People have discussed about maḥabbah (love of Allāh); its causes and what brings it about, its signs and its fruits and its rulings. The most comprehensive saying about this is what Abū Bakr al-Kattānī raḥimahullāh relates about al-Junayd (d. AH 279).
Abū Bakr al-Kaṭṭānī (d.322H) said:
“A discussion about maḥabbah took place in Makkah during the Pilgrimage month. The Shaykhs who were present spoke about this matter and al-Junayd was the youngest of them. They said to him: O ʿIrāqī, what do you have to say? So he bowed his head and tears were flowing from his eyes and he said:
“A servant should overcome his soul;
And be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord;
Establishing the Rights of his Lord;
Focusing upon Him with his heart;
The late of fear setting a blaze upon his heart;
Whilst drinking from the vessel of true love;
And certain realities become unveiled to him;
So when he talks, it is due to Allāh;
When he speaks, it is from Allāh;
When he moves, it is by the command of Allāh;
And when he is serene, then it is from Allāh;
He belongs to Allāh, is for Allāh, and is with Allāh.”
So the shaykhs began to weep and said: How can that be increased upon? May Allāh reward you with good, O crown of the knowledgeable ones!” 1
Imām Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) further said:
“The reasons which cause the maḥabbah (love of Allāh) to develop are ten:
Firstly: Reciting the Qurʾān, reflecting upon it and understanding its meanings.
Secondly: Drawing closer to Allāh through the performance of optional deeds, after fulfilling the obligatory deeds.
Thirdly: Being continuous in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allāh – in all circumstances – with the tongue, the heart and the limbs. The more constant the dhikr, the more maḥabbah intensifies.
Fourthly: Giving precedence to what Allāh loves – when being overcome with desires – over what one personally loves and desires.
Fifthly: Causing the heart to contemplate over the Names and Attributes of Allāh. Being a witness to what they necessitate and causing the heart to be enlightened in the garden of this realisation.
Sixthly: Witnessing the blessing and the favours of Allāh; the apparent and the hidden.
Seventhly: Subduing the heart and humbling it before Allāh, causing it to be in awe of Him.
Eighthly: Being in seclusion during the time in which Allāh descends to the lowest Heaven; reciting the Qurʾān, and finishing this recitation with seeking Allāh’s forgiveness and sincerely repenting to Him.
Ninthly: Sitting in the gatherings of the sincere and true lovers of Allāh; reaping the benefits of their teachings, and not speaking except when you know there is benefit in doing so and that such speech will increase you in good and benefit others as well.
Tenthly: Keeping clear from all those matters which will cause the heart to distance itself from Allāh – the Mighty and Majestic.
So these are ten matters which cause the lover to reach the station of true love for Allāh, so that he may then reach Allāh – his Beloved.” 2