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Apostasy and a False Hadith

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

It is very unfortunate that there are many Muslims and predominantly Muslim countries who actually think that they have a moral mandate to put to death anyone who leaves Islam. The Koran and the Bible do not teach this. There are hadiths that do teach that, unfortunately. Those hadiths are based on hearsay reports and no intelligent person should think that the Islamic prophet actually commanded anyone to kill an apostate from Islam.

In the Old Testament, there is a passage in Deuteronomy which commands the Israelites to put to death by stoning those who apostatize from the monotheistic religion taught in the Torah and worship other gods.

And if there should be found in any one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God gives thee, a man or a woman who shall do that which is evil before the Lord thy God, so as to transgress His covenant, and they should go and serve other gods, and worship them, the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which He commanded thee not to do, and it be told thee, and thou shalt have enquired diligently, and, behold, the thing really took place, this abomination has been done in Israel; then shalt thou bring out that man, or that woman, and ye shall stone them with stones, and they shall die. He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7, LXX)

The other peoples among whom the ancient Israelites were traveling when they were on their way to the land of Canaan were polytheists. Those who abandoned Abrahamic monotheism ended up accepting one of the polytheistic religions of the indigenous peoples in that part of the world. The first one to cast a stone at an apostate was supposed to be one of the witnesses. So, if the witness was bearing false witness against his neighbor — a violation of one of the Ten Commandments — he would also be guilty of murder as well. If anyone escapes the judgment of man for the commission of murder, he will most definitely not escape the judgment of God. (Genesis 9:5,6; Deuteronomy 32:35,43)

In the New Testament, apostates were not killed. The Christians disfellowshipped them.

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)

This verse in the New Testament abrogates the commandment in Deuteronomy 17:2-7. In the Koran, it says:

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 commandment to disfellowship apostates is better than the one to kill them. By disfellowshipping them, the Christian community is able to nonverbally express their disapproval of the apostates’ practice of idolatry and hope that they eventually repent and return to the worship of the one Triune God.

Christians often just allowed the apostates and heretics to leave the Christian community on their own.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. (I John 2:19, NKJV)

No one was killed for committing apostasy in the first century. By the way, the author of I John was a rightly guided Muslim (Matthew 10:2; Koran 3:52) and a messenger of Allah. He also wrote the Gospel according to St. John, two more epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

The Koran confirms the Bible. It does not contradict it.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

As for that which We inspire in thee of the Scripture, it is the Truth confirming that which was (revealed) before it. Lo! Allah is indeed Observer, Seer of His slaves. (Koran 35:31, Pickthall)

Muhammad did not receive any new revelations. He received confirming ones — revelations which confirmed what the messengers before him had already taught.

Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the messengers before thee: that thy Lord has at His Command (all) forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty. (Koran 41:43, Yusuf Ali)

Muhammad was not an innovation among the messengers.

Say: I am no new thing among the messengers (of Allah), nor know I what will be done with me or with you. I do but follow that which is inspired in me, and I am but a plain warner. (Koran 46:9, Pickthall)

He accepted the Scriptures of the Orthodox Christians.

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)

I believe in whatever Scripture Allah hath sent down, and I am commanded to be just among you. Allah is our Lord and your Lord. (Koran 42:15, Pickthall)

So, Muhammad accepted I Corinthians 5:11 and I John 2:19 as Holy Scripture. He never commanded anyone to put to death an apostate.

Furthermore, in the Koran it says that Muhammad followed the Koran.

I but follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 6:50, Yusuf Ali)

I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. (Koran 7:203, Shakir)

I only follow what is revealed to me. (Koran 10:15, Sahih International)

I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner. (Koran 46:9, Sahih International)

The Koran says that Muhammad was not supposed to be a compeller or controller over his ummah (community).

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)

So remind, [O Muhammad]; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller. (Koran 88:21,22, Sahih International)

There are two passages in the Koran about apostasy. The first one is in the Fourth Surah.

Lo! those who believe, then disbelieve and then (again) believe, then disbelieve, and then increase in disbelief, Allah will never pardon them, nor will He guide them unto a way. (Koran 4:137, Pickthall)

It is very unreasonable to believe based on this verse that the Islamic prophet actually commanded his followers to kill apostates. The apostate described in this verse would have been stoned to death twice. He would have had to have been resurrected after the first stoning so that he could be stoned to death once more. No capital punishment for apostates is mentioned in this verse. The punishment is that God will never pardon him. That is to say, he receives eternal damnation at the Last Judgment. Also, God will never guide him “unto a way.” He is allowed to continue on in his error, much the same way as many atheists and agnostics do today.

The next passage pertaining to apostasy is in the 16th Surah.

Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief – save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith – but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: on them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom. That is because they have chosen the life of the world rather than the Hereafter, and because Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk. Such are they whose hearts and ears and eyes Allah hath sealed. And such are the heedless. Assuredly in the Hereafter they are the losers. (Koran 16:106-109, Pickthall)

The punishment that apostates receive is in the Hereafter — the afterlife. There is no commandment in these verses to kill an apostate.

Muhammad died in 632 A.D. In the ninth century, a collection of hadiths was compiled. It is called Sunan an-Nasa’i. The compiler of these hadiths was born in 829 and died in 915. Here is a hadith from this collection which falsely states that Muhammad told his followers to kill apostates.

It was narrated from ‘Ikrimah: “Some people apostatized after accepting Islam, and ‘Ali burned them with fire. Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘If it had been me, I would not have burned them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘No one should be punished with the punishment of Allah.’ If it had been me, I would have killed them; the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 4060)

Based on the teachings of the Koran and the Bible, it is highly unlikely that the Islamic prophet ever told anyone, “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.”

The hearsay  hadiths contain falsehood. The Koran and the Bible which the Koran confirms contain truth. The Koran says:

That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood and because those who believe follow the truth from their Lord. (Koran 47:3, Pickthall)

One can either follow falsehood — those hearsay hadiths — or the truth. Here is another passage of Scripture which Muhammad accepted.

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)

Let us obey the Koran and the Bible and “follow the truth from our Lord.” Ignore those hearsay hadiths. They really cannot be trusted. As-salamu alaykum.

A Work of Divine Providence

May 30, 2017 Leave a comment

I believe that God is sovereign, but man still has a free will. It says in Ephesians:

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. (Ephesians 1:11, NKJV)

I think that it is interesting that in the twentieth century someone in Arizona discovered mathematical patterns in the Koran. Here are some videos that illustrate some of these mathematical miracles in the Koran.

Jesus Christ - the First and the Last

Incidentally, I am still a Christian. I believe that the Koran teaches my faith. It claims to do that. (Koran 2:285; 4:136,150-152; 3:3,4; 5:46-48,66; 6:91,92; 10:37,38; 21:24; 35:31; 41:43; 46:9,12; etc.) I do not believe that it teaches Arianism or any of the other heresies rejected by the Church. So, I am OK with it.

God Forgives: An Exegesis of Koran 3:129-136

Now, I want to do an exegesis on another passage from the Koran — Surah 3:129-136. This passage contains some good moral teaching plus promises of eternal bliss for those who believe in God and obey Him. It also contains some words that have been used by Christian apologists to prove the deity of Jesus Christ.

