In Pursuit of the Pleasure of Allah
Allah has blessed us with the gift of life so that we may be able to acquire the ultimate human achievement which is the pleasure of Allah. What is our purpose in life other than to seek the pleasure of Allah under all conditions; in times of prosperity and in times of adversity? Living to please Allah unlocks incredible potential. It gives us reason to strive. It gives us hope in our struggles. It gives us reason to be sincere, humble, forgiving and tolerant. It will ultimately transform our values and morals. Seeking the pleasure of Allah must serve as an objective above all other objectives. How do we attain the love of Allah? When looking through the Qur‘an, we come across several verses wherein Allah explicitly declares His love for people with certain attributes.
The Doers of Good: “Those who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good.” (3:134) This verse refers to four salient actions; those who spend in times of ease and adversity; they do not wait for the ‘perfect occasion’ but give of their time, wealth, and skills under all circumstances. They are able to restrain their anger and readily pardon and forgive others. Allah loves such people!
Those who Repent: “…Allah loves those who are constantly repentant…” (2:222). “Allah is more pleased with the repentance of a servant when he turns towards Him seeking forgiveness than if one amongst you were upon a camel in an arid desert and it bolts away carrying all his provision of food and drink. Having lost all hope (to find the camel) the person finally lays down (out of fatigue and despondency) in the shade and whilst in this condition (expecting to die a slow and gruesome death of thirst and starvation), he suddenly finds the camel (with his provision) standing before him! So he takes hold of the camel’s nose-string (to retain it) and then says out of immeasurable joy: “O Allah: You are my servant and I am Your Lord!” He commits this mistake because of the state of extreme joy he is in. (Bukhari and Muslim) Repentance is the bridge that connects the lover to his Beloved. Allah loves those who acknowledge their weaknesses and sincerely turn to Him seeking forgiveness!
Those who Purify Themselves: “(Allah) loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222). Allah commands Muslims to purify themselves outwardly from forbidden appearances and all types of physical impurities, and inwardly from the unpardonable sin of shirk as well as diseases of the heart such as envy, pride and hatred. Once they do so, they become worthy of His love.
Those who Exercise Sabr: “…And Allah loves these who are patient.” (3:146). The Prophet Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said that ‘Patience is a light.’ (Muslim) The characteristic of light is that it shows us the way and allows us to see clearly. Light provides a sense of security, direction and energy. To the contrary, impatience is darkness; it breeds fear, uncertainty and confusion. Sabr more accurately depicts being persistent and persevering, it includes aspects of self-discipline, remaining spiritually steadfast, showing fortitude especially when faced with adversity or setbacks.
Those who are Muttaqeen: “Allah loves the muttaqeen.” (3:76). The Muttaqeen are those who fear incurring the displeasure of Allah which is born out of love for Him. They are conscious of the ever presence of Allah, they are in awe of Allah’s majesty, fear His wrath and are fully conscious of the evil consequences of sin. It is at the very core of our spiritual well-being and practice. It provides the lens through which to form one’s outlook and actions to bring about the best outcome.
Those that Place their Trust in Allah: “… And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely (upon Him).”(3:159). Trust in Allah serves as the very core of our spiritual well-being. It gives us hope, courage and reassurance that Allah knows what is good for us; He is in control and He determines the best of outcomes in accordance to His wisdom. Umar bin Al-Khattab t narrated that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “If you were to rely upon Allah with the required reliance, then He would provide for you just as a bird is provided for, it goes out in the morning empty, and returns full.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Ibn Qayyim RA states that there are ten things that bring about the Love of Allah.
- Recitation of the Qur‘an with a reflection and the understanding of its meanings.
- Seeking closeness to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after having performed obligatory ones, for that leads one to the highest levels of love.
- Remembering Allah during every situation – with one’s time, heart and deeds, one’s share of that love is to the degree of one’s share in that remembrance.
- Preferring what He loves to what you love when your desires are strong.
- Allowing your heart to reflect on His Names and Attributes.
- Reflecting on His many favours and blessings, both the apparent ones and hidden ones, for that leads to His love.
- Having your heart softened as it is worshipping Allah.
- Being alone with Him in worship when He descends during the last third of the night. This means to invoke Him, to recite His Speech, to stand with all sincerity and with good manners and with good submission, and then to end that with repentance and seeking His forgiveness.
- Sitting with those who are truthful in their love of Allah.
- Staying away from all that creates barriers between the heart and Allah.
If we focus on only pleasing Allah, He will take care of matters in our lives in a way that will please us. We ask Allah to grant us His love, and the love of those who love Him and the love of those actions which bring us close to Him.