In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A Bedouin came to Messenger of Allah (SAWS) and said to him, “When will be the Hour (i.e., the Day of Resurrection)?” He (the Prophet (SAWS)) said, “What preparation have you made for it?” He said, “Only the love of Allah and His Messenger.” Then Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said, “You will be with those whom you love.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The narration in Muslim is: The man replied: “I have made no significant preparation with regard to Salat (prayer), Saum (fasting) and Sadaqah (charity) but I love Allah and His Messenger”.
Commentary: The love of the Companions of the Prophet (SAWS) for Allah and His Prophet (SAWS) was not verbal only, as is the case of present-day Muslims. Their love was full of obedience and submission to Allah in the true sense. This is what the Bedouin mentioned in this Hadith really meant when he said that he had not amassed a large treasure by way of Salat, Saum (fasts) and Sadaqah for presentation on the Day of Resurrection. What he meant by them was voluntary acts and not the obligations. The reason being that the obligatory acts like Salat, Saum and Zakat are incumbent on every Muslim and no one can claim to be a true believer and lover of Allah and His Prophet (SAWS) who ignores them. Any Muslim, who entertains true love of Allah and His Prophet (SAWS), makes it evident in his practical life by his strict performance of the duties and obligations enjoined by Allah and demonstrated by His Prophet (SAWS) through his Sunnah. Even if such a person does not have to his credit a large amount of voluntary acts, he will be declared successful by Allah. This is the real import of this Hadith; otherwise a Muslim’s claim for the love of Allah and His Prophet (SAWS) will be void if he does not fulfill his religious obligations. In fact, without the fulfillment of religious obligations, his claim will be nothing short of self-deception. His claim for the love of Allah and His Prophet (SAWS), which is not supported by his actions, will carry no weight before Allah. This is what the following Ayah of the Noble Qur’an enjoins:
Say: “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Koran 3.31)
SAWS: May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection
Riyaadiss-Saliheen (The Meadows of the Righteous)
By Imam An Nawawi
Chapter 45, Page 122, No 369