Saturday, April 08, 2006

In Short Compass, the Quran's Attitude to Love

One way to begin to understand the Quran's attitude to love is to see how many of its verses mention the word 'love,' and what they say. I searched the USC-MSA database and out of the Quran’s roughly 6,220 verses, there are 76 in which at least two of the three translations in the database use the word ‘love.’ (In an additional 17 verses, love is mentioned, but only by one of the three translations.)

I put the 76 verses below into 3 color coded categories:

23 verses speak of what Allah does not love;
19 verses speak of what Allah loves;
34 verses are harder to categorize, but most of them mention kinds of love of which Allah approves or disapproves.

Taken altogether, what sort of love doctrine do the 76 contain? One thing to notice is that only one or two of the 76 use love as a noun or focus on love itself. Instead, the verses focus on what Allah loves or does not love, or what someone else loves. Love itself is hardly noticed. In fact its use as a word seems to be mostly a slightly veiled way to explain how to please and not to anger Allah, whom the Quran conceives after the fashion of an extremely despotic earthly tyrant. Here are all the verses in which the Qur'an mentions love:

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 165
(SHAKIR VERSION): And there are some among men who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah and O, that those who are unjust had seen, when they see the chastisement, that the power is wholly Allah's and that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 177
(SHAKIR VERSION): It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts-- these are they who are true (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 190
(SHAKIR VERSION): And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 195
(SHAKIR VERSION): And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 205
(SHAKIR VERSION): And when he turn,s back, he runs along in the land that he may cause mischief in it and destroy the tilth and the stock, and Allah does not love mischief-making.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 216
(SHAKIR VERSION): Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 222
(SHAKIR VERSION): And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have become clean; then when they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 276
(SHAKIR VERSION): Allah does not bless usury, and He causes charitable deeds to prosper, and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 014
(SHAKIR VERSION): The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 031
(SHAKIR VERSION): Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, MercifuL

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 032
(SHAKIR VERSION): Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 057
(SHAKIR VERSION): And as to those who believe and do good deeds, He will pay them fully their rewards; and Allah does not love the unjust.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 076
(SHAKIR VERSION): Yea, whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil)-- then surely Allah loves those who guard (against evil).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 092
(SHAKIR VERSION): By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love; and whatever thing you spend, Allah surely knows it.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 118
(SHAKIR VERSION): O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people; they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 119
(SHAKIR VERSION): Lo! you are they who will love them while they do not love you, and you believe in the Book (in) the whole of it; and when they meet you they say: We believe, and when they are alone, they bite the ends of their fingers in rage against you. Say: Die in your rage; surely Allah knows what is in the breasts.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 134
(SHAKIR VERSION): Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 140
(SHAKIR VERSION): If a wound has afflicted you (at Ohud), a wound like it has also afflicted the (unbelieving) people; and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among you; and Allah does not love the unjust.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 146
(SHAKIR VERSION): And how many a prophet has fought with whom were many worshippers of the Lord; so they did not become weak-hearted on account of what befell them in Allah's way, nor did they weaken, nor did they abase themselves; and Allah loves the patient.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 148
(SHAKIR VERSION): So Allah gave them the reward of this world and better reward of the hereafter and Allah loves those who do good (to others).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 159
(SHAKIR VERSION): Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 3, Verse 188
(SHAKIR VERSION): Do not think those who rejoice for what they have done and love that they should be praised for what they have not done-- so do by no means think them to be safe from the chastisement, and they shall have a painful chastisement.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 036
(SHAKIR VERSION): And serve Allah and do not associate any thing with Him and be good to the parents and to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the neighbor of (your) kin and the alien neighbor, and the companion in a journey and the wayfarer and those whom your right hands possess; surely Allah does not love him who is proud, boastful;

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 107
(SHAKIR VERSION): And do not plead on behalf of those who act unfaithfully to their souls; surely Allah does not love him who is treacherous, sinful;

