Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 943 [Read full issue]
Loving the Prophet
In many narrations (hadiths), Prophet Muhammad defines the role of loving him specifically — and not simply loving the religion or his teachings. This spark of personal love within the heart is what prevents a beautiful religion from becoming nothing more than an ideology. Prophet Muhammad himself said, "None of you shall have [complete] faith until I am more beloved to him than his children, parents, and all other people." [Ibn Majah] On another occasion he said the same thing and added, "than one's own self." [Bukhari] Here, we see that the powerful force of love directed toward the Beloved of God is a prerequisite to having complete faith. Fortunately for those seeking divine grace and complete faith, never has God created one so easily loved.
In addition to completing your faith, loving Prophet Muhammad s affects your destination in the afterlife (akhirah). A man once came to the Prophet and asked him when the Day of Judgment will come. Since he was asking about such a momentous event — when we are placed before the Almighty and held to account — the Prophet replied, "What have you done in preparation for it?" The Prophet wanted to teach that one should not be concerned about when the Last Day would be, but rather about how to prepare for the momentous meeting with the Almighty Himself. The man replied, "I have not prepared for it with a lot of prayer or fasting or charity, but I love God and His Messenger." The Prophet said, "You will be with the one you love." [Bukhari] From this, we learn the immense need to examine the objects of our adoration, as they have other-worldly effects.
How can we tell if a person truly loves Prophet Muhammad? Such a person strives to follow his Prophetic Way (Sunnah) and to embody all of his teachings, fulfilling his commands and avoiding the things he forbade. Also, a person who loves the Prophet will exhibit the proper respect towards him, feeling a sense of reverence at the very mention of his name. Such a person will be sure to send blessings upon him upon hearing his name. Loving the Prophet also enhances one's motivation to follow him. In this manner, the duty to love and the duty to follow reinforces the other.
"Being Muslim: A Practical Guide" - Asad Tarsin, pp. 125, 126