The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) has been quoted as saying:
“None of you is a true believer unless I am dearer to him than his parents, his children, and all other people.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) also said:
“There are three qualities which are certain to give anyone the sweetness of faith: to love Allah and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love a person for no purpose other than for Allah’s sake, and to hate to relapse into disbelief after Allah has saved him from it as much as one would hate to be thrown into the fire.” (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim).
We are required to love Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) more than all others (except Allah) because it was through him that we learned who Allah is along with His attributes, our position in relation to Him, what Allah wants from us, and how to worship Him. He has guided us, through practical example, along the way; following this is certain to earn us Allah’s acceptance and the ultimate bliss. He has spared us the worst calamity that can ever befall anyone, which is incurring Allah’s anger and punishment. He sacrificed everything to deliver Allah’s message to us. He sacrificed his health and wealth and his whole life. If we realize all this, how can we not love him more than we love ourselves and all others?
We love Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) because, as described in the Qur’an, he was a ‘mercy for all nations’. His compassion extended to all: friends and enemies.
Consider this: his enemies often became his beloved Companions and followers. They embraced Islam, saying that his character proved he was a true Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him).
It should be noted that we must love Allah more than the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him); the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) comes after Allah. Loving Allah, the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) and his followers is an act of worship for which one will be rewarded.
The reverse is also true: hating Allah or His Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) will expel one from the bounds of Islam. Correspondingly, hating those who hate Allah or the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) is part of the Islamic belief, for which the individual will be accounted for and rewarded.
It needs to be clarified here that the emotion of ‘hate’ that is referred to in this context does not lend itself to the commonly known evil type of hate which is the imperfect human emotion; rather, it is the type of hate that perfects one’s faith as it is directed - in the right measure - against those who have taken a defiant stance against the Creator and His chosen messengers.
It is a lot like the negative feeling one may hold against the actions of a human who defies and abuses his or her elderly parents in an evil manner, or an outlaw who fights the justice system and spreads fear and corruption in society.
It is clear that hating the actions of such individuals is a natural feeling that good people are expected to have. Although Islam teaches love in all its forms, it also instructs faithful believers not to love those who do not love Allah and His messengers, until they change their ways, in which case, they are commanded to love them! In a nutshell, a Muslim loves as well as hates for Allah’s sake.
Here is a great fact about this emotion of hate: a Muslim is instructed not to hate anyone for personal reasons. For example, if a Muslim person has been insulted by anyone, he or she has been instructed to forgive; surely, the difference is great between hating for the sake of Allah (well-placed emotion) versus hating for self-satisfaction (a destructive emotion).
The love we should have for the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) must be genuine love, not a mere verbal statement. It should be supported and proven by obedience: following his commands and avoiding what he has prohibited.
Correspondingly, again, the expression of our feelings of hate or revulsion at the refusal of our fellow human beings to believe in Allah’s Oneness and follow the monotheistic teachings of His prophets should be in our positive and pro-active approach to those who disbelieve. We pray for them to be guided to the truth; at the same time, we need to work for that and work with them towards that.]*
Furthermore, Muslims should act according to the teaching of Islam when it comes to the insult of Islam, Prophet of Islam, other Prophets or his companions.
Allaah Almighty said in the Qur'an:
“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you and from those who ascribe partners to Allaah; but if you persevere patiently, and become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs (and that is from the great matters which you must hold on with all your efforts). ” [Qur'an 3:186]
“Indeed, We know that your breast is straitened at what they say. (97) So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). (98) And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. Death).(99)” [Qur'an 15:97,98,99]
“We know indeed the grief which their words cause you (O Muhammad SAW): it is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur'an) of Allaah that the (polytheists and wrong¬doers) deny. (33) Verily, (many) Messengers were denied before you (O Muhammad), but with patience they bore the denial, and they were hurt, till Our Help reached them, and none can alter the Words (Decrees) of Allaah. Surely there has reached you the information (news) about the Messengers (before you). (34)” [Qur'an 6:33-34]
In light of the above verses Muslims advised to fear Allaah and be patient when they are insulted. Their hatred to the wrong-doers must lead to a positive reaction not to a negative one. Allaah has promised to aid His messengers and those who follow them. One of the positive reaction is to call people to the truth and guide them to real salvation, and protect them from the eternal distraction as this life soon will vanish.