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The Incarnation of Allah the Word

March 26, 2016 Leave a comment

The Koran and the Bible are in agreement regarding the Incarnation of the Word of God. Both books teach that Jesus is the Word of Allah and that He was conceived by a Jewish virgin, the Virgin Mary.

Being a Christian and one of the People of the Scripture, I am, according to the Koran, supposed to “observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed” to me from my Lord. (Koran 5:68) and not “forge a lie against Allah.” (Koran 6:94) So, first of all, I will talk about what the Bible says about the Word of Allah in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Only one or two books were originally written in Greek. Tobit, Judith, parts of Daniel, parts of Esther, and a few verses in Jeremiah were originally written in Aramaic. Most of the books were originally written in Hebrew consonants with no vowels. In the third century B.C., an Egyptian king got some Palestinian Jews to come to Alexandria, Egypt and translate the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures into Greek. According to a traditional account, a miracle occurred during the translation. Each of the seventy translators worked separately on the project translating the same texts into Greek. All seventy had the exact word for word translation. This miraculous translation is called the Greek Septuagint. During the first century, there were Jews who lived outside of Israel. They spoke Greek and used the Greek Septuagint in the synagogues. Most of the quotes from the Old Testament which are found in the New Testament come from the Greek Septuagint. The prophecies of Christ are much clearer in the Septuagint.

In the Psalms, there are two verses which talk about the Word of God, that is the divine Logos.

By the Word (Greek, Logos) of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the host of them by the Spirit of His mouth. (Psalm 32:6, LXX)

My heart has uttered a good Word (Greek, Logos). (Psalm 44:1, LXX)

The Psalms in the Septuagint are numbered differently than in the Hebrew Masoretic text. These texts are Psalm 33:6 and Psalm 45:1 respectively in the Hebrew. The Word in both texts is interpreted by the Church Fathers as referring to the Second Person of the Trinity. All Three Persons are mentioned in Psalm 32:6, LXX.

Now to digress a little here for those who may not understand Christian doctrine. We Orthodox Christians do not worship three gods. In our Creed, the first words are, “I believe in one God…” Although we worship one God, we still believe that this God of ours has three hypostases. Each hypostasis is God in His entirety. The Father is God in His entirety. The Word is God in His entirety. The Holy Spirit is God in His entirety. We do not believe that each hypostasis of the Godhead is one-third God.

I will use three mathematical equations to illustrate what we believe. The first two do not illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity. The last one will.

1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3 = 1 (Mathemtically correct, but no, this is not what we believe about each hypostasis of the Trinity.)

1 + 1 + 1 = 3 (Mathematically correct, but this would indicate the existence of three distinct gods, which of course is a heresy.)

1 + 1 + 1 = 1 (Mathematically incorrect, but theologically true. Three wholes make one whole. This is a mystery. We do not try to explain it.)

Each hypostasis is distinct from the other two. The Father is neither the Word nor the Holy Spirit. The Word is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Word.

All three hypostases share the same essence. If we could divide the divine essence (i.e., substance) into tiny particles, each particle would belong to all three hypostases. Everywhere one hypostasis is, there are the other two as well. All three hypostases are omnipresent.

The Word is often called in Scripture the Son. According to our belief, the Father eternally begot the Son. The Son has an origin but no beginning. (The Holy Spirit, likewise, has an origin but no beginning.) This terminology often confuses non-Christians. Many might think that we think that the Father has a wife and had sex with her. However, that is not true. We do not believe that Allah the Father had sexual relations with anyone. The Son was begotten of the Father, but not sexually begotten. The terms beget and begotten are theological terms which describe something we cannot begin to understand with our limited intellects. We use the language of Scripture when we talk about the Deity because the Bible contains a record of God’s revelation to man.

Before the mountains were settled, and before all hills, He begets Me. (Prov. 8:25, LXX)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. (John 1:18, KJV)

Now, I wish to cite four places in the Old Testament prophets where the Word of Allah is mentioned.

And the Word (Greek, Logos) of the Lord came to me, saying… (Jeremiah 1:11; 13:8; Ezekiel 6:1; 7:1, LXX)

The Logos of the Lord came to Jeremiah and to Ezekiel, saying… The Logos of the Lord is a Person. He came and He spoke. He also assisted the Father and the Holy Spirit in the creation of the heavens. (Psalm 32:6, LXX)

In the Old Testament there are also prophecies about the incarnation of the Word of Allah. Look at these prophecies in Isaiah and Baruch.

14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Emmanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall He eat, before He knows either to prefer evil or choose the good. 16 For before the Child shall know good or evil, He refuses evil, to choose the good; and the land shall be forsaken which thou art afraid of because of the two kings. (Isaiah 7:14-16, LXX)

35 This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. 36 He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved. 37 Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth, and conversed with men. (Baruch 3:35-37)

So now we see that God has a plan. Allah the Word, therefore, needs a vessel in order to become incarnate for our salvation and fulfill His plan. The Koran speaks highly of the one chosen to conceive the Word of Allah. Her name is Mary.

And when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah hath chosen thee and made thee pure, and hath preferred thee above (all) the women of creation. (Koran 3:42, Pickthall)

And We made the Son of Mary and His mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs. (23:50, Yusuf Ali)

And His mother was a saintly woman. (Koran 5:75, Pickthall)

God chose the best woman to be His mother. There is a saying among us Orthodox Christians. God gave us His Son and we gave Him a virgin Mother. We do not believe that God had sex with Mary. We do not believe that she is a goddess. We do not worship three gods.

Before looking at the Koran’s account of the incarnation, let us first look at the account in the Gospel according to St. Luke.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38, NASB)

Mary was “engaged to a man whose name was Joseph.” After the angel told her she was going to become pregnant with the Son of the Most High, she asked, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Mary had taken a vow of perpetual virginity. She was not planning on having sex with her fiancé, Joseph, after they got married. She “guarded her chastity” (Koran 21:91) and her “body was chaste” (Koran 66:12).

In the Koran, it says:

(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). (Koran 3:45, Pickthall)

In St. Luke’s Gospel it says that the Archangel Gabriel gave Mary the good news. The Koran says that more than one angel said this to her. Maybe another angel spoke to her at some other time prior to Gabriel’s announcement. Maybe there was another angel with Gabriel, but the Gospel account is silent about the other angel. We do not know. We only know that there is this discrepancy between the two accounts. Of course, when one thinks further about this matter, there was another angel present with Mary when Gabriel visited her – her guardian angel.

The Koran says in verse 3:45 that Jesus is a Word from Allah. Remember Psalm 44:1, LXX. Allah uttered a good Word.

