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Quranic Terminology: Between to Love and to Would Like

Quranic Terminology: Between to Love and to Would Like


Published in January 8, 2017

Translated by Ahmed Fathy




1- Love is a feeling inside one's mind and heart; sometimes, it remains hidden, and some other times, it is expressed in demeanor and in words. In that second case, love turns into cordiality. On the other hand, one might desire very much that something would occur; one would so much like this or wish it ardently, and this means simply that one loves to see something occurs. Such wishing is sentiments inside one's heart that might be impossible to be realized or seldom occurs.  

2- The above point is a general one about how love metamorphose into cordiality in terms of demeanor, and sometimes both sentiments of love and behavior of cordiality overlap. What about the Quranic verses tackling this topic? Let us examine them below.


Firstly:  to wish or would like to see something would happen:

 For all human beings in general, within the frame of the Islamic call: 

1- Imagine a man who spent his lifetime reclaiming a land until he turned it into a verdant and lush garden, with a beautiful house situated in the middle of it, and in his old age, he got married and had kids; suddenly, the garden and the house burned down and he was ruined as he lost everything. This man is depressed because he cannot provide his kids with proper care and shelter. This is a moving example from real life; it applies to Saddam Hussein who built Iraq and then caused its destruction, and then he died by being hanged. It applies to hundreds of thousands of Syrians who are rendered homeless I their old age along with their offspring. This example is also used in the Quran to indicate those who spend their lifetimes in seeking transient worldly possessions, and then end up as senile, ill persons waiting for death, hopelessly seeking healing, and then they die and lose everything they had amassed, while they never worked for earning their Eternal Life.   

2- Nobody would like this happening to him/her, right? This is the question to ponder as per the following verse: "Would anyone of you like to have a garden of palms and vines, under which rivers flow-with all kinds of fruit in it for him, and old age has stricken him, and he has weak children-then a tornado with fire batters it, and it burns down? Thus God makes clear the signs for you, so that you may reflect." (2:266). We see here the use of ''would like'' in the sense of ''to wish'' or ''to love to''.

Believers during the battle of Badr:

 They were promised by God to achieve victory in battle or to gain the goods of the caravan of Qorayish that stole their money before; they wished and would have liked to get the goods instead of engaging into a war in the battlefield, as this would have been easier: "God has promised you one of the two groups-that it would be yours-but you wished the unarmed group to be yours. God intends to prove the truth with His words, and to uproot the disbelievers." (8:7).

About disbelievers and what they so much liked in their relations with believers:    

1- In Mecca, disbelievers wished to compromise and would have liked Prophet Muhammad would do the same, but God forbade him: "So do not obey the deniers. They would like you to compromise, so they would compromise." (68:8-9). Compromising may be OK in worldly affairs and in politics, but there is no room for it in religion and preaching the Truth. This is why preachers and callers for the religious Truth (i.e., the Quran) proclaim it without regarding any blame from anyone, while disregarding the polytheistic ignoramuses all the time: "So proclaim openly what you are commanded, and turn away from the polytheists." (15:94).    

2- Shortly after immigrants settled in Yathreb, they felt nostalgia to Mecca and their Meccan folks, and they befriended as allies and kept in touch with the Meccan polytheists who persecuted them and driven them out of Mecca. The Quranic Chapter 60 prohibits this – more on that topic below – as God has told those immigrants the following about those Meccan polytheists: Whenever they encounter you, they fight you as enemies, and they stretch their hands and tongues against you with malice. They wish that you would disbelieve." (60:2). This means that those Meccan polytheists had so much liked that early believes would recant and forsake Islam.    

3- This wish expressed in 60:2 was also harbored by disbelievers among People of the Book in Arabia at the time and the hypocrites who feigned being Muslims: "Many of the People of the Book wish to turn you back into unbelievers after you have believed, out of envy on their part, after the Truth has become clear to them. But pardon and overlook, until God brings His command. God has power over all things." (2:109); "It is never the wish of the disbelievers from among the People of the Book, nor of the polytheists, that any good should be sent down to you from your Lord. But God chooses for His mercy whomever He wills. God is Possessor of Sublime Grace." (2:105); "A party of the People of the Book would love to lead you astray, but they only lead themselves astray, and they do not realize it." (3:69); "What is the matter with you, divided into two factions regarding the hypocrites, when God Himself has overwhelmed them on account of what they did? Do you want to guide those whom God has led astray? Whomever God leads astray-you will never find for him a way. They would love to see you disbelieve, just as they disbelieve, so you would become equal. So do not befriend any of them, unless they emigrate in the way of God. If they turn away, seize them and execute them wherever you may find them; and do not take from among them allies or supporters." (4:88-89).

