The Quran & the Bible on God's Love

Many of the concepts taught within the Quran appear to be at their surface quite similar, if not the same, to biblical concepts. This is certainly true where teachings abound regarding high moral standards and personal behavior. However, the basic fundamentals of each faith differ sharply. Probably the most important aspect to this is the variant teachings on the Love of God.

In the Bible, the Love of God is listed as the very reason that God selected a people for Himself to save (Deut. 4:37, 7:8). Particularly, the Bible notes that God loved Israel though there was nothing special about them. "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people...." (Deut. 7:7)

Even in the New Testament we see that God's love for sinful man is given as the primary reason He sent Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world He gave His One and Only Son...." (John 3:16). Also, "This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I John 4:10) And, "We love, because He first loved us." (I John 4:19)

The picture painted by the Quran of God's Love is radically different. Each section below outlines the main points the Quran gives regarding God's Love:

God Does not Love the Sinner
God's Love is Reserved for those who do Good
God's Love is Conditional &emdash; Based upon our Deeds
God's People may Love Him, but Obedience is the Requirement
Consequently, God's People Imitate God's Love

In the Bible the opposite is true:

God Loves Everyone, Regardless of Sin
God's Love is for Everyone
God's Love is Unconditional &emdash; Based upon His Character, Proven by His Deeds
God Seeks a Love "Relationship"
Consequently, God's People Imitate God's Love

God Does not Love Sinners/God Loves Everyone Regardless of Sin

That God does not love the sinner is abundantly clear in the Quran. Note these key verses from the Quran:

"Allah loves not transgressors" (2:190);

"He loves not creatures ungrateful or wicked" (2:276);

"Say: 'Obey Allah and His Apostle;' but if they turn back Allah loveth not those who reject Faith." (3:32);

"Allah loves not those who do wrong" (3:57, 140);

"Allah loveth not the arrogant the vainglorious" (4:36).

The Quran is littered with dozens of verses like this. It is a fact, nowhere in the Quran is God ever reported to love someone who does not love Him first, nor is God's love ever used as the central motivating factor to draw someone close to Him. In contrast, both the Old and New Testament record that God love's everyone regardless of their sin.

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ." (Ephesians 2:3-5)

Note the contrast between this passage and the Quranic passage in 2:190 quoted in the above paragraph.

In the Old Testament, God's love for man is shown in that He willingly puts up with our sin and continues to love us.

"Then the Lord said to me, 'God again and love Gomer, who is loved by her husband [Hosea], yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods...." (Hosea 3:1)

It is interesting that such a huge variance in the character of God's love should exist between the two books. Mohammad's claim was that He was revealing the will of the same God who sent the Moses and Jesus. Both Moses and Jesus characterized God as loving the unrighteous and desiring to draw the unrighteous to Himself by way of His love. The Quran represents God as drawing the unrighteous to Himself only through fear of judgment, never love. This brings us to the next section:

God's Love is for those who do Good/God's Love is for Everyone

The Quran is replete with this conditional element. In every single Quranic passage dealing with God loving an individual, the order is always as follows:

1. The person does good,

2. God loves the person.

Note these selected examples:

"And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good" (2:195).

Note in the following passage that spiritual purity is a prerequisite for being loved by God: "For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean" (2:222). The question begs to be asked, if the person decided not to be "pure and clean" would they still be loved by God? The answer appears in 3:32 "Say: "Obey Allah and His Apostle"; but if they turn back Allah loveth not those who reject Faith." This is important, as will been seen later, because in the Quran God does not enjoin love from His people, only obedience. According to the Quran a person does well to love God, but God is more interested in obedience than love. Note these other Quranic passages, they are only a few of many:

"Those that keep their plighted faith and act aright verily Allah loves those who act aright. (3:76)

"Those who spend (freely) whether in prosperity or in adversity; who restrain anger and pardon (all) men; for Allah loves those who do good" (3:134)

God's Love is Based on our Deeds/
God's Love is Based upon His Character, Proven by His Deeds

Note this passage: "O ye who believe! if any from among you turn back from his faith soon will Allah produce a people whom He will love as they will love Him lowly with the believers mighty against the rejecters fighting in the way of Allah and never afraid of the reproaches of such as find fault" (4:54).

