On Thursday 10th November, Professor Mona Siddiqui, founding director of the Centre for the Study of Islam at the University of Glasgow, gave the last in this year's series of St Wilfrid lectures on the subject of 'Islam and the Question of a Loving God'.
In her lecture, Professor
Siddiqui explained how the language of scripture in Islam and
Christianity has created strikingly different discourses of divine love,
in spite of the fact that it is often assumed Christians and Muslims
worship the same God.
Indeed the God of the Qur'an seems very different in significant
respects to the God of the Bible. In the Qur'an, God is somehow more
concealed, the unseen who sees all. His love of his creation remains to
some extent veiled. In Christianity, divine love appears to be more
explicitly revealed, both in the relationally of the Trinity, and in the
sacrificial love manifested in Jesus Christ; whereas for Muslims
divine love is understood in terms of God's compassion and mercy.
However, although there is no specific Qur'anic commandment to love
God, yet the Qur'an still inspired the exuberant descriptions of divine
love in the great Sufi poets and mystics, like Rumi, for whom love is a
reality that - like God - transcends whatever one