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Slay and Be Slain: An Exegesis of Koran 9:111

November 24, 2016 Leave a comment

This next blog is going to be about another verse in the Ninth Surah of the Koran: Surah 9:111. I am going to provide here my interpretation using the Koran and the Bible.

First of all, I want to preface all of my remarks by first of talking about peace. The message that Christians were commanded to spread throughout the world is called in Scripture the Gospel of Peace. (Ephesians 6:15) St. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote:

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17,18, NKJV)

Anyone who receives God’s wisdom is going to become peaceable and being making peace. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Christ said:

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9, NKJV)

St. Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles and a Muslim (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52), quoted in his First Catholic Epistle from one of the Psalms of King David, who is a messenger and prophet of Allah (Koran 4:163). He wrote:

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. (I Peter 3:11, NKJV; Psalm 33:14, LXX; 34:14, Hebrew)

Those who ignore this commandment from Allah are not rightly guided. They are not on the straight for which they pray in the Fatihah. (Koran 1:5-7; 2:285; 4:150-152)

Believe ye in part of the Scripture and disbelieve ye in part thereof? And what is the reward of those who do so save ignominy in the life of the world, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be consigned to the most grievous doom. For Allah is not unaware of what ye do. Such are those who buy the life of the world at the price of the Hereafter. Their punishment will not be lightened, neither will they have support. (Koran 2:85,86, Pickthall)

In the Fifth Surah, it says that the Koran gives instructions to guide people into paths of peace.

O People of the Scripture! Now hath Our messenger come unto you, expounding unto you much of that which ye used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Now hath come unto you light from Allah and plain Scripture, whereby Allah guideth him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guideth them unto a straight path. (Koran 5:15,16, Pickthall)

The Koran says that “Peace is better.” (Koran 4:128) It says that God will reward peacemakers with a “vast reward.”

There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) him who enjoineth almsgiving and kindness and peace-making among the people. Whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of Allah, We shall bestow on him a vast reward. (Koran 4:114, Pickthall)

So, peace is what every Muslim, Jew, and Christian should desire. Those who do not pursue peace are ignoring the commandments of God in their own Scriptures.

Warfare is undesirable but sometimes necessary.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. (Koran 2:216, Pickthall)

There are only three reasons for warfare in the Koran: self-defense (Koran 2:190; 9:13), to end religious persecution (Koran 2:193; 9:13), and to liberate the oppressed (Koran 4:75). If warfare can be avoided, it should be because “peace is better” (Koran 4:128) and it is the peacemakers who will be children of God and rewarded greatly in the afterlife. (Matthew 5:9; Koran 4:114)

Now, for the exegesis of the verse from the Koran. I am using Pickthall’s translation.

Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph. (Koran 9:111, Pickthall)

“Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth.”

The literal meaning of the Arabic word translated “lives” is “souls.” How did God buy from the believers their souls and their wealth? The answer is found in the New Testament.

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28, NKJV)

God purchased them with His own blood. Jesus, who is the incarnate Word of Allah (Koran 4:171; John 1:14), is Allah. (Compare Revelation 1:17 with Koran 57:3 and Isaiah 44:6.) He died for our sins. (Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 15:3; Koran 3:55; 5:117) Believers belong to Him.

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Corinthians 6:20, NKJV)

Our sins are forgiven and we have redemption through His blood.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7-12, NKJV)

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13,14, NKJV)

After mentioning His death in Koran 5:117, Jesus says:

If Thou chastisest them, they are Thy servants; if Thou forgivest them, Thou art the All-mighty, the All-wise. (Koran 5:118, Arberry)

Chastisement is mentioned because God chastens every son He receives.

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  (Hebrews 12:5-10, NKJV)

Forgiveness is mentioned because the Father and the Holy Spirit were pleased to accept the blood of Jesus for the remission of our sins.

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22, NKJV)

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another —  He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:24-28, NKJV)

Christ also forgave our sins. (Colossians 3:13) Jesus is the heir. The promises under the covenant that God made with Abraham are for Abraham and his Seed, that is, Jesus.

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16, NKJV)

God promised Abraham that he would be the heir of the world (actually, the entire universe).

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world (Greek, kosmos, universe) was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:13, NKJV)

Jesus is also the heir of the universe, since the promise is made to Him, too. (Genesis 22:18) He bought Abraham with His own blood. (Acts 20:28) It is interesting that God would want to inherit what He created, but is that not what the Koran teaches?

Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned. (Koran 19:40, Pickthall)

Jesus said in His prayer before His crucifixion:

And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. (John 17:10, NKJV)

So, everything that Jesus inherited, belongs to the Father, too. Everything belongs not just to the Father and the Son, but also to the Holy Spirit. All Three are one God.

So Allah bought us with His blood and inherited the universe.

“Because the Garden will be theirs.”

The Garden, that is, Paradise, will belong to the believers, but it will still be God’s. St. Paul said:

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16,17, NKJV)

Paradise belongs to Jesus. The Father and the Holy Spirit own it, too. (John 17:10)

“They shall fight in the way of Allah.”

Here, Muhammad speaks about warfare. Warfare must be “in the way of Allah,” that is, for the reasons given in the Koran. Otherwise, the war is not legitimate. Offensive military jihad is forbidden. Such wars are the products of Satanic instigation. (Koran 17:53) People who start wars for reasons other than to end religious persecution (Koran 2:193) or liberate the oppressed (Koran 4:75) spread corruption in the earth.

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)

Fighting back in self-defense is permissible. (Koran 2:190; 9:13) The war should be fought keeping peace in mind as a preferred objective. If the enemy inclines toward peace, Muslims must also incline toward peace.

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers. (Koran 2:193, Pickthall)

Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not. Allah knoweth them. Whatsoever ye spend in the way of Allah it will be repaid to you in full, and ye will not be wronged. And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower. (Koran 8:60,61, Pickthall)

Muslims are forbidden to fight against those who offer them peace.

So, if they hold aloof from you and wage not war against you and offer you peace, Allah alloweth you no way against them. (Koran 4:90, Pickthall)

O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate, and say not unto one who offereth you peace: “Thou art not a believer,” seeking the chance profits of this life (so that ye may despoil him). With Allah are plenteous spoils. Even thus (as he now is) were ye before; but Allah hath since then been gracious unto you. Therefore take care to discriminate. Allah is ever Informed of what ye do. (Koran 4:94, Pickthall)

Since “Satan is for man an open foe” (Koran 12:5), offensive spiritual jihad is recommended and acceptable. We wage spiritual jihad by praying, fasting, and proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. Spiritual jihad will be the subject of another blog post.

“And shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an.”

In order to understand the expression, “slay and be slain,” one needs to look at the Torah and the Gospel. There is a promise in them pertaining to this. I have already looked and actually looking in the Gospel first is advisable. One can find it in there most easily and then look for similar statements in the Torah and the Koran. In St. Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus said:

But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52, NKJV)

In Genesis, God told Noah:

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 9:6, LXX)

The ones who slay and are being slain are not the Muslims. They are the ones who started the war by attacking first or killing Muslims that they were persecuting or oppressing. The promise is that they will die by the sword and have their blood shed.

Regarding Satan, Jesus said that “he was a murderer from the beginning.” (John 8:44) Therefore, spiritual jihad needs to be waged against Satan because of what he has been doing to mankind.

“Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah?”

The covenant is the New Covenant which Jesus established on the night before He was crucified. He shed His blood for the remission of sins. So, we can be forgiven.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28, NKJV)

He abolished death so that we can be immortal.

But has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (II Timothy 1:10, NKJV)

Jesus destroyed death by His death. His God nature could not die. His human nature did die, but because it was joined inseparably to His God nature, it could not remain dead. Jesus arose from the dead.

Those who eat Jesus’ resurrected flesh and blood in the Sacrament of the Eucharist will have eternal life. Jesus said:

Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54, NKJV)

Jesus’ disciples ate His resurrected flesh and blood during the night before Jesus was crucified. How? God is Lord of the Past, the Present, and the Future. God can change the past. The Sacraments are called the Holy Mysteries. A mystery is something that cannot be fully explained, yet it is true.

Forgiveness of sins and immortality are two things that we are promised under the New Covenant. (Matthew 26:26-28; John 6:54)

God will keep His promises to us.

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us — by me, Silvanus, and Timothy —  not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes. For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (II Corinthians 1:19,20, NKJV)

In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began. (Titus 1:2, NKJV)

“Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.”

Surrendering their will to God, they inherit everything. In the Gospels of St. Mark and St. Luke, it says:

Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”  So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30, NKJV)

Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (Luke 18:28-30, NKJV)

If we give up everything to follow Jesus, we are supposed to have in this life a hundredfold what we gave up. (That is probably just a figurative expression meaning “manifold” as St. Luke records in his Gospel. Maybe we are supposed to have a thousandfold or a millionfold or even a billionfold.) Well, most people who do what Jesus says, do not obtain vast wealth in this life. Jesus said what we read in St. Mark’s and St. Luke’s Gospels after St. Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” In St. Matthew’s Gospel, St. Peter asks a question. The Lord gives a slightly different answer after St. Peter’s question than what we read in the other two Gospels.

Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:27-29, NKJV)

How can we have so much now when in reality we do not seem to possess it? Jesus told St. Peter that we receive it in the future when we inherit eternal life after he asked the question, “What shall we have?” These words from St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians explain the words of Jesus in the other two Gospels.

Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come — all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (I Corinthians 3:21-23, NKJV)

The world (that is, the universe) is ours. “Things to come” (that is, what Jesus spoke about in St. Matthew’s Gospel) are ours now, but we will not be able to enjoy the hundredfold blessing until after we are resurrected. So, we believers already possess the hundredfold blessing, but we will enjoy it in the future.

This verse from the Koran (9:111) is about war and eternal rewards. Wars are fought whenever the community is being affected adversely, for example, a military attack from another nation. If, on the other hand, an individual believer is affected adversely by being treated badly by others, then there is another rule to follow. The Koran essentially agrees with the Bible. The Koran gives the “Abel principle.” In the Fifth Surah, Abel tells Cain:

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. (Koran 5:28, Pickthall)

In the Fourth Surah, it says:

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)

According to the Koran, we are supposed to follow the example of Abel and not fight back.

In the 13th Surah, it says:

Such as persevere in seeking their Lord’s Countenance and are regular in prayer and spend of that which We bestow upon them secretly and openly, and overcome evil with good. Theirs will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home. (Koran 13:22, Pickthall)

In the 23rd Surah, it says:

Repel evil with that which is better. We are Best Aware of that which they allege. (Koran 23:96, Pickthall)

In the 42nd Surah, there is the law from the Torah, “an eye for an eye,” but the law from the Gospel, “pardon and make reconciliation” is preferred. God rewards those who pardon and make reconciliation.

And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. (Koran 42:40, Sahih International)

The principle that receiving forgiveness from God depends on whether we forgive others is in the 24th Surah.

Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Sahih International)

The Bible has similar teachings.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14, NKJV)

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:17,18, NKJV)

Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?  No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? (I Corinthians 6:7-9, NKJV)

For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (I Peter 2:19,20, NKJV)

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14,15, NKJV)

This concludes my exegesis of Koran 9:111. “Slay and be slain” is not talking about people becoming “martyrs” in battle. It is talking about the ones who have started a war by killing people. They will be slain after they have slain others. (Genesis 9:6; Matthew 26:52) There are only two reasons why Muslims can start a war: to end religious persecution and to liberate the oppressed.  Christians have fought wars for similar reasons. Peace is better. We should all “seek peace and pursue it.” The Muslim community is allowed to fight back in self-defense, but they, as individuals, should observe the “Abel principle” (Koran 4:26; 5:28) when they are attacked personally.

An Exegesis of Koran 9:28-31

November 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Now, I am going to do an exegesis of Koran 9:28-31. In this passage is the “Jizya Verse” — another controversial verse in the Koran. The translation that I am providing here is Pickthall’s translation.

28 O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.
29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
30 And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!
31 They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)! (Koran 9:28-31, Pickthall)

28 O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean.

Those who worship false gods like the polytheists who lived in seventh century Arabia are unclean. However, there is more than one way to practice idolatry according to the New Testament. Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) Mammon is money. St. Paul said that covetousness is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5) However, according to St. John the Theologian, who was one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles and a Muslim (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52), said that someone who believes that Jesus is God is not an idolater. He said:

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (John 5:20,21, NKJV)

Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life. Anyone who worships Him is not an idolater. St. John worshiped Him. He called Him the “true God.”

I have explained the doctrine of the Holy Trinity many times in previous blogs. Briefly, the Trinity is one God, not three. Each hypostasis of the Trinity is God in His entirety, but not the other two hypostases of the Deity. 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. Jesus is the incarnation of the second hypostasis (the Word). He is 100% God and 100% Man, but one Person. The Word and the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father, but in different ways. The procession of the Word (or Son) from the Father is called “being begotten.” The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is called “proceeding.” The divine essence does not possess genitals. Therefore, the Son was not sexually begotten. Every particle of the divine essence belongs to all three Persons of the Godhead. Wherever, the Father is, there is also the Son (or Word) and the Holy Spirit. Likewise, wherever the Son is, there is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Wherever the Holy Spirit is, there is the Father and the Son. Jesus’ divinity is uncreated and infinite. His humanity is created and finite.

Muhammad said to the People of the Scripture in the seventh century: “We believe in that which has been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.” (Koran 29:46, Pickthall) Muhammad believed that Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life. He worshiped the Holy Trinity.

Jesus said to His Twelve Apostles:

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV)

Anyone who rejects what St. John has told us in his First Catholic Epistle, rejects Jesus. Anyone who rejects Jesus, rejects Allah the Father.

In the Fifth Surah of the Koran, it says:

And when I inspired the disciples, (saying): Believe in Me and in My messenger, they said: We believe. Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto Thee). When the disciples said: O Jesus, son of Mary! Is thy Lord able to send down for us a table spread with food from heaven? He said: Observe your duty to Allah, if ye are true believers. (They said:) We wish to eat thereof, that we may satisfy our hearts and know that thou hast spoken truth to us, and that thereof we may be witnesses. Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be a feast for us, for the first of us and for the last of us, and a sign from Thee. Give us sustenance, for Thou art the Best of Sustainers. Allah said: Lo! I send it down for you. And whoso disbelieveth of you afterward, him surely will I punish with a punishment wherewith I have not punished any of (My) creatures. (Koran 5:111-115, Pickthall)

We should not disbelieve Jesus’ words in the Gospels.

“So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year.”

The polytheists were forbidden to go near the Kaaba stone in Mecca. However, according to the verses I cited from the New Testament and the Koran, the Orthodox Christians and the Jews were not forbidden to go near it. The greedy, covetous Muslims, however, should examine themselves and repent before going near it. Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) and no one can serve Allah and money (Matthew 6:24). Christians and Jews should do the same, too. God knows what is in people’s hearts. No one should pass judgment in such matters, however. (Matthew 7:1.2)

One of the reasons for forbidding the polytheists from worshiping near this place is because they would worship their false gods while the Muslims worshiped Allah.

