order to please God, every Muslim has to have a role model to follow, in order to reach his/her ultimate goal of winning the pleasure of God. Thankfully, through His infinite mercy, God sent His last messenger, Muhammad, as the perfect role model for Muslims and non-Muslims alike, till the end of time.

It is worth pointing out here, that being a mortal like us, he could not have lived much longer than the average human lifespan, and hence, it is a blessing for the latter-day Muslims that the Prophet’s companions, who saw him and had dealings with him throughout his later life during which he carried out his duties as a messenger of God, meticulously wrote down, recorded, and safeguarded (from distortion) everything that he did: his Sunnah.

It is because of their sincere and painstaking efforts at recording and safeguarding the Sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad that all those Muslims who lived after he died, including us, were able to know what he was like, and hence, love and admire him, and lead lives according to his Sunnah.

Anas ibn Malik narrates that Prophet Muhammad said:

“I wish that I could meet my brothers.”

The companions asked:

“Aren’t we your brothers?”

He replied:

“You are my Companions, but my brothers are those who will believe in me without having seen me.” (Ahmad)

How can someone who enters the fold of Islam today increase his love for Prophet Muhammad?

Study the Quran, Including Backdrops of Verse Revelation

How much one loves another person depends upon knowledge, experience and observation of them: knowing them, recognizing their true nature, qualities, and attributes through dealing with them, and observing their behavior over time, especially any pain and sacrifice they endure for your sake.

The more righteous and kind someone is; the more good they do to others around them; the more welfare and happiness they bring; the more they benefit others through their behavior, words and actions – the more other people love, admire and emulate that person.

Studying the Quran will make us go through all of those events in the Prophet’s life that served as the backdrop for the revelation of most of the Quran’s verses.

For example at many times in the Quran, God reassures the Prophet in a sympathetic tone after the latter is subjected to extreme emotional as well as psychological antagonism by his enemies.

By studying these verses, we get to know how much pain, verbal abuse and social tribulation the Prophet patiently endured for the sake of his mission: of conveying the message of Islam to the masses.

This will endear him to us even more, because we, and especially new reverts to Islam, will realize that the reason we are able to believe in Islam today is because it lived on to reach us.

And the reason it lived on was because of the patience, toil and sacrifice made by the Prophet, who was able to endure and overcome, with God’s help, a myriad of obstacles in order to successfully establish Islam on earth till the end of mankind.

Act Upon the Prophet’s Sunnah

Ever notice how a child or youngster acts around someone older, whom they love?

They try to imitate their way of talking, dressing, eating, sleeping and of generally doing things. They rush to serve and help them if they need aid. They also cry and get hurt if that person becomes angry at them, or ignores them.

It should be exactly the same for a Muslim believer, new or old, who loves Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Upon finding out through his quests for Islamic knowledge what the Prophet did and how, what he used to approve of or be pleased with, and what he’d get angry at or disapprove of, the believer immediately puts this knowledge into his own actions, and adjusts his routine, lifestyle, behavior, conduct and habits accordingly, even if this change of persona causes him worldly loss, or invites scorn from others.

The more a person incorporates the Prophet’s sunnah into his life, the more he loves him, because his actions become a stepping-stone for higher levels of faith, God-consciousness (taqwa), and love of God.

A clear indication of how much love a Muslim has for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not so much his verbal declarations and lip service, but rather, the state of his thoughts, actions, appearance, dealings and behavior – and how much they are in accordance with those of the Prophet.