The next passage from the Koran is in the Fourth Surah.

O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not “Three” – Cease! (it is) better for you! – Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

“People of the Scripture” here refers only to the Christians since the Jews did not accept the New Testament and did not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. The Koran frequently calls Jesus the “Son of Mary” to emphasize that He has no biological father and that His conception and birth were miraculous. Jesus is also called in this verse “His Word.” He is the Word of Allah. Allah conveyed His Word to Mary. In the Arabic, the word translated “conveyed” is alqāhā. It literally means threw or cast. This, of course, is an anthropomorphic expression. One should not think that the divine essence possesses hands and actually threw His Word to Mary. All three hypostases are omnipresent. The Word of Allah was already present with Mary. This expression in the Koran describes an activity of the Omnipresent Deity.

In the Gospel according to St. John, it says:

1 In the beginning was the Word (Greek, Logos), and the Word (Greek, Logos) was with God, and the Word (Greek, Logos) was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3, NASB)

The Word of Allah is Allah. St. John who wrote this was one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles and a worshiper of Allah. (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52) He was on Mount Tabor with three other Apostles when Jesus was transfigured. (Matthew 17:1-8) Therefore, St. John was rightly guided.

The Koran says that Jesus is “a spirit from Him.” Allah the Father is the “Father of spirits.” (Hebrews 12:9) Allah forms the spirit of man within him. (Zechariah 12:1) The humanity of Jesus is created, but His divinity is uncreated. “A spirit from Him” is referring to the creation of His human spirit and soul. All three hypostases are involved in the creation of human spirits and souls. It is prophesied that “Wisdom has built her house.” (Proverbs 9:1) Wisdom is another word for the second hypostasis of the Godhead. (See I Corinthians 1:24.) So, the Word of Allah was involved in the creation of His own humanity. In Job, it says, “The Divine Spirit is that which formed me.” (Job 33:4, LXX) So, the Holy Spirit who is the third hypostasis of the Godhead also creates spirits and souls

The Koran says to believe in Allah and His messengers (that is, all of the prophets) and say not “Three.” In the times of Muhammad, there was a heresy called Tritheism, which John Philoponus and a couple of bishops propagated. The Tritheists taught that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were three different gods. This heresy is rejected by the Orthodox Church. “Allah is only One God.” Actually, the word Allah does not have a plural form in Arabic. It does not possess gender either. It is a special word in Arabic used for God. So, Allah can only be one in Arabic. “Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty that He should have a son.” The Arabic text here is: “Sub’hānahu an yakūna lahu waladun.” “Glory be to Him that He should be for Him a begotten Child.” An yakūna is translated “to be” in verse 4:172. “The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah.” (Koran 4:172, Pickthall) “Lan yastankifa al-masîhu an yakūna abdan lillahi.” In Pickthall’s translation as well as other English translations, the words, an yakūna, are translated “should have” in verse 4:171. A more literal translation of these Arabic words is “that He should be.” Actually, the Koran says that Jesus is a begotten Child of Allah, but not sexually begotten. (Walada means begot. Waladun is derived from this Arabic word.) Like the word, alqāhā, one should not interpret the word, waladun, literally. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are theological terms. Beget and begotten as well as proceed are also theological terms. Sub’hānahu waTa’ala is an appellation that Muslims frequently place after the name of God, Allah. It means “Glory be to Him and He, The Most High.” So, “sub’hānahu,” does not mean “Far is it removed from His Transcendent Majesty.”

Glory be to Him (Jesus Christ) that He should be for Him (Allah the Father) a begotten Child.

Another text in the Koran

And Mary, daughter of ‘Imran, whose body was chaste, therefore We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was of the obedient. (Koran 66:12, Pickthall)

All three hypostases of the Godhead are mentioned in this verse. We, that is, the Father and the Son, breathed therein something of Our Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of Christ” and the “Spirit of the Son” in the New Testament. (See Romans 8:9, I Peter 1:11, and Galatians 4:6.) He is also “the Spirit of your Father” (Matt. 10:20) and “the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead.” (Rom. 8:11) Jesus said, “All things that the Father has are Mine.” (John 16:15, NKJV) The Holy Spirit belongs to both the Father and the Word.

Breathing the Spirit on someone is something that Jesus did a week after His resurrection.

He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22, NASB)

Again, this is another anthropomorphic expression. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent. The Holy Prophet David asked, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?” (Psalm 138:7, LXX)

In the Gospel according to St. Luke, it says:

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35, NASB)

Both the Koran and the Bible are in agreement about the Holy Spirit facilitating the conception of the Word of Allah in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Mary is called the daughter of Imran in the Koran. According to Church tradition, Mary’s father’s name is Joachim. Imran is probably another name for Joachim just like Idris is another name for Enoch in the Koran. (See Koran 19:56 and 21:85.)

The text from the 66th Surah says, “She put faith in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was of the obedient.” In the Gospel, it says, “And Mary said, ‘Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.’” She agreed to cooperate with God and conceive the Word of Allah.

The next passage is from the 19th Surah.

And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless Son. She said: How can I have a Son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of Him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. And she conceived Him, and she withdrew with Him to a far place. (19:16-22, Pickthall)

Here, the whole Trinity sends their spirit who assumed the likeness of a perfect man. This might be the Archangel Gabriel or maybe another angel who came after Gabriel. The angel said to her, “I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless Son.” Remember the prophecy in Isaiah:

For before the Child shall know good or evil, He refuses evil, to choose the good. (Isaiah 7:16, LXX)

The Word of Allah is Allah who never sins. Therefore, after He became incarnate He was faultless.

Jesus is also said to be a “revelation for mankind” and “a mercy from Allah.” (Koran 19:21) In the Gospel according to St. John, it says:

And the Word (Greek, Logos) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, KJV)

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. (John 1:18, KJV)

Remember the prophecy in Baruch:

Afterward did He shew Himself upon earth, and conversed with men. (Baruch 3:37)

The prophecy is that God (Baruch 3:35) would show Himself on earth and converse with men. After Jesus was born, He conversed with men. Jesus is the incarnate Word of Allah who is Allah.

So Jesus is a physical, bodily revelation for mankind. He is also a mercy from the Father and the Holy Spirit. After all, it was the Father and the Holy Spirit who sent Jesus.

Draw nigh to Me, and hear ye these words; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: when it took place, there was I, and now the Lord, even the Lord, and His Spirit, hath sent Me. (Isaiah 48:16, LXX)

Jesus is the name that Joseph gave Him after He was born, because an angel told him in a dream to name Him that.