This is an important difference from Jesus Christ who said, "Love one another as I have loved you." Note the contrast, in the Quran God's love is bestowed as we love Him, in Christ, God's love is bestowed and He is our standard instead of the other way around. Jesus noted that this command was a new command. The previous Old Testament standard was this: "Love your neighbor as yourself." I.E., the standard is man. In Christ the standard is God Himself in Christ, "as I have loved you." God's demonstration of his love is clear, Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. In the Quran there is no demonstration of God's love, by God, for God's people. Instead, man must show his love for God by his own deeds.

Obedience vs. Relationship

The notion of having a personal relationship with God is foreign to the Quran. Within its passages man is not said to have a personal relationship with God, nor to know God personally. Instead, man is only a servant from whom God requires obedience. Certainly, the New Testament speaks often of Christians as servants to God, the language is sometimes used as "slave." In the Bible, God also requires obedience. The contrast is drawn however on this point: In the Quran obedience to God is the end. In the Bible obedience to God is a means. In the final say, the Quran regards man's purpose as to obey and serve God. The Bible regards man's purpose to know God, and enjoy a love relationship with Him. Note these passages from the Quran:

"Say: "Obey Allah and His Apostle"; but if they turn back Allah loveth not those who reject Faith" (3:32 Note that being in faith rests here on obedience).

"The answer of the Believers when summoned to Allah and His Apostle in order that He may judge between them is no other than this: they say "We hear and we obey": it is such as these that will attain felicity. It is such as obey Allah and His Apostle and fear Allah and do right that will win (in the end)" (24:51-52).

Interestingly, in the earlier sections of the Quran Mohammad was adamant with the phrase, "Obey Allah and obey the Apostle." Later it changed to, "Fear Allah and obey me."

Note these Bible passages where the emphasis is place on relational qualities:

"Just as the Father has loved Me, so I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in my love..." (John 15:9-10)

In the above passage the emphasis is on loving God. The concept is not "prove you love me by obeying me," rather, "keeping," which denotes an action of the heart rather than route obedience. Note these other Old and New Testament passages:

"And I will give them an heart to know me." (Jeremiah 24:7)

"And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do [exploits]." (Daniel 11:32)

"Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee." (Hosea 8:2)

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life." (I John 5:20)

Consequently, God's People Imitate God's Love

Throughout the Quran as people obey God, God, in turn, loves them. To the sinner God may be merciful and kind, but the Quran does not speak of loving Him. On the contrary, God's thoughts toward the person who does not obey Him are as told in 3:178

"Let not the Unbelievers think that our respite to them is good for themselves: We grant them respite that they may grow in their iniquity: but they will have a shameful punishment."

Note again the contrast with the Bible:

"The longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

The Quran enjoins man to imitate God's character as the Bible enjoins the same. Note the contrasts again from the two books:

"O ye who believe! Take not My enemies and yours as friends (or protectors) offering them (your) love even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes) (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure (take them not as friends) holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path." (60:1)

Now note the Biblical passages in contrast:

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were still yet sinners, Christ died for us....For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Romans 5:8-10)

"You have heard it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." (Matthew 5:43-44)

Interestingly, the notion of "hating your enemies" was a traditional saying, not something in the Old Testament.


It cannot be said from any Quranic evidence that God loves man. The Bible, however, teaches us that God not only loves man, but loves each person individually and has Himself taken on the responsibility and work of ensuring man's salvation.

It cannot be said from any Quranic evidence that man can know God personally. Yet the Bible is quite clear that man can not only know God, but enjoy a love relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.