In another version of the above Tradition, the concluding remark of Anas (ra) has been quoted as follows:
“We, (the Companions), never felt happier at anything than the Prophet’s observation that ‘you are with whom you love.’ By the Grace of God, I love the Apostle, and I love Abu Bakr and Umar, and I do hope to be blessed with their company, on account of this love, although my works are not the same as their works.”
Two things, however, must be borne in mind. Firstly, to be with whom one loves does not mean that the position of the lover and the beloved will be wholly alike and they will be treated entirely in the same manner, but that with regard to their respective states and stations, it will be identical to what obtains, in this world, between the servants and the masters, and the followers and their leaders, and, it too, is a very great honour and blessing, indeed.
Secondly, submission is a necessary accompaniment of love, and it is inconceivable that a person was in love with God and His Apostle and yet led a life of defiance and transgression. Thus, people who commit sins and violate God-given laws, without compunction, and, still, claim to have love for God and the sacred Prophet are liars and hypocrites, and if they really imagine themselves to be of those who are blessed with devotion and attachment just referred to, they are labouring under a great fallacy and are victims of self-deception. About such a man, Rabia Basri has aptly remarked:
“Oh, Pretender of Love! Thou disobeyeth God, and, yet, claim to have love for Him. It is impossible! If thou wert, really, truthful in what thou assert, thou wouldst be faithful to Him, for a lover carries out the wishes of the beloved with all his heart and soul.”
Be that as it may, it is necessary to observe one’s duties to God and the Prophet in order to be in love with them. True submission is born out of love alone.
The tidings that those who love God and His Apostle are in the company of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous are contained in the Quran itself:
“Whoso obeyeth Allah and the Messenger, they are with those to whom Allah hath shown favour, of the Prophets and the Sincere and the Martyrs and the Virtuous, The best of company are they!” (IV: 69)
The difference between this verse and the aforementioned Traditions is, simply, of interpretation, otherwise, basically, their purport is the same.
It is, further, supported by Hazrat Ayesha’s narrative that has been quoted by Ibn Kathir in his Commentary, on the authority of Mirdwaih and Tabrani, while explaining the background of the verse from Surah Nisa we have just seen. It, briefly, tells that once a person came to the Apostle of God and said: “I love you even more than my wife, and my children, and my own life. My condition is that when I am at home I think of you and there is no peace for me until I come and see you, and when I think of my death and your death, I feel that, after death, you will go to Paradise and will be elevated to the lofty station of the Prophets while even if I went to Heaven, by the Grace of God, I will not be able to attain that place, and, thus, remain deprived of the joy of seeing you in After-life.” The sacred Prophet, upon it, kept quiet until the Qur’anic verse quoted above was revealed.
It gave the assurance, as one would say, to that as well as to all the sincere lovers of the Prophet that if they were honest in their love, they would, naturally, be loyal and faithful to God and His Apostle, and, in that case, they were going to be in the company of the chosen bondmen of the Lord in the Hereafter.
The brief elucidation seemed necessary as people, often, fail to appreciate the real significance of love and the intimate connection it has with self-surrender.