According to Islam, the highest level of Divine love for any creature is His love for perfect human beings, such as prophets. Prophet Muhammad (saw) has a special place in this regard. One of the well-known titles of him is "Habibullah", which means the beloved of Allah (SWT). In a famous Divine saying Allah (SWT) addresses Prophet Muhammad (saw), "If thou were not, I would not have created the heavens."
Maulana Rumi points to love as God's motive for creation by commenting on a divine saying addressed to Muhammad: "But for you, I would not have created the heavenly spheres." Prophet Muhammad (saw) is the fullness of realized love, through whom and for whom the universe was created.
Love makes the ocean boil like a pot; love grinds mountains down to sand.
Love splits the heaven in a hundred pieces; love shakes the earth with a mighty shaking.
Pure love was paired with Muhammad - because of love God said to him, "But for you."
Since he alone was the goal of love, he was singled out from all the prophets.
"If not for pure love, why would I give existence to the spheres?"
I raised the celestial wheel on high, so that you might understand love's elevation.
In the Hadith al-Kisa, it is narrated by Fatima Al- Zahra, may peace be upon her:
When they, the Ahlul Bayt, gathered under the Kisa, the Almighty said: "Let it be known to you, My angels and those who are in the heavens, that I have not created the heavens and the earth and what is in them, but for My love for the Five Ones under the Kisa."
Prophet Muhammad (saw), said to his followers: "Love me because of the love of God."
We love Prophet Muhammad (saw) as he is the beloved of Allah (SWT), and He has directed us to love him. This is the first and the most important reason for loving Prophet Muhammad (saw). Further, he is the Perfect Man and personifies the highest degrees of such virtues as generosity, greatness, moral sublimity and wisdom. Hence human nature is fascinated by his perfect being and loves him. Thirdly, he brought us the most significant and essential gift which benefits us both in this world and the next and gives us true life.
For these reasons, and because of the many verses and traditions which declare the necessity of loving Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and his Household, it is obligatory for all Muslims to love him as much as they love themselves and even more, as according to the Noble Qur'an:
The Prophet has a greater right on the faithful than they have on themselves. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:6)
Bukhari and Muslim related that Allah's Messenger (saw) said: "You will not become true believer until I become more beloved to you than your wealth, sons and all mankind."
Urdu Couplet says: Muhammad (saw) Ki Mohabbat Deen-e-Haq Ki Shart-e-Awwal Hai, Hai Issi Me Gar Khami, To Sab Kuch Na Mukammal Hai
It is therefore natural for a believer to be attracted to the love of Prophet Muhammad (saw) after he recognizes his status in the sight of Allah (SWT). Therefore, he strives to follow his way in all worldly and religious affairs as his companions (may the peace of Allah be upon them all) did during his lifetime. They loved him so much that they felt sad if they did not see him.
Thawban was one of the freed slaves of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw). He was always with the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) at home or in journey and loved Prophet Muhammad (saw) very much. Once he came to him while his face was pale. Prophet Muhammad (saw) asked him: "What is the matter with you?" He replied; "Nothing". However, when you are absent, I feel lonely. When I remember the last Day, I feel afraid, as you will enter supreme Paradise. If I do not enter Paradise, I will not see you again."
Thereupon the following verse has revealed:
And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace - of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are! (Surah An-Nisa, 4:69)
Companions also preferred Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) above themselves. Al-Baihaqi reported that Mushrikeen (polytheists) took out Zaid ibn Dasaneh from the Holy Mosque to kill him in Tan'eem. On the road, Abu Sufyan asked Zaid ibn Dasaneh: "I adjure you by Allah, would you like us to kill Muhammad instead of you and you return to your family?" Zaid ibn Dasaneh replied: "I do not like that Muhammad (saw) be injured even by a thorn, while I am sitting safely in my home." Abu Sufyan commented surprisingly: "I have never seen companions who love their friend like those of Muhammad (saw)."
Holy Prophet Muhammad's (saw) friends loved him so much that they even could not see his foot injured with a thorn.
Al-Baihaqi also reported that a women from Al-Ansar, whose father and brother were killed in the battle of Uhad, asked the companions: "What about the Prophet Muhammad (saw)?" They answered: "He is well." She wanted to see him. When she saw him, she said: "Every disaster is easy as long as you are safe." So we see that the companions loved the prophet (saw) so much that they preferred him above themselves because they found in his character the ideal and best example to follow.
A sincere lover has no power to disobey the beloved person or to refuse his wishes. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (as) said: "Do you disobey God and pretend you love Him? This is amazing. If you were true you would have obeyed Him, for the lover is submissive before the one whom he loves." We read in the Noble Qur'an:
O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah's way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer. (Surah Al-Maeda, 5:54)
It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path. (Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:36)
And whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back. (Surah Al-Hashr, 59:7)