“If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise), Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will.”

Jesus said:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34, NKJV)

The Muslims should not worry about losing business from the polytheists. They should obey God and keep the idolaters away from the Inviolable Place of Worship. God will provide for them. So, they should not worry.

Allah is Knower, Wise.

God knows everything. Like Jesus said, “For you heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matthew 6:32, NKJV) God does not want His people to go hungry. God is wise. His commandments are wisely given to us. We should trust Him and obey.

29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

The Arabic text is:

Qātilū alladhīna lā yu’minūna bil-lahi  walā bil-yawmi al-ākhiri  walā yuḥarrimūna mā ḥarrama al-lahu warasūluhu walā yadīnūna dīna al-ḥaqi mina alladhīna ūtū al-kitāba ḥattā yuʿ’ṭū al-jiz’yata an yadin wahum ṣāghirūna.

“Fight against those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger forbid and do not acknowledge the religion of truth among those who received the Scripture until they pay the jizya from the hand while being humbled.”

The previous verse mentioned the idolaters. Christians and Jews were not mentioned. Those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day were most probably the idolaters. If the idolaters broke their treaty with the Muslims and persecuted them (Koran 2:193; 9:13), oppressed them (Koran 4:75), or initiated a military conflict against them (Koran 2:190; 9:13), then the Muslims were supposed to fight them. Offensive military jihad is Satanic (Koran 17:53; 24:21). There is no compulsion in religion. (Koran 2:256) and Muhammad was not a compeller over them (Koran 50:45). The idolaters were not required to fight against the enemies of the Muslims, but they had to pay for the protection of the Muslims. This was fair. The Muslims fought wars for religious reasons. People of other faiths were not required to defend militarily the Muslims’ religion, but since the Muslim army was protecting them from hostile forces that would want to invade the land, they had to pay a tax. They paid a tax and were not required to pay with their lives.

This tax, the jizyah, is really more applicable to seventh century Arabia than to today. In modern societies, there are government agencies which collect taxes from the citizens. A lot of wars are fought for non-religious reasons.

However, the principle of not requiring people to fight for a religion they do not adhere to and requiring non-combatants to pay a tax for the military protection of those of another faith seems fair. The Koran does not specify how much is the jizyah, nor does it say how often or how long it should be regularly paid. All of this was worked out in a treaty. If there is no such treaty, then there is no such tax.

The idolaters received the Scriptures, that is, the Bible, but still did not believe in Allah and the Last Day. This passage from the Fourth Surah helps to explain this verse better.

See, how they invent lies about Allah! That of itself is flagrant sin. Hast thou not seen those unto whom a portion of the Scripture hath been given, how they believe in idols and false deities, and how they say of those (idolaters) who disbelieve: “These are more rightly guided than those who believe”? Those are they whom Allah hath cursed, and he whom Allah hath cursed, thou (O Muhammad) wilt find for him no helper. (Koran 4:50-52, Pickthall)

The idolaters in Koran 9:28,29 are the same idolaters spoken of this passage from the Fourth Surah.

30 And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah.

Actually, the Jews would say that Ezra is the son of Allah and the Christians, of course, have been calling the Messiah the Son of Allah since the first century.

In the Old Testament, it says that God has sons and daughters.

19 And the Lord saw, and was jealous; and was provoked by the anger of His sons and daughters, 20 and said, I will turn away My face from them, and will show what shall happen to them in the last days; for it is a perverse generation, sons in whom is no faith. (Deuteronomy 32:19,20, LXX)

5 Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and will gather thee from the west. 6 I will say to the north, Bring; and to the south, Keep not back; bring My sons from the land afar off, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 even all who are called by my name: for I have prepared him for My glory, and I have formed him, and have made him: 8 and I have brought forth the blind people; for their eyes are alike blind, and they that have ears are deaf. (Isaiah 43:5-8, LXX)

The New Testament teaches the same thing.

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthian 6:14-18, NKJV)

God, being our Creator, is our Father. This teaching can be found in both the Old and New Testaments.

They have sinned, not pleasing Him; spotted children, a froward and perverse generation. 6 Do ye thus recompense the Lord? Is the people thus foolish and unwise? Did not He Himself thy Father purchase thee, and make thee, and form thee? (Deuteronomy 32:5,6, LXX)

8 And now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, and we are clay, all of us the work of Thine hands. (Isaiah 64:8, LXX)

28 For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. (Acts 17:28,29, NKJV)

Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (Hebrews 12:9, NKJV)

Although God is everyone’s Father in the sense that He their Creator, He is not everyone’s Father in a religious and spiritual sense. One becomes a child of God in this spiritual sense through regeneration. Regeneration is called “circumcision of the heart” (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11), “being born again” (John 3:3-8; I Peter 1:22,23), and “becoming a new creation” (II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). In Deuteronomy, there is a curious verse that I encountered. It appears in the Septuagint as this:

Thou hast forsaken God that begot thee, and forgotten God who feeds thee. (Deuteronomy 32:18, LXX)

St. Athanasius lived in the third century and the early part of the fourth century. He wrote this explanation of regeneration and quoted this verse in it.

    Thus does divine Scripture recognise the difference between the Offspring and things made, and shew that the Offspring is a Son, not begun from any beginning, but eternal; but that the thing made, as an external work of the Maker, began to come into being. John therefore delivering divine doctrine about the Son, and knowing the difference of the phrases, said not, ‘In the beginning has become’ or ‘been made,’ but ‘In the beginning was the Word;’ that we might understand ‘Offspring’ by ‘was,’ and not account of Him by intervals, but believe the Son always and eternally to exist. And with these proofs, how, O Arians, misunderstanding the passage in Deuteronomy, did you venture a fresh act of irreligion against the Lord, saying that ‘He is a work,’ or ‘creature,’ or indeed ‘offspring?’ for offspring and work you take to mean the same thing; but here too you shall be shewn to be as unlearned as you are irreligious. Your first passage is this, ‘Is not He thy Father that bought thee? did He not make thee and create thee?’ (Deuteronomy 32:6, LXX) And shortly after in the same Song he says, ‘God that begat thee thou didst desert, and forgattest God that nourished thee.’ (Deuteronomy 32:18, LXX) Now the meaning conveyed in these passages is very remarkable; for he says not first ‘He begat,’ lest that term should be taken as indiscriminate with ‘He made,’ and these men should have a pretence for saying, ‘Moses tells us indeed that God said from the beginning, “Let Us make man” (Genesis 1:26), but he soon after says himself, ‘God that begat thee thou didst desert’ (Deuteronomy 32:18, LXX), as if the terms were indifferent; for offspring and work are the same. But after the words ‘bought’ and ‘made,’ he has added last of all ‘begat,’ that the sentence might carry its own interpretation; for in the word ‘made’ he accurately denotes what belongs to men by nature, to be works and things made; but in the word ‘begat’ he shews God’s lovingkindness exercised towards men after He had created them. And since they have proved ungrateful upon this, thereupon Moses reproaches them, saying first, ‘Do ye thus requite the Lord?’ and then adds, ‘Is not He thy Father that bought thee? Did He not make thee and create thee?’ (Deuteronomy 32:6, LXX) And next he says, ‘They sacrificed unto devils, not to God, to gods whom they knew not. New gods and strange came up, whom your fathers knew not; the God that begat thee thou didst desert.’ (Deuteronomy 32:17, LXX)
For God not only created them to be men, but called them to be sons, as having begotten them. For the term ‘begat’ is here as elsewhere expressive of a Son, as He says by the Prophet, ‘I begat sons and exalted them;’ and generally, when Scripture wishes to signify a son, it does so, not by the term ‘created,’ but undoubtedly by that of ‘begat.’ And this John seems to say, ‘He gave to them power to become children of God, even to them that believe on His Name; which were begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’ (John 1:12,13) And here too the cautious distinction is well kept up, for first he says ‘become,’ because they are not called sons by nature but by adoption; then he says ‘were begotten,’ because they too had received at any rate the name of son. But the People, as says the Prophet, ‘despised’ their Benefactor. But this is God’s kindness to man, that of whom He is Maker, of them according to grace He afterwards becomes Father also; becomes, that is, when men, His creatures, receive into their hearts, as the Apostle says, ‘the Spirit of His Son, crying, Abba, Father.’ (Galatians 4:6) And these are they who, having received the Word, gained power from Him to become sons of God; for they could not become sons, being by nature creatures, otherwise than by receiving the Spirit of the natural and true Son. Wherefore, that this might be, ‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14), that He might make man capable of Godhead. This same meaning may be gained also from the Prophet Malachi, who says, ‘Hath not One God created us? Have we not all one Father?’ (Malachi 2:10) for first he puts ‘created,’ next ‘Father,’ to shew, as the other writers, that from the beginning we were creatures by nature, and God is our Creator through the Word; but afterwards we were made sons, and thenceforward God the Creator becomes our Father also. Therefore ‘Father’ is proper to the Son; and not ‘creature,’ but ‘Son’ is proper to the Father. Accordingly this passage also proves, that we are not sons by nature, but the Son who is in us; and again, that God is not our Father by nature, but of that Word in us, in whom and because of whom we ‘cry, Abba, Father.’ (Galatians 4:6) And so in like manner, the Father calls them sons in whomsoever He sees His own Son, and says, ‘I begat;’ since begetting is significant of a Son, and making is indicative of the works. And thus it is that we are not begotten first, but made; for it is written, ‘Let Us make man’ (Genesis 1:26); but afterwards, on receiving the grace of the Spirit, we are said thenceforth to be begotten also; just as the great Moses in his Song with an apposite meaning says first ‘He bought,’ and afterwards ‘He begat;’ lest, hearing ‘He begat,’ they might forget their own original nature; but that they might know that from the beginning they are creatures, but when according to grace they are said to be begotten, as sons, still no less than before are men works according to nature. (Four Discourses Against the Arians, Discourse 2, chapter 21, St. Athanasius the Great, vol. 4, pp. 380-381, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

What I have found interesting is the terminology. The concept of being “begotten by God” spiritually or “born again” was an Old Testament concept, and not just a New Testament one. In St. John’s First Catholic Epistle, there are these verses about “being born of God.”

If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (I John 2:29, NKJV)

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9, NKJV)

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. (I John 5:1, NKJV)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I John 5:4,5, NKJV)

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. (I John 5:18, NKJV)

Ezra practiced righteousness. Therefore, he was born of God. He was a son of God. He lived before the coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I John 5:1,4,5 did not apply to him while he was alive.

Regeneration is also described in the New Testament as going from death to life. People become dead to God because of their sins. When they are regenerated, they become alive to God.

3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:3-11, NKJV)

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-6, NKJV)

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
(Colossians 2:11-15, NKJV)

The Koran also speaks of regeneration using this metaphor.

How disbelieve ye in Allah when ye were dead and He gave life to you! Then He will give you death, then life again, and then unto Him ye will return. (Koran 2:28, Pickthall)

Thou causest the night to pass into the day, and Thou causest the day to pass into the night. And Thou bringest forth the living from the dead, and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living. And Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou choosest, without stint. (Koran 3:27, Pickthall)

Lo! Allah (it is) Who splitteth the grain of corn and the date-stone (for sprouting). He bringeth forth the living from the dead, and is the bringer-forth of the dead from the living. Such is Allah. How then are ye perverted? (Koran 6:95, Pickthall)

Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Who provideth for you from the sky and the earth, or Who owneth hearing and sight; and Who bringeth forth the living from the dead and bringeth forth the dead from the living; and Who directeth the course? They will say: Allah. Then say: Will ye not then keep your duty (unto Him)? (Koran 10:31, Pickthall)

Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth? Thus what they did was made fair seeming to the unbelievers. (Koran 6:122, Shakir)

“Bringing forth the living from the dead” is regeneration. “Bringing forth the dead from the living” means that God takes people’s souls in death. He will give them life again (Koran 2:28) when He resurrects the dead on the Last Day.

Jesus is the Son of God in a special way. He “proceeded forth and came from God.” (John 8:42) This procession from God the Father is called “being begotten.” (John 1:18) Jesus is not a partner with Allah. He is Allah, but He is not the Father and not the Holy Spirit. The Father is Allah, but He is not the Son and not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Allah, but He is not the Father and not the Son. All Three are distinct from each other, but one and the same God. There is only one Allah. In the Koran, Allah often uses the first person plural pronouns in reference to Himself. Whenever one sees Allah using We, Us, and Our,  either two or all three hypostases of the Deity are speaking. Whenever Allah uses I, Me, and My, only one hypostasis of the Deity is speaking.

Surah 112 is the Surah of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit neither begets nor is begotten. I would encourage Christians to read it sometime and  then they will see what I am saying.

I have seen lots of evidence in the Koran for the doctrine of the Trinity. I do believe that Muhammad was a Trinitarian monotheist like the Orthodox Christians whom he called “believers.” (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7)

“That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!”

There is nothing wrong with calling Ezra the son of God. There is nothing wrong with calling Jesus the Son of God. Ezra practiced righteousness. Therefore, he was regenerated. God had circumcised his heart. (Deuteronomy 30:6) Jesus called Himself the Son of God. (John 10:36) He even attributed titles of God to Himself. (John 8:58 with Exodus 3:13,14; John 8:12 with Koran 24:35; John 14:6 with Koran 22:6; Revelation 1:17 with Isaiah 44:6 and Koran 57:3)

A clue to understanding this verse is the last words in the Arabic text.

Qātalahumu al-lahu annā yu’fakūna.

“May Allah fight them. How are they deluded!” These same Arabic words appear in Koran 63:4. Here is Koran 63:1-4:

When the hypocrites come unto thee (O Muhammad), they say: We bear witness that thou art indeed Allah’s messenger. And Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the hypocrites indeed are speaking falsely. They make their faith a pretext so that they may turn (men) from the way of Allah. Verily evil is that which they are wont to do, that is because they believed, then disbelieved, therefore their hearts are sealed so that they understand not. And when thou seest them their figures please thee; and if they speak thou givest ear unto their speech. (They are) as though they were blocks of wood in striped cloaks. They deem every shout to be against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. Allah confound them! How they are perverted! (Koran 63:1-4, Pickthall)

Koran 9:30 like Koran 63:1-4 is talking about hypocrites. These Jews and Christians say the right things with their mouths, but do not have genuine faith. They believe with their mouths and not with their hearts. Koran 63:1-4 is talking about hypocritical Muslims.

31 They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One Allah.

Ittakhadhū aḥbārahum waruh’bānahum arbāban min dūni al-lahi wal-masīḥa ib’na maryama.

The original Arabic text of the Koran was only consonants and no vowels. I think that the wrong vowels were added to two words near the end. The text, in my opinion, should say:

Ittakhadhū aḥbārahum waruh’bānahum arbāban min dūni al-lahi wal-masīḥi ib’ni maryama.

“They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords instead of Allah and the Messiah the Son of Mary.”

The Jews believed their rabbis instead of God. The Christians believed their monks instead of Jesus. The Jews may have been heretical Jews. The Christians may have been heretical Christians.

If, however, the first version of the Arabic text is correct, then the Christians were not Trinitarian monotheists. They were worshiping Jesus as a separate deity from Allah instead of as Allah. There were heretical Christian sects during the time of Muhammad. Maybe the Christians were Nestorians or Arians. If the Jews were worshiping their rabbis instead of God, they were heretical Jews. Christians who worship monks seem to be a bit odd. They must have been heretics.

“When they were bidden to worship only One God.”

The Old Testament and the New Testament strongly stress the existence of only one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5; Matthew 4:10; I Corinthians 8:6; James 2:19)

There are several instances in the Gospels where people worshiped Jesus. He never once forbade them to do that. We Trinitarian monotheists also worship God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, but we do not think of them as being three different gods. They are different hypostases of the same God.

“There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!”

I think that every monotheist can say “Amen” to that. Jesus never claimed to be a separate God from the Father. He said, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30, NKJV)

Before I conclude this blog, I will say some things about the “Last Day.” Orthodox Christians do believe like Muslims in the Last Day. On the Last Day of this present age, all of the dead will resurrected and judged. The wicked will receive eternal damnation. The righteous will inherit the Kingdom of God and enjoy eternal bliss.

The resurrection of the dead was made possible by Jesus.

Yet the divine Apostle teaches plainly that the Creator, pitying this nature not only seized cruelly by death, but throughout all life made death’s slave, effected the resurrection through a body for our bodies, and, by means of a mortal body, undid the dominion of death; for since His own nature was immortal He righteously wished to stay the sovereignty of death by taking the first fruits of them that were subject to death, and while He kept these first fruits (i.e. the body) blameless and free from sin, on the one hand He gave death license to lay hands on it and so satisfy its insatiability, while on the other, for the sake of the wrong done to this body, he put a stop to the unrighteous sovereignty usurped over all the rest of men. These firstfruits unrighteously engulfed He raised again and will make the race to follow them. (The Eranistes, Dialogue III, by Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus, vol. 3, p. 223, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

Martha spoke about the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day, before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:23,24, NKJV)

Many of the Church Fathers and ancient Christian writers spoke of the resurrection of the dead.

The resurrection of the dead is the Christian’s trust. By it we are believers. To the belief of this (article of the faith) truth compels us — that truth which God reveals, but the crowd derides, which supposes that nothing will survive after death. (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, by Tertullian, vol. 3, p. 545, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

“Wherefore not before the passion, but after the passion, the Lord stood in the midst of the disciples when the doors were shut, that thou mayest know that thy natural body after being sown is ‘raised a spiritual body,’ and that thou mayest not suppose the body that is raised to be a different body. When Thomas after the resurrection doubted, He shews him the prints of the nails, He shews him the marks of the spears. But had He not power to heal Himself after the resurrection too, when even before the resurrection He had healed all men? But by shewing the prints of the nails He shews that it is this very body; by coming in when the doors were shut He shews that it has not the same qualities; the same body to fulfil the work of the incarnation by raising that which had become a corpse, but a changed body that it fall not again under corruption nor be subject again to death.” (The Eranistes, Dialogue II, by Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus, vol. 3, p. 209, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of the recompense nerves the soul to good works. For every labourer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their body. A soldier who expects a prize is ready for war, but no one is forward to die for a king who is indifferent about those who serve under him, and bestows no honours on their toils. In like manner every soul believing in a Resurrection is naturally careful of itself; but, disbelieving it, abandons itself to perdition. He who believes that his body shall remain to rise again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves the Resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. Faith therefore in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great commandment and doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church; great and most necessary, though gainsaid by many, yet surely warranted by the truth. Greeks contradict it, Samaritans disbelieve it, heretics mutilate it; the contradiction is manifold, but the truth is uniform. (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XVIII, by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, vol. 7, p. 134, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

We believe, say they, in the resurrection of the body. This confession, if only it be sincere, is free from objection. But as there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial and as thin air and the æther are both according to their natures Called bodies, they use the word body instead of the word flesh in order that an orthodox person hearing them say body may take them to mean flesh while a heretic will understand that they mean spirit. This is their first piece of craft, and if this is found out, they devise fresh wiles, and, pretending innocence themselves, accuse us of malice. As though they were frank believers they say, “We believe in the resurrection of the flesh.” Now when they have said this, the ignorant crowd thinks it ought to be satisfied, particularly because these exact words are found in the creed.3 If you go on to question them farther, a buzz of disapproval is heard in the ring and their backers cry out: “You have heard them say that they believe in the resurrection of the flesh; what more do you want?” the popular favour is transferred from our side to theirs, and while they are called honest, we are looked on as false accusers. But if you set your face steadily and keeping a firm hold of their admission about the flesh, proceed to press them as to whether they assert the resurrection of that flesh which is visible and tangible, which walks and speaks, they first laugh and then signify their assent. And when we inquire whether the resurrection will exhibit anew the hair and the teeth, the chest and the stomach, the hands and the feet, and all the other members of the body, then no longer able to contain their mirth they burst out laughing and tell us that in that case we shall need barbers, and cakes, and doctors, and cobblers. Do we, they ask us in turn, believe that after the resurrection men’s cheeks will still be rough and those of women smooth, and that sex will differentiate their bodies as it does at present? Then if we admit this, they at once deduce from our admission conclusions involving the grossest materialism. Thus, while they maintain the resurrection of the body as a whole, they deny the resurrection of its separate members. (Letter LXVIII, by St. Jerome, vol. 6, p. 178, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

At the Fifth Ecumenical Council (553 A.D.), there were anathemas issued against the heretical teachings of Origen regarding the resurrection of the dead and eternal punishment.

If anyone shall say that after the resurrection the body of the Lord was ethereal, having the form of a sphere, and that such shall be the bodies of all after the resurrection; and that after the Lord himself shall have rejected his true body and after the others who rise shall have rejected theirs, the nature of their bodies shall be annihilated: let him be anathema. (Anathema X Against Origen, Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D., vol. 14, p. 319, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

If anyone shall say that the future judgment signifies the destruction of the body and that the end of the story will be an immaterial ψύσις, and that thereafter there will no longer be any matter, but only spirit (νοῦς): let him be anathema. (Anathema XI Against Origen, Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D., vol. 14, p. 319, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

If anyone says or thinks that, at the resurrection, human bodies will rise spherical in form and unlike our present form, let him be anathema. (Anathema V of Emperor Justinian Against Origen, Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D., vol. 14, p. 320, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and of impious men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a restoration (ἀποκατάστασις) will take place of demons and of impious men, let him be anathema. (Anathema IX of Emperor Justinian Against Origen, Second Council of Constantinople, 553 A.D., vol. 14, p. 320, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

In the first century there was a Jewish sect that did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They were called the Sadducees.

For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection — and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. (Acts 23:8, NKJV)

See also Matthew 22:23.

Finally, whenever one sees the words “People of the Scripture” or similar words in the Koran, one should remember that this term is being used generically for Christians and Jews. The negative remarks regarding Christian beliefs in the Koran are the beliefs of heretical Christian sects and not the beliefs of Orthodox Christians. In the Fifth Surah, it says:

Lo! those who believe, and those who are Jews, and Sabaeans, and Christians – Whosoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right – there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve. (Koran 5:69, Pickthall)

Also, not all Christians and Jews were bad in the seventh century. The Koran says in the Third Surah:

They are not all alike. Of the People of the Scripture there is a staunch community who recite the revelations of Allah in the night season, falling prostrate (before Him). They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency, and vie one with another in good works. These are of the righteous. (Koran 3:113,114, Pickthall)

There are good Christians and Jews today, too.

So, the text from the Koran of which I have done this exegesis (Koran 9:28-31) is talking about idolaters and heretical Jews and Christians. Those heretical Jews and Christians were apparently hypocrites, too. Whenever one reads the words, “People of the Scripture,” or something similar in the Koran, one should not think that it is describing the beliefs of all Christians and Jews.

 

The Sword Verse in the Koran

November 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Now, I am going to talk about the “Sword Verse” — Koran 9:5. I think that this verse is frequently misunderstood and misinterpreted by Pseudo-Islamic extremists and Islamophobes. In order to properly understand this verse, one must look at it in context. Taking the verse out its context will most likely result in a misinterpretation and a misapplication.

First, let us look at the whole passage in question. I am using Shakir’s translation.

1 (This is a declaration of) immunity by Allah and His Messenger towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.
2 So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot weaken Allah and that Allah will bring disgrace to the unbelievers.
3 And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.
4 Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).
5 So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
6 And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.
7 How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? So as long as they are true to you, be true to them; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).
8 How (can it be)! while if they prevail against you, they would not pay regard in your case to ties of relationship, nor those of covenant; they please you with their mouths while their hearts do not consent; and most of them are transgressors.
9 They have taken a small price for the communications of Allah, so they turn away from His way; surely evil is it that they do.
10 They do not pay regard to ties of relationship nor those of covenant in the case of a believer; and these are they who go beyond the limits.
11 But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know.
12 And if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief — surely their oaths are nothing — so that they may desist.
13 What! will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.
14 Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people.
15 And remove the rage of their hearts; and Allah turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases, and Allah is Knowing, Wise.
16 What! do you think that you will be left alone while Allah has not yet known those of you who have struggled hard and have not taken any one as an adherent besides Allah and His Messenger and the believers; and Allah is aware of what you do. (Koran 9:1-16, Shakir)

Reasons for War

 

Self-Defense

 

War in the Koran is sanctioned only if one of three conditions are met. First, if the Muslim community is under military attack. Then, they may fight back in self-defense. In Koran 2:190, it says:

Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors. (Koran 2:190, Sahih International)

Some people must already be fighting the Muslims before they can fight. The verse does not say, “Fight.. those who are not fighting you.” It says, “Fight.. those who fight you.”

To End Religious Persecution

 

The second reason for war is to end religious persecution. In Koran 22:39-41, it says:

Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory; those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah –- For had it not been for Allah’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty –- those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah’s is the sequel of events. (22:39-41, Pickthall)

The Muslims are allowed to fight people who are persecuting them. One way that non-Muslims persecuted Muslims was to drive them from their homes. They did this because the Muslims worshiped only one God. The polytheists worshiped other gods in addition to God. They mistreated the Muslims because of their religion.

Also, in Koran 2:193, it says:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers. (Koran 2:193, Pickthall)

The purpose of the war according to this verse is to end religious persecution and make it possible for people to worship God.

No Compulsion in Religion

 

The words, “religion is for Allah,” do not mean that people are forced to accept Islam. Muhammad was not a “compeller over them.” He was not supposed to force people to convert to Islam.

We (that is, the Holy Trinity) are best aware of what they say, and thou (O Muhammad) art in no wise a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an him who feareth My threat. (Koran 50:45, Pickthall)

He was only a warner and a bearer of good tidings.

And We (that is, the Holy Trinity) have sent thee (O Muhammad) only as a bearer of good tidings and a warner. (Koran 25:56,  Pickthall)

Only God can change a person’s heart so that he becomes a believer.

And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed — all of them entirely. Then, [O Muhammad], would you compel the people in order that they become believers? And it is not for a soul to believe except by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement upon those who will not use reason. (Koran 10:99,100, Sahih International)

To Liberate the Oppressed

 

The third reason for war is to liberate the oppressed. In Koran 4:75, it says:

How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender! (Koran 4:75, Pickthall)

Whenever Muslims are being oppressed by non-Muslims, Muslims from another country or place can engage the oppressors in war to liberate their fellow-Muslims.

The War Against Those Idolaters

 

After the four Sacred Months have passed, the Muslims were told to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.” (Koran 9:5, Shakir) The reasons for fighting the idolaters (not the Christians and the Jews) are:

  • They did not pay regard to the Muslims in regard to ties of relationship and covenant.  (Koran 9:8,10) They broke their oaths after the agreement and reviled the Islamic religion. (Koran 9:12) They were treaty-breakers. Their treaty-breaking resulted in religious persecution against the Muslims.
  • They tried to expel Muhammad from the city and attacked the Muslims first. (Koran 9:13)

So, there are two basic reasons for the war authorized in Koran 9:5: to end religious persecution and to engage in self-defense against a people who attacked them first. The Muslims were on their way to Mecca for their pilgrimage. The “immunity” which was issued was taken to the idolaters by Abu Bakr, one of Muhammad’s closest friends. He was the first caliph after Muhammad’s death according to the Sunni Muslims.

“If they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (Koran 9:5, Shakir) During the war, some of the idolaters might convert to Islam from polytheism. The Muslims were forbidden to fight against them. These new converts were their “brethren in faith.” (Koran 9:11)

“And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.” (Koran 9:6, Shakir) Some of the idolaters might not wish to fight the Muslims. Instead, they might seek protection from them. In that case, the Muslims were supposed to proclaim to them the “word of Allah” and then take them to a place of safety. They were not supposed to kill the idolater if he rejected the Islamic religion.

“So long as they are true to you, be true to them.” (Koran 9:7) The Muslims were supposed to honor their agreements with the idolaters as long as the idolaters honored their agreements with the Muslims.

God would help the Muslims successfully fight against the idolaters and win. (Koran 9:14-16)

Peace is Better

 

The principle of abrogation is given in Koran 2:106.

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things? (Koran 2:106, Yusuf Ali)

The abrogating revelation is always either better or similar to the one being abrogated. The Koran says that Satan sows discord among people. (Koran 17:53) It says, “Follow not the footsteps of the devil.” (Koran 24:21) People who start wars are following in the footsteps of Satan. So, according to the Koran, “offensive military jihad” is Satanic. The Koran also says that “peace is better.” (Koran 4:128) Since peace is better and offensive military jihad is Satanic, it is a Muslim’s duty to strive toward peace with others and not to promote war.

Offensive spiritual jihad against Satan is acceptable. This is done by praying, fasting, and proclaiming the truth.

Conclusion

 

So, Koran 9:5 is not a “revelation authorizing offensive jihad” against non-Muslims. When one examines the verse in context, one can see that the war of which it speaks was defensive in nature. The idolaters had broken their treaty with the Musims, began persecuting the Muslims, and initiated a military conflict with them. No one was being forced to convert from polytheism to Islam. An idolater who sought the protection of the Muslims during the war had to listen to the “word of Allah” and afterward he was taken to a place of safety. If the idolaters kept their agreements with the Muslims, the Muslims were required to do the same toward them. The Muslims had to spare those who converted to Islam during the military battle. They were not allowed to kill them because they had become the Muslims’ “brethren in faith.” Muhammad was only a bearer of good tidings and a warner. He was not a compeller over the people to whom he preached. Only God could change a person’s heart so that he would become a believer. Peace is better than offensive military jihad. Offensive military jihad is Satanic.

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Punishing Sexual Immorality

November 18, 2016 Leave a comment

In this blog post, I am going to talk about prohibitions against sexual immorality in the Bible and the Koran. I will also talk about the punishments prescribed to those who have committed sexually immoral acts. Fornication and adultery are the two forms of sexual immorality that I will focus on primarily.