4- Polytheistic aggressors would have liked that early believers would leave their arms and weapons while praying so that they would have attacked them: " When you are among them, and you stand to lead them in prayer, let a group of them stand with you, and let them hold their weapons. Then, when they have done their prostrations, let them withdraw to the rear, and let another group, that have not prayed yet, come forward and pray with you; and let them take their precautions and their weapons. Those who disbelieve would like you to neglect your weapons and your equipment, so they can attack you in a single assault…" (4:102). 

5- Hypocrites were so much frightened during the siege of Yathreb, and would have liked or wished to be within deserts among Bedouins during this siege by the confederates of warriors and fighters who came from Mecca: "They assumed that the confederates had not withdrawn. But were the confederates to advance, they would wish they were in the desert with the Bedouins, inquiring about your news…" (33:20).

6- Hypocrites wished every possible harm to beset the early believers, who in their turn never felt such deep-seated hatred at the time inside hearts of the hypocrites: "O you who believe! Do not befriend outsiders who never cease to wish you harm. They love to see you suffer. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their hearts conceal is worse…" (3:118).

In the Afterlife: wishing the impossible and in vain:

1- Typically, disbelievers who deny the Afterlife and therefore never perform good, charitable deeds would like very much to live a thousand years as they hate death: "You will find them, of all humankind, the most eager for life, even the polytheists. Every one of them wishes ardently he could live a thousand years; but to be granted a long life will not nudge him from the punishment. God is Seeing of what they do." (2:96). It is no use trying to avoid death and they will inevitably be resurrected and judged.   

2- On the Day of Resurrection, they will wish in vain they were among the believers/submitters to God during their lifetimes on earth: "Perhaps those who disbelieve would have liked to be Muslims." (15:2).

3- On the Day of Resurrection, each person will receive a book containing their deeds, and they would have liked it to be without bad deeds: "On the Day when every soul finds all the good it has done presented. And as for the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between them. God cautions you of Himself. God is Kind towards the servants." (3:30).

4- Witnesses will emerge on the Last Day, including prophets who will testify as witnesses for and against their contemporaries, and so will be preachers of and callers for the Truth. At such moments, the disbelievers will feel disgraced and would rather like to vanish out of sight: "Then how will it be, when We bring a witness from every community, and We bring you as a witness against these? On that Day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that the earth were leveled over them. They will conceal nothing from God." (4:41-42).  

5- Drawing nearer to Hell, the disbelievers will wish in vain to ransom themselves to avoid entering it: "…The criminal wishes he would be redeemed from the punishment of that Day by his children.And his spouse, and his brother. And his family that sheltered him.And everyone on earth, in order to save him." (70:11-14).


Secondly: cordiality: ways to express love in terms of behavior: 

 Sometimes, sentiments of love passively remains dormant inside hearts and minds and are not translated into words and deeds; when they do, this is cordiality, and we trace this in Quranic verses quoted below. 

1- Nostalgia for homeland in Mecca was felt by immigrants in Yathreb, as they forgot the earlier persecution by the Meccan polytheists and how such aggressors were their enemies and enemies of God; if such sentiments of love and yearning were not turned into action, they would not have been rebuked by God in the Quran: "O you who believe! Do not take My enemies and your enemies for supporters, offering them affection, when they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the Truth. They have expelled the Messenger, and you, because you believed in God, your Lord. If you have mobilized to strive for My cause, seeking My approval, how can you secretly love them? I know what you conceal and what you reveal. Whoever among you does that has strayed from the right way." (60:1). This means that such sentiments of love turned into demeanor and behavior by offering affection to aggressive enemies in public and in secret. In the same Quranic Chapter, God has told those immigrants that affection and love might come later on after enmity would end: "Perhaps God will plant affection between you and those of them you consider enemies. God is Capable. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (60:7).       

