Just as was previously explained, Islam has placed great importance on love and hate to such an extent that in the traditions it has been mentioned that: “Is true faith anything other than love and hate!?”1
This love and hate has also been clearly manifested within Islamic history in regards to specific individuals [and is not just a theory]. For example Prophet Muhammad (S) addressed the Commander of the Faithful ʿAli (as) and said: “O ʿAli! Love for you is [a sign of] true faith and enmity of you is [a sign of] hypocrisy and disbelief.”2
In regards to the wisdom and proofs on the emphasis and importance in Islam on the traits of love and hate – whether this be of a general nature or in relation to specific individuals, we will suffice with mentioning the following brief points:
1. We should keep in mind that love and hate are two extremely powerful forces within a person and that if they are allowed to fully surround a person’s presence, then they will definitely prove to reward a person with great benefits. For example, having love for a person due to the fact that they have all of the traits of goodness within them is actually a show of the person’s overwhelming possession of love and affinity to the totality of goodness, and this affection and passion which one has can prove to be an extremely powerful force which can take over one’s entire essence and guide an individual towards the True Love – meaning God, the Most High. This in actuality is the meaning of the seeking of perfection and felicity for a human being. In addition, if a person shows enmity for an individual due to that person being wicked and evil, then this should lead to the person having one’s entire presence covered with the detestation of all evil and bad which is conceivably possible, and this is the actual meaning of the distancing from corruption on a whole.
2. Contrary to some of the other global religions, Islam looks at the world as a two sided coin - such that due to the societal requirements, the believers have been enjoined to keep in mind the two important beliefs of love and hate. A person is not able to have an affinity for both good and bad, or the manifestations of both good and bad within himself, as these two traits are opposite of one another and cannot be twinned and if they are seen in a person, then this is a sign of hypocrisy.
3. From the psychological aspect, it has also been proven that the best way (generally and specifically speaking) to encourage people towards following the truth and keeping away from corruption and bad deeds is to present them with the best and most perfect examples of both sides of the spectrum as this will definitely have the desired outcome intended for a society.
4. It must be noted that love and hate cannot simply remain “in the heart”. Rather, they must become manifest, and as long as their manifestation has no problems from being carried out – both from the point of view of the religious legal limits and also from the rational aspect, then not only is it not a problem to manifest these two states, rather, it becomes something extremely beneficial. This too can be proven from a psychological point of view as the display of a phenomenon leads to that thing being suggested and implanted into the spiritual heart and soul of a person – leading to an eventual state in which that thing becomes second-nature for an individual. It is for this reason that the application of love and hate, in the formation of the spiritual foundation of a person, plays a great role.
5. Voicing our love and hate and showing malediction – which is one of the forms of voicing hatred – is actually the announcement of an impending hazard and the pronouncement of good news; the proclamation of hazard to the masses that they must be aware and on guard from the enemies of their religion – enemies who are constantly in wait, hoping to snatch a person’s faith away and to misguide them from the straight path. Know that such people have definitely been maledicted against and are not the kinds of people whom we should be following. Expressing our love is a form of announcement of good news to the people that they should know that we have perfect and flawless examples and if we follow them, then we will reach to the Truth and that we will eventually make it towards the Divine, and this is in reality, one of the manifestations of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil (al-amr bil maʿruf wa nahi ʿanil munkar) on a societal level.
6. Due to certain reasons, the companions of Prophet Muhammad (S) hold a special status because they are people who had seen the Prophet (S); they heard him speak and they listened to the statements which he made, and they saw firsthand the way that he led his life. From another point of view, due to the self-sacrifice which some of them offered in the protection and spreading of the religion of Islam, they are worthy of having our respect, and it is for this reason that the Muslims pay special attention to them. From a different perspective, those people who truly tried to prevent the advancement and were the reason for misguidedness within the Islamic society enacted the greatest damage to Islam and the Muslims. It is for this reason that we must differentiate between the good and bad role models which exist amongst the midst of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (S) - and the measuring stick for judging them is the primary role model which we all have – the Messenger of God (S) - just as Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
لَقَدْ كَانَ لَکُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ...
“Indeed in the Messenger of God [Muhammad] is the best role model for you…”3