And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, KJV)

Jesus saved His people from their sins by dying for them on the Cross. St. John says:

And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2, KJV)

And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. (I John 4:14, KJV)

So, the Koran confirms the Bible when it says that Jesus is “a mercy from Us.” (Koran 19:21)

Finally, how are the human and divine natures of Jesus joined together? Here is what the Council of Chalcedon said. It is the Fourth Ecumenical Council of the Church. This council met in 451 A.D. – 158 years before Muhammad started receiving his revelations.

This wise and salutary formula of divine grace sufficed for the perfect knowledge and confirmation of religion; for it teaches the perfect [doctrine] concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and sets forth the Incarnation of the Lord to them that faithfully receive it. But, forasmuch as persons undertaking to make void the preaching of the truth have through their individual heresies given rise to empty babblings; some of them daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord’s incarnation for us and refusing [to use] the name Mother of God (Θεοτοκος) in reference to the Virgin, while others, bringing in a confusion and mixture, and idly conceiving that the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead is all one, maintaining that the divine Nature of the Only Begotten is, by mixture, capable of suffering; therefore this present holy, great, and ecumenical synod, desiring to exclude every device against the Truth, and teaching that which is unchanged from the beginning, has at the very outset decreed that the faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Fathers shall be preserved inviolate. And on account of them that contend against the Holy Ghost, it confirms the doctrine afterwards delivered concerning the substance of the Spirit by the One Hundred and Fifty holy Fathers who assembled in the imperial City; which doctrine they declared unto all men, not as though they were introducing anything that had been lacking in their predecessors, but in order to explain through written documents their faith concerning the Holy Ghost against those who were seeking to destroy His sovereignty. And, on account of those who have taken in hand to corrupt the mystery of the dispensation [i.e. the Incarnation] and who shamelessly pretend that He who was born of the holy Virgin Mary was a mere man, it receives the synodical letters of the Blessed Cyril, Pastor of the Church of Alexandria, addressed to Nestorius and the Easterns, judging them suitable, for the refutation of the frenzied folly of Nestorius, and for the instruction of those who long with holy ardour for a knowledge of the saving symbol. And, for the confirmation of the orthodox doctrines, it has rightly added to these the letter of the President of the great and old Rome, the most blessed and holy Archbishop Leo, which was addressed to Archbishop Flavian of blessed memory, for the removal of the false doctrines of Eutyches, judging them to be agreeable to the confession of the great Peter, and as it were a common pillar against misbelievers. For it opposes those who would rend the mystery of the dispensation into a Duad of Sons; it repels from the sacred assembly those who dare to say that the Godhead of the Only Begotten is capable of suffering; it resists those who imagine a mixture or confusion of the two natures of Christ; it drives away those who fancy His form of a servant is of an heavenly or some substance other than that which was taken of us, and it anathematizes those who foolishly talk of two natures of our Lord before the union, conceiving that after the union there was only one.
Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that He is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching His Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching His manhood; made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of His Father before the worlds according to His Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to His manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us. (Definition of Faith of the Council of Chalcedon, vol. 14, pp. 263-265, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473, ISBN 1-56563-130-7)

The two natures of Christ are joined together by diffusion, not confusion. The divine nature permeates the human nature. They are joined together without change. The divine nature remains uncircumscribed while the human nature is circumscribed. The two natures are joined together without separation or division. They can never be separated from each other again. Jesus continues to share the same essence with the other two hypostases. Jesus is one Person who has two natures. He is fully God and fully human. Whenever we speak of the two natures of Christ, we have another mathematical equation for explaining them: 1 + 1 = 1. That is another mystery.

In the Koran, it says:

He hath ordained for you that religion which He commended unto Noah, and that which We inspire in thee (Muhammad), and that which We commended unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus, saying: Establish the religion, and be not divided therein. Dreadful for the idolaters is that unto which thou callest them. Allah chooseth for Himself whom He will, and guideth unto Himself him who turneth (toward Him). And they were not divided until after the knowledge came unto them, through rivalry among themselves; and had it not been for a Word that had already gone forth from thy Lord for an appointed term, it surely had been judged between them. And those who were made to inherit the Scripture after them are verily in hopeless doubt concerning it. Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (42:13-15, Pickthall)

Orthodox Christians were called “believers” in the 30th Surah. (See Koran 30:2-5.) The Holy Trinity is the true God of Muhammad. One of the problems that I see with Islam today is that their religious leaders ignore all of those passages in the Koran about the Bible and do not use the Bible to help them understand the Koran. I will end this blog with this warning from the Koran.

Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (4:150-152, Pickthall)

Slavery in the Bible and the Koran

March 12, 2016 1 comment

Slavery existed in ancient times. No one can deny that. There were slaves during the time of Christ and also during the time of Muhammad. Slavery was an acceptable social convention among ancient Christians and among Muslims. The Bible and the Koran laid down rules for regulating it and moral principles which would eventually lead to its abolition.

In the New Testament, there were commandments given both to masters and their slaves.

Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. (Eph. 6:5-9, NASB)

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven. (Col. 4:1, NASB)

These commandments were given to promote peace and justice between the slaves and their masters. Slavery was part of the culture and changing the culture would take time. Some passages can be found in the New Testament which encouraged the emancipation of slaves.

Here are two passages in Galatians:

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10, NASB)

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1, NASB)

The first states that one should be a bond-servant of Christ and not a pleaser of men. The other one pertains to the slavery to the Old Testament ceremonial law, specifically the practice of circumcision. However, the principle derived from this verse is that one should prefer freedom over slavery. Another passage is in First Corinthians.

Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. (I Cor. 7:21-23, NASB)

Here, St. Paul clearly tells Christian slaves they should prefer freedom to slavery. If they have the opportunity to become emancipated, they should seize that opportunity.

In Tobit, there is the Silver Rule.

Do that to no man which thou hatest. (Tobit 4:15)

In the Gospels, there is the Golden Rule.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matt. 7:12, KJV)

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31, KJV)

So, if one should prefer freedom to slavery and no one should wish to impose on another person a condition which one should hate (that is, slavery), then no one should purchase slaves except for the purpose of emancipating them. One should always put himself in the other’s place and think about what he would want for himself if he were in that person’s situation. A man who owns slaves should set them free because he himself desires that the slave have what he already has — freedom. He would be obeying the Golden Rule if he did so.

Another passage is in Philemon.

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me. I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart, whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel; but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will. For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. (Philemon 10-16, NASB)

St. Paul hints to St. Philemon that he should grant St. Onesimus his freedom. So, although slavery existed in the first century, there were moral teachings that would eventually lead to its abolition.

