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An Exegesis of Those Three Koran Verses Every Woman Should Know

October 28, 2016 Leave a comment

There is another video that David Wood has produced. It is about the Koran’s teaching regarding women. I do not know what percentage of Muslims in the world interpret the verses in his video the way he does, but I am going to provide here my interpretation. The verses from the Koran which I wish to discuss are: 2:223, 2:282, and 4:34.

I think that one of the problems with Islam, generally speaking, is the interpretation of the Koran and not the Koran itself. Muslims have allowed the Koran to replace the Bible. The Koran claims to confirm the Bible, not to replace it. (Koran 3:3,4; 5:48; 10:38; 41:43) Those Muslims who have discarded the Bible have disobeyed the teachings of the Koran regarding the Bible. Unlike the first generation Muslims who “believed all the Scripture” (Koran 3:119) and received the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians (Koran 29:46; 42:15), they have rejected the Bible, thus becoming “disbelievers in truth” and have “wandered far astray.” (Koran 4:136,150,151) They believe what their religious leaders tell them without ever doing any research to verify if what they are being told is indeed true in contradiction of what the Koran clearly teaches them not to do.

And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). (Koran 17:36, Yusuf Ali)

The sheikhs and imams tell them that the Bible has been corrupted and can no longer be trusted, but the Koran says that the Bible manuscripts which existed in the seventh century were believed and received by Muhammad and the Muslim community. It tells Christians to “judge by the Gospel.” (Koran 5:47) There are manuscripts of the New Testament which date back to the fourth century. There are fragments of New Testament manuscripts which date back to the second century. The Christians of Muhammad’s day used the Greek Septuagint. There are fourth century manuscripts of this Greek translation of the Old Testament in existence today. There are textual variants among the ancient manuscripts of the Bible. I do not deny that. As for textual variants in the Koran, there are at least 26 different Arabic versions of the Koran. See my blog, Shame on the Imams and Islamic Scholars!

In order to properly understand the Koran, therefore, one must also read and study the Bible.

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, Pickthall)

Before I begin the exegesis of these three verses from the Koran, watch David Wood’s video.

The first verse he comments on in the video is Koran 2:282, but I will start by discussing Koran 2:223 first.

Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will, and send (good deeds) before you for your souls, and fear Allah, and know that ye will (one day) meet Him. Give glad tidings to believers, (O Muhammad). (Koran 2:223, Pickthall)

The way David Wood interprets this verse it would seem that Muhammad wanted men to treat their wives like sex toys that they can pick up, play with, and put down whenever they please. He quotes hadiths written down over 200 years after Muhammad died. Muhammad died in 632. Maybe Muhammad did say those things, but I still question the authenticity of all of those hadiths. I have been told by my grandparents and parents about some things that my great-grandparents have said and done, but I cannot produce an entire encyclopedia of their deeds and actions based on what little I have been told about them. The compilers of those hadiths have allegedly done that 200 to 300 years after Muhammad died. Among the Sunni Muslims, the most important collections of hadiths are the compilations by Bukhari (810-870) and Muslim (815-875). Realistically speaking, these compilations of hadiths are really a massive collection of hearsay. So, I do not give much credence to them. I do not think that David Wood should give much credence to them either.

To me, it does not matter much which sexual position a man assumes with his wife. I think that anal sex and oral sex are disgusting, but whether it is sex from behind, in front, or the woman lying on her back is a matter for them decide between themselves.

Since Muslims are supposed to accept the Bible as well as the Koran, this passage from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians is relevant here.

1 Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (I Corinthians 7:1-5, NKJV)

A man has authority of his wife’s body and a woman has authority over her husband’s body. A woman, therefore, has just as much right to request sex from her husband as a man has to request sex from his wife. I think that the Koran is saying essentially the same thing in this verse.

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. (Koran 4:1, Pickthall)

“Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another.” A man claims his sexual rights from his wife in God. A woman, likewise, claims her sexual rights from her husband in God. The Koran teaches that men and women have similar rights, but a man is a degree above his wife.

Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. 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 Bible teaches equality of the sexes, too.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29, NKJV)

Both men and women who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized are “one in Christ Jesus,” “Abraham’s seed,” and “heirs according to the promise.”

God in the Bible states that both believing men and believing women are “heirs of the kingdom” in the afterlife in Galatians 3:29 and in this verse from St. Peter’s First Epistle.

