To Our Muslim Friends: The Missing Names of God
If you are a Muslim, or have a muslim friend or relative, this post is for you.
“The Father’s Love: Islam’s Missing Names of God.”
What do parents and God have in common? Could it be that parents can do something that the Quran teaches God cannot do?
Did you read the news some years ago about the parents of American Taliban, John Walker? Did you ever see the TV interview with the father of American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer? Or how about the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who killed the students at Columbine High School? Do you know what they all have in common?
In spite of their children’s horrible acts, their parents still love them.
That is the wonderful thing about parents, isn’t it? When we go astray, or commit crimes, or wrongful acts, most normal parents will still love us. That’s because their love for us is not based upon what we do, or how good we are. It’s based upon their personal desire for us; and a heart to want the best for their children.
They still love them.
In the Injeel, Isa refers to God as “Father” over and over again. He even compares His love for us when we are guilty as a father loving His rebellious children.
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. `Your brother has come,’ he replied, `and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, `Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
`My son,’ the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’” (Luke 15:11-32).
The point of His story is that God loves us like that Father loved His wayward sons.
Does Allah love you like that? Have you ever experienced that kind of love?
No matter how hard you search in the Quran, you will never find a passage that equates Allah’s relationship with you as a loving father to a son. In fact, the Quran tells us quite the opposite. For those who turn away from Him, Allah has these words:
“Shun those who turn away from Our Message, and desire nothing but the life in this world.” (53:29)
But isn’t that exactly what the father’s younger son did in Isa’s story? Didn’t he seek “nothing but the life in this world?” And yet, what was the father’s Response?
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).
Did you notice that? His Father was looking out for him from a long distance. His hope for his son never died.
My Muslim friend, the God of the Injeel loves us even when we have turned away from Him. It says that while we were still God’s enemies, Isa died for us (Romans 5:8). The only difference is that when we live in our sin, we cannot experience His love. Just as the children of those mentioned at the top of this page don’t live in the full blessings of their parent’s love.
Perhaps the examples of the parents mentioned above is somewhat extreme. After all, their children committed horrible acts. Yet while the examples may seem extreme—their feelings and love for their children are normal. The fact is, most parents whose children go astray, regardless of how severe, still love them.
Those parents also have something else in common. Their hearts have been broken over the direction their children’s lives have taken. With all their hearts they wish things had been different. That was true with the Father in Isa’s parable. Most parents are like that even today.
Does Allah have less of an ability or desire to love as normal, imperfect, human parents do? Consider what the Quran doesn’t say about Allah. It doesn’t say that He loves us unconditionally (as our parents do) and draws us to Himself through His love. It doesn’t say that He earnestly desires to show us what His love is like. And in all of the 99 descriptive and beautiful names for God, none of them is…
And none of them is…
The Injeel says something very different. God loves you though you do not yet know Him personally, or experience His love in a personal way. But you can!