Al Wadood is a very special name which our hearts need to know and understand. It comes from the arabic ‘Al-Wud’, which means the highest level of love; Exclusive love.
Allah, “Al-Wadood” is The One Who endears Himself to His slaves by bestowing His innumerable divine favors upon them. Allah is Al-Wadood Who loves and Who is loved. Allah loves His true believers and when He loves them He fills their hearts with love for Him and when they love Him, He loves them even more as a reward for their love. (1)
Allah The Most High says:
قال الله تعالى: واستغفروا ربكم ثم توبوا إليه إن ربي رحيم ودود
“And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful (Ar-Rahim), Most Loving (Al-Wadood)”
Surah Hud [11: 90]
This verse tells us about Prophet Shuaib, peace be upon him, at the time when he was calling his people to tawheed. They were fighting against Allah’s religion and so he said to them that if they returned to Allah with repentance and seek His forgiveness they will find Allah merciful and loving.
Try to ponder on these two names of Allah which are mentioned in this verse, Ar-Rahim and Al-Wadood. As for humans, they can forgive another human who harms them in some way, but he might not love him again if the harm was painful to him. On the other hand, Allah is offering His mercy and love to the kuffar (disbelievers) whilst they not only denied His presence but also fought His Prophet. These divine attributes of perfect love and mercy belong only to Allah, because He is our creator, The All-Merciful, The All-Loving.
قال الله تعالى: إنه هو يبدئ ويعيد وهو الغفور الودود
Verily, He it is Who begins (punishment) and repeats (punishment in the Hereafter) (or originates the creation of everything, and then repeats it on the Day of Resurrection). And He is Oft Forgiving, Full of Love (towards the pious who are real true believers of Islamic Monotheism).
Surah Al-Buruj [85:13-14]
Glory be to Allah, look at how great this love is! Even if you were to sin or go astray from the path of Allah but then repent, Allah will accept you once again and not only will He forgive you, but He will love you again.
Allah, glorified and exalted is He, wants us to worship Him lovingly. And how do we know this? If we read the Quran we find that Allah is endearing Himself to us by telling us about His beautiful and perfect names and attributes. Allah tells us about His love, forgiveness, mercy, generosity, bestowing of favors, responding to our supplications and His appreciation for every good deed we make for His sake. Allah also tells us about the paradise which He has prepared as a reward for His true believers.
Any pure and good heart will love Allah for His names, attributes and actions because the good and pure heart loves perfect and beautiful attributes and acts.
For example if someone is miserly, will your heart love him because of his attribute of miserliness? How about a coward; will your heart love him for his cowardice? No. Will your heart love a liar? What about an unappreciative person? Then what about someone who is not helpful or who has never cared about you; will you love him? The answer is no.
So the more you know about Allah’s names, attributes and actions, the more your heart will find itself loving Allah as Allah has the most beautiful of names and attributes.
Imam Nassir Ibn Saadi says:
The hearts are created to love what is beautiful and perfect and to Allah belongs complete perfection. So every attribute from His attributes has its own special effect upon our servitude and in inclining the hearts to its Lord. Allah endeared Himself to His slaves by His bounties and favors, by which He created them, provided for them, facilitated the means for their living and guided them to true belief and to be Muslims. (2)
Your heart is created to love the one who bestows favors on you and who treats you with goodness. So if someone showers you with favours, what will your heart feel towards him? Your heart will surely love him. But sadly most hearts do not recognize Who the true Bestower is. You can realize what your mother did for you but who gave you this mother? Who put the love and mercy for you in her heart? Allah did! Only the heart that is alive and sound realises the true bestower of favors and realises that Allah is the one who deserves the utmost love.
Out of Allah’s love for His slaves, He is forbearing if His slave turns away from Him by disobeying Him and by violating His commands. Allah is forbearing towards him and will continue to provide for the disobedient slave with graces and provisions. If this slave is truly good hearted, Allah will put in his way reasons and reminders which will bring him back to Him. Allah will guide this sinful slave to repent and He will accept his repentance and will forgive him for the crimes he did and Allah will return His love to him once again. (3)
Each and every one of us has had a moment in our lives when we had turned away from Allah, not doing what Allah had commanded us with. So reflect dear reader on how Allah brought us back to Him! He was forbearing with us; while we were disobeying Him He still provided for us, protected us and answered our supplications. He did not cut us off nor did He deprive us of our sight or limbs which we used to disobey Him with. No, Allah was forbearing; giving us chances to repent and return to Him. I believe all of us have had this experience and your heart needs to know and appreciate this. So reflect on how Allah treated you while you were away from Him in disobedience and heedlessness.
Allah does not need our obedience or worship, but Allah is pleased when a slave repents. We know this fact from an authentic hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him, where he said:“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb’. He commits this mistake out of extreme joy.” (4)
Now let’s think about why Allah is happy with our repentance? Allah is Al-Wadood, He loves His slaves and He loves to treat us with mercy and bestow His bounties and favors upon us. If we were to stray from His commands, this necessitates that Allah will treat us in a manner that is other than the way Allah loves to treat us with. That is why when we repent to Him and do what Allah is pleased with as it necessitates that we are treated with the way He loves to treat His slaves.
Maybe you can understand this if you are a parent and you love to have mercy for your children and to give them rewards and gifts to make them happy. If your child is disobedient to you and keeps violating all your rules, this necessitates that you start punishing your child and depriving him of any gifts or rewards. Now while you are punishing your child, are you happy? No, because your love for your child makes you wish to have mercy on him and to please him, so when your child apologizes and asks for your forgiveness, you then return to treating him with the way your heart loves. Yet, Allah’s love and mercy to His slaves is more than our love for our children. Our Lord is Al-Wadood.