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (I Peter 3:7, NKJV)

In the Koran, it says that believing women will be rewarded in the afterlife, just as believing men will be rewarded.

And do not covet that by which Allah has made some of you excel others; men shall have the benefit of what they earn and women shall have the benefit of what they earn; and ask Allah of His grace; surely Allah knows all things. (Koran 4:32, Shakir)

Both men and women will have what their “souls desire” and what their “eyes find sweet.”

Enter the Garden, ye and your wives, to be made glad. Therein are brought round for them trays of gold and goblets, and therein is all that souls desire and eyes find sweet. And ye are immortal therein. (Koran 43:70,71, Pickthall)

The Bible also teaches that the man is “a degree above” his wife.

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)

So, I disagree with David Wood regarding his interpretation of Koran 2:223. The Koran says that women have similar rights to those of men, but a woman’s husband is a degree above her. A woman has just as much right to her husband’s body as her husband has a right to hers according to both the Koran and the Bible. As for “rough sex,” the Koran tells men to live with their wives in kindness. (Koran 4:19) That means that a man should not abuse his wife sexually or in any other way.

The first verse he comments on is the next one I will discuss. It is also from the Second Surah, Koran 2:282.

O ye who believe! When ye contract a debt for a fixed term, record it in writing. Let a scribe record it in writing between you in (terms of) equity. No scribe should refuse to write as Allah hath taught him, so let him write, and let him who incurreth the debt dictate, and let him observe his duty to Allah his Lord, and diminish naught thereof. But if he who oweth the debt is of low understanding, or weak, or unable himself to dictate, then let the guardian of his interests dictate in (terms of) equity. And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember. And the witnesses must not refuse when they are summoned. Be not averse to writing down (the contract) whether it be small or great, with (record of) the term thereof. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah and more sure for testimony, and the best way of avoiding doubt between you; save only in the case when it is actual merchandise which ye transfer among yourselves from hand to hand. In that case it is no sin for you if ye write it not. And have witnesses when ye sell one to another, and let no harm be done to scribe or witness. If ye do (harm to them) lo! it is a sin in you. Observe your duty to Allah. Allah is teaching you. And Allah is knower of all things. (Koran 2:282, Pickthall)

Here, in this passage, it takes two women to equal the witness of one man. One must remember that this was written in the seventh century. Arab women in the seventh century were not well-educated and were treated very poorly by men. Islam was bringing to the Arab world a higher standard for the treatment of women. So, due to the lack of education that women had then, it would have been wise to require two witnesses in lieu of every man’s witness in a business transaction.

As for the valuation of women in respect to men, look at this passage from the Old Testament Septuagint.

1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them, Whosoever shall vow a vow as the valuation of his soul for the Lord, 3 the valuation of a male from twenty years old to sixty years old shall be — his valuation shall be fifty didrachms of silver by the standard of the sanctuary. 4 And the valuation of a female shall be thirty didrachms. 5 And if it be from five years old to twenty, the valuation of a male shall be twenty didrachms, and of a female ten didrachms. 6 And from a month old to five years old, the valuation of a male shall be five didrachms, and of a female, three didrachms of silver. 7 And if from sixty year old and upward, if it be a male, his valuation shall be fifteen didrachms of silver, and if a female, ten didrachms. (Leviticus 27:1-7, LXX)

A woman, according to this text, is valued at three-fifths the value of a man if she is between twenty and sixty years of age (vs. 3,4), at half the value of a man if she is between five and twenty years of age (v. 5), at three-fifths the value of a man if she is between a month old and five years old (v. 6), and at two-thirds the value of a man if she is sixty years old or older (v.7).

This Old Testament law was abrogated by the coming of Christ. So, we no longer observe it. It applied to the children of Israel and not to the descendants of Esau or any others who may have been worshipers of the one true God at that time. (Job was a descendant of Esau.) The law was temporary. The commandment in Koran 2:282, likewise, applies to seventh century Arab women, but not to twenty-first century educated women. That is my opinion. (I do not care what the hadiths say. They are largely just a collection of hearsay.)

The last verse he comments on is Koran 4:34.

Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Koran 4:34, Pickthall)

Here it says that “men are in charge of women.”  Muhammad Sarwar translates the Arabic here: “Men are the protectors of women.” That is probably a better translation. However, the concept of a man being in charge of his wife is also taught in the Bible.

