The five love languages of Allah

By only speaking your love language, whether it’s to your spouse, child, friend, or God, you alienate your beloved and draw up barriers that, with selflessness and a willingness to be more understanding, need not exist.

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By only speaking your love language, whether it’s to your spouse, child, friend, or God, you alienate your beloved and draw up barriers that, with selflessness and a willingness to be more understanding, need not exist.

In his exceedingly popular book, The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman explains how people express and receive love in five general ways:

1) Words of affirmation

This is encouragement, praise, supporting your loved one verbally, and affirming your love for them with written or spoken reminders. It’s important to use the correct tone and choice of words when speaking to your loved one, especially if this is their primary love language.

2) Quality time

This means giving your loved one your undivided attention while being physically present, spending time doing things they like, and listening mindfully to their self-expression without interruption. While words of affirmation focus on what you say, quality conversation focuses on how well you listen.

3) Gift-giving

This could mean spending time/thought/money/energy on a gift that reminds your loved one that they are important to you. Gifts can be bought, made, or found (like flowers etc). Tangible gifts are important if their primary love language is receiving gifts, but your presence during a crises can be a gift as well. While the other love languages are performed, this one is given.

4) Acts of service

This means doing things your loved one would like you to do, like helping with work, easing the burden of chores/errands, supporting them with projects, and taking care of their health/environment. Acts of service can be done in their presence or in their absence, but must always be done voluntarily with the intention to express love.

5) Physical touch

Finally, this means being in physical contact with your loved one with the intention of expressing love, and connecting with them physically to make them feel safe, appreciated, wanted, and valued. Sometimes the other love languages combined wouldn’t make them feel loved unless physical touch is involved. With children, this love language is key.

It’s common to want to receive love expressed in all five ways, but the order of importance for us likely doesn’t match the order of importance for our loved ones, and that is what oftentimes causes contention in a relationship. In order to really understand our loved ones, it’s important that we learn their primary love language, and fill their “love tank,” as Chapman puts it, with what makes them feel most valued.

This is great advice for anyone looking to strengthen their relationships with people, but does it work for those looking to strengthen their relationship with God?

The Five Love Languages of Allah swt

What does the Quran say regarding the five love languages, and how we can seek nearness to Allah swt?

1) Words of Affirmation (duaa/dhikr)

“He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, the Sovereign, the Pure, the Perfection, the Bestower of Faith, the Overseer, the Exalted in Might, the Compeller, the Superior. Exalted is Allah above whatever they associate with Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Surah Al-Hashr – 59:22-24)

2) Quality time (salah)

“Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do.” (al-Ankabut 29:45)

“People who are not distracted by trade or commerce from the remembrance of God and the observance of prayer.” (24:37)

“And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” (4:103)

3) Gift-giving (zakat)

“Who is it that will offer up unto God a goodly loan, which He will amply repay? For, such (as do so) shall have a noble reward.” (57:11)

“Those who spend of their goods (in charity) by night and by day in secret and in public shall have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” (2:274)

“And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity: and whatever good ye send forth for your souls before you ye shall find it with Allah; for Allah sees well all that ye do.” (2:110)

“None of you [believers] will attain true piety unless you give out of what you cherish: whatever you give, God knows about it very well.” (3:92)

4) Acts of Service (righteous deeds, fasting, struggling in His way)

“He said, ‘My people, serve God: you have no god other than Him. A clear sign has come to you from your Lord. Give full measure and weight and do not undervalue people’s goods; do not cause corruption in the land after it has been set in order: this is better for you, if you are believers.” (7:85)

“Those that turn (to God) in repentance; that serve Him, and praise Him; that wander in devotion to the cause of God,: that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; that enjoin good and forbid evil; and observe the limit set by God;- (These do rejoice). So proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers.” (9:112)

5) Physical Touch (physically performing pilgrimages)

“Proclaim the Pilgrimage to all people. They will come to you on foot and on every kind of swift mount, emerging from every deep mountain pass to attain benefits and celebrate God’s name, on specified days, over the livestock He has provided for them – feed yourselves and the poor and unfortunate – so let the pilgrims perform their acts of cleansing, fulfil their vows, and circle around the Ancient House. All this [is ordained by God]: anyone who honours the sacred ordinances of God will have good rewards from his Lord.” (22:27-30)


Each of these love languages are generously rewarded by Allah swt. The verses exhorting the believers toward righteousness are often followed by promises of gaining Allah’s pleasure. The unique thing about this relationship with the Divine is the phenomenon of having your heart satiated with love (receiving) the more you give love (offering). Receiving is in the offering, achievement is in the striving. In putting forth love in the language that Allah swt requests of you, you are in fact filling your own love tank.

Because Allah swt is the Most Loving, His Love streams toward us continually and unendingly – it is we who are blind to it. Speaking to Him in His love languages softens our hearts and removes the veils, so that our blindness can be lifted and our spiritual love tanks no longer have barriers that block the ever-present, ever-flowing Love of Allah swt.

Subhan’Allah in the following verse, four of the love languages are alluded to by the companions of hell as the things that, when neglected, prevented them from entering heaven:

“Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds. Except the Companions of the Right Hand. (They will be) in Gardens (of Delight); they will question each other And (ask) of the Sinners: ‘What led you into Hell-Fire?’ They will say: ‘We were not of those who prayed; Nor were we of those who fed the indigent; But we used to talk vanities with vain talkers; And we used to deny the Day of Judgment Until there came to us (the Hour) that is certain.'”(al-Muddaththir 38-47)

•We were not of those who prayed:
(Quality time)

•Nor were we of those who fed the indigent:

•But we used to talk vanities with vain talkers:
(Words of affirmation)

•And we used to deny the Day of Judgment Until there came to us the Hour that is certain:
(Acts of service)

The secret to taqwa (God-consciousness) is striving to meet Allah swt on His terms, not doing what you think gives you a spiritual high. By only speaking your love language, whether it’s to your spouse, child, friend, or God, you alienate your beloved and draw up barriers that, with selflessness and a willingness to be more understanding, need not exist. Are you compassionate in the way you speak to your Lord? You may find that His Compassion had always been surrounding you in a blanket of mercy, but it may have been encrypted to you because you were speaking the wrong language.

(Inspired by a lecture given by Sayed Jawad Al-Qazwini)

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