Love is in the air. Or at least that’s what advertisers want you to think this month. While it’s nice to express your love often, Valentine’s Day comes once a year to give you no choice. And for the owners of floral boutiques and chocolate shops, feast comes in February.
But even amidst such commercialized affections, one can hardly keep from thinking about those they love. And while we do so, we are inevitably faced with some ultimate questions.
I was reminded of some of those questions when I reflected on something a friend of mine had told me. She was describing how it felt to be with the person she loved. In her words, the whole world disappeared when they were together. The more I reflected on her statement, the more it affected me, and the more it made me wonder.
Love for Allah
We, as humans, are made to feel love and attachment towards others. This is part of our human nature. But what I realized was, we can feel this way about another human being, but five times a day we enter into a meeting with our Lord and Creator.
I wondered how often we ever felt the whole world disappear while we are praying in His presence. Can we really claim that our love for Allah is greater than our love for anyone, and anything else?
So often we think that Allah only tests us with hardships. But this isn’t true. Allah also tests us with ease. He tests us with His blessings and with the things we love.
And it is often in these tests that so many of us fail. We fail because when Allah gives us these blessings, we unwittingly turn them into false idols of the heart.
When Allah blesses us with money, we depend on the money, rather than Allah. We forget that the source of our provision is not, and never was the money—but rather the giver of that money.
Suddenly, we’re willing to do some impermissible things like selling alcohol to avoid losing money in our business. In doing so we are, foolishly and ironically, disobeying the Provider in order to protect the provision.
The Test of Love
When Allah blesses us with someone that we love, we forget that Allah is the source of that blessing, and we begin to love that person as we should love Allah. That person becomes the center of our world—all our concerns, all our thoughts, plans, fears, hopes, revolve only around him.
And if he was to leave us, our whole world would crumble. So now, we have shifted our worship from the Source of the blessing to the blessing itself.
Yet there are people who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah… (2:165)
It is because of this tendency to lose sight once given blessings that Allah warns us in the Quran when He says:
Say: “If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and struggling in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (9:24)
It is important to note that all the things listed in this verse are permissible to love, and are actually blessings. In fact, some of those blessings are signs of Allah as He says in the Quran:
And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect. (30:21)
But, on the other hand, Allah warns by saying in the Quran:
O you who believe, your spouses and your children can be your enemies; so beware of them… (64:14)
The warning in this verse is critical. Our spouses and our children are listed here because they are among the things we love the most. And it is in those things which you love the most that you find the greatest test.
So if conquering that test means seeing through a storm of greeting cards and roses to a greater love that awaits, then so be it. And when could that be more relevant?
Because after all, love is in the air.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive)