1. Recitation of the Qur’an with contemplation and understanding of its meanings, and what is meant of it, just as the contemplation of a book that someone memorizes and explains in order to make others understand the intent of the author from it.
Allah says: “Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein many a contradiction.” [An-Nisaa 4:82]
Al-Qurtubi said: “This Ayah proves that it is wajib (obligatory) to contemplate over the Qur’an so that its meaning is known.”
Hasan ibn ‘Ali (RA) says: “Verily those who came before you used to see the Qur’an as letters from their Rabb, so they used to contemplate upon it during the night, and search for it during the day.”
There was once a companion of the Prophet (SAW) who caused himself to gain the love of Allah simply by reciting one Surah, contemplating over it, and loving it. That Surah was Surah al-Ikhlas, which contains one of the attributes of Allah. So he would constantly repeat it over and over again in his Salah, then when he was asked concerning that, he said: “Because it is the attribute of ar-Rahman, and I love to read it in my Salah,” so the Prophet (SAW) said: “Inform him that Allah loves him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
2. Getting close to Allah by way of an-Nawafil (supererogatory actions) after the Fara’id (obligatory actions), for indeed it leads to the rank of being loved after the rank of loving.
In the Hadeeth of Abu Huraira (RA) where he narrates the Prophet (SAW) narrating from his Rabb, he mentions that Allah says: “And my slave does not get closer to me with anything more beloved to me than that which I have made obligatory upon him, and my slave continues to get closer to me with an-Nawafil (the supererogatory actions) until I have loved him, then if I have loved him I become his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks, and if he asks me then I have given to him, and if he seeks my refuge I have provided for him refuge.” [Bukhari]
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali says: “The Awliyaa’ of Allah, those closest to Him, can be divided into two categories:
1. Those who get close to Allah by performing the obligatory actions, and that includes doing all of what Allah ordered and refraining from all of what He forbade.
2. Those who get close to Allah by performing an-Nawafil after having performed the Fara’id.”
3. Continuance of His remembrance at all times, with the tongue, the heart, the action, and in every state, so his share of love is in proportion to his share of this remembrance.
Allah says: “Therefore remember Me (by praying and glorifying), I will remember you.” [Baqarah 2:152]
And He says: “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance.” [Al-Ahzab 33:41]
And He says: “O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah, and whosoever does that, then they are the losers.” [Al-Munafiqun 63:9]
In a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Huraira (RA), he narrates the Prophet (SAW) narrating from his Rabb, and he mentions that Allah says: “I am with my servant as long as he remembers me, and so long as his lips moved out of my remembrance.” [At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb]
And in another Hadeeth narrated by Abu Huraira (RA), the Prophet (SAW) said: Allah ‘Azza wa Jall says: “I am just as my slave thinks I am, and I am with him if he remembers Me, if he remembers Me in himself, I too remember him in myself, and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group of people that is better than them, and if he comes one span nearer to me, I go one cubit nearer to him, and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him, and if he comes to me walking, I go to him running.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
And in the Hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn Busr al-Mazini, he said: A man said to the Messenger of Allah (SAW): “O Messenger of Allah! Verily the legislations of Islam have become too much for us, so is there something we can hold on to which includes everything?” So he (SAW) said: “Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah.” [Tirmidhi]
4. Giving precedence to what He loves over what you love when the Hawaa (whims and desires) start prevailing, and then ascending to what He loves even if the ascent becomes difficult.
From this statement of Ibn ul-Qayyim, it can be said that to give precedence to what Allah loves over what you love can be achieved through three ways:
1. Defeating the Hawaa of the Nafs, and that is because when a person is faced with a prevailing Hawaa he is left with two choices: either he chooses that which pleases Allah or that which please his Hawaa.
Allah says: “Then for him who transgressed all bounds, and preferred the life of this world, verily his abode will be Hell-Fire, but as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts, verily Paradise will be his abode.” [An-Nazi’at 79:37-41]
Ibn Abbas and Muqatil said about this Ayah: “It refers to a man who thinks about committing a certain sin, then he remembers and imagines himself being called to account before Allah, so he becomes afraid and leaves the sin.”
2. Opposing the Hawaa of the people, and that is by not deviating with them or being carried along with their desires in that which does not correspond with the Haqq (truth).
Allah says: “And verily this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not other paths, for they will separate you away from His path.” [Al-An’am 6:153]
And He says: “And let them not turn you away from preaching the Ayat of Allah after they have been sent down to you, and invite men to believe in your Lord, and be not of the Mushrikun.” [Al-Qasas 28:87]
3. Guarding against Shaitan and fighting against his Awliyaa’, and that is because the love of Allah and submitting to Shaitan are two opposites that can never come together.
Allah says: “Surely, Shaitan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy, he only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” [Fatir 35:6]
And He says: “Those who believe, fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (Shaitan), so fight you against the friends of Shaitan, ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaitan.” [An-Nisaa 4:76]
5. Having the heart to examine His names and His attributes, and observing them and being aware of them, and rolling about in the gardens of this awareness, for the one who is aware of Allah through His names, his attributes, and his actions then He has certainly loved him.
So there is no doubt that we must be aware of the names and attributes of Allah, and there is no doubt that the most dangerous of people are the ones who denied and rejected the names and attributes of Allah, because they failed to affirm what Allah affirmed for Himself of His names and attributes in the Qur’an or through His Messenger (SAW).
In order to keep away from falling into this type of Shirk (which is the type of Shirk contrary to the third type of Tawheed, the Tawheed of the Names and Attributes of Allah) one must take the steps towards getting to know his Rabb, of these steps are the following:
1. Stopping at what has come to us from the texts of the revelation (the Qur’an and the Sunnah) of the Sifaat (attributes) of Allah as revealed, without corrupting these texts by either distorting them or rejecting them or misinterpreting its meanings. So when one believes in the attributes of Allah that have been affirmed through revelation then he will be aware that his Rabb has attributes of complete perfectness.
2. Observing the creation of the universe and all that exists in it, for in the existence of creation is that which proves that there exists its Creator, and which proves that He is living, that He is able to do all things, that He has knowledge of everything, and that with Him lies all power.
Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Whoever is aware and knows his Rabb, he will love him.”
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
23rd of Muharram 1429