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, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, will manifest the following signs.
1. The first sign is that he will emulate him, apply his Sunna, 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, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has laid down as law and encouraged, over his own passions and appetites. Allah سبحانه و تعالى said, "Those who were already settled in the abode, and in belief, before they came, love those who have emigrated to them and do not find in their breasts any need for what they have been given and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are in want." (59:9)
3. His anger against people will only be for the sake of the pleasure of Allah. Anas ibn Malik رضي الله عنه said, "The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم 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 Sunna. Whoever gives life to my sunna has loved me and whoever loves me is with me in the Garden.'" (at-Tirmidhi)
Anyone who possesses this particular quality has perfect love for Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. Anyone slightly lacking in it is imperfect in his love, while not entirely devoid of it. The proof of this is in what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said about the man who was given the punishment for drinking. A man there cursed him and the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Do not curse him. He loves Allah and His Messenger." (al-Bayhaqi)
4. Another of the signs of love for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم 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 Madina, they chanted, "Tomorrow we will meet those we love, Mohammed صلى الله عليه وسلم 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 رحمة اللہ علیه said, "Whenever the Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم heard his name after he died, they were humble, their skins trembled and they wept. It was the same with many of the Followers رضي الله عنهم. 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 صلى الله عليه وسلم and the people of his house and his Companions رضي الله عنهم, 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 صلى الله عليه وسلم said about al-Hasan رضي الله عنه and al-Husayn رضي الله عنه, "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." (al-Bukhari)
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 hurtful to Allah is about to be seized." (at-Tirmidhi)
He said about Fatima رضي الله عنها, "She is a part of me. Whoever hates her hates me." (al-Bukhari)
He said to 'A'isha رضي الله عنها about Usama ibn Zayd رضي الله عنهما, "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." (al-Bukhari and Muslim)
In a hadith related by Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما 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 رضي الله عنه once saw the Prophet reaching for the pumpkin in the plate. He said, "I have loved pumpkin from that day." Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Ja'far رضي الله عنهم came to Salma رضي الله عنها [a servant of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم] and asked her to prepare some food for them which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم liked. Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما began to wear tanned sandals dyed yellow when he saw the Prophet wearing ones like that.
8. Another sign is hatred for anyone who hates Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, having enmity towards all who have enmity towards him, avoidance of all those who oppose his Sunna and introduce innovations into his Deen, and finding every matter contrary to his Shari'a burdensome. Allah says, "You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day who having love for anyone who opposes Allah and His Messenger ." (58:22) His Companions killed their loved ones and fought their fathers and sons to gain the pleasure of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy ضي الله عنه said to him, "If you had wanted, I would have brought you his head (his father's)."
9. Another sign of it is love for the Qur'an which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم brought, by which he guided and was guided, and whose character he took on so that 'A'isha 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 sunna and keeping within its limits. Sahl ibn 'Abdullah رضي الله عنه 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 صلى الله عليه وسلم. The sign of love of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is love of the Sunna. The sign of love of the Sunna 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 رضي الله عنه said, "No one needs to ask himself about anything except the Qur'an. If he loves the Qur'an, he loves Allah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم."
10. One of the signs of love for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم 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 was "compassionate, merciful to the believers." (9:128)
11. 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 صلى الله عليه وسلم said to Abu Sa'id al-Khudri رضي الله عنه, "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 b. Mughaffal رضي الله عنه , a man said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, "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 رضي الله عنه. [ash-Shifaa']