Some words about Orthodox Christian doctrine for my Muslim readers need to be said first. We Orthodox Christians are not Bitheists, nor are we Tritheists. We worship one God who exists in three distinct hypostases. These  hypostases (subsistences) are often called Persons. All three Persons of the Deity share the same essence (that is, substance). If one were to divide the Divine Essence into infinitesimal particles, each particle would belong to all three Persons. We believe that the Father has neither a beginning, nor an origin. We believe that the Word (also called the Son) has an origin, but no beginning. We believe that the Holy Spirit has an origin, but no beginning. The procession of the Son from the Father is called “being begotten.” This does not mean that the Father had sexual relations with a female goddess or creature. There is only one God. Therefore, no female goddess exists. The Divine Essence does not possess genitals. Therefore, there was no sexual procreation involved in the origination of the Son. The terms “being begotten” and “begotten” are theological terms used in the Bible. No one should interpret them literally. The procession of the Holy Spirit is called “proceeding.” We believe that the Word of God became incarnate in the body of the Virgin Mary. Jesus, who is the incarnate Word of God, possesses both a divine nature and a human nature. The two natures of Jesus are joined together without separation, division, mixture, or change. The divine nature of Jesus was not converted into a human nature. The human nature of Jesus was not converted into a divine nature. The two natures are joined together by diffusion. The divine nature permeates the human nature of Jesus. The divine nature is omnipresent. The human nature is limited in space and time. Whenever we pray to the Son, we are praying to the same God that the Father and the Holy Spirit are. Whenever we pray to the Holy Spirit, we are praying to the same God that the Father and the Son are. All three Persons are one and the same God, but different hypostases of that God. So, whenever we say that Jesus is God, we are not saying that He is a different God from the Father. He is a different hypostasis of that God.

Now for the exegesis of the the text. The first verse in this passage is verse 129.

To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on earth. He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and punisheth whom He pleaseth; but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Koran 3:129, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran contains so many teachings which are very similar to those found in the Bible. The first sentence in this verse teaches what is taught in the Psalms. “To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and the earth.” Look at these four verses from the Psalms.

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)

If I should be hungry, I will not tell thee: for the world is Mine, and the fullness of it. (Psalm 49:12, LXX; Psalm 50:12, Hebrew)

The heavens are Thine, and the earth is Thine: Thou hast founded the world, and the fullness of it.  (Psalm 88:11, LXX; Psalm 89:11, Hebrew)

The heaven of heavens belongs to the Lord: but He has given the earth to the sons of men.  (Psalm 113:24, LXX; Psalm 115:16, Hebrew)

The Koran and the Bible both teach that God owns everything. I remember the words of a song by Pat Terry in the 1970s: “Everything thing I own will still belong to Him.” Even though “He has given the earth to the sons of men” (Psalm 113:24, LXX; Psalm 115:6, Hebrew), He still owns it because He owns “all that dwell in it.” (Psalm 23:1, LXX; Psalm 24:1, Hebrew)

Now I want to talk about how Jesus inherits the universe that He created. As God, He already owns it. As Man, born under the covenants, He inherits it. In Galatians, it says:

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)

St. Paul, who wrote this epistle to the Galatians, used the Septuagint version of the Old Testament. He quoted from it frequently in his epistles. Here are some verses from the Septuagint version of Genesis.

And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I will give this land to thy seed. And Abram built an altar there to the Lord who appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7, LXX)

And God said to Abram after Lot was separated from him, Look up with thine eyes, and behold from the place where thou now art northward and southward, and eastward and seaward; for all the land which thou seest, I will give it to thee and to thy seed for ever. (Genesis 13:14,15, LXX)

The Lord the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, who took me out of my father’s house, and out of the land whence I sprang, who spoke to me, and who swore to me, saying, I will give this land to thee and to thy seed, He shall send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife to my son from thence. (Genesis 24:7, LXX)

Notice that the word, “seed,” is singular thus referring to only one Person, the Messiah or the Christ. In Romans, we learn that God promised the entire universe to Abraham and his Seed.

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)

Before His death and resurrection, Jesus said:

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

After His death and resurrection, He said:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18, NKJV)

In Hebrews, it says:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds ( Greek, aionas, ages). (Hebrew 1:1,2, NKJV)

As God, Jesus already owned the universe. (John 16:15) As Man, He inherited the entire universe after He arose from the dead. (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:1,2)

God created not only the universe, but also time itself. (Hebrews 1:2) God the Father owns time, just like He owns the universe. Jesus owns time, too. (John 16:15)

In Romans, it says:

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)

Those who do the will of God and keep His commandments are His children. As children of God, they are also heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

In the 19th Surah of the Koran, it says:

It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to Us will they all be returned. (Koran 19:40, Yusuf Ali)

The Divine Essence permeates the human nature of Jesus. Each infinitesimal particle of the Divine Essence belongs to all three hypostases of the Deity. Therefore, God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) says, “It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon.” God already owns everything, but through the Son who became incarnate the other two hypostases inherit what They already own.

The existence of only one God who is a plural number of Persons can be seen in this passage from the 21st Surah.

Lo! this, your religion, is one religion, and I am your Lord, so worship Me. And they have broken their religion (into fragments) among them, (yet) all are returning unto Us. (Koran 21:92,93, Pickthall)

God uses the singular first person pronoun, Me, in reference to Himself in 21:92 and the first person plural pronoun, Us, in reference to Himself in 21:93. The first person singular pronoun indicates that there is only one God. The first person plural pronoun indicates that He exists in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

“He forgiveth whom He pleaseth and punisheth whom He pleaseth.”

These words are also taught in the Bible. Look at these two passages.

But our God has done in heaven and on earth, whatsoever He has pleased. ( Psalm 113:11, LXX; Psalm 115:3, Hebrew)

What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. (Romans 9:14-18, NKJV)

“But Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Elsewhere in the Koran, it says:

For Thou art the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (Koran 7:151, Yusuf Ali)

and:

Grant Thou forgiveness and mercy for Thou art the Best of those who show mercy. (Koran 23:118, Yusuf Ali)

The Koran often emphasizes that God is merciful toward His creatures.

The Bible, likewise, teaches that God is merciful. According to the Bible, God is “rich in mercy.” (Ephesians 2:4) The Holy Prophet Micah said that God delights in mercy.

Who is a God like Thee, cancelling iniquities, and passing over the sins of the remnant of His inheritance? and He has not kept His anger for a testimony, for He delights in mercy. He will return and have mercy upon us; He will sink our iniquities, and they shall be cast into the depth of the sea, even all our sins. (Micah 7:18,19, LXX)

The Koran teaches that God forgives all sins.

Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Koran 39:53, Yusuf Ali)

The angels intercede before God for believers who have sinned.

Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire. (Koran 40:7, Sahih International)

It is the practice of us Orthodox Christians to ask for the prayers of their guardian angels. So, this notion about angels praying for people is not strange to us.

Faith in God is necessary for one to be forgiven by God. Both the Koran and the Bible teach this.

Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring. (Koran 20:73, Sahih International)

O our people! respond to Allah’s summoner and believe in Him. He will forgive you some of your sins and guard you from a painful doom. (Koran 46:31, Pickthall)

To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43, NKJV)

The Koran tells us to believe in Muhammad and not just in him, but in all of the messengers of God.

