The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is reported to have said in a hadith:

“Whoever possesses the following three qualities will taste the sweetness of faith: (1) The one to whom Allah and His Messenger become most dear than anything else. (2) The one who loves a person only for the sake of Allah. (3)The one who hates to return to disbelief just as he hates to be cast into the fire.”


The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) points out three attributes in this hadith that, if we possess them, will allow us to experience the sweetness of religion. Yes, faith has a distinct flavor that can be tasted by the hearts in the same way that the tongues can detect the sweetness of foods and beverages. When the heart is afflicted with spiritual ailments like forbidden desires, misguidance, lust, sins, etc., it is similar to how the body cannot taste the sweetness of foods and drinks when it is sick and sickly. Just as a healthy body is necessary for flavor perception, so too must the hearts be.

What does it mean to Experience the joy of faith?

It means that whoever finds it will experience the following three things:

  • The individual will enjoy performing all acts of submission to Allah. He or she won’t feel burdened or bored by Allah’s orders anymore; rather, he or she would anticipate them and genuinely love carrying them out. This indicates that the individual will have pleasure in visiting the mosque, doing almsgiving, praying, making dua, performing dhikr, fasting, reading the Qur’an, avoiding sins, etc.
  • The person will put their religion before selfish worldly goals. Even if they seem sweet at first, he or she will prefer to pursue opportunities to pursue this pleasure rather than fleeting, bitter worldly desires. The person will start placing greater value on their faith than everything else.
  • For Allah’s sake, the person will be able to endure the challenges that arise. He or she won’t experience hopelessness or defeat. He/she would realize that this world is only a test from Allah and that we are here just for a short while and that any hardship a believer feels in this world, whether physical, emotional, or psychological, it will wipe away some sins from his/her record as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “There is nothing (in the form of hardship) that comes to a believer, even if it is the pricking of a thorn, except that Allah writes for him a good deed because of it or removes a sin” as long as these folks remain devout

So what are these three qualities? Let’s delve into them a little deeper.

Allah and His Messenger Most Dear

The first character indicates that this person loves Allah and His Messenger above all else. They will always choose to be with Allah and His Messenger over anybody else whenever given the choice between what Allah and His Messenger want from them and what others want from them. For instance, although doing so may pay far more than their current work, a person might reject doing so since Allah and His Messenger banned it.

By learning about Allah’s Names and Attributes, contemplating His creation, appreciating His favors and benefits, etc., one might develop a deep love for Him. All of this reveals Allah’s perfection, might, intelligence, and mercy. Love for Allah compels a person to submit to Him, follow His commands, and refrain from His prohibitions.

The love of the Messenger (ﷺ) is a consequence of loving Allah. Loving the Messenger necessitates following and obeying him. It is obligatory on every Muslim to love the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and this love must exceed the love of anything else in their life including their family as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said,

None of you will [truly] believe until I am more beloved to him than his father, child, and all of mankind


Studying his life is one of the best ways to grow the love for him in the heart.

Love for a Muslim neighbor just for Allah’s sake

The second quality is about loving one another solely for the sake of Allah. This is a form of love that believers have for each other because they are all siblings of one another in faith and look out for each other as Allah states in the Qur’an,

“The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers

(Qur’an 49:10).

It is a type of no strings attached love. It is selfless. There are no expectations of some sort of worldly gains in return for it. It is purely for the sake of Allah.

When someone loves their brother/sister in faith solely for Allah’s sake, then this means that they seek to benefit each other, keep harm away from each other, advise each other, etc. If one of them sees another in trouble or going through something difficult, he/she tries to help and alleviate the difficulty to the best of his/her ability. They assist each other in doing good not just for the success of this life but also for the afterlife, similarly, they assist each other in avoiding evil and sins. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said,

 “A Muslim is a brother of [another] Muslim, he neither wrongs him nor hands him over to one who does him wrong. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; if one relieves a Muslim of his troubles, Allah will relieve his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and if anyone covers up [the faults] of a Muslim, Allah will cover him [i.e. his faults] on the Day of Judgement” (Bukhari).

Hate to Go Back to Unbelief

The third and last attribute is that the believer would detest being cast into the flames as much as they would detest returning to a life of sin and unbelief. The believer can’t conceive of being apart from the faith once it firmly establishes itself in the heart and the believer enjoys its richness. Such a believer’s heart finds it impossible to imagine giving up this sweetness for the bitterness of unbelief, disobedience, and sin that he or she formerly practiced. This may also apply to Muslims who were raised not practicing but later developed a strong connection to their faith. It is not just true for recent converts to Islam.

Some claim that the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as a warning to the companions because they were new to the faith and some among them still had a love for their previous lifestyles. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is making it clear to them that returning to that old lifestyle of disbelief is just like being thrown into the fire because that is the actual consequence in the afterlife for those who disbelieve. Similarly, a Muslim who goes back to a lifestyle of sin and disobedience after having repented is like he threw himself/herself into the fire.

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