Islam Between Love and Hate by Dr. John Andrew Morrow

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow

In the Name of Adonai. In the Name of the Father. In the Name of Allah. In the Name of the Great Spirit, Manitou, the Creator, the Omnipresent and Omniscient. That covers Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the spiritual teachings of the First Nations. Welcome. And if you don’t believe in God or you believe in many gods, welcome to you as well. This is an interfaith gathering. We insist on being inclusive and having a sense of humor.

So, a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar. The bartender asks: “What? Is this a joke?” Well, actually, it is. A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar. The Muslim was the designated driver. A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar… a juice bar. After a nice evening, they all leave with a deeper appreciation of each other’s religions. That’s a true story. It happens when people are pleasant and do not act like jerks.

I come before you today to tackle a terrible topic: Islam Between Love and Hate. Well, what can I say: there is a whole lot of hating going on. But why rely on what I have to say. Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth or in this case from God’s mouth.

“Do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them.  You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.”

“Utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.”

Seriously, now. What kind of a person would kill a donkey? What kind of crime could a donkey possibly commit. Sure, they are stubborn, but that does not mean that you have the right to kill them? If you think killing innocent donkeys, camels, sheep, oxen, nursing children, infants, women, and men is bad enough, consider the following verse:

“Kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

Ponder upon this a bit. How could men determine if women were or were not virgins? God is not calling for a gynecological examination to ascertain the intact nature of their hymens. No, the men who rape them: if they were non-virgins, they would kill them, if they were virgins, they would spare them the sword and take them as concubines, the “politically correct” term for sex slaves.  And all of this was divinely sanctioned. Can you stomach more sexual assault and slaughter? Here are a few other key verses from the so-called religion of peace:

“Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women”

“Stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire”

“When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory.”

Terrible, isn’t it. The violence. The gore. The injustice. The atrocities. And those are just a few key quotes. There are over 1000 similar passages in “Holy” Book that I will not mention by name. Compare that to the Sacred Scripture of another faith. The contrast is remarkable:

“God loves those who are just.”

“He has put love and mercy between your hearts.”

“God loves the doers of good.”

“God loves those who are constantly repentant.”

“God loves those who purify themselves.”

“God loves those who fear Him.”

“God loves the steadfast.”

“God loves those who rely upon Him.”

“God loves those who act justly.”

 “God loves those [who fight for justice] in His cause.”

A God Who Hates. That is how Wafa Sultan describes Allah. Wafa is a medical doctor who was trained as a psychiatrist in Syria. She claims to be an authority on Islam. She works with Stop Islamization of Nations, an organization founded by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, among others. Considering the verses that I quoted initially, it appears the God of the Qur’an is a God of Hate. The only problem is that the verses that I first quoted are all drawn from the Bible and the verses that I quoted after are all drawn from the Qur’an.

The Bible 

“Do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them.  You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.” (Bible: Deuteronomy 13: 8-10)

“Utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (Bible: 1 Samuel 15:3)

“Kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Bible: Numbers 31:15)

“Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women” (Bible: Ezekiel 9:6)

“Stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire” (Bible: Ezekiel 23: 47)

“When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory.” (Bible: Judges 19:29) 

The Qur’an

“God loves those who are just.” (Qur’an 60: 8)

“He has put love and mercy between your hearts” (Qur’an 30:21)

“God loves the doers of good” (Qur’an 2:195: 3:134; 5:13; 5:195)

“God loves those who are constantly repentant” (Qur’an 2:222)

“God loves those who purify themselves” (Qur’an 9:108)

“God loves those who fear Him” (Qur’an 3:76; 9:4; 9:7)

“God loves the steadfast” (Qur’an 3:146)

“God loves those who rely upon Him” (Qur’an 3:159)

“God loves those who act justly” (Qur’an 5:42; 49:9; 60:8)

“God loves those [who fight for justice] in His cause” (Qur’an 61:4)

I mean no insult to my Jewish and Christians friends for I, as a Muslim, am a follower of Muhammad, Jesus, John-the-Baptist, Elijah, Moses, Abraham, and Adam. I, as a Muslim, believe in all the prophets and messengers that were sent by the Creator to guide humanity. I, as a Muslim, believe in the scrolls, scriptures, and books that were revealed by God to Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Muhammad: the Scroll of Abraham, the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Qur’an. I respect them all and I revere them all. I consider it prohibited to say anything that is unbecoming of them. I reject any allegations of wrongdoing on their part. The prophets and messengers of God were divinely-guided and protected: they did not sin.

I compare and I contrast the Bible and the Qur’an to make a point: that sacred scriptures must not, and cannot, be quoted out of context. It is dishonest. It is disingenuous. It is duplicitous. My strategy here is didactic or educational. Call it: giving Islamophobic Jews and Christians a taste of their own medicine by misrepresenting their religions, namely, by showing that Islam is a religion of love and peace and Judaism and Christianity are religions of hatred and violence.

I could easily have taken some of the more violent passages from the Qur’an and contrasted them to loving, merciful, and compassionate verses from the Old and New Testaments to prove the opposite, namely, that Judaism and Christianity are religions of love and peace and that Islam is a religion of hatred and violence.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have a long history of exegesis, hermeneutics, analysis, commentary, and interpretation. If you believe in sola scriptura, namely, that everyone and anyone can interpret the Bible as they deem fit, you are flying solo. You are going to crash and burn. There are people like that in Christianity. They tend to be extremists. There are people like that in Islam. They tend to be extremists as well. They tend to be literalists, fundamentalists or apologists. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we have a priestly class, a clerical class, scholars, and theologians: rabbis, priests, and shaykhs. Call it Tradition. Call it Consensus of Experts throughout the Ages. Call is Magisterium. Call it Religious Authority.

So, let’s talk about Islam and hate. To hate, in Arabic, is kariha / yakrihu / al-kurh. It means to feel disgust, be disgusted, to detest, to loathe, to abhor, and to dislike. It is something that gives offense. The verb “to hate,” in English, has no direct equivalent in Arabic. It is only translated as “hate” in English for idiomatic reasons. In English we say that something is hated. In Arabic we say that is makruh which means it is disliked, offensive or detestable. So, where does the Qur’an promote hate? Where does Allah, Almighty, say that He hates. Nowhere. The word “hate,” in this negative sense, does not appear in the Qur’an. Nothing. Rien. Nada. Walu. Ma kayn’sh. 

God mentions the unbelievers “disliked” what He revealed “so He rendered worthless their deeds” (47:9). God warns against spying and backbiting, comparing it to cannibalism: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it” (49 :12). The step-father of Abraham is quoted as saying: “Do you dislike my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist I will certainly revile you, and leave me for a time” (19:46). An ancient Arab prophet once said that he loathed paganism and polytheism. As God describes in the Qur’an: “The leaders, the arrogant party among his people, said: ‘O Shu’ayb! we shall certainly drive you out of our city – (you) and those who believe with you; unless you all return to our ways and religion.’ He said: ‘What! even though we do detest (them)?” (7:88). 

God Almighty, in the Holy Qur’an, never, ever, says that He hates. God never says that He hates the unbelievers. The strongest words of reproach that we find in Muslim Scripture is that “God loves not: “God loves not the unbelievers” (2: 276; 3:32; 30:45); “God loves not transgressors” (2:190); “God loves not those given to excess” (5:90); “God loves not those who trespass beyond bounds” (7:55); “God loves not corruption” (2:205; 5:67; 28:77); “God loves not the wrongdoers” (3:57; 3:140; 42:40); “God loves not the wasters” (6:141; 7:31); “God loves not any arrogant boaster” (31:18; 57:23; 4:36); “God loves not the arrogant” (16:23); “God loves not those who exult in riches” (28:76); “God loves not the treacherous” (8:58); “God loves not one given to perfidy and crime” (4:107); “God loves not that evil be noised abroad in public” (4:148).

There is no hatred in the Qur’an. There is only lack of love for atheists, polytheists, and evil-doers. I know some of our Christian friends believe that God loves everyone irrespective of whether they believe or not or whether they are righteous or not. I am sorry, but I do not expect God to love genocidalists, imperialists, mass murderers, drug barons, human traffickers, pimps, pedophiles, child abusers, pornographers, rapists, Satanists, and atheists. In Islam, God is Loving, but God is also Just. He rewards and punishes. His Mercy, however, “extends over all things” (7:156). In Islam, Muslims are supposed to be caring and compassionate: “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace” (25:63 and 28:55). As merciful as Muslims are meant to be, they must always balance justice with compassion and compassion with justice. As Almighty God says in the Holy Qur’an:

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for God, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, God is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. (4:135)

Since only God is God, and humans, as much as they aspire to be godly, cannot be God, we, Muslims, are not expected to be indifferent to evil. We must love what God loves and disapprove of what God disapproves. We must love what the Prophet loves and dislike what the Prophet dislike. While we must reach out to others, and invite them to the Path of Love, we must also avoid getting embroiled in evil, and disassociate ourselves from the enemies of God and the Prophets. We should never, however, dehumanize them. We should avoid becoming consumed with hatred lest it clouds our vision and leads us to injustice.