O you who have believed, fear Allah and believe in His Messenger; He will [then] give you a double portion of His mercy and make for you a light by which you will walk and forgive you; and Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Koran 57:28, Sahih International)

So believe in Allah and His messengers. If ye believe and ward off (evil), yours will be a vast reward. (Koran 3:179, Pickthall)

The Koran, like the Bible, teaches that repentance is also necessary in order for one to be forgiven by God.

O ye who believe! Turn unto Allah in sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your evil deeds and bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, on the day when Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their light will run before them and on their right hands; they will say: Our Lord! Perfect our light for us, and forgive us! Lo! Thou art Able to do all things. (Koran 66:8, Pickthall)

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19, NKJV)

People who refuse to repent and defiantly disobey God do not receive forgiveness from God. Both the Koran and the Bible teach this.

It is all the same for them whether you ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; never will Allah forgive them. Indeed, Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people. (Koran 63:6, Sahih International)

But unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3, NKJV)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18, NKJV)

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:5-11, NKJV)

The next verse is verse 130.

O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied; but fear Allah; that ye may (really) prosper. (Koran 3:130, Yusuf Ali)

“O ye who believe! Devour not usury, doubled and multiplied.”

Usury is loaning money at interest. Banks and credit card companies make money doing this. Historically, however, Christians regarded usury as a grave sin. It was not until the advent of Calvinist theology in the 16th century that Christians began loaning money at interest. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church were opposed to the practice of usury in ancient times.

There are prohibitions against usury in the Bible. In the Torah, the ancient Israelites were forbidden to loan money to a fellow Israelite at interest, but they were allowed to loan money to those who were not Israelites at interest.

And if thou shouldest lend money to thy poor brother who is by thee, thou shalt not be hard upon him. Thou shalt not exact usury of him. (Exodus 22:25, LXX)

Thou shalt not lend to thy brother on usury of silver, or usury of meat, or usury of any thing which thou mayest lend out. Thou mayest lend on usury to a stranger, but to thy brother thou shalt not lend on usury; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all thy works upon the land, into which thou art entering to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 23:19,20, LXX)

In the later books of the Bible, people were forbidden to loan money at interest to anyone, whether he be an Israelite or a foreigner.

O Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tabernacle? And who shall dwell in Thy holy mountain?… He has not lent his money on usury, and has not received bribes against the innocent. He that does these things shall never be moved. (Psalm 14:1,5, LXX; Psalm 15:1,5, Hebrew)

He that increases his wealth by usuries and unjust gains, gathers it for him that pities the poor. (Proverbs 30:8, LXX; Proverbs 28:8, Hebrew)

Woe is me, my mother, that you have borne me, a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me. (Jeremiah 15:10, NKJV)

But the man who shall be just, who executes judgment and righteousness, who shall not eat upon the mountains, and shall not at all lift up his eyes to the devices of the house of Israel, and shall not defile his neighbor’s wife, and shall not draw nigh to her that is removed, and shall not oppress any man, but shall return the pledge of the debtor, and shall be guilty of no plunder, shall give his bread to the hungry, and clothe the naked; and shall not lend his money upon usury, and shall not receive usurious increase, and shall turn back his hand from injustice, shall execute righteous judgement between a man and his neighbor, and has walked in My commandments and kept Mine ordinances, to do them; he is righteous, he shall surely live, saith the Lord. And if he beget a mischievous son, shedding blood and committing sins, who has not walked in the way of his righteous father, but has even eaten upon the mountains, and has defiled his neighbor’s wife, and has oppressed the poor and needy, and has committed robbery, and not restored a pledge, and has set his eyes upon idols, has wrought iniquities, has lent upon usury, and taken usurious increase; he shall by no means live: he has wrought all these iniquities; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. And if he beget a son, and the son see all his father’s sins which he has wrought, and fear, and not do according to them, and if he has not eaten on the mountains, and has not set his eyes on the devices of the house of Israel, and has not defiled his neighbor’s wife, and has not oppressed a man, and has not retained the pledge, nor committed robbery, has given his bread to the hungry, and has clothed the naked, and has turned back his hand from unrighteousness, has not received interest or usurious increase, has wrought righteousness, and walked in mine ordinances; he shall not die for the iniquities of his father, he shall surely live. (Ezekiel 18:5-17, LXX)

Behold, the princes of the house of Israel have conspired in thee each one with his kindred, that they might shed blood. In thee they have reviled father and mother; and in thee they have behaved unjustly toward the stranger: they have oppressed the orphan and widow. And they have set at nought My holy things, and in thee they have profaned My sabbaths. There are robbers in thee, to shed blood in thee; and in thee they have eaten upon the mountains: they have wrought ungodliness in the midst of thee. In thee they have uncovered the father’s shame; and in thee they have humbled her that was set apart for uncleanness. They have dealt unlawfully each one with his neighbor’s wife; and each one in ungodliness has defiled his daughter-in-law: and in thee they have humbled each one his sister, the daughter of his father. In thee they have received gifts to shed blood; they have received in thee interest and usurious increase; and by oppression thou hast brought thy wickedness to the full, and hast forgotten Me, saith the Lord. And if I shall smite My hand at thine iniquities which thou hast accomplished, which thou hast wrought, and at thy blood that has been shed in the midst of thee, shall thy heart endure? Shall thine hands be strong in the days which I bring upon thee? I the Lord have spoken, and will do it. (Ezekiel 22:6-14, LXX)

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. (Luke 6:35, NKJV)

The Church Fathers were opposed to usury. Here are some citations from two of them: St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom.

That the Fathers have been too gentle toward the idolatry of covetous persons, in condemning to penance only robbery, digging of graves, and sacrilege, whereas usury and oppression, though under colour of contract, are forbidden by Scripture. That highwaymen returning to the Church, be treated as murderers. They that pilfer, and then confess their sin to the priest, are only obliged to amendment, and to be liberal to the poor; and if they have nothing, to labour and give their earnings. (Canon VI, St. Gregory the Theologian, vol. 14, p. 611, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

Lend there, where thy return cannot be death, but life instead of death. For this usury is the harbinger of a kingdom, that, of hell; the one coming of covetousness, the other of self-denial; the one of cruelty, the other of humanity.  (Homily V on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, by St. John Chrysostom, vol. 10, p. 35, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

The canons of St. Gregory the Theologian were accepted by the Quinisext Council in its Second Canon in 692 A.D. The Quinisext Council is an extension of the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils. Therefore, it is ecumenical and the Canons of St. Gregory, which were accepted by it, are binding on the whole Church.

Usury

“But fear Allah; that ye may really prosper.”

Those who fear God will truly prosper. The Bible teaches the same thing. He who fears God, begins to be wise.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and all that act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever and ever. (Psalm 110:10, LXX; Psalm 111:10, Hebrew)

The man who gets wisdom obtains long life (that is, immortality), wealth, and glory.

Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, and the mortal who knows prudence. For it is better to traffic for her, than for treasures of gold and silver. And she is more valuable than precious stones: no evil thing shall resist her: she is well known to all that approach her, and no precious thing is equal to her in value. For length of existence and years of life are in her right hand; and in her left hand are wealth and glory: out of her mouth proceeds righteousness, and she carries law and mercy upon her tongue. Her ways are good ways, and all her paths are peaceful. She is a tree of life to all that lay hold upon her; and she is a secure help to all that stay themselves on her, as on the Lord. (Proverbs 3:13-18, LXX)

In the 22nd chapter of Proverbs it says:

The fear of the Lord is the offspring of wisdom, and wealth, and glory, and life. (Proverbs 22:4, LXX)

The offspring of wisdom means the beginning of wisdom as in Psalm 110:10 of the Septuagint. The fear of the Lord is also wealth, and glory, and life (that is, immortality). Departing from evil is a characteristic of a wise man.

Be not wise in thine own conceit; but fear God, and depart from all evil. (Proverbs 3:7, LXX)

A wise man fears, and departs from evil; but the fool trusts in himself, and joins himself with the transgressor. (Proverbs 14:16, LXX)

It is by fearing God that one departs from evil.

The fear of the Lord hates unrighteousness, and insolence, and pride, and the ways of wicked men; and I hate the perverse ways of bad men. (Proverbs 8:13, LXX)

But by the fear of the Lord every one departs from evil. (Proverbs 15:27, LXX; 16:6, Hebrew)

So, one who is willing to flirt with evil does not really fear God. Usury is evil. The way to depart from the practice of usury is to fear God. The thought of losing Paradise and inhabiting Hell should be enough to deter one from lending money at interest.

The next verse in this passage is verse 131.

Fear the Fire, which is repaired for those who reject Faith: (Koran 3:131, Yusuf Ali)

The Arabic word translated “repaired” by Yusuf Ali is usually translated “prepared” by most translators.

And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers. (Koran 3:131, Sahih International)

Faith without works is dead. (James 2:17,26) Those who refuse to do righteous deeds and avoid sin do not have genuine faith. They should not think that their dead faith will save them. The Bible speaks of the Fire which we all should fear.

The sinners in Sion have departed; trembling shall seize the ungodly. Who will tell you that a fire is kindled? Who will tell you of the eternal place? (Isaiah 33:14, LXX)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28, NKJV)

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 22:15, NKJV)

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8, NKJV)

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. (Revelation 22:14,15, NKJV)

We need to remember that the Fire of Hell could also be our final abode if we refuse to demonstrate our faith in the practice of good deeds and the avoidance of evil deeds.

The next verse in this passage is verse 132.

And obey Allah and the Messenger; that ye may obtain mercy. (Koran 3:132, Yusuf Ali)

“And obey Allah and the Messenger.”

We are supposed to obey God and the Messenger. The Messenger is Muhammad. Muhammad did not receive any new revelations from God. In the 41st Surah, it says:

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)

He was not an innovation among the Messengers of God. In the 46th Surah, it says:

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

In the Koran, it says that we should obey the Messengers of God.

And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. (Koran 4:64, Sahih International)

Muhammad and the first generation Muslims obeyed the Messengers of God that preceded Muhammad.

The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His Scriptures and His messengers –- We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying. (Koran 2:285, Pickthall)

The Koran says that Muhammad is a good example to follow.

Verily in the Messenger of Allah ye have a good example for him who looketh unto Allah and the Last Day, and remembereth Allah much. (Koran 33:21, Pickthall)

If Muhammad believed in the messengers of God which preceded him and obeyed them, then we should do the same.

The first generation Muslims were the best community raised up for mankind.

Ye are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind. Ye enjoin right conduct and forbid indecency; and ye believe in Allah. (Koran 3:110, Pickthall)

If the first generation Muslims believed in the messengers of God which preceded Muhammad and obeyed them, then we should do the same.

Jesus is a Messenger of Allah. He told people to obey Him.

And (I come) confirming that which was before Me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to Allah and obey Me. (Koran 3:50, Pickthall)

When Jesus came with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), He said: I have come unto you with wisdom, and to make plain some of that concerning which ye differ. So keep your duty to Allah, and obey Me. (Koran 43:63, Pickthall)

He claimed that He spoke the words of God.

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak. (John 12:49,50, NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23,24, NKJV)

“That ye may obtain mercy.”

Jesus said:

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

He also said:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (Mattthew 5:7, NKJV)

St. James, who was either one of Jesus’ cousins or His stepbrother, was a disciple of Jesus. Jesus said that if we reject the message delivered to us by one of His disciples, then we reject Jesus. If we reject Jesus, then we also reject Allah the Father who sent Jesus. If we hear Jesus’ disciples, we hear Jesus. If we receive their teaching, we receive the teaching of Jesus which is the teaching of Allah.

He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

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

The Koran gives a stern warning to those who disbelieve Jesus and His disciples.

And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, “Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus.” They said, “We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah].” [And remember] when the disciples said, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, can your Lord send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven? [Jesus] said, “Fear Allah , if you should be believers.” They said, “We wish to eat from it and let our hearts be reassured and know that you have been truthful to us and be among its witnesses.” Said Jesus, the Son of Mary, “O Allah , our Lord, send down to us a table [spread with food] from the heaven to be for us a festival for the first of us and the last of us and a sign from You. And provide for us, and You are the best of providers.” Allah said, “Indeed, I will send it down to you, but whoever disbelieves afterwards from among you — then indeed will I punish him with a punishment by which I have not punished anyone among the worlds. (Koran 5:111-115, Sahih International)

St. James wrote:

So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:12,13, NKJV)

Those who are merciful to others will receive mercy from God. Those who are not merciful to others will receive no mercy from God.

I have seen on TV the lack of mercy that is being shown to innocent civilians in the Syrian Civil War. Syrian soldiers have used chemical weapons on unarmed civilians killing babies, children, and women as well as civilian men. Russian planes have bombed hospitals. There is a total lack of mercy being exhibited by these militaries. PISSI (the Pseudo-Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) has beheaded people and used innocent civilians as human shields. There is no mercy being displayed by this Pseudo-Islamic extremist organization. People who behave like this should not expect to receive mercy from God.

In the Old Testament, the Holy Prophets Solomon and Daniel said:

By alms and by faithful dealings sins are purged away. (Proverbs 15:27, LXX)

Therefore, O king, let my counsel please thee, and atone for thy sins by alms, and thine iniquities by compassion on the poor: it may be God will be long-suffering to thy trespasses. (Daniel 5:24, LXX; Daniel 4:27, Hebrew)

Giving alms to the poor is one way to show mercy. These acts of charity toward the poor are in stark contrast to the lender who lends money at interest. The Koran says:

If ye lend unto Allah a goodly loan, He will double it for you and will forgive you, for Allah is Responsive, Clement. (Koran 64:17, Pickthall)

The Bible agrees with the Koran. It says:

He that has pity on the poor lends to the Lord; and he will recompense to him according to his gift. (Proverbs 19:17, LXX)

Those who give to the poor lend to the Lord. That is what these verses from the Koran and the Bible teach.

The Holy Prophets Hosea and Micah taught us that God desires that we be merciful to others. God wants us to “love mercy.”

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6, NKJV)

Has it not been told thee, O man, what is good? Or what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and love mercy, and be ready to walk with the Lord thy God? (Micah 6:8, LXX)

Another way that we obtain mercy from God is through repentance and prayer.