In the Torah, the light and guidance for mankind (Koran 6:92), there are laws forbidding the commission of adultery and fornication. In the Decalogue, it says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18) This commandment is reiterated in the New Testament. Twice in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Christ uttered it. (Matthew 5:27; 19:18) In the Conciliar Epistle of the Council of Jerusalem in the first century, the apostles commanded Christians to abstain from sexual immorality.

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. (Acts 15:28,29, NKJV)

St. Paul says that adulterers, fornicators, and other sexually immoral people will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10, NKJV)

The Koran, likewise, forbids the commission of adultery and fornication. It also teaches that adulterers and fornicators will be experience eternal punishment in the afterlife. The Arabic word is zinā. It can mean either of those two sins.

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

(Some translators have translated the word, zinā, in this verse, “fornication.”)

And those who cry not unto any other god along with Allah, nor take the life which Allah hath forbidden save in (course of) justice, nor commit adultery (yaznūna) – and whoso doeth this shall pay the penalty; the doom will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will abide therein disdained for ever. (Koran 25:68,69, Pickthall)

(Yaznūna can mean “commit adultery” or “commit fornication.” It is the verb form of zinā.)

In the Gospel, “a guidance to mankind” (Koran 3:3,4), Jesus speaks of the possibility of committing adultery within one’s heart.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27,28, NKJV)

The Koran also acknowledges the existence of sins of the heart.

Forsake the outwardness of sin and the inwardness thereof. Lo! those who garner sin will be awarded that which they have earned. (Koran 6:121, Pickthall)

In the Torah, the punishment for fornicators and adulterers was stoning to death.

And the father of the damsel shall say to the elders, I gave this my daughter to this man for a wife; and now he has hated her, and attaches reproachful words to her, saying, I have not found tokens of virginity with thy daughter; and these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall unfold the garment before the elders of the city. And the elders of that city shall take that man, and shall chastise him, and shall fine him a hundred shekels, and shall give them to the father of the damsel, because he has brought forth an evil name against a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife: he shall never be able to put her away. But if this report be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel; then shall they bring out the damsel to the doors of her father’s house, and shall stone her with stones, and she shall die; because she has wrought folly among the children of Israel, to defile the house of her father by whoring: so thou shalt remove the evil one from among you. (Deuteronomy22:16-21, LXX)

And if a man be found lying with a woman married to a man, ye shall kill them both, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou remove the wicked one out of Israel. And if there be a young damsel espoused to a man, and a man should have found her in the city and have lain with her; ye shall bring them both out to the gate of their city, and they shall be stoned with stones, and they shall die; the damsel, because she cried not in the city; and the man, because he humbled his neighbour’s spouse: so shalt thou remove the evil one from yourselves. But if a man find in the field a damsel that is betrothed, and he should force her and lie with her, ye shall slay the man that lay with her only. And the damsel has not committed a sin worthy of death; as if a man should rise up against his neighbour, and slay him, so is this thing; because he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to help her. (Deuteronomy 22:22-27, LXX)

A priest’s daughter who was caught committing fornication was burnt with fire. (Leviticus 21:9)

The punishments prescribed in these laws were abrogated by Jesus.

Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11, NKJV)

Jesus is the one who will judge us all on the last day. He is fully competent to pass judgment in such matters.

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. (Matthew 25:31-33, NKJV)

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30, NKJV)

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30,31, NKJV)

In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (Romans 2:16, NKJV)

The judge of the world remitted the sins of the adulteress. He did not condemn her to death. God desires our reformation more than our punishment. The principle that one must be sinless before one can inflict the death penalty on another is what has emerged from this incident. Since no one is sinless except Jesus (Koran 19:19; John 8:29; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:22), no one can stone another person to death for committing a grievous sin such as adultery.

For there is no man that sinneth not. (I Kings 8:46, KJV)

Even Muhammad sinned.

Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. (Koran 40:55, Pickthall)

So know (O Muhammad) that there is no Allah save Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and your place of rest. (Koran 47:19, Pickthall)

Lo! We have given thee (O Muhammad) a signal victory, that Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and may guide thee on a right path. (Koran 48:1,2, Pickthall)

There are hadiths that say that Muhammad commanded that adulterers be stoned to death, but, in the light of the teaching of Christ, and in Muhammad’s insistence that people should obey the messengers of Allah (Koran 2:285; 6:48; 7:35; 57:19), it is not likely that he ever told them that.

Since everyone but Jesus has sinned, no one is qualified to throw a stone at an adulterer or fornicator, but He. Furthermore, we are supposed to follow Jesus’ example and live as He lived. (I Peter 2:21; Koran 3:55; 43:57-59) If He never stoned a sexually immoral person when confronted with the opportunity to do so, then we should never stone an adulterer or fornicator also.

Nowhere in the Koran does it say that adulterers and fornicators should be stoned to death. The Koran, however, records several incidents where polytheists wanted to stone to death monotheists. (Koran 11:91,92; 18:20; 19:46; 26:116; 36:13-18) However, there is no commandment among the 114 Surahs of the Koran to stone anyone to death for any sin at all. Actually, it is absurd to think that such a commandment was ever really given by Muhammad when one examines these verses. In the fourth Surah, it says:

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. And if when they are honourably married they commit lewdness they shall incur the half of the punishment (prescribed) for free women (in that case). This is for him among you who feareth to commit sin. But to have patience would be better for you. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:25, Pickthall)

A slave woman who commits sexual immorality is to receive half of the punishment of a free woman. If death by stoning is the punishment for adultery or fornication in the Koran, then how can someone be stoned half to death?

Furthermore, how can someone be stoned to death twice as much as someone else?

O ye wives of the Prophet! Whosoever of you committeth manifest lewdness, the punishment for her will be doubled, and that is easy for Allah. (Koran 33:30, Pickthall)

How can an adulterer or a fornicator marry an adulteress or fornicatress if they have already been stoned to death?

The adulterer shall not marry save an adulteress or an idolatress, and the adulteress none shall marry save an adulterer or an idolater. All that is forbidden unto believers. (Koran 24:3, Pickthall)

The verse previous to this one speaks of flogging as being the punishment and not stoning.

The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. And let not pity for the twain withhold you from obedience to Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day. And let a party of believers witness their punishment. (Koran 24:2, Pickthall)

Since four witnesses are required in order to convict someone of sexual immorality (Koran 4:15; 24:4), the sexual immorality must have been committed in public. Therefore, the only ones who get flogged are those who commit adultery or fornication in public.

There are two verses that appear to contradict each other, but they really do not. The first is from the Fourth Surah.

If any of your women are guilty of lewdness (fāḥisha), Take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way. (Koran 4:15, Yusuf Ali)

The other one is from the 65th Surah.

O Prophet! When ye (men) put away women, put them away for their (legal) period and reckon the period, and keep your duty to Allah, your Lord. Expel them not from their houses nor let them go forth unless they commit open immorality (fāḥisha). Such are the limits (imposed by) Allah; and whoso transgresseth Allah’s limits, he verily wrongeth his soul. Thou knowest not: it may be that Allah will afterward bring some new thing to pass. (Koran 65:1, Pickthall)

In Koran 4:15, a woman is confined to her house until she dies or until God ordains another way for her. In Koran 65:1, a woman is expelled from her home. Both are guilty of fāḥisha. This Arabic word has a broader meaning than zinā. It includes incest (Koran 4:22), adultery (Koran 4:19,25), and homosexual rape (Koran 7:80,81; 27:54,55; 29:28,29) as well as fornication (Koran 17:32).

The sexual sin spoken of in Koran 4:15 must be of the nature which would for the sake of society require that the woman be confined to her own home. Maybe prostitution is the crime. Keeping her confined to her home would prevent her from prostituting herself. The four witnesses in that verse are probably her former customers who had repented.

The way out for the woman in Koran 4:15 is probably repentance and having someone else who is willing to take her in and care for her. According to the Koran, she is not allowed to marry a virtuous man who has never committed adultery or fornication. (Koran 24:3) She must marry a man who has committed such a sin as she has committed. Her current husband should divorce her, but because of the activities she was involved in outside the home, he keeps her confined to his home. This verse applies more to seventh century Arabia than to today. Convicted prostitutes are put in jail and not confined to their homes.

Koran 65:1 most likely speaks of adultery. One of the grounds for divorce given in the New Testament is adultery.

“Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:31,32, NKJV)

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9, NKJV)

The Christians in that part of the world that Muhammad lived in used the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. In the Septuagint version of Proverbs, it says:

He that puts away a good wife, puts away a good thing, and he that keeps an adulteress is foolish and ungodly. (Proverbs 18:22, LXX)

The Church Fathers taught that a Christian man should divorce his wife if she is committing adultery. Some taught that a Christian woman should do the same thing if her husband was committing adultery with another woman.

And I said to him, “Sir, if any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detect her in adultery, does the man sin if he continue to live with her?”And he said to me, “As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband know that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he also is guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.” And I said to him, “What then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continue in her vicious practices?”And he said, “The husband should put her away, and remain by himself. But if he put his wife away and marry another, he also commits adultery.” (Matthew 5:32; 19:9) And I said to him, “What if the woman put away should repent, and wish to return to her husband: shall she not be taken back by her husband?”And he said to me, “Assuredly. If the husband do not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought to take back the sinner who has repented. But not frequently. For there is but one repentance to the servants of God. In case, therefore, that the divorced wife may repent, the husband ought not to marry another, when his wife has been put away. In this matter man and woman are to be treated exactly in the same way. Moreover, adultery is committed not only by those who pollute their flesh, but by those who imitate the heathen in their actions. Wherefore if any one  persists in such deeds, and repents not, withdraw from him, and cease to live with him, otherwise you are a sharer in his sin. Therefore has the injunction been laid on you, that you should remain by yourselves, both man and woman, for in such persons repentance can take place. But I do not,” said he, “give opportunity for the doing of these deeds, but that he who has sinned may sin no more. But with regard to his previous transgressions, there is One who is able to provide a cure; for it is He, indeed, who has power over all.” (The Shepherd of Hermas, Fourth Commandment, Chapter I, vol. 2, pp. 21-22, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

The sentence of the Lord that it is unlawful to withdraw from wedlock, save on account of fornication, applies, according to the argument, to men and women alike. Custom, however, does not so obtain. Yet, in relation with women, very strict expressions are to be found; as, for instance, the words of the apostle “He which is joined to a harlot is one body” (I Corinthians 6:16) and of Jeremiah, If a wife “become another man’s shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?” (Jeremiah 3:1) And again, “He that hath an adulteress is a fool and impious.” (Proverbs 18:22, LXX) Yet custom ordains that men who commit adultery and are in fornication be retained by their wives. Consequently I do not know if the woman who lives with the man who has been dismissed can properly be called an adulteress; the charge in this case attaches to the woman who has put away her husband, and depends upon the cause for which she withdrew from wedlock. In the case of her being beaten, and refusing to submit, it would be better for her to endure than to be separated from her husband; in the case of her objecting to pecuniary loss, even here she would not have sufficient ground. If her reason is his living in fornication we do not find this in the custom of the church; but from an unbelieving husband a wife is commanded not to depart, but to remain, on account of the uncertainty of the issue. “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shall save thy husband?” (I Corinthians 7:16) Here then the wife, if she leaves her husband and goes to another, is an adulteress. But the man who has been abandoned is pardonable, and the woman who lives with such a man is not condemned. But if the man who has deserted his wife goes to another, he is himself an adulterer because he makes her commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has caused another woman’s husband to come over to her. (Letter CLXXXVIII, Canon IX, St. Basil the Great, vol. 8, p. 226-227, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

If a man living with a wife is not satisfied with his marriage and falls into fornication, I account him a fornicator, and prolong his period of punishment. Nevertheless, we have no canon subjecting him to the charge of adultery, if the sin be committed against an unmarried woman. For the adulteress, it is said, “being polluted shall be polluted” (Jeremiah 3:1), and she shall not return to her husband: and “He that keepeth an adulteress is a fool and impious.” (Proverbs 18:22, LXX)) He, however, who has committed fornication is not to be cut off from the society of his own wife. So the wife will receive the husband on his return from fornication, but the husband will expel the polluted woman from his house. The argument here is not easy, but the custom has so obtained. (Letter CXCIX, Canon XXI, St. Basil the Great, vol. 8, p. 237, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

The Lord has given commandment that a wife must not be put away “except it be for fornication, and that, if put away, she must remain unmarried.” (Matthew 19:9; I Corinthian 7:11) Now a commandment which is given to men logically applies to women also. For it cannot be that, while an adulterous wife is to be put away, an incontinent husband is to be retained. The apostle says: “he which is joined to an harlot is one body.” (I Corinthian 6:16) Therefore she also who is joined to a whoremonger and unchaste person is made one body with him. The laws of Cæsar are different, it is true, from the laws of Christ: Papinianus commands one thing; our own Paul another. Earthly laws give a free rein to the unchastity of men, merely condemning seduction and adultery; lust is allowed to range unrestrained among brothels and slave girls, as if the guilt were constituted by the rank of the person assailed and not by the purpose of the assailant. But with us Christians what is unlawful for women is equally unlawful for men, and as both serve the same God both are bound by the same obligations. Fabiola then has put away — they are quite right — a husband that was a sinner, guilty of this and that crime, sins — I have almost mentioned their names — with which the whole neighbourhood resounded but which the wife alone refused to disclose. If however it is made a charge against her that after repudiating her husband she did not continue unmarried, I readily admit this to have been a fault, but at the same time declare that it may have been a case of necessity. “It is better,” the apostle tells us, “to marry than to burn.” (I Corinthians 7:9) She was quite a young  woman, she was not able to continue in widowhood. In the words of the apostle she saw another law in her members warring against the law of her mind (Romans 7:23); she felt herself dragged in chains as a captive towards the indulgences of wedlock. Therefore she thought it better openly to confess her weakness and to accept the semblance of an unhappy marriage than, with the flame of a monogamist, to ply the trade of a courtesan. The same apostle wills that the younger widows should marry, bear children, and give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (I Timothy 5:14) And he at once goes on to explain his wish: “for some are already turned aside after Satan.” (I Timothy 5:15) Fabiola therefore was fully persuaded in her own mind: she thought she had acted legitimately in putting away her husband, and that when she had done so she was free to marry again. She did not know that the rigour of the gospel takes away from women all pretexts for re-marriage so long as their former husbands are alive; and not knowing this, though she contrived to evade other assaults of the devil, she at this point unwittingly exposed herself to a wound from him. (Letter LXXVII, by St. Jerome, vol. 6, pp. 158-159, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

St. Jerome said that women have the right to divorce their husbands if they have been committing adultery. The Koran says that women “have rights similar to those of men over them in kindness.” (Koran 2:228, Pickthall) So, I think that Muhammad would agree with St. Jerome.

