A’uzubillahi minashaitonir rojeem, Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allahumma Solli wa Sallim wa Baarik ‘ala Sayidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala aalihi wa sohbihi ajma’in…
Imam ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Alawi Al-Haddad r.a. was asked whether the one who loves certain people but does not behave as they do will be with them unconditionally as can be understood from the hadith: “A man is with whom he loves.”
The Imam, may Allah be pleased with him answered: It appears to us from the statements of authoritative commentators of this hadith that this is limited to some aspects of the matter and not all of them. The one who loves must conform to the loved one in all things including Unification/Tauhid, the careful performance of obligatory acts, the avoidance of perilous prohibited acts, and the performance of whatever good works that are within reach.
For to love someone is to emulate and follow him as much as possible, no love is true otherwise, for it will then be nothing but words devoid of any reality. Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Do not be deceived by the hadith ‘A man is with whom he loves’ when [you suffer from] distraction, illusion and the desertion of good works, for the ahlul kitab love their Prophets but are of certainty not with them.” Similarly, some of the herectics of this community/umma love some of the Companions (may Allah’s Pleasure be with them) greatly, they are loyal to them and may go so far as to lose their lives for them; nevertheless, they are of certainty not with them since they have gone against their way and example by detesting and disowning the other Companions for whom they show no loyalty, as well as by other innovations in religion.
This matter is one on which there is no disagreement. As this is so with innovations, the same, or nearly so, will of necessity apply to transgressions, mixing [good with evil works] and persistent sinning. These are degrees of good and evil and [other degrees] can be measured in a similar manner.
The ugliest of ugly things is disbelief in all its many degrees; then innovations, which are not all equal; then depravity/corruption/perversions; then mixing good with evil; and these last two also exhibit many degrees. The opposite of all this can equally well be stated about good; so understand our indications and ponder on our words for they are both highly valuable and indispensable. With reflection the intended goal will appear and the meaning will become clear. Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.
On another instance, the Imam answered as such: Know (may Allah be your Teacher) that this hadith induces both hope and alarm/fear, for a man is with whom he loves whether they be righteous or corrupt, what then of those who love the ‘accursed world’ and are thus with it? The togetherness which is the consequence of love will inevitably occur. However, love cannot be present unless one conforms to the beloved’s acts and abstentions as far as possible. Love is a claim that can be established only with the proof of such conformity (of acts etc.).
The one who claims to love a person but diverges/differs from him in those of his aims and desires which are within his power, who neither supports those whom he supports nor shows hostility to those he is hostile to, will logically be deemed to be untrue. True, it is not necessary to conform to the beloved in all his actions for this togetherness to occur, for then one would become effectively equal in everything where such equality is possible. Know then that love can never be without such conformity.
Excerpts from The Sublime Treasures Answers to Sufi Questions by Imam al-Haddad translated by Mostafa al-Badawi