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3, NKJV)

“Good women are the obedient.”  The Bible teaches the same thing.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24, NKJV)

1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the Word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —  4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. (I Peter 3:1-6, NKJV)

The Koran teaches that men should live with their wives in kindness (Koran 4:19) and are over their wives in kindness (Koran 2:228). It 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)

The Koran says that God ordained between a man and his wife “love and mercy.” The Bible teaches the same thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the Church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33, NKJV)

3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things —  4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5, NKJV)

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34,35, NKJV)

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. (Luke 6:36, NKJV)

The part of this verse that David Wood focuses on is the latter part of the verse.

As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. (Koran 4:34, Pickthall)

The Koran says that a man should admonish his wife if he thinks that she will be rebellious and “banish them to beds apart.” In other words, stop sleeping with a rebellious wife. It also says to “scourge them.” The word translated “scourge” is the Arabic word, iḍ’ribū. It is translated “strike” as when Moses struck the rock in the wilderness and water gushed out and in other places in the Koran it is translated “set forth.” It most probably means in this verse to strike the rebellious wife, but not repeatedly as in a fist-fight. In order to accurately understand what this verse is teaching, one must keep in mind all of the other teachings in the Bible and in the Koran regarding how a man should live with his wife. He must strike her lovingly, mercifully, and in kindness. That is to say, one should tap her gently thus expressing non-verbally his displeasure with her behavior. Mohsin Khan and Yusuf Ali translated this word “beat” and add in parentheses “lightly.” I think that based upon all of the other teachings in the Bible and the Koran, this verse is telling a man to “tap his wife lightly” if she is rebellious, but not to beat her to a pulp. “Men are the protectors of women.” They are not supposed to be abusers of women.

Anyway, it is as I have said many times before, the problem is the interpretation of the sacred texts and not the texts themselves. If there are Muslims who are interpreting the Koran the way David Wood does, they are in just as much error as he is in interpreting it.

An Exegesis of Koran 5:27-36

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment

I have watched some videos by David Wood on Youtube. He is a Christian apologist who produces blogs about Islam. He is usually very critical of the Koran and Muhammad. He often portrays the beliefs of Muslims as being barbaric. If any Muslims actually believe and practice some of the things that he speaks about in his videos, then I would have to agree with him. However, I am not so sure that all Muslims are like that. To me, there appears to be many different versions of Islam. I do not know what percentage of the Muslim population of the world believes and practices some of the things that he talks about. However, I have been reading and studying the Koran and I keep seeing so many things in the Koran which appear to be teaching the same thing that I have read in the Bible. Anyway, I am going to provide an exegesis of a passage in the Koran that David Wood has spoken about in one of his videos. I really do not know what percentage of all Muslims in the world actually interpret this text the way that he does, but I disagree with his interpretation. The passage in question is Koran 5:27-36 and 5:32 in particular.

Before I begin the exegesis, first watch David Wood’s video.

Now, I will begin my exegesis of the passage from the Koran. I am using Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall’s translation of the passage.

Surah 5

 

5:27 But recite unto them with truth the tale of the two sons of Adam, how they offered each a sacrifice, and it was accepted from the one of them and it was not accepted from the other. (The one) said: I will surely kill thee. (The other) answered: Allah accepteth only from those who ward off (evil).

The Koran confirms the Bible. (Koran 3:3,4; 10:38; 37:37) It contains the same teachings as the Bible. (Koran 41:43) The Koran teaches that we should not reject any of the messengers of Allah. Otherwise, we will become “disbelievers in truth.”

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)

Therefore, when we do an exegesis on this passage from the Koran, it is very important that we also examine the the teachings in the Bible to better understand the Koranic passage. In Genesis, we read:

And Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and brought forth Cain and said, I have gained a man through God. And she again bore his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And it was so after some time that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice to the Lord. And Abel also brought of the first born of his sheep and of his fatlings, and God looked upon Abel and his gifts, but Cain and his sacrifices He regarded not, and Cain was exceedingly sorrowful and his countenance fell. And the Lord God said to Cain, Why art thou become very sorrowful and why is thy countenance fallen? Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? Be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go out into the plain; and it came to pass that when they were in the plain Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Genesis 4:1-8, LXX)

In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, it explains why Abel’s sacrifice was accepted by God. It was because he offered it by faith.

