Love for the Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)
لَا يُؤْمِنُ أحَدُكُمْ، حتَّى أكُونَ أحَبَّ إلَيْهِ مِن والِدِهِ ووَلَدِهِ والنَّاسِ أجْمَعِينَ (البخاري)
“None among you is a (perfect) believer until I become more beloved to him than his father, his children, and all people”
The world love in this hadith does not refer to the natural love (al-hubb al-tabi’i) one feels for someone, since such love is beyond one’s control. This refers to a logical love (al-hubb al-‘aqli), which demands that a person give priority to what the intellect gives preference to, even if it goes against his personal desires. This is similar to the love of a sick person for medicine, who only consumes it due to his knowledge of its benefits, despite his natural dislike for it. Hence, love for Allah’s Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) demands that a person fulfill his commands, despite natural inclinations not to, knowing that true benefit and salvation will come from following those commands.
Love here could also refer to the love of belief (al-hubb al-imani) that develops because of awe and respect for Allah’s messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his bounties and mercy upon the believers. Hence, one gives preference to the desires of the beloved (Messenger sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) over the desires of one’s family and self, especially when the Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has been characterized with all possible elements of love-knowledge, inward and outward beauty, sublime character, and abundant generosity (all the above is from Provisions for the Seekers – Hadith 129 – page 67)