A discussion about mahabbah took place in Makkah, during pilgrimage season.
The Shaykhs who were present spoke about this topic, and al-Junayd being the youngest of them.
They said to him: What do you say, O 'Iraaqee?
So al-Junayd lowered his head and tears were gushing from his eyes, then he said:
"A servant should overcome his soul,
And be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord,
Establishing the rights of his Lord,
Focusing upon Him with his heart,
The light of fear setting ablaze his heart,
Whilst drinking from the vessel of pure love,
And certain hidden realities being unveiled for him.
So when he talks, it is due to Allaah,
When he speaks, it is from Allaah,
When he moves, it is by the Command of Allaah,
And when he is serene, then it is from Allaah,
He belongs to Allaah, is for Allaah and is with Allaah."
Upon hearing, the Shaykhs all started weeping, and they said:
There is nothing left to add to that, may Allaah reward you O Crown of the Knowledgeable Ones."
Many people claim to love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger عليه الصلاة و السلام, and how easy it is to make claims. No one should be deluded by the trickeries of the ego. One must know that love has signs pointing to it and fruits that manifest themselves upon the heart, tongue, and body. If one wants to see to it that they do not deceive themselves, let him place himself in the scales of true love and test his soul with its signs. Among these many signs are the following:
(1) That one loves to meet the Beloved by way of unveiling and witnessing in the abode of peace (Paradise). It is inconceivable that the heart loves something, except that it also loves to meet and see it. If someone knows that there is no way for him to reach his beloved save by departing from the world and separating from it by death, then that person must see to it that he loves death and does not seek to flee from it. Death is the key to the meeting. The Prophet عليه الصلاة و السلام said: "Whoever loves to meet Allaah, Allaah loves to meet them." 
For this reason, the noble Companions - may Allaah be pleased with them all - loved martyrdom in the path of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and when the battle cry was called, they would be heard saying: "Welcome to the meeting with Allaah!"
(2) That one prefers what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى loves over what he loves - both internally and externally. Such a persona adheres to His obedience and steers clear from laziness and following his caprice. He who loves Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will not disobey Him. For this reason, Shaykh Ibn al-Mubaarak رحمه الله said:
You disobey the Deity yet you manifest love for Him?
By my life, that is an utterly unique scale
If your love for Him were true you would have obeyed Him
The lover is obedient to the one whom he loves
Driving home a similar point, it was said:
I abandon that which I desire for that which you desire
Therefore, I am pleased with that with which you are pleased
Even if it displeases my ego
Obedience to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and love for Him necessitates following His Messenger عليه الصلاة و السلام in statements, actions, and character. The Exalted said:
"Say, [O Muhammad عليه الصلاة و السلام], if you (really) love Allaah then follow me. Allaah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:31)
(3) That one engage in frequent remembrance of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى; not letting his tongue or heart desist from it. He who loves something will remember it frequently:
Your vision is in my heart and your remembrance is upon my tongue
Your abode is in my heart so how could you be absent?
(4) That one's intimacy is through solitary retreat and intimate conversations with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and reading His Book. Such a person is constant in his night prayers and he seizes the opportunity found in the stillness and quietness of the night. The lowest level of love is to taste the sweetness of being alone with the Beloved and to take delight in intimate conversations with Him.
(5) That one does not feel regret over what has passed him by of things besides Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, whereas at the same time, he feels immense regret over the hours lost that were not filled with Allaah's remembrance and obedience. Such a person frequently returns to his senses after periods of heedlessness with feelings of remorse and repentance.
(6) That one tastes the sweetness and feels delight with acts of worship and that they do not weigh heavily upon him.
(7) That one shows concern and pity for all of Allaah's servants, showing mercy towards them, while at the same time, showing severity and harshness towards all of Allaah's enemies. The Exalted said:
"Muhammad (عليه الصلاة و السلام) is the Messenger of Allaah, and those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers, and merciful among themselves." (Soorah al-Fath, 48:29)
(8) In addition to his loves, he is both fearful and optimistic, under the force of Divine awe and exaltation. It might be imagined that fear contradicts love, but this is not the case. Truly realising (Allaah's) exaltation, by necessity, obligates awe, just as truly realising the Divine Beauty obligates love. The lovers possess fear commensurate with their level, such as the fear of turning away, the fear of being veiled (from the Divine), and fear of being made distant. For this reason, some of the lovers said:
The beloved; I knew him, and from him I fear
And none love you save he who knows you
(9) That one conceals his love, abstains from pretentious claims, and that out of exaltation, awe, honour towards the Divine and jealous guarding of His secret, one takes caution from outwardly manifesting ecstasy and love. Some of the lovers were unable to conceal their love, causing them to say:
It conceals itself, yet the tears expose his secret
And his very breaths make manifest his ecstasy
Some of them said:
How is the condition of one whose heart is with another
And how can he conceal the secret in his breast
(10) That one finds intimacy with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and has good pleasure with Him. The sign of intimacy with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is that one delights in Allaah's remembrance and finds no intimacy with the creation. When he intermingles with people, he is like a lone man in a crowd, and when he is all alone, he is like a society unto himself. Sayyiduna 'Ali - may Allaah enoble his face - described the lovers of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى who find their intimacy with him: "They are a people who were taken by knowledge to the reality of the command, so they directly experienced the spirit of certitude. They found softness in that which the people of extravagance found rugged. They found intimacy with that in which the ignorant found loneliness. They kept the company of the world with their physical bodies, while their spirits were attached to the higher assembly. They are the vice-regents of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى upon His earth and the callers to His religion."  
 Agreed upon
 Imam al-Ghazzali رحمه الله: Ihya' 'Uloomud-Deen, The Book of Love
 Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir 'Isa رحمه الله: Realities of Sufism, pp. 256-258
The scholars have mentioned that love has ten ranks:
(1) Connection ('alaaqa). This rank was named as such because of the heart attaching itself to the Beloved.
(2) Desire (iraada). This is the inclination of the heart to its Beloved and its pursuit of Him.
(3) Ardent love (sabaaba). This is due to the flowing (insibaab) of the heart's love with the Beloved in a manner of which its owner has no control, just as water flows down a slope.
(4) Infatuation (gharaam). This is the love that is fixed within the heart and inseparable from it - it's attachment to the heart is like a creditor's (ghareem) attachment to the one in debt (also called ghareem).
(5) Affectionate love (widaad). This is the pure unadulterated love and its core.
(6) Enamoured love (shaghaf). This is when love reaches the inner fortifications of the heart. Imaam al-Junayd رحمه الله said: "Enamoured love is when the lover sees no sterness (from his Beloved); rather, he sees it all as justice and loyalty":
Your punishment ('adhaab) is sweetness ('adhb) for me
And Your sternness against me on account of my desires is justice from You
(7) Passionate love ('ishq). Passionate love is the extreme love that would cause one to fear for its possessor.
(8) Subservient love (tatayyum). This is worship and humility. It is said "Love made him subservient (tayyamahu)", meaning that it lowered him in humility and caused him to worship.
(9) Worship (ta'abbud). This rank is above subservient love, for this is when the servant possesses nothing for his self.
(10) Intimate friendship (khulla). This is a rank held only by the two intimate friends of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى: Ibraaheem and Muhammad - may Allaah's peace and blessings be upon them both. This rank is that of love which permeates the heart and soul of the lover, so much so that there remains no place for other than the Beloved.
[Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله: Madaarij as-Saalikeen]
The scholars have mentioned many means to attain love. The most important of these means are ten:
(1) Reciting the Qur'aan with contemplation, reflection, and seeking to understand its meanings and what is intended.
(2) Drawing close to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى through supererogatory works, after having fulfilled the obligations. This will cause one to reach the rank of 'being loved' after the rank of love itself. 
(3) Having perpetual remembrance of Him in every state: with the tongue, heart, actions, and spiritual state. One's portion of love is directly commensurate to his portion of remembrance.
(4) Preferring what He loves over what you love - especially during times in which the lower passions overcome the servant, and to scale the levels of His love, even if it may be difficult.
(5) Allowing the heart to witness, experience, and know His Names and Attributes, and to move about in the garden of this knowledge - whoever knows Allaah سبحانه و تعالى by His Names, Attributes, and actions, will love Him by necessity.
(6) Witnessing His kindness, favours, and goodness; both outward and inward. This invites to His love.
(7) Seeing to it that the heart is completely broken and in a state of lowliness and humility in front of Him, the Exalted.
(8) Engaging in solitary retreat with Him in the time of Divine theophanies; intimately conversing with Him, especially in the pre-dawn period; reciting His speech, standing with the heart observing etiquette in front of Him, and completing all of this with seeking forgiveness and repentance.
(9) Sitting with the truthful lovers, carefully taking the good fruits of their words just as one takes good fruits from tress. It is from proper etiquette in their gatherings that one does not speak in their presence unless there is a preponderant benefit to be found in speech, and one knows that it contains an increase in one's spiritual state and a benefit for others.
(10) Taking care to remove one's self far from every means that will serve as barriers between the hear and Allaah. 
 Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه reported: the Messenger of Allaah عليه الصلاة و السلام said, "Allaah, the Exalted, has said: `I will declare war against him who treats with hostility a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawaafil (voluntary prayers or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him, (so much so that) I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me something, I will surely give him, and if he seeks My Protection (refuge), I will surely protect him.'" [Saheeh al-Bukhari]
1- Allah becomes his hearing, i.e., he does not listen to anything except that which pleases Allaah.
2- Allaah becomes his seeing, i.e., he does not look at anything but that which pleases Allaah.
3- Allaah becomes his foot with which he walks, i.e., he does not walk for anything except that which is pleasing to Allaah,
4- Allaah becomes his hand with which he strikes, i.e., he does not take revenge for himself but rather for the sake of Allaah, so he does not do anything with his hand except that which pleases Allaah.
5- Allaah answers his du'aa's
6- Allaah grants him refuge from everything that he dislikes.
The meaning of this part of the hadeeth is that when the believing slave strives to draw closer to Allaah by doing obligatory acts of worship, then naafil acts, Allaah will bring him closer to Him, and will raise him from the level of eemaan (faith, belief) to the level of ihsaan, so he will start to worship Allaah as if he can see Him, and his heart will be filled with knowledge of his Lord, love and awe for Him, fear of Him, and glorification and veneration of Him. When his heart is filled in this manner, any attachment to anything other than Allaah will disappear, and the person will not longer be attached to any of his whims or desires, and he will have no wish for anything except that which his Lord and Master wants. At that point the person will not speak except to remember Allaah, he will not move except to obey His command. So when he speaks, he speaks for the sake of Allaah; when he hears he hears for the sake of Allaah; when he looks, he looks for the sake of Allaah; i.e., he acts with the help and guidance of Allaah and for the sake of Allaah in these matters. So he only listens to that which Allaah loves; he only looks at that with which Allaah is pleased; he only strikes with his hands and walks with his feet for purposes with which his Lord and Master is pleased. It does not mean that Allaah is his hearing and his sight, and Allaah is his hand and his foot. Exalted be Allaah above that, for Allaah is above the Throne and He is Exalted above all His creation. Rather what is meant is that He guides him with regard to his hearing, seeing, walking and striking. Hence it was narrated in another version that Allaah says: "In Me he hears, in Me he sees, in Me he strikes and in Me he walks," meaning that Allaah guides him in his actions, words, hearing and seeing. This is what it means according to Ahl al-Sunnah wa'l-Jamaa'ah. At the same time Allaah answers his prayers, so if he asks Him, He will give; if he seeks His help, He will help him; if he seeks refuge with Him, He will grant him refuge. (Adapted from Jaami' al-'Uloom wa'l-Hukam, 2/347; Fataawa Noor 'ala'l-Darb, tape 10, by Shaykh Ibn Baaz, may Allaah have mercy on him.)
Whoever suggests a meaning other than this is wrong and is transgressing the limits and showing disrespect towards Allaah, and he is going against the Arabs' own understanding of their language and what they understand by such words. Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy upn him) said in Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 1/145 9: You see that Allaah has mentioned one who worships and One Who is worshipped, one who draws close and the One to Whom he draws close, one who loves and the One Who is loved, one who asks and One Who is asked, One Who gives and one to whom it is given, one who seeks refuge and One Whose refuge is sought. The hadeeth refers to two who are distinct from one another, one of whom is not the other. If that is the case, than the apparent meaning of the words "I am his hearing, his sight, his hand and his foot" cannot be that the Creator is a part or an attribute of the created being. Exalted be Allaah far above that. Rather the apparent and true meaning is that Allaah guides this slave with regard to his hearing, sight and striking, so he hears purely for the sake of Allaah, by the help of Allaah, following the commands of Allaah. The same applies to his seeing, his striking and his walking. Islam Q&A
Al-Khattaabi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:What is meant is that Allaah helps and guides His slave in the actions that these faculties do... He guides his physical faculties and protects him against falling into that which Allaah dislikes, such as listening to idle talk that he may hear, or looking at that which Allaah has forbidden, or striking that which it is not permissible for his hand to strike, or walking towards falsehood with his feet. Someone else said: His limbs do not move except with the help of Allaah and for the sake of Allaah, and they all strive for the sake of the truth. (Fath al-Baari, 11/352)
 Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله: Madaarijus Saalikeen
In reality, love cannot be expressed except by one who has directly experienced it, and he who experiences it is so completely overcome by it that he is unable to express it. Such a person may be likened to someone in the stupors of drunkenness. If he is asked about the reality of the drunkenness he is experiencing, he is in no way able to express it because it has so completely overcome his intellect. The difference between the two types of drunkenness is that the drunkenness from alcohol is contingent and will pass, and it can be expressed when one returns to a state of sobriety. The drunkenness of love on the other hand, is inherent and inseparable - it is not possible for he who reaches it to return to sobriety and express its reality:
Those who drink spirits return to their sobriety
Whereas passion is permanent inebriation
[Mashariq Anwar al-Qulub wa Mafatih Asrar al-Ghuyub]
So what if the enamored one is insane in the love of Allah?
Look and you shall find the whole world His admirer.
Truly the degree to which Allah (subhaanu wa ta`aala) has been sought; the zeal with which He has been loved; the extent to which He has been remembered; the yearning with which He has been invoked; the amount that He has been worshipped; and the fervor with which He has been admired and adored stands far above all else. No other entity in the universe bears comparison. All of creation loves Allah (subhaanu wa ta`aala).
- Love for Allah - By Maulana Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi
When the one who loves Allah (subhaanu wa ta`aala) ['ashiq] gazes introspectively, he perceives himself full of sins and defects. And when he directs his gaze upon the Beloved (subhaanu wa ta`aala), he finds Him to be the endower and bestower of all things. Consequently, he places all hope in Him and waits expectantly at His door.
O Allah, how may I call unto You, when I am but a sinner,
Yet how may I not call unto You, when You are the Most Gracious?
-Love for Allah - By Maulana Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshband
Love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is one of the most important obligatory acts of the heart. In fact, Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله stated that proper love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is the fountainhead of every religious deed. 
Even though the love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is of utmost importance, it is not the type of love that allows one to do any act, claiming that love is the only type of relationship that one must have with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Instead, the proper love must be accompanied with hope in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, in accordance with the verse,
"Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment. Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared." (Soorah al-Israa', 17:57) 
Furthermore, this love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the Beloved, must be accompanied by a love for the acts and people beloved to the Beloved. So if any person claims to love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and then dislikes any aspect of Allaah's religion, which He loves for His slaves, that person does not have the true and proper love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.
The greatest sign of this proper love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is obedience to His revelations and His Messenger. In fact, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,
"Say, [O Muhammad عليه الصلاة و السلام], if you (really) love Allaah then follow me. Allaah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:31)
Thus obedience to Allaah's commands and to His Messenger is a sign of the true love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى because anyone who truly loves Allaah سبحانه و تعالى wants Allaah سبحانه و تعالى to love him and, according to this verse, this love only comes about through obedience to His Messenger عليه الصلاة و السلام (which implies obedience to His commands).
If the person has the complete love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, he will be completely humble and submissive to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and the pleasure of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will be his only desire. Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله wrote, "A heart is no good, nor does it have prosperity, pleasure, happiness, goodness, tranquility or peace except by worshipping his Lord, loving Him and turning to Him." 
Hilmi writes, "Here we see how [Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله] considered love a dynamic force that spurs the believer to do good and attain happiness." 
Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله also noted, "It is known that love stirs the desires of the heart. Whenever love becomes stronger in the heart, the heart seeks to perform the deeds that are beloved [to the Beloved]." 
When the believer reaches the highest degree of love, he loves what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى loves and and he dislikes what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى dislikes. Furthermore, he will also be willing to face hardships to fulfill the commands of the Beloved. This love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى not only stirs the believer to act, it also free the believer. In Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah's رحمه الله words, "Freedom is the freedom of the heart. Worship is the worship of the heart in the same way that richness is the richness of the soul." 
Love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also makes the person want to get even closer to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. As has already been pointed out, the way the person does this is by performing voluntary deeds after performing the obligatory deeds, as is clear in the hadeeth qudsi quoted earlier.
The reward for this behaviour is something that everyone who loves Allaah سبحانه و تعالى desires more than anything else imaginable. The reward is a special love from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, as Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentioned in the same Hadeeth, "My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties that I have imposed upon him; and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works such that I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks. Were he to ask of Me, I would surely give him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it." 
This love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى does not just bring about pleasure and paradise in the Hereafter, but also in this life; as the person increases his faith, he tastes the sweetness of that faith which is a pleasure in this life that corresponds to the pleasure he will receive in the next. 
Shaykhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله stated, "There is a paradise in this life and the one who does not enter it will not enter the paradise in the next life."  
 Majmoo', vol. 10, p. 49
 The beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah are the balanced and correct beliefs on the question of the constituent parts of true faith. Other groups have stressed one part and neglected others and, therefore, they have strayed. For example, the group known as the Murji'a stressed the hope that one must place in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى; therefore, evil deeds could be performed with little fear of their consequences. The Khawaarij stressed the fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and belittled hope in Him and belief in His mercy; therefore, to them, anyone who performs a great sun is considered and unbeliever and, as a consequence, his life will become full of despair. And some [extreme] Sufis stress the love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and downplay the deeds of the person; therefore, among them, one can find people who claim they love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while they perform very few deeds praised in the Qur'aan and Sunnah.
 Majmoo', vol. 10. p. 194
 Mustafa Hilmi: Ibn Taymiyyah wat-Tasawwuf (Alexandria: Dar ad-Dawlah, n.d.), p. 496
 Majmoo', vol. 10, p. 192
 Ibid, vol. 10, p. 186. The last clause is a hadeeth of the Prophet (may Allaah exalt his mention and grant him peace).
 Saheeh al-Bukhari
 Hilmi, p. 197
 Quoted by his student Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله: Madarij as-Salikeen (Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-Arabic, 1973), vol. 1, p. 454
 Shaykh Jamaaluddeen Zarabozo: Purification of the Soul - Concept, Process and Means
[As well as the two prerequisites for the acceptance of acts of worship, sincerely performing them for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى alone and performing them in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad عليه الصلاة و السلام], there are three essential pillars upon which all of a person's worship is based. In other words, while he or she is performing any act of worship, these three pillars must be present in order for it to be a complete and perfect act. It can also be stated that these three pillars are in fact the driving force for all acts of worship.
These three pillars are: love, fear, and hope. So a person worships Allaah سبحانه و تعالى out of a love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and a fear for Allaah's punishment, and a sincere hope for gaining Allaah's reward. If any of these three conditions is not met, then the proper spirit will not be present.
Some of the scholars gave an example of 'ibaadah and these three pillars in the form of a bird with its two wings. The heart of the bird is the love of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and 'fear' and 'hope' are its two wings. So if the 'love' (the heart) is not present, the 'ibaadah (the bird) will be completely dead. And if either 'hope' or 'fear' is absent, the 'ibaadah will not be able to move.
[Shaykh Yasir Qadhi: Explanation of the Four Principles of Shirk]
One should know that the only spring of mercy and affection to carry one to the ocean of Allah's love is the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace). Love of Muhammad (upon him blessings and peace) means love of Allah Most High. Obedience to him means obedience to Allah, and to rebel against him means to rebel againstAllah. Therefore, the honorable existence of the Prophet Muhammad
constitutes a place of love and refuge for mankind. The knowers('ārifūn) know that the reason for the existence of the creation is the love of Muhammad.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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