Loving yourself is not about being selfish or arrogant. Loving and accepting yourself will ensure that you are a happy and healthy person.
Have you seen a passionate gardener, who not only looks after the plants, but also talks and sings to them? He is always concerned about the plants’ health and yield. He ties the weak stems to a metal rod in order to make them upright and strong. He uses herbicides to diminish undesirable plants which harms his garden. Whenever he sees the feeble plant becoming productive, he is filled with happiness, gives thanks to Allah for it and shares the fruit with his family and friends.
Well, you are the gardener of your own body and soul; the knowledge you feed your body is the water and fertilizers, which are essential for the soul, fasting and consciousness of Allah are the herbicides for eradicating desires, the metal rod is the food and drink for strengthening the healthy body. When the weak plant is well taken care of, the fruits would be loving yourself and others for the sake of Allah.
We need to understand the need to fulfill “love for me”. Loving ourselves first might seem a little egotistical, but if the intention is to please Allah, to serve people and diffuse goodness merely for Him, then it won’t be egoistic at all!
Though the gardener has a deep love for his garden, he still has to take actions for its betterment. That’s how true love works; a few restrictions, precautions and improvements are necessary and then, ultimately we rejoice at its success.
Why should we love ourselves for the sake of Allah?
To love others, we must first love ourselves; and the more we love others for the sake of Allah, our love for ourselves for the sake of Allah also increases. Thus, it’s important to know if we love ourselves enough or not.
Prof. Hendricks, Ph.D., a leader in the fields of relationship transformation and body-mind therapies, says that if throughout the day, every day, we find ourselves silently criticizing others, then it’s the biggest clue that we are not loving ourselves enough.
Early Muslims were cognizant of this fact and Hamdun al-Qassar had said, “If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves.” [Shu’ab al-Iman]
Loving yourself is not about being selfish or arrogant. Loving and accepting yourself will ensure that you are a happy and healthy person. It means that you are content with what Allah has given you, and you embrace your flaws and work to better them.
Loving yourself means that you are able to be grateful for your blessings, and wish the same for your fellow brothers and sisters.
You understand that you are valuable to the ummah and that your actions can bring benefit to society. Feelings of bitterness and jealousy can never enter your heart, so you are able to love others easily and sincerely.
How to love yourself for the sake of Allah?
Keep the soul alive by learning more and more
Knowledge is the appetite for our mind and soul; it is alive and healthy once fed, but stops nourishing if the diet is ignored.
Allah says, “It is only those who have knowledge among his servants that fear Allah.” [Qur’an: Chapter 35, Verse 28]
There is a direct link between knowledge and fearing Allah, the more we gain the fruits of knowledge, the more we will fear Allah, which eventually will lead us to maximize our good deeds and build a strong foundation.
A healthy mind dwells in a healthy body
Knowledge, soul, and body are directly proportional to one another; if needs of two are fulfilled but the other one is incomplete or poorly done, all of them are negatively affected. Body definitely needs a lot of exercise and activeness to be agile and in shape.
Be a person others can rely on
The Prophet(pbuh) said, “The believers, in their mutual friendship, mercy, and affection, are like one body: if any part of it complains, the rest of the body will also stay awake in pain.” [Sahih Muslim]
We have to make sure that if anyone is in need of help, we have to be there to support them. This will eventually increase mutual love, respect and further understanding. There are two types of people who are unforgettable: the ones who help us in times of adversity and the ones who leave us in our downfall. We need to try to be the ones who helps and cares in the times where others’ need us.