Two aspects of having a close relationship with anyone is love and a well ingrained desire to do what makes them happy.
The more you know someone and the more you like about what you know about them are the two factors which decide how much love you will have for him or her. When talking about God we have previously discussed all of the compassion He shows us without us having done one thing for Him. God refers to Himself by the word Al-Wadud which we can try to translate as the deeply loving and affectionate.
And He is the Forgiving and the Loving (Al-Wadud). (Al-Buruj 85:14)
Secondly, He has sent prophets with revelation that we may properly know Him and how to earn His love. For example God says:
Say, If you really love God then follow me (Muhammad) and God will love you and forgive you your sins and God is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful. (Aal `Imran 3:31)
We can get an idea of how to earn the love of God in many other verses. Here are some of them:
…And (sincerely) do good deeds. Indeed God loves those who do good deeds. (Al-Baqarah 2:195)
…Surely God loves those who repent as well as those who purify themselves. (Al-Baqarah 2:222)
And of course, whoever fulfills his commitment and is conscious of God (and his responsibility to Him) then indeed, God loves the God-Conscious. (Aal `Imran 3:76)
…And God loves the patient and steadfast. (Aal `Imran 3:146)
And consult with your companions (in decision making). Then when you have made a decision rely upon God. Certainly, God loves those who rely upon Him. (Aal `Imran 3:159)
And if you judge, judge between them with justice. Indeed, God loves the just. (Al-Ma’idah 5:42)
God Almighty also teaches us who He doesn’t love so that we will know how to avoid His anger and punishment in this life and the Hereafter:
Fight for the sake of God those who fight you. And do not transgress. Indeed God does not like the transgressors. (Al-Baqarah 2:190)
…God does not like corruption. (Al-Baqarah 2:205)
God calls for the abolishment of usury and interest and gives increase (in reward) to charities. Indeed, God doesn’t like all sinful disbelievers. (Al-Baqarah 2:276)
Say, obey God and His Messenger and if they turn away then (know) God doesn’t like the ungrateful. (Aal `Imran 3:32)
God Almighty makes it the key aspect of His relationship between Him and us and He warns that those who would leave Islam are those who obviously don’t love Him. Their leaving His message will not affect him at all it is just them failing the test of life by giving into their ignorance and desires. Indeed God will bring another group whom He love and who love Him:
O you who believe, whoever among you turns away from Islam, then know that God will bring forth in place of them a people He will love and they will love Him. (Al-Ma’idah 5:54)
And I did not create the Jinn and Mankind except that they would worship/serve Me. (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)
He will have to use that intelligence to submit to God by his own choice and reject his own personal (animalistic desires). If he does submit, then he has truly put God before himself and realized the ultimate reality and purpose in life. That is to come to know God and serve Him. Then we will begin to shine the light of God upon the earth so that the rest of mankind may realize it.
The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “The Foundations of Islamic Faith”, Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait (2008).