Love and Hate for the Sake of Allah
A believer does not love or hate individual people because of who they are, but only loves or hates their good or bad traits and actions, those which the Sacred Law praises or blames.
One thing plain from this is that ethnic origin cannot be a basis for positive or negative attitudes towards oneself or others. When one of the Meccan Emigrants struck a Medinan Helper and each group rallied their fellows with cries of solidarity against the other, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “What is this rallying of each other from the Period of Ignorance?—Leave it, for it makes putrid” (Bukhari, 6.191–92: 4905. S). Allah Most High says, “Of His signs are the creation of the heavens and earth, and the difference in your tongues and hues; verily in that there are signs for those who know” (Koran 30:22), that is, signs for wonder and admiration that Allah has brought forth these differences from a single father, Adam (upon whom be blessings and peace). The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told his Companions:
“Allah Mighty and Majestic has rid you of the arrogance of the Period of Ignorance and its pride in forefathers. Godfearing believer or luckless sinner: people are the sons of Adam, and Adam was of dust. Let peoples cease priding themselves in men, or they will matter less to Allah than the scarab beetle that pushes filth about with its nose” (Ahmad, 2.361. H).
A human being cannot choose his parents, and there are no racial laws in Islam: when love and hate are for the sake of Allah, the only importance that attaches to pride is that it is a step backwards.
Love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)
It means that one’s affection for the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is pure and real, such that he is more beloved to one than one’s self, mother, father, and all other people. It means exalting his station, serving his Umma, following his sunna, and adhering with complete respect and manners (adab) in one’s word and state to the overwhelming majority of the early Muslims, of the prophetic descendants, Companions, the Imams of the scholars of his Umma, and the friends (awliya') and knowers of Allah—all out of love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Love includes saying the blessings upon him (Allah bless him and give him peace), when he is mentioned and at other times, with presence of heart or even without. At the tomb in Egypt of two of the sheikhs of our spiritual line, Muhammad Wafa and his son ‘Ali, there is hand-lettered sign upon one of the walls that reads:
The Pole of the Gnostics Imam al-Sha‘rani (Allah be well pleased with him) relates that the Possessor of the Supreme Purity my master Muhammad Wafa al-Shadhili (Allah be well pleased with him) said: “I saw the Liegelord of Worlds (Allah bless him and give him peace) and I asked him, ‘O Messenger of Allah, Allah’s tenfold blessing upon him who says the blessings upon you once, is that for him who is present in heart?’ He said, ‘No, it is for anyone who blesses me absentmindedly; Allah bestows upon him the like of mountains of angels, who pray for him and ask forgiveness for him. As for if he is present in heart therein, no one but Allah Most High knows the reward of that.’ ”
Love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also means emulating his refined and modest character. Jabir relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“Truly, among those of you I love best and who shall be seated closest to me on Resurrection Day shall be the finest of you in character. And truly, those of you I detest most and who shall be seated farthest from me on Resurrection Day shall be praters who talk too much, and those who overpronounce the letters of their words for effect, and windbags who affect stentorian tones.” They said, “Praters and overpronouncers we know, but what are windbags?” He said, “The arrogant” (Tirmidhi, 4.370: 2018. Hg).
Sincerity (Ikhlas) in One’s Works and States
Sincerity includes leaving pretension, leaving showing off in spiritual works (riya'), leaving the mention of one’s works to gain others’ esteem (sum‘a), and leaving all hypocrisy. Sheikh al-Kurdi notes: