Chapter Sixteen

Islamic Law


Preface and Comparison with the Bible

The Qur'an deals extensively with Islamic law as seen in this collection of one hundred and six verses. Islam is a very legalistic faith. It centers its message on the law. It emphasizes submission to both the commands found in the Qur'an and Islamic tradition found in Muslim history books called the “Hadith.” Many of the rules in the Qur'an are a mixture of Biblical virtues, Arabic values and formerly pagan rituals.

Biblical values such as faith, obedience, prayer, charity, righteousness and marriage are evident in the Qur'an. This is to be expected since Muslims believe the Qur'an is a continuation of the teachings of the prophets of the Bible. Some of the values do parallel those in the Bible, yet others endorse Arabic customs of Mohammed’s day. Marriage is one such virtue that can be used as an example of this fact. The Qur'an allows such things as polygamy, concubines who were captured in battle and a form of incest. The latter does not include blood relations, but a man may marry his stepdaughters as well as their mother. A man may marry his daughter-in-law as long as his adopted son has divorced her. Such rules are foreign to Christians.

Both Islam and Christianity emphasize the importance of righteous behavior, but “The Golden Rule” is missing from the Qur'an and prominent in the Bible. This rule is "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."  The Lord Jesus went on to proclaim that this rule "sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12 NIV).  A similar teaching can not be found in the recitations by Mohammed in the Qur'an.

Another teaching that is unique to the Bible is “grace.” The New Testament defines God’s grace as His totally undeserved forgiveness and love for his chosen people. Knowing such love frees Christians from the anxiety of trying to do the impossible, earn God’s favor, and empowers them to please God. They no longer live by the law, but by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).

One example, of how grace works in the lives of Christians, can be taken from a simple traffic situation. The person “living by the law” enters a school zone and glances constantly at his speedometer to make sure he fulfills the law. The person “living by the Spirit” enters a school zone, slows down and constantly glances around for children who might be crossing the street or chasing a loose ball. Christians report a motivation to fulfill the law that is more powerful than a fear of Hell.

This amazing grace is reflected in Christian rituals such as baptism and communion. These rituals were a continuation of those given to the Jews in the Old Testament known as circumcision and the Passover meal. The observance and meaning of these Jewish rituals were transformed for believers in the Messiah because of the cross and resurrection of Christ.

In the same way, the rituals required by Islamic law are a continuation of those practiced by idol worshipers who resided in Mecca before Mohammed. They, too, have been transformed by the Islamic form of monotheism. Actually, the pagans or idol worshipers of the time of Mohammed practiced most of the rituals which are required by the Qur'an. Such practices included pilgrimage to Mecca, circling the rectangular building called the Kaaba which is inside a large arena, visiting the sacred hills near Mecca and a month of fasting. For the pagans of Mohammed’s tribe, Allah was the name of their most prominent deity. Mohammed’s kinsmen of the Hashim tribe were keepers of the Kaaba in Mecca. It is a building measuring about 45 feet high, 33 feet wide, and 50 feet long. Mohammed claimed several things. He said that Allah was the only deity, Allah demanded the devotion of all people everywhere and that the pagan rituals were to continue with the exclusion of all the idols inside the Kaaba. The only thing inside the Kaaba that was allowed to stay was a black stone. Just as the pagans did before Mohammed, this stone (possibly a meteorite) is kissed in veneration by Muslims today as they circle around the Kaaba. Fulfilling these rituals is central to Islamic law since Muslims believe they were instituted by Abraham.

The Qur'an Says ...

Statement of Faith   Muslims must say that Allah is one, the everlasting one, who has begotten no one and was not begotten himself. None is equal to him (112:1-4).

Reject gods   Do not be one of those who join gods with Allah (30:31).

Bow Toward Mecca   The unbelievers wonder why Mohammed first ordered the Muslims to pray towards Jerusalem and then changed it to Mecca (2:142). When you pray you must turn to the Kaaba in Mecca (2:144).

Formerly Pagan Rituals Continued   The two hills, Safa and Marwa, are symbols of Allah, so it is no sin for a person on pilgrimage to Mecca or a visitor to walk around them (as the pagans did as a part of their idol worship) (2:158).

