How was his love?
Just like his reverence, the Prophet’s (pbuh) love for Allah the Almighty was so deep that it is beyond our proper description.
Love, which is a divine elixir and the essence of life, is the sincere and pure form of friendship. Love is the emotional state of a heart, which longs for meeting with the beloved and seeing its beauty. Yusuf Hamadani (q.s.) speaks about two aspects of love as selfish and divine. Then he explains the difference between them as follows: “When a person loves a creation, a state of craziness and senility appears in him/her; whereas, as a result of love for Allah the Almighty, a state of wisdom, insight, and knowledge develops. This is why love for anything other than Allah the Almighty is not appropriate. There is nothing but trash and dirt on the path of Devil, while there are lilies and tulips on the path of Allah the Most Glorious.” (Rutbat al-Ḥayat, p. 69)
In the human body, the heart is the center of love. Allah the Almighty has created only one heart in His servant’s body (al-Ahzab 33; 4) and reserved it for Himself. Allah the Almighty is the true Beloved with whom a heart may fall in love with.
A heart cannot reach the peak levels of love in an instant. Affections for creations are like the steps of a stair that lead to the palace of “love for Allah.” Lawful affection felt for creations prepares the heart for the true love. It is also necessary to ask for His love from Allah the Almighty. Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) asked for Divine love in his prayers saying:
“O Allah! I ask from You Your love, love of those who love You, and deeds which will take me to Your love. O Allah! Make Your love more attractive for me than myself, my family, my property, and cold water.” (Tirmidhi, Daawat, 72)
The true believer should not attach his/her heart to temporary affections of this world but to Allah who is eternal and past eternal. One day, beauty of a mortal beloved will disappear. Therefore, the heart must fall in love with Allah the Eternal.
A believer’s love for Allah must be dominant over other types of love. This is expressed in the Qur’an as follows:
“…Those who believe are stauncher in their love for Allah…” (al-Baqarah 2; 165)
If this is the level of love required from believers, then we should think about how great the Prophet’s (pbuh) love for Allah was. His love for Allah was always fresh. Because of his love for Allah, he always showed interest to creations and considered them as means of reminders of his Lord. In order to get closer to Allah, he liked to get familiar with everything manifested by Divine command. With the increase of love for something, everything related to that being also receives its share from that love. Anas b. Malik (r.a.) narrates the following incident in this regard:
“It rained upon us as we were with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) removed his cloth from his shoulder till the rain fell on it. We said: O Messenger of Allah, why did you do this? He said: It is because the rainfall has just come from the Exalted Lord. (Muslim, Istisqa, 13)
The extent of love can be widened from the beloved, which is at the center, towards other existences around the beloved close and far. This is called absolute love and it manifested in the Messenger of Allah in its most perfect sense.
Revelation had an important effect on the increase and freshness of the Prophet’s (pbuh) and his companions’ deep love for Allah. Gradually, revealed verses of the Qur’an consoled the Messenger of Allah and his friends, lessened their sadness and reestablished their connection to Allah. Thus, revelation continued to refresh the love in their hearts. We can observe a remarkable manifestation of their love in the following incident:
Anas (r.a.) reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) used to visit her.” As we came to her, she wept. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her:
“What makes you weep? Don’t you know what is in the next world for Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) is better than what is in this worldly life?” She said:
“I weep not because I am ignorant of the fact that what is in store for Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) (in the next world) is better than (this world), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come.”
