Is it okay to love yourself?

Image Courtesy: Level 10 Muslimah

Allah‎ﷻ‬ is Al Wadood- The Most Loving, He is the source of all love and affection.

وَهُوَ الۡغَفُوۡرُ الۡوَدُوۡدُۙ‏

And He is the Ever Forgiving, the Most Loving.

Surah Al Buruj 14

Love is a strong feeling of affection that Allah‎ﷻ‬ has blessed every human being with, we experience the feeling of love through the attachment we feel towards our parents, our spouse, towards our siblings, our friends and also towards ourselves. In Islam love for Allah‎ﷻ‬ and His Messengerﷺ takes precedence over the love that we feel towards ourselves and others.

Abdullah ibn Hisham reported: We were with the Messenger of Allah‎ﷺ‎‬, and he‎ﷺ‎‬ was holding the hand of Umar ibn Al-Khattab رضى الله عنه. Umar said to him, “O Messenger of Allah‎ﷺ‎‬, you are more beloved to me than everything but myself.” The Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ said, ” No, by the one in whose hand is my soul, until I am more beloved to you than yourself . “Umar said,” Indeed, I swear by Allah that you are more beloved to me now than myself. “The Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ said,” Now you are right, O Umar. “

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī

I have two takeaways from this hadith, the first is that of loving the Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ more than we love ourselves and the second is the acknowledgement of the fact that it’s natural for a human being to love themselves, in fact, all of us love ourselves whether we like to admit it or not- our reflexes in a dangerous situation (the fight or flight response), our responses during arguments (defense mechanisms), wanting to feel important and significant etc, we are inherently wired to love ourselves. We can find this in the example of children whose existence revolves around pleasing themselves, ‎سبحان الله‎‬. Most of us are usually wrapped up with our Nafs and ego thinking. Therefore in his advice to Umar رضى الله عنه, the Prophet‎ﷺ‎‬ emphasizes on the fact that our love for him‎ﷺ‎‬ must be more than our love for our own selves.

Our understanding of love is mostly based on that which is widespread from the Dunya perspective. Consumerism and movies have distorted the emotion of love to base desires. It’s almost always the romantic love, and even that image is distorted by projecting it as becoming an epitome of sacrifice in order to reach the pinnacle of romantic love. So when a person thinks of loving themselves, they are programmed to think of it in a negative light, as something selfish and self-centered.

As natural as it is for us to love ourselves, we can contradict this quality within and become our worst critics, we can be severe in self- judgment which leads to self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We are quick to put ourselves under the bus by labeling ourselves and using strong, unforgiving language. The negative self-talk depletes us and takes us on a downhill.

If the agenda is to lovingly give to others, it’s vitally important to lovingly give to ourselves first. When a bag is filled with love and goodness, that’s what we would be putting on the table, and when it’s filled with neglect and frustration then again that is exactly what we will be laying down.

In fact, we are required to love ourselves in order to strive in Allah‎ﷻ’s path and to be the way Heﷻ‬ wants us to be, in terms of obedience, steadfastness, and righteousness, to strive to become the best version of ourselves in order to reach for the  excellence in terms of improving  the quality of our worship and in general our lives.

When we examine love from the basis of Allah‎ﷻ’s‬ Beautiful Name- Al Wadood (The Most Loving), we can see that Allah‎ﷻ‬’s love for His believing slaves is constant and it continues to manifest itself through His Mercy, Guidance, His forgiveness etc. He‎ﷻ‬ loves the believers and the believers love Him‎ﷻ‬. When we apply this Name of Allah‎ﷻ‬ into our own lives, it translates into how we show mercy, kindness, and forgiveness towards others. If we can perceive this attribute of Allah‎ﷻ‬ in terms of personal implementation, we can see that one cannot show love, kindness, and forgiveness towards others if they are not showing all these characteristics to themselves first. It’s not the narcissistic kind of love الستغفر الله, but a humble approach to love, that exudes and radiates itself in all walks of life. The love which is for the sake Allah‎ﷻ‬ is not just reserved for others, but first and foremost towards ourselves.

Only in kindness to ourselves can we show kindness to others, only by being merciful to ourselves, can we be merciful to others, so on and so forth. What we grow in our hearts is what will be in our capacity to share, and why? Because ultimately we want Allah‎ﷻ‬ to be pleased with us, to be kind to us and to shower His mercy upon us, ‎إنشاء الله‬.



Seema Umm Rayyan is a Spiritual Contentment Coach and a Self Awareness Facilitator

She accompanies her sisters in deen in creating a life that’s pleasing to Allah سُبحَانَهُوَتَعَالَىٰ, facilitating them in their journey discovering contentment and deep diving into the understanding of their own self and developing their self-awareness.

8 thoughts on “Is it okay to love yourself?

  1. Alvia bint Nasir says:

    Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi…Much needed post..In this age of terrorizing mental health issues…Loving yourself for the sake of Allah is one of the keys to peace and happiness in both lives.

    Ma sha Allah Sister.Umm Rattan..You have a beautiful way with words…It gets a direct entry into the readers heart :*

    • Umm Rayyan says:

      ‎سبحان الله‎‬,
      ‎جزاك اللهُ خيرا‬ Alvia for your kind words, I am happy to have made a difference,فضل من الله.
      ❤️بارك الله فيك.

  2. MayMuna says:

    As-salām ‘alaykum sister. Do I say al wadood if I have a hard time loving myself please Can you explain to me more I’m confused

    • Umm Rayyan says:

      Wa ‘Alaikumus Salaam sis, Jazakillahu Khairan for dropping by…
      You can ask Allah using His name Al Wadood, to answer your du’aa, you could say, “Ya Allah! You are Al Wadood, The Most Loving, grant me Your Love and the ability to love myself. Ameen Ya Rabb”, but you don’t say Al Wadood a certain number of times hoping for Allah to make it easy for you to love yourself, you can hope in the du’aa you make for Allah to make it easy for you, but not the action of reciting a particular Name of Allah, a certain amount of times, hope it makes sense, and this is according to my understanding and Allah knows Best.

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