Understanding the Prophet’s Life (peace be upon him)
Arguably, the disease of hatred is one of the most devastating forces in the world. But the force that is infinitely more powerful is love. Love is an attribute of God; hate is not. A name of God mentioned in the Quran is al-Wadud, the Loving one. Hate is the absence of love, and only through love can hatred be removed from the heart. In a profound and beautiful hadith, the Prophet said, “None of you has achieved faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” [Bukhari, Muslim]. The 13th-century scholar Imam al-Nawawi comments on this hadith saying:
When the Prophet says “brother” we should interpret this as universal brotherhood, which includes Muslims and non-Muslims. For one should desire for his brother non-Muslim that he enter into the state of submission with his Lord [Islam]. And for his brother Muslim, he should love for him the continuation of guidance and that he remain in submission. Because of this, it is considered highly recommended and divinely rewarding to pray for a non- Muslim’s guidance. The word “love” here refers to a desire for good and benefit to come to others. This love is celestial or spiritual love and not earthly love or human love. For human nature causes people to desire harm to befall their enemies and to discriminate against those who are unlike them [in creed, color, or character]. But men must oppose their nature and pray for their brothers and desire for others what they desire for themselves. Moreover, whenever a man does not desire good for his brother, it is from envy. And envy is a rejection of God’s apportionment in the world. Thus, one is opposing how God meted out sustenance in concord with His wisdom. Therefore, one must oppose his own ego’s desires and seek treatment for this disease with the healing force of acceptance of the divine decree and prayer on behalf of one’s enemies in a way that suppresses the ego [nafs].
“Purification of the Heart” – Hamza Yusuf