Neighbour Love (isl.)

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(Turk. İnsan Sevgisi)

Neighbour love is the fundamental human ability to devote oneself to others and to act accordingly. There can be no doubt that God, who loves and wants to be loved, created humankind as capable of love. The human individual capable of love can give his or her love to all creatures, but particularly to human beings, as the human being is closest to him or her. The human individual is not only a creature of a loving God but also a product of love. The individual’s very origins lie in the meeting of man and woman, of whom it is said that, through nature, God placed love between them (30:21). The entire cosmos comes from God, and all things are ontologically connected with God. Human perception in this connection nourishes in the individual the feeling of consubstantiality with the whole of creation, and in particular with one’s fellows.

Love has a particular importance in Islamic thought. The Qur’an, which emphasises goodness of deed as the aim of creation (67:2), sees love as the main feeling of these deeds: ‘Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.’ (19:96). Good deeds are at once a sign of love for one’s neighbour and the consequence of the love that has been placed in the nature of humankind. Individual Qur’anic verses exclude those whose actions are not good from the love of God (‘and Allah does not like the wrongdoers’ 3:140; 42:40; ‘Allah does not like corrupters’ 28:77; 5:64, etc.). Persons such as these will remain without love and in addition will be forced to bear the consequences of their actions. For evil conduct likely brings forth unkindness, conflicts, quarrelling, and hatred in people. This is why God declared that these people ran the risk of not enjoying His all-encompassing love.

Muhammad emphasised love as a basic value of human nature when he told his friends: ‘As long as you do not truly love one another, you will not be considered faithful’ (cf. At-Tirmidhi). He made a person’s entry to Islam dependent upon that person’s love for other people. If a person loves another, this love gives rise to love of all of humankind and of oneself. The power of love removes all impediments that exist between people. Following his emigration to Medina, on the basis of love Muhammad developed a project of association between emigrants and locals. It was possible to establish a shared set of values for members of two cultural groups, alien to one another, that prompted them to share what they had unhesitatingly with one another (59:9). Their love of one another as neighbours is extolled in the Qur’an. In Islam, the most important after faith in God is goodness of deed. Love of one’s fellows joins these two.

Mualla Selçuk

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