Let the ungodly leave his ways, and the transgressor his counsels: and let him return to the Lord, and he shall find mercy; for He shall abundantly pardon your sins. (Isaiah 55:7, LXX)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, NKJV)

So, there are four things that we need to be doing in order to obtain mercy from God: being merciful to others, giving to the poor, repenting of our sins, and praying to God. The Koran says that we should obey Jesus and the other messengers of Allah. Therefore, we need to do those things that the messengers of Allah told us to do in the passages I just cited from the Bible.

The next verse in this passage is verse 133.

Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous,- (Koran 3:133, Yusuf Ali)

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord.”

The Arabic verb translated “be quick in the race” is sāriʿū. It is a form 3 verb. Form three verbs indicate that someone else is present during the action of the verb or the action of the verb is reciprocal. In this verse, someone else is present during the action of the verb. This verb means “to hasten.” So, one is supposed to hasten while someone else is present. Pickthall translated the verb, “vie one with another.” I like Yusuf Ali’s translation. It is reminiscent of some passages in the New Testament which likens the Christian life to that of one running a race.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1,2, NKJV)

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (I Corinthians 9:24-27, NKJV)

One obtains forgiveness from God through prayer, repentance, and forgiving others. (Isaiah 55:7; Sirach 28:2; Matthew 6:14,15; 18:35; Mark 11:25,26; Luke 6:37; Acts 3:19; I John 1:9; Koran 3:89; 4:16,146; 16:119; 24:5,22) All of the righteous men and women who have died are watching us as we continue on in this race. That is what the words, “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” mean in Hebrews 12:1.

“And a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous.”

This Garden might be a heavenly Paradise — one that is not of this world. Jesus told the repentant thief who was crucified next to Him.

Today you will be with Me in Paradise. (Luke 23:43, NKJV)

In the Book of Ezekiel, it says:

And the Word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation for the Prince of Tyre, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou art a seal of resemblance, and crown of beauty. Thou wast in the delight of the Paradise of God; thou hast bound upon thee every precious stone, the sardius, and topaz, and emerald, and carbuncle, and sapphire, and jasper, and silver, and gold, and ligure, and agate, and amethyst, and chrysolite, and beryl, and onyx: and thou hast filled thy treasures and thy stores in thee with gold. From the day that thou wast created thou wast with the cherub: I set thee on the holy mount of God; thou wast in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast faultless in thy days, from the day that thou wast created, until iniquity was found in thee. (Ezekiel 28:11-15, LXX)

The Prince of Tyre is Satan. Satan once inhabited this heavenly Paradise. He sinned against God and lost his right to remain in Paradise. This heavenly Paradise is where the souls of the righteous go after they die.

The next verse in this passage is verse 134.

Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men; — for Allah loves those who do good;- (Koran 3:134, Yusuf Ali)

“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity.”

Instead of saying “give,” the Koran frequently says “spend.” Whenever one gives to the poor and those in need, one is purchasing treasure in heaven. That is what Jesus told the rich, young ruler. So, then one is spending as if he were shopping when he gives.

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matthew 19:21, NKJV)

Jesus promised us that we would receive back more than we give.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38, NKJV)

The Koran tells us to whom we are supposed to “spend.”

They ask thee, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: that which ye spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good ye do, lo! Allah is Aware of it. (Koran 2:215, Pickthall)

It also tells us how much we are supposed to “spend.”

They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: “What is beyond your needs.” Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider. (Koran 2:219, Yusuf Ali)

In the Gospels, there is the example of the poor widow who gave all that she had.

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44, NKJV)

St. Paul told us to give in proportion to how much we have prospered.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: on the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (I Corinthian 16:1,2, NKJV)

Maybe we cannot give our entire livelihood like the poor widow did, but we all should give what is beyond our needs in proportion to how much we have prospered. The Pharisees gave ten percent of what they have earned. (Matthew 23:23; Luke 18:12) We should give more.

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20, NKJV)

St. Paul also said not to give out of compulsion. We should give willingly.

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (II Corithians 9:6,7, NKJV)

The Koran also teaches us that we should “spend” or give what we have earned. We should not  give to others something that we ourselves dislike or find disgusting.

O ye who believe! Spend of the good things which ye have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad (with intent) to spend thereof (in charity) when ye would not take it for yourselves save with disdain; and know that Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise. (Koran 2:267, Pickthall)

Jesus told us to do our charitable deeds in secret and not in order to be seen by men.

Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (Matthew 6:1-4, NKJV)

We should give in prosperity or in adversity.

“Who restrain anger.”

The Bible has some teachings about anger.

“Be angry, and do not sin:” do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26,27, NKJV)

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22, NKJV)

The Bible, like the Koran, says that we should restrain anger. There is legitimate anger. There is also illegitimate anger. Becoming angry because someone killed children and innocent civilians with chemical weapons is legitimate anger. Becoming angry with someone because he did not help commit a crime is illegitimate anger. Hatred, outbursts of wrath, and dissensions are some of the works of the flesh which if practiced, will bar one from inheriting the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

“And pardon all men.”

Once in the Old  Testament, four times in the Gospels, and twice in the Koran, the principal that God forgives those who forgive others is taught. That is a total of seven times.

Forgive thy neighbour the hurt that he hath done unto thee, so shall thy sins also be forgiven when thou prayest. (Sirach 28:2, KJV)

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)

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet[d] and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35, NKJV)

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25,26, NKJV)

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37, NKJV)

Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want, and those who have left their homes in Allah’s cause: let them forgive and overlook, do you not wish that Allah should forgive you? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Koran 24:22, Yusuf Ali)

O believers, among your wives and children there is an enemy to you; so beware of them. But if you pardon, and overlook, and if you forgive, surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. (Koran 64:14, Arberry)

Since this teaching is taught seven times in the Scriptures of the Christians and Muslims, it must be a very important doctrine. We also have the examples of Jesus on the Cross and St. Stephen the Protomartyr. (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:59,60) Both asked God to forgive their enemies before they died.

The Koran has much to say about forgiving others.

Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing. (Koran 2:263, Sahih International)

Now whatever ye have been given is but a passing comfort for the life of the world, and that which Allah hath is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord, and those who shun the worst of sins and indecencies and, when they are wroth, forgive, and those who answer the call of their Lord and establish worship, and whose affairs are a matter of counsel, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them, and those who, when great wrong is done to them, defend themselves [help themselves]. (Koran 42:36-39, Pickthall)

The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah: for (Allah) loveth not those who do wrong. (Koran 42:40, Yusuf Ali)

But surely he who bears patiently and is forgiving — surely that is true constancy. (Koran 42:43, Arberry)

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)

“For Allah loves those who do good.”

Of course, God loves everyone. However, He does not love everyone in the same way. In Greek, there are four different words for love. Eros is sexual love. Agape is unconditional love. Philos is friendship love. Storge is natural affection for one’s relatives. Arabic, like English, does not have different words for the different kinds of love. It has only one word for love. When the Koran says, “Allah loves those who do good,” it is talking about friendship love (philos). God is a friend to those who do good.

In the Bible, Jesus said:

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 14:21, NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23, NKJV)

People who obey God, love God. Those who love God become aware of God’s love for them. So, those who do good are aware that God loves them.

