Today we will talk about verse 31 and 32 from Sura aal-Imran.

Say , “If you love Allah, then follow me—Allah will love you and forgive you your misdeeds, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Bestowing of Mercy.” Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away, then Allah does not love the deniers.

Love is a character that starts within the heart but cannot stay there for long, it must be translated into action. One cannot keep sheer love concealed in the heart for a long time. It must soon or late burst out into action. So, how love manifests into action?

When opposite sexes love each other, they start to express that love into actions such as calling, texting, dating and ultimate marriage and sex. Allah made species – animal and plants – flourish through this love and attraction.

But how to express our love to Allah?

Allah has the most beautiful characters and names, and anyone who contemplates Allah’s beautiful names and attributes would rush to love Him. So, it is very natural that one loves Allah. But the most important question is how to practice that love? How to show the love of Allah? Is there correct way to show love of Allah, and incorrect ways to show love of Allah?

This verse comes to answer all such questions.

Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – is the benchmark and the yardstick to test our love of Allah.

No one loved Allah as much as Muhammad loved Allah. And prophet Muhammad showed us the way to express this love of Allah and proof that by action. So, if we claim to love Allah, the best way is to follow Prophet Muhammad’s footstep in showing love to Allah.

That means to follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad in totality. To follow prophet Muhammad in his personal life as well as public life. In this marketplace as well as his battlefield. To follow prophet Muhammad as a father, as a husband, as a neighbor, as a friend, as an enemy, as an army chief and politician.

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “some people claimed they loved Allah, so He tested them with this verse”. Today no one can show a legitimate love of Allah and not follow prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. No one can say that “I have my own way to show love of Allah”. Prophet Muhammad never kept any secrets from Ummah. He never conveyed any secrets through a clandestine chain of narrators. There is no covert knowledge in Islam. All traditions of Prophet Muhammad are well encoded in books of Hadith like Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasayee, Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah, Moatta Malik, Musnad Imam Ahmad and other masterpieces of Hadith.

It is not a big deal that a person loves Allah, tell me who does not! The BIG deal is when Allah loves a person. This verse tells us the key to receive the love of Allah, is follow his prophet Muhammad.

If a person claims to love Allah, and at the same time he takes nonbelievers as allies then he fails this test miserably. Love me, love my dog! If you love Allah you must love the party of Allah and hate those who are with the party of Satan. Here again we can benchmark against the biography of Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him – and we will realize how he never took nonbelievers as allies.

Immediately after this verse, the next verse goes like this:

Say, “Obey Allah and the Messenger.” But if they turn away, then Allah does not love the deniers.

That indicates that Those who do not follow the prophet then he is a nonbeliever, and Allah does not love the nonbeliever.