In Orthodox Church tradition, there are Saints who freed their slaves. Christians used to purchase slaves for the purpose of evangelizing them. After they had been converted to Christ, they were set free. St. Basil and St. Macrina owned slaves. They came from a wealthy Christian family. Before they took monastic vows, they set their slaves free and treated them as equals.

In the Koran, there are also teachings which eventually would lead to the abolition of slavery. Slavery existed in seventh century Arabia. The Koran regulated an existing institution and laid down rules which, when practiced by the faithful Muslims, would eventually lead to its abolition.

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing. (2:177, Pickthall)

And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), write it for them if ye are aware of aught of good in them, and bestow upon them of the wealth of Allah which He hath bestowed upon you. (Koran 24:33, Pickthall)

Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Ascent is! – (It is:) freeing the bondman. (Koran 90:12,13, Pickthall)

The emancipation of slaves was a penance that Muslims had to fulfill whenever they committed certain sins.

It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the blood-money to the family of the slain, unless they remit it as a charity. If he (the victim) be of a people hostile unto you, and he is a believer, then (the penance is) to set free a believing slave. And if he cometh of a folk between whom and you there is a covenant, then the blood-money must be paid unto his folk and (also) a believing slave must be set free. (Koran 4:92, Pickthall)

Allah will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths, but He will take you to task for the oaths which ye swear in earnest. The expiation thereof is the feeding of ten of the needy with the average of that wherewith ye feed your own folk, or the clothing of them, or the liberation of a slave, and for him who findeth not (the wherewithal to do so) then a three days’ fast. This is the expiation of your oaths when ye have sworn; and keep your oaths. Thus Allah expoundeth unto you His revelations in order that ye may give thanks. (Koran 5:89, Pickthall)

Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave before they touch one another. Unto this ye are exhorted; and Allah is Informed of what ye do. (Koran 58:3, Pickthall)

Sex slavery is forbidden. If a Muslim wanted to have sex with one of his slave girls, he had to marry her first. She could choose to preserve her chastity and not marry her master.

Force not your slave-girls to whoredom that ye may seek enjoyment of the life of the world, if they would preserve their chastity. (Koran 24:33, Pickthall)

And whoso is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. (Koran 4:25, Pickthall)

And marry such of you as are solitary and the pious of your slaves and maid-servants. If they be poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty. Allah is of ample means, Aware. (Koran 24:32, Pickthall)

Wed not idolatresses till they believe; for lo! a believing bondwoman is better than an idolatress though she please you; and give not your daughters in marriage to idolaters till they believe, for lo! a believing slave is better than an idolater though he please you. These invite unto the Fire, and Allah inviteth unto the Garden, and unto forgiveness by His grace, and expoundeth His revelations to mankind that haply they may remember. (Koran 4:32, Pickthall)

Marriage, according to the Koran, is contracted “by uttering a recognised form of words” and paying a dowry to the bride.

There is no sin for you in that which ye proclaim or hide in your minds concerning your troth with women. Allah knoweth that ye will remember them. But plight not your troth with women except by uttering a recognised form of words. And do not consummate the marriage until (the term) prescribed is run. Know that Allah knoweth what is in your minds, so beware of Him; and know that Allah is Forgiving, Clement. (Koran 2:235, Pickthall)

And give unto the women (whom ye marry) free gift of their marriage portions; but if they of their own accord remit unto you a part thereof, then ye are welcome to absorb it (in your wealth). (Koran 4:4, Pickthall)

And those of whom ye seek content (by marrying them), give unto them their portions as a duty. And there is no sin for you in what ye do by mutual agreement after the duty (hath been done). Lo! Allah is ever Knower, Wise. (Koran 4:24, Pickthall)

And whoso is not able to afford to marry free, believing women, let them marry from the believing maids whom your right hands possess. Allah knoweth best (concerning) your faith. Ye (proceed) one from another; so wed them by permission of their folk, and give unto them their portions in kindness, they being honest, not debauched nor of loose conduct. (Koran 4:25, Pickthall)

Muslims are permitted to marry Christians and Jews. They are “those who have received the Scripture” in the following verse.

This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. (Koran 5:5, Pickthall)

Muslim men are forbidden to treat their Christian and Jewish wives like “secret concubines.” They must live with them in honor and not in fornication. Muslim men must live with their wives in kindness.

And live with them in kindness. (Koran 4:19, Sahih International)

The Koran also says:

And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. (Koran 30:21, Pickthall)

Having sex with a woman who is not one’s wife is forbidden. The word for this in Arabic is zina.

And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way. (Koran 17:32, Pickthall)

Lo! the doom of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure — and those who preserve their chastity save with their wives and those whom their right hands possess, for thus they are not blameworthy; But whoso seeketh more than that, those are they who are transgressors; (Koran 70:28-31, Pickthall)

The women “whom their right hands possess” in the preceding passage are slave girls whom the men had married. Remember a slave girl could choose to preserve her chastity and not marry her master. Therefore, both consensual and non-consensual sex with a woman who is not one’s wife is a sin. The Muslims call it haraam. Rape is therefore a sin according to the Koran.

Whenever a Muslim captured a married woman during war, he could marry her, but he must “seek her with his wealth in honest wedlock.” In other words, she must first become a Muslim of her own free will if she is an idolater (“There is no compulsion in religion.” Koran 2:256 “Wed not idolatresses until they believe.” Koran 4:32). Orthodox Christians and Jews are not idolaters according to the Koran. If they were, then Muslims would not be allowed to marry them. (Koran 5:5) Then, she must divorce her husband or her husband must be dead. Otherwise, the Muslim man would be committing adultery. (Koran 17:32) He, of course, must marry her by using “a recognised form of words” and paying her a dowry.

And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess. It is a decree of Allah for you. Lawful unto you are all beyond those mentioned, so that ye seek them with your wealth in honest wedlock, not debauchery. (Koran 4:24, Pickthall)

A divorced woman or a widowed woman cannot be forced to marry someone. She marries her next husband by agreement “between them in kindness.”

And when ye have divorced women and they reach their term, place not difficulties in the way of their marrying their husbands if it is agreed between them in kindness. This is an admonition for him among you who believeth in Allah and the Last Day. That is more virtuous for you, and cleaner. Allah knoweth; ye know not. (Koran 4:232, Pickthall)

Women, according to the Koran, have rights similar to those of men. A man can choose his wife and a woman can choose her husband.

And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Koran 2:228, Pickthall)

The Koran does not teach that a married woman who has been captured in war can be treated like a sex slave.

In modern times, all slavery in all its forms has been criminalized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. (Article 4, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

All predominantly Muslim nations who are members of the United Nations have accepted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although some have violated this international agreement from time to time. Despite the occasional violations, according to the Koran, Muslims are required to be faithful in their observance of treaties with other nations whether those other nations are Muslim or not.