Although Muslims can hate evil and evil-doers, in Islam, God does not hate. In the worst-case scenario, He deprives the wicked from His love. And what can be a greater punishment than that? That is worse than any wrath He could reign down upon them. Call it the eternal silent treatment. According to the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka Kansas, however, “God hates fags.” This is not something any believing Muslim with a functioning brain would ever say. According to Fred Phelps, there are dozens of verses in the Bible that prove that the Judeo-Christian God is a God of Hate. 

“And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” (Leviticus 20:23) 

“And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.” (Leviticus 26:30) 

“And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters.” (Deuteronomy 32:19) 

“The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” (Psalm 5:5) 

“Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.” (Psalm 5:6) 

“For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.” (Psalm 10:3)

“The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” (Psalm 11:5) 

“There were they in great fear, where no fear was: for God hath scattered the bones of him that encampeth against thee: thou hast put them to shame, because God hath despised them.” (Psalm 53:5) 

“As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalm 73:20) 

“When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel.” (Psalm 78:59) 

“Therefore, was the wrath of the LORD kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.” (Psalm 106:40) 

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19) 

“The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.” (Proverbs 22:14) 

“And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.” (Lamentations 2:6) 

“All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.” (Hosea 9:15) 

“Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me.” (Zechariah 11:8) 

“And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.” (Malachi 1:3) 

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” (Romans 9:13)

So, apparently, there is a whole lot of hate going on in the Bible. Really, now? So, I checked. Some of these verses are in Greek. The verb that has been translated as “to hate” means to detest or to persecute: not to hate, per se. Some of these verses are in Hebrew. The verbs used literally mean “to be abhorred,” “to be a foe,” and “to be odious.” So, Mr. Phelps should learn some Hebrew and some Greek. He should also buy himself a Biblical Lexicon and learn, once and for all, that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are religions of love; not hate. They are divinely-revealed religions that, applied as intended, foster divine unity and human unity. They are all rooted in the Golden Rule: do not unto others as you would not have them do unto you.

As for the Arab psychiatrist from Syria, she should master her own language before claiming that Allah is a God of Hate. She should also use her psychiatric skills to treat Islamophobes instead of promoting Islamophobia. I own and operate a large mental health facility. I studied psychoanalysis at the PhD level. I can tell you in definite terms that people who are possessed with hatred suffer from serious mental disorders. They need professional psychological and spiritual help. So, here is my prescription: a little love from Allah. Yes, a little love from Allah.

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad: 

“O son of Adam! Serve Me! Verily, I love those who serve Me.” (Shirazi)

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad: 

O son of Adam! If I did not love forgiveness I would not test anyone by means of sin. (Shirazi) 

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“O Son of Adam! Behave with the people with good manners until I love you.” (Shirazi)

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“O son of Adam! The more your heart longs for this world, the more My love leaves your heart. Verily, I will not let My love and the love of this world join together in one heart. Devote yourself to My worship. Purify your deeds from showing off until I dress you in the clothing of My love.” (Shirazi) 

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad: 

“O son of Adam! You desire and I desire but nothing happens except what I desire. He who tries to reach Me knows Me. He who knows Me wants Me. He who wants Me seeks Me. He who seeks Me finds Me. He who finds Me serves Me. He who serves Me remembers Me. He who remembers Me, I remember him with My mercy.” (Shirazi) 

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me, and I shall guide you. O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to aske Me for refuge, I would certainly grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about [seizing] the soul of My faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.” (Bukhari)

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“A servant [of God] committed a sin and said: O God, forgive me my sin. And He said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them. Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He, glorified and exalted be He, said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for them. Then he sinned again and said: O Lord, forgive me my sin. And He, glorified and exalted be He, said: My servant has committed a sin and has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for sins. Do what you wish, for I have forgiven you.” (Muslim and Bukhari)