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. (Hebrews 11:4, NKJV)

Through faith Abel obtained witness that he is righteous. The Koran says that he told Cain that God “accepteth only from those who ward off evil.” In St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, it says:

Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16, NKJV)

Having the shield of faith, Abel trusted in Allah and was able to ward off “the fiery darts” of Satan and be righteous before Allah. No one can live a life without sin except for Jesus. In the Koran, it says:

If Allah were to punish men for their wrong-doing, He would not leave, on the (earth), a single living creature: but He gives them respite for a stated Term: When their Term expires, they would not be able to delay (the punishment) for a single hour, just as they would not be able to anticipate it (for a single hour). (Koran 16:61, Yusuf Ali)

Therefore, it is only because of the mercy of Allah that anyone can ever really enter Paradise. It says in the Koran:

And (O Muhammad) say: My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for Thou art Best of all who show mercy. (Koran 23:118, Pickthall)

Find a merciful man. God is far more merciful than he. God is the Most Merciful. The sacrifice from the sheep that Abel offered to God (Genesis 4:4) prefigures the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross for our sins. In the Koran, it says:

And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous. (Koran 3:39, Pickthall)

And in St. John’s Gospel, it says:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (John 1:6, NKJV)

Being sent from God, John was not only “a prophet of the righteous” (Koran 3:39), but also a rasul, a messenger of Allah. Further on in this same chapter of St. John’s Gospel, it says:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NKJV)

John, a messenger of Allah and  a prophet of the righteous, has told us that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. If we do not accept what St. John the Baptist has told us about Jesus as being true, then we are “disbelievers in truth.” (Koran 4:150-152)

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice and the great mercy of Allah, our sins can be forgiven. The word, al-mutaqīna, translated “those who ward off evil” by Mr. Pickthall in Koran 5:27 is translated “the righteous” by Sahih International and “those who are righteous” by Yusuf Ali. Shakir translated the word “those who guard against evil.” Muhammad Sarwar translated it “the pious ones.” Mohsin Khan translated it “the pious” and Arberry translated it “the godfearing.”

Already, we have seen that Abel was able through his faith to guard himself against “the fiery darts” of Satan. (Hebrews 11:4; Ephesians 6:16) Also through his faith he was able to become righteous. (Hebrews 11:4) He trusted in the mercy of Allah when he offered up his sacrifice from among the sheep. The Koran says:

Lo! we believe in our Lord, that He may forgive us our sins and the magic unto which thou didst force us. Allah is better and more lasting. (Koran 20:73, Pickthall)

In the 24th Surah, it says:

Had it not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy unto you, not one of you would ever have grown pure. But Allah causeth whom He will to grow. (Koran 24:21, Pickthall)

Abel’s righteousness which he practiced came from God.

5:28 Even if thou stretch out thy hand against me to kill me, I shall not stretch out my hand against thee to kill thee, lo! I fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Abel is an example to show us how we should live.

Allah would explain to you and guide you by the examples of those who were before you, and would turn to you in mercy. Allah is Knower, Wise. (Koran 4:26, Pickthall)

And verily We have sent down for you revelations that make plain, and the example of those who passed away before you. An admonition unto those who ward off (evil). (Koran 24:34, Pickthall)

He refused to fight back. He allowed Cain to kill him. Jesus told us:

But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:39, NKJV)

One needs to distinguish between commandments which apply to the whole Muslim community and those which apply to individual Muslims. Killing someone in a war that is started in self-defense is acceptable.

And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits. (Koran 2:190, Shakir)

Self-defense is one of three reasons given in the Koran for a Muslim community or nation to engage in war. However, peace is always better. (Koran 4:128) On the individual level, Muslims should obey Jesus (Koran 3:50; 43:63) and practice His commandments that He has given us. So, Matthew 5:39 applies to Muslims as well as to Christians. They should also follow the example of Abel (Koran 4:26; 5:28) with the help of the grace and mercy of Allah. (Koran 24:21)

5:29 Lo! I would rather thou shouldst bear the punishment of the sin against me and thine own sin and become one of the owners of the fire. That is the reward of evil-doers.

