In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ أَندَادً۬ا يُحِبُّونَہُمۡ كَحُبِّ ٱللَّهِ‌ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّ۬ا لِّلَّهِ‌ۗ
And of mankind are some who take [for worship] others besides Allah as rivals [to Allah]. They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more [than anything else]
[Surah Al-Baqarah’ Aayah 165]
This Aayah clarifies that love is an act of worship. It is a specific type of love that is different from natural love, which people have for their children, relatives, food and drink. The love [mentioned in this Aayah] necessitates servitude to Allaah, complete humility in Allaah’s presence, complete submission to Allaah, fulfilling Allaah’s commands and keeping away from what Allaah has forbidden. It is a specific type of love that is due to Allaah alone and Allaah alone is the one worthy to be loved in this manner – a pure love that necessitates complete humility and submission; fulfilling Allaah’s commands and keeping away from what Allaah has prohibited – neither violating nor transgressing against what Allaah has legislated [based on this love]. If a person gives this type of love [i.e. this love that necessitates servitude to Allaah alone] to an idol, a dead person or any other thing, and believes that the commands [associated with that idol, dead person or thing] are to be fulfilled, and that it is permissible to declare something lawful or unlawful in their name, contrary to what [Allaah and His Messenger legislated], then indeed he has committed shirk. That is because this is the shirk committed by the Mushrikoon in the name of their idols, their so called protectors and the objects they worship besides Allaah. They love them in a manner that leads to worship – seeking blessings from them, victory against enemies etc