The Purest Form of Love

Shaykh Abdullah Waheed

Letting go of what we love is never easy. As human beings, we succumb to having more of the things we love and holding on to it, instead of consciously giving more. Our hearts are so attached to worldly deceptions like our property, our earnings or prized possessions – we forget that these blessings itself are from Allah ﷻ.  

The illustrious Companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) however, were an exception. They were inherently altruistic and sincerely used the blessings in their lifetime to propel themselves for the Hereafter. They would give even when they themselves were needy, and did not mind giving even if everything they possessed vanished overnight.   

When Allah ﷻ revealed a verse in Surah Ali Imran, calling people to give up what they loved most out of what they had, the Companions did not take His words lightly and unhesitatingly proceeded to act upon it.  

Allah ﷻ said: 

لَن تَنالُوا البِرَّ حَتّىٰ تُنفِقوا مِمّا تُحِبّونَ ۚ وَما تُنفِقوا مِن شَيءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِهِ عَليمٌ
Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Surah Ali Imran, Verse 92)

According to scholars of Tafsir, the word بِر in this verse refers to Paradise. This means that one cannot attain Paradise until they have sacrificed what they love in this world for the sake of Allah ﷻ. The act of the Companions’ eagerness to claim this reward, was a vindication of their virtuous character – their hearts were so pure that they seek nothing but the reward of Paradise from Allah ﷻ.

Abu Talha al-Ansari RA was amongst the wealthiest of the Ansari Companions who had a precious and profitable land near the Prophet's mosque called Biʾr Ḥāʾ. It was his dearest property as the Prophet (ﷺ) would often visit its garden, drink from its wells and take shade from its trees. But as much as he loved it, he loved Allah more.

Moved by this verse, Abu Talha presented himself to the Prophet (ﷺ) and declared:

"يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى يَقُولُ فِي كِتَابِهِ ‏{‏لَنْ تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّى تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ‏}‏ وَإِنَّ أَحَبَّ أَمْوَالِي إِلَىَّ بِيْرُ حَاءَ، وَإِنَّهَا صَدَقَةٌ لِلَّهِ أَرْجُو بِرَّهَا وَذُخْرَهَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ فَضَعْهَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ حَيْثُ شِئْتَ"
"O Messenger of Allah (ﷺ)! Allah says in His Book, 'You will not attain righteousness unless you spend (in charity) that which you love,' and verily, the most beloved to me of my property is Biʾr Ḥāʾ, so I give it in charity and hope for its reward from Allah. O Allah's Apostle! Spend it wherever you like."

The Prophet (ﷺ) was incredibly pleased with his gesture that he remarked: 

‏"‏ بَخٍ، ذَلِكَ مَالٌ رَائِحٌ، ذَلِكَ مَالٌ رَائِحٌ‏.‏ قَدْ سَمِعْتُ مَا قُلْتَ فِيهَا، وَأَرَى أَنْ تَجْعَلَهَا فِي الأَقْرَبِينَ ‏"‏‏.‏
"What a fine present! I have heard what you have said; I suggest you to distribute it among your relatives." 

Another Companion who responded to this verse was Zayd ibn Haritha RA, the adopted son of the Prophet (ﷺ). Zayd had a horse that he loved very much, named Subul. So, when he heard this verse, he jumped to the opportunity to give up his horse and exclaimed: 

" اللَّهُمَّ إِنَّكَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ لَيْسَ لِي مَالٌ أَحَبَّ إِلَيَّ مِنْ فَرَسِي هَذِهِ"
"O Allah, surely you know that there is nothing more beloved to me than this horse! "

When he arrived on his horse and presented it to the Prophet (ﷺ), he announced:

" هَذَا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ"
"This (charity) is in the path of Allah. "

The Prophet (ﷺ) then took the horse from him and handed it over to Zayd’s son, Usama. Zayd felt disappointed that his charity was not being used in the service of Islam. He also worried that it had not been fully accepted when it found its way back to his home. The Prophet (ﷺ) knowingly reassured him by saying:

" إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ قَبِلَهَا مِنْكَ"
" (Do not worry) Allah has accepted this charity of yours"

The Companions never lost sight of what was far more important than the luxuries of this ephemeral world. Their enthusiasm in giving away what they love after their hearts resonated with a verse of the Qur’an, shows us that they were purified because they were attached to Allah ﷻ more than anything in this world. 

Allah ﷻ owns everything and He provides these blessings for us so we can get closer to Him. When we give from what Allah ﷻ has given to us, it is a testament of our true love to Allah ﷻ – and He will return to us all that we have sacrificed for Him, and give us so much more beyond our wishes. Imagine getting Paradise and more.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: 

إنَّ أدنى مَقْعَدِ أحدِكم من الجنة أن يقول له: تَمَنَّ، فيتمنَّى ويتمنَّى فيقول له: هل تمنَّيتَ؟ فيقول: نعم، فيقول له: فإن لك ما تمنَّيتَ ومثله معه
"Verily, the lowest place of any of you in Paradise will be that Allah will tell him to express his wish. He will wish and wish again. Allah will then ask him: 'Have you expressed your wish?' He will answer: 'Yes, I have.' Allah will say: 'You will have what you have wished for and the like thereof along with it.'" [Muslim]

Taking a leaf out of these Companions’ books, we need to purify ourselves to become grateful servants of Allah ﷻ and make it a habit to be amongst those who give whatever we love, whenever we can, to whoever we can out of our love for Him. We should never be disillusioned by the things that we love in this world as it can detract us or rob us from the everlasting rewards that await us in the Hereafter.

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