Jesus also said:

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. (John 15:14, NKJV)

St. James said:

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. (James 2:21-23, NKJV)

He also said:

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4, NKJV)

When we obey God, we become friends of God. So, God loves those who do good as His friends. We should understand those words from the Koran in this way. Allah loves those who do good as His friends and they become aware of Allah’s love for them while doing good.

Now, let us look at verse 135.

And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, — and who can forgive sins except Allah? — and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. (Koran 3:135, Yusuf Ali)

“And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls.”

Whenever we sin we wrong our own souls. The wages of sin is death, that is, the Second Death spoken of in the Book of Revelation. (Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:8)

“Earnestly bring Allah to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins.”

Those who repent become aware that God sees their sins and ask God to forgive them.

“And are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in the wrong they have done.”

Pickthall translated this part of this verse: “And will not knowingly repeat (the wrong) they did.”

Jesus told this parable in order to illustrate what true repentance consists of.

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32, NKJV)

The one who does the will of God after repenting is the true repenter. The one who says he repents but persists in doing the same deeds over again did not genuinely repent. Repentance brings about a change in behavior.

St. John the Baptist said:

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NKJV)

The fruits worthy of repentance are a change in behavior resulting in one doing good and abstaining from evil.

“And who can forgive sins except Allah?”

Here is proof from the Koran that Jesus is Allah. The Koran says:

Let the people of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. (Koran 5:47, Pickthall)

So, I have read in the Koran that only God (Allah) can forgive sins. Now, in the Gospel according to St. Mark, there is this account of Jesus performing a miracle.

Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” — He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 12:3-12, NKJV)

The Jewish scribes were thinking in their hearts that Jesus was speaking blasphemies when He told the paralytic that His sins were forgiven. Only God can forgive sins. Jesus said that He had power (that is, authority) on earth to forgive sins. He told the man to take up His bed and walk. The man did that. He was healed because his sins were forgiven. If Jesus can forgive sins and only God can do that, then Jesus is God (Allah).

Now, for the last verse in this passage, verse 136.

For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord, and Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, —  an eternal dwelling: How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)! (Koran 3:136, Yusuf Ali)

“For such the reward is forgiveness from their Lord.”

This means that on the Day of Judgment those who have given to the needy and the poor, restrained their anger, and forgiven others will be acquitted.

Remember the words of Jesus in the Gospels.

“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40, NKJV)

People who help others are the kind of people who will inherit the Kingdom of God. So, the Koran confirms the Gospel. (See Koran 3:3,4.) It teaches the same thing, but in different words. However, one must also restrain his anger and forgive others who have wronged him.

In the Bible, it says:

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7, NKJV)

In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:14, NKJV)

Jesus is our sacrifice for sins. We have redemption through His blood.

“And Gardens with rivers flowing underneath, —  an eternal dwelling.”

The Bible teaches that there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth. We will not have a different Heaven and Earth than we have already. We will have this one which has been renewed. “The Earth abides forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5) So, the inheritance of the righteous is this Earth after it has been renewed.

In Isaiah, there are prophecies about the Earth becoming a Paradise.

Then shall there be rain to the seed of thy land; and the bread of the fruit of thy land shall be plenteous and rich: and thy cattle shall feed in that day in a fertile and spacious place. Your bulls and your oxen that till the ground, shall eat chaff mixed with winnowed barley. And there shall be upon every lofty mountain and upon every high hill, water running in that day, when many shall perish, and when the towers shall fall. And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold in the day when the Lord shall heal the breach of his people, and shall heal the pain of thy wound. (Isaiah 30:23-26, LXX)

Behold the city of Sion, our refuge: thine eyes shall behold Jerusalem, a rich city, tabernacles which shall not be shaken, neither shall the pins of her tabernacle be moved for ever, neither shall her cords be at all broken: for the name of the Lord is great to you: ye shall have a place, even rivers and wide and spacious channels: thou shalt not go this way, neither a vessel with oars go thereby. For my God is great: the Lord our judge shall not pass me by: the Lord is our prince, the Lord is our king; the Lord, He shall save us. (Isaiah 33:20-22, LXX)

Be glad, thou thirsty desert: let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice; the glory of Libanus has been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and My people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God. (Isaiah 35:1,2, LXX)

Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water has burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land. And the dry land shall become pools, and a fountain of water shall be poured into the thirsty land; there shall there be a joy of birds, ready habitations and marshes. (Isaiah 35:6,7, LXX)

But I will open rivers on the mountains, and fountains in the midst of plains: I will make the desert pools of water, and a thirsty land watercourses. I will plant in the dry land the cedar and box, the myrtle and cypress, and white poplar: that they may see, and know, and perceive, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has wrought these works, and the Holy One of Israel has displayed them. (Isaiah 41:18-20, LXX)

Remember ye not the former things, and consider not the ancient things. Behold, I will do new things, which shall presently spring forth, and ye shall know them: and I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land. The beasts of the field shall bless Me, the owls and young ostriches; for I have given water in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry land, to give drink to My chosen race, My people whom I have preserved to tell forth My praises. (Isaiah 43:18-21, LXX)

And now I will comfort thee, O Sion: and I have comforted all her desert places; and I will make her desert places as a garden, and her western places as the garden of the Lord; they shall find in her gladness and exultation, thanksgiving and the voice of praise. (Isaiah 51:3, LXX)

God will turn the desert places of this world into fertile plains and forests. There will be more rivers running through the arid regions of this planet.

“How excellent a recompense for those who work (and strive)!”

Yes, the afterlife will be a most blessed existence for those who inherit the Kingdom of God. These words from St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans conclude my exegesis of this passage from the Koran.

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. (Romans 2:5-11, NKJV)

Salvation is a paradox. It is a gift. We cannot earn it, but we must still work for it.

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Houris and Some False Hadiths

April 15, 2017 Leave a comment

 

There is a popular rumor that Muslim men believe that if they blow themselves up and kill a lot of Jews and Christians while doing so, they will receive 72 virgins in Paradise. There is much criticism among Christians about Muslims having such an overly sensual view of life in the hereafter. Some of these views are based on hadiths written down over 200 years after the death of the Islamic prophet. Some of these views are based on verses from the Koran. Actually, many of the views of Muslims regarding wives in the afterlife contradict the Koran. The hadiths upon which they base these beliefs are innovations and fabrications. They should not be trusted.

The Arabic word, hurun, appears four times in the Koran. It is usually translated “companions” or “houris.” Pickthall translated the word “fair ones.” From the context of the passages in which this word occurs, it appears that these “houris” will be spouses of those who are allowed to enter Paradise. Here are the four Koranic passages about houris.

Even so (it will be). And We shall wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes. (Koran 44:54, Pickthall)

Reclining on ranged couches. And We wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes. (Koran 52:20, Pickthall)

Wherein (are found) the good and beautiful –
Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? –
Fair ones, close-guarded in pavilions –
Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? –
Whom neither man nor jinni will have touched before them –
Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?
Reclining on green cushions and fair carpets.
Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny? (Koran 55:70-77, Pickthall)

And (there are) fair ones with wide, lovely eyes, like unto hidden pearls, reward for what they used to do. (Koran 56:22-24, Pickthall)

Muslims have different explanations regarding these houris. Irshad Manji, a progressive Muslim, thinks that the houris are raisins. Here is a video showing an interview that she had on CNN.

