Contributed by Muslim Bhanji,
Love is the Sole Purpose of our Creation. There is a famous divine saying (Hadith Qudsi) which can probably be found in all books written about the goal of creation in Islam. According to this Hadith Qudsi, Allah (SWT) says: “I was a hidden treasure; I loved to be known. Hence I created the world so that I would be known.”
Allah (SWT) has created the world out of love. Thus, a question arises: why did Allah (SWT) love to be known? Certainly, Allah (SWT) has no desire for fame. The purpose simply is to teach man to love.
The purpose behind His love to be known is understandable by considering the fact that Allah (SWT) who is the Wise, the Compassionate and the Merciful creates the universe and particularly human beings to give them the maximum grace and perfection that they have the capacity for receiving. Of course, the perfection of any kind of being is decided by the degree of its similarity or closeness to Allah (SWT), and the most important factors in this are love of Allah (SWT), and prior to that knowledge of Allah (SWT), since there can be no love without knowing the beloved.
It is narrated in another Hadith Qudsi that when God loves someone, He becomes his ears, his eyes, his tongue, and his hands: “When I love him, then I shall be his ears with which he listens, his eyes with which he sees, his tongue with which he speaks, and his hands with which he holds; if he calls Me, I shall answer him, and if he asks Me, I shall give him.”
Similarly the way man has physical needs in life which he strives and struggles to fulfill, the soul too has needs that must be satisfied. These spiritual needs and urges have been placed by the hands of the creator in the depths of the creation’s soul. Man has a natural inclination to find love and love in any form towards any object has no valid reality except when it is for the sake of Allah (SWT). All love directly or indirectly in some way, shape, or form is a man’s hope to be in reach of the ultimate perfection, which can be nobody but Allah (SWT) – the Almighty.
God’s love for the world in general and human beings in particular is unanimously believed and emphasized by all Muslims. Indeed, one of the God’s names is al-Wadud, He who loves. Some non Muslims allege that God in Islam is very strict and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully. He is not loving and kind. Nothing can be farther from truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Noble Qur’an begins with the verse: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”
In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) we are told that, “God is more loving and kinder than a mother to her dear child.”
A young man came before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with a carpet and said, “O prophet of Allah! I passed through a jungle and heard the voices of young birds; and I took and put them into my carpet; and their mother came fluttering around my head, and I uncovered the young, and the mother fell down upon them, then I wrapped them up in my carpet; and there are the young which I have.”
Then Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Put them down.” And when he did so, their mother joined them: and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Do you wonder at the affection of the mother towards her young? I swear by Him who hath sent me, verily God is more loving to His creatures than the mother to these young birds. Return them to the place from which you took them, and let their mother be with them.”
The same idea is emphasized by Imams of the Household (Ahlul Bayt) of Prophet Muhammad (saw). For example, Fudayl ibn Yasar, a disciple, asked Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) whether love derive from faith (Iman). Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) replied: “Is faith anything but love?”
It is also narrated that Imam al-Baqir (as), stated that: Religion (Deen) is love and love is religion.
As these statements and traditions indicate, love plays an important and significant role. Hence it deserves our close attention in order that we may discover the real meaning of the concept of love in Islam.