“I love you for the sake of Allah”
This is a phrase that many of us have heard, and perhaps we too have said it to someone else. It is truly a beautiful term of endearment, but frankly, the first time I heard the phrase I couldn’t really understand the concept. To me, it seemed to be a phrase of great magnitude, but yet, it was one that was used frequently. Often, many of us use phrases and statements without much reflection of their weight and impact, eventually leading to their misuse. What does it mean then to truly “love someone for the sake of Allah“?
A statement that is often attributed to Ameerul Mu’mineen, Umar ibn al-Khattab(the authenticity of which is heavily disputed but the message is one that we can take from inshaAllah) is:
“ما أُعطي عبد بعد الإسلام نعمةً خيرًا من أخ صالح، فإن رأى أحدكم ودًّا، فليتمسك به”
“A servant hasn’t been given anything better, other than the blessing of Islam, than a righteous brother. And so, when one of you finds that he has affection for his brother, then let him hold onto that.”1
Malik Ibn Dinarsaid “It’s better to move rocks with good people than to eat dessert with wicked people.”2
Allahcommands the believers to be surrounded by other righteous believers. He tells us in Surah at-Tawbah:
“O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.” [Surah At-Tawbah: 9;119]
Healso reminds us in Surah al-Kahf:
“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” [Surah Al-Kahf: 18;28]
We are also taught about the potential harm we may face in the next life from those around us. Allahtells us in Surah Zukhruf:
“Close friends, that Day, will be enemies to each other, except for the righteous.” [Surah Az-Zukhruf: 43;67]
From this we can learn that in the life of this world, people will have “close” friendships – yet they will be of no benefit to them in the next life. Unless their relationship was based upon taqwa; upon consciousness and awareness of Allah.
For many of us, when we say we love someone for the sake of Allah, we are using the phrase in the wrong context, or unaware of what it really means.
أنا أحبك في الله
What pushes someone to say this to another person? Is it because you find them funny? Or they have good characteristics? They’re someone you get along with? You have similar interests and hobbies? No doubt, human beings have an innate need for companionship and friendship, but what is the difference between our relationships with one another, and the friendships that everyone has (even non-Muslims).
There is a famous incident3 narrated in Riyad as-Saliheen, where a man was with RasulAllahwhen another of the sahaba passed by. The former told the Prophet :
O Messenger of Allah! I love this man (for the sake of Allah ).
And our beloved Prophetasked the man “Have you told him?” and when the man said that he hadn’t, he advised him to do so.
Identifying Sincere Love
How do we identify a sincere love for our fellow brother or sister? And how can we cultivate that in our relationship with one another?
The Prophet ﷺ said: “لاَ تُصَاحِب إِلاَّ مُؤْمِنًا، وَلاَ يَأْكُل طَعَامَكَ إِلاَّ تَقِ”
“Do not take a sahib (close companion) except a believer, and no-one should eat your food except a God-fearing person.”4
Who are the people that we tend to invite into the privacy of our homes, and feed and spend time with? Those that we are pretty close with right? And our Rasulsaid that these people should be amongst those that fear Allah .