In the Orthodox Christian tradition, men and women who commit adultery or fornication are put under a penance by their priests. The Orthodox Church has never required that anyone be stoned to death.

As for flogging, there is a commandment regarding this form of punishment in the Old Testament.

And if there should be a dispute between men, and they should come forward to judgment, and the judges judge, and justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked: then it shall come to pass, if the unrighteous should be worthy of stripes, thou shalt lay him down before the judges, and they shall scourge him before them according to his iniquity. And they shall scourge him with forty stripes in number, they shall not inflict more; for if thou shouldest scourge him with more stripes beyond these stripes, thy brother will be disgraced before thee. (Deuteronomy 25:1-3, LXX)

The Torah forbids that the number of lashes exceed more than forty. The Koran says that one hundred lashes must be administered to the person guilty of public sexual immorality. The activity that was done in public is a shameful act. The lashes apparently are to be given not to cause bodily injury, but to shame the person before other believers. It says, “And let a party of believers witness their punishment.” (Koran 24:2) So, the lashes are either given in a smaller number (less than 40) at different times, or they are administered lightly, or both. One of the Koranic principles regarding punishment is that the punishment fits the crime.

If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. (Koran 16:126, Pickthall)

The couple who had sex in public brought shame and disgrace on their fellow Muslims before unbelievers. Therefore, they are shamed before a party of believers. They did no physical injury to the members of the Muslim community. Therefore, causing them bodily harm would not be a just sentence.

St. Paul prescribed in his First Epistle to the Corinthians that such persons should be disfellowshipped.

But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (I Corinthians 5:11, NKJV)

Depending on the gravity of the sin, the amount of times committed, and the societal status of the person who committed it, the period of disfellowshipping can be extended or shortened. A Muslim girl who puts up videos on Youtube said that her mosque does this. She called it “shunning.” Whatever is done, the goal that one should always have in mind is the sinner’s repentance and reformation. If the person is eternally destroyed, then nothing of value has been accomplished by the punishment.

The Koran sanctions this practice of disfellowshipping sexually immoral Muslims in this verse.

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)

St. Paul and the virtuous first century Christians are the examples. Therefore, one should do what they did. Disfellowship the sexually immoral person, but do not put that person to death.

In conclusion, nowhere in the Koran does it say to stone someone to death. It is unlikely that Muhammad would have told anyone to do that. Those hadiths that say that he said that are not to be believed and trusted. They were written down 200 to 300 years after he died. The Koran records incidents where pagan polytheists wanted to stone monotheists. Confining a woman to her home (Koran 4:15) was probably done because of some immoral sexual activity she was doing outside of her home that affected the entire community — possibly prostitution. The punishment for adultery is divorce. A man should divorce his wife if she commits adultery. (Proverbs 18:22, LXX) A woman should do the same if her husband is guilty of sexual infidelity. (Koran 2:228; 65:1) The purpose of flogging (Koran 24:2) was to shame those who have sex in public, not to cause them bodily harm. So, the lashes would have to be administered lightly. No more than forty should be administered at a time because of God’s law in Deuteronomy. (Deuteronomy 25:1-3) Disfellowshipping is another form of punishment that can be administered to such people. (I Corinthians 5:11) Sexual sins can be committed in one’s heart. Both the Koran and the Bible teach this. People who practice sexual immorality will not inherit the Kingdom of God. They will have to endure eternal damnation in Gehenna.

What Lindsay is Reading

November 16, 2016 Leave a comment

I have seen a couple of videos on Youtube recently about Lindsay Lohan. In one of the videos, she is interviewed on TV by a host on Habertürk in Turkey. She talks about how some of her friends in London gave her a Koran. She went back to America and people ostracized her for reading it. They treated her as if she were Satan. I also have been reading the Koran and I became quite incensed hearing her speak of how people treated her in America for reading it. No one should do that. The people who say such things are speaking out of ignorance. They are criticizing a book that they have never read. So, here is the first video.

She traveled around in Turkey helping the Syrian refugees. Someone gave her another beautiful Koran.

I do not know if she actually converted to Islam or not like the title of the last video says, but she wears a hijab that someone gave her and she likes to read the Koran.

Anyway, here are some things that she has been reading in the Koran. I do not know which translations she possesses. So, I quote from Sahih International, Pickthall, and Yusuf Ali. All three are quite popular translations. I also used Shakir for one quotation.

About Satan

Whoso taketh Satan for a comrade, a bad comrade hath he. (Koran 4:38, Pickthall)

O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Satan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Satan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing. (Koran 24:21, Sahih International)

Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze. (Koran 35:6, Sahih International)

Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan – [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. (Koran 36:60, Sahih International)

God

Say (unto the People of the Scripture): Dispute ye with us concerning Allah when He is our Lord and your Lord? Ours are our works and yours your works. We look to Him alone. (Koran 2:139, Pickthall)

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender. (Koran 29:46, Pickthall)

The People of the Scripture are the Jews and the Christians. The Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Christians and Muslims do. Muhammad and the first generation Muslims worshiped the same God that Christians worshiped. They were Trinitarians.

Forgiveness

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

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous Who spend [in the cause of Allah] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good; and those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know. (Koran 3:133-135, Sahih International)

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Sahih International)

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)

So whatever thing you have been given – it is but [for] enjoyment of the worldly life. But what is with Allah is better and more lasting for those who have believed and upon their Lord rely and those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, and when they are angry, they forgive, and those who have responded to their lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them, they spend. And those who, when tyranny strikes them, they defend themselves, And the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it, but whoever pardons and makes reconciliation – his reward is [due] from Allah. Indeed, He does not like wrongdoers. (Koran 46:36-40, Sahih International)

Love and Hate

Lo! ye are those who love them though they love you not, and ye believe in all the Scripture. (Koran 3:119, Pickthall)

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do. (Koran 5:8, Sahih International)

Overcome Evil with Good

Such as persevere in seeking their Lord’s Countenance and are regular in prayer and spend of that which We bestow upon them secretly and openly, and overcome evil with good. Theirs will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home, Gardens of Eden which they enter, along with all who do right of their fathers and their helpmeets and their seed. The angels enter unto them from every gate, (Saying): Peace be unto you because ye persevered. Ah, passing sweet will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home. (Koran 13:22-24, Pickthall)

Do Good to Others

But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters. (Koran 28:77, Sahih International)

If any does good, the reward to him is better than his deed; but if any does evil, the doers of evil are only punished (to the extent) of their deeds. (Koran 28:84, Yusuf Ali)

Feed the Poor

Surely the righteous shall drink of a cup the admixture of which is camphor, a fountain from which the servants of Allah shall drink; they make it to flow a (goodly) flowing forth. They fulfill vows and fear a day the evil of which shall be spreading far and wide. And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah’s sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks: surely we fear from our Lord a stern, distressful day. (Koran 76:5-10, Shakir)

God’s Mercy

The Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good. (Koran 7:56, Yusuf Ali)

My mercy encompasses all things. (Koran 7:156, Sahih International)

But Allah is the best guardian, and He is the most merciful of the merciful. (Koran 12:64, Sahih International)

Paradise

We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish]. (Koran 41:31, Sahih International)

The Bible

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)

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)

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)

The Koran does not want us Christians to throw away our Bibles. We are supposed to read and study them.

The Koran Confirms the Bible

He hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture with truth, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, even as He revealed the Torah and the Gospel. Aforetime, for a guidance to mankind; and hath revealed the Criterion (of right and wrong). Lo! those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, theirs will be a heavy doom. Allah is Mighty, able to Requite (the wrong). (Koran 3:3,4, Pickthall)

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We have appointed a divine law and a traced-out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you (He hath made you as ye are). So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will all return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds. (Koran 10:37, Yusuf Ali)

Nothing is said to you, [O Muhammad], except what was already said to the messengers before you. Indeed, your Lord is a possessor of forgiveness and a possessor of painful penalty. (Koran 41:43, Sahih International)

The Koran teaches the same thing that the Bible teaches. Therefore, any interpretation of the Koran that differs with that of the Bible is an incorrect one.

Jesus

Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are evil-livers. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

That is because Allah, He is the Truth and because He quickeneth the dead, and because He is able to do all things; and because the Hour will come, there is no doubt thereof; and because Allah will raise those who are in the graves. (Koran 22:6,7, Pickthall)

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV)

Allah is the truth. Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is Allah.

For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.  (John 5:26-29, NKJV)

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53,54, NKJV)

Allah will raise those who are in the graves. Jesus will raise those who are in the graves. Jesus is Allah.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. (Koran 24:35, Sahih International)

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NKJV)

Maybe, Lindsay does not know this, but the Greek word translated “world” in John 8:12 is kosmos. This word can also be translated universe. Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth, that is, the universe. Jesus is the light of the universe. Jesus is Allah, but He is not a partner with Allah. The Koran teaches the Trinitarian doctrine of us Christians. One has to look for it, but it is there.

The Followers of Jesus

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee and causing Thee to ascend unto Me, and am cleansing Thee of those who disbelieve and am setting those who follow Thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection. Then unto Me ye will (all) return, and I shall judge between you as to that wherein ye used to differ. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

The Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. (Matthew 16:18) The Koran agrees.

Do Not Gullibly Believe Everything that You are Told

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)

Among them are unlettered folk who know the Scripture not except from hearsay. They but guess. (Koran 2:78, Pickthall)

And they have no knowledge thereof. They follow but a guess, and lo! a guess can never take the place of the truth. (Koran 53:28, Pickthall)

The Koran teaches us to use our minds and check things out. We need to find out if what we are being told is true or not. We should not be gullible and believe everything that people tell us.

I hope that Lindsay uses her mind and tries to understand the Koran along with the Bible. I have browsed the internet and have read things written by other Christians who have read the Koran. They see some of the same things that I see. In many places, it appears that Muhammad had some misconceptions about what Christians actually believe. Then, I remembered that there were heretical Christians sects living in the Middle East in ancient times. He was denouncing the heretical Christian sects and not the Orthodox Christians. He recognized that there were different sects of Christians. (Koran 19:37:21:93) There were the Maryamites, the Sabellians, the Tritheists, the Arians, the Paulinianists, the Nestorians, and other heretical sects. Twice in the Koran, Orthodox Christians are called “believers.” (Koran 30:2-5; 85:7)

The Koran is a good book. There is a lot of good spiritual teaching in it. However, like I said before, the problem is the interpretation of the sacred texts and not the texts themselves. Many Sunni and Shiite Muslims would probably disagree with my interpretations of some of the passages. They rely on the Sunna which was written down two hundred to three hundred years after Muhammad died in 632. I use the Bible, the Church Fathers, and the Ecumenical Church Councils to try to understand it. The Koran confirms the Bible and Muhammad worshiped the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the Koran teaches my faith.

I am glad Lindsay is reading the Koran. However, if she ever abandons the Bible and allows the Koran to replace it, she will “wander far astray.” (Koran 4:136) I hope that never happens. I am glad to see that she is getting her life back on track.

Theft and Punishment in the Bible and the Koran

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

One of the most disturbing things to non-Muslims living in North America, South America, and Europe is the hadd punishments. The hadd punishments are those corporal and capital punishments meted out to gays, people accused of adultery or fornication, thieves, apostates, and others that certain Muslim sects regard as deserving them. Gays are thrown off of buildings or other high places. People who committed adultery or fornication are either stoned to death or flogged. The hands of thieves are amputated. Apostates are beheaded. Those are all examples of hadd punishments. In this blog I am going to talk about theft and the punishment for thieves as found in the Bible and in the Koran.

Hadd punishments are a harsh reality in many Muslim countries.

Allah “is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy” (Koran 12:92) and there is definitely no mercy in the practice of these harsh, hadd punishments. None of this is of God. It is barbaric.

Hadd Punishments in the Old Testament

First of all, it is important to understand that hadd punishments are in the Old Testament. For example, a woman who has lost her virginity before marriage was stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) Adulterers were stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 22:22) Homosexual men were put to death. (Leviticus 20:13) A priest’s daughter who has pre-marital sexual relations with a man was burned with fire. (Leviticus 21:9)

There is even a commandment in the Old Testament which says that a woman’s hand should be cut off if she grabs a man’s testicles.

11 And if men should strive together, a man with his brother, and the wife of one of them should advance to rescue her husband out of the hand of him that smites him, and she should stretch forth her hand, and take hold of his private parts; 12 thou shalt cut off her hand; thine eye shall not spare her. (Deuteronomy 25:11,12, LXX)

The main reason for prescribing such a harsh punishment is because if the woman injures the man so badly that he cannot have children, she has committed a very serious crime. By rendering the man in effect incapable of procreation, she has “destroyed a world.” Remember the citation in the Jewish Talmud that I quoted in a previous blog.

“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)]

Whenever one kills another human being, he has also exterminated his posterity that he could have had if he had lived longer. Likewise, rendering someone unable to procreate is like destroying a world.

Another reason for amputating her hand is because emasculated men were not allowed to enter the assembly of the Lord.

He that is fractured or mutilated in his private parts shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 23:1, LXX)

One could not apply the “eye for an eye” law to her since women do not have testicles. Amputation of her hand was the punishment under the Mosaic Law.

The “eye for an eye” law was meted out in the case of King Adonibizek.

4 And Judas went up; and the Lord delivered the Chananite and the Pherezite into their hands, and they smote them in Bezek to the number of ten thousand men. 5 And they overtook Adonibezek in Bezek, and fought against him; and they smote the Chananite and the Pherezite. 6 And Adonibezek fled, and they pursued after him, and took him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. 7 And Adonibezek said, Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their food under my table: as I therefore have done, so God has recompensed me: and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. (Judges 1:4-7, LXX)

He lost his thumbs and large toes after being captured by the Israelites. He had committed the same atrocity to seventy kings who gathered food under his table.

Hadd Punishment for Theft

As for theft, the only hadd punishment meted out for theft was the theft of people. Man-stealers or kidnappers were executed under the Law of Moses.

Whosoever shall steal one of the children of Israel, and prevail over him and sell him, and he be found with him, let him certainly die. (Exodus 21:17, LXX; Exodus 21:16, Hebrew)

The Biblical Prohibition Against Theft

Stealing is forbidden in both Testaments.

Thou shalt not steal. (Exodus 20:14, LXX; Exodus 20:15, Hebrew; Deuteronomy 5:19; Matthew 19:18; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9)

Ye shall not steal, ye shall not lie, neither shall one bear false witness as an informer against his neighbour. (Leviticus 19:11, LXX)

Trust not in unrighteousness, and lust not after robberies: if wealth should flow in, set not your heart upon it. (Psalm 61:10, LXX; Psalm 62:10, Hebrew)

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28, NKJV)

Consequences of Theft

Stealing is a serious crime. Thieves will not inherit the kingdom of God.

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10, NKJV)

In the Old Testament there are punishments prescribed for those who steal another person’s property.

