‘Why is it that I don’t feel any love for my grandparents or other close relatives, or for that matter even my spouse?’ If that’s a question that lingers in your mind, you need to look at ‘love’ from a different perspective.

Instead of considering it an emotion (noun), consider it something you gotta do (verb). And look at how your relationships change. So, when you love (as a verb) people who matter, you will serve, sacrifice, and be sincere to them. You’ll develop a sense of selflessness and devotion.

But before we get there, we need to make sure our intentions are right. Read the Qur’anic verses and the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that emphasize the importance of upholding kinship ties. Be encouraged by the abundant reward Allah has promised for those who maintain ties and serve people.

“And worship Allah alone, and do not set-up any partner to Him in worship, and be kind and good to the parents, and to the relatives.” (Qur’an, 4:36)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari, 8/73, no. 13)

In another narration, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights in Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day.” (Al-Bukhari, 7/64, no. 265)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Any woman who dies while her husband is pleased with her, she will enter Paradise.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

Al-Aswad Bin Yazid asked Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her), “What did the Prophet use to do at home?” She said, “He used to work for his family, and when he heard the Adhan, he would go out.” (Al-Bukhari, 7/64, no. 276)

Indeed, the Prophet’s life (peace be upon him) is an example for all people to come. He lived the Qur’an. The Sahabah strove to implement these teachings. Caliph Umar would sweep the floor of the mosque. Abu Bakr would cook and feed the blind old lady. Their lives tell us how they loved their people. They strove in selflessness. The Sahabah gave food to the guests while keeping their own children hungry.

Our world today teaches us to be selfish and materialistic. We hardly tolerate our loved ones, let alone serve them. The pursuit of luxury, wealth, and more wealth has clouded our purpose of life and sense of what happiness is. While career and earning money is required to feed our families, it should by no means become an obsession. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And I created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures). Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong.” (Qur’an, 51:56-58)

Our provision has been written down. It is Allah who provides us. Yes, we must seek it, but it’s Allah who provides. Knowing this should free up our mind so we could focus on the thing that matters, i.e. the purpose of life, the worship of Allah.

As Muslims, we submit to our Creator. We seek His Pleasure in what we do and we follow His Guidance. It is only that life that brings true joy to the heart and fills us with contentment, as opposed to a life of greed and dissatisfaction.

So, love with all passion and selflessness, but only and only for the sake of Allah. It is only then that you’ll taste the sweetness of that missing feeling.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith: 1. The one to whom Allah and His Apostle become dearer than anything else; 2. Who loves a person and he loves him only for Allah’s sake; 3. Who hates to revert to (disbelief) as he hates to be thrown into the fire.” (Al-Bukhari, 1/2, no. 15)

– by Faraz Omar