From the great women of Islam who demonstrated the highest level of love for Allaah , was Asiyah, the wife of Firown, when she called out to Allaah to grant her a special place in Jannah near Him. And for this reason Allaah made her an example for us to follow.
And Allah has set forth an example for those who believe, the wife of Fir’aun (Pharaoh), when she said: “My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Paradise. [At-Tahrim:11]
Not only does this dua show her high aspirations but it also points out her extreme love for Allaah. Think about the duas you make regularly. What portion is about getting closer to Allaah? When you ask for Jannah, do you ask to have a home near Allaah? How excited are you about meeting seeing His Majestic Face? We need to question ourselves regarding our love for Allaah. But let’s not ask about how much we love Allaah, as it can’t be measured nor will it ever be enough, but lets ask: What am I doing now to develop, strengthen, and protect this love?
In Zaad Al-Miaad, Ibnul Qayim (rahimahullah) mentions 10 ways to increase your love for Allaah. I’ve adapted them here so lets start practicing them today!
1. Recite the Quran More
Reciting and pondering over Allaah’s words will develop a closeness to Allaah. The more you read the stronger your love of Allaah becomes. How can it not be when you are listening to Allaah speaking to you? Uthman bin “Affan once said:If our hearts were truly pure, we would never get enough of the words of our Lord, and I hate that one day passes with me not looking in the Mus’haf.
2. Go beyond the minimum
Fulfilling the obligatory duties is a clear proof of your love for Allaah. When you go beyond that to include more voluntary acts of worship (sunan) you increase this love and draw closer to Him . As Allaah, Himself said, in a Qudsee Hadith:My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with nawaafil (supererogatory) deeds until I Love him. [Bukhari]
3. Increase your remembrance of Allaah
When you love someone, they’re always on your mind. And the more you think about them, the more you love them. So if you want to love Allaah more, be in a constant state of remembering Him through athkaar (supplications). Keep your tongue moist with tasbeeh (subhaanallah), tahmeed (Alhamdulillah), tahlil (laa ilaaha illallaah), and takbir (Allaahu akbar), and the many more prescribed athkaar. Get into the habit of this. Make dhikr while you’re cooking, driving, waiting, etc. because Allaah said: “I am with my servant as long as he mentions Me and his lips moves with mentioning Me.”
4. Allaah First
Always make Allaah and His pleasure priority over anything or anyone else including yourself and your loved ones. Regardless of how badly you want something, or how difficult it is to leave off doing something, give preference to what Allaah loves. The more you make these sacrifices the stronger your love for Allaah will be. The sacrifice is not only in doing what is waajib or abdoning the haram, but its also in striving to do extra voluntary deeds such as fasting, giving charity and praying the night prayer. This will develop your character and also strengthen your love for Allah.
5. Learning Allaah’s names and attributes
Through Allaah’s beautiful names and attributes you will come to realize His Majesty and Perfection. You will know Him better, and be more humbled and in awe of His perfection. Put in an effort to learn Allaah’s beautiful names and attributes and I promise you will take your love from mere obligation to a sincere deep and desperate desire to meet Allaah. Your dua and Quran recitation will have that much more value if you act on those names and take them into account in your daily pursuits. “And (all) the most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names.” [Al-Anaam:180]
6. Counting your blessings
In reality, you can never, ever, count your blessings. They’re innumerable. You’re in a constant state of being blessed. However, what you can do, is reflect on these blessings, and reflect on the many ways Allaah has favoured you over others. There are millions or billions of people who don’t have what you have and would wish to walk in your shoes. When you realize that Allaah chose you over many of His servants, for no particular virtue from yourself, you don’t have a choice but to love Him for these gifts. And the more grateful you are, the more blessings you receive. And the more you reflect over these blessing, the more you are drawn to the One who singled you out for these blessings.
7. Humble yourself
Humbling yourself is the best way to fight off arrogance, and arrogance is a disease of loving yourself a little too much, which in turn, leaves little room to truly love others. When you’re humbled, you’re in a better state to appreciate the Greatness of Allaah, the One most deserving of this humility from you. Reminding yourself of His Greatness, while keeping in mind your insignificance, will no doubt strengthen your love for Allaah. Because you realize that, even though you’re a human full of shortcomings, Allaah, The Most Great, still takes care of you, listens to you, answers you, and loves you.
8. the Graveyard shift
Waking up in the last part of the night to conversate with Allaah through prayer and du’a at the expense of sleep can only be done out of love for Allaah, because its not easy! Allaah praises those who make this struggle: “Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (in charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them” [As-Sajdah 32:16]. Saving all your worries, complaints, and requests until the last third of the night to pour your heart out to Allaah, while every one else is asleep, will no doubt boost the relationship you have with your Lord. Work to make this a habit and you will soon develop an addiction for these late night meetings with the Lord of the Worlds.
9. Good company
Being around people who love Allaah and remind you of Him, will increase you in your love of Him. Spending too much time with friends who don’t remind you of Allah’s Greatness can have the opposite effect. And it is narrated that the Prophet said: “The strongest tie of faith is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah.” [Reported by al-Albani as good by the virtue of another hadîth]
10. Raise your guard
Guard yourself from those things that will take you away from the remembrance of Allah . Be cautious of Shaytan’s plots and footsteps to bring you down. He is your enemy so take him as an enemy!
Love is not constant so we should focus on those things that will increase our love for Allaah and be consistent on it. If you are not working on this area, then like imaan, your love will decrease. Above are 10 practical ways to help you develop and strengthen your love for Allaah. By no means are these the only ways, but its a start.
Feel free to share in the comments section some more practical ways of increasing our love of Allaah.