In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
What is love? A feeling? An emotion? Or is it more than that?
By the grace of Allah, I had the opportunity to drop by South Virginia Jama’at on December 24, 2013 to discuss the true nature of our motto, “Love for All, Hatred for None” – how we express this amongst ourselves and why we sometimes fail to keep this beautiful expression in mind.
So, what is love? Better yet, what is hatred? A brilliant elder from this Jama’at commented that “hatred is the absence of love, the same way darkness is the absence of light – thus, love for all naturally leads to hatred for none.” Whoa, this blew my mind.
I realized I wasn’t here to teach anyone anything they didn’t already know; I would be foolish to think I knew more or had more experience in these matters than some of these wisest of gentlemen. I realized my only job in such a visit was to facilitate discussions amongst ourselves so that we could all individually realize what we already know.
And what do we already know? We know that as soon as we fail to love, the powerful state of being known as hatred naturally takes over. We know that although hatred can be so thoughtlessly and powerfully consuming, love is all the more powerful once we learn to cultivate it.
So, what is love? Love is willingly looking past another’s mistakes because all we see is goodness in them. Why else does Islam say that when an Imam-us-Salat makes a mistake, despite having the right to draw attention to his mistake, if he continues in his error we still have to follow him even in his error. This spirit of obedience arises only out of love.
Love is when a man came to meet the Holy Prophetsa and the Prophet later told his wife, Hazrat Aishara, that he was up to no good – yet the Prophetsa still spoke kindly to him and treated him with the basic cordiality and respect all human beings deserve, regardless of their actions. As a wise young man pointed out during this discussion, “don’t hate people – hate the act, but love the person – love everyone.”
That’s “Love for All, Hatred for None.”
Love is when the Promised Messiahas said that, despite drinking alcohol being a hated act in Islam, if he he was to see one of his friends passed out drunk in an alley he wouldn’t pause for a moment to pick him up and take him to his home to rehabilitate him. “Don’t hate people – hate the act, but love the person – love everyone.”
“Love for All, Hatred for None,” indeed.
So, I ask again, what is love? Love is not merely an emotion or a feeling. Love is a verb. Love is in our actions. Love is in how we treat those around us.
Love is expressing love, even when we don’t feel love. Because once we start forcing ourselves to express it enough, we’ll eventually eradicate all hatred from our beings and end up naturally feeling only love in our hearts.
It takes effort, but let’s love everyone, and hate no one.
And this is what I felt in abundance that night in South Virginia: Love for All, Hatred for None.
IMAM HAMMAD AHMAD is the Tarbiyyat Team’s resident missionary. Imam Hammad was born in Sierra Leone and raised in Toronto. He graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya Canada in 2011, and has since served in Vancouver and Winnipeg in Western Canada; Rabwah, Pakistan; and in Buvuunya, Uganda.