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 148
(SHAKIR VERSION): Allah does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 013
(SHAKIR VERSION): But on account of their breaking their covenant We cursed them and made their hearts hard; they altered the words from their places and they neglected a portion of what they were reminded of; and you shall always discover treachery in them excepting a few of them; so pardon them and turn away; surely Allah loves those who do good (to others).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 018
(SHAKIR VERSION): And the Jews and the Christians say: We are the sons of Allah and His beloved ones. Say: Why does He then chastise you for your faults? Nay, you are mortals from among those whom He has created, He forgives whom He pleases and chastises whom He pleases; and Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and to Him is the eventual coming.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 042
(SHAKIR VERSION): (They are) listeners of a lie, devourers of what is forbidden; therefore if they come to you, judge between them or turn aside from them, and if you turn aside from them, they shall not harm you in any way; and if you judge, judge between them with equity; surely Allah loves those who judge equitably.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 054
(SHAKIR VERSION): O you who believe! whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah will bring a people, He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah's way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer; this is Allah's Face, He gives it to whom He pleases, and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 064
(SHAKIR VERSION): And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are spread out, He expends as He pleases; and what has been revealed to you from your Lord will certainly make many of them increase in inordinacy and unbelief; and We have put enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection; whenever they kindle a fire for war Allah puts it out, and they strive to make mischief in the land; and Allah does not love the mischief-makers.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 087
(SHAKIR VERSION): O you who believe! do not forbid (yourselves) the good things which Allah has made lawful for you and do not exceed the limits; surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 093
(SHAKIR VERSION): On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful (of their duty) and believe and do good deeds, then they are careful (of their duty) and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and do good (to others), and Allah loves those who do good (to others).

Of Abraham:
From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 6, Verse 076
(SHAKIR VERSION): So when the night over-shadowed him, he saw a star; said he: Is this my Lord? So when it set, he said: I do not love the setting ones.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 6, Verse 141
(SHAKIR VERSION): And He it is Who produces gardens (of vine), trellised and untrellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates, like and unlike; eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 031
(SHAKIR VERSION): O children of Adam! attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer, and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 055
(SHAKIR VERSION): Call on your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He does not love those who exceed the limits.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 7, Verse 079
(SHAKIR VERSION): Then he turned away from them and said: O my people I did certainly deliver to you the message of my Lord, and I gave you good advice, but you do not love those who give good advice.

From the USC triple translation of the aQur’an: Chapter 8, Verse 058
(SHAKIR VERSION): And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, then throw back to them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 004
(SHAKIR VERSION): Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 007
(SHAKIR VERSION): How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? So as long as they are true to you, be true to them; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 023
(SHAKIR VERSION): O you who believe! do not take your fathers and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief; and whoever of you takes them for a guardian, these it is that are the unjust.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 9, Verse 108
(SHAKIR VERSION): Never stand in it; certainly a masjid founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it; in it are men who love that they should be purified; and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

story of Shu’eyb/Shu’aib
From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 11, Verse 090
(SHAKIR VERSION): And ask forgiveness of your Lord, then turn to Him; surely my Lord is Merciful, loving-kind.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 12, Verse 030
(SHAKIR VERSION): And women in the city said: The chiefs wife seeks her slave to yield himself (to her), surely he has affected her deeply with (his) love; most surely we see her in manifest error.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 003
(SHAKIR VERSION): (To) those who love this world's life more than the hereafter, and turn away from Allah's path and desire to make it crooked; these are in a great error.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verse 023
(SHAKIR VERSION): Truly Allah knows what they hide and what they manifest; surely He does not love the proud.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verse 107
(SHAKIR VERSION): This is because they love this world's life more than the hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 19, Verse 096
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely (as for) those who believe and do good deeds for them will Allah bring about love.

Story of Moses and Aaron:
From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 039
(SHAKIR VERSION): Saying: Put him into a chest, then cast it down into the river, then the river shall throw him on the shore; there shall take him up one who is an enemy to Me and enemy to him, and I cast down upon you love from Me, and that you might be brought up before My eyes;

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 22, Verse 038
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely Allah will defend those who believe; surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 24, Verse 019
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter; and Allah knows, while you do not know.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 28, Verse 056
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 28, Verse 076
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely Qaroun was of the people of Musa, but he rebelled against them, and We had given him of the treasures, so much so that his hoards of wealth would certainly weigh down a company of men possessed of great strength. When his people said to him: Do not exult, surely Allah does not love the exultant;

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 28, Verse 077
(SHAKIR VERSION): And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers.

(Shakir's translation of this verse uses "friendship", but the other two translations use "love" or a form of the word "love.")From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 29, Verse 025
(SHAKIR VERSION): And he said: You have only taken for yourselves idols besides Allah by way of friendship between you in this world's life, then on the resurrection day some of you shall deny others, and some of you shall curse others, and your abode is the fire, and you shall not have any helpers.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 30, Verse 021
(SHAKIR VERSION): And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 30, Verse 045
(SHAKIR VERSION): That He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He does not love the unbelievers.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 31, Verse 018
(SHAKIR VERSION): And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 023
(SHAKIR VERSION): That is of which Allah gives the good news to His servants, (to) those who believe and do good deeds. Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 040
(SHAKIR VERSION): And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah; surely He does not love the unjust.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 49, Verse 009
(SHAKIR VERSION): And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah's command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably.