Abel preferred that his brother should burn in Hell for killing him than that he should fight back to defend himself. He left vengeance to God.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19, NKJV)

In this verse from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, St. Paul quotes from the Torah. (Deuteronomy 32:35) Concerning the Torah, the Koran says:

And they measure not the power of Allah its true measure when they say: Allah hath not revealed unto a human being. Say (unto the Jews who speak thus): Who revealed the Book which Moses brought, a light and guidance for mankind, which ye have put on parchments which ye show, but ye hide much (thereof), and (by which) ye were taught that which ye knew not yourselves nor (did) your fathers (know it)? Say: Allah. Then leave them to their play of cavilling.  (Koran 6:92, Pickthall)

The Torah is a “light and guidance for mankind.” Muslims must not avenge themselves. The Koran tells them to follow the teachings of the Torah unless they have been abrogated. (Koran 2:106) The Torah says that vengeance belongs to God. So, like Abel, Muslims should leave justice to God at the individual level. If another nation attacks their Muslim nation, they may fight back in self-defense. (Koran 2:190)

5:30 But (the other’s) mind imposed on him the killing of his brother, so he slew him and became one of the losers.

Murder begins in the mind. Jesus said:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Matthew 5:21, 22, NKJV)

St. John the Theologian, a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 10:2) and a Muslim (Koran 3:52), wrote:

For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. (I John 3:11,12, NKJV)

Cain was of Satan and “his works were evil.” Abel’s works were righteous because of the grace and mercy of Allah. (Koran 24:21) St. John also wrote:

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15, NKJV)

Name-calling and hatred can bring a man to Hell.

5:31 Then Allah sent a raven scratching up the ground, to show him how to hide his brother’s naked corpse. He said: Woe unto me! Am I not able to be as this raven and so hide my brother’s naked corpse? And he became repentant.

Hiding Abel’s dead body does not prevent God from knowing what Cain had already done. In Proverbs, it says:

The eyes of the Lord behold both the evil and the good in every place. (Proverbs 15:3, LXX)

In the Koran, it says:

Unto Allah belong the East and the West, and whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah’s Countenance. Lo! Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (Koran 2:115, Pickthall)

We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Koran 50:16, Pickthall)

He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. (Koran 57:3, Pickthall)

Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things. (Koran 58:7, NKJV)

The Koran says that God sent a raven to teach Cain what to do with Abel’s dead body. Cain buried it. Burial is the preferred method of disposing of human remains. In the Book of Tobit it says:

And my clothes to the naked: and if I saw any of my nation dead, or cast about the walls of Nineve, I buried him And if the king Sennacherib had slain any, when he was come, and fled from Judea, I buried them privily; for in his wrath he killed many; but the bodies were not found, when they were sought for of the king. (Tobit 1:17,18)

We should follow the example of Tobit and bury the dead. (Koran 4:26) The Koran teaches by this story in the Fifth Surah that God wants us to bury the dead.

5:32 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 reason for this commandment being given to the Children of Israel is the story of Cain and Abel. When Cain murdered his brother Abel, it was as if he murdered the whole world because not only did he kill Abel, but also all of Abel’s possible posterity was exterminated with his death. The Bible does not provide a genealogy of Abel’s posterity, but it does provide one for Cain. (Genesis 4:16-24) Abel has no posterity. Cain destroyed a whole world when he murdered Abel.

This view of murder and saving the life of another is actually in the Babylonian Talmud and in the Jerusalem Talmud. In the Babylonian Talmud, it says:

“Whoever destroys a soul from Israel, the Scripture considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life from Israel, the Scripture considers it as if he saved an entire world.” (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a)

This view of murder and saving life according to the Babylonian Talmud applies to Jews only. However, the Jerusalem Talmud provides a much broader scope of application. It says:

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” [Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:1(22a)]

Not just Jews, but all people are included in this Talmudic teaching.

If Koran 5:32 says that only the murder of a Jew is as if one destroyed the whole world, then Muslims should not kill Jews except for one of the two reasons given in this verse. However, the reason for telling the Jews to value another’s life as if it were the lives of all humanity was because of the story of Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were not Jews. They were the first two children of everyone’s first parents, Adam and Eve. The Cain and Abel lesson, therefore, applies to everyone and not just to Jews or Muslims.

