There are many words in Arabic that translate as “love” in English; two of them are hubb and wudd. What is the difference between hubb (حَبَّ) and wudd (وَدَّ)? Hubb, which is from ح ب ب ، means to love. It is a love that you have for someone or something that you keep inside of you–inner feelings of admiration and fondness. While wudd, from و د د، is a more intense form of hubb, a whole-hearted and deep love. Wudd is the purest form of love, an intimate love, and this love–affection that is more stronger than hubb–turns into actions. Wudd is to express those feelings of love in your conduct, in your actions,in your demeanor, and wudd maintains consistency and persists even if obstacles are in the way.

Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) describes Himself as “Al-Wadood” (الودود) and this is usually translated into English as “The Most Loving.” This Love is constant and spreads to all of Allah’s creation, but a special form of this love is for His righteous servants. He says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَانُ وُدّاً

Translation: Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds, Ar-Rahman will appoint for them affection. [Surah Maryam, verse 96]

The Name of Allah, Al-Wadood, comes twice in the Qur’an, firstly, Prophet Shuy’ab (عليه السلام) tells his people:

وَاسْتَغْفِرُواْ رَبَّكُمْ ثُمَّ تُوبُواْ إِلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَبِّي رَحِيمٌ وَدُودٌ

Translation: And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving.” [Surah Hud, verse 90]

And, in Surah Al-Burooj, ayah 14, Allah says:

وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الْوَدُودُ

Translation: And He is Al-Ghafuwr, Al-Wadood (the Affectionate). [Surah Al-Burooj, verse 14]

In Arabic grammar, “Wadood” falls under the fa’ool (فعول) pattern, which denotes Allah’s Love as constant and lasting, as well as intense. Allah is Al-Wadood, He loves the believers, and the believers love Him more than anything and anyone. His love is a love that is continual, ample, and vast, and translates into the blessings He gives us, from a simple breath we take to the greatest blessing of Islam.

So how can we live by Allah’s Name, Al-Wadood? There are three important factors we have to fulfill:

  1. To know that Allah loves you a lot.
  2. To fill your hearts with the love of Allah and make our hearts only for Him, and remove from them everything else, such as the love of the dunya.
  3. To show the love that Allah is showing you to others–to your spouse, your family, your friends, your community.

Imam Safi Khan. Lecture. Dar-us-Salaam Masjid. College Park, Maryland.