This caused both of them to cry and they began to weep along with her. (Muslim, Fadail al-Sahabah, 103)
On the one hand, they were crying because of the cessation of the revelation, and on the other hand they were happy to know that the Messenger of Allah was receiving the eternal blessings of Allah; because the Prophet (pbuh) lived his life in constant yearning to meet his Beloved and it was time to meet Him. The story of another companion who manifested his love for Allah the Almighty is as follows:
The Prophet sent (an army unit) under the command of a man who led his companions in the prayers and finished his recitation with the 112th chapter of the Qur’an. When they returned (from the battle), they mentioned that to the Prophet. He said (to them), “Ask him why he does so.” They asked him and he said, “I do so because it mentions the qualities of the Beneficent Allah and I love to recite it in my prayer.” The Prophet said to them, “Tell him that Allah, too, loves him.” (Bukhari, Tawhid, 1)
Jalal al-Din Rumi (q.s) describes the Prophet’s (pbuh) love for Allah as follows:
On the night of ascension, the horizons of all the Seven Heavens were full with the spirits of the Prophets’, houris and saints who had come to gaze upon him, having arrayed themselves for his sake—However, he had nothing in his heart except love for his Friend. How indeed should he care for anything except the Beloved? He had become so filled with magnification of Allah, that even those nearest to Allah would find no way (of intruding) there. “In Us (in Our unity) is no room for a prophet sent as an apostle, nor yet for the Angels or the Spirit. (Munawi, IV, 8) Do ye, therefore, understand!” He (also) said, “We are má zágh (that is, Our eye did not rove), we are not (looking for carrion) like crows (zágh); We are intoxicated with (enraptured by) the Dyer, we are not intoxicated with the garden (of flowers with their many dyes).” (Mathnawi, I, verses 3950-3954)
The Prophet’s (pbuh) love for Allah was based upon his fear from Allah, and his fear was based upon his love for Him. This is why he (pbuh) often uttered the following supplication:
“…O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience.” (Muslim, Qadar, 17)
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) lived all his life in longing to meet his Lord, to whom he was attached to with great love. When his death was near, his longing had reached its peak. Then when he finished his mission in this world and he was left to choose between staying in this world and meeting with his Rafiq al-‘Ala, his best Friend, he chose to go to Him. Aisha (r.anha), mother of the believers’, depicts the moments of meeting with his Beloved:
“At his final moments, Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) leaned his head on my chest. While I was praying for his recovery saying: “O Lord of human beings! Please heal him! You are the real Healer,” the Prophet (pbuh) was praying:
“No, Dear Lord, let me meet with my best Friend. O Allah! Please forgive me! Show Your mercy on me! Let me meet with my best Friend!” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 108, 231)
In another version of this narration, the rest is reported as follows:
“During his healthy days, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) several times had said:
“None of the prophets’ soul is taken unless his place in Paradise is shown to him. Then he is left to choose between staying in this world and going to his place in Paradise.”When the Prophet (pbuh) became sick and his final moments were close, he leaned his head on my knees, and then fainted. When he got back to himself, he turned his eyes towards the ceiling and said:
“Dear Lord! Best Friend.” I said that Allah’s Messenger was not choosing us. Then I realized that the Prophet’s prayer was a sign of the news that he had been giving us in his healthy days was soon going to come true about him.” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 84; Ibn Hanbal, VI, 89)
The following conversation between Allah’s Messenger and Angel of Death at his final moments shows more clearly the level of his love for Allah the Almighty. The Angel of Death asked for permission to enter, when it was the time of Prophet’s death. Angel Gabriel said,
“O Ahmad! This is Angel of Death. He wants to enter in your room, whereas he has never asked permission from anybody before you and he will not ask from anybody after you. Let him enter.”
The Angel of Death entered into the room and stood before the Messenger of Allah (pbuh):
“O Messenger of Allah! O Ahmad! Allah the Almighty has sent me to you and ordered me to obey your commands. If you tell me to take your soul, I will do it; if you command me to leave it, I will leave your soul to you.” Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) asked:
“Are you really going to do this?” Angel replied:
“Yes, I am ordered to obey your command.” Just then Angel Gabriel said:
“O Ahmad! Your Lord misses you.” Upon Gabriel’s words, our beloved Prophet (pbuh) told Angel of Death:
“What is in the presence of Allah is better and permanent. O Angel of Death! Do what you were ordered to do and take my soul.” (Ibn Sa’d, II, 259; Haythami, IX, 34-35; Baladhuri, I, 565)
 Here Rumi Refers To Chapter 53 Verse 17 From The Qur’an. In This Verse Prophet’s State Of Heart Is Explained As Follows: “The Eye Did Not Turn Aside, Nor Did It Exceed The Limit.”
Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş, Erkam Publications