How can we worship Allah according to our understanding of His name Al-Wadood?
Love is the core of our worship to Allah. Yes, we fear Allah for His punishment and we have hope in Allah for His mercy, but first comes our love for Allah. This is because if your heart is filled with love for Allah, you then naturally exert your utmost effort, willingly and happily, to please Him because this is the way you act towards whom you love. This heart will not allow you to displease Allah by disobeying Him because any thought of disobeying Allah brings you only pain and sorrow which your heart will not be able to tolerate. Your love for Allah will not allow anyone or anything to stand in your way of obedience to Him and of your path to achieve Allah’s love and pleasure. The heart is truly a king, ruling over our limbs.
If we love Allah, then no doubt we will enjoy each and every act of worship and goodness we do for Allah’s sake. In turn Allah loves this and He loves to be worshipped and obeyed lovingly.
If our hearts are filled with love for Allah, each and every love in our life has to be following and according to this love, meaning we love those whom Allah loves and we hate whom Allah hates. This is because Allah is more beloved to us than even our own selves.
If you truly love Allah, your concern will be to try to find out how to please Him in each and every way. You will try to act according to what pleases Allah in your manners, the way you treat people, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you spend your money and the way you deal with any hardship. You will consider every situation a chance to show Allah that you love Him and you will have only one question you will be asking yourself, ‘is Allah pleased with my actions’?
قال الله تعالى: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِيْنِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّوْنَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِيْنَ يُجَاهِدُوْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ وَلاَ يَخَافُوْنَ لَوْمَةَ لاَئِمٍ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللهِ يُؤْتِيْهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيْمٌ
O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.
Surah Al-Maidah [5: 54]
When we read this verse we should feel an urge to be from those whom Allah loves and we should be inspired to seek His love. This verse tells us about some of the great attributes which Allah loves. We also have a beautiful qudsi hadith (Note: A qudsi hadith is Allah’s Words narrated by the prophet peace be on him and is not recited like the Quran):
إن الله قال : من عادى لي ولياً فقد آذنته بالحرب، وما تقرب إلي عبدي بشيء أحب إلي مما افترضت عليه، وما يزال عبدي يتقرب إلي بالنوافل حتى أحبه، فإذا أحببته كنت سمعه الذي يسمع به، وبصره الذي يبصر به، ويده التي يبطش بها، ورجله التي يمشي بها، وإن سألني لأعطينه، ولئن استعاذني لأعيذنه
Allah The Almighty has said: “Whoever shows enmity to my true pious believer, I shall be at war with him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have imposed upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to Me with nawafil (optional prayers, fasting, charity and good actions) so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it. (5)
If you fulfill what Allah obligates on you and try to please Allah by doing all what pleases Him (even if it is not obligated), you will attain His love. And what happens when Allah loves you? You will have His protection and His guidance in all your actions. If you ask of Him, He will answer you and if you seek His protection He will give you refuge. Allah Who owns and controls the entire creation and will protect you and guide you.
It is not enough that you love Allah, the true important matter is that Allah loves you. Many people make a claim that they love Allah, but Allah has told us whom from these claimants are truthful in their love to Allah and thus Allah loves them in turn. We have this verse in Surah Al-Imran, Scholars call it the verse of the trial:
قال الله تعالى: قل إن كنتم تحبون الله فاتبعوني يحببكم الله ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم والله غفور رحيم
Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Surah Ali-Imran [3: 31]
Now do you really want to know if Allah loves you or not? Stop and think about the following. Are you following the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in his belief and creed and do you respect and follow his commandments. Do you perform acts of worship according to his Sunnah (following the way of the Prophet peace be upon him)? Have you taken the time to read his biography to learn about his ways and manners in order to take him as your example, knowing that his way is the mostly beloved to Allah? If the answer is yes, then you do love Allah and this is a glad tiding that Allah loves you.
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim says:
Of the most unbelievable realities is that you know Allah, yet still do not truly love Him; and that you hear His caller (i.e.The Prophet, peace be upon him), but still do not respond to him; and that you are aware of how profitable it is to deal with Him, yet you choose to deal with other than Him; and that you are cognisant of the power of His anger, yet are still blind to it; and that you taste the pain of being cut off from Him as you sin, but still do not find comfort in worshipping Him… But even more unbelievable than all of that is that you know you need Him and cannot do without His help, yet still you turn away, and busy yourself in that which distances you from Him. (6)
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ حُبَّكَ وَحُبَّ مَنْ يُحِبُّكَ وَحُبَّ عَمَلٍ يُقَرِّبُنِي إِلَى حُبِّكَ
The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to say:
“O Allah, I ask You for Your love, and the love of whoever loves You, and the love of deeds that will bring me closer to Your love”. (7)
Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb, based on the book Fiqh Al-Asmaa Al-Husnaa by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr.
- Imam As-Sadi – Explanation of Allah’s names.
- Imam As-Sadi – Fath Ar-Raheem Al-Malik Al-‘Alam.
- Imam As-Sadi- Fath Ar-Raheem Al-Malik Al-‘Alam.
- Reported by Al-Bukhari.
- Reported by Al-Bukhari.
- Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, Al-Fawaid Book.
- Reported by Imam Ahmad and At-Tirmidhi.