Shaykh Ibn al-Qayyim (rah) says: “The reasons which cause mahabbah (love) of Allah Ta’ala to develop, are ten:
First: Reciting the Qur’aan, reflecting and understanding its meaning and its intent.
Second: Drawing closer to Allah – the Most High – through optional deeds, after fulfilling the obligatory duties.
Third: Being continuous in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah, with the tongue, the heart and the limbs – under all circumstances. The more continuant the dhikr, the more muhabbah develops and intensifies.
Fourth: Giving precedence to what Allah loves over personal loves, when being overcome by desires.
Fifth: Contemplating and deliberating over the Names and Attributes of Allah.
Sixth: Recognizing and remembering the favors and bounties of Allah – both manifest and hidden.
Seventh: To be humble and submissive before Allah – and this is the greatest matter.
Eighth: To be in seclusion reciting the Qur’aan, during that time in which Allah descends to the lowest heaven (which is the last third of every night), finishing this recitation with seeking Allaah’s forgiveness and repenting to Him.
Ninth: To sit in the gatherings of the true and sincere lovers of Allah, reaping the fruits of their speech, and not to speak except if there is benefit in it and that you know that such talk will increase you in goodness and that it will benefit others as well.
Tenth: To stay clear of all those causes which distances the heart from Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.
So these are the ten reasons which cause the person to develop true love for Allah and to reach the rank of al-muhabbah, by which he reaches his Beloved.
Adapted from Shaykh Ibn Qayyim’s (rah) Madarij-us-Saalikeen