Lo! the punishment of thy Lord is stern. Lo! He it is Who produceth, then reproduceth, and He is the Forgiving, the Loving, Lord of the Throne of Glory, Doer of what He will.
Nevertheless, other passages in the Qur’an qualify Allah’s love significantly. While Allah is said to love those who do good deeds (2:195), those who are pure (2:222), those who are righteous (9:7), and those who fight in his cause (61:4), the Qur’an is equally clear that Allah has no love for transgressors (2:190), ungrateful sinners (2:276), the unjust (3:57), or the proud (4:36). Even more significantly, the Qur’an states that Allah does not love non-Muslims:
Qur’an 3:31-32—Say [O Muhammad]: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Say: Obey Allah and the Apostle; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.
Qur’an 30:43-45—Then turn thy face straight to the right religion before there come from Allah the day which cannot be averted; on that day they shall become separated. Whoever disbelieves, he shall be responsible for his disbelief, and whoever does good, they prepare (good) for their own souls, that He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He does not love the unbelievers.
Notice that 3:31-32 makes Allah’s love contingent on whether a person believes in Muhammad. This is similar to what we find in 19:46, which declares: “Lo! those who believe and do good works, the Beneficent will appoint for them love.”
Hence, although Allah is called “the Loving,” the Qur’an only means by this that Allah will love people once they believe in him and obey his prophet. The god of Islam has no love for sinners and unbelievers.
Interestingly, the “Love me first and I’ll love you back” kind of love exhibited by Allah in the Qur’an is condemned by Jesus in Matthew 5:43-48:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
For more on the god of Islam, visit our “Allah” page. For more on Allah's love in the Qur'an, read Farid Mahally's excellent article, "A Study of the Word 'Love' in the Qur'an."