Overall Meaning: Meaning of love:

Mahabbah linguistically: It is the antonym of bughd (hatred). Hubb is love and endearment. It indicates constance and necessity in that state. [531] Tahdhib al-Lughah, al-Azhari (4/8); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (1/290).
Mahabbah technically: It is leaning towards a thing which brings happiness. [532] al-Mu`jam al-Wasit (p. 151).

Difference between love and endearment: [533] al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah, al-`Askari (p. 121-122).
1- Love is that which is brought about through inherent disposition as well as wisdom. 
2- Endearment is solely brought about through one’s disposition.

Commandments of love and encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah:
❖ Allah, exalted, says, “Surely, the Lord of Mercy will give love to those who believe and do righteous deeds.” (Maryam: 96) Meaning, he will place love for them in the hearts of the believers, so they love them. [534] Tafsir Muqatul ibn Sulayman (2/640).
❖ He, sanctified, also says, “They love them with the love due to Allah, but the believers have greater love for Allah.” (al-Baqarah: 165)
❖ Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said, “By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, none of you believe until I am more beloved to them than their own fathers and sons.” [535] Reported by al-Bukhari (14).
❖ Ibn Mas`ud, Allah be pleased with him, said, “A man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, ‘What do you say of a man who loved a people but did not reach their station?’ He ﷺ replied, ‘Man is with whom he loves.’” [536] Reported by al-Bukhari (6169) and Muslim (2640).

Quotes of the predecessors and scholars about love:
Abu Bakr al-Warraq said, “The reality of love is that the beloved is considered at all times. Busying oneself with others is a barrier, and its origin is submissiveness and certitude. Both of these allow one to reach the stations of the pious in Gardens of bliss.” [537] Bahr al-Dumu`, Ibn al-Jawzi (p. 85).
Al-Raghib said, “Love and justice are among the reasons for setting the people’s affairs correctly. If people loved and treated each other according to this love, there would be no need for justice…It is better than solemnity, since solemnity repels some people. Solemnity repels others while love draws them in. It is said that obedience out of love is greater than that out of fear because love is internal while fear is external, hence disappearing when its cause disappears. If any people love one another, they will keep contact. If they keep contact, they will cooperate. If they cooperate, they will work. If they work, they will build. If they build, they themselves will be given long lives and be blessed.” [538] al-Dhari`ah il Makarim al-Shari`ah, al-Raghib (p. 258).
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said, “Love is the life of hearts and the nourishment for the soul. The heart finds no sweetness, bliss, success, or life but through it. If the heart lacks love, it is more painful than when the eye loses its light, the ear loses its hearing, nose loses its smelling, or the tongue loses its utterance. The corruption of a heart that has no love for its creator, initiator, and God is worse than the corruption caused by a body without a soul. This is something that no one believes but those who have living hearts.” [539] al-Jawab al-Kafi, Ibn al-Qayyim (p. 233-234).

Categories of love:
Love is of four categories:
1- Love of Allah. 
2- Love of what Allah loves. 
3- Love for the sake of Allah. 
4- Loving others with Allah. This is polytheistic love. Whoever loves something along with Allah, not for His sake or through His love or for it, has taken another as an equal with Him. This is the love of the polytheists.

Benefits of love:
1- A sign of perfect faith and good Islam. 
2- Love nourishes the heart and soul. 
3- Through it, the eyes find delight. 
4- It is the life which whoever is unable to experience is counted among the dead. 
5- The heart of its possessor is continually covered by Allah’s blessing. 
6- The impacts of love show in calamities and difficult times. 
7- From the fruits of love is bliss and happiness in this life which allow one to reach bliss and happiness in the next.

Causes of gaining love:
1- Beneficence to others. 
2- Giving presents and gifts. 
3- Having humility. 
4- Adorning oneself with silence. 
5- Being bright-faced, smiley. 
6- Initiating greeting others.

Examples of love from the life of the Prophet ﷺ:
❖ Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Allah be pleased with him, said, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ took my hand and said, ‘Mu`adh, by Allah, I love you. By Allah, I love you. I advise you, Mu`adh after every prayer, to say, “Allah, aid me in remembering You, thanking You, and worshipping You well.”’” [540] Reported by Abu Dawud (1522), al-Nasa’i (1303), and Ahmad (22119). Al-Hakim authenticated according to the conditions of the Two Sheikhs in al-Mustadrak (1/407). Al-Nawawi authenticated its chain in al-Majmu`, and likewise did Ibn al-Mulaqqin in al-I`lam (3/486).
❖ Anas, Allah be pleased with him, said, “The Prophet ﷺ saw some women and young boys approaching - I think he said, “from a wedding” - “so he ﷺ stood up and said, ‘By Allah, you are from the most beloved people to me.’ He said it thrice.” [541] Reported by al-Bukhari (3785) and the wording is his, as well as Muslim (2508).

An adage about love:
“Love is the price of everything, even if it is dear; and a ladder to everything, even if it is high.” [542] Majma` al-Amthal, al-Nisapuri (2/456).