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing. (2:177, Pickthall)

O ye who believe! fulfil (all) obligations. (Koran 5:1, Yusuf Ali)

Fulfil the covenant of Allah when ye have covenanted, and break not your oaths after the asseveration of them, and after ye have made Allah surety over you. Lo! Allah knoweth what ye do. (Koran 16:91, Pickthall)

Those who believed, and adopted exile, and fought for the Faith, with their property and their persons, in the cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) friends and protectors, one of another. As to those who believed but came not into exile, ye owe no duty of protection to them until they come into exile; but if they seek your aid in religion, it is your duty to help them, except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance. And (remember) Allah seeth all that ye do. (Koran 8:72, Yusuf Ali)

In conclusion, both the Bible and the Koran have laid down principles which have resulted in the abolition of slavery. The Bible and the Koran have rules which regulated slavery when it existed as an acceptable institution in ancient times. There were principles, like the observance of the Silver Rule and the Golden Rule in the Bible and the encouragement to emancipate slaves in the Koran, which eventually led to the practice being criminalized internationally. People who practice slavery today are violating international law and the teachings and principles of two of the world’s largest religions: Islam and Christianity.

A Soldier’s Reward

March 12, 2016 Leave a comment

Unmarried Christian and Jewish soldiers may meet their soulmates on the battlefield. There are two passages in the Old Testament which make it lawful to take a virgin woman among the enemy as a wife. There is New Testament approval of this practice as well.

In the Book of Numbers it tells about the children of Israel having taken spoils from the Midianites whom they defeated in battle. Moses gave them instructions regarding the human captives. Only the virgin females of the Midianites were allowed to live. All the other Midianites were supposed to be killed. Here is the passage from the Book of Numbers:

And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword. And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods. And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire. And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts. And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho. And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Num. 31:7-18, KJV)

Verse 18 of this passage says that the Jewish and Christian soldiers should keep the virgin females “alive for themselves.” Going to war could be good for the unmarried Jewish and Christian soldiers. They could possibly find their soulmates on the battlefield. No dating required. Just pick the one you like and she is yours. Further instructions regarding the female virgin captives can be found in Deuteronomy.

When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. (Deut. 21:10-14, KJV)

After a Jewish or Christian soldier finds his soulmate on the battlefield among the enemies, he cannot make love to her for one lunar month (29 or 30 days). He needs to watch the moon go through its phases. After one lunar month has passed he may go in unto her. No dating necessary. No dowry need to be paid. She is his. If he does not like her after he has gone in unto her, he must let her go free.

Now let us look at the passages in the New Testament which give approval to this practice. The first passage is in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17-19, KJV)

Those laws in Numbers and Deuteronomy are still in effect! According to Jesus, the laws have not been abolished. St. Paul says the same thing in his Epistle to the Romans!

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (Rom. 3:31, KJV)

We can also see that Moses and those other Israelites had “obtained a good report through faith.” They believed that it was all right to kill everyone but the female virgins and take them to be their brides. God approved. He told them to do these things.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: (Heb.11:39, KJV)

Look at this verse from the Epistle of James.

Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. (James 5:10, KJV)

Moses was a prophet. He was an example to us. He told the Israelites to kill everyone among the enemies and save the female virgins for themselves. It is all right for Jewish and Christian soldiers to follow the example and teachings of Moses in this matter.

St. John the Theologian said that he wants us to “prosper and be in health.”

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (III John 2, KJV)

Jewish and Christian soldiers will prosper indeed after capturing a woman who will provide them with free labor and also sex. When they get tired of these women, they can just send them out the door.

St. Paul said that woman was created for man. Those young virgin females were created for those Jewish and Christian soldiers.

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (I Cor. 11:9, KJV)

St. Paul also says that God “giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” That even includes the women that the Jewish and Christian soldiers capture for themselves on the battlefield!

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. (I Tim. 6:17, KJV)

American soldiers, enjoy your First Amendment rights!

Now for the point I am trying to make here. People are doing the same thing with the Koran that I just did with the Bible. ISIS, the extremists Muslims, and the critics of Islam take verses from the Koran out of their historical context and out of the context of the rest of the surrounding verses in a passage and invent some crazy rubbish like I just did with passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Of course, no one today should do what was allowed to Israelites in 1500 B.C.! Today, we call this sex slavery and war crimes. One must understand those passages in the Old Testament in the context of progressive moral revelation. Instead of shoving the higher moral principles on the Israelites, God simply gave some rules to regulate an already established social practice in the Middle East back then. The higher standards of morality came later.

A principle of interpretation that one must remember is this. There is the text and there is the interpretation of the text. One needs to interpret a text holistically and in context. Otherwise, one gets the wrong meaning.

It is interesting to note here as well that the Church Fathers usually interpreted these dark passages of Scripture allegorically. They never told anyone to do the seemingly barbaric things that people back in Old Testament times actually did.

So, whenever you see someone bashing the Koran by quoting certain verses from it, remember it is possible to do the same thing with the Bible. Atheists, non-Jews, and non-Christians frequently do this.

What the Koran Says about the Bible

March 6, 2016 Leave a comment

One common misconception that many Christians have about the Koran is that it rejects the Bible or replaces it. Actually, however, the Koran is very positive about the Bible and says that it contains Allah’s revelations. Many Muslims, on the other hand, have allowed the Koran to replace the Bible contrary to the teachings of the Koran. The reason why this has happened is because their religious leaders have convinced them that the Bible has been corrupted to such an extent that it can no longer be trusted in matters of doctrine and morality.

However, the Bible which Orthodox Christians used in the seventh century was accepted by Muhammad. We possess manuscripts of the Old and New Testaments in Greek which predate Muhammad by three or four hundred years. Orthodox Christians in the seventh century used the Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. Also, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the twentieth century. Those Hebrew manuscripts predate the birth of Christ. Therefore, the Muslim religious leaders should be encouraging their parishes to read and study the Bible instead of shunning it.

Five of the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Church had already come and gone before Muhammad started receiving his revelations. A well-defined theology already existed among Orthodox Christians. The heresies of Arius, Sabellius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Cerinthus, Nestorius, Eutychius, Origen, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and others were all rejected by the Church during these councils. The tritheist heresy of John Philoponus emerged in the middle of the sixth century and Muhammad was born in 569 A.D. So, it is certain that he had probably heard some heretical Christians propagating this heresy. St. John of Damascus said that Muhammad had dialogued with an Arian monk in Jerusalem. It is also quite conceivable that he encountered some Nestorians. I have mentioned these heresies because of this revelation in the tenth surah.