1 And if one steal an ox or a sheep, and kill it or sell it, he shall pay five calves for a calf, and four sheep for a sheep. 2 And if the thief be found in the breach made by himself and be smitten and die, there shall not be blood shed for him. 3 But if the sun be risen upon him, he is guilty, he shall die instead; and if a thief have nothing, let him be sold in compensation for what he has stolen. 4 And if the thing stolen be left and be in his hand alive, whether ox or sheep, he shall restore them two-fold. 5 And if any one should feed down a field or a vineyard, and should send in his beast to feed down another field, he shall make compensation of his own field according to his produce; and if he shall have fed down the whole field, he shall pay for compensation the best of his own field and the best of his vineyard. 6 And if fire have gone forth and caught thorns, and should also set on fire threshing-floors or ears of corn or a field, he that kindled the fire shall make compensation. 7 And if any one give to his neighbour money or goods to keep, and they be stolen out of the man’s house, if the thief be found he shall repay double. 8 But if the thief be not found, the master of the house shall come forward before God, and shall swear that surely he has not wrought wickedly in regard of any part of his neighbour’s deposit, 9 according to every injury alleged, both concerning a calf, and an ass, and a sheep, and a garment, and every alleged loss, whatsoever in fact it may be, —the judgment of both shall proceed before God, and he that is convicted by God shall repay to his neighbour double. 10 And if any one give to his neighbour to keep a calf or sheep or any beast, and it be wounded or die or be taken, and no one know, 11 an oath of God shall be between both, each swearing that he has surely not at all been guilty in the matter of his neighbour’s deposit; and so his master shall hold him guiltless, and he shall not make compensation. 12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make compensation to the owner. 13 And if it be seized of beasts, he shall bring him to witness the prey, and he shall not make compensation. 14 And if any one borrow ought of his neighbour, and it be wounded or die or be carried away, and the owner of it be not with it, he shall make compensation. 15 But if the owner be with it, he shall not make compensation: but if it be a hired thing, there shall be a compensation to him instead of his hire. (Exodus 21:1-15; LXX)

The principle in this law is compensation or restitution. Whenever one steals from someone, he is required to make compensation to the owner. The compensation is two to five times the value of the item stolen, depending on the circumstances regarding the theft. Verses 1 through 5 of the passage and verses 8 through 15 pertain to theft of livestock. Verse 6 is about destruction of another’s field by fire. Verse 7 is about money or goods entrusted to someone. (There were no banks and no rental storage facilities back then.)

In another Old Testament law, the amount of compensation paid to the owner by the thief is twenty percent more than the value of the item stolen. So, if one steals through fraud or deceit $100 from someone, he must repay $120 dollars to the owner.

2 The soul which shall have sinned, and willfully overlooked the commandments of the Lord, and shall have dealt falsely in the affairs of his neighbour in the matter of a deposit, or concerning fellowship, or concerning plunder, or has in anything wronged his neighbour, 3 or has found that which was lost, and shall have lied concerning it, and shall have sworn unjustly concerning any one of all the things, whatsoever a man may do, so as to sin hereby; 4 it shall come to pass, whensoever he shall have sinned, and transgressed, that he shall restore the plunder which he has seized, or redress the injury which he has committed, or restore the deposit which was entrusted to him, or the lost article which he has found of any kind, about which he swore unjustly, he shall even restore it in full; and he shall add to it a fifth part besides; he shall restore it to him whose it is in the day in which he happens to be convicted. 5 And he shall bring to the Lord for his trespass, a ram of the flock, without blemish, of value to the amount of the thing in which he trespassed. 6 And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any one of all the things which he did and trespassed in it. (Leviticus 6:2-6, LXX)

There is another law in the Book of Proverbs regarding theft. It is more harsh than the ones found in the Books of Moses. A thief is required to repay seven times the value of the item stolen to the owner even if he stole the item in order to satisfy his appetite because he was hungry. The items about which these verses pertain are apparently food.

30 It is not to be wondered at if one should be taken stealing, for he steals that when hungry he may satisfy his soul: 31 but if he should be taken, he shall repay sevenfold, and shall deliver himself by giving all his goods. (Proverbs 6:30,31, LXX)

Biblical Provision for the Hungry

The ancient Israelites were allowed to eat corn from someone’s field or grapes from someone’s vineyard if they were hungry. This was not considered theft. If they put the corn or the grapes in a vessel or a sack as if they were harvesting it, then it would be theft.

1 And if thou shouldest go into the corn field of thy neighbour, then thou mayest gather the ears with thy hands; but thou shalt not put the sickle to thy neighbour’s corn. 2 And if thou shouldest go into the vineyard of thy neighbour, thou shalt eat grapes sufficient to satisfy thy desire; but thou mayest not put them into a vessel. (Deuteronomy 24:1,2, LXX; Deuteronomy 23:24,25, Hebrew)

Jesus’ disciples did this when they were hungry on a Sabbath day. (Mark 2:23-28)

The Example of Zacchaeus

Then, there is the New Testament example of Zacchaeus.

Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:1-9, NKJV)

Zacchaeus repented when he met Jesus and decided to give more than the Old Testament law required. He, being a tax collector, probably stole money from people while collecting taxes for the Roman Empire. Instead of giving back 120% as the law in Leviticus prescribed (Leviticus 6:2-5), he said that he would restore fourfold. Also, he said that he would give half of his goods to the poor. Zacchaeus is a model of repentance.

Notice that nowhere in the Old Testament or New Testament is a thief’s hand required to be amputated.

Some Words of Jesus

These words of Jesus need to be examined next.

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Matthew 5:29,30, NKJV)

8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:8,9, NKJV)

43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — 44 where ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — 46 where ‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire —  48 where ‘Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.’ (Mark 9:43-48, NKJV)

Jesus quotes from Isaiah’s passage respecting eternal torment.

And they shall go forth, and see the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched; and they shall be a spectacle to all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24, LXX)

Of course, one way that one can sin with his hand is through theft.

Church Fathers and Ancient Christian Writers

These words of Jesus in the Gospels seem to be talking about amputations of hands, feet, and eyes in order to avoid going to Gehenna. One would think that these are self-inflicted hadd punishments, but when one reads the Church Fathers and some ancient Christian writers, one sees that that is not the case.

Tertullian was not a Church Father, but he lived in the second century. He left the Church and became a Montanist. The Montanists were heretics. He wrote:

A whole day the zeal of faith will direct its pleadings to this quarter: bewailing that a Christian should come from idols into the Church; should come from an adversary workshop into the house of God; should raise to God the Father hands which are the mothers of idols; should pray to God with the hands which, out of doors, are prayed to in opposition to God; should apply to the Lord’s body those hands which confer bodies on demons. Nor is this sufficient. Grant that it be a small matter, if from other hands they receive what they contaminate; but even those very hands deliver to others what they have contaminated. Idol-artificers are chosen even into the ecclesiastical order. Oh wickedness! Once did the Jews lay brands on Christ; these mangle His body daily. Oh hands to be cut off! Now let the saying, “If thy hand make thee do evil, amputate it,” see to it whether it were uttered by way of similitude merely. What hands more to be amputated than those in which scandal is done to the Lord’s body? (On Idolatry, chapter 7, by Tertullian, p. 64, vol. 3, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

Although a heretic, not everything that he wrote was bad. He says that idol-makers were handling the Eucharist. He says, “Oh hands to be cut off!” He may not have meant this literally to be done, but he was expressing his displeasure with a scandal in the Church.

Origen, another ancient Christian writer and also a heretic, lived in the third century. He wrote the following:

And it is well, then, if the eye and the hand are deserving of praise, that the eye cannot with reason say to the hand, “I have no need of thee.” [I Cor. 12:21] But if any one in the whole body of the congregations of the church, who because of his practical gifts has the name of hand, should change and become a hand causing to stumble, let the eye say to such a hand, “I have no need of thee,” and, saying it, let him cut it off and cast it from him. [Matt. 18:8] And so it is well, if any head be blessed, and the feet worthy of the blessed head, so that the head observing the things which are becoming to itself, may not be able to say to the feet, “I have no need of you.” If, however, any foot be found to become a stumbling-block to the whole body, let the head say to such a foot, “I have no need of thee,” and having cut it off, let him cast it from himself; for even it is much better that the rest of the body should enter into life, wanting the foot or the hand which caused the stumbling-block, rather than, when the stumbling-block has spread over the whole body, it should be cast into the hell of fire with the two feet or the two hands. And so it is well, that he who can become the eye of the whole body should be worthy of Christ and of the whole body; but if such an eye should ever change, and become a stumbling-block to the whole body, it is well to take it out and cast it outside the whole body, and that the rest of the body without that eye should be saved, rather than that along with it, when the whole body has been corrupted, the whole body should be cast into the hell of fire. For the practical faculty of the soul, if prone to sin, and the walking faculty of the soul, so to speak, if prone to sin, and the faculty of clear vision, if prone to sin, may be the hand that causes to stumble, and the foot that causes to stumble, and the eye that causes to stumble, which things it is better to cast away, and having put them aside to enter into life without them, like as one halt, or maimed, or one-eyed, rather than along with them to lose the whole soul. And likewise in the case of the soul it is a good and blessed thing to use its power for the noblest ends; but if we are going to lose one for any cause, it is better to lose the use of it, that along with the other powers we may be saved. (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Book XIII, Chapter 24, by Origen, p. 489, vol. 9, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

Many of Origen’s theological views were anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council of the Church in 553 A.D. However, he did write some good sound material. So, not everything that he wrote was bad. In the above-cited passage, Origen says that some people should be put outside of the Church. He interpreted Christ’s words in the Gospels figuratively as referring to members of the Church who cause others to stumble.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons was a sub-apostolic Church Father.  He lived in the second century. He knew someone who knew one of the Twelve Apostles.

As then the unrighteous, the idolaters, and fornicators perished, so also is it now: for both the Lord declares, that such persons are sent into eternal fire; and the apostle says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” [I Cor. 6:9,10] And as it was not to those who are without that he said these things, but to us, lest we should be cast forth from the kingdom of God, by doing any such thing, he proceeds to say, “And such indeed were ye; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.” [I Cor. 6:11] And just as then, those who led vicious lives, and put other people astray, were condemned and cast out, so also even now the offending eye is plucked out, and the foot and the hand, lest the rest of the body perish in like manner. [Matt. 18:8,9] And we have the precept: “If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one no not to eat.” [I Cor. 5:11] And again does the apostle say, “Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of mistrust. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” [Eph. 5:6,7] And as then the condemnation of sinners extended to others who approved of them, and joined in their society; so also is it the case at present, that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” [I Cor. 5:6] And as the wrath of God did then descend upon the unrighteous, here also does the apostle likewise say: “For the wrath of God shall be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of those men who hold back the truth in unrighteousness.” [Rom. 1:18] (Against Heresies, Book IV, chapter XXV, by St. Irenaeus of Lyons, p. 500, vol. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

St. Irenaeus interpreted Christ’s words regarding the amputation of body parts figuratively. He interpreted those passages in the Gospels as referring to those who lead “vicious lives” and “lead others astray.” Such people were to be put out of the Church.

St. John Cassian the Roman is regarded as a Saint by the Orthodox Church. He wrote:

And even although they seem to be useful and needful at first, yet if afterwards they begin to interfere with the soundness of our profession, and as it were to weaken in some sense the whole body of our purpose, it is well that they should be cut off and cast away from us like a member which may be necessary, but yet offends us and which seems to perform the office of the right hand or foot. For it is better, without one member of a command, i.e., its working or result, to continue safe and sound in other parts, and to enter as weak into the kingdom of heaven rather than with the whole mass of commands to fall into some error which by an evil custom separates us from our strict rule and the system purposed and entered upon, and leads to such loss, that it will never outweigh the harm that will follow, but will cause all our past fruits and the whole body of our work to be burnt in hell fire. (Matthew 18:8) Of which kind of illusions it is well said in the Proverbs: “There are ways which seem to be right to a man, but their latter end will come into the depths of hell” (Proverbs 16:25, LXX) and again “An evil man is harmful when he attaches himself to a good man” (Proverbs 11:15, LXX), i.e., the devil deceives when he is covered with an appearance of sanctity: “but he hates the sound of the watchman” (Proverbs 11:15, LXX), i.e., the power of discretion which comes from the words and warnings of the fathers. (The First Conference, Chapter XX, by St. John Cassian, pp. 306-307, vol. 11, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

He interpreted Christ’s command to amputate parts of one’s body figuratively. He interpreted it to mean to expel people from a monastery who hinder the spiritual progress of others.

St. John Chrysostom also interpreted these words of Christ figuratively. He is one of the Greek Church Fathers.

And that thou mayest learn that it is not of necessity, hear also what follows. For after bewailing them, He saith, “If thy hand, or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: for it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or feet to be cast into the fire. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out; it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into the furnace of fire;” not saying these things of limbs; far from it; but of friends, of relations, whom we regard in the rank of necessary members. This He had both said further back, and now He saith it. For nothing is so hurtful as bad company. For what things compulsion cannot, friendship can often effect, both for hurt, and for profit. Wherefore with much earnestness He commands us to cut off them that hurt us, intimating these that bring the offenses. (Homilies on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Homily LIX,  by St. John Chrysostom, p. 367, vol. 10, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

“There was therefore a division among them.” This division first began among the people, then later among the rulers also, and some said, “He is a good man”; others, “Nay, but he deceiveth the people.” (John 7:12.) Seest thou that the rulers were more void of understanding than the many, since they were divided later than they? and after they were divided, they did not exhibit any noble feeling, when they saw the Pharisees pressing upon them. Since had they been entirely separated from them, they would soon have known the truth. For it is possible to do well in separating. Wherefore also Himself hath said, “I am come not to bring peace upon the earth but a sword.” (Matt. 10:34.) For there is an evil concord, and there is a good disagreement. Thus they who built the tower (Gen. 11:4), agreed together to their own hurt; and these same again were separated, though unwillingly, yet for their good. Thus also Corah and his company agreed together for evil, therefore they were separated for good; and Judas agreed with the Jews for evil. So division may be good, and agreement may be evil. Wherefore It saith, “If thine eye offend thee, smite it out, if thy foot, cut it off.” (Matt. 5:29, and 18:8.) Now if we must separate ourselves from an ill-joined limb, must we not much more from friends united to us for evils? So that agreement is not in all cases a good, just as division is not in all cases an evil. (Homilies on the Gospel according to St. John, Homily LVII, by St. John Chrysostom, p. 206, vol. 14, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

Cutting off a body part or poking out an eye means to separate oneself from those who would influence you to do evil according to St. John Chrysostom.

Blessed Augustine, one of the Latin Church Fathers, also interpreted Christ’s words figuratively. Those words of Jesus mean to separating oneself from those who would want you to do evil, according to Blessed Augustine.

