Assalamu alaikum. Welcome to Allah Loves. So the most frequent reference in the Quran to the love of Allah is in relation to this concept of Taqwa, of piety. And it goes right into it in Surat Al Baqarah. “Alif Lam Meem, thalika al-kitab la rayba feeh, hudan lilmuttaqeen”.
“This is a book in which there is no doubt, it’s a guidance for people of taqwa, people of piety, and the most Allah yuhib, the most Allah loves in the Quran is wallahu yuhib al-muttaqeen, and Allah loves the people of piety.”
And the very first command that Allah gives to mankind in the Quran is “Ya ayyuha al-nas, ‘ubado rabbakom allathi khalaqakom wallatheen min qablikom la’allakom tattaqoon”.
“Oh people, worship your Lord who created you and created those who came before you so that you may have Taqwa, so that you may be conscious of Him.”
And Allah of course mentions to us specifically in regards to fasting, “Kutib ‘alaykum al siyama kama kutib ‘ala allatheen min qablikom la’allakom tattaqoon.”
That “Fasting was prescribed upon you the way that was prescribed on those who came before you, so that you may attain Taqwa, so that you may attain piety.”
Now how is this related to Allah’s love, because we’re going to connect this insha’Allah all the way through these 30 episodes and it’s important to understand how it all comes down to this.
Well, it starts off with how we understand the Divine in the first place. Allah created you not to hate you, but to love you and Allah created you not to fail, but to succeed. And Allah created you not to go to Hell but to go to Paradise. He gave you everything that you needed to attain his reward. He gave you all of the essentials that are needed to maintain his pleasure but it’s actually that we understand that we’re on this path back to Allah, and that we don’t want to do anything that’s going to compromise His love for us.
So there’s this debate that always takes place about the word Taqwa: does it mean to fear Him? Does it mean to be conscious of Him? What does piety even mean? That word sounds British, no offense to those of you in the UK. But what does the word piety even mean? What does it mean to be pious? What does God-consciousness mean? How can I fear Him if I need to love Him?
And so if you translate it for example, “Allahu yuhibbu muttaqeen” as “God loves those who fear Him” then it sounds really awkward. And the first thing to understand is fearing Allah is very different, because as Ibn Al Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said when you fear something else you run away from it. But when you fear Him you run back to Him.
And so the fear of Allah is not one that would cause you to flee from Him, but instead back to Him because that fear is not like the fear of anything else, and Taqwa is inadequate when defined only in the context of fear. So how do you merge fear and love?
Well you fear losing His love and that’s actually the point why is Ramadan such an effective way of us learning how to not lose His love. Because in Ramadan we we observe our consumption. We make sure that we don’t physically consume anything that’s going to nullify our fast.
Likewise, in in our everyday lives, we make sure that we don’t spiritually consume anything that’s going to nullify Allah’s love for us. We pay closer attention to ourselves. And that’s why the greatest narration that I think that really encapsulates this is what we have from Omar, may Allah have mercy on him and be pleased with him, who said that Taqwa is like a person that is walking on a path and again we’re on this path back to Allah and there are these thorny bushes on the way, and so when you see those thorny bushes coming in closer, you hold yourself tighter to make sure that it doesn’t tear your clothes – to make sure that it doesn’t prick you.
And that’s why the grandson of Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, Omar ibn Abd Al Azeez, he said that Taqwa is not that you pray long into the night or that you fast long into the day but it’s that you abandoned that which is displeasing to Allah. Everything beyond that is Ihsan, is excellence.
And so tying it to the love of Allah is very important. Are you showing Allah that you want to be loved by Him in the first place? Are you demonstrating with your deeds in a translatable way that you don’t want to do anything that’s going to compromise His pleasure?
Because Imam al-Ghazali said something very profound. That the greatest consequence of sin is not the punishment that comes with it but it’s the distance that it causes between you and Allah.
If we were created by God to return to Him in a way that’s pleasing and if He’s given us everything that’s needed to return to Him in that state then the very first way we express a desire to be loved is that we show caution with things that could potentially compromise that love.
So Taqwa is that you are steering back to Allah. And the most practical way to deal with this is when you’re in a gathering, for example, and you think about consumption, you’re about to say something that’s displeasing to Allah and you stop yourself because you don’t want to earn the displeasure of Allah.
When you see something and you don’t stare at it because you know that it could potentially earn you the displeasure of Allah. When you’re about to do something that could earn you the displeasure of Allah but you stop yourself because you know that the greatest consequence is that distance. So everything else beyond that inshaAllah we’ll talk about in the forthcoming episodes. But the greatest way to be loved by Allah is to actually show that you fear losing that love.
May Allah never allow us to compromise that love and may He always embed within us Taqwa, that God-consciousness, and that piety that keeps us in His favor. Allahumma Ameen. See you next time, inshaAllah.