And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers.(10:94, 95, Pickthall)

This revelation allegedly came about 617 A.D. according to Marmaduke Pickthall. In an earlier revelation which came in about 615 or 616 A.D. Muhammad calls Orthodox Christians “believers.”

The Romans have been defeated in the nearer land, and they, after their defeat will be victorious within ten years – Allah’s is the command in the former case and in the latter – and in that day believers will rejoice. (Koran 30:2-4, Pickthall)

The Romans are the Byzantine Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire. They were at war with the Persian polytheists. In 624 A.D., the Byzantines finally defeated the Persians. Another point to make here is that if the Muslims wanted to get rid of Orthodox Christianity and the word “believers” refers to the Muslims, then they would not rejoice when the Orthodox Christians defeat the Persians.

According to the passage from the tenth surah, therefore, Muhammad was supposed to ask the Orthodox Christians whenever he had any doubts concerning a revelation. The Orthodox Christians are believers according to the thirtieth surah.

The Third Council of Constantinople occurred in 681 A.D. The Monothelite heresy was rejected by the Church then. The Quinisext Council occurred sixty years after Muhammad’s death in 692 A.D. The canons of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils were written at that one. In 787 A.D. the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Church rejected the Iconoclast heresy.

During the time of Muhammad, the Koran was being scribbled down onto palm leaves, stones, and animal bones. Some of the Muslims memorized large portions of these revelations, but many were killed in battle. The period of time during the receiving of these revelations lasted from 609 A.D. until 632 A.D., the year during which the Islamic prophet died. After his death, these revelations were gathered together and put into a book called the Koran. The revelations were not arranged according to chronological order. Some of the chapters (i.e., surahs) that were written down later in Muhammad’s life precede some of those that were written down earlier in his life. Even in some chapters, there are verses that may have been written down five or six years later than the rest of the verses in that chapter.

Since these Koranic revelations were not collected together to form a complete written book during the life of Muhammad, one should interpret the word, “revelations,” to mean the Bible and not just the Koran. Here are some passages from the Koran encouraging people to read and know the Bible. Surah 3:79 even says that people should study the Bible. The “People of the Scripture” are the Jews and the Christians. The “Followers of the Remembrance” are the Jews. “Disbelievers” and “unbelievers” in the Koran usually refer to polytheistic idolaters. There were many polytheists among the Arabs during Muhammad’s time.

But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. (Koran 2:39, Pickthall)

And believe in that which I reveal, confirming that which ye possess already (of the Scripture), and be not first to disbelieve therein, and part not with My revelations for a trifling price, and keep your duty unto Me. (Koran 2:41, Pickthall)

And when We gave unto Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (of right and wrong), that ye might be led aright. (Koran 2:53, Pickthall)

And the Jews say the Christians follow nothing (true), and the Christians say the Jews follow nothing (true); yet both are readers of the Scripture. Even thus speak those who know not. Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differ. (Koran 2:113, Pickthall)

Those unto whom We have given the Scripture, who read it with the right reading, those believe in it. And whoso disbelieveth in it, those are they who are the losers. (Koran 2:121, Pickthall)

Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him we have surrendered. (Koran 2:136, Pickthall)

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing. (Koran 2:177, Pickthall)

It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given the Scripture and wisdom and the prophethood that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah; but (what he said was): Be ye faithful servants of the Lord by virtue of your constant teaching of the Scripture and of your constant study thereof. (Koran 3:79)

O ye unto whom the Scripture hath been given! Believe in what We have revealed confirming that which ye possess, before We destroy countenances so as to confound them, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers (of old time). The commandment of Allah is always executed. (Koran 4:47, Pickthall)

O ye who believe! Believe in Allah and His messenger and the Scripture which He hath revealed unto His messenger, and the Scripture which He revealed aforetime. Whoso disbelieveth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers and the Last Day, he verily hath wandered far astray. (Koran 4:136, Pickthall)

Lo! Those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say: We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; such are disbelievers in truth; and for disbelievers We prepare a shameful doom. But those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them, unto them Allah will give their wages; and Allah was ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:150-152, Pickthall)

Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as We imparted unto David the Psalms; and messengers We have mentioned unto thee before and messengers We have not mentioned unto thee; and Allah spake directly unto Moses; messengers of good cheer and of warning, in order that mankind might have no argument against Allah after the messengers. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:163-165, Pickthall)

If they had observed the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto them from their Lord, they would surely have been nourished from above them and from beneath their feet. Among them there are people who are moderate, but many of them are of evil conduct. (Koran 5:66, Pickthall)

Say O People of the Scripture! Ye have naught (of guidance) till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord. That which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them. But grieve not for the disbelieving folk. (Koran 5:68, Pickthall)

He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in truth. In the day when He saith: Be! It is. His Word is the Truth, and His will be the Sovereignty on the day when the trumpet is blown. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, He is the Wise, the Aware. (Koran 6:74, Pickthall)

Perfected is the Word of thy Lord in truth and justice. There is naught that can change His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. (Koran 6:116, Pickthall)

Again, We gave the Scripture unto Moses, complete for him who would do good, an explanation of all things, a guidance and a mercy, that they might believe in the meeting with their Lord. And this is a blessed Scripture which We have revealed. So follow it and ward off (evil), that ye may find mercy. Lest ye should say: The Scripture was revealed only to two sects before us, and we in sooth were unaware of what they read; or lest ye should say: If the Scripture had been revealed unto us, we surely had been better guided than are they. Now hath there come unto you a clear proof from your Lord, a guidance and mercy; and who doeth greater wrong than he who denieth the revelations of Allah, and turneth away from them? We award unto those who turn away from Our revelations an evil doom because of their aversion. (Koran 6:155-158, Pickthall)

Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian. (Koran 15:9, Pickthall)

And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men whom We inspired – Ask the followers of the Remembrance if ye know not!  (Koran 16:43, Pickthall)

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, Allah guideth them not and theirs will be a painful doom. Only they invent falsehood who believe not Allah’s revelations, and (only) they are the liars. (Koran 16:104, 105, Pickthall)

And thy Lord is Best Aware of all who are in the heavens and the earth. And we preferred some of the prophets above others, and unto David We gave the Psalms. (Koran 17:55, Pickthall)

And We sent not (as Our messengers) before thee other than men, whom We inspired. Ask the followers of the Reminder if ye know not? (Koran 21:7, Pickthall)

And We sent no messenger before thee but We inspired him, (saying): There is no Allah save Me (Allah), so worship Me. (Koran 21:25, Pickthall)

