|Answer: Certainly, in Islam, the pre-dominant motive
for people to come closer to God is love. There is certitude of His Love, Mercy
and Kindness that is always there for humans to experience and benefit from,
should they reflect.
The Qur’an itself begins by the expression: Bismillah al-Rahman
al-Rahim.” al-Rahman and al-Rahim, being the attributes of God Almighty, convey
belief in a God who is Extremely Merciful, whose Mercy is Ever-Lasting. Verse
2:165 of the Qur’an says that “those (who are) of Faith are overflowing in their
love for Allah” - that as human beings, despite being equally capable of loving
others as much, their strongest love is unquestionably reserved for God. Given
the context of the passage, this is because when an intelligent human being
looks around him, he finds that every creation is for his benefit, brought at
his disposal by none other than the Master, who keeps providing out of Love. An
intelligent observer inevitably finds himself over-whelmed by this extreme
display of kindness and compassion.
In short, yes, the Islamic spirit is pre-dominantly the
spirit of love from God, and for Him. But the love that the Almighty
reciprocates is far stronger than all the love that we can all manage to ever
put together. The Qur’an says, for instance:
And He is the Oft-Forgiving, Full of Loving-Kindness. (85:14)
These attributes are mentioned all throughout the Qur’an. His
Mercy pre-dominates all other virtues that belong to Him. However, one thing
needs to be mentioned. The Qur’an gives a complete understanding of God, which
is not exaggerated towards any one particular attribute/understanding of His, at
the expense of others. God is a complete and perfect Being, and therefore, has
attributes that are all complete and good. And what is important is that
understanding God through His attributes as mentioned in the Qur’an, one can
relate them to our living lives, day in and day out. You do not end up having a
utopian understanding of God, which although is very romantic, is far from
reality, and brings disappointments as a result. Because when you have an
understanding that is primarily and singularly of a Caring and Loving God, you
will be at a loss to understand the sufferings and pain one finds in this world.
How would you, for instance, comprehend the fact that He allows some people to
unleash their evil desires and ambitions of greed and terror upon others?
It is when you understand God in the complete sense that you
are able to accept the goings-around in the world today. Although love, mercy,
compassion, forgiveness and sympathy are His most significant attributes, yet,
He is much more than that. He is simultaneously Loving, Fair, Wise, Strong...
All His attributes put together make a complete picture; emphasis on one
distorts the image. Love alone may help you when in need of a utopian
understanding, but it will cater to a disability in reconciling it with the
world around us. It is Islam that will tell us that His Love and His Sympathy
results in providence and forgiveness, and at the same time, His Strength, and
Wisdom renders forgiveness available to only those who seek it with utmost
sincerity. Here lies the difference between the conception of the Christian God
and the Muslim God.
In Christianity, belief in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is
enough to enable access to the Love of God; in Islam, God is most certainly
Loving and Caring, but His Love is available to only those who seek it - if you
don’t, you miss it; if you do, it overwhelms you.