Question: Assalam Alaykum, does the love of the Prophet Muhammad, and therefore following all his teachings, elevate one’s status to the highest level of al-Firdaus, just below Al-Waseela? As it is narrated in the hadith, “Among those who love me the most would be the ones coming after me, they would have sold their lives and family just to see me.” May Allah grant you His Countenance.
Wa alaykum al-salam
Thank you for writing to us.
There is no doubt that loving Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is one of the most important actions of the heart. Many ahadith refer to the reward of the one who loves him. Perhaps the greatest reward is the one you allude to, namely that, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, a man will be with the one whom he loves.
Another narration transmitted by Anas in the Sahihayn of Bukhari and Muslim, shows how the Prophet expanded on the meaning of this statement: A man asked the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, about the final hour, saying “When is the Final Hour?” The Messenger of Allah responded by saying, “What have you prepared for the Final Hour?” He responded, saying, “I have not prepared anything save that I love Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Prophet responded, “You will be with those whom you love.” Anas said they were never happier about anything than the words of the Prophet, “You will be with those whom you love.” He said, “I love the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with both of them) and I hope to be with them on account of my love for them, even though I have not exerted myself in action as they have done.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Thus, Anas (Allah be pleased with him) made it clear that even though our actions may fall short of the actions of the Messenger and the great companions, we will be with them on account of our love for them.
However, this does not mean that the one who will be with Allah’s Messenger will necessarily be in the highest of Jannah in al-Firdaws. Ibn Hajar stated in Fath al-Bari that the Prophet’s words, “You will be with those whom you love” mean that you will be in their company. In his view, one may be in their company by gathering with them at times, not necessarily all the time. For example, everyone who loves Allah’s Messenger will enter paradise, so they will be with him in Paradise, although their levels in Paradise may differ. [Fath al-Bari]
In his commentary on Muslim, Imam al-Nawawi stated that being with Allah’s Messenger does not necessarily mean being with him in the same level of paradise or being given the same reward as he is given. [Sharh Sahih Muslim]
Accordingly, those who love Allah’s Messenger will be with him by gathering with him, spending time in his company, having the honor of seeing his splendid face and the wonderful light emanating from his most beautiful body and face, kissing his hand or his forehead, and seeing his smile.
However, they will not necessarily be in the highest level of Jannah, particularly as the highest level of Jannah is al-Wasilah, as you mention in your question. Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri said, in a hadith transmitted by Imam Ahmad, that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Al-Wasilah is a level in Paradise with Allah above which there is no level, so ask Allah to grant me al-Wasilah”.
In another narration transmitted by Imam al-Tirmidhi from Abu Hurayra, he said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Ask Allah to grant me al-Wasilah”. They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is al-Wasilah?” He said, “The highest level in Jannah. Know that only one man will attain this level, and I desire to be that man.”
Thus, only the Messenger of Allah will be in al-Wasilah. Scholars have explained that Jannah al-Firdaws is the highest level of Jannah, and it consists of various levels. The highest level is al-Wasilah. Thus, one may enjoy the company of the Prophet but will not be with him at the same level of Jannah, namely al-Wasilah. One may be in al-Firdaws or even in a lower level of Jannah, but will still enjoy the company of Allah’s Messenger, on account of one’s love for him.
And Allah Most High knows best.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.