IT is a commonly perceived notion that
Muslims fear God far more than they love
Him. As this notion has gained ground, so
have the punitive aspects in religion.
These are often discussed in detail. It is rare
to find discourse on the love for God, except
in the concept of Sufism, as if it was
unheard of for common Muslims to love and
be loved by God, or at least to aim for such
A search of the Quran and readings of
tafseers reveal that God’s love for man has
been mentioned at least 20 times in the
positive sense, and as many times in the
negative sense, wherein He states the
qualities of those He does not love.
In both cases, God has described the
choices He would like human beings to make
for themselves. Rather than being a
‘conditional’ love, this is a love of
Those who are committing sins of treachery,
boasting of their riches, doing wrong to
others, indulging in usury, wasting
resources, committing excesses, creating
chaos on earth, and being arrogant will not
gain His love.
God loves those who do good, are kind,
pure, just, fair and peaceful, keep promises
and are forgiving, are patient and trust in
God and follow the Prophet (PBUH).
The Quran is also replete with warnings
from God to mankind, to learn from the
signs of nations destroyed because they fell
into decadence, and from the signs of the
The first set of signs would give man proof
of what he himself might face if he chooses
evil over good, follows his desires and gets
tempted by Satan rather than be guided by
By repeating these warnings again and
again, God tries to convey to human beings
that He is deeply concerned about their fate,
and that they must try to control their
weaknesses, by fear if they must, to avoid
the fire of hell that awaits other detractors
who did not listen despite continued
warnings and direct guidance through
apostles and prophets.
The other signs that God refers to in His
Book are the unending and immeasurable
blessings that have been bestowed upon us.
Where does so much diversity in creation
And where are the sources of commands to
the elements of nature? How has it been
possible that man is able to meet his needs
at any place on earth, and that he has
achieved intellectual, physical and spiritual
How has the system of day and night
following each other worked so tirelessly
over thousands of years? The pleasures of
the world, the senses, and the ability to
appreciate beauty and to love are no mean
gifts to be taken lightly.
And yet we take all of these for granted.
They come from One whose love is
supreme. But if at all we mention Him, we do
so in fear.
We can love God by thinking of Him,
remembering Him, following His directives
as best we can, following what His
Messenger gave us in the form of his
Sunnah, and asking Him for everything that
we need in this life.
Our dependence on others for our succour
must cease, for it is only God who can
provide for all our needs.
Our love of God can be enhanced through a
firm belief that God turns away if He finds us
engaged in activities that are likely to hurt
other fellow human beings, whether or not
they are present.
He will not be found in mosques or
madressahs where hatred or distorted
messages of religion are expounded; He will
remove Himself from duroos (lectures)
where anyone, including followers of other
religions or sects, is being abused; He will
distance Himself from events and places
where people are engaged in activities that
demonstrate waste of scarce resources or
God is, perhaps, to be found in simpler and
austere ways of life. If one could talk to Him
on a daily basis, one would find that finally,
He is to be found in one’s heart — the best
place He can be.
Should one then fear God at all? It might be
difficult not to be afraid of the repercussions
of one’s sins, especially if one believes that
one of God’s 99 attributes is complete and
If He must be just, He cannot reward
everyone just because He has to love; He
also must give due deserts to those who
paid no heed to His warnings. Otherwise
justice would be missing.
It is, therefore, the retribution or the
consequences of one’s deeds that one must
be afraid of.
The writer is a freelance contributor with an
interest in religion.
By: NIKHAT SATTAR. Dawn.com