But thy wife comes to thee advising thee to some evil thing. Thou dost love her as a wife should be loved; she is one of thy members. “But if thine eye offend thee, if thine hand offend thee, if thy foot offend thee”[Matt. 18:8,9],  thou hast just heard the Gospel, “cut them off, and cast them from thee.” Whosoever he be that is dear to thee, whosoever he be that is held in high estimation by thee, let him be so long of high esteem with thee, so long thy beloved member, as he shall not begin to offend thee, that is, to advise thee to any evil. Hear now how that this is the meaning of “offence.” I have brought forward the example of Job and his wife; but there the word “offence” did not occur. Hear the Gospel: when the Lord prophesied of His Passion, Peter began to persuade him not to suffer. “Get thee behind Me, Satan, thou art an offence to Me.” [Matt. 16:23] Here undoubtedly the Lord who hath given thee an example of life, hath taught thee both what an “offence” is, and how an offence is to be avoided. Him to whom He had a little while before said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona” [Matt. 16:17]; He had shown to be His member. But when he begins to be an offence, He cuts off the member; only He restored the member, and put it into its place again. He then will be an “offence” to thee, who shall begin to persuade thee to any evil thing. And here, Beloved, take heed; this takes place for the most part not through any evil will, but through a mistaken good will. Thy friend who loves thee, and is loved by thee again, thy father, thy brother, thy child, thy wife, sees thee in an evil case, and would have thee do what is evil. What do I mean by “sees thee in an evil case”? Sees thee in some press of trouble. This pressure it may be thou art suffering for righteousness’ sake; art suffering it because thou wilt not give false witness. I would speak merely by way of illustration. Examples abound; for “woe to the world, because of offences.” See, for instance, some powerful person, to cover his rapine and plunder, asks of you the service of a false witness. You refuse: refuse the false oath, lest thou shouldest deny Him that is true. (Sermons on Selected Lessons from the New Testament, Sermon XXXI, by Blessed Augustine, p. 354, vol. 6, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

Another Latin Church Father, St. Jerome, also quoted those words of Christ when writing to a monk.

The sons of the prophets, who were the monks of the Old Testament, built for themselves huts by the waters of Jordan and forsaking the crowded cities lived in these on pottage and wild herbs. [II Kings 4:38,39; 6:1,2] As long as you are at home make your cell your paradise, gather there the varied fruits of Scripture, let this be your favourite companion, and take its precepts to your heart. If your eye offend you or your foot or your hand, cast them from you. To spare your soul spare nothing else. The Lord says: “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” [Matt. 5:28] “Who can say,” writes the wise man, “I have made my heart clean?” [Prov. 20:9] The stars are not pure in the Lord’s sight; how much less men whose whole life is one long temptation. [Job 25:5,6] Woe be to us who commit fornication every time that we cherish lust. “My sword,” God says, “hath drunk its fill in heaven” [Isaiah 34:5]; much more then upon the earth with its crop of thorns and thistles. [Gen. 3:18] The chosen vessel [Acts 9:15] who had Christ’s name ever on his lips kept under his body and brought it into subjection. [I Cor. 9:27] Yet even he was hindered by carnal desire and had to do what he would not. As one suffering violence he cries: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” [Rom. 7:24] Is it likely then that you can pass without fall or wound, unless you keep your heart with all diligence [Prov. 4:23], and say with the Saviour: “my mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it.” [Luke 8:21]  This may seem cruelty, but it is really affection. What greater proof, indeed, can there be of affection than to guard for a holy mother a holy son? She too desired your eternal welfare and is content to forego seeing you for a time that she may see you for ever with Christ. She is like Hannah who brought forth Samuel not for her own solace but for the service of the tabernacle. (Letter CXXV, by St. Jerome, p. 246, vol. 6, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

He interpreted the words of Christ as referring to asceticism. One should keep his body under subjection and his heart with all diligence and struggle against committing the sin of lust while looking on a woman. I do not think that St. Jerome was advising the monk to amputate one of his body parts or poke out an eye.

All of these Church Fathers and ancient Christian writers lived before time of Muhammad. So, the Koranic precept regarding looking at what they say applies here.

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)

An Exegesis of Koran 5:38-40

I already did an exegesis on Koran 5:33 in a previous blog. In my opinion, the amputation of feet and hands spoken of in that verse occur in military battle and are not punishments inflicted on civilians who violate a law in the Koran. There is one other passage which is often interpreted by Muslim commentators to mean to literally cut off the hand of a thief. It is Koran 5:38-40.

As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise. But whoso repenteth after his wrongdoing and amendeth, lo! Allah will relent toward him. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Knowest thou not that unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth? He punisheth whom He will, and forgiveth whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things. (Koran 5:38-40, Pickthall)

Before I do an exegesis of this passage, I want to first of all discuss some other verses of the Koran.

God is extremely merciful. In the Koran, it says that God is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.

He said: Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (Koran 12:92, Pickthall)

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

So, if there are human judges who would never order that a thief’s hand be cut off because of their sense of mercy and compassion, Allah, who is the Most Merciful, would never order such a thing to be done either. This is one of the many reasons why I think that these words in Koran 5:38 must be interpreted figuratively.

The Torah is a light and guidance for mankind. (Koran 6:92) Nowhere in the Torah, as we have already seen, is there a commandment to amputate the hand of a thief. People who kidnap others and sell them into slavery were supposed to be put to death. People who stole from others were to pay back what they stole plus one-fifth to six times more depending on what was stolen and how it was stolen, according to the Old Testament. In the Koran, it says:

Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you. (Koran 2:185, Pickthall)

Amputating someone’s hand would make it more difficult for one to work and make restitution for his theft. God does not desire hardship for the thief. He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.

Then, there is the principal of abrogation.

None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things? (Koran 2:106, Yusuf Ali)

If Koran 5:38 is interpreted literally, then it is not better than the previous commandments in the Torah which prescribe that a thief should pay back what he stole plus an additional amount as compensation to the owner. It is better for the owner to receive the compensation and what was stolen from him than to witness the amputation of the hand of the thief who can now be less productive at working to restore what he had stolen plus the restitution. A thief with an amputated hand joins the disabled and becomes a burden to the community in which he lives. A literal application of this verse from the Koran cannot be better. Furthermore, the verse is not similar to previous commandments of God. Therefore, the verse must, like the words of Christ in the Gospels (Matthew 5:29,30; 18:8,9; Mark 9:43-48), be interpreted figuratively.

Even in the Koran, there is the example of Joseph detaining his brother, Benjamin, for stealing the King’s cup. Joseph was obeying the “the king’s law.”

Then he (Joseph) began the search with their bags before his brother’s bag, then he produced it from his brother’s bag. Thus did We contrive for Joseph. He could not have taken his brother according to the king’s law unless Allah willed. We raise by grades (of mercy) whom We will, and over every lord of knowledge there is one more knowing. (Koran 12:76, Pickthall)

So, theft in ancient Egypt was, according to the Koran, punished by detention or imprisonment. This is a much more merciful sentence than amputation of the hand and Allah is “the Most Merciful of those who show mercy.” (Koran 12:92)

Therefore, Koran 5:38 must be interpreted figuratively.

The Koran also lays down another principle pertaining to justice. The punishment must fit the crime.

If ye punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith ye were afflicted. But if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient. (Koran 16:126, Pickthall)

A person’s hand is worth far more than anything he could have stolen. Therefore, amputating a thief’s hand would not be a fair punishment. Requiring the thief to replace what he stole plus an additional amount as restitution is a far more just sentence.

Furthermore, there are no contradictions in the Koran.

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. (Koran 4:82, Sahih International)

Some passages in the Koran are clear and others are allegorical or figurative.

He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. (Koran 3:7, Yusuf Ali)

The words, “cut off the hands,” in Koran 5:38 must be interpreted figuratively. Otherwise, it will contradict Koran 2:106 regarding abrogation, Koran 12:92; 23:118 regarding God’s mercy, and Koran 16:126 regarding fair punishment.

Another point to mention is the principles regarding authority in the New Testament and in the Koran. In the Gospels, Jesus said:

I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him. (John 8:26, NKJV)

But as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (John 8:28, NKJV)

The words of Christ are the words of Allah. There should be no doubt about that. After He was resurrected, He told His disciples that He possesses all authority in heaven and on earth.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 20:18, NKJV)

He never relinquished that authority during the time of Muhammad. One of the prophecies regarding the Messiah in the Psalms says:

The Lord said to My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet. (Psalm 109:1, LXX; Psalm 110:1, Hebrew)

St. Paul says regarding the reign of Jesus:

He (the Son) must reign until He (the Father) has put all enemies under His (the Son’s) feet. (I Corinthians 15:25, NKJV)

Jesus told Pilate before He was crucified:

My kingdom is not of this world. (John 19:36)

Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual one, but He still possesses all authority in heaven and on earth.

Regarding Muhammad, the Koran says:

Thou art but a warner, and Allah is in charge of all things. (Koran 11:12, Pickthall)

With truth have We sent it down, and with truth hath it descended. And We have sent thee as naught else save a bearer of good tidings and a warner. (Koran 17:105, Pickthall)

We are Best Aware of what they say, and thou (O Muhammad) art in no wise a compeller over them. But warn by the Qur’an him who feareth My threat. (Koran 50:45, Pickthall)

Jesus continues to reign from Heaven over the earth. Allah is in charge of all things. Muhammad was only a warner of eternal damnation and a bearer of good tidings of immortality in Paradise. He was not “a compeller” over those he led. Muhammad is under Jesus’ authority. St. Paul also said:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1, NKJV)

and the Koran, likewise, says:

It is We Who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfilment of your life: small are the thanks that ye give! (Koran 7:10, Yusuf Ali)

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and those of you who are in authority; and if ye have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to Allah and the messenger if ye are (in truth) believers in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end. (Koran 4:59, Pickthall)

Muhammad never named a successor before he died. It was never his intention that an Islamic theocracy should be established after his death.

In a society without a prophet, we must obey the authorities that exist. We must submit to the laws of the land. So, the punishment for theft is determined by the laws of each country on earth.

I think that no country should prescribe that the hand of a thief should be cut off, even if most of the inhabitants are Muslims. The verse in the Koran (5:38) should be interpreted figuratively.

“Cutting off the hands” is probably a metaphorical way of saying “impede the ability to steal.” The word translated “cut off” is the Arabic word, quṭiʿa. It is used in this passage of the Koran and means “to obstruct.”

And Lot! (Remember) when he said unto his folk: Lo! ye commit lewdness such as no creature did before you. For come ye not in unto males, and cut (quṭiʿa) ye not the road (for travellers), and commit ye not abomination in your meetings? But the answer of his folk was only that they said: Bring Allah’s doom upon us if thou art a truthteller! (Koran 29:28,29, Pickthall)

Impeding one’s ability to steal can be accomplished through detention and supervision. Any time a thief is convicted, he should be required to make restitution to the owner. He should replace what he stole and pay an additional amount as restitution.

So, I think that an appropriate sentence for a thief would be some sort of supervised work detail and detention. The convicted thief can stay in jail and leave under the supervision of a prison guard to work and pay for what he has stolen plus an additional amount as restitution to the owner.

The punishment in Koran 5:38 is “an exemplary punishment” from Allah. So, other people in the community will know that this person was convicted of theft. Still, Allah is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy and cutting off someone’s hand is not better than the laws of Allah in the Torah. So, the expression, “cut off the hands” is still metaphorical. State supervised work detail, detention, and forced payment of restitution to the owner is exemplary punishment.

If the thief repents like Zacchaeus did in the Gospel according to St. Luke (Luke 19:1-9) and “amends,” that is, makes restitution to the owner immediately, then there is no need to detain the thief and place him under supervised work detail.

The text goes on to say, “Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” He is the “Best of all who show mercy.” (Koran 23:118) So, in respect to his eternal destiny, the repentant thief has the hope of eternal life in Paradise.

“Knowest thou not that unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth?” The Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth belong to God, not to any earthly authority. However, “for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1, NKJV) It is God who has “placed you with authority on earth.” (Koran 7:10) So, “let every soul be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1, NKJV) and “obey… those…  who are in authority.” (Koran 4:59)

“He punisheth whom He will, and forgiveth whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things.” God punishes people by sending them to Hell. He forgives those who repent and reform their lives. He offers eternal life in His kingdom to all who believe in Him and serve Him.

In conclusion, there were hadd punishments in the Old Testament, but there was no such punishment for the theft of personal property. Koran 5:38 cannot abrogate the Old Testament laws if it is interpreted literally. Amputating a thief’s hand is not better than requiring the thief to pay back what he stole plus more as restitution to the owner. Making amputees creates a burden for the community. God is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. There are human judges who would never order that a thief’s hand be amputated because of their sense of mercy and compassion. The law of the king of Egypt under whom Joseph served apparently had no law requiring that a thief’s hand be amputated. Joseph detained his brother according to the “law of the king.” Therefore, God does not want a thief’s hand to be literally cut off. If He did require that, He would be less merciful than many human judges including the King of Egypt under whom Joseph served. Amputating a thief’s is an unjust punishment since a thief’s hand is worth far more than anything he could have stolen. Jesus possesses all authority in heaven and earth. He is reigning until all of His enemies are put under His feet. Muhammad was under Jesus’ authority. Muhammad did not name a successor. Therefore, it was never his intention that an Islamic theocracy be established after his death. “Cutting off the hands” is probably a metaphor meaning to impede someone from stealing. In Koran 28:29 the same word translated “cut off” in Koran 5:38 has the meaning “to obstruct.” The consequences for theft in the afterlife are exclusion from the kingdom of God and eternal damnation in Gehenna. God is forgiving and merciful. A thief who repents and amends can find mercy from God.

A Ransom for All

November 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Now, I will continue with my exegesis of the Fifth Surah of the Koran. I will talk about Koran 5:36,37 here. People have a problem. They all die and they all sin. We all need forgiveness from our Creator and transformation. We cannot purchase the redemption of our own souls. We cannot purchase immortality. Eternal damnation will always be eternal damnation. Once we are consigned to the flames of Gehenna, that becomes our permanent residence. However, we have a Savior to deliver us from such a fate.

The passage I am discussing is Koran 5:36,37. Here is Pickthall’s translation.

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. They will wish to come forth from the Fire, but they will not come forth from it. Theirs will be a lasting doom. (Koran 5:36,37, Pickthall)

The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it or seek to replace it. One must always remember that in order to properly understand any passage of the Koran. Rejecting the Bible results in one “wandering far astray.” (Koran 4:136) Those who do so are in effect rejecting the “straight path” for which they pray in the Fatihah. (Koran 1:5-7)

The Koran teaches that no amount of possessions or wealth can ransom one from Gehenna — the final destination of the wicked after they have been resurrected on the last day. The Bible teaches the same thing.

6 They that trust in their strength, and boast themselves in the multitude of their wealth — 7 A brother does not redeem, shall a man redeem? he shall not give to God a ransom for himself, 8 or the price of the redemption of his soul, though he labour for ever, 9 and live to the end, so that he should not see corruption. (Psalm 48:6-9, LXX; Psalm 49:6-9, Hebrew)

24 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. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 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? 27 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)

I remember the words of a song written by Pat Terry in the 1970s. “Everything I own will still belong to Him.” Because everything we own still belongs to God, we can never really  give God anything He does not already have. Therefore, we cannot buy our way out of Gehenna. In the Bible, it says:

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world, and all that dwell in it. (Psalm 23:1, LXX; Psalm 24:1, Hebrew)

The Koran confirms this teaching in several places. Here are a few.

