Although we yearn for the love of our family and our close friends, the highest achievement has to be the love of Allah SWT.
The love of Allah SWT for his slave is the highest target by a slave, and a dream, as this would mean we would enter paradise and be protected from hellfire.
We know this because we have a recorded hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
Allah does not throw those He loves in the Hellfire.
But before we embark on the topic of Allah SWT loving his slave, i.e. us, we need to understand the definition of slave as worldly definition has negative connotations. Firstly, to be a slave is to be completely under the whim of the master as is demonstrated in the worldly examples taught in history.
However, we need to remind ourselves of two key differences between the worldly definition of slave and the definition as stated by Allah SWT.
First one is that unlike slavery in this world, Allah SWT has stated that it is optional for you to be a slave of Allah SWT. You can choose to follow completely the orders of your master, Allah SWT, and thus to be a Muslim or you can choose to disobey Allah SWT and the consequences of that is a separate matter. The point is that unlike worldly slavery, this is done willingly by those who follow Allah SWT.
The second point is that unlike slavery that exists in the world, Allah SWT hasn’t put restrictions on you enjoying your life. He isn’t making you work to the point of exhaustion or taking away your dignity as is associated usually with slavery. In fact, the restrictions on life, if you look at the immeasurable things you can do during your life, is not that many.
And out of the restrictions Allah SWT has imposed upon you, unlike the slavery of this world, they are for your benefit. They are placed upon you out of love by Allah SWT.
Just like a child being asked to drink medicine when it is unwell, the parents in this room will know that the child can often play up. But we as parents know that this thing we are forcing our children to do without any say by the child, is for the benefit of the child.
These concepts are important to help us understand the concept of a slave of Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, we know that Allah SWT loves His slave but how do we know that we are falling under this category?
Surely, with the reward that is associated with this label, we all want to be returned to Him as His loved slaves?
This reminder concludes with 5 points that will help determine if we fall under this category.
Firstly, that you are guided to faith. This does not mean that we don’t have free will. As mentioned in the definition earlier, we are free to choose to accept this guidance. However, if we find that life is gearing us towards the life of a devout Muslim then this is a sign that Allah SWT loves us.
Secondly, that you care less for this world. The imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this point which said:
A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which, if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and the people to love me.” So he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Renounce the world and Allah will love you, and renounce what the people possess and the people will love you.
Dear brothers and sisters, if you find yourselves increasingly disconnected with this world, take solace in the fact that it is a positive sign that your heart is yearning for the reality which is the next life and therefore work towards that in your efforts.
Next, that you are tested in worldy affairs and religion. Again, the hadith mentioned by the imam is translated in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.”
Dear brothers and sisters, look at it this way: Who is better equipped in work? Someone who drops out at high school or someone who completes a PhD? We need to understand that with the difficulty in test comes the greatest status and this status is the best status as it is with our Lord.
Fourthly, that you become able to help others and be of benefit to them. As mentioned today, someone asked the Prophet SAWS:
Oh Messenger of Allah who is most beloved to Allah? The Prophet SAWS said ‘ The most beloved people to Allah as of the most benefit to other people, and the most beloved work to Allah is to enter happiness on another Muslim, or remove an obstacle, or to pay their debt, or to remove their hunger, and to go and help my brother is better than staying I’tikaf in this Masjid, meaning the Masjid of Madina for one month………’
We have a great opportunity in this country to help others. Just in this masjid alone we have projects to help others so lets aim to be involved in some way with at least one act of charity.
And lastly, to end his/her life in good status, and on good actions. Dear brothers and sisters, none of us know when our time is up in this test. If we spend our whole time thinking we will improve tomorrow then tomorrow may never come. Make that change today and achieve that status so that if our time does come, we are not short-changing ourselves by being someone we weren’t meant to end our test as.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to be aware that this life is not without limits. Those limits are placed for our benefit in this. By adhering to them, we stand the best chance of being a loved slave of Allah SWT and benefitting upon our return to Him in the next life .