Self-Love in Islam is different to the mainstream media’s definition of Self-Love. While it’s important to be kind to yourself and appreciate your strengths, Self-Love in Islam does not mean to love yourself unconditionally as a whole. If we only think about our own needs and ignore our faults, how will be able to grow as people and connect with others?
The Meaning of Self-Love in Islam
In Islam, Self-Love means looking after yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As Muslims, we have a duty to care for the well-being of our mind, body and soul – gifts Allah (SWT) has given us. In one hadith, Sayyidah Aisha (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) emphasised this important aspect of our deen by stating, “Verily, your own self has rights over you, so fast and break your fast, pray and sleep.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Self-Love in Islam also means to think of others when advocating for your needs. Life is not about putting ourselves and our needs above everyone else. Nor should we sacrifice our needs completely and constantly be harsh on ourselves. What Self-Love means is to care for yourself by working to uplift your positive attributes and use them to overcome your weaknesses. It means to please Allah (SWT) by bettering ourselves and knowing our purpose as human beings.
Therefore, Islam encourages the type of Self-Love that is selfless, wanting the best for ourselves, our loved ones and our Ummah. It’s about knowing your worth as a creation of Allah (SWT). It’s about being honest to ourselves about our nafs – our ego – and our flaws and being open to improving and growing through the guidance of Allah (SWT).
Working Towards a Selfless Self-Love
With the busyness of our day-to-day lives, it can be easy to overlook the benefits a selfless type of Self-Love gives us. However, there are still ways we can practice Self-Love and appreciate our growth while we journey through this life, fulfilling our commitments to our deen, family and community.
The first is to be honest to ourselves about our feelings and what we can handle. It can be hard to admit to ourselves when things have spiralled out of our control. In these types of situations, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up or solely blame others for what’s gone wrong. Instead, we should take this time to honestly reflect on our thoughts and our actions and figure out what we can improve for next time.
As said in the Quran, “Surely Allah does not change the conditions in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves” (Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:11).
Likewise, it’s also important to have Tawakkul. Remember and put your trust in Allah’s (SWT) plan. In this life, we face tests that push us to our limits physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. But if we’ve done everything we possibly can to prepare for any situation, the only thing left to do is leave the rest to Allah (SWT).
Even if you feel like you’ve failed, Allah (SWT) knows how hard you’ve worked, so we should acknowledge our endurance and resilience and keep trying to reach our goals.
Lastly, implementing daily affirmations helps us know our worth and our purpose. Sometimes, we can feel shy about being proud of our strengths or believe that we have nothing to offer to the world. But, just as we have all a duty to be good to others and please Allah (SWT), we also all have the right to be loved and cared for, by ourselves, our loved ones and especially by our Creator.
When we are reminded of our strengths, we gain the determination and self-confidence to keep growing and overcome our struggles. We are content with who Allah (SWT) created us to be and use our worth to empower us so that we can better look after ourselves and carry out our purpose.
Ultimately, Islam teaches us that the best type of Self-Love is to nourish our mind, body and soul. It means to be selfless and be the best to others while looking after our rights and needs. The best teachings from the Quran and the actions of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) encourage us to practice Self-Love and use it to grow as people. So it is our duty to not be neglectful of ourselves – of our ego, our worth and our purpose – and love ourselves enough for the sake of Allah (SWT).