And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay, but whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth is His. All are subservient unto Him. (Koran 2:116, Pickthall)

Unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. And We charged those who received the Scripture before you, and (We charge) you, that ye keep your duty toward Allah. And if ye disbelieve, lo! unto Allah belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and Allah is ever Absolute, Owner of Praise. (Koran 4:131, Pickthall)

Unto Him belongeth whosoever is in the heavens and the earth. All are obedient unto Him. (Koran 30:26, Pickthall)

I did not want to discuss this in detail since I have already written about it in other previous blogs, but when the Koran says “And they say: Allah hath taken unto Himself a son. Be He glorified! Nay..”, it is talking about the Adoptionist heresy taught by the Paulinianists and the Nestorians. [The Koran acknowledges that not all Christians in the seventh century were in doctrinal agreement. “The sects among them differ.” (Korah 19:37, Pickthall)] God does not have any divine partners. There is only one God, who exists in three distinct hypostases: Father, Son (or Word), and Holy Spirit. Jesus who is the Son, or Word of God, has an origin, but, like the Father, no beginning. Jesus never claimed to be a distinct deity separate from God the Father. He claimed to by the I AM who spoke to Moses from the burning bush. (See John 8:58 and Exodus 3:13,14.) He said, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30) He never said, “I and My Father are two separate Gods.” The divine nature of Jesus is uncreated and has always existed. (John 1:1-4) The human nature, that is, His soul and His body, are created. However, Jesus is still one Person who has two natures. These two natures are joined together without separation, division, change, or mixture.

Even the Koran acknowledges that Jesus is the Word of Allah. In this passage from the Fourth Surah, the heresy of Tritheism is rejected. (Tritheism was taught by John Philiponus and two deposed Orthodox Christian bishops, Eugenius of Seleucia and Conon of Tarsus, during the time of Muhammad.)

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. (Koran 4:171, Pickthall)

This verse acknowledges that Jesus is both divine and human. He is human. He is “only a messenger of Allah.” He is a human “spirit from Him.” (See Zechariah 12:1 and Hebrews 12:9.) He is also divine. He is the Word of Allah which He conveyed (literally, cast) to Mary. (See John 1:1-4,14.) So, Jesus is both human and divine, but one Person. The Koran tells the Tritheists to stop saying that there are three Gods. There is only one God. Jesus is not a distinct God from Allah. He is a distinct hypostasis from Allah the Father.

Pickthall and other English translators of the Koran have unfortunately mistranslated the next sentence of this verse. The Arabic text says:

Sub’ḥānahu an yakūna lahu waladun.

Glory be to Him that He should be for Him a begotten Child. That is, “Glory be to Jesus Christ that He should be for God the Father a begotten Son.”

The rest of the verse is:

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)

Jesus said:

All things that the Father has are Mine. (John 16:15, NKJV)

In His prayer the night before He was crucified, He prayed:

And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. (John 17:10, NKJV)

After His resurrection from the dead, He said to His disciples:

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 20:18, NKJV)

So, everything in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Jesus (who is Allah the Son) and to Allah the Father. (Everything also belongs to Allah the Holy Spirit. The Three are one God, sharing the same essence, but existing as three distinct hypostases.)

In the 69th Surah, it says:

It is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. And if he had invented false sayings concerning Us, We assuredly had taken him by the right hand and then severed his life-artery, and not one of you could have held Us off from him. (Koran 69:43-47, Pickthall)

Here, we can clearly see that Allah is one God. He is the “Lord of the Worlds.” He also is a plurality of Persons. Notice that Allah uses the words, “Us” and “We”, when speaking of Himself. If Muhammad had invented false sayings concerning the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity (who is one God, not three) would have taken Muhammad’s life before he could finish his ministry. There is only one Lord of the Worlds who exists as three distinct hypostases. That is what this passage teaches.

Twice in the Koran, it says that Jesus died.

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee (that is, in death) and causing Thee to ascend unto Me. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

I (Jesus) was a Witness of them (the disciples) while I dwelt among them, and when Thou (Allah the Father) tookest Me (in death) Thou wast the Watcher over them. Thou art Witness over all things. (Koran 5:117, Pickthall)

The verbs translated “gathering Thee” in verse 3:55 and “tookest Me” in verse 5:117 are used in reference to the soul being taken from the body in other places in the Koran. I have already illustrated this point in my blog, The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Messiah in the Koran. If the Koran does not teach that Jesus died, then it does not confirm the Gospel, but since it does teach that, it does confirm the Gospel. (Koran 3:3,4; 5:47,48; 10:38; 41:43)

Twice in the Koran, it says that Jesus ascended into Heaven.

(And remember) when Allah said: O Jesus! Lo! I am gathering Thee [i.e., taking Thee in death] and causing Thee to ascend unto Me. (Koran 3:55, Pickthall)

But Allah took Him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. (Koran 4:158, Pickthall)

The verb translated “causing to ascend” in verse 3:55 and “took up” in verse 4:158 is the verb that Pickthall translated “raised” in this passage from the 19th Surah.

And make mention in the Scripture of Idris. Lo! he was a saint, a prophet; and We raised him to a high station. (Koran 19:56, 57, Pickthall)

Idris is the Arabic name for Enoch. Enoch ascended into heaven without ever dying. (Genesis 5:21-24; Hebrews 11:5) So, the Koran teaches in verses 3:55 and 5:117 that Jesus died and in verses 3:55 and 4:158 that He ascended into heaven. The resurrection of Jesus is implied in the Koran which tells Muslims to accept the four Gospels along with the other Scriptures. (Koran 2:136; 4:136, 150-152; 29:46)

In only one place in the Koran, the resurrection of Jesus is clearly mentioned.

Peace on Me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! (Koran 19:33, Sahih International)

I mention here the death and resurrection of Jesus, because Jesus did something very important for us. He destroyed death by His death. This is the teaching of the Church Fathers.

The Son sojourned in the world, having of the Virgin received flesh, which He filled with the Holy Spirit for the sanctification of us all; and having given up the flesh to death, He destroyed death through the resurrection that had in view the resurrection of us all; and He ascended to heaven, exalting and glorifying men in Himself; and He comes the second time to bring us again eternal life. (A Sectional Confession of Faith, Article XVIII, by St. Gregory the Wonderworker, vol. 6, p. 45, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

Now if by the sign of the Cross, and by faith in Christ, death is trampled down, it must be evident before the tribunal of truth that it is none other than Christ Himself that has displayed trophies and triumphs over death, and made him lose all his strength. 2. And if, while previously death was strong, and for that reason terrible, now after the sojourn of the Saviour and the death and resurrection of His body it is despised, it must be evident that death has been brought to nought and conquered by the very Christ that ascended the Cross. 3. For as, if after night-time the sun rises, and the whole region of earth is illumined by him, it is at any rate not open to doubt that it is the sun who has revealed his light everywhere, that has also driven away the dark and given light to all things; so, now that death has come into contempt, and been  trodden under foot, from the time when the Saviour’s saving manifestation in the flesh and His death on the Cross took place, it must be quite plain that it is the very Saviour that also appeared in the body, Who has brought death to nought, and Who displays the signs of victory over him day by day in His own disciples. (On the Incarnation of the Word, section 29, by St. Athanasius the Great, vol. 4, pp. 50-51, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

For Christ also likewise, when it was possible for him to abide in His own honour and deity, not only so far emptied Himself as to take the form of a slave, but also endured the cross, despising the shame, that He might by His own sufferings destroy sin, and by death slay death. (Oration VII, by St. Gregory the Theologian, vol. 7, p. 246, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

The strong one is bound by his own chains, and every device of the evil one recoils on his own head. When the prince of the world is bound, all that he held in captivity is released. (Luke 11:21,21) Our nature cleansed from its old contagion regains its honourable estate, death is destroyed by death, nativity is restored by nativity: since at one and the same time redemption does away with slavery, regeneration changes our origin, and faith justifies the sinner. (Sermon XXII: On the Feast of the Nativity, II, by St. Leo the Great, vol. 12, part I, p. 131, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

In the Koran, it says:

So if you are in doubt, [O Muhammad], about that which We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you. The truth has certainly come to you from your Lord, so never be among the doubters. (Koran 10:94, Sahih International)

One way that Muslims can learn what Orthodox Christians believed and taught is to read the Church Fathers. Jesus said that the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church.

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18, NKJV)

There were heretical offshoots of the Church during the days of Muhammad, but the true Church that remained faithful to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles still existed, too.

In the Koran, it speaks of the prophet John who preceded Jesus in his ministry.

When he was standing during prayer in his place of worship, the angels called him saying, “God gives you the glad news of the birth of your son, John who will be a confirmation of (Jesus) the Word of God. He will become a chaste, noble leader and one of the righteous Prophets. (Koran 3:39, Muhammad Sarwar)

In St. John the Theologian’s Gospel, St. John the Baptist (who was spoken of in Koran 3:39) said this about Jesus.

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)

Jesus is the sacrifice for our sins. Jesus said:

27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:27,28, NKJV)

44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:44,45, NKJV)

St. Paul wrote in his First Epistle to St. Timothy:

3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (I Timothy 2:3-6, NKJV)

Jesus gave His life as a ransom for us. No one took His life away from Him. His death was voluntary.

17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17,18, NKJV)

In the second century, Clement of Alexandria wrote:

For him alone who does so He owns to be the good shepherd. Generous, therefore, is He who gives for us the greatest of all gifts, His own life; and beneficent exceedingly, and loving to men, in that, when He might have been Lord, He wished to be a brother man; and so good was He that He died for us. (The Instructor, Book I, chapter 9, by Clement of Alexandria, vol. 2, p. 231, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

St. John Chrysostom wrote the following commentary on those verses from I Timothy.

Ver. 5. “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men.”
He had before said, “to come to the knowledge of the truth,” implying that the world is not in the truth. Now he says, “that there is one God,” that is, not as some say, many, and that He has sent His Son as Mediator, thus giving proof that He will have all men to be saved. But is not the Son God? Most truly He is; why then does he say, “One God”? In contradistinction to the idols; not to the Son. For he is discoursing about truth and error. Now a mediator ought to have communion with both parties, between whom he is to mediate. For this is the property of a mediator, to be in close communion with each of those whose mediator he is. For he would be no longer a mediator, if he were connected with one but separated from the other. If therefore He partakes not of the nature of the Father, He is not a Mediator, but is separated. For as He is partaker of the nature of men, because He came to men, so is He partaker of the nature of God, because He came from God. Because He was to mediate between two natures, He must approximate to the two natures; for as the place situated between two others is joined to each place, so must that between natures be joined to either nature. As therefore He became Man, so was He also God. A man could not have become a mediator, because he must also plead with God. God could not have been mediator, since those could not receive Him, toward whom He should have mediated. And as elsewhere he says, “There is one God the Father, … and one Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 8:6); so also here “One” God, and “One” Mediator; he does not say two; for he would not have that number wrested to Polytheism, of which he was speaking. So he wrote “One” and “One.” You see how accurate are the expressions of Scripture! For though one and one are two, we are not to say this, though reason suggests it. And here thou sayest not one and one are two, and yet thou sayest what reason does not suggest. “If He begat He also suffered.” “For there is one God,” he says, “and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
Ver. 6. “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
Was Christ then a ransom for the Heathen? Undoubtedly Christ died even for Heathen; and you cannot bear to pray for them. Why then, you ask, did they not believe? Because they would not: but His part was done. His suffering was a “Testimony,” he says; for He came, it is meant, “to bear witness to the truth” of the Father, and was slain. Thus not only the Father bore witness to Him, but He to the Father. “For I came,” He saith, “in My Father’s name.” (John 5:43.) And again, “No man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18.) And again, “That they might know Thee, the only true God.” (John 17:3.) And, “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24.) And He bore witness even to the death. But this, “in due time,” means, In the fittest time. (Homily VII, Homilies on the First Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, by St. John Chrysostom, vol. 13, pp. 430-431, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

Jesus suffered and died in His humanity but not in His divinity. The divine nature is incapable of death and suffering. Because His mortal human nature was joined inseparably to His divine nature, He could not remain dead. The divine nature of Jesus destroyed death in His human nature rendering His human nature forever immortal. Jesus offered Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. Our sins are, therefore, forgiven for Jesus’ sake.

In verse 5:37 of the Koran, it says that eternal punishment is eternal.

They will wish to come forth from the Fire, but they will not come forth from it. Theirs will be a lasting doom. (Koran 5:37, Pickthall)

The Bible teaches the same thing.

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:44-46, NKJV)

The passage from the Gospel speaks about sins of omission. There are also the sins of commission which, if not forgiven, will result in one spending eternity in Gehenna. In the Orthodox Christian tradition, Hell is viewed as a self-inflicted state. By refusing to reform our lives and repent, we essentially damn our own souls into Hell. We become trapped in our own passions.

The Koran, likewise, teaches that our eternal damnation is our own doing.

The likeness of that which they spend in this life of the world is as the likeness of a biting, icy wind which smiteth the harvest of a people who have wronged themselves, and devastateth it. Allah wronged them not, but they do wrong themselves. (Koran 3:117, Pickthall)

Lo! Allah wrongeth not mankind in aught; but mankind wrong themselves. (Koran 10:44, Pickthall)

We wronged them not, but they did wrong themselves; and their gods on whom they call beside Allah availed them naught when came thy Lord’s command; they added to them naught save ruin. (Koran 11:101, Pickthall)

Do the (ungodly) wait until the angels come to them, or there comes the Command of thy Lord (for their doom)? So did those who went before them. But Allah wronged them not: nay, they wronged their own souls. (Koran 16:33, Yusuf Ali)

And the Book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say: What kind of a Book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and thy Lord wrongeth no-one. (Koran 18:49, Pickthall)

We wronged them not, but they it was who did the wrong. (Koran 43:76, Pickthall)

And whoso transgresseth Allah’s limits, he verily wrongeth his soul. (Koran 65:1, Pickthall)

These words of St. John the Theologian express the warning conveyed in Koran 5:36,37.

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (I John 2:15-17, NKJV)

One cannot love the things of this life and love God, too. The Koran, likewise, expresses this notion in another Surah.

Whoso desireth the life of the world and its pomp, We shall repay them their deeds herein, and therein they will not be wronged. (Koran 11:15, Pickthall)

We must use this world as long as we live in it, but we cannot allow the love of this world to replace our love for God. We cannot ransom our souls from Gehenna. Everything that we own still belongs to God. Jesus is the ransom for us. He destroyed death by His death and was the sacrifice for our sins. Although our sins can be forgiven through Christ, we still must beware of becoming trapped by our own passions. Hell is a self-inflicted state. We wrong ourselves when we sin. God wrongs no one. We must beware of loving this world instead of God.