Know that someone who loves a person prefers them and prefers what they like. Otherwise, he is a pretender, insincere in his love.
Someone who has true love of the Prophet (ﷺ) will manifest the following signs:
1. He will emulate him, apply his sunnah, follow his words and deeds, obey his commands and avoid his prohibitions and take on his adab in ease and hardship, joy and despair. Allah testifies to that, “Say: if you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you.” (3:31)
2. He will prefer what the Prophet (ﷺ) has laid down as law and encouraged, over his own passions and appetites. Allah said, “Those who have made their dwelling in the city and in belief before them, love those who emigrate to them and do not find in themselves any need for what they have been given and they prefer others to themselves, even if they are in difficult straits.” (59:9)
3. His anger against people will only be for the sake of the pleasure of Allah. Anas ibn Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah said to me, ‘My son, if you can be without any grudge in your heart against anyone in the morning and evening, be like that.’ Then he added, ‘My son, that is part of my sunnah. Whoever gives life to my sunnah has loved me and whoever loves me is with me in the Garden.’”
4. Another of the signs of love of the Prophet (ﷺ) is to mention him often. Whoever loves something mentions it a lot.
5. Another is great yearning to meet him. Every lover yearns for their beloved. When the Ash’arite clan came to Madinah, they chanted, “Tomorrow we will meet those we love, Muhammad and his Companions!”
6. One of its signs is that as well as mentioning him often, someone who loves him will exalt and respect him when he mentions him and display humility and abasement when he hears his name. Ishaq at-Tujibi said, “Whenever the Companions of the Prophet heard his name after he died, they were humble, their skins trembled and they wept. It was the same with many of the Followers. Some of them act like that out of love and yearning for him, others out of respect and esteem.”
7. Another sign is love for those who love the Prophet (ﷺ) and the people of his house and his Companions, both of the Muhajirun and Ansar, for his sake. Such a person will also be hostile to those who hate them and curse them. Whoever loves anyone, loves those he loves.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said about al-Hasan and al-Hussain, “O Allah, I love them, so love them.” In al-Hasan’s variant, “O Allah, I love him, so love the one who loves him.” He also said, “Whoever loves them loves me. Whoever loves me loves Allah. Whoever hates them hates me. Whoever hates me hates Allah.” (Bukhaari Sharref)
He said, “Allah! Allah! My Companions! Do not make them targets after me! Whoever loves them loves them by loving me. Whoever hates them hates them by hating me. Whoever does something hurtful to them does something hurtful to me. Whoever does something hurtful to me does something hurtful to Allah. Whoever does something hurting to Allah is about to be seized.”
He said about Syedah Bibi Fatimah, “She is a part of me. Whoever hates her hates me.” (Bukhaari Shareef)
He said to ‘Aisha about Usama ibn Zayd, “Love him for I love him.” (At-Tirmidhi)
He said, “The sign of true faith is love for the Ansar and the sign of hypocrisy is hatred for them.” (Bukhaari Shareef and Muslim)
In the hadith of ibn ‘Umar we find, “Whoever loves the Arabs, loves them because he loves me. Whoever hates them hates them because he hates me.” In reality, whoever loves someone loves everything he loves. This was certainly the case with the Salaf, even regarding permitted things and the appetites of the self.
Anas once saw the Prophet (ﷺ) following the squash (Kadu Shareef) around the plate. He said, “I have loved squash (Kadu Shareef) from that day.”
Al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas and Ibn Ja’far came to Salma and asked her to prepare some food for them which Rasulullah (ﷺ) liked.
Ibn ‘Umar used to wear tanned sandals dyed yellow when he saw the Prophet (ﷺ) wearing ones like that.
8. Love for the Qur’an which the Prophet (ﷺ) brought, by which he guided and was guided, and whose character he took on so that ‘Aisha said, “His character was the Qur’an.” Part of love for the Qur’an is its recitation and acting by it and understanding it, and loving his sunnah and keeping within its limits.
Sahl ibn ‘Abdullah said, “The sign of the love of Allah is love of the Qur’an. The sign of love of the Qur’an is love of the Prophet (ﷺ). The sign of love of the Prophet (ﷺ) is love of the Sunnah. The sign of the love of the Sunnah is love of the Next World. The sign of love of the Next World is hatred for this world. The sign of hatred for this world is that you do not store up any of it except for provision and what you need to arrive safely in the Next World.”
Ibn Mas’ud said, “No one needs to ask himself about anything except the Qur’an. If he loves the Qur’an, he loves Allah and His Messenger.”
9. One of the signs of love for the Prophet (ﷺ) is having compassion for his community, giving them good counsel, striving for their best interests and removing what is harmful from them just as the Prophet (ﷺ) was “compassionate, merciful to the believers.” (9:128)
10. One of the signs of perfect love is that the one who aspires to it does without in this world and prefers poverty.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said to Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, “Poverty for those among you who love me comes quicker than a flood from the top of the mountain to the bottom.” (At-Tirmidhi).
In a hadith from ‘Abdullah bin Mughaffal, a man said to the Prophet (ﷺ), “O Messenger of Allah, I love you.” He said, “Take care what you say!” He said, “By Allah, I love you” three times. He said, “If you love me, then prepare for poverty quickly.” There is a similar hadith from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri.
– Ash-Shifa by Qadi ‘Iyad