Is it possible for a Muslim or a Christian to love Hashem?
It depends on what he is loving. I must tell you that it makes a very big difference what the gentile is thinking when he talks about his god. When somebody wants to talk about a certain personality, a G-d, he has to know that the personality must be designated by a certain description. And that designation makes all the difference in the world.
Suppose you want to bring a gift to somebody, but you don’t know who you’re bringing it to, so you bring it to the man next door. It might be a beautiful gift, but you brought it to the wrong address. So when people pray to a god that spoke to Mohammed, then they’re praying to the wrong god, because there is no such god. If they declare that “Allah is god and Mohammed is his prophet,” they’re taking about a different god that doesn’t exist.
If people pray to a god that that was supposedly born from a mother, then they’re talking about something that doesn’t exist. And therefore they are idolaters, or at best they’re praying to zero, to something that doesn’t exist. They get no reward at all. They’re not loving Hashem, they’re praying to nothing, to a made-up god.
Prayer is only real prayer if it’s directed at השם אלוקי ישראל. And that’s the Rambam’s statement. It says that the חסידי אומות העולם, the righteous gentiles, have a share in the World to Come. However, the Rambam says that they must recognize that Hashem is the אלוקי ישראל – He is the G-d of Yisroel. He has chosen us! He chose the עם ישראל. Only if they believe that, can they be included in the category of חסידי אומות העולם.
Pharaoh was willing to believe in Hashem when Moshe came to him, but he wasn’t willing to believe in השם אלוקי ישראל. And that was the big problem! And so Hashem got busy demonstrating not only that He is Hashem, but that He is השם אלוקי ישראל.
And that’s why it’s so important to believe the right things about Hashem. If a Jew believes in a universal god, then he’s not a Jew. Certainly Hashem is the Master of the Universe, but He has declared that the universe was made because of His people, the Am Yisroel. And so, we are the main actor on the stage of history and the entire world is nothing but the backdrop and scenery for us. And no matter how difficult a concept that is for you, you’re going to have to learn it. Because we have to live up to that responsibility! And you can only do that if you realize that we are the main performers in this world, and that Hashem has chosen us, and He has declared that He is השם אלוקי ישראל.
TAPE # 814 (February 1991)