God is all loving. Most monotheists, including Muslims believe in that. One of the ‘99 names of God’ in the Qur’an is Al Wadood, or ‘All Loving’. Does God love everyone? If not, then how do we know who He loves and what attributes , or actions, does He love? A small sample of passages from the Bible is also shared at the end of this article.
The politically correct answer is that God loves everyone. But as we will see in this article, God loves certain types of people and attributes, and conversely, God does not love certain attributes- a topic I will cover in part 2 of the article – so stay tuned.
Here my focus is the types of people and attributes God loves. Rather than guessing, and speaking for God, let’s see what God Himself says about who He loves.
Following is a small sample of verses from the Qur’an- the literal Word of God. I am reproducing the actual passages with limited, or no commentary, to maintain the brevity of the article. I will then quote some passages from the Bible, though the references to God’s love are less specific than the ones mentioned in the Qur’an.
1. Doers of good work
وَأَنْفِقُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تُلْقُوا بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ ۛ وَأَحْسِنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
And spend of your substance in the way of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good. The Qur’an 2: 195
فَآتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا وَحُسْنَ ثَوَابِ الْآخِرَةِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
So Allah gave them the reward of this world and better reward of the hereafter and Allah loves those who do good (to others). The Qur’an 3:148
So what are the ‘good’ deeds? The Qur’an repeatedly commands the believers to be good (kind) to your parents, your neighbors, your next of kins, and those who are oppressed, the needy, the wayfarers, the widows and the orphans.
2.Those who repent
3.Those who purify
I will combine these two attributes since one verse addresses both of these attributes.
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًى فَاعْتَزِلُوا النِّسَاءَ فِي الْمَحِيضِ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ
And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have become clean; then when they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn in repentance and He loves those who purify themselves. The Qur’an 2:222
However the cleanliness and purification is not just limited to women, or the physical aspects, but includes purification of the souls for everyone.
4.Those who are God conscious
بَلَىٰ مَنْ أَوْفَىٰ بِعَهْدِهِ وَاتَّقَىٰ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
Yes, whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil)– then surely Allah loves those who are God-conscious. The Qur’an 3:76
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنْقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ
Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are God-conscious. The Qur’an 9:4
In the verses above, Muttaqueen is translated variously as God fearing, God conscious, in awe of God and those who guard (against evil). Many contemporary translators have used ‘God conscious’ as a more accurate translation, something I personally agree with.
5.Those who are patient/steadfast
وَكَأَيِّنْ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ قَاتَلَ مَعَهُ رِبِّيُّونَ كَثِيرٌ فَمَا وَهَنُوا لِمَا أَصَابَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَمَا ضَعُفُوا وَمَا اسْتَكَانُوا ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الصَّابِرِينَ
How many of the prophets fought (in Allah’s way), and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? but they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah Loves those who are firm and steadfast(patient). The Qur’an 3:146
6.Those who put their trust in God
I will write a separate post on the subject of having trust in God and what that means. My focus here is to simply show that God loves those who put their trust in Him.
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust (in Him). The Qur’an 3:159
7.Those who judge equitably
Justice and acting equitably is a big theme in the Qur’an. There are numerous commands in the Qur’an to act fairly and fight for justice.
سَمَّاعُونَ لِلْكَذِبِ أَكَّالُونَ لِلسُّحْتِ ۚ فَإِنْ جَاءُوكَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ أَوْ أَعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ ۖ وَإِنْ تُعْرِضْ عَنْهُمْ فَلَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ شَيْئًا ۖ وَإِنْ حَكَمْتَ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
(They are fond of) listening to falsehood, of devouring anything forbidden. If they do come to you, either judge between them, or decline to interfere. If you decline, they cannot hurt you in the least. If you judge, judge in equity between them. For Allah loves those who judge in equitably. The Qur’an 5:42
وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِنْ فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably. The Qur’an 49:9
8. Those who follow and love Prophet Muhammad: Love/follow the Prophet and God will love you
قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
Say (O Prophet Muhammad): If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and
And Don’t love anyone as much as one should love Allah (God)
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَتَّخِذُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَنْدَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ
Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. If only the unrighteous could see, behold, they would see the penalty: that to Allah belongs all power, and Allah will strongly enforce the penalty. The Qur’an 2:165
Loving God in the Bible
Even though God is viewed as angry or wrathful in the Bible, especially in old Testament, but a closer review shows that God promises His love for us repeatedly. Here is a very small sample.
The following passage appears both in the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible or Tanakh) as well as the New Testament. This is akin to ‘And Don’t love anyone as much as one should love Allah (God)’. Deuteronomy 6:5 later appears in all the synoptic canonized Gospels (i.e all 4 except the Gospel of John).
Hear O Israel. Lord our God, Lord is One. (Deut 6:4). And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations. Deuteronomy 7:9
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16
And it works both ways. We must love God back, and in this way we will love and bless others. Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:2
God’s promises assure us that He will not forget us. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” Isaiah 49:14-15
A widely held belief in Christianity is that God’s love is unconditional. My next post will review verses that will show that it is not entirely true. God does not love certain types of people with certain attributes.
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