2- Showing love and affection to aggressive enemies who attack a peaceful country is befriending them as allies, and this is high treason, as sentiments are translated into demeanor by the crime of treachery and betrayal when one is allying oneself to enemies of one's country and one's people. God prohibits that one allies oneself to aggressors, deemed polytheists/disbelievers in terms of behavior: "You will not find a people who believe in God and the Last Day, loving those who oppose God and His Messenger, even if they were their parents, or their children, or their siblings, or their close relatives. These-He has inscribed faith in their hearts, and has supported them with a spirit from Him. And He will admit them into Gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will dwell forever. God is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him. These are the partisans of God. Indeed, it is God's partisans who are the successful." (58:22); "O you who believe! Do not ally yourselves with your parents and your siblings if they prefer disbelief to belief. Whoever of you allies himself with them-these are the wrongdoers. Say, "If your parents, and your children, and your siblings, and your spouses, and your relatives, and the wealth you have acquired, and a business you worry about, and homes you love, are more dear to you than God, and His Messenger, and the struggle in His cause, then wait until God executes His judgment." God does not guide the sinful people." (9:23-24).

3- Believers are to deal kindly and fairly with peaceful non-believers who have other faiths or are atheists, while it is prohibited for them to ally themselves to aggressive enemies: "As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable. But God prohibits you from befriending those who fought against you over your religion, and expelled you from your homes, and aided in your expulsion. Whoever takes them for friends-these are the wrongdoers." (60:8-9)   

4- During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Quranic term ''Jews'' refers only to aggressors among the Israelites when it is used along with the term ''polytheists'', and we know that the word ''polytheists'' in such contexts does not refer to beliefs but to aggressors in terms of their violent behavior and transgression unjustly committed against innocent, peaceful ones. God describes those aggressive, belligerent ones among People of the Books as "Jews", and this is part of history never tackled before by historians of the period, despite the fact that it is referred to so often in the Quranic text: "The Jews say, "God's hand is tied." It is their hands that are tied, and they are cursed for what they say. In fact, His hands are outstretched; He gives as He wills. Certainly, what was revealed to your from your Lord will increase many of them in defiance and blasphemy. And We placed between them enmity and hatred, until the Day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle the fire of war, God extinguishes it. And they strive to spread corruption on earth. God does not love the corrupters." (5:64). This is repeated as the term ''Jews'' is juxtaposed with the peaceful ''Christians'', despite their not being among believers in the Quranic message itself: "You will find that the people most hostile towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists. And you will find that the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant." (5:82). Here, cordiality and affection between Christians in Arabia and early believers was in terms of mutual peaceful behavior.          

5- Cordiality and befriending others occur also within mutual interests and gatherings in pagan/Sufi feasts and festivals of religious nature within the earthly religions, when people gather and united by the pagan idol/saint/deity or mausoleum being revered and worshiped. We discern this from what Abraham had said to his people: "And he said, "You have chosen idols instead of God, out of affection for one another in the worldly life. But then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will disown one another, and curse one another. Your destiny is Hell, and you will have no saviors."" (29:25). On the Day of resurrection, such cordiality and love will turn into enmity and quarreling and those polytheist will curse one another in Hell.          

6- Love and affection between spouses metamorphose into cordial bond, despite differences and troubles, but the husband and his wife do not bear to stay away from each other, and in many cases, loves is not expressed by words but rather by behavior within married or conjugal life: "And of His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them; and He planted tenderness and compassion between you. In this are signs for people who reflect." (30:21).

7- Prophet Muhammad never asked any person to reward him; instead, he advised believers to reward him by being cordial and affectionate toward their relatives: this means to give, act, and speak charitably, cordially, and kindly toward one's relatives, neighbors, friends, etc. "…Say, "I ask of you no wage for it, except affection among the near of your kin." Whoever does a good deed, We will increase its goodness for him. God is Forgiving and Appreciative." (42:23).


Lastly: ''The Loving'' is one of the Holy Epithets/Names of God:

1- "And He is the Forgiving, the Loving." (85:14). This is Love from God toward human beings who deserve it; those who repent, atone, make amends, ask pardon, and implore forgiveness from God, thus deserve to be forgiven and loved by God. Shueib told his people of Madian this fact: ""And ask your Lord for forgiveness, and repent to Him. My Lord is Merciful and Loving."" (11:90). 

2- This Love from God toward the pious ones will turn into cordial action, when God affectionately allow them to enter Paradise for eternity: "Those who believe and do righteous deeds, the Most Merciful will give them Love." (19:96). As always, God says nothing but the Truth.  

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