How to Develop and Increase the Love for Allah Almighty
Most of us claim loving Allah Almighty. We pray and fast during Ramadan and we give Zakaat and charity. But, are we really aware of what implies loving Allah?
Love for Allah is also obedience to His Law, advising the good and prohibiting evil.
Love for Allah is remembering Allah always, worshiping Him, fearing him but trusting Him completely and hoping for his forgiveness and Rahmah (Mercy)
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: The reason which cause mahabbah (love) of Allah to develop, are ten:
First: Reciting the Qur’an, reflecting and understanding its meaning and its intent.
Second: Drawing closer to Allah Almighty through optional deeds, after fulfilling the obligatory duties.
Third: Being continuous in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah, with the tongue, the heart and the limbs under all circumstances. The more continuous the dhikr, the more love develops and intensifies.
Fourth: Giving precedence to what Allah loves over personal loves, when being overcome by desires.
Fifth: Contemplating and pondering over the Names and Attributes of Allah.
Sixth: Recognizing and remembering the favors and bounties of Allah both manifest and hidden.
Seventh: To be humble and submissive before Allah and this is the greatest matter.
Eighth: To be in seclusion reciting the Qur’an, during that time in which Allah descends to the lowest heaven (which is the last third of every night), finishing this recitation with seeking Allah’s forgiveness and repenting to Him.
Ninth: To sit in the gatherings of the true and sincere lovers of Allah, reaping the fruits of their speech, and not to speak except if there is benefit in it and that you know that such talk will increase you in goodness and that it will benefit others as well.
Tenth: To stay clear of all those causes which distances the heart from Allah the Mighty and Majestic.
So these are the ten reasons which cause the person to develop true love for Allah and to reach the rank of al-mahabbah, by which he reaches his Beloved.
Dhikr is another way of acquiring Allah's love. However, we need to be cautious here and ensure that whenever we are doing Allah's dhikr we should be doing it wholeheartedly and with complete focus.
There are two major mistakes people make while doing Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah:
We do the dhikr without understanding the meaning of those Adhkaar.
We do dhikr absent-mindedly, meaning our tongue is moving with Allah's remembrance, but we don't know when we began the dhikr or when we finished it.
Still, many scholars say that even if one makes the above mistakes in his/her dhikr, they will still be rewarded, but not with the same level of reward as someone who performed the dhikr consciously and with complete Ihsaan.
(Ihsaan is a level of faith when the believer really feels that Allah is watching him all the time, so the believer struggle to please Allah doing all kind of good deeds and acts of worship for Allah sake only)
Also, we should love what Allah loves:
In Surah Al Baqarah, 222 Allah Almighty says:
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٲبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
“Truly, Allâh loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.”
And pondering and reflecting upon the numerous blessings of Allah upon each of us and be grateful to Him and love Him for his countless favors is a good way of increasing our love for our Creator. As Allah Almighty mentions in the Qur'an:
وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآۗ
“You cannot count my blessings if you want to.”
Reference: Shaykh Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) Madarij-us-Saalikeen