ثَلاَثٌ مَنْ كُنَّ فِيهِ وَجَدَ حَلاَوَةَ الإِيمَانِ أَنْ يَكُونَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا، وَأَنْ يُحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لاَ يُحِبُّهُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ، وَأَنْ يَكْرَهَ أَنْ يَعُودَ فِي الْكُفْرِ، كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُقْذَفَ فِي النَّارِ
“Whoever possesses the (following) three qualities will have the sweetness of faith (1): The one to whom Allāh and His Apostle becomes dearer than anything else; (2) Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allāh’s Sake; (3) who hates to revert to atheism (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the Fire.” [Bukhārī]
The sweetness of faith.
Yes faith has a sweetness. It is not a sweetness that is tasted by the tongue, rather it is tasted by the heart. The result of that faith is tranquility, happiness, comfort, serenity and everything that is good. The prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said whoever possesses these three qualities will find the sweetness of faith and they will taste it with their heart. They will live a life that is enjoyable and a life that is happy. He (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
أَنْ يَكُونَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِمَّا سِوَاهُمَا
“That Allāh and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else.”
We love Allāh (عز و جل) and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) more than we love anything else.
There comes another ḥadīth:
لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ وَلَدِهِ وَوَالِدِهِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ
“None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his child, his father and all the people.” [Ibn Mājah]
Going back to the ḥadīth of Anas
وَأَنْ يُحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لاَ يُحِبُّهُ إِلاَّ لِلَّهِ
‘And that when he loves a person he does not love that person except for Allāh.’
It is not just for selfish reasons, it is for Allāh (عز و جل).
وَأَنْ يَكْرَهَ أَنْ يَعُودَ فِي الْكُفْرِ، كَمَا يَكْرَهُ أَنْ يُقْذَفَ فِي النَّارِ
‘And that he hates to return to disbelief just like he hates to be thrown into the fire.’
We have to analyze these slogans and statements in light of the Qur’ān and Sunnah.
What do they mean by self love? Alḥamdu lillāh there is nothing wrong with a person loving themselves and wanting good for themselves. However at the same time, part of loving good for one’s self is to submit to the command of Allāh (عز و جل) and the Sunnah of the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). If this slogan is being utilized for selfish purposes then it goes against what we find in the Sunnah of the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) in a famous ḥadīth:
لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
“None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Tirmidhī]
This ḥadīth applies to the sisters as well. This negates selfish behavior in totality. It is a proven fact even scientifically, wa lillāhil ḥamd, that the more generous a person is, the happier they feel and the opposite is true. Those people who are miserly, stingy and selfish then these characteristics are from the means of misery. Ibnul Qayyim mention in a book called “The Keys to Happiness,” how being stingy and miserly can lead to a person being miserable, but being generous is a means of a person being happy and having a vast and expansive chest.
We have to highlight what the meaning of this statement is. If loving oneself agrees with what is found in the Qur’ān and Sunnah from a certain angle, alḥamdu lillāh, this is good. If it opposes the Qur’ān and Sunnah in a certain way then we do not accept it. Sometimes it could be a statement of truth but the intent behind it is false.