The reason for saying that a man’s life is as valuable as all the lives of all humanity, according to the Jewish Talmuds, is based on the story of the creation of man in Genesis chapter 2. In verse 7 of this chapter, it says:

And God formed the man of dust of the earth, and breathed upon his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7, LXX)

Later, in the same chapter, it describes the creation of woman.

And God brought a trance upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and filled up the flesh instead thereof. And God formed the rib which he took from Adam into a woman, and brought her to Adam. And Adam said, This now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of her husband. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-24, LXX)

According to the Biblical account, all of humanity came from one man. Therefore, one life is worth the same as all of humanity. In the Talmud, it says:

For this reason was man created alone, to teach thee that whosoever destroys a single soul… Scripture imputes [guilt] to him as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whosoever preserves a single soul… Scripture ascribes [merit] to him as though he had preserved a complete world. (Sanhedrin 37a)

This concept of humanity springing from a single soul is also taught in the Koran.

It is He Who hath produced you from a single person. (Koran 6:98, Yusuf Ali)

He it is Who did create you from a single soul, and therefrom did make his mate that he might take rest in her. (Koran 7:189, Pickthall)

In the Fourth Surah, it says:

O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you. (Koran 4:1, Pickthall)

Here is another video by David Wood. I agree with what he says about the creation of Adam and Eve in the Koran. The Koran essentially teaches the same thing as the Bible, but not in as much detail.

In the Tenth Surah, it says:

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. (Koran 10:94, Pickthall)

If Muhammad had asked a Jew about Koran 5:32, he would have received a Talmudic explanation of his revelation. So, both reasons for valuing one human life as if it were the same as that of all of humanity are valid: the creation of humanity from a single person, Adam, and the slaying of Abel by Cain thereby wiping out any posterity he would have had.

The word translated “church” in the New Testament is the Greek word, ekklesia. This word appears in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament — the Septuagint. See Psalm 21:22 in the Septuagint for an example. This corresponds with Psalm 22:22 in the Hebrew. In the King James Version, a quotation of this Septuagint verse is translated “church” in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews. See Hebrews 2:12, KJV. Therefore, the Church existed in the Old Testament. Ekklesia appears in other places in the Septuagint Old Testament as well.

In the writings of Blessed Augustine, one of the Church Fathers, we can read:

“Many a time have they fought against me from my youth up” (Psalm 128:1, LXX; Psalm 129:1). The Church speaketh of those whom She endureth: and as if it were asked, “Is it now?” The Church is of ancient birth: since saints have been so called, the Church hath been on earth. At one time the Church was in Abel only, and he was fought against by his wicked and lost brother Cain. (Psalm 129, by Bl. Augustine, p. 611, vol. 8, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts)

According to Blessed Augustine, Abel was the Church at the time that Cain slew him. There was only one righteous person in the world and he was  it. When Cain killed Abel, he destroyed the Church. From this lesson about Cain and Abel, we can say then that whoever kills a righteous person, it is as if he destroyed the whole Church. Abel’s posterity could have been brought up in righteousness fearing God.

I have heard Muslims say that Adam was a prophet. Maybe he became a prophet after the death of Abel.

This teaching has other applications. For example, it demonstrates the importance of banning the horrific crime of genocide. Also, the elimination of the dehumanizing practice of abortion can be drawn as a lesson from this text. Innocent unborn children who have souls given to them by God are not allowed to be born and eventually have children of their own because of the inhuman practice of feticide. Whole worlds are being destroyed in abortion clinics and hospitals by spiritually ignorant doctors.

In Koran 4:1, it says: “Be careful of your duty to Allah.” Our duty to Allah as we have already read in the Torah and the Koran is to preserve human life, not to destroy it.

There are only two exceptions given in this Koranic commandment not to kill — manslaughter and spreading corruption in the earth. Manslaughter or murder has been forbidden by both the Bible and the Koran. In the Torah, “the light and guidance for mankind” (Koran 6:92), we see Lamech, a descendant of Cain, lamenting over having killed a man. (Genesis 4:23,24) In Genesis 9, there is a commandment not to murder.

For your blood of your lives will I require at the hand of all wild beasts, and I will require the life of man at the hand of his brother man. He that sheds man’s blood, instead of that blood shall his own be shed, for in the image of God I made man. (Genesis 9:5,6, LXX)

The prohibition against murder also appears in the Decalogue.

Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:15, LXX)

Jesus taught that we should observe this commandment. (Mark 10:19)

In the Koran, there are prohibitions against murder in addition to the one given in Koran 5:32.

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)

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)

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)

And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for the requirements of justice. (Koran 6:151, Shakir)

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)

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)

The second exception is for “corruption in the earth.” This subject is a very lengthy one. So, I intend to talk about it in more detail in a future blog. For right now, I will give some brief explanations of this exception.

The verse is addressed to the Children of Israel. The exceptions which permit someone’s life to be taken as capital punishment are, therefore, found in the Torah, not in the New Testament and not in the Koran. Many of these injunctions for capital punishment have already been abrogated by the teachings of Jesus and His apostles. Some capital crimes mentioned in the Torah are: murder [Genesis 9:5,6; Numbers 35:16-21, 30-33 — abrogated by Deuteronomy 32:35, LXX; Psalm 93:1, LXX (Psalm 94:1, Hebrew); Romans 12:19], apostasy (Deuteronomy 17:3-7 — abrogated by I Corinthians 5:9-11), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:11-14,16,23 — abrogated by Matthew 12:32,36,37; I Corinthians 5:9-11), sexual immorality (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus  18:22; 20:10-16; 21:9; Deuteronomy 22:21-25 — abrogated by John 8:1-11; I Corinthians 5:9-11), and Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36 — abrogated by Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2; Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16,17; II Thessalonians  2:15).

The “messengers that came to them of old” in Koran 5:32 are Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job (called Jobab in Genesis 36:34,35), Moses, and Joshua. Ishmael may have been a prophet, too, as it says in the Koran, but there is not much evidence in the Bible to suggest that. The Bible neither affirms nor denies that he is.

5:33 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;

“Those who make war upon Allah and His messenger” — These words are usually interpreted as referring to those who make war upon God and Muhammad, but judging by the context of this passage and one of the punishments that would be inflicted upon those who do make war on them, it most probably refers to those who make war on God and Moses. The messenger might be Moses’ successor, Joshua, too.

Moses had a successor, Joshua. (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; Joshua 1:1,2) Muhammad never appointed a successor.

This verse is speaking about actual military combat against God and His messenger and not about actions done by civilians who are not engaged in war. The word translated “make war upon” is the Arabic verb, ḥāraba. This verb appears in only one other place in the Koran: Surah 9:107.

And as for those who chose a place of worship out of opposition and disbelief, and in order to cause dissent among the believers, and as an outpost for those who warred against (ḥāraba) Allah and His messenger aforetime, they will surely swear: We purposed naught save good. Allah beareth witness that they verily are liars. (Koran 9:107, Pickthall)

A derivative of this word is the noun, ḥarb. It appears four times in the Koran: Surahs 2:279; 5:64; 8:57; and 47:4. In all four of these verses this word is translated war.

So then, the four punishments afflicted on the army attacking God and His messenger are those which are inflicted upon the attacking army during war. They are killed. They are hung on a tree. (The verb translated crucified probably has a broader meaning than mere crucifixion. It probably means to hang on a tree or a wood pole. Compare Koran 12:41 with Genesis 40:19,22.) They will have their hands and feet cut off during battle. People fought with swords in ancient times. In ancient Egypt, according to the Koran, Pharaoh used this as a form of punishment on those who converted to another religion.

And the wizards fell down prostrate, crying: We believe in the Lord of the Worlds, the Lord of Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh said: Ye believe in Him before I give you leave! Lo! this is the plot that ye have plotted in the city that ye may drive its people hence. But ye shall come to know! Surely I shall have your hands and feet cut off upon alternate sides. Then I shall crucify you every one. They said: Lo! We are about to return unto our Lord! Thou takest vengeance on us only forasmuch as we believed the tokens of our Lord when they came unto us. Our Lord! Vouchsafe unto us steadfastness and make us die as men who have surrendered (unto Thee). (Koran 7:120-126, Pickthall)

See also Koran 20:6-73 and 26:38-51. It is not likely that this practice of cross-amputation is a prescribed punishment given in the Koran for certain crimes. Pharaoh committed excess. He was a tyrant. (Koran 20:43) The Koran says that God is the best in mercy.

So say: “O my Lord! grant Thou forgiveness and mercy for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy!” (Koran 23:118, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran encourages believers to forgive unbelievers and not to inflict harm on them.

