We have been commanded to obey him; we have been commanded to respect him; but the key to both these things lies in the fact that we are commanded to love him. This love is more than just mere lip service; it is a love that should encompass our lives. Nothing on this earth should be more dear to our hearts than the blessed Prophet of Allah ﷺ (peace be upon him). This is not simply a recommended emotion; rather it is one that we must feel in our hearts. It is narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to him than his children, his father and all people.” (Bukhari)
There are many benefits that one can reap by loving Rasulullah (the Prophet of Allah) ﷺ, both in this life and the next. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ told us that that there are three things which, if one was to take refuge in them, makes one experience the sweetness of faith. We all crave this sweetness, which grants an internal happiness that cannot be matched. This sweetness can be enjoyed in this life, and makes worshiping Allah and striving in His cause much easier and enjoyable. The first of these three things is that Allah and His messenger are more beloved to the believer than anything else (Bukhari). Another benefit that we may receive from wholeheartedly loving the Prophet ﷺ is His companionship in Jannah (paradise). A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked, “When will the last Hour come, Oh Messenger of Allah?” The Messenger ﷺ responded, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “I have not prepared a lot of prayer nor fasting nor charity for it, but I love Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “You will be with the one you love.” (Bukhari)
Simply reading the accounts of how the companions loved and expressed their love for the Prophet ﷺ cause one’s emotions to stir in yearning for that nearness of heart to him. It is through their stories that we can find motivation to get to know and learn about him so that we too may love him as they did. Of these stories is that of a man who went to the Prophet ﷺ and declared his love for him, as well as one of his biggest concerns. He said, “Oh Messenger of Allah, I love you more than my family and my possessions. I remember you and I cannot wait until I can come and look at you. I remember that I will die and you will die, and I know that when you enter the Garden, you will be raised up with the Prophets. When I enter it, I will not see you.” It was not enough for this man to just want Jannah; rather his immense love caused him to crave the companionship of his beloved at that time when he could have anything and everything he wanted. It was at this point that Allah revealed, “And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.” (Qur’an, 4:69)
Another heart-gripping story is that of a woman who went to our mother, Aisha, and asked her for permission to see the grave of Rasulullah ﷺ. Aisha took her to the grave and the woman, simply seeing the resting place of the Prophet ﷺ, wept until she died. Allahu akbar (God is the Greatest).
Seeing the immense love of the companions for the Prophet ﷺ can, at times, make us feel discouraged, thinking that we can never reach this level of love having never met him. These are the whispers of Shaytan (Satan) trying to drag us away from one of the most rewarding feelings ever gifted to man. The Prophet ﷺ himself reassures us of this by saying, “Those in my community with the strongest love for me are the people who will come after me. Some of them would give their family and wealth to have seen me.” (Muslim, al-Bukhari)
May Allah cause us to be of those people who would give up our family and wealth to have seen him ﷺ.