Generally speaking, if you are European or Western, you’ll be used to quite a compartmentalized society. We like our space and we like our privacy.
That is not to say that we don’t like to socialize because we do, but we like it on our terms.
It’s well known that some of the biggest cities in the world are also the loneliest. Throngs of strangers pass by each other constantly, no one smiling or speaking. In some cases, people don’t even speak to their neighbors.
When I was little, the street, which my granny lived on, was a hive of activity, No one locked their front door and neighbors would wander in and out of each other’s house. They’d help each other out in times of difficulty and just be there for each other.
We seem to have lost this.
So when I became Muslim, I was very intrigued when I heard people say that they did something for the sake of Allah or loved someone for the sake of Allah.
What does it mean to love someone for the sake of Allah?
Nature of Love
Romantic love is also notoriously fleeting in modern society; it has even been reduced to a right or left swipe on a smartphone app. For those of us who have accepted Islam of our own accord, many have had boyfriends or girlfriends.
We loved to suit ourselves. We loved only if the love being returned was good enough for us. If it wasn’t, we moved on.
Love is rarely unconditional. The best example we can give in this world is the love a parent has for their child. No matter what you do for your child, you don’t expect anything in return except their happiness.
Whether we admit it or not, we expect something back. If we do a favor for someone, we expect a favor back. At the very least, we expect thanks.
But this should not be the nature of love between Muslims.
Love Between Believers
One day, a man went to visit his friend in some village. In the way, Allah has sent him an angel. The angel asked him: where are you going? The man answered: I am going to visit a brother in this village. The angel asked: do you want any interest or benefit from him? He answered: no, I just love him for the sake of Allah. The angel said: I am the messenger of Allah to you, Allah loved you as you loved your brother. (Narrated by Muslim 2576)
Read that again.
“Allah loved you as you loved your brother.”
Do we love our brothers and sisters in Islam? Are we reaching out to each other and building a strong community?
As Muslims we should be able to ask each other for help, company or comfort and feel reassured that someone will be there for us. That is love for the sake of Allah.
Love of Allah
We can earn the love of Allah if we can love each other for His sake. Could it really be that easy?
Loving for the sake of Allah is a selfless love. It’s doing something for someone with no wish for anything in return. Better still, it’s doing something for someone we don’t even particularly like but doing it solely for the pleasure of Allah.
Not for acknowledgment, not for applause, purely for the sake of earning the reward of Allah.
It’s doing good for someone or being kind to someone with no ulterior motive. We do it, not expecting as much as a thank you, but knowing that Allah is pleased with us and will love us for our intention and effort.
Day of Judgment
Let me share a beautiful hadith with you:
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
Allah shall ask on the Day of Judgment; ‘Where are those who loved for the sake of my greatness? Today, when there is no shade, I shall keep them in my shade.’ (Muslim)
The prospect of the Day of Judgment is quite a scary one.
Yet Allah has promised to protect and shade those who loved each other for His sake.
So, isn’t it worth trying to incorporate into our lives more deeds for the sake of Allah?
Ideas to Try
Here are some suggestions to get you started. Remember to first make your intention to do it for the sake of Allah.
- Spend more time with your parents.
- Give someone a sincere compliment.
- Check on elderly neighbors when there’s bad weather.
- Donate to charity.
- Make dua for people.
- Text or email a friend you haven’t been in touch with for a while.
- Tell your friends that you love them for the sake of Allah.
- Leave a love note for your spouse to find.
- Donate blood.
- Drop food round to a neighbor.