Can You Gain The Love Of Allah? (The Qur’an & Hadiths Say. . .)

Can a person do anything to gain Almighty God’s love?

As I read the booklet, 1000 Sunnah Per Day & Night, I think the answer Muslims would give is an emphatic “Yes.”

This booklet teaches that in Islam, a person can “gain the love of Allah” by following the Way (The Sunnah) of Muhammad in one’s daily life from morning to evening.

For my non-Muslim readers, the Sunnah are the actions and sayings of Muhammad. Various hadiths speak of Muhammad’s words and lifestyle in the areas below (I have not listed every detail for the sake of a little brevity. For example, I have not gone into citing the proper number of bowings/rakas during prayers, etc.):

sleeping - extinguish lights and close doors; mention Allah’s name for Shaytan (Satan) cannot open closed doors; dust off the bed three times; lie down to sleep on one’s right side; place the right hand under the right cheek.
waking up - bleach the face with one’s hands, say a short prayer, brush teeth.
going to the bathroom - enter with the left leg and exit with the right one; pray against jinn; pray for forgiveness.
wearing clothes - say “in the name of Allah,” when you put on or take off your clothes; pray for protection; Muhammad said, “If you wear clothes start with the right side.” When you take off clothes, start with the left side.
wearing shoes – Muhammad said: “If you want to wear your
shoes, start with the right foot and if you want to take it off, start with the left.”
eating & drinking - pray before eating; eat together vs. alone; do not eat reclining; use the right hand; pray after eating.
performing ablution/washings before prayer - mention the name of Allah; wash hands 3 times; rinse mouth and nose (with same handful of water; use tooth stick; run one’s wet finger through the beard; pass one’s wet hands over the head from front to back; run wet fingers between the fingers and toes; wash the right (limb) before the left – wash arms up to the elbows and feet up to the ankles; say the two testifications of faith after finishing ablution. It is narrated that Muhammad said, “If anyone amongst you performs the ablution perfectly and then says: I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger, the eight gates of Paradise would be opened for him and he may enter by whichever of them he wishes.” He is reported to have also said, “He who performed ablution perfectly, his sins would come out from his body, even coming out from under his nails.”
going to the mosque - go early; walk in quietly with solemnity; enter with the right leg; head for the front row as there is great bounty in that; exit with the left leg.
going out and coming back home - pray so one can be protected, secured, guarded and the devil will step away.

To specifically follow Muhammad’s practices in each of these areas (and many, many others) gains God’s love, according to the Qur’an:

“Say, (O Muhammad), ‘If you should love Allah, then follow me, (so) Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful’” (The Qur’an, Al-Imran: 31).

The text seems to say that if one follows Muhammad’s way of living, Muslims can find themselves “reaching to the rank of love by Allah” (to use the words of a Muslim commentator).

I want to respectfully – and I mean that word sincerely – ask my Muslim readers a few questions as I close this post:

1. Am I understanding your faith accurately in this area? Please tell me if I have mischaracterized or unfairly portrayed what Islam teaches regarding gaining the love of Allah (by leaving a reply below).
2. Do you personally feel loved by Allah?
3. Do you ever wonder if you have done enough to have gained His love?
4. Can believing that you have done enough to merit Allah’s love lead to pride?
5. Can believing that you have not done enough to merit Allah’s love lead to anxiety or fear or depression or even giving up trying?

I would greatly appreciate hearing from my Muslim readers – or anyone reading this post!

I believe that the love of God – and how one can know and experience it – is an incredibly important subject. It affects how we think, how we feel, and how we act. In short, it affects all of life.

10 thoughts on “Can You Gain The Love Of Allah? (The Qur’an & Hadiths Say. . .)

  1. Salam brother Mark!
    well, what you mentioned above about gaining the Love of God from the way of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) living exceed the personal things that you mentioned above (praying before and after eating, sleeping, ect..)
    It also has this important ways:
    1:Religious side: Obeying God and his law in the Holy Quran (preventing ourselves from what he forbad; and doing what he asked us to do: rights of the poor (paying the money for them as duty, not being highly proud for doing that)…
    Real marriage based on a real love vs any other sexual realtionship between the man and the women.
    dealing in just and kindness toward all the people (whatsoever religion they follow :
    (Allah forbiddeth you not those who warred not against you on account of religion and drove you not out from your homes, that ye should show them kindness and deal justly with them. Lo! Allah loveth the just dealers. (8) Holy Quran 60.

    doing the 5times pray (the main essentail part in the religious side in Islam beside the behaviours side toward the people).

