Is Allah Loving?

I’ve mentioned Nabeel Qureshi’s other two excellent books on this blog before (here and here).  Qureshi’s third book, No God but One hits the shelves in two weeks.  I’m reading a copy to review, and I must say I’m enjoying it.  In one part of the book, Qureshi compares the Quran’s description of Allah’s relationship to people with the Bible’s description of God’s relationship to people. He notes that none of Allah’s 99 names indicate intimacy with people.  Allah is called “the Friendly,” but that is more emotional than relational.  Qureshi notes,

“Truly, nothing else in the Quran appears to indicate that Allah wants a relationship with humans.  This is especially true of a father-child relationship, as the Quran specifically denies that Allah is a father (112.3), and in 5.28 it rebukes the idea of God’s spiritual fatherhood: ‘The Jews and Christians say, “We are the children of Allah and His beloved.”  Say (in response), “Then why does He punish you for your sins?” Rather, you are human beings from among those He has created.'”

“This verse is telling.  When Jews and Christians suggest that they are children of God, the Quran says to castigate them and inform them that they are nothing but His creatures, as are all humans.  We must also note that this verse actually does use the primary and best word for ‘love’ in Arabic, habb, but it uses it to explicitly deny that people are God’s beloved.  This may come as a shock to Muslims who grew up as I did, being taught that Allah loves us.  It is a common teaching among Muslims, but it is not the teaching of the Quran.”

“…Allah intends man to pursue the relationship of a servant to his master, but not the relationship of a child with his father.  Nothing in the Quran suggests that Allah desires intimacy with humanity.  We are not His beloved – just one of His creatures.”

This brief excerpt comes from pages 64-65 of Nabeel Qureshi’s forthcoming book, No God But One (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016).

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI

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