Imagine that your spouse or parent asked you to prove that you loved them. Most likely, your response, either verbally or in the form of actions, will be to demonstrate your love for them. You may want to buy them gifts, tell them you love them, do things that will please them, etc.
When it comes to our faith as Muslims, the whole idea of being a Muslim largely depends on our love for Allah (ta’ala). Our love for His words (the Qur’an), His Messengers, and everything that Islam preaches is a way of knowing how much we love Allah (ta’ala).
But how do we show this love? We can’t see Allah (ta’ala), and it will be weird to look up into the sky and say “I love you, Allah”. So, how do we express our love for the one who created us?
Show Your Love with Obedience
There is nothing that Allah (ta’ala) demands of us more than obedience. Our obedience in worshipping Him and in abiding by all that He asks of us is one of the best ways to demonstrate our love.
The same way that a child would show love to his parents by obeying their rules so that they can be pleased with him, a Muslim shows their love of Allah (ta’ala) by obeying His commands and living their lives within the guidelines of Islam.
“Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 3:31)
Obeying Allah (ta’ala) means praying five times daily. It means upholding all the five pillars of Islam, being good to your family, friends, neighbors and even strangers. It also means hastening to read the Qur’an, perform non-obligatory acts of worship, and refining your character such that every day you wake up, you strive to be the best person that you can be.
Most importantly, obeying Allah (ta’ala) means never associating partners with Him. It means that you hold firm to the oneness of Allah (ta’ala), His supremacy, and all that He sent us through Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
If you want to show your love to the Creator, you strive to do the things that please Him the most.
Show Your Love with Abstinence
On the opposite end of showing love through obedience is showing love through abstinence from the things that Allah (ta’ala) hates. When you profess that you love someone, you do not want to hurt them or do anything that will displease them. You do not want to make them angry, or go near things that you know may affect your relationship with them.
We certainly can’t hurt Allah (ta’ala), but we can displease Him when we go against His commands. And this is where our sins come from. Every time we do something that He has clearly warned us against, we are not demonstrating that we love Him.
“That is because they followed what angered Allah and disliked [what earns] His pleasure, so He rendered worthless their deeds.” (Qur’an 47:28)
Show your love for Allah (ta’ala) by abstaining from what He has asked us to abstain from. Stay away from shirk, hypocrisy, backbiting, oppression, gambling and every other vice that the Qur’an has warned us against.
Stay away from habits that corrupt your eeman, such that you revel in committing sins. If we want to show that we love Allah (ta’ala), it means that we will hasten to do what He loves and strive to stay away from what He hates.
Show Your Love with the Search for Knowledge
Allah (ta’ala) asked us to know Him before we worship Him because that is the only way that we can worship Him as He should be worshipped.
How do you show love to your spouse when you do not understand what makes them feel loved? Sure, you can show them love the way you feel like, but if you bought her flowers as a show of love but she dislikes flowers, then your efforts would have been wasted.
Our love for Allah (ta’ala) can be expressed by how much we seek knowledge about Him and about Islam. Learn more about what Allah (ta’ala) says in the Qur’an and your heart with be filled with the love of Him. Know what He actually commands us to do so that you can do exactly that.
Every time that a Muslim searches for authentic knowledge with sincerity, it pleases Allah (ta’ala) and they can even be rewarded. The search for knowledge endears our hearts to the deen and of course causes us to love our Creator more.
“If anyone pursues a path in search of knowledge, Allah will thereby make easy for him a path to paradise.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Even though some of the examples above talk about showing love to humans, these are examples that can help our minds understand the idea of showing love to Allah (ta’ala). No human relationship can be important as the relationship that a Muslim has with his/her Lord. and this is why it is important that a Muslim prioritizes their relationship with Allah (ta’ala) and make it known.
Never be shy to declare your love for Allah (ta’ala), because He never hesitates to declare His love for us.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying, ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also.’ So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.” (Bukhari)
Show your love in the good deeds that you do, in the bad deeds that you strive to stay away from, and in the efforts that you make in understanding your deen. Because all of these are ways by which a servant of Allah (ta’ala) can demonstrate their love for Him.