How to earn Allah’s love, and the love of the people

Waterfall and stream


By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

A man came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which, if I do it, will cause Allah to love me and people to love me.” He (the Prophet pbuh) said, “Renounce the world and Allah will love you; renounce what people possess and people will love you.”

This does not mean to give up all worldly possessions. Islam is not a religion of monasticism. It means that we should never value material possessions above our relationship with Allah. Give up the hunger for wealth, the blind scrabbling for dollars no matter the consequence, the obsession with the number on your bank statement. Give these things up, renounce them, and dedicate yourself to the worship of Allah. Live a righteous life, and pursue excellence in everything you do, including your work and family life.

Live simply, humbly, earning your livelihood and providing for your family without trying to own the “best” and latest of everything.

Do this, and love will flow to you from Allah.

Three Parts of Zuhd

Zuhd refers to asceticism or detachment; removing from one’s heart the attachment to the material pleasures of life. Since I have said that we have no monasticism in Islam, what do we mean by zuhd?

Yunus ibn Maisarah said, ” Being detached from this world does not mean that you should forbid what Allah has permitted, nor that you should squander money. Rather, it is a state in which you are more certain of what is in the hand of Allah than you are of what is in your own hands: your state in misfortune is the same as your state at other times; your attitude towards those who quite rightly criticise you and those who quite rightly praise you is the same.”

There are three things that are mentioned here:

1. You are more certain of what is in the hand of Allah than what is in your own hands. At first, this sounds crazy. After all, I can see that shiny silver dollar – or crisp $100 bill – in my own hand, while I cannot see what Allah holds, right? The money in my bank account offers me financial security, right?

Wrong. The money in your hand could be snatched away or lost, while the balance in your account could be devalued in an instant, or lost in an economic crash. Meanwhile, even if your money remains sound, your heart could stop and in one moment you would have passed beyond the bounds of this life. There is no amount of money that can offer true security in this life. It’s an illusion.

As for what is in Allah’s hand, it is everything, everything! It is your sight, the breath in your lungs, the blood coursing through your veins; the food in your mouth, the water you drink, the sunshine that causes plants to grow. It is everything.

Abu  Hazim az Zahid was asked, “What is your wealth?” he said, “Two kinds of wealth dispel all fear of poverty:-  trust in Allah, and not being attached to what people have.” He was asked, “Don’t you fear poverty?” He said, “How can I fear poverty when my Lord owns all that is in the heavens and on the earth and all that is between them and all that is beneath the ground?”

2. Your state in misfortune is the same as other times. What is that state? It is gratitude. If you suffer a financial loss, or the death of a loved one, your are patient because your underlying condition is trust in Allah. You accept your loss, and you continue to be grateful for what you have. And if you are blessed, you thank Allah and you don’t imagine that it’s because you are superior in any way. You stay humble and grateful, and so your state of being is the same at all times.

3. You have the same attitude toward those who criticize you or praise you. Again, this seems strange at first reading. But what it really means is quite simple: you don’t care what people think. What matters is your love of the truth, and earning Allah’s pleasure. You don’t care about titles and accolades, or the condemnation of shallow people. Their opinions do not matter, because pleasing or impressing others is not your goal, and not even a part of your thinking or niyyah (intention). That’s why the praise of others does not corrupt your intentions and make you arrogant, and the criticism of others does not shut you down, or make you surrender your dreams.

The Aakhirah Abides

Stop competing with others for the most luxurious car, the biggest home, the best suits of clothing, the most sparkling jewelry. Stop playing the game of “I’m richer than you.” Stop caring what people possess, stop envying others for their wealth, stop desiring what they have or comparing yourself to them… and the people will love you.

We all desire the luxuries and pleasures of the world to some degree; but the believer keeps that desire in check, holds it back, in the hope of receiving something better in the aakhirah (the life after). The believer knows that the pleasures of this world are as fleeting as an ice cube in the sun. All worldly luxuries vanish, decompose, biodegrade… while what is with Allah remains. The cities of men fall, while prayer survives. The Earth itself will crumble and burn, but the aakhirah abides.

He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself
And mentions the name of his Lord and prays.
But you prefer the worldly life,
While the Hereafter is better and more enduring.
(Quran 87:14-17)

Love Allah and His Messenger above all; after that, love and respect your own soul, and then let that respect radiate to your family, your friends, your colleagues, the waitress who serves you at the coffee shop, the mechanic who fixes your car… do this, and immense, untold love and respect will flow your way from humanity, nature and the very universe itself.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , , Read 259 articles by
7 Comments Post a Comment
  1. CW says:

    It’s actually Quran 87:14-17, not 86. Often when non-Muslims see a sight like this and see inconsistency, they doubt Islam more. Just thought I would let you know that I noticed that so that if you felt inclined to change it you could do so.

