Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said,
“None of you will believe until your capricious whimsical inclinations are subservient to what I have come with.” (This is an authentic Hadith recorded in the Book on Hujjah with an authentic chain of transmission) 1
The author of the Book on Hujjah is Sheikh Abu Al-Fath Nasr bin Ibrahim Al-Maqdisy Ash-Shafi‘y who lived in Damascus. His book is Al-Hujjah ‘Ala Tariki Suluk Tarik AI-Mahajjah [Refutation of Those Who Abandon the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)’s Behaviors] includes the fundamentals of religion based on the rules set by the Sunnah scholars.
Explanation of the hadith
A person will never be a full believer unless his desires and inclinations are subservient to the teachings of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) as far as commands and prohibited deeds are concerned. A person should love what the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) commanded and hate what he prohibited. This meaning was mentioned in more than one verse in the Holy Qur’an. Allah says,
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4 : 65)
“It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33 : 36)
Allah condemned those who hate what Allah loves and love what He hates, as Allah says,
“That is because they hate that which Allah has sent down (this Qur’an and Islamic laws, etc.), so He has made their deeds fruitless.” (Surah Muhammad, 47 : 9)
“That is because they followed that which angered Allah, and hated that which pleased Him. So He made their deeds fruitless.” (Surah Muhammad, 47 : 28)
A believer should love what Allah loves so that he will fulfill the obligations due from him. If such love increases, he will perform extra voluntary deeds.
He should hate what Allah hates so that he will abandon what Allah prohibited. If such hate increases, he will abandon even undesirable deeds.
The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “None of you will believe until I am more beloved to you than your soul, son, family and all the people.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 15; Muslim – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 44/69, 70]
A believer will not be completely faithful unless he gives priority to the love of the Messenger over all the people. Love of the Messenger is subservient to the love of Who sent him. True love requires following the beloved one in loving or hating anything. Allah says,
“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight … are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause, then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment) … ” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9 : 24)
“Say (O Messenger): 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.” (Surah Ali-’Imran, 3 : 31)
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “There are three qualities, whoever is characterized by them will relish the sweetness of faith: One to whom Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) are dearer than all else; one who loves a man only for Allah’s sake; and one who abhors returning to infidelity after Allah has rescued him from it as he abhors being cast into Hell.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 15; Muslim – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 43/67, 68]
When a person sincerely loves Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), he should also love what Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) love as well, hate what Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) hate, be content with what Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) are content and get angry with what Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) get angry. He should perform deeds according to this love or hate.
If he committed an act that is not in line with what Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) love, or an act that causes the wrath of Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), this indicates that his love is not complete and that he should repent and revert to Allah so that his love would be complete.
Abu Ya‘qub An-Nahrajawry said, “If a person claims that he loves Allah but does not stick to His teachings, his claim is false. Each lover of Allah who does not fear Him is not sincere.”
Yahya bin Mu’adh said, “If a person claims that he loves Allah while he does not stick to His teachings, he is not true in his love.”
An ancient poet said,
“You disobey Allah while you claim that you love Him.
This is an abominable act.
If your love had been true, you would have obeyed Him.
A lover always obeys his beloved.”
The whims of the soul
All sins stem from giving priority to the whims of the soul over the love of Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). Allah characterized the polytheists as obedient to their whims and desires as He says,
“But if they answer you not (i.e. do not believe in your doctrine of Islamic Monotheism, nor follow you), then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah?” (Surah Al-Qasas, 28 : 50)
The same thing applies to innovations in religion and sins which stem from following whims and caprices disregarding Islamic rulings. Love of people should be subservient to religious teachings. A believer should love Allah, and the creatures loved by Allah such the angels, Prophets, Messengers, martyrs and the righteous. One of the signs of feeling the sweetness of faith is to love people for the sake of Allah and hate the polytheists for His sake as well.
This way, one becomes sincere in all pillars of religion. If a person loves, hates, gives or abstains from giving for the sake of Allah, his faith is complete. If these feelings stem from his whims and caprices, his faith is incomplete and he must revert and return to Allah.
Whims and caprices may be used as desires which are against following the truth as Allah says,
“And follow not your desire for it will mislead you from the Path of Allah.” (Surah Saad, 38 : 26)
“But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.” (Surah An-Nazi’at, 79 : 40-41)
Whims and caprices may refer to strong love. In this case, they may indicate an inclination to the path of truth or deviation. Allah says,
“You can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive whom you will.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33 : 51)
‘Aishah said to the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) commenting on this verse, “I see that Allah fulfills your inclinations.” [Bukhari – Kitab At-Tafsir (Book on Interpretation), hadith 4788; Muslim – Kitab Ar-Rida (Book on Wet Nursing), hadith 1464]
Commenting on the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) ’s consultation with his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) companions regarding the captives of Badr, ‘Umar bin AI-Khattab said, “The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) inclined to Abu Bakr’s opinion rather than to mine.” 5 [Muslim – Kitab Al-Jihad (Book on Jihad), hadith 58/1763]
With such a connotation, the term has been frequently used by the Pious Predecessors to refer to the inclination of the heart towards Allah, as one of them said, “Your inclination in my heart made me listen to You and obey You. You have my heart and I was deprived from sleeping. Leave my heart and let me sleep. Yet, He said: I will take both.”
(1) [Recorded by Ibn Abi ‘Asim in As-Sunnah, hadith 15; by Abu Al-Qasim Al-Asbahany in Kitab Al-Hujjah, hadith 103; by Al-Baghawy in Sharh As- Sunnah, hadith 104; by Al-Khatib in Tarikh Baghdad (History of Baghdad), hadith 4/469]
By: Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali , From the book: Jami’ al Ulum wal Hikam.