By Calisha Bennet
When you think of Allah SWT, do you think of Him in terms of His Might and Power, His anger and His threat of punishment? Do you think of Him in His eternal vastness, unlimited knowledge and magnificent power? Or do you think of Him in His gentleness, mercy, kindness and love? All human beings are different and have different temperaments and natures. Some of us are motivated by our fear and awe of Allah SWT, with a desire to avoid His displeasure, punishment and Hell in the afterlife. Others are motivated by their love for Allah SWT, by His beautiful traits of Mercy and Grace and the promise of His forgiveness, reward and Paradise for the believers. Some people are motivated by a mix of the two. Whichever the inclination, no doubt Allah’s Names and Attributes have an immense role in your relationship and worship of Him. Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
“Knowledge of the names of Allah is the basis of all other kinds of knowledge.”
Inshaa’Allah as believers we are all making an effort to increase our knowledge about Allah SWT and His Names and Attributes. In addition to the benefits of this knowledge in our relationship with Him, we must also realise that our understanding and awareness of Him should also have a big effect on our relationship with OURSELVES. You see, as believers, our understanding and internalisation of the Names and Attributes of Allah SWT are not only to be learnt for the sake of knowing Allah SWT, but also meant to guide us towards aspiring to exemplify some of His beautiful traits within our own characters and personalities. Just as Allah SWT is Al-Ghaffar, the All Forgiving – so should we strive to forgive. Just as Allah SWT is Al-Kareem, The Generous, so too should we strive to be generous. Just as Allah SWT is As-Sabur, The Patient, we should also strive to be patient. And just as Allah SWT is Al-Wadud – ‘The Loving’, so too should we strive to be Loving. We should want to be loving towards all of mankind, from those we know and those we don’t know. Loving to all of the animals and loving to the natural environment. Loving towards all of our blessings and gifts! And let’s not forget to strive to be loving to ourselves!
Al Wadud is Name of Allah which is mentioned twice in the Quran- once in Surah Hud and once in Surah Burooj. In Surah Hud Verse 90, Allah SWT says:
“Seek forgiveness from your Lord, then turn towards Him in repentance. Surely, my Lord is very merciful, most loving.”
And in Surah Al-Burooj Verse 14, He says:
“And He is the Most-Forgiving, the Most-Loving.”
But hang on, perhaps you’re wondering ‘I thought love was Hubb in Arabic? And everyone says Habibi to each other to express their love right?!’
In Arabic, yes ‘love’ is known as الحب (al-Hubb), however, الودود (al-Wadud) is derived from the word الود (al-Wudd), which also means love but refers to an expression of love through the act of giving. So it is more comprehensive in the way that ‘Hubb’ is found in the hearts as a feeling and emotion whereas ‘Wudd’ is the love which is shown and expressed by actions. If we reflect on this in terms of Allah SWT being Al Wadud, we come to realise that He truly does show us His love through countless actions, Subhanallah. His love for us manifests through all of the wonderful blessings and gifts that He bestows upon us every single second of each and every day without us even needing to ask of Him! (Let’s take a moment to say a true Alhamdulillah!)
The Prophet SAW told us some ways that Allah shows His love:
“When Allah loves someone he calls to Jibreel (AS) saying, ‘O Jibreel, I love such and such a person, so love him.’ Then Jibreel will call to the angels of the heavens, ‘Allah loves such and such a person so love him.’ And the angels will love [that person]. And then Allah will place acceptance on earth for that believer.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Look at how Allah SWT loves us Subhanallah! Doesn’t this awareness not cause you to love Him even more than ever? Let us be reminded that feeling love for Allah SWT from the depths of your heart is one of the most important manifestations of our belief in Him as Muslims. As we reflect on Allah’s love and expression of love for us, I want to remind us all about the importance of allowing ourselves to embrace Allah’s love for us and allowing it to result in us loving ourselves more. Too often we fall into carrying a lot of negative thoughts about ourselves, and feelings of regret, guilt, disappointment, sadness and self-loathing can end up overshadowing the sense of self love and respect that Allah SWT wants for us. Remember that just as Allah SWT is Al Wadud, The Loving of you and I, then we must ask ourselves who are we to think, feel and talk negatively to ourselves?
If Allah SWT loves us and we proclaim to Love Him then should we not also love ourselves? My dear sister (or brother), the very fact that you are a believer, a seeker of truth and goodness means that you are very special and beloved to Allah SWT.
No doubt He loves you enormously, is proud of your efforts and intentions, is mentioning you to His accompanying angels and holds you in great esteem and honour. Why? Because you are a precious believer and you CHOOSE to be a believer. You choose to believe in and strive to obey and please Allah. Whilst you’re not perfect, your heart is in the right place and Allah SWT knows this. So therefore – you are someone whom Allah loves. And if Allah loves you, then you have a responsibility to love yourself too (in a healthy non-proud way of course).
The result of loving yourself in the correct way and out of gratitude to Allah SWT is that you will hold yourself to a much higher standard of conduct and behaviour. You will make better choices, you will strive to more good acts and choices and you will avoid sinful and shameful acts out of the love and respect that you have for yourself as a believer Inshaa’Allah.
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” (Quran 19:96)
Let’s do away with the common negative self-talk and perception that we see prevalent among many individuals in the world today. Let’s step into our God-given right to love, respect and honour ourselves and allow the untrue negative thoughts about ourselves to fall away. By doing this – we will InshaaAllah be able to take our faith and practice to greater heights for the sake of Al-Wadud!
“And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.” (Quran 7:180) Say, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Most Merciful. Whichever [name] you call – to Him belong the best names.” (Quran 17:110)
About the author:
Calisha Bennett is the daughter of an Australian convert father and Cocos Islander mother. She is a home-schooling mother of 5 with over a decade of experience as an active speaker, community teacher and mentor of Muslim women, converts and youth. She has a background in Quran Tajweed, Islamic Shariah, youth work, education, coaching and fitness studies. She is the founder of Developing Diamonds which provides identity and success coaching, workshops, courses and retreats for Muslim women around the world. To find out more visit: www.developingdiamonds.com.au