  2. wael says:

    Thanks for the correction and I have noted it. However, is it really necessary to include a stinging barb in your comment? I’ve known this Surah by heart since childhood but made a simple transcription error in writing the number. I hardly think that’s going to cast Islam into doubt.

    Still, I will be more careful in the future Insha’Allah.

  3. sw says:

    no- we dont feel doubt about islaam when we see simple typo errors

    only those who are looking for reasons to doubt would do so

    the rest make excuses for eachother..and give naseehah with wisdom

    non muslims-if they want to be guided-Allah will guide them anyway

    w’Allahu a’lam

  4. illy says:

    What a beautiful article! It is helpful, especially to someone like me who is very self concious of others. I am always afraid that people won’t like me… And as someone who recently started to believe in Allah, I needed these words to make me think again on who I really want to please. Not to care so much about possessions either.

    I am not Muslim, but I am considering it. Everything about it makes my heart feel so warm. The only reason I am held back from it is that I am already married, to a non-muslim. I love him a lot… So that’s why I am not Muslim!

    Oh and I don’t think people would be turned away from Islam from quoting mistakes and such… What could turn them away are things that they are used to, but haram according to Islam (because of culture they think it is allowed and have trouble accepting it is wrong) and also there is doubt on certain matters, misunderstandings and/or not knowing particuliar context (often witness the last one).

    Anyway, thank you for this article, I shall read some more!

    • wael says:

      illy, thanks so much for your comments. If you feel a call to Islam, you should not let your marriage hold you back. You may have heard that a Muslim woman cannot be married to a non-Muslim man. This is true. However, separation is not immediate or automatic. The Muslim scholars agree that when the woman converts to Islam, there is a grace period of three menstrual cycles during which the couple are still married. This gives the man time to think about whether he wants to convert as well. If he converts during this grace period, the marriage remains standing and continues with no interruption. If not, the couple are considered legally separated.

      So my suggestion is that you talk to your husband. Tell him about Islam. Share your insights with him. Maybe he will see the Truth as you do, and maybe he will be prepared to take this step with you, Insha’Allah (God willing).

      Wael

  5. Fatima says:

    Such a beautiful article, i think to myself sometimes arn’t we lucky to be muclim there are others out there who have probably never actually had an insight to it.

    Once again amazing article <3<3<3

  6. AlGaawi says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I was born a Muslim (alhumdulillah) but never took it upon myself to actually act like a true Muslim. I wear a scarf and for some odd reason I was under the impression that I am basically guaranteed Jannah which of course led me to making bad decisions and just utter confusion. For a very long time I was feeling hopeless because I thought Allah just didn’t like me and therefore no one else would either, because I had heard once that if God is pleased with you, His people will also be please with you. Until recently I also felt like I would never be able to please God because even if Allah did forgive me I would do something else bad and then Allah would just give up on me. That’s when I read this article and another article (this one–> http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=7&ID=3751&CATE=150 ) and I finally understand. The thing is sometimes even though we believe in Allah and all that he is capable of, we forget that he is most merciful, therefore we are doubtful of his love towards us. We have this part of us that keeps trying to convince us that we are doomed, and that nothing can save us. But we forget the fact that Allah loves his people too much to leave them astray, or to leave them hopeless. If God is capable of ANYTHING in the world, then why can’t we accept that no matter what we’ve done, He will still help us out? In the article that I linked above it says that God is the way we think He is, and for the longest time although the mercy of God was drilled into my head, it somehow was not settling in my heart, I don’t know why. But after these two articles I truly feel like I believe in God’s mercy and even that God is looking out for me and keeping me safe. I know that I have done bad things in the past but I know now that there is absolutely NOTHING that I’ve done that Allah won’t be able to forgive, because like all of His other people, God loves me, unconditionally. If you are like me and you think you have sinned too much at this point to ever be forgiven just remember that 1) God doesn’t hate his people 2) you still have a chance at repentence and 3) there is nothing you done that God can’t forgive because God is big, and nothing, not even mounds and mounds of sins piled up and put all together is bigger than God’s mercy because God’s mercy is an attribute if God and if his mercy is that great then jus imagine how great He is.

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