I’ve never before fully understood how love really works. Growing up, I loved my mom, my dad, my sisters and my brother. I loved them because they were my family. I loved them because I had to–as cold as that sounds, it is the truth. I didn’t know what ‘love’ meant, I just fell into it (excuse the unintended pun). Being the last born, I just had all these people in my life, and I had no choice in the matter. Love was compulsory. Even while hating them and fighting with them, I loved them. Later in my life, though, I met some people, some amazing women. And I love them–I love them with a love so strong that, almost from as soon as we met, we stopped being strangers and became sisters. A sister–a woman who I had just met! Can you imagine that? And what’s more is that, this love that I have for them, it’s not the kind of love that I just ‘fell’ into like I did with the sisters and brother I was born loving; this is a love for the sake of Allah. Now, for a long time, this was mind-boggling to me. Love for the sake of Allah. Love for the sake of anything other than ‘I-love-you-just-because’ seemed unfair to me. Why should I be loved for someone else’s sake, and not just because I am great and amazing and loveable all on my own? I was jealous. I’ve always been a selfish person when it comes to love. But do you know what makes this jealousy even more ridiculous? I was jealous of Allah! That is downright laughable! SubhaanAllah (Glory be to Allah). What kind of silly do you have to be to be jealous of your own Creator, the Creator of Love itself? But the only reason that I was jealous was because I didn’t understand what it meant to love and to be loved for the sake of my Lord.
After much pondering on the matter, I eventually understood. To love for the sake of Allah is to love someone because you love Him, it is to love those who love Him and because they love Him. Love for the sake of Allah is not selfish and it is not about the individual, it is not about loving someone because of what that person brings into your life, superficially, or because of how great and amazing and loveable that person might be. Ultimately, it is about loving Allah. If we love Allah, we love those who love Him and those whom He loves, without expectation and without discrimination. A love borne out of a love for Him only strengthens the relationship between two people, and that relationship, in turn, serves to strengthen your love and your relationship with Allah. It is a beautiful cycle, indeed. A love like this ends up being a form of worship, subhaanAllah. Can you imagine that just loving someone for the sake of Allah is a form of worshipping Allah?
So, last night, my love for these women, whom I love as sisters, sent my blood pumping through my body. We met for supper, (almost) the whole gang of us (after each of us being absorbed by our own separate lives for far too long) and it was amazing to be reminded of why I love these women so much, and to be reminded of how indescribably blessed I am to have them all in my life. Our sisterhood was founded on a Divine Love, and it is only because of this love that it works. We’re all different–different personalities, different ages, different stories–but we’re bound by one, single Love.
Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah Almighty will say on the Day of Rising, ‘Where are those who loved one another for the sake of My Majesty? Today, on the Day when there is no shade but My Shade, I will shade them.'” [Muslim]
What is your understanding of love?