Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْۤا اَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلّٰهِؕ-
And for the believers, no one’s love is equal to the love of Allah.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 165)
The above Ayah shows that believers love the Lord the most, sacrificing everything for this love. They do not sacrifice this Divine love for anything. And when it comes to preferring either Divine love or love for anyone other than Allah, they prefer Divine love, doing what it requires them to do. Indeed Divine love is a great privilege and excellent worship.
A deep study into the Holy Quran and Islam shows that all acts of worship are aimed at attaining Divine love. For instance, regarding Salah, the Holy Quran states:
وَ اَقِمِ الصَّلٰوةَ لِذِكْرِیْ(۱۴)
And establish Salah for My remembrance.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 16, Surah Taha, Ayah 14)
Similar is the situation concerning Zakah and Sadaqahs. Usually, man holds his wealth dear. If he loves the Almighty more than his wealth, then he spends it in the Divine path. The Holy Quran said:
وَ یُطْعِمُوْنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلٰى حُبِّهٖ مِسْكِیْنًا وَّ یَتِیْمًا وَّ اَسِیْرًا(۸) اِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللّٰهِ لَا نُرِیْدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَآءً وَّ لَا شُكُوْرًا(۹)
And out of His love, they feed the needy, the orphan and the prisoner. They (the righteous ones) say to them, ‘We give you food, merely for the sake of Allah, we do not seek any reward or thanks from you’.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Ad-Dahr, Ayah 8, 9)
At another place, it is stated:
لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتّٰى تُنْفِقُوْا مِمَّا تُحِبُّوْنَ ﱟ
You shall never attain righteousness until you spend the thing you love in the way of Allah.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 92)
Sawm is also a sign of Divine love. Bearing hunger and thirst is a very clear-cut indication of this pure love. Man sacrifices Halal foods and drinks and carnal desires just for Divine love. A Qudsi Hadees hints at the same fact in these words: ‘الصوم لی وانا اجزی بە’ i.e. Sawm is [observed] for Me and I will give its reward Myself or I am Myself its reward. (Sahih Muslim, pp. 448, Hadees 2708)
Likewise, the entire Hajj-pilgrimage is also a journey of love. A Muslim wears unstitched clothes, moves around the Holy Ka’bah, stays in the plains of Mina, Muzdalifah and ‘Arafat for a specific period of time and then returns. Apparently, one cannot comprehend the wisdom of these actions but, in the sight of a true devotee, these actions are actually different ways of sacrificing wisdom and logic for the purpose of acting upon the commandment of the Beloved Almighty. Therefore, the commandment of Hajj begins with these words:
وَ لِلّٰهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَیْتِ
And performing Hajj of this house, for the sake of Allah, is (an obligation) upon the people.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 97)
The Holy Quran has described the signs of Divine love in different ways. For example, one of its signs is that the bondman gets prepared to sacrifice his life, wealth, offspring, house and everything for the Beloved Almighty. The blessed life of Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام provides an inspiring example of it. In his old age, he was blessed with a son, Sayyiduna Isma’eel عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام. When Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ commanded him to take his son, Sayyiduna Isma’eel عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and wife, Sayyidatuna Hajirah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهَا, to some deserted place and abandon them over there, Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام unhesitatingly took them to the barren plains of Makkah where there was neither any shady tree nor water far and wide. After he عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام left them there, he returned, abiding by the Divine commandment. In the Holy Quran, his words have been mentioned like this:
رَبَّنَاۤ اِنِّیْۤ اَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرِّیَّتِیْ بِوَادٍ غَیْرِ ذِیْ زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَیْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِۙ –
O my Lord! I have made some of my descendants settle in a valley wherein there is no cultivation, near Your Sacred House.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 13, Surah Ibraheem, Ayah 37)
Despite being abandoned in the deserted place, Sayyidatuna Hajirah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهَا was completely pleased with the Divine commandment as well as with her destiny. How greatly she loved the Almighty can be realized by going through the following narration mentioned in Sahih Bukhari. Having left his wife and son alone, Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام began to leave. At that time, Sayyidatuna Haajirah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهَا asked him over and over again, “Why are you leaving us here alone?” But he did not give any reply. At last, she asked, ‘Is it the commandment of Allah?’ He عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام answered in the affirmative [i.e. yes]. So Sayyidatuna Haajirah رَضِىَ اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰی عَـنْهَا said a very faith-refreshing sentence, ‘All right, Allah Almighty will save us from being ruined.’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 2, pp. 424, Hadees 3364)
During the same ordeal (test), Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and his son Sayyiduna Isma’eel عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام set a unique example of showing Divine love, remaining pleased with the Will of the Almighty. When commanded by Almighty Allah, Sayyiduna Ibraheem عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام got prepared to slaughter his beloved and dear son, Sayyiduna Isma’eel عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام and said to him, ‘O my son! I dreamt that I am sacrificing you, now see what is your opinion?’ (The son) said, ‘O my father! Do what you are being commanded, Allah willing, it is near that you will find me patient.’ (Part 23, Surah As-Saffaat, Ayah 102)
The father was prepared to slaughter his son in obedience to the Divine commandment and the son was also prepared to get his neck slaughtered with a knife. سُبْحٰنَ اللّٰە Is there anything else greater than it which a bondman can sacrifice for the Divine love?
