Connected to Ar-Rahmaan is Ar-Raheem. These names share the same root as the previous, which comes from the Arabic word for womb. The difference in meaning however is significant. Ar-Raheem refers to a special mercy for those who want to embrace it. Whoever chooses to accept God’s guidance has essentially accepted His special mercy. This special mercy is for the believers and it is manifested in paradise; unending, blissful peace with God.
According to the Quran, God is The-Loving. The Arabic name is Al-Wadood. This refers to a special love that is apparent. It comes from the word wud, which means expressing love through the act of giving: "And He is the Forgiving, The Loving." (Quran 85:14)
God’s love transcends all of the different types of love. His love is greater than all worldly forms of love. For example, a mother’s love, although selfless, is based on her internal need to love her child. It completes her, and through her sacrifices she feels whole and fulfilled. God is an independent Being who is self-sufficient and perfect; He does not require anything. God’s love is not based on a need or want; it is therefore the purest form of love, because He gains absolutely nothing from loving us.
In this light, how can we not love the One who is more loving than anything we can imagine? The Prophet Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him, said, "God is more affectionate to His servants than a mother to her children."
If God is the most loving, and His love is greater than the greatest worldly love we have experienced, this should instil in us a deeper love for God. Significantly, this should make us want to love Him by being one of His servants. Al-Ghazali aptly said, "For those endowed with insight there is in reality no object of love but God, nor does anyone but He deserve love."
From a spiritual perspective, God’s love is the greatest blessing anyone can ever achieve, as it is a source of internal tranquillity, serenity, and eternal bliss in the hereafter. Not loving God is not only a form of ingratitude, but the greatest form of hate. Not loving the One who is the source of love is a rejection of that which enables love to occur and fill our hearts.
God does not force His special love on us. Although, by His mercy, He lovingly gives us every moment of our lives, to fully embrace God’s love and be recipients of His special love, one must enter into a relationship with Him. It is as if God’s love is waiting for us to embrace it. However, we have closed the door and put up the shutters. We have kept the door shut by denying, ignoring and rejecting God. If God were to force His special love on us, love would lose all meaning. We have the choice: to follow the right path and thereby gain God’s special love, or reject His guidance and face the spiritual consequences.
The most loving Being wants to love you, but in order for you to embrace that love, and for it to be meaningful, you have to choose to love Him and follow the path that leads to His love. This path is the Prophetic path of the Prophet Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him.
"Say, [O Muhammad]: ‘If you love God, then follow me, [so] God will love you and forgive your sins. And God is Forgiving and Merciful’." (Quran 3:31)
God is worthy of our worship because worship is part of who we are. Just like our need to eat, drink and breathe, worship is an innate tendency. From this perspective, we are natural-born worshippers, because that is who we are and it is our Divinely given purpose. Worshipping God is a logical necessity, just as when we say a car is red. It is red because we have defined that colour as red; it is red by definition. Likewise, we are worshippers by definition, because God defined and made us that way: "I did not create the Jinn [spirit world], nor mankind, except to worship Me." (Quran 51:56)
Even people who do not believe in God, including those who reject the fact that He is entitled to worship, manifest signs of adoration, reverence and devotion. If you do not worship God, you’ll still end up worshipping something. From an Islamic perspective, the object that you love and revere the most, including whatever you attribute ultimate power to and believe you are ultimately dependent on, is essentially your object of worship. For many people, this can include an ideology, a leader, a family member, and even your own self. In other words, many people idolise these things. Polytheism or idolatry is not just about praying to or bowing down in front of an object.
God is rooted in our innermost nature, and when God commands us to worship Him it is actually a mercy and act of love. It is as if every human being has a hole in his or her heart. This hole is not physical, it is spiritual, and it needs to be filled to achieve spiritual tranquillity. We attempt to fill this hole with a new job, a holiday, a new house, a new car, a hobby, travel or taking up a popular self-help course. However, every time we fill our hearts with these things, a new hole appears. We are never truly satisfied, and after a while we seek something else to fill the spiritual void. Yet, once we fill our hearts with the love of God, the hole remains permanently closed. Thus, we feel at peace and experience a tranquillity that can never be put into words, and a serenity that is undisturbed by calamity.
 Narrated by Abu Dawud.
 Al-Ghazali. (2011) Al-Ghazali on Love, Longing, Intimacy & Contentment, p. 23.
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