Dear Muslim readers,
Have you ever felt that you were unloved by Allah?
Maybe we all have experienced that at times.
We know we just haven’t measured up. . .
in our prayers,
in our piety,
in our dedication,
in our deeds.
We simply fall short – incredibly short – of God’s glory.
But here is a question for you:
Does God’s love for us depend on what we do?
Our prayers, our fasting, our good deeds?
Or. . .does God’s love for us depend upon. . .God?
His innate, perfect, unchangeable, loving character?
Here is a song written by Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick that expresses the difference between God’s perfect love for us and our unworthiness. Please listen to it and read the lyrics below.
NEVER BEEN UNLOVED
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful
I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I’ve been undesirable
And sometimes I have been unwise
I’ve been undone by what I’m unsure of
But because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved
I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I’ve been unapprochable
I’ve been unemotional
I’ve been unexceptional
I’ve been undecided
And I have been unqualified
Unaware – I have been unfair
I’ve been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved
It’s because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved
Today I know and believe this incredible truth: God loves me.
Not because of anything I do.
But because of Who He is.
How about you?
For the Muslim—the important question isn’t “what God has done for you”….rather, “What have you done for God”. —To live this life is to answer this question.
Life is a test—-
Surah 21 verse 35
Every soul shall have a taste of death: and we shall test you by bad and by good by way of trial. To us must you return.
To live a good/right life is to listen to God—
Surah 2 verse 186
When my servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (near): I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to my call, and believe in Me, that they may walk in the right way.
To live life is to make mistakes and grow/learn from them—-
Surah 39 verse 53
Say: O my servants who have transgressed against their souls, despair not of the mercy of God: for God forgives all sins; for he is most forgiving, most merciful.
So the question for a Muslim is not “How much does God love me?” rather—How much do I love God?—and we answer this by “doing for God”
In the Quran this concept is called “Ihsan” and means “one who does beautiful action/deeds for God” and is understood as worship of God… “as though you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, then indeed to know He sees you”.
Dear Muslim friend,
First of all, please forgive me for being so slow to respond to your most recent responses to my blog entries. You have been a very faithful reader and I thank you very much. I thank God for you and the interactions we have had here.
I like much in the Qur’anic verses you shared! Yes, God is indeed near. He is not far from us. Isn’t that exciting? Wow, what a great and good God to be willing to be near to us who sin continually.
“For the Muslim—the important question isn’t ‘what God has done for you’. . .rather, ‘What have you done for God’.”
Please let me respectfully ask, Why do you personally want to “do beautiful action/deeds for God”? What is the chief reason for this extension of your worship of Him?
I so, so agree that we need to “do beautiful action/deeds for God.” Yes, absolutely. But again, why?
For me as a follower of Jesus, there are many reasons but one above all the rest: because I love Him.
I love Him because of Who He is. And I love Him for what He has done for me.
He saved me. From Hellfire.
He rescued me. From His own just wrath.
He forgave me. An undeserving sinner.
“. . .Christ’s love compels us. . .” (The Bible, the 2nd letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 14). The Greek word Paul used there for “compels” (συνέχει, synechei) means “to be gripped, to be held fast, to be seized, to be held, to be constrained, to urge, to impel.”
That is why I want to “do beautiful action/deeds for God.”
His love has captured my heart.
It has gripped me and held me fast. And. . .it won’t let go!
I owe Him everything. . .absolutely everything.
You have asked a very interesting question—and I think our answers highlights our differences — but I think this is good….there are many ways to approach God and one does not need to fall into a dichotomy of mine right/yours wrong thinking—rather, we can understand that how we approach “life” and “God” gives us different perspectives…..
You have given 3 reasons why you Love God—1) saved, 2) rescued, 3) forgave.
As you have indicated—You love God for what he has done for you. Reciprocity is a good concept and to love someone who has done so much for you is a good thing.
…but perhaps there is more than one way to think of “Love”?
William Blake in his poem “The clod and the pebble” expressed some ideas about the many ways of love from the altruistic to the selfish……
“Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.”
So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
“Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.”
…so, perhaps reciprocity of love can also be articulated as “I love God because he loves me”…..In other words—the very nature of the created and the Creator is that of love……therefore “unloved” is not viable.
The Tao te Ching puts this beautifully….
The Tao (God) gives birth to all beings
cares for them,
takes them back to itself.
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering,
That is why love of the Tao (God) is in the very nature of things.
To do beautiful actions/deeds for God is not an extension of worship—rather it is the highest form of worship in Islam. (Ibadah). It is for Ibadah (worship) that humanity was created…..that is our primary purpose.—another way to say it is—
God’s will = right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God’s creation.
God showers his blessings, compassion, mercy, love to his creation without fatigue or break. That he does so is self-evident. What matters is how does humanity reciprocate?—-that is our obligation and where we must turn our attention.
There is much beauty and truth in what you have written. Thank you.
I want to make it clear that I belive God is worthy of our love and worship in and of Himself – not just for what He does for us. If I just love Him for what He does for me, well. . .that sounds pretty me-centered, doesn’t it? Pretty self-oriented.
I don’t want to be a “God-user.” A person who only worships or loves God for what he can get out of God. Making the Majestic One like some kind of vending machine: I put in worship, good deeds, love and He gives back blessings.
I love Him because He is more than worthy of all I can give Him in return.
Thanks again for your thoughts. We truly agree on many beautiful truths about God’s character/nature, worship, etc.