 David Wood, a critic of Islam, produced a video ostracizing this interpretation of this Arabic word.

 A Koranist, on the other hand, produced a video which supports Irshad Manji’s interpretation.

There is a hadith that says that martyred Muslim men will receive 72 wives in Paradise. It is in Sunan ibn Majah.

It was narrated from Abu Umamah that the Messenger of Allah  said:
“There is no one whom Allah will admit to Paradise but Allah will marry him to seventy-two wives, two from houris and seventy from his inheritance from the people of Hell, all of whom will have desirable front passages and he will have a male member that never becomes flaccid (i.e., soft and limp).”  (Sunan ibn Majah , Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4337)

This hadith is graded daif. It is weak and Muslims are supposed to ignore the weak hadiths and not base interpretations of the Koran on them. (I think that all of the hadiths are hearsay. I do not trust any of them.)

According to the passage in Koran 55:70-77, the houris have never been touched by man or jinni. They are virgins. The number of the houris each Muslim will receive is really not given in the Koran.

There are two hadiths in Sahih al-Bukhari about houris.

Narrated Abu Huraira:  The Prophet said, “The first batch (of people) who will enter Paradise will be (glittering) like the full moon, and the batch next to them will be (glittering) like the most brilliant star in the sky. Their hearts will be as if the heart of a single man, for they will have neither enmity nor jealousy amongst themselves; everyone will have two wives from the houris, (who will be so beautiful, pure and transparent that) the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3254)

Narrated Abu Huraira:  Allah’s Messenger said, “The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centers. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in stature), sixty cubits tall.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3327)

Both of these hadiths are rated sahih, that is, authentic, by the compiler. However, these hadiths teach things that are not found in either the Koran or the Bible. They are innovations and fabrications and not revelations from God. The houris described in these hadiths are not human. The Koran says:

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)

Say: “I am not an innovation among the Messengers, and I know not what shall be done with me or with you. I only follow what is revealed to me; I am only a clear warner.” (Koran 46:9, Arberry)

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

Since these verses contain teachings not found in any prior revelations (i.e., the Bible), they are not authentic. They should be ignored along with the hadiths that are graded daif.

There are Muslims who actually believe these hadiths.

 I do not think that men and women will live in separate homes. I believe that every man will have a woman to live with and every woman will have a man to live with. (Read Genesis 2:18 and I Corinthians 11:9.) I believe that Christ’s response to the Sadducees is not a prohibition against a man cohabiting with a woman in the afterlife. (See Luke 20:27-38 in a modern translation, like the New King James Version, for example.) Christ was either talking about levirate marriages (Deuteronomy 25:5,6) or some other system will replace marriage. (The only time a son can be given in marriage is in a levirate marriage. Read Genesis 38.)

I think that the houris in the Koran are resurrected human women who are virgins. Actually, when you think about it, all the resurrected righteous women will be resurrected with virgin bodies. So, a houri is simply a resurrected righteous woman.

There are two heresies regarding the afterlife: the Encratite heresy and the Cerinthean heresy. The Encratites over-spiritualized the afterlife. Many Christians tend to gravitate toward the Encratite heresy. The Cerintheans over-emphasized carnal pleasures in the afterlife. Many Muslims tend to gravitate toward the Cerinthean position.

Here is Nouman Ali Khan’s opinion about the afterlife.

God has given us all things to enjoy. (I Timothy 6:17) However, we should never be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (II Timothy 3:4)

The Koran teaches that God is better than the life of this world.

Beautified for mankind is love of the joys (that come) from women and offspring; and stored-up heaps of gold and silver, and horses branded (with their mark), and cattle and land. That is comfort of the life of the world. Allah! With Him is a more excellent abode. (Koran 3:14, Pickthall)

Compare these words from the Psalms.

For what have I in heaven but Thee? and what have I desired upon the earth beside Thee? My heart and my flesh have failed: but God is the strength of my heart, and God is my portion for ever. (Psalm 72:25,26, LXX; Psalm 73:25,26, Hebrew)

The Koran teaches us to seek the life of the hereafter.

Whoso disbelieveth in Allah after his belief – save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with the Faith – but whoso findeth ease in disbelief: On them is wrath from Allah. Theirs will be an awful doom. That is because they have chosen the life of the world rather than the Hereafter, and because Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk. (Koran 16:106,107, Pickthall)

No soul can ever die except by Allah’s leave and at a term appointed. Whoso desireth the reward of the world, We bestow on him thereof; and whoso desireth the reward of the Hereafter, We bestow on him thereof. We shall reward the thankful. (Koran 3:145, Pickthall)

And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers. (Koran 28:77, Shakir)

Compare Christ’s words:

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21, NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33, NKJV)

Although the resurrected righteous will be able to enjoy various pleasures in the afterlife (See Isaiah 65:21-23.), they will love God more than the carnal pleasures. God does not save people from idolatry so that they can spend forever lapsing back into idolatry. Those who love carnal pleasures more than God have made carnal pleasures their god. So, in the afterlife the righteous will enjoy God’s creation and various pleasures, but will not love pleasures more than God. People in the kingdom of God in the age to come will not practice such sins as fornication, adultery, and gluttony. God does not save people from sin so that they can lapse back into sin and indulge in it.

There needs to be a balanced view of the afterlife. I believe every man will  have a woman and every woman a man. No one will live alone in a big house playing a harp all day, nor will people become members of a perpetual choir. They will be involved in various activities, such as building houses and planting vineyards. They will pray and worship God, too.

The houris in the Koran are human women. They are not the non-human women described in the hadiths. As for sex, that is the first commandment in the Bible, right? (See Genesis 1:28.) Sex is not evil. People have perverted it and made the practice of sex evil. They have broken the rules which accompany sex. (Adultery and fornication are evil. Marital sex is not evil.) The Encratites taught that sex is intrinsically evil. People who view sex as intrinsically evil are adhering to the Encratite heresy.

Muslims and even Jews say that men and women will make love in the afterlife. Christians are afraid to say such things. Maybe they fear being labeled a Cerinthean. So, they pretend to be an Encratite. Of course, unbelievers usually already have their minds in the gutter. So, they think of the grossest, most vulgar things whenever someone mentions the possibility of love-making in the afterlife. There are plenty of videos on Youtube about men and women living together in the afterlife and even having children. These have been uploaded by Muslims and not Christians. Some Christians, however, are starting to dialogue about this subject on the internet. I have seen this sort of dialogue on Roman Catholic and Lutheran sites. Other Protestants have dialogued about this subject as well. (If you search hard enough, you will find forums on the internet where Christians are dialoguing about this subject.)

To conclude, the hadiths I cited in this blog post are false hadiths. Muhammad was not an innovator among the messengers of God, nor did he receive any new revelations from God that were different from the revelations received by previous messengers. (Koran 41:43; 46:9) Those hadiths contain innovations which were not taught in the Bible. Therefore, they are false. Woman was created for man (I Corinthians 11:9) and it is not good for man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that every man will live with a woman and every woman will live with a man in the age to come. In the afterlife, the righteous will enjoy various pleasures, but they will not love any pleasure more than God. Christians often lean toward the Encratite heresy when they talk about the afterlife. Muslims often lean toward the Cerinthean heresy when they talk about the afterlife. The correct view of the afterlife lies somewhere between these two heresies.

