Love, and Why I am not a Muslim
Discussing the subject of God with Muslims is absolutely amazing. They possess such a devotion to God, they believe so firmly in his goodness, so strongly in his beauty—it truly is a wonderful thing. In our love for God we are like brother and sister; the Christian and the Muslim. The manner in which the Muslim loves God more than life itself so completely resonates with me. It’s as if they speak the very words I feel in my heart. Often this common ground we share is overlooked, but with all honesty, this is something that both Christians and Muslims should make a point of appreciating more fully.
As the supreme object of our devotion, God is entitled to the best—and only the best—that we have to offer. Such that our individual life should quite literally be a living sacrifice for his glory; an offering for his pleasing. Excellence is what is fit for God. Excellence in prayer, excellence in worship, excellence in love. “Love”, this is exactly the point I wish to stress. Namely, what type of love is fit for God? In some way the question is rather simple seeing as the answer undoubtedly is, “the highest form of love”. Yet what is the highest form of love? This question is a rather important one for surely God would not settle for anything else. Before I continue, it would be best to quote from the respective holy books of Muslims and Christians. The careful reader will discern the answer therein.
“They shall have coverings of Fire, above them and covering (of Fire) beneath them; with this Allah does frighten His slaves: “O My slaves, therefore fear Me!” Those who avoid At-Taghut(false deities) by not worshipping them and turn to Allah in repentance, for them are glad tidings; so announce the good news to My slaves…” — Surah 39:16-17 Hilali-Khan
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. — John 1:12-13 NIV
If at this time, the language has not caught your eye, than you haven’t read the above carefully enough. That said, perhaps another example is in order:
“Verily! My slaves (i.e the true believers of Islamic Monotheism), you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.” — Surah 17:65 Muhsin Khan
“Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the LORD. — Jeremiah 31:20 NIV
At this time, I’d like to ask the reader once more, “what is the highest form of love?” The answer lies in how our respective holy books ask us to approach God. The Qur’an advocates a strict master-servant relationship while the Holy Bible paints the picture of a parent-child relationship. Of the two, which truly is the highest form of love? Ideally, does the love of the servant for his master exceed the love of a child for their parent? The unbiased individual will undoubtedly agree with the statement that the love of a child for their parent is exceedingly higher than the love of a slave for his master and as such exceeds the slave-master love in excellence.
Now if we believe that God deserves only excellence in worship, prayer, and love, how is it that God would ask for anything less than the best? How can Islam claim that the only thing fit for God is excellence and yet command it’s adherents to give to God something that is so unworthy of his being? Sure the Christian and Muslim can wax poetic on the beauty of God, his loving-mercy etc., but when all is said and done, the Muslim does not love God as the Christian does. The Muslim is satisfied with giving God something far less than the best—and indeed the Qur’an itself doesn’t count Allah himself worthy of the highest form of love that man can give to God.
At this point, the Muslim may try to object (and I sincerely welcome them to) yet if they believe that the Qur’an is the very word of God, then wouldn’t the description of the Muslim’s relationship with God be binding and the very thing that they should aspire to? If the Qur’an consistently calls Muslims the slaves of Allah then does it not follow that they are to behave like slaves to him in all ways? If so, does that not mean that they are to love him just as the slave loves his master? And as we’ve seen the love of a slave for their master cannot compare to the love of a child for their parent and is almost counterfeit when compared against this true and wholly genuine form of love.
As a Christian, I firmly believe that what I give to God has to be the best and that my Father is not satisfied with something as counterfeit and hollow as the love of a servant for his master. In this respect, Islam dishonours God by claiming that he is satisfied with anything less than the most I can give. Yet one must ask themselves, is this outcome really unexpected given the fact that the Qur’an, the supposed continuation of the Old Testament and the New Testament, lacks the greatest commandment? Is it not strange that the greatest commandment—a commandment that is repeated over and over again throughout the Old and New Testament—is nowhere to be found within the Qur’an?
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'” — Luke 10:27 NIV
It is interesting to note that Jesus, in the above, makes a distinction between loving God with one’s strength and the other manners through which one must love God. A slave can only love their master with their strength (out of duty) while the child loves their parent with all their heart, their soul, their strength, and their mind. The child can’t help but to love their parent and as such their love is true. The slave, on the other hand, possesses a love that is inherently foreign to themselves and as such their love pales in comparison to a love that stems from a family relationship.