Isa Glaser suggests that the book of Hosea is interesting to read with Islam in mind because of (a) its critique of idolatry, (b) its scandalous sexual imagery, and (c) its even more scandalous record of a prophet being called to marry a prostitute.
In Islamic teaching, a prophet is kept from major sin, and it would be shameful for a man to take back an adulterous wife. Hosea 11 is about about the scandal of God taking back of adulterous Israel.
Both the Qur’an and the Bible agree that Israel was a favoured nation: God had sent her prophets, given her a land, and made a covenant with her. Both scriptures agree that Israel failed to keep her part of the covenant. But whereas the Bible (in Hosea 11 and elsewhere) teaches that God determined to continue his commitment to the covenant even while meting out judgement, according to the Qur’an Israel’s sin resulted in the loss of God’s favour. According to Surah 2:124 God’s covenant ‘does not hold for those who do evil.’
We need to reckon, then, with the different concepts of God’s love as found in the Qur’an and in the Bible. In the former, God loves those who do good (Surah 2:195), those who keep themselves clean (2:222); he does not love those who overstep the limits (2:190), not the ungrateful sinner (2:276). Hosea, on the other hand, shows that God continues to love his people, even when they sin.
Glaser concludes: ‘Hosea 11 is an excellent place for Christians to explore what they mean by ‘love’, and for Muslims to consider what the Bible means by God’s love for us and our love for Him.’