Does Islam emphasizes law and force over love and mutual forgiveness?

Q. What is the best answer for Christians who debate Muslims and claim that Islam emphasizes law and force over love and mutual forgiveness?

A. They should state that the Qur’an begins every one of its chapters by invoking Allah as the Beneficent, Merciful, Forgiving, and Loving God.

One of the greatest disappointments for those who look towards Pope John Paul II for signs of intelligent interfaith dialogue with Muslims is his remarks on Islam and the Qur’an in his recent book _Crossing the Threshold of Hope_. In the few pages in which he mentions Islam, he shows an astounding, and I believe deliberately short-sighted view of the reality of love in Islam. His claim in a nutshell is that “the God of the Qur’an is not a God of love,” and that the God of love is found only in the New Testament.

As a former Christian I would have trusted the words of the Pastor of the Church to the extent that I would rely upon them towards the salvation of my soul.

As a Muslim it is my duty to say that there are excuses for such statements coming from parish priests who have not read the Qur’an, or who have read it and misunderstood it, or from Lebanese Christians with pre-conditioned exposure to Islam. But what excuse is there for a twentieth-century Pope, the head of the Catholic Church which has had 1,400 years of exposure to Islam with the greatest minds of mankind at its disposal for translation and consultation, to say such a flagrantly false and offensive lie about Allah? By such words he does no other than throw upon the truth a thick, dark veil of falsehood and this is the essence of kufr — disbelief. There is no excuse.

Following are some of the statements of the God of the Qur’an (and of His Prophet), Who is the God of love, the God of Compassion, Mercy, and Munificence, the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isma`il and Ishaq, the God of Moses and Jesus and Muhammad, the God of the Torah and the Psalms and the Injil. John Paul’s people, if you have ears to hear, then hear!

VERSES

“Allah loves those who do good” (2:195, 3:134, 3:148, 5:13, 5:93)

“Allah loves those who repent from evil” (2:222)

“Allah loves those who purify themselves” (2:222, 9:108).

“Allah loves those who are conscious of Him.” (3:76, 9:4, 9:7)

“Allah loves those bear with patience” (3:146)

“Allah loves those who rely on Him” (3:159)

“Allah loves those scrupulous for justice” (5:42, 49:9, 60:8)

“Allah loves those who fight for His sake” (61:4)

“Allah does not love those who initiate enmity” (20:190, 5:87, 7:55)

“Say (O Muhammad): If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah shall love you.” (3:31)

“And for His love, they feed the indigent, the orphan, and the captive.” (76:8)

“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East or to the West, but it is to believe in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Messengers, and to spend of your wealth out of love for Him on: – your kin, – orphans, – the needy, – the wayfarer, – those who ask, and on – the ransom of slaves…” (2:177)

HADITHS

`A’isha said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of qadr [one of the last ten nights of Ramadan], what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are forgiving, and You love to forgive, so forgive me.’” [allahumma anta al-`afuw tuhibb al-`afwa fa`fuw `anni] Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and by Tirmidhi, who called it sahih.

The Prophet said: OAllah! I ask Your love, the love of those who love You, and the love of all such actions that bring one closer to Your Love.” Reported by Tirmidhi who says it is a good and sound hadith.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: “Shake hands and rancor will disappear. Give presents to each other and love each other and enmity will disappear.” Imam Malik narrates it in the Muwatta’.

Hadith of the Prophet: “The people most beloved to Allah are those most helpful to people.” Tabarani related it.

The Prophet said: Allah said:

Whosoever shows enmity to one of My friends (wali), I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask something of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask refuge in Me, I would surely grant him it…

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