There is a reason why we should love God our Lord with all our hearts, mind and soul. For people who believe in the existence of God, we all seemingly agree on one thing: God is love. And the love of God is a biblical truth (1 John 4:8). But why are we so eager to embrace this attribute of God at the expense of His others? So many of us talk about the love of God. But undoubtedly, we are total strangers to the God of love. In order to understand these, our thoughts need to be formed and regulated by what has been revealed in the Holy Books.
In the light of the ignorance which so generally prevails, and also from the low state of spirituality which is now so sadly evident everywhere among professing Christians and indeed, Muslims. How little real love there is for God! One main culprit for this state of affair is because our hearts are so preoccupied with His wondrous love for His creation. The better we are acquainted with His love—its character, fullness, blessedness—the more our hearts will be drawn out in love to Him
The Love Of God Takes Precedence
From an Islamic perspective, love is a divine gift that God has implanted between His creatures, so that, with it, they will seek his pleasure and hope for his mercy and forgiveness. It’s therefore, imperative that all lovers who believe in God conduct their romantic relationships in accordance with what has been ordained by God – not as they wish. The fact that God is the fountain-head of all love, our Sustainer and Nourisher, our relationship and love for Him, should take precedence over our relationship with, and love for one another.
But how do we love God? According to Islam, God demands that man should worship Him alone, not associate anything with Him, and obey Him by following the guidance he has received from him through His prophets. To be sure, the love of God is widely accepted, even if wrongly understood. As a result, people believe in a “God of love,” who operates according to their individual understanding of what love really means to them. Those people will be shocked to find themselves spending eternity in hell if they believe “a loving God would not condemn anyone to hell.” But the error of understanding this reality is not just among disbelievers, for many Muslims and Christians also have a very distorted concept of God’s love.
It may be pointed out at this juncture that by nature, man is a follower and worshiper. If he is not devoted to his Lord God with all his heart, mind and soul, he will devote himself to others – Hollywood stars, musicians, deities, saints, thinkers, philosophers or even national heroes like, George Washington – first President of the United States of America; Sir Winston Churchill – British war-time Prime Minister; Nikolai Lenin – leader of The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, and father of the former Soviet Union; Dr. Sun-Yat-sen – father of Modern China; Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana – the Champion of African Unity; or even Adolf Hitler – father of Nazism.
Islam And Christianity All Affirm The Love Of God
The entire law in the Old Testament can be summed up in terms of love. The demands of the Law, given to the people of faith, can be summed up as: love God, and love your neighbor.
“But when the Pharisees heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered themselves together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” . And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:34-40).
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:8-10).
According to Islam, the love of God should be incumbent upon the love of His servant and messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), Islam has therefore equated the love of the Prophet to the love of God. But how do Muslims love Muhammad if they have never met or even seen him? It’s by simply obeying his teachings and instructions. The Muslim Holy Book, the Qur’an says:
If you love Allah,
Follow me: Allah will love you
And forgive you your sins
For Allah is oft-forgiving
Most Merciful (Qur’an, 3:31) :
From an Islamic perspective, the love of God and His messenger Muhammad, must be the highest attainment people involved in a romantic relationship should strive for.
The Love Of God Does Not Occur In a Vacuum
The love of God emanates from His creation of the entire universe. In Psalm 136, we find the phrase (“loving kindness”—NASB) of God repeated after each new line of the Psalm. The Psalm praises God for His loving kindness for two major undertakings in the past, the creation of the universe, and the deliverance of Israel from their Egyptian slavery. The prophets of the Old Testament emphasized the love of God during the dark days of Israel’s captivity (Isaiah 49:8-16; 63:7; Jeremiah 31:3; Hosea 11:1).
In the Muslim Holy Book, The Holy Qur’an, man is asked to take a keen observation and reflection of the creation around [and] above him:
Do they not look
At the camels,
How they are made?
And at the sky,
How it is raised?
And at the mountains,
How they are fixed firm?
And the Earth,
How it is spread out? (Qur’an, 88: 17-21)
Therefore, the love of God is not blind love. It’s a divine love, and therefore, in case man neglects his love for God or refuses to affirm His existence, he is asked to contemplate four things – the camel, the sky, the mountains and the Earth. These, he can see in everyday life, and which are full of meaning, superb design and the goodness of God to man. We’ve got to have a reason to love God.
Taking A Closer Look At The Camel, The Sky, The Mountain And The Earth
The first mentioned is the domesticated animal – which for Arabs living in the desert is the camel. What a wonderful structure has this Ship of the Desert? He can store water in his stomach for days. He can live on dry and thorny desert scrubs. His limbs are adapted to his life. He can carry men and goods. His flesh can be eaten. The camel’s hair can be used in weaving. Above all, he is so gentle.
The second thing man is called attention to, is the noble blue vault – high above us – that contains the sun and the moon. The stars and the planets. And other heavenly bodies. This scene is full of beauty and magnificence; design and order; plainness and mystery. And yet we receive our light and warmth from the sun. And what would our physical lives be without these influences that come from such enormous distances? From everyday utility and affection in the camel, to the utility and grandeur in the heavens above us, we have two instances touching our individual as well as our social lives.
In the third instance, in the mountains, we come to the utility to humankind generally in the services the mountains perform in storing water, in moderating climate, in various other ways which is the business of Physical Geography to investigate and describe. The fourth and last instance given is the Earth as a whole – the habituation of mankind. The Earth is a globe, and yet, how marvelously it seems to be spread out before us in plains, valleys, hills, deserts, seas, etc! Can man, seeing all these, fail to see a plan and purpose in his life? Fail to love God with all his heart, mind and soul?
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