    2_ Behaving well and kindly with the people, and here we remember the man that he entered to the paradise only because he gave water for a thirsty dog..even though this man wasn’t a Muslim..
    the behaving side is as important as the religious side, if not a real religious side indded that is mentioned tonz of times in the holy Quran :
    this is a quote of the importance of the behaving and the good manners that Islam asked us to do:
    (O ye who believe! avoid much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful. (12) O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. (13) The wandering Arabs say: We believe. Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Ye believe not, but rather say “We submit,” for the faith hath not yet entered into your hearts. Yet, if ye obey Allah and His messenger, He will not withhold from you aught of (the reward of) your deeds. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (14) The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere. (15) Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Would ye teach Allah your religion, when Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Aware of all things? (16) They make it a favour unto thee (Muhammad) that they have surrendered (unto Him). Say: Deem not your Surrender a favour unto me; but Allah doth confer a favour on you, inasmuch as He hath led you to the Faith, if ye are earnest. (17) Lo! Allah knoweth the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is Seer of what ye do. (18) / Holy Quran 49.

    • Salam to you, my dear habibi, Ammar!

      I always appreciate your comments. You are so dedicated and believe me, I respect that deeply!

      Ammar, I think the crux of the difference we are discussing here deals with the matter of finding right standing before a holy and perfect God. Can we be forgiven of all ours sins by doing good works or through faith?

      You have kindly shared verses from the Qur’an (thank you!). Please allow me to share some selected verses from the Bible from Romans, Chapters 3 & 4 (NLT) about Ibrahim (Abraham):

      Excerpts From Chapter 3 of Romans
      21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.
      22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
      23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
      24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
      25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,
      26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

      27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.
      28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

      Excerpts From Chapter 4 of Romans
      1 What did he discover about being made right with God?
      2 If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way.

      3 For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
      4 When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.
      5 But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.
      6 David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it:

      7 “Oh, what joy for those
      whose disobedience is forgiven,
      whose sins are put out of sight.
      8 Yes, what joy for those
      whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”

      13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith.
      14 If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless.
      15 For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!)
      16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift.

      I don’t deserve to be forgiven. But by His grace I am. Why? Because I accepted the free gift He extended to me through the sacrifice of Jesus.

  2. I appreciate seeing the contrasts of what is expected of our Muslim friends. While the dedication to obedience to the Prophet Muhammed is admirable, it stands in stark contrast to the words of the Prophet Jesus: “Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    • Chuck,

      Thanks for sharing the words of Jesus from the Injeel – The Good News according to Matthew 11:28-30.

      I think it might be hard for all of us to accept the unconditional love of God!

      From what we read in the Bible, we simply can’t earn or merit or do enough good deeds to gain God’s love. It simply isn’t possible. Why? Because His love for us doesn’t result or spring from anything inherently good in us. It flows from what is inherently good in Him: His unchangable love.

      While there are many attributes to God that we cannot delve into here, certainly His unconditional, unchangable love is one attribute that blows our minds. It is just so hard to believe! But. . .when we trust His Word that He does love us like this, everything changes. We love Him in return and live for Him!

      The Injeel sums it up like this: “God is love” (1 John 4:8)

  3. Ammar, Thank you for your explanation. I am greatly impressed by your diligence and dedication. I do not have it within me to do as much. All these right actions that you describe flow out of the goodness of one’s heart. There no way that I could qualify. If “Allah is Seer of what ye do” then I am lost for my heart is not right and I cannot fix it. What do I do?

    I rely on God’s grace, (unmerited favor) and His love given without precondition. I am worthy only of eternal punishment but in His mercy, He has taken my punishment upon himself. Jesus, who is perfect and without sin, voluntarily allowed Himself to be crucified on my behalf and offered me a free pass to Heaven if I would accept it.

    He changes my heart and gives me a new nature. I am then inclined to do all that you have described because of the love he has placed in my heart. I am able to love Him only in response the love He has given me

    May God bless you.

    • Bob,

      So great to see you interacting with my friend, Ammar. That is why I started this blog!

      I too must rely upon God’s grace for my forgiveness and right standing with God or I am sunk, finished, and without a doubt – destined for hell.

      “We love because He first loved us” (The Bible, 1 John 4:19). What a truth. That is the only way we can obey.

  4. Thanks brothers for this beautiful discussion,
    however, the main difference between Islam and (Judaism+Christianity) regarding the salvation is that in Judaism your belonging to the race of the followers of the religion (from a mother’s jew) you get your salvation..
    and in Christianity just by accepting the Christ (peace and blessings be upon him) who died for your sins (according to Christianity) is enough to give you the salvation..
    however my brothers; in Islam, (which I found by my fair research “very logic”) your salvation is within your hand (Whosoever does righteous good deed it is for (the benefit of) his ownself, and whosoever does evil, it is against his ownself, and your Lord is not at all unjust to (His) slaves.) Holy Quran 41:46

    But! the good thing is that God double your good deeds, (Surely! Allâh wrongs not even of the weight of an atom ,but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward (40) / Holy Quran 4.

