Love is a great blessing of Allah that everyone would want to experience. No matter what a person's morality, personality, faith, culture or lifestyle is, every person looks for love in the people around him.
However among the people who see love as important, only a very few of them are aware of the fact that respect is an important feeling just as much as love.
Whereas, no matter how great a blessing love is, without respect it would not be possible to experience this feeling continuously and in the true meaning. Love would remain in the most primitive level without respect. In order for the love felt towards a person to be a "true love", respect should be felt towards that person as well.
One can love a lot of things in his life. He can feel love and take an interest in cats, dogs, flowers, food, houses, cars and many similar things to the extent of passion. But none of these could ever be compared to the profundity of love felt towards a person and the delight that profundity creates in the soul of a person.
Allah had created man, different from all other creatures, as "possessor of a soul". Consequently different from all other creatures, the effect that a person could create on the other with the substance he has in his soul is just as different. Every person experiences love in the extent of the beauty of his soul. People love a person to the extent of the features one possesses that could be loved and respected. In the same manner one may recognize the beauties people possess and feel love and respect towards them to the extent his soul is sensitive towards the attributes of others that invoke love and respect.
One may feel love towards all creatures but he can only feel profound love and the respect that comes along with that towards a person who has soul.
Respect is the expression of the value a person gives to the one he feels love for. It is the indication of the importance he attaches to that person and of the extent he takes him seriously. Or else people may feel love and sympathy towards lots of people from various aspects all through their lives. However most of those are "passing" feelings. For instance one may see a colleague at a workplace as a friend and feel a certain amount of love towards that person. Or he befriends a neighbor he lives in the same district with, to a certain extent and feels a certain amount of love towards him. But the love he feels for a person who he respects greatly, who he values and attaches importance to, is very different.
There is an utmost respect in such a love. There is unshakable loyalty in it. There is a confidence that would last until death. There is an uncompromising trust towards that person to the extent that he never feels any doubt about him. One who lives by this love forbears that person towards everything that might harm him; small or big. He cares for that person meticulously for the approval of Allah. Under all circumstances; even in the hardest times he acts extremely fastidious in watching over that person. For the approval of Allah, when necessary, he has the determination of choosing that person over himself by stepping over his own lower self without ever thinking.
However of course this respect is not the type of respect that would bring a sense of formality and distance in between people, it is not the type of respect that would make them inapproachable towards each other. In this respect, the concerned people enjoy an intimate, close and comfortable friendship with one another. But at the same time, since they do value each other seriously, they live by a morality that makes them act thoughtful and scrutinized, and be circumspect and steadfast in every step they take, every word they say and every move they make. Consequently this understanding of respect is a form of beauty that increases the fervor, profundity, intimacy of their love and that enhances their trust towards one another.
Another subject that should be thought upon on the other hand is this: "What would happen if one does not feel respect for another along with love?"
The response of this question would very clearly disclose why respect is this much important and necessary.
When there is no respect, no matter how much a person loves the other, when something happens he does not hesitate to prefer himself over the other. He might easily be willing to give that person up to save his own pride and esteem. He holds his own thoughts, decisions, and his own points of view on life above the other. Instead of believing in the other, he expects the other person to believe in him. Instead of accepting that person's ideas, he wants the other to accept his ideas. Instead of proving the other right, he believes that he himself should definitely and primarily be given justification. Instead of showing patience, tolerance, understanding and maturity, he always asks for the other party to tolerate him. He always expects his own comfort and desires to be prioritized. Thinking "I do love him anyhow and that is known" he sees no harm in acting the way he wants to, no matter how disturbing this might be for the other. In short, instead of showing the other person that he values him, he expects all these from the other.
Yet, no matter how strong that love in between these people actually is, the lack of respect would in no time wear that love. These people would be wearing and eliminating that base in which they could experience love with their own hands. As a result of this, people would start to look each other only by tolerating each other and in time they lose their friendship as well.
Love is a blessing Allah created for people; one of which inner self would enjoy the most both in this world and in the Hereafter. Every person who is in search of love and who would want to live it in the most beautiful form should also perceive the importance of respect. It is not possible for friendship, companionship, confidence, loyalty and trust to be experienced completely without respect. The only thing that would enable people to feel such love and respect is "faith". A profound love for Allah, fear of Allah, the determination in living by the morality of the Qur'an would enable people to feel "a true love and respect" towards each other. Without faith, the love and respect people will show each other would only be based on their physical attributes, material means and their earthly status. The inadequacy in anyone of those would cause them lose the feelings they thought to be love and respect. In love and respect stemming from faith, by the leave of Allah, the door of a blessing that would last until the end of their lives would be opened on them.
In the Qur'an Allah reveals that he created the blessing of love for the ones who have faith as follows:
As for those who have faith and do right actions, the All-Merciful will bestow His love on them. (Surah Maryam:96)