Another sign of Divine love is to love worshipping the Almighty Who is the Real Beloved of the bondman. The Holy Quran mentions that the beloved bondmen of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ stay awake at nights and stay away from beds, sacrificing their sleep, comfort and rest for the purpose of praying to Him and worshipping Him. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
كَانُوْا قَلِیْلًا مِّنَ الَّیْلِ مَا یَهْجَعُوْنَ(۱۷) وَ بِالْاَسْحَارِ هُمْ یَسْتَغْفِرُوْنَ(۱۸)
They used to sleep less during the night. And used to seek forgiveness in the latter part of the night.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 26, Surah Az-Zariyaat, Ayah 17, 18)
At another place in the Glorious Quran, it is stated:
تَتَجَافٰى جُنُوْبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ یَدْعُوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَّ طَمَعًا٘-
Their sides become detached from their beds and they call upon their Lord, fearing and hoping.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 21, Surah As-Sajdah, Ayah 16)
At one more place in the Holy Quran, it is stated:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ یَبِیْتُوْنَ لِرَبِّهِمْ سُجَّدًا وَّ قِیَامًا(۶۴)
And those who spend the night prostrating and standing for their Lord.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 19, Surah Al-Furqan, Ayah 64)
Eager to meet the Real Beloved Almighty, these close bondmen of Allah stay awake at nights, performing Sajdahs and Qiyam and praying to Him. Of course, it is very difficult to do so without a sincere and overwhelming feeling of love.
Love for worship includes love for reciting the Holy Quran, making Zikr, offering Salah and all other righteous deeds. Similarly, shedding tears while listening to the pure and blessed Word (Holy Quran) revealed by the Real Beloved Almighty is also included in it. It is stated in the Holy Quran: ‘And when they hear that, which was revealed to the Messenger (Prophet Muhammad), so you see their eyes overflowing with tears because they have recognised the truth.’ (Part 7, Surah Al-Ma`idah, Ayah 83)
Similarly, having Kalam [conversation] with the Almighty in the form of reciting the Holy Quran at night in seclusion is also included in it.
یَتْلُوْنَ اٰیٰتِ اللّٰهِ اٰنَآءَ الَّیْلِ وَ هُمْ یَسْجُدُوْنَ(۱۱۳)
They recite the verses of Allah during parts of the night and they prostrate.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 113)
Likewise, making Divine Zikr in abundance is also a great sign of Divine love. It is narrated: ‘من احب شیئا اکثر ذکرہ’ One who loves anyone also mentions him more often. Therefore, making Zikr in abundance has been mentioned in the Holy Quran repeatedly. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
So remember Me, I shall publicise you.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 2, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 152)
How the beloved bondmen of the Almighty make Zikr in abundance has been mentioned like this:
الَّذِیْنَ یَذْكُرُوْنَ اللّٰهَ قِیٰمًا وَّ قُعُوْدًا وَّ عَلٰى جُنُوْبِهِمْ
Those who remember Allah, standing, and sitting, and lying on their sides.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 191)
The Beloved and Blessed Nabi صَلَّى اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم would make the Zikr of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ all the times. This was his blessed practice. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, pp. 229)
A beautiful blend (combination) of Zikr and worship is Salah. It is the greatest sign of Divine love. The Holy Quran has stated that Salah is not hard for those who are fond of meeting the Almighty. Love makes even a hard task easy. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:
وَ اِنَّهَا لَكَبِیْرَةٌ اِلَّا عَلَى الْخٰشِعِیْنَۙ(۴۵) الَّذِیْنَ یَظُنُّوْنَ اَنَّهُمْ مُّلٰقُوْا رَبِّهِمْ وَ اَنَّهُمْ اِلَیْهِ رٰجِعُوْنَ۠(۴۶)
And surely Salah is definitely hard, except for those who submit towards Me with the heart. (They are) those who are certain that they are to meet their Lord and to return to only Him.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 1, Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 45, 46)
Having Kalam [conversation] with the Beloved Almighty while present in His court is very great privilege for those having Divine love. This also brings about coolness of eyes [i.e. solace] and comfort. Therefore, the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللّٰەُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: Salah is the coolness of my eyes. (Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq, vol. 4, pp. 249, Hadees 7969)
It is also narrated: Salah is the Mi’raaj of Mu`min. (Mirqat-ul-Mafatih, vol. 2, pp. 452, Taht-al-Hadees: 746)
It is also stated: When any of you stand to offer Salah, he whispers to his Lord. Therefore, he should see how he is whispering to Him. (Al-Mustadrak lil-Haakim, vol. 1, pp. 503, Hadees 895)
Ponder! We are also believers and believers love the Lord the most. In the light of the above signs, we should ponder how we are spending our life. How many of these signs of Divine love do we have?