The Meaning of Love
My subject today was inspired by a sister who visited our home, and at the end of the evening she asked me, “Brother Farrakhan, I’ve watched you grow and I’m touched by the growth of your love for our people. How can I grow to love like I see you love?” I never have been asked a question like that, but, while she was asking, Allah (God) was giving me the answer. I answered her, and as I looked at the words going out of my mouth, I realized that Allah (God) had given to me something so profound that I determined that at the first chance I get, I would share it with you.
My subject today is taken from the Bible, and it’s called “The Two Great Commandments of Allah (God).” Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
The Old Testament, or the Torah, of the Bible is full of laws—what things you shall do and shall not do; and the blessings and the cursings if you do or don’t do them. The Holy Qur’an is a book of law, but Jesus said, “…On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” If you have a hanger and you have nothing to hang it on, you can’t hang up that which you want hung. So prophets who brought law come out of the Love of Allah (God) for the people, the Love of Allah (God) for His creation. You don’t need law if you’re not lawless. Law only prescribes the limits that Allah (God) imposes on the human being for your growth, your development, and your success in the
life that He gives you. When you grow starting with law, starting with imposing limits on yourself, you grow into that out of which the law came. You grow into love. You grow into Allah (God). Then there’s no more need for law, because love is the essence of the law; and there is no law greater than love.
I looked at this word “love” and thought to myself how we have messed it up. You say, “I love you,” but you don’t know what that word “love” means! You use it in such a weak, cheap way because you don’t understand the word and the principle that undergirds the word. If you did, you wouldn’t be in the shape that you’re in. Your life is a loveless life.
You cannot separate self from Allah (God), because the self and Allah (God) are One. To know self is to know Allah (God), because Allah (God) is the Creator of the self and the self that He gave you in His Image is Himself. If you don’t have love, you don’t have life. These are the same words. The Bible says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” People today think they’re living life, but what they call life is really death. And what you call love is really hate. I’m going to prove it.
You receive gifts, and you give gifts. And you have a tendency to love those who give you gifts, but, nobody has given a gift like Allah (God) gives. He gives you eyes and then gives you something to look at. You have an Earth at which you can keep on looking and looking and looking. And the more you look, the more you see, and the more you see, the more you marvel at a Mighty God. When you get tired of looking at the Earth, you lay down on the grass and look up at the wonders in the heavens above you. If you get tired, you can go down in the water and look at a world under the water. You open the Earth, and another world is in the Earth. The more you look, the more you see. So the Master said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” All you have to do is seek, but what you’re looking for is already here. Knock and it shall be opened unto you. Ask and it shall be given, because Allah (God) is the Essence of love itself, and there is no love without Allah (God). If Allah (God) is not involved in your life, then love is not involved in you. And the words that you use are a mockery.
Mother, when you have your first child and you love it so much, and you put all you have into that little one, you may say to yourself, “Lord, I don’t know if I could ever love another child like I love this one.” Then you find out you’re pregnant again, and you’ve got more love for number two. Then if you have three, you have love for three. You have four, you have love for four. It makes no difference how many you have, Allah (God) gives you the capacity to love whatever you bring. So when He says, “Love Me with all your heart,” you don’t know what all is until He stretches you, until you’re willing to be stretched. Allah (God) would not give you a Commandment that He knew you couldn’t fulfill.
When Jesus says that the first great Commandment is to love Allah (God) with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, he knows that each of us can do it. But you have to know why. I’m in debt to Allah (God) for the eyes that He gave me to see this marvelous creation. I’m in debt to Allah (God) for the ears that He gave me that I can hear the sound of my mother’s voice, the sound of my brother, my sister, the sound of my teacher, the sound of music. I can hear it, and I love what I hear because Allah (God) gave me ears.
I loved the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He was my teacher. I loved him so much, I thought. And I did love him, and do love him, but was it love or was it that he satisfied a need? Think with me now. Maybe you should say “I need” rather than “I love” because the word and our actions are not congruent. You’re hungry. You need food. You need the protein, the carbohydrates, the chemistry of what you eat, to keep what you love alive. When you fall in love with food, then you show how much you hate yourself. The fact that I didn’t love myself meant I could never have loved Elijah Muhammad as much as I thought. And if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love Allah (God) as much as you would like. It starts with your recognition of Allah (God) and your recognition of yourself.
If you hate the fact that you’re Black, how could you love the God that made you Black? If you hate the nappiness of your hair and Allah (God) gave you that hair, how can you love Allah (God) and hate what Allah (God) has made? You’re lying to yourself. You’re lying to your wives, your husbands, your friends, because you can never love your neighbor except to the degree that you love yourself. And your love of Allah (God) is tainted. It’s only based on what Allah (God) can do for you. And you love people based on what you expect people to do for you. If they ever stop doing for you, what happens to your love? So your love and our love has a condition to it.
I found out as a young minister that I loved Allah (God), I loved the resurrection of our people, but I also loved the applause. You noticed that I told you today not to applaud so much, but to listen and think. I don’t love that anymore. But when I was a child, I spoke like one. Now I’m becoming a mature man, and I have to put away childish things. I want you to hear me today.
I told this sister that I really didn’t love myself. I loved Elijah Muhammad and his family. I would do anything for him and his family, but I wouldn’t do it for mine. And I have to analyze that now. How could I look after Muhammad’s wife and don’t look after mine? How could I sacrifice for Muhammad’s children and neglect mine? I could say, “it’s the cause. I’m for the Nation!” But I’m a liar if I say that I’m for the Nation and not for my family, when my family is the essence of the Nation. When you neglect your family, you have neglected the Nation. When you uphold your family and look out for your family, you’re looking out for the Nation.
When I began to answer this sister’s question about love, I said, “You know, sister, the more I fell in love with me, the more I could demonstrate love for you, because you and I are from the same source.” And the more I could fall in love with me—not in a vain way—the more I could love Allah (God) Who Created me. I soon will be 70 years old, and I’m just learning how to love. It’s a long distance, brother, but it’s better to learn at 70 than never to learn at all.
I told the sister, “Go home and write down all the things about yourself that you love. And everything about yourself that you love is of Allah (God). And on the other side, write down the things about yourself that you don’t like, and that’s what you’ve got to work on in order to love yourself more. Until you do that, you can’t love people any more than you love yourself. And you cannot love Allah (God) any more than you love yourself.”
And this is why the teaching of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad is the greatest message that you could receive, because in it is a profound knowledge of Allah (God) and a profound knowledge of self. You can only love yourself based upon what you know of yourself.