Qur’an and Bible: Between Love and Law

By Ali Reza Salehi.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Although the word “love” appears less frequently in the Qur’an than in the Bible, Love is a cornerstone of both Islam and Christianity. As the Bible and the Qur’an agree on many things, why then do Muslims and Christians perceive each other so differently and so often misunderstand each other? Such a question, of course, deserves an in-depth, multi-faceted answer; however, we will look at just one of those facets: a difference of emphasis and vocabulary. This paper tries to pick up some salient points about the nature and function of the love and law as given in the Bible and Qur’an itself. The Qur’an seems to be in accord with this viewpoint, giving priority to love although not neglecting the necessity and reality of law. The verses of Qur’an open with the conception of a beneficent and merciful God Who is the Lord and Sustainer of all the worlds that He creates. This perpetual providence or sustenance implies love for what is sustained. But having emphasised these attributes, another attribute of God follows that He is the Lord of the Day of Judgment. He is the Supreme Judge Who first made the laws and then watches life to see whether it is following those laws. Love apart from law and reason is an abstraction, and ‘law,’ devoid of the foundation of love, would become a tyranny and a burden, hampering life instead of advancing it. This essay also indicates the attitude of Jesus and Christianity towards Law. Jesus said that he had not come to destroy the law of Moses but to fulfill it. His main function and mission was to turn humanity towards the spirit more than the letter of the law. Soon after him Christianity unburdened itself of the cumbersome corpus of almost the entire Jewish law. But when [the] Christian Church became powerful and Christianity became a State religion, laws were required both for religious and for secular life. The State legislated for its own necessities and the Church developed Canon Law.

Keywords: Qur’an, Bible, Christianity, Islam, Love, Law, Relationship, Misunderstanding

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp.131-138. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 699.970KB).

Ali Reza Salehi

Faculty Member, Department of Persian Literature, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Tehran, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Publishing dozens of scientific books and articles in international levels. Supervisor and Advisor; for 20 Ph.D. and Master Dissertations, faculty member of IAU. Compilation of several articles and analytical notes & reviews. President; Payam-e-noor University of Karaj and Shahr Rey. Member; Advisory Commission and Political and Scientific Committee for meeting the 20-year road map of the Expediency Council of Iran. Member; Advisor Commission and Higher Education Committee for the Higher Council of Cultural Revolution.