part of Quran’s description of paradisal virgins:
From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 56, Verse 037
(SHAKIR VERSION): loving, equals in age,

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 57, Verse 023
(SHAKIR VERSION): So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster:

(Shakir uses "befriending" in this verse, but the other two translations use "love" or a form of the word "love".) From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 58, Verse 022
(SHAKIR VERSION): You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith, and whom He has strengthened with an inspiration from Him: and He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding therein; Allah is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him these are Allah's party: now surely the party of Allah are the successful ones.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 59, Verse 009
(SHAKIR VERSION): And those who made their abode in the city and in the faith before them love those who have fled to them, and do not find in their hearts a need of what they are given, and prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them, and whoever is preserved from the niggardliness of his soul, these it is that are the successful ones.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 60, Verse 001
(SHAKIR VERSION): O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.

(Shakir uses "friendship" for this verse, but the other two translations use "love" or a form of the word "love.") From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 60, Verse 007
(SHAKIR VERSION): It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies among them; and Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 60, Verse 008
(SHAKIR VERSION): Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 61, Verse 004
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 61, Verse 013
(SHAKIR VERSION): And yet another (blessing) that you love: help from Allah and a victory near at hand; and give good news to the believers.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 75, Verse 020
(SHAKIR VERSION): Nay! But you love the present life,

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 76, Verse 008
(SHAKIR VERSION): And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive:

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 76, Verse 027
(SHAKIR VERSION): Surely these love the transitory and neglect a grievous day before them.

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 85, Verse 014
(SHAKIR VERSION): And He is the Forgiving, the loving,

From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 89, Verse 020
(SHAKIR VERSION): And you love wealth with exceeding love.

Of man:
From the USC triple translation of the Qur’an: Chapter 100, Verse 008
(SHAKIR VERSION): And most surely he is tenacious in the love of wealth.


Following are the verses in which only one of three translators used the word "love": 2:93, 2:96, 2:105, 3:103, 3:152, 7:189, 12:8, 14:37, 21:90, 22:59, 24:22, 31:15, 38:32, 49:12, 50:23, 57:19, 69:35.

11 comments:

Dumb Ox said...

Peace, friend. I admire what you have tried to do. Please take a look at the history of Catholic reflection on their scriptures. 2000 years of commentary.

You should know that Islam is a variety, misguided, of Christianity.

Anyway, love you friend.

All the best,
D. Ox

omar malomaari said...

DO said:

"Please take a look at the history of Catholic reflection on their scriptures."

I certainly will. Thanks for the suggestion, and thanks very much for the compliment. I've worked pretty hard at the posts on this blog. Take care friend.
-- Omar

ajm said...

Interesting work.

You probably know this: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/index.html

I took another approach. I read the whole koran (one specific online French translation) searching for hate mongering passages and highlighted them. I’d recommend everyone doing that. The more I think of it, the more it seems to me that it is the more telling aspect of Islam. Here is my job: http://www.ajm.ch/liberty/plainte_18.3.06.pdf

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
Yes, I have spent time with the Skeptics Annotated Bible and Quran. I find it mostly accurate and very useful.

I looked at your French Quran with the verses highlighted. I am keeping in my files the webpage address you supplied, so I can show it to any French friends I run into. I can somewhat read French but am too slow with it.

I have also done a search for verses related to hell and punishment. I tried to tie all this together in an article at Faith Freedom International ("How Much Does the Quran Rely on Fear?").

Thanks very much for your interest and comment.

ajm said...

Yep, I had foudn and linked to it already this morning. I recommend www.intratext.com for that kind of research, at least fot a start, for checking if the idea is good. There is only one translation (per langage), but it allows for fast search and convenient verification. Have a look at those, for example:

http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0027/3H.HTM
http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0027/4R.HTM

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
Thanks for that excellent tip. It has already proven useful. I expect I will be using intratext a lot. - Omar

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
Do you happen to know who is the translator of that Quran at intratext?

ajm said...

As I understood, it is the work of a community, or a company. You might learn more by writing to:

Dr. Francesco Mastidoro
├łulogos S.p.A.
Via Cimone, 59
I00141 Roma
info@intratext.com

omar malomaari said...

To ajm:
As I said in an earlier reply to you, thanks for that excellent reference to intratext. And thanks very much for the email address for further info.

ajm said...

You are more than welcome.

Henrik said...

Nice work!

Although it leaves me slightly confused. How can it be that Allah loves/disloves?

I have a hunch there's a misunderstanding somewhere, that the verses really describe what Muhammed loved/disloved. And as such, they're irrelevant, since Muhammad is dead.

Interesting reading in any case, though.