And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder for those who keep from evil. (Koran 21:48, Pickthall)

Never sent We a messenger or a prophet before thee but when He recited (the message) Satan proposed (opposition) in respect of that which he recited thereof. But Allah abolisheth that which Satan proposeth. Then Allah establisheth His revelations. Allah is Knower, Wise. (Koran 22:52, Pickthall)

We verily gave Moses the Scripture and placed with him his brother Aaron as henchman. (Koran 25:35, Pickthall)

And We verily gave the Scripture unto Moses after We had destroyed the generations of old: clear testimonies for mankind, and a guidance and a mercy, that haply they might reflect. (Koran 28:43, Pickthall)

But as for those who disbelieved and denied Our revelations, and denied the meeting of the Hereafter, such will be brought to doom. (Koran 30:16, Pickthall)

We verily gave Moses the Scripture; so be not ye in doubt of his receiving it; and We appointed it a guidance for the Children of Israel. (Koran 32:23, Pickthall)

And We verily gave Moses the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture, A guide and a reminder for men of understanding. (Koran 40:53,54, Pickthall)

Unto this, then, summon (O Muhammad). And be thou upright as thou art commanded, and follow not their lusts, but say: I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. Unto us our works and unto you your works; no argument between us and you. Allah will bring us together, and unto Him is the journeying. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

Surah 15:9 is often quoted by Muslims as referring to the Koran, but one must remember that the Torah is also called the Reminder in verses 21:7, 48 and 40:53,54 of the Koran. Surah 6:116 says that “there is naught that can change” Allah’s words. Surah 22:52 says that Allah establishes His revelations even when Satan tries to undermine them and destroy them. The Muslim religious leaders should pay attention to this revelation of Allah:

But the Word of the Lord endures forever. (I Peter 1:25, NKJV)

and this one as well in their own holy book:

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, Allah guideth them not and theirs will be a painful doom. (Koran 16:104, Pickthall)

They should also ask the Orthodox Christians whenever they have doubts about a particular revelation. (Koran 10:94,95)

Also, notice how often Allah uses the words, We, Our, and Us, when referring to Himself but also claims to be only one God in the Koran. It is quite obvious to a Trinitarian Christian that Trinitarian theology is being expounded in the Koran. The subject of the Trinity and the various heresies that the Koran condemns are the topic of another blog.

Murder, Suicide, and Terrorism in the Koran

March 5, 2016 Leave a comment

The suicide bombings carried out by radical, extremist, Islamic terrorists have created fear and hatred in the minds of many non-Muslims. Unfortunately, this fear and hatred have caused many of the moderate and progressive Muslims to become objects of hatred and discrimination by the non-Muslims. Much disinformation and hate propaganda regarding Islam and the Muslims has found its way onto the internet. Although it is true that there are Muslims who use the Koran and the other sacred literature of Islam to justify their terrorist activities. There are still many who understand the Koran in a different light, thus having a more positive and peaceful attitude toward non-Muslims. I am going to provide some citations from the Koran regarding murder, suicide, and terrorism in the Koran in order to show that these things are not encouraged by the Muslims’ holy book.

First, let us look at the prohibitions against murder in the Koran. In the third surah, it says:

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, and slay the prophets wrongfully, and slay those of mankind who enjoin equity: promise them a painful doom. (Koran 3:21, Pickthall)

The “revelations of Allah” are the Bible and the Koran. Actually, the Koran had not been written down in the form of a complete book until after Muhammad’s death. Some scribes wrote down the revelations that Muhammad claimed to have received from the Archangel Gabriel. They wrote these down on palm leaves, bones, stones, etc. So, the Bible is principally intended here. The people who “slay the prophets wrongfully” are those Jews who murdered the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, and John’s father, Zachariah. Those who “slay those of mankind who enjoin equity” are people who murder those who encourage righteous living. The consequences of these activities is “a painful doom” in Hell.

The fourth surah contains another prohibition against murder.

O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you. Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah. (Koran 4:29,30, Pickthall)

Here in these verses Hell is promised to those who kill others “through aggression and injustice.”

In the same surah there is more about the subject of murder.

It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the blood-money to the family of the slain, unless they remit it as a charity. If he (the victim) be of a people hostile unto you, and he is a believer, then (the penance is) to set free a believing slave. And if he cometh of a folk between whom and you there is a covenant, then the blood-money must be paid unto his folk and (also) a believing slave must be set free. And whoso hath not the wherewithal must fast two consecutive months. A penance from Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise. Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell for ever. Allah is wroth against him and He hath cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom. (Koran 4:92,93, Pickthall)

These verses deal with killing a believer, that is, another Muslim. I think that they could also apply to a righteous Jew or a righteous Christian who has not adopted any of the heresies condemned in the Koran. (The heresies I am referring to are the subject of another blog.) The monotheist who has surrendered his will to Allah is according to some verses in the Koran a Muslim although he is not an Islamic one. (See Koran 2:62, 133; 3:52, 65-68, 113-115, 199; 4:125; 5:44-48; 7:159; 22:67; 29:69; 35:24; 37:71,72.) Verse 92 of this surah tells about the consequences for accidental manslaughter of a Muslim. (Contrast this with Numbers 35:9-34 and Deuteronomy 19:4-10.) The following verse tells about the punishment for murdering a Muslim. That punishment is “hell for ever.” Furthermore, Allah has “cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom.”

The sixth surah has a prohibition against abortion and murder.

Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord hath made a sacred duty for you: That ye ascribe no thing as partner unto Him and that ye do good to parents, and that ye slay not your children because of penury – We provide for you and for them – and that ye draw not nigh to lewd things whether open or concealed. And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice. This He hath command you, in order that ye may discern. (Koran 6:152, Pickthall)

The words, “slay not your children because of penury,” are often interpreted by Muslims as a prohibition against abortion. Muslims disagree among themselves regarding when the soul enters the fetus or embryo. There are some Muslims who agree with Christians and say that life begins at conception. There are others who say that life begins when the embryo is implanted in the womb. (Conception takes place in the fallopian tube and about 11 days later the embryo becomes implanted in the womb of a pregnant woman.) The majority of Muslims, however, believe that ensoulment occurs 120 days after conception. They base this belief on a hadith written down over two hundred years after Muhammad’s death. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 6594) As for the latter part of this verse, it clearly speaks of the sanctity of life. The only time that life can be taken is “in the course of justice.” Capital punishment for certain crimes is permissible in Islam.

Another prohibition against abortion occurs in the 17th surah.

Slay not your children, fearing a fall to poverty, We shall provide for them and for you. Lo! the slaying of them is great sin. (Koran 17:31, Pickthall)

Here abortion is called a great sin.