As Almighty God says in a Sacred Saying transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad:

“O son of Adam! So long as you call upon me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! Were you to come with Me with sins as nearly as great as the earth and were you to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness as great as it.” (Tirmidhi and Ahmad)

Allah, which is simply Arabic for God, the equivalent of Elohim, Adonai, and Jehovah, is Loving. As we read in the Holy Qur’an, “Verily, My Lord is Merciful and Loving” (11:90). And yet again: “And He is the Forgiving and the Loving” (85:14). As Almighty Allah, glorified and exalted be He, states in a sacred saying: “I was a Hidden Treasure and I loved to be known. Therefore, I created the creatures so that I might be known” (Ibn ‘Arabi, Ibn al-Khatib, Mulla Sadra).

Almighty God create men and women so that they could love each other in sacred matrimony: “It is He who created you from a single soul, and made his mate of like nature, in order that ye may dwell with her [in love]” (7:189). The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was described by Almighty God as a man who was “full of kindness, mercy, and love” (9:128).

Although some misinformed individuals attribute misogynistic ideas to Islam, the Messenger of God commanded Muslim men to love members of the opposite sex: “It is the tradition of the Prophets to love women” (Kulayni). The Prophet Muhammad taught that God loves those who love their families (Bayhaqi). The Prophet also taught that spouses should love each other and express such love: “The words of a husband to his wife, ‘I truly love you,’ should never leave her heart” (‘Amili). At the same time, the Messenger of Allah stresses that “The best of you among women are those who are loving and affectionate” (Majlisi). As he said on another occasion, “When you love someone, let the person know” (Majlisi). The Prophet Muhammad also instructed his followers to care for minors: “Love children and be compassionate with them, and when you promise them something, always fulfill it.”

Love is central in Islam. It is at the heart of the Golden Rule. As the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, stated: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself” (Muslim); “Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise… should treat the people as he wishes to be treated” (Muslim); “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself” (Nawawi);  “None of you is a believer if he eats his full while his neighbor hasn’t anything” (Ahmad); “Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves” (Abu Dawud); “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you” (Farewell Sermon); and “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm” (Ibn Majah). In fact, the Qur’an goes beyond the Golden rule by encouraging Muslims to “Return evil with kindness” (13:22, 23:96, 41:34, 28:54, 42:40).

Does this sound like Islam to you? Not necessarily so. It certainly does not sound like the Islam that they show on television and social media. It certainly does not sound like the Islam of ISIS. That’s because it isn’t. ISIS is no more Islamic than the Klan is Christian. Al-Qaedah is no more Muslim than Mexican and Colombian drug lords are Catholic. Al-Nusrah is no more Islamic than Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army is Protestant. However, this Islam, true Islam, original Islam, normative Islam, classical, traditional, civilizational Islam is the Islam that is followed by 99.9% of Muslims. Less than 0.01% of Muslims are so-called Radical Islamic terrorists. As far as I am concerned, they are not even Muslims.

For people like Osama Ben Laden and Abu Bakr Baghdadi, for groups like the Taliban, al-Qaedah, al-Shabab, Boko Haram, and Daesh, for Takfiri terrorists, the followers of a demonic death cult created a mere two hundred years ago, Islam is nothing but hate. They may argue otherwise, but hate is the very essence of their existence. You shall know them by the fruits they bare. The Ten Commandments, as you know them, are all found in the Qur’an and they have all been violated by terrorists who claim to act in the name and interests of Islam. The Constitution of Medina, and the Covenants of the Prophet with the People of the Book, which assure civil and human rights, have been desecrated and defiled by fake and fraudulent Muslims. Hatred is at the heart of the terrorist creed. Compare that to the true teachings of the Prophet as preserved, protected, and transmitted by the Family of the Prophet, may God be pleased with them. As Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the great great grand-son of the Prophet, stated: “Religion is love and love is religion” (Kulayni). I repeat: “Religion is love and love is religion.” I send you greetings of peace and prayers for peace. Let us love so that we can be loved.

Dr. John Andrew Morrow and Ghulam Hasnain from Salt Lake American.

Dr. John Andrew Morrow and Ghulam Hasnain from Salt Lake American.

Delivered at Salt Lake City Downtown Library Auditorium on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at an event organized by Salt Lake American and funded in part by Utah Humanities. UH empowers Utahns to improve their communities through active engagement in the humanities.