Why do I say that the Allah of Muhammad is not the true God?
Let’s explore just one crucial characteristic and attribute ascribed to God in Christianity and Islam. A profound distinction that sets the God of the Bible and the Allah of the Quran apart is the nature of their love.
God is Love
In the Bible, it is unequivocally stated that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). This foundational principle signifies that God’s love is unconditional, unwavering, and all-encompassing. Jeremiah 31:3 reinforces this thought, affirming that God has “loved you with an everlasting love.”
In contrast, the Quran offers a different perspective. Although Muslims claim that Allah loves everyone, the Quran suggests that Allah’s love is conditional, contingent upon various factors. Sura 3:31, for instance, declares that Allah’s love depends on whether you follow Muhammad. The emphasis here is on submission to a particular individual, positioning Muhammad as the central figure, middle-man and agent of Allah. Additionally, Allah is portrayed as loving only the penitent and those who do good (Quran 3:134).
Allah’s Selective Affection
These verses raise a poignant question: Is Allah’s love truly unconditional? The Quran may refer to Allah as “the Loving,” but it is essential to recognize that this love is extended only to individuals who believe in Allah and obey his prophet. In other words, Allah loves only those who love him. Allah’s love, as depicted in Islamic scripture, appears to have no place for sinners and unbelievers. The following verse affirms that he does not love anyone who is not a Muslim.
Say [O Muhammad]: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers. (Sura 3:31-32)
Allah’s love is conditional, as opposed to “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)
Moreover, this “Love me first, and I’ll love you back” model exhibited by Allah is starkly contrasted by the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48. Jesus labelled it as a “tax collectors love.” If you pay the tax collector, even he will love you!
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:46)
That is the standard of Allah’s love. On the other hand, Jesus encourages his followers to love even their enemies, reflecting the boundless, all-encompassing love of the Biblical God.
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). This implies that Allah’s love is not perfect and neither is he.
In fact, Allah specifically instructs Muslims that they are not allowed to befriend Jews and Christians.
“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.” Quran 5:51
Non-Muslims are denigrated in the Quran and insulted as “worst of creatures” (98:6, 8:55); “worst of beasts, deaf and dumb” (8:22); “blind, void of wisdom” (2:171); “diseased” (2:10, 5:52); “eat like animals” (47:12); “unclean, filth” (9:28); “dogs” (7:176); “apes” (2:65); “swine” (5:60); “asses” (74:50).
According to one hadith, if you pass by a Jew or Christian on the road, you have to force them into the roadside or ditch. (see Sahih Muslim 2167a)
It is sunnah for you to be violent against all non-Muslims.
“O Prophet, strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them…” Sura 66:9
A Tale of Love
To illustrate the profound difference in how the God of the Bible and Allah are portrayed, let’s delve into a compelling and familiar story: the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31).
This poignant parable is often celebrated for the transformation of the wayward son but it also highlights and reveals the love of the father. When the son demanded his share of the inheritance, he effectively disowned and insulted his father, wishing him dead. The father, however, did not respond with anger or hatred but continued to love and yearn for his son’s return.
The son’s journey led him to a life of recklessness and despair, but his father’s love remained unwavering. The father’s devoted love and the joyful reunion that followed serve as a powerful illustration of the love of God.
A Contrast In Love
In the context of this parable, we are invited to ponder: Does this father’s response reflect Allah’s heart? The key difference is that Allah does not even consider his followers as his children but as slaves to a master. A master is only interested in what the slave can do to profit him. A runaway slave leads to punishment, disownment, and even death. He would not be yearning for the slaves return. After all he has other slaves to serve him.
In stark contrast, the biblical Father’s heart is one of unconditional love. In another related parable in the same chapter of Luke, a shepherd (a picture of Jesus himself) goes in search of one lost sheep even though he had 99 other sheep that were safe. Even in the son’s darkest moments, his father still loved him and was fully forgiven and welcomed back with open arms. He never stopped loving his rebellious son.
“But while he was still in the distance, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20)
Think about it. This son must have been in tattered rags, covered in filth and pig slop, sweaty and stinking. The father didn’t care about all that. He ran to him and hugged him and kissed him, overjoyed that his son had finally returned. Can you imagine this as Allah’s reaction to a returning slave? I don’t think so. He would demand wudhu. “Get yourself cleaned up, man! How dare you approach Allah without the prescribed ritual cleansing?” And thereafter, subject him to a beating for daring to flee.
The Father’s heart is different. All your dirt and your stink does not faze him or embarrass him one bit. The son was willing to accept whatever punishment the father would mete out including being disowned as a son. He was willing to be just another slave. The father’s response was not one of punishment, but of forgiveness. While Allah, the slavemaster, would have given him a thrashing, the father in the parable gave his son the best robe, a ring, and sandals as a demonstration of his complete approval, love, and protection. The gifts highlighted the son’s unique position as a cherished son, not a mere servant.
These symbols held significant meaning: the robe represented special affection, the ring symbolized authority and honor, and the sandals signified his status as a son and not a slave. (In those days, servants were barefooted.)
The profound message of this parable is that God, the Father, extends a love that transcends human comprehension. Regardless of how far we may have strayed, His love remains steadfast, and we are always welcome to return to Him as His beloved children even when we mess up.
A Choice of Love
Understanding the nature of God’s love can be a transformative journey. The contrast between the Biblical God’s all-encompassing love and the conditional love attributed to Allah in Islamic tradition is a point of reflection.
How incredible to think that God is such a wonderful and loving Father willing to welcome us back to Him, no matter how far we have strayed from Him. You can come back to the Father too. Allow Him to embrace you intimately and welcome you home as a child of God.