In verse 33 of the same chapter, the sacredness of life is reiterated.

And slay not the life which Allah hath forbidden save with right. Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power unto his heir, but let him not commit excess in slaying. Lo! he will be helped. (Koran 17:33, Pickthall)

Here murder is forbidden. No life can be taken “save with right.” That means capital punishment for certain crimes and war when waged lawfully permit the taking of life, but in all other instances it is forbidden. In order to understand the words, “We have given power unto his heir,” read Koran 4:92,93 again.

The verse that is used by Muslims to indicate that suicide is forbidden is in the second surah.

Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah, and be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! Allah loveth the beneficent. (Koran 2:195, Pickthall)

It says in this verse, “be not cast by your own hands to ruin.” Although the context of the passage indicates that one who does not spend his wealth for the cause of Allah, that is, to help the poor,  help build mosques, help spread the Islamic faith, etc., would be casting himself to ruin, it has another application. Do not harm yourself spiritually, physically, or in any other way. The principle of not casting oneself to ruin indicates a broader interpretation. Suicide is therefore forbidden. Also, remember the sanctity of life verses: Koran 6:152 and 17:33. One should regard his own life as sacred as well as that of others.

Finally, there is a passage in the Koran that many moderate and progressive Muslims cite against terrorism. It is found in the Fifth Surah.

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! Many of them became prodigals in the earth. The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 5:32-34, Pickthall)

Verse 32 of this chapter indicates how much value is placed on the human life by Allah. Killing someone is equivalent to killing all mankind. Saving the life of someone is equivalent to saving all mankind. The idea here is the same idea expressed in the Jewish Talmud. He who destroys a man destroys a world. Those who do commit murder, of course, are destined for Hell. (See the previous citations in this blog.) St. John the Theologian would agree. He says, “No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (I John 3:15) The words, “strive after corruption in the land,” are interpreted as applying to terrorism.

The terrorist is indiscriminately killing innocent people, even Muslims. Terrorists killed and injured over one hundred Muslims in Ankara, Turkey on October 10, 2015. Those people were simply holding a peace rally. They wanted Turkey to stop fighting the Kurds. On November 13, 2015, terrorists killed more innocent people in Paris. They even killed some Muslims during their attacks. Terrorists also killed several thousand people on September 11, 2001. Many of the people who died during those attacks were also Muslims. These terrorists who call themselves Muslims do not hold life sacred as Koran 6:152 teaches. They do not regret destroying many worlds as that is what the Koran teaches concerning the value of human life. (Koran 5:32) They apparently carry out these horrible acts not even fearing the eternal consequences for doing so. Whatever kind of Hell awaits these people, I would not want to see. It must be something enormously terrifying.

Here is a video which explains Islam from a moderate Muslim viewpoint. Koran 5:32 is quoted in it.

 

Here is another video about a Muslim viewpoint regarding ISIS.

 

I think the narrator in the last video is a Shi’ite. The Shi’ites believe that there will not be an Islamic state until Jesus returns. However, there are plenty of Sunni Muslims who also denounce ISIS. ISIS is using religion to advance their own political agenda. Their version of Islam is extreme and is contrary to many of the teachings of the Koran.

There is also this matter regarding abrogation in the Koran. Koran 2:106 says:

Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause be forgotten, We bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things? (Koran 2:106, Pickthall)

Many people are saying that the more benign verses in the Koran have been abrogated by the harsher ones like the Sword Verse (Koran 9:5).

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 9:5, Pickthall)

Maybe ISIS is teaching its followers this, but it really seems to be quite absurd. Koran 2:106 says that a revelation is replaced by one that is better or similar, that is, almost the same as the revelation that is abrogated. Is destroying thousands of worlds indiscriminately something that Allah wants people to do? (Each human life is valued as the value of all humanity. Koran 5:32) Does Allah want to turn warners and bearers of good tidings into warlords now? No one can believe without the permission of Allah. (Koran 100:101) This is absolutely ridiculous!

Anyway, what is Islam basically all about? It is about believing in the existence of only one God, believing that God sent Muhammad to convert polytheists to monotheism, praying five times a day, fasting,  giving to the poor, and making a trip to Mecca at least once during one’s life. Living a morally upright life is also what Islam is all about. No adultery, no fornication, no theft, truthfulness and just dealing with people is all taught in the Koran. The honor killings, the terrorism, and the other rubbish that gets media attention is not in the Koran. I have been reading it. It is not there! The first suicide bomber was back in the 1980s, not in the 7th century!

Not all Muslims agree about which verses and how many verses have been abrogated. There are some in the past who said 300. In recent times, there are Muslims who believe that fewer verses have been abrogated. One Muslim on his website said that only 21 were abrogated. Another Muslim said that a Muslim imam or sheik said that there are only five abrogated verses. Still another Muslim says that none were abrogated. He says that the revelations that were abrogated were those found in former revelations before the Koran. I think that he is referring to the Bible.

The revelation that abrogates must be better or similar to the one abrogated. I think that that is the test. Taking lives that Allah holds dear and sacred is not better. Since when has murder become better than saving someone’s life? “Whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” (Koran 5:32, Pickthall)

During my research on Islam, I have discovered that not all Muslims agree on what the Koran means. There are many different interpretations of the Koran and the Sunna among Muslims. Furthermore, they cannot even agree on which hadiths are authentic. (A hadith is short quote from Muhammad written down 200 to 300 years after his death. There is supposed to be chain of guarantors that authenticate the hadith. I think that a modern day lawyer would say that all of those hadiths are hearsay.) The Sunnis, the Shi’ites, and the Ibadis have different collections of hadiths. So, there is really not one version of Islam that all 1.25 to 1.7 billion Muslims subscribe to. The Wahhabis and the Salafis are the extremists. Ayatollah Khomeini did not teach traditional Shi’ite theology. He went off on the deep end and tried to establish an Islamic state in the 1980s contrary to the teachings of the Shi’ites. No Islamic state until Jesus returns. That is the traditional Shi’ite belief. There are even some Muslims today who call themselves Koranists. They accept none of the hadiths. They base their religious beliefs solely on the Koran. Then, of course, there are the Ahmadiyyah Muslims. They are a very peaceful sect of Muslims. Their sect was established in Pakistan a little over a hundred years ago. There are the Sufis and the Alevis. These are mystical Muslims. They are more interested in prayer and meditation than in world domination. My point here is that not all Muslims are terrorists. Some Muslims, who in my non-Muslim opinion, pervert the teachings of the Koran, are terrorists. I do not think that the Koran promotes murder, suicide, and terrorism.

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