    In Islam, even if my father was a prophet that dont make any change in the sight of God, I be Judged on my Own good and my Own bad, not anyone else..
    (O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware)/ Holy Quran 49:13.

    my question to my Christian friends is:
    - Since the Christ (peace be upon him) died for your sin (according to Christianity) don’t you feel that many Christians commit some sins (like adultery) because they only rely on the salvation in the concept of Christianity?
    - did the Christ died for the sins of his killers also? are they also included in the salvation and going to the paradaise?

    to the best undrstanding and studying of the three religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) it is well agreed on the Day of Resurrection, so if the life is test then whats the point of it if there is someone who already died for my sins?
    how could I prevent myslef from the evil (doing bad things to the people, stealing them, ect….) when I understand that the Christ already died for my sins (even those that i didnt make yet)..?

    thanx my brothers!

    • Ammar,

      You ask here a great question that is often asked of me by my Muslim friends:

      If Jesus died for my sins, can I do whatever I want, knowing that I will still go to heaven?”

      I believe the Bible speaks to this in several ways:

      #1 – Many people who call themselves “Christians” are simply not Christians. They have not truly repented. If they had, there would be change in their lives: change in their attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions.

      2 Corinthians 5:17 – “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
      Matthew 7:16 – “You will know them by their fruits.”
      1 John 1:6 – “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.”
      1 John 2:3,4 – “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

      #2 – When you have genuinely accepted Jesus as the Savior of your sins, you want to live for him, obey him, follow him. Your heart is filled with gratitude which overflows into a desire to not do “whatever you want” but to do “whatever He wants.” You just want to please Him and live for Him!

      2 Corinthians 5:9 – “we make it our goal to please him.”
      2 Corinthians 5:15 – “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

      #3 – The primary motive in avoiding sin as a Christian is not fear of hell but love for Jesus and for Almighty God.

      John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
      2 Corinthians 5:14 – “Christ’s love compels us.”
      1 John 4:19 – “We love Him because He first loved us.”

      #4 – While fear of hell is not a Christian’s motive for pure and righteous living, a healthy and reverential fear of appearing before God the Judge after death (with a life not well lived for Him) is a solid Biblical motivator.

      1 Peter 1:17 – “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as ‘foreigners in the land.’”
      1 John 2:28 –
      “And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

      #5 – When a person commits their life to Jesus and begins to follow him, there is a change in the heart. The Bible actually says you gain a “new heart.” There actually takes place something like a spiritual “heart transplant!”

      Ezekiel 36:26 – “I will give you a new heart.”

      #6 – After a person becomes “born again,” a new power comes into their lives in the person of the Holy Spirit – a new power to resist sin.

      When Jesus comes into your heart following true repentance, there is true change. Jesus himself called it being “born again” (The Injeel, The Gospel According To John 3:3). For some people, this change is virtually overnight. They stop swearing, gossiping, envying, boasting, rebelling against parents, stealing, drinking, drugging, and engaging in immorality right away. In essence, they stop living for themselves and begin living for the Lord. This gives them new joy, new freedom, new purpose. They feel alive for the first time in their lives.

      For others, the change is slow but sure - like a butterfly coming out of a cacoon. Old sinful habits like those just mentioned die hard but they do eventually die for one who sincerely follows Jesus. It takes time. Years. And it is a battle – a real and constant battle! A battle against 3 adversaries: this world’s anti-God system, our old desires which creep back in, and our adversary the devil.

      To all my Muslim friends, please see from these Biblical truths that we who are really Christians can’t just do whatever we want after we are forgiven. This would go against everything we believe! Do Christians still sin? Yes, we do. Of course. We fail every day. But generally speaking, the forgiveness we have experienced actually motivates us to forsake sin and live for God out of love and gratitude for what He has done for us.

  5. I think the goal is the obedience of faith. God is our Father and does not want us just to trust him, but to obey Him. However, if we do all the things He tells us externally, but our hearts are not with the Father, then we are not right with Him and will be disappointed in the end. The way we know our hearts are right with the Father and can call Him -our- Father is because we regard Jesus as our elder brother, the firstborn from the dead. Once we have that trust towards God, we have been born again and adopted into the family of God through faith. We show we are part of the family by obeying our Father. A son who does not obey their father is liable to punishment until they do obey. We know God loves us by the way He disciplines us when we disobey because He loves us, just as any loving father disciplines wayward children. Once a man comes back to God, he is welcomed and God dances for joy knowing that his son trusts Him as Father for good.

    • Brother Mert,

      I like your combination of the words “faith” and “obedience.” If we have “faith” without obedience, it is not really true faith is it? And if we have “obedience” without faith, it is not really true obedience is it?

      We need both profession (of faith) and possession (of faith). Many profess faith but have no real obedience to verify that they possess it – that it is real, genuine, true. As James simply and bluntly says in the Bible:

      James 2:20 – “How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
      James 2:26 – “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”

      Yes, obedience from a heart of love. That’s what God wants!

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