First of all, it is to be stated that man should love Allah more than anyone or anything else. Almighty Allah says: “Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and your wives, and your tribe, and the wealth ye have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will be no sale, and dwellings ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His messenger and striving in His way: then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guideth not wrong doing folk.” (At-Tawbah: 24)

It is not difficult to love Allah more than anything else if we come to know what Allah means to us. For instance, our love for our own children is a gift from Allah, the One Who is the source of all love, as He gifted us with children. Let’s think of the One Who gave us those children—what a generous and bountiful Lord!

The most beautiful, the most sincere, the most elevated and the most exalted kind of love is most certainly the love of the One Whom hearts were created to love, and for Whom creation was brought into existence to adore. Allah is the One to Whom hearts turn in love, exaltation, glorification, humility, submission and worship. Such worship cannot be directed towards other than Him. It is the perfection of love accompanied by complete submission and humility. Allah is loved for His own sake in every respect. All except Him are loved for the love they give in return. All the revealed Books and the message of all the Prophets bear witness to the love that is due towards Him, as do the natural impulse He has created in all His servants, the intellect He has given them, and the blessings He has poured on them.

Hearts, as they mature, come to love whoever is merciful and kind towards them. So how much greater is their love for Him from Whom all kindness springs!

Every good thing enjoyed by His creation is one of His limitless blessings, and He is One with no associates and no partners. Almighty Allah says: “And whatever good you have – it is from Allah; and then, when misfortune comes to you, you cry to Him for help.” (An-Nahl: 53)

“And from among mankind there are some who take for themselves (objects of worship as) rivals to Allah, loving them as they should (only) love Allah. And those who believe are stronger in their love for Allah.” (Al-Baqarah: 165)

When it comes to what we love and what this entails, then is not Allah (Most Exalted is He), even more deserving of our love and adoration than our own selves?

Allah seeks His servant’s friendship and love by means of His generosity towards him, even though He is not in any need of him. The servant, on the other hand, invites Allah’s anger through his disobedience and wrong actions, even though he is in need of His assistance.

Neither Allah’s mercy nor His generosity towards the servant deter him from disobeying his Lord. In the same way, neither the servant’s disobedience nor his wrong actions deter Allah from granting him His blessings.

Furthermore, while anyone whom we love and who loves us may behave like this for personal gain, Allah does so in order to benefit us.

Furthermore, while anyone with whom we trade will not do business with us if he does not make a profit from the transaction—and he will do what he can to make a profit one way or another—Allah (Most Exalted is He) trades with us in order to enable us to make the best and greatest profit for ourselves from our transaction with Him. Thus, one good deed counts as between ten and seven hundred good deeds, or even more, while a bad deed is recorded as only one bad deed and can be swiftly wiped out.

Allah (Most Exalted is He), in His infinite mercy has created everything for us, both in this world and in the next. Who else then, deserves to be loved and worshiped more than Allah? All that we—and the whole of creation, for that matter—require and need is with Him. He is the Most Generous. He gives His servants more than they need, even before they ask him. He is pleased with even a little right action and increases its rewards. He forgives untold wrong actions and wipes them out. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth supplicates to Him. The multiplicity of things never bewilders Him, nor is He weary by the insistent pleas of His servants. Indeed He is pleased with those who persist in their supplication.

He is ever pleased with His servants who seek His assistance, and He is angry with those who do not. He is displeased when He sees a servant being disobedient and not caring about his actions, and yet He veils His servant’s wrong actions while the servant himself does not veil them. He has mercy on His servant while the servant does not have any mercy on himself.

He has called him to His acceptance and mercy through His compassion and generosity, but the servant declines. He has sent Messengers to him and made His covenant known through them. Allah even draws near him and says: “….Is there anyone who is calling on Me, so I may answer his prayer? Is there anyone who is asking of Me, so I may grant his request? Is there anyone who is seeking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Reported by Muslim)

How then, can our hearts not love Him, the One Who—and no other than Him—grants rewards, answers prayers, pardons mistakes, forgives sins, veils wrong actions, dispels grief and drives away sorrow?

He alone is worthy of remembrance, worship and praise. He is the most generous to be asked, the most liberal to give, the most merciful to pardon, the mightiest to assist and the most dependable to rely on.

Love of Allah the Almighty gives life to the heart and sustains the soul. The heart experiences no pleasure, nor feels any joy, nor tastes any success—not even life—if it does not have this love. If the heart loses this love, then the loss it suffers is more severe than the eye’s loss of sight and the ear’s loss of hearing.

Even worse than this, the decay of the heart when it is devoid of love for its Creator, Source, and True God, is far worse than that of the body when it no longer contains the soul. This truth is only recognized by the people who are alive, for a wound does not pain the dead.

Now let’s move to the methods and means that can develop one’s love for Allah. In Instinshaq Naseemul-Uns min Nafahaati Riyaadil-Qudus, Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali lists the following under the title “Causes That Bring about the Love for The Lord of the Worlds”:

1) Recognizing the bounties Allah has bestowed upon His servants. These bounties [are so many that they] cannot be counted or enumerated. Allah says: “If you count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them.” (Ibrahim: 34)

Hearts naturally have love for those who do good to them. Love for a blessing is one of the general aspects of thanking the one who has bestowed a bounty. It is said that thanks is with the heart, tongue and limbs.

2)Having knowledge of Allah by His Names, Attributes and Actions. The one who knows Allah, loves Him. Whoever loves Him, obeys Him. Whoever obeys Allah is honored by Him. Whomever Allah honors, He will have him live close to Him. Whoever lives close to Him has attained the glad tidings.

3) Having the specific knowledge that comes through pondering over the creation of the heavens and the earth and what Allah has created. In the Qur’an, there is much mention of the signs of Allah that indicate His Greatness, Power, Majesty, Perfection, Eminence, Compassion, Mercy, Strength, Subjugation and other of His beautiful Names and exalted Attributes. Whenever one’s knowledge of Allah is strengthened, one’s love for Him and one’s love for obeying Him are also strengthened. He will then experience the pleasure of worship, whether it be in prayer, remembrance, or other forms of worship.

4) Acting towards Allah with sincerity and purity while going against one’s desires. This is a cause for Allah to bless a servant and when He blesses the servant, the servant loves Him.

5) Increasing one’s remembrance of Allah. Whenever a person loves something, he remembers it more often. And it is through the remembrance of Allah that the hearts find tranquility. In fact, one of the signs of having love for Allah is the constant remembrance of Allah by one’s heart and tongue.

6) Reciting the Qur’an often and pondering over its meaning, in particular those verses that contain Allah’’s Names, Attributes and Actions. Having fondness for that action will lead the servant to love Allah and Allah to love Him.

7) Remembering what has been mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah concerning the believers seeing their Lord in the Hereafter and visiting them and gathering them together on the Day of Abundance. That will definitely bring about in a person love for Allah.”