The Companionship to be Sought Here and Hereafter
(1) Abdullah bin Masud narrates that a person, (once), went to the Apostle of God, and said: “What do you say about the man who loved a group (or community), but could not be with it?” To this, the Prophet replied: “A man is with whom he loves (or will be caused to be with him on the Day of Final Judgement).”
~ Bukhari and Muslim
The aim of the questioner, perhaps, was to know what would the end be of a man who loved a good and virtuous person (or a group of such persons), but, in his conduct, he could not be wholly like them. The Prophet’s reply, consequently, would mean that in spite of being somewhat inferior in his deeds, he will be blessed, in the Hereafter, with the company of those whom he loved. The next Tradition is more explicit.
(2) It is related by Abdullah bin Samit, on the authority of Abu Zarr Ghifari, that once he (Abu Zarr) said to the Apostle of God: “O Apostle of God! There is a man who loves the chosen bondmen of the Lord, but is incapable of doing deeds like them. (What is going to be his end)?” The Prophet replied: “Abu Zarr! You will be with whom you love.” At this, Abu Zarr exclaimed: “I love God and His Apostle.” The Prophet then replied again: “You will be with whom you love.” On hearing it, Abu Zarr repeated the enquiry, and the Apostle of God gave the same reply once again.
~ Abu Dawood
(3) Anas relates that, once, a person said to the Apostle of God: “When will be the Hour (of Doom)?” At this, the Prophet said: “Fie upon you! (You want to know about the Hour?). (Tell me), what preparation have you made for it?” The questioner replied: “I have made no special preparations. But I (do) love the Lord and His Apostle.” The Prophet then remarked: “You will be with whom you love.” The narrator, Anas, adds: “I have not seen the Muslims (i.e., the Companions) happier (to hear) any other tiding since they had embraced Islam.”
~ Bukhari and Muslim
In another version of the above Tradition, the concluding remark of Anas (ra) has been quoted as follows:
“We, (the Companions), never felt happier at anything than the Prophet’s observation that ‘you are with whom you love.’ By the Grace of God, I love the Apostle, and I love Abu Bakr and Umar, and I do hope to be blessed with their company, on account of this love, although my works are not the same as their works.”
Two things, however, must be borne in mind. Firstly, to be with whom one loves does not mean that the position of the lover and the beloved will be wholly alike and they will be treated entirely in the same manner, but that with regard to their respective states and stations, it will be identical to what obtains, in this world, between the servants and the masters, and the followers and their leaders, and, it too, is a very great honour and blessing, indeed.
Secondly, submission is a necessary accompaniment of love, and it is inconceivable that a person was in love with God and His Apostle and yet led a life of defiance and transgression. Thus, people who commit sins and violate God-given laws, without compunction, and, still, claim to have love for God and the sacred Prophet are liars and hypocrites, and if they really imagine themselves to be of those who are blessed with devotion and attachment just referred to, they are labouring under a great fallacy and are victims of self-deception. About such a man, Rabia Basri has aptly remarked:
“Oh, Pretender of Love! Thou disobeyeth God, and, yet, claim to have love for Him. It is impossible! If thou wert, really, truthful in what thou assert, thou wouldst be faithful to Him, for a lover carries out the wishes of the beloved with all his heart and soul.”
Be that as it may, it is necessary to observe one’s duties to God and the Prophet in order to be in love with them. True submission is born out of love alone.
The tidings that those who love God and His Apostle are in the company of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous are contained in the Quran itself:
“Whoso obeyeth Allah and the Messenger, they are with those to whom Allah hath shown favour, of the Prophets and the Sincere and the Martyrs and the Virtuous, The best of company are they!” (IV: 69)
The difference between this verse and the aforementioned Traditions is, simply, of interpretation, otherwise, basically, their purport is the same.
It is, further, supported by Hazrat Ayesha’s narrative that has been quoted by Ibn Kathir in his Commentary, on the authority of Mirdwaih and Tabrani, while explaining the background of the verse from Surah Nisa we have just seen. It, briefly, tells that once a person came to the Apostle of God and said: “I love you even more than my wife, and my children, and my own life. My condition is that when I am at home I think of you and there is no peace for me until I come and see you, and when I think of my death and your death, I feel that, after death, you will go to Paradise and will be elevated to the lofty station of the Prophets while even if I went to Heaven, by the Grace of God, I will not be able to attain that place, and, thus, remain deprived of the joy of seeing you in After-life.” The sacred Prophet, upon it, kept quiet until the Qur’anic verse quoted above was revealed.
It gave the assurance, as one would say, to that as well as to all the sincere lovers of the Prophet that if they were honest in their love, they would, naturally, be loyal and faithful to God and His Apostle, and, in that case, they were going to be in the company of the chosen bondmen of the Lord in the Hereafter.
The brief elucidation seemed necessary as people, often, fail to appreciate the real significance of love and the intimate connection it has with self-surrender.
(4) It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of God said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the Lord will proclaim: ‘Where are the bondmen who love each other because of My Power and Glory? Today, when there is no shadow save Mine, I shall give them a place under it.’”
God is All-seeing and Omniscient. Nothing in the entire universe, however tiny or insignificant it may be, is hidden from His view. His enquiry, on the Day of Requital, about the aforementioned bondmen as to where they were will, thus, not be for getting the information, but in order that His liking and fondness for men who love one another for His sake was made manifest to everyone.
The ‘Shadow of God,’ here, probably, denotes the shadow of His Throne, as is clear from some other versions of the same narrative.
(5) Muad bin Jabal related to us: “I heard the Apostle of Allah say: ‘Says the Lord, ‘My love is due, as of right, to those who love each other for My sake, and unite and sit together for My sake, and spend on each other for My sake.’”
The bondmen who have subordinated their love and attachment and social relations to the good pleasure of God and whose state is that they love whom they love, and meet whom they meet, and sit with and spend on one another wholly for gaining His countenance are, surely, worthy of His special love and good graces.
(6) It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of God said: “A person set out to meet a brother who lived in another town (or village), and the Lord caused an Angel to sit by the road by which he was travelling and wait for him there. (Thus, when the man arrived at that place), the Angel asked him: ‘Where are you going?’ The man replied: ‘I am going to such-and-such a town (or village) where a brother of mine lives.’ The Angel then asked: ‘Is he under a debt of gratitude to you which you want to cause to grow and become stronger by your going?’ To this, the man replied, ‘No, there is no other reason than that I love him for the sake of God.’ The Angel, thereupon, said: ‘(Now), I say that the Lord has sent me to inform you that He loves you just as you love His bondsman for His sake.”
The incident related above, apparently, appertains to a person who belonged to an earlier Ummah. We, further, learn from it that angels can, sometimes, also, come to a non-Prophet, by God’s leave, and talk to him face to face. The coming of Gabriel to Mary, for instance, is mentioned in the Qur’an, though it is known that she was not a Divine Apostle.
The substance of it is that for a man to love his brother for the sake of God and to go to meet him for the same reason is an act that makes him the favourite of the Lord, and occasionally, He also makes it known to him through an angel.