Leaving the Straight Path

March 3, 2017 Leave a comment

One of the petitions in the Fatihah — a prayer prayed frequently by Muslims — is “Guide us to the straight path.” (Koran 1:5) Unfortunately, many Muslims have disobeyed the teachings of the Koran and have left the straight path — the path to salvation, the path to immortality, the path to Paradise.

I have quoted this verse often in my blogs. I will quote it again here.

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)

The Scripture which God has “revealed aforetime” is the Bible. Muslims ignore the Bible and do not take the time to read it. Many of their religious leaders have told them that the Bible has been corrupted. They have convinced them that the Koran replaces a corrupted Bible when the Koran teaches exactly the opposite. How can someone believe in the Scripture which God has “revealed aforetime” if he never reads it and studies it? Would not God protect this Scripture from corruption if He wanted people to believe it? Koran 4:136 says to believe the Koran and believe the Bible. It does not say believe the Koran only and reject the Bible.

Here is another verse from the Koran which says to believe God’s messengers.

Allah made a covenant of old with the Children of Israel and We raised among them twelve chieftains, and Allah said: Lo! I am with you. If ye establish worship and pay the poor-due, and believe in My messengers and support them, and lend unto Allah a kindly loan, surely I shall remit your sins, and surely I shall bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Whoso among you disbelieveth after this will go astray from a plain road. (Koran 5:12, Pickthall)

The Children of Israel were required to believe God’s messengers. Whoever disbelieved them went “astray from a plain road.” In the Koran, it says that the Torah — the first five books of the Bible — is “a light and guidance for mankind.”

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

Since every Muslim is a member of mankind, the Torah is, therefore, a light and guidance for him, too. When he rejects the Torah, he rejects God’s revelation. The Koran says:

And they who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of hell. (Koran 5:10, Pickthall)

The Koran says that the Torah and the Gospel are “a guidance to mankind.”

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)

It  says that in the Gospel there is “guidance and a light.”

And We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming that which was (revealed) before Him in the Torah, and We bestowed on Him the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was (revealed) before it in the Torah – a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off (evil). (Koran 5:46, Pickthall)

The Koran cautions people about disbelieving Jesus’ disciples.

(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 5:113-115, Pickthall)

Jesus had two groups of disciples, the Twelve and the Seventy. (Matthew 10:2-4; Luke 10:1) Much of the New Testament was written by some of these disciples. The writings of St. Paul were accepted by St. Peter as Scripture.

And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. (II Peter 3:15,16, NKJV)

St. Peter was one of the Twelve. (Matthew 10:2)

Jesus said to the Twelve:

He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40, NKJV; see also John 13:20.)

When someone receives the writings of the Twelve, he receives Allah. Jesus told the Seventy:

He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me. (Luke 10:16, NKJV)

When someone rejects the writings of one of the Seventy, he rejects Allah. St. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the Epistle of James in the New Testament. He was one of the Seventy.

It is important that one believe all of the messengers of Allah. The Koran says:

Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers by their works? Those whose effort goeth astray in the life of the world, and yet they reckon that they do good work. Those are they who disbelieve in the revelations of their Lord and in the meeting with Him. Therefor their works are vain, and on the Day of Resurrection We assign no weight to them. That is their reward: hell, because they disbelieved, and made a jest of Our revelations and Our messengers. (Koran 18:104-107, Pickthall)

Those other messengers are those who wrote the books of the Bible. The Koran teaches that people who refuse to believe the Bible will be rewarded with hell.

What has happened is people have misinterpreted verses in the Koran and then looked at the Bible and have seen that the Bible does not teach their interpretation of the Koran. So, they say the Bible has been corrupted.

Here is an example of what I am saying. In the Koran, it says:

And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger — they slew Him not nor crucified Him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew Him not for certain. (Koran 4:157, Pickthall)

The Jews did not slay Jesus. That is true. The Roman soldiers nailed Him to a cross. Jesus said:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 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)

No one killed Jesus. He voluntarily laid down His life.

This verse in the Koran appears to contradict what the Bible says, but that is not true. Muslims are supposed to ask an Orthodox Christian when they have doubts about the meaning of a verse in the Koran. (Koran 10:94) Jesus has both a divine nature (John 1:1-4; Koran 4:171) and a human nature (Luke 2:40, 52; Koran 5:75). The two natures are joined together inseparably without division, change, or mixture. He is one Person, not two Persons in one body. His soul and His body are human. The divine essence that permeates His soul and body are divine. Every infinitesimal particle of His divine essence belongs to the Father and the Holy Spirit as well as to Himself. All Three Persons share the same essence, but are distinct Persons. Each Person is God in His entirety, but there is only one God. When Jesus died, His soul left His body, but because of the inseparable union of His humanity with His divinity, He could not stay dead. His soul and body were still joined together outside of space and time. So, He appeared to be dead, but was in fact not dead because of the union of the divine and human natures. The Arabic words translated “but it appeared so to them” could also be translated “but He appeared to them repeatedly.” Those words of the Koran could be talking about His resurrection. After He arose from the dead (in space and time), He appeared to His disciples on many occasions over a forty day period of time. (Acts 1:1-3; I Corinthians 15:3-8)

The Koran confirms the Bible.

And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. (Koran 5:48, Pickthall)

It does not contradict it. Any interpretation of the Koran that contradicts the Bible is a misinterpretation.

It is because of these misinterpretations of the Koran that many Muslim religious leaders have formed the opinion that the Bible has been corrupted. There are variant readings among the manuscripts of the Bible. There are manuscripts of the Bible which predate the birth of Muhammad by two hundred or three hundred years. Those manuscripts say that Jesus died on a cross and arose from the dead on the third day. They do not teach the things those who misinterpret Koran 4:157 say. There are variant readings among the manuscripts of the Koran, too. There are at least 26 different Arabic versions of the Koran. We Christians do not let the textual variants affect our faith. We accept them and try to reach the true meaning of a Biblical text by comparing them and studying them. No major doctrine of Orthodox Christianity has been undermined by the textual variants in the Bible.

Muslims need to obey the Koran and believe the Bible. Those who reject the Bible have “wandered far astray” and will be rewarded by Allah with hell. That is what the Koran teaches. By rejecting the Bible and disbelieving those other messengers of Allah, Muslims reject the straight path for which they pray in the Fatihah.

I have watched videos on Youtube where Muslim sheiks and imams talk about various religious topics. They say, “The prophet (peace be upon him) said…” They never say what the other prophets said. What about Micah, Amos, Isaiah, Samuel, David, Solomon? Why do they never quote them? If you reject those other prophets, you are not on the straight path. The Koran is like the final summary paragraph of an essay. By accepting only the Koran, you have omitted the body of the essay. The Bible provides more detail than the Koran does. The Koran speaks about the creation of man, but the Bible gives more detail which is important to know.

So, stay on the straight path and do not be a Muslim without a Bible. Islam without the Bible is not genuine Islam.

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.