Love Thy God
We have seen that love is an important ingredient for our existence. It is a necessary component that bonds persons forming a family unit and then for each unit to live in peace and harmony with other units. It was a must in previous societies and it is a must in today’s society. We are also now aware that our Creator has clearly shown us the way to love people and importantly the way to be close to Him and to love Him. This information is not new, but has been with us for many centuries. Time is a witness to the fact that those who chose the path of loving God and loving humanity were successful and those who did not perished.
For us to please and love God we need to comprehend the assets that bring us closer to Him. These are everyday actions and behaviours that we must possess to have any opportunity of loving our Creator. Let us turn to the latest source (namely, Holy Quran) to see what pleases the Supreme Being:
…for God loveth those who do good. (Holy Quran 2:195)
We see from the outset that for us to be near to our Creator, we must be amongst those who champion goodness. This is a not paper exercise that one writes about or gives a lengthy sermon on, but it is a practical daily effort that one makes. In other words, a person who is serious about loving God must radiate with good actions and good mannerism. By good actions clearly this refers to deeds that will not just please our Creator, but a conduct that will be of benefit to others. One cannot claim, therefore, that God loves them unless they are promoting, participating and glowing in activities and events that provide advantage to others. There are countless examples of programmes that advance goodness. These include raising awareness and funds for a hospital or a specific specialist unit (such as cancer relief or cardiology support), participating in a sponsored walk or run to help disadvantage children or promoting a local recycling campaign that aims to improve the environment. Many ways of showing our good nature and the love that we have for our fellow human beings.
We may be forgiven for thinking that a person only needs to do good to be near to God Almighty. Indeed, this is an essential component towards this goal. However, the final testament of our Creator offers a further insight to the best way of being loved by God. It says in verse 110 of chapter 3:
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in God.
This then provides us with three distinctive numbers to unlock the love of God: Firstly, we must strive to be good and to champion the same goodness to our near and dear ones, to our extended family and to our friends and contacts. The second and equally imperative is to demote and prevent what is harmful to self and to others. This implies that we simply cannot be an armchair supporter of good and look upon others (or even God Almighty) to deal with anything that is not. We need to make the same, if not more, effort to eradicate detrimental elements to humanity. By doing so, we are fulfilling the second requirement to loving God. Again there are many everyday examples that we can think of where our involvement is required to discourage or to remove something that is wrong. This could take the form of working with the Police to reduce criminal activity of all forms, or working with the medical services to run an anti-smoking campaign, or discouraging the building of gambling outlets with view to preventing further self inflicted poverty, etc. In fact, anything that falls in the category of making little to no contribution towards accelerating the love between us and God should be avoided and discouraged. This important God loving strand is beautifully highlighted by the final mentor of our Creator, Muhammad:
“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.” (Recorded in Muslim)
Here, we see that there are three levels to fulfilling the second task of preventing bad atmospheres. The first level is the highest possible status whereby one uses their authority to make a change. For example, one may see an elderly lady being robbed by a teenager. Looking at this, one may feel that by intervening they would b able to rescue the situation without harming oneself or others. By acting this way, the first level of preventing evil has been achieved. If on the other hand, there is a possibility of injury or harm resulting from an intervention then the second option should be to call for assistance or even verbally warn the attacker. If, however, neither of these two options are available then one should at least feel that what they are witnessing is wrong. Taking this last option correlates to the lowest possible level of loving God and His creation. Of course, if one decides to simply ignore the cries and screams of the elderly lady and walk away from the scene then there is little evidence of love for humanity or for God resident in such person.
The third significant combination to acquiring the love of our Creator is that we should have total and absolute belief in Him. What this means is that we need to recognise His likes and dislikes and do our utmost to satisfy His wishes. This is important because unless we fully comprehend the way to please God Almighty then any effort on our part will not achieve the ultimate goal of a loving relationship. In fact, we may make many exertions to do good and to prevent evil, yet may still fail to seek the pleasure of Our Creator. The reason for this is that in addition to understanding what is good and what is not, we also need to be close to Him to understand how the same could be implemented within His jurisprudence. This may sound a touch convoluted, but take an everyday example of giving a dear one a bunch of flowers. The flowers here are being used as means of expressing a level of love for the other person. Now, everybody likes flowers. However, everybody likes different kinds of flowers. Some prefer roses, some tulips, some lilies, and some daffodils. One needs to do some homework before presenting a particular variety of flowers to someone they are trying to impress. In other words, we need to be confident that when we present our actions to God Almighty that these are done firstly for His pleasure only and not undertaken for any other objective. And secondly, that the actions comprise the correct combination (just like the bunch of flowers) to show our love for Him and for our Creator then to smile His love on us.
We note therefore that to love God we need to do more than just say these words on a daily or weekly basis. Loving God is not a book title, or a poster heading, or a sermon heading, or a web banner, but it is an everyday process to follow everything that pleases our Creator and remove ourselves from anything that would displease Him. Moreover, we are to make an effort to share this loving God aspect with our fellow human beings and other creations.