Tell those who believe to forgive those who hope not for the days of Allah; in order that He may requite folk what they used to earn. (Koran 45:14, Pickthall)

A kind word with forgiveness is better than almsgiving followed by injury. Allah is Absolute, Clement. (Koran 2:263, Pickthall)

“Or will be expelled out of the land” — Expulsion from the land occurs during warfare when the army of the monotheists drives out the army of the polytheists.

Waging war on God and His messenger is “striving after corruption in the land.” Look at this verse in the Fifth Surah.

The Jews say: Allah’s hand is fettered. Their hands are fettered and they are accursed for saying so. Nay, but both His hands are spread out wide in bounty. He bestoweth as He will. That which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy and disbelief of many of them, and We have cast among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection. As often as they light a fire for war, Allah extinguisheth it. Their effort is for corruption in the land, and Allah loveth not corrupters. (Koran 5:64, Pickthall)

In verse 5:32 corruption refers to all other capital crimes mentioned in the Torah besides murder. In verse 5:33 corruption is the by-product of war. Being polytheists who want to wipe out monotheism, they will be degraded in this world in warfare and in the Hereafter in Hell.

The next verse, Surah 5:34, appears to indicate that the messenger in 5:33 is Muhammad, because the pronoun, ye, is used in reference to the first generation Muslims. In 5:32 the pronoun, them, is used referring to the Children of Israel during the days of Moses.

If Muhammad is the messenger spoken of in verse 5:33, then the punishments to be inflicted on those who wage war against God and His messenger are still to be inflicted during battle against armed soldiers and not against civilians.

The real enemy of man is Satan. The Koran says:

Tell My bondmen to speak that which is kindlier. Lo! the devil soweth discord among them. Lo! the devil is for man an open foe. (Koran 17:53, Pickthall)

The Bible says:

For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:19,20, NKJV)

So, the best warfare for any believer to wage is spiritual warfare. Defeat the devil and there will be more peace on earth.

5:34 Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Notice that those soldiers who want to repent, that is, stop fighting the believers before they are overpowered by them will not experience any of the afflictions of the war. They will not be killed in battle. They will not be hung from trees. They will not lose hands and feet in battle. They will not be driven out of the land. They can reside in peace with the believers. This verse says that God is forgiving and merciful. If they repent of polytheism and become monotheists, God will forgive them of their idolatry.

5:35 O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah, and seek the way of approach unto Him, and strive in His way in order that ye may succeed.

The duty of believers to Allah after the polytheists repent is to show mercy toward them. It is better for a believer to speak kindly toward their former enemies and forgive them than to give money to the poor and then inflict bodily harm on the repentant soldiers. (Koran 2:263)

5:36 As for those who disbelieve, lo! if all that is in the earth were theirs, and as much again therewith, to ransom them from the doom on the Day of Resurrection, it would not be accepted from them. Theirs will be a painful doom.

These words from the Koran are reminiscent of the words of Jesus in the Gospel.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:24-27, NKJV)

The army of the unbelievers fight the monotheists trying to gain power over the entire world. Even if they should gain the whole world and even more, what they gain in warfare can never ransom their souls from Gehenna and the Day of Judgment after the resurrection of the dead.

This verse from the Koran applies not only to the unbelievers spoken of in this passage from the Koran, but to all unbelievers. The verses I just cited from St. Matthew’s Gospel are directed not just to the Jews to whom Jesus spoke, but to everyone. He commanded His disciples to make disciples of all nations, baptize them, and teach them everything that He commanded them.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20, NKJV)

The Koran also says to obey Jesus. (Koran 3:50; 43:63) The Koran confirms the Gospel. It does not contradict it or replace it. The Torah and the Gospel are “a guidance for mankind.” (Koran 3:3,4; 10:38; 37:37)

In conclusion, there might be Muslims who actually interpret the Koran the way that David Wood does, but I think that they are misinterpreting it. I think that if people look for something evil and bad in the Koran, they will produce an interpretation of the Koran similar to that of David Wood. Also, I think that if one tries to interpret the Koran without reading and studying the Bible, he will inevitably come up with the wrong interpretation. Remember that those who ignore the words of  the messengers of Allah in the Bible are “disbelievers in truth” (Koran 4:150-152) and have “wandered far astray.” (Koran 4:136)

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