Love is a Central Teaching in Islam
Anas ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: A Bedouin asked the Messenger of Allah, (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), “When is the Hour?” The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “What have you prepared for it?” The man said, “Love for Allah and His Messenger.” The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “You will be with those whom you love.”…Anas said, “I love Allah and His Messenger, and Abu Bakr and Umar, and I hope that I will be with them even though I have not acted like them.” (Muslim)
There is a consensus of the Muslim community (Ummah) that Love for Allah and love for his Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is Fard (an obligation) upon every Muslim man/woman. This is one of the conditions of Faith (Iman) and a central teaching of this religion because of the Quranic verse:
“among the people (are those) who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah…” (2:165)
In the time of the Messenger of Allah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) it was well known that people had expressed their love for Allah. This expression of Love was the cause of the ‘verse of examination’ to be revealed as a test to this claim. The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was instructed thus:
“Say, [O Muhammad], If you (really) love Allah then follow me Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”(3:31)
A Person who possesses three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith (Iman) of which one is that Allah and his Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) become more beloved to him/her than anyone else (Muslim). Therefore, Love primarily is for Allah and His Messenger (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This Love also flows and is expressed to ones parents, spouse, children, fellow Muslims, humankind and the rest of Allah’s creation as we learn from the statements and actions of the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Ways of acquiring Allah’s love:
1. To have the quality of sincerity in one’s worship.
2. Recitation of Quran (along with contemplation/reflection). If one does not know Allah then that person will not be able to Love Him. But if one was to come to know Allah then there is no way except that person will have to Love Him.
3. Abundance of remembrance of Allah (morning &evening).
4. Salah in congregation for Mature men, as much as possible.
5. Spending for the pleasure of Allah.
6. Circles of knowledge, Iman and the righteous.
7. Kind treatment to the creation and goodwill.
8. Patience and seeking ones reward with Allah in conditions that come our way.
...وَأَسْأَلُكَ حُبَّكَ وَحُبَّ مَن يُّحِبُّكَ، وَحُبَّ عَمَلٍ يُقَرِّبُ إِلى حُبِّك (الترمذي)
The Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was instructed to ask thus: “O Allah we ask for your love, the love for those who love you and love for those actions which bring us closer to your love.” (al-Tirmithi)