God’s Love

Much is made regarding God’s love toward us. Whether Christian or Muslim, most people of these different faiths have a conception of God’s love for us. There have been volumes written about the definition of love both from Christian and Muslim perspectives, and how they differ. There can never be enough of these, but I wanted to tackle the subject from a more unique angle in order to expose a significant discrepancy between the love that the God of the Bible has for us, and the definition of love ascribed to Allah in the Qur’an.

The Bible is full of profound statements about God’s love (John 3:16). It’s easy to love those who are lovable, but God led the way by loving us when we didn’t deserve it. He loved us while we were dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:4-5) and before we loved Him (Romans 5:8). He loves us so much He gives everyone who puts their faith in Him the right to be called children of God (1 John 3:1). God’s love is so strong that nothing can sever it (Romans 8:38-39). Most importantly, the greatest love possible (John 15:13) is that Jesus Himself died in order to trade His life for each one of ours. Yet it isn’t even that God represents love or shows us what true love is, but rather God epitomizes the concept of love (1 John 4:8). In other words, it isn’t that God is loving, but rather that God’s essence is love; by definition God is love.

So what does the Qur’an say about Allah’s love? Here are a few typical ayat which mention Allah’s love,

[2.195] And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.
[3.76] Yea, whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil)– then surely Allah loves those who guard (against evil).

Several other verses talk about who Allah loves. He loves “those who trust” [3:159], “those who judge equitably” [5:46], “those who are careful (of their duty)” [9:4], “the doers of justice” [60:8], and “those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall” [61:4].

Yet there is something not so obvious still lurking about when the Qur’an is examined in more detail. The Qur’an is also specific about those people whom Allah does NOT love. For example.

[2.190] And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.
[2.276] Allah does not bless usury, and He causes charitable deeds to prosper, and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner.
[4.107] And do not plead on behalf of those who act unfaithfully to their souls; surely Allah does not love him who is treacherous, sinful;

As it turns out, there are quite a few categories of people that Allah does not love. To name just a few, Allah does not love “the unbelievers” [3:32], “him who is proud, boastful” [4:36], “the mischief-makers [5:64], “the extravagant” [6:141], “the treacherous” [8:58], “anyone who is unfaithful, ungrateful” [22:38], “the exultant” [28:76], “any self-conceited boaster” [31:18], and “the unjust” [42:40].

At first glance, this might seem squarely on par with the God of the Bible, who does not love injustice, pride, or treachery. Yet we need to be very careful not to miss the bigger picture here. There is a major and extremely critical difference being revealed, and it is seen not by looking at what God says in the Bible, but rather by what God never says in the Bible. While God does not love sin, not once does God ever list a category of sinners that He doesn’t love. This is no small distinction. You can search the Bible through and through looking for lists of sinners that God removes His love from, and you will never find a single example. That isn’t to say God accepts that sin, or that there isn’t punishment awaiting those who die in their sin. God certainly does not love the sin and may exact punishment, but He never once ceases His love for sinners.

In Ezekiel 18:32 God calls all men to repentance, no matter where they are or what they have done. In Luke 5:32, Jesus makes this same plea. No matter how embroiled in sin, God never once says that He doesn’t love you, because He always does. In Islam, there is category after category of sinner whom Allah does not love.

In Christianity, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. In Islam, Allah hates the sinner. This realization should make it very clear which conception of God is the correct one.

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