Duty to Visit Mecca   The first temple or sanctuary ever appointed or built for mankind was at Mecca. It is where Abraham stood and prayed. It is a mandate from Allah that all Muslims who can afford the trip must visit this place (3:96,97).

Pagan Rituals Changed   When returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, (the pagans would always enter their homes by the back door) Muslims may return to their homes by the front door. Which door one enters has nothing to do with righteousness. Fear Allah and enter from the proper door (2:189).

Fasting   During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are to fast during the day light hours. If they can not, they must ransom themselves by feeding a poor man. The phases of the moon were created so that mankind may know the seasons and when to go on a pilgrimage (2:183-189).

Friday   Hurry to worship on Fridays. Stop your work to do so. This is the law but most of Mohammed’s companions abandoned him on Fridays if there were bargains or some amusements to distract them (62:9-11).

Fight   Allah will guide those who fight for the cause of Islam (29:69). Muslims are to fight everyone, even against Christians and Jews, who have rejected Islam, until they pay regular financial tribute with willing submission and feel themselves completely subjected to their Islamic conquerors (9:29). Fighting is an obligation for Muslims even though they may dislike it (2:216).

One Fifth the Spoils of War   Make war on the idol worshipers who will not surrender until Islam rules as the supreme religion. Give Mohammed, Mohammed’s relatives, the needy, orphans and travelers one fifth of your spoils (8:41).

Killing   Muslims are not to kill those who Allah has declared as sacred, unless it is for a just cause (25:68). Muslims are not to kill other Muslims and those who do so unjustly will burn in Hell (4:29,30).

Strike Back or Forgive   Take revenge for an evil deed with equal force. If one chooses to forgive it is better, but those who defend themselves are not wrong (42:40-41). Evil and good are different. Resist evil with good and your enemy will become your dearest friend (41:34). Show forgiveness, stand up for justice and avoid ignorant people (7:199).

Retaliation for Murder   When a person is murdered then retaliation is allowed as long as it is “equitable.” A free man is to be killed if a free man was murdered, a slave for a slave and a female for a female. If the wronged party forgives then a liberal fine should be paid (2:178).

Basics   Steadfast Muslims pray, give to the poor, believe in the Judgment Day and fear punishment since no one is secure from punishment. They also curb their sexual desires for women other than their wives and prisoners of war (slaves) for these are lawful for them. Steadfast Muslims keep promises and give honest testimony (70:22-35, 13:18-24). Those who recite the Qur'an, attend prayers and give alms will be rewarded (35:29,30). When Muslims are reminded of Allah’s revelations and miracles they prostrate themselves in adoration (32:15). Whoever surrenders himself to Allah and does good deeds has a secure grasp on life (31:22).

Wash Before Prayer   When you rise to pray, wash your hands up to the elbows, your feet to the ankles and wipe your heads. If water is not available, use clean sand and rub your hands and faces with it (5:6).

Prayer Times   Allah is to be glorified in the morning and evening, at the sun's decline and at noon (30:17,18). When one prays he is to say, “Praise be to Allah who has never taken unto himself a son, who has no wife or partner in his kingdom and who does not rely on any friend for protection” (17:111).

Little Sleep   The righteous will go to Gardens when they die because they lived a good life, got little sleep at night and dawn found them already praying. They gave to beggars and those who could not even ask for help (51:15-19). They spend the night standing and prostrating themselves on the ground in adoration, praying that Allah would not send them to Hell (25:64-65).

Beg for Forgiveness   There is no god but Allah. Implore him for forgiveness of your faults and those of other believers for he knows everywhere you go (47:19). Beg for Allah to forgive you because he is often merciful (73:20).

Qualities   Faith, good works, justice and determination are marks of a Muslim (103:3). They walk humbly on the earth and reply to the ignorant saying, “Peace” (25:63, 17:37).

Adultery   Adultery is forbidden (25:68). Sexual relations are allowed with four wives at a time. A daughter of a new wife may be taken as one of the four wives as long as the marriage with the mother has not yet been consummated. Sexual relations are also allowed with slaves even if they are married, the wife of one’s son-in-law as long as they divorce and under-aged children (33:37-38, 4:23, 65:4).

Unbelievers   Unbelievers deny the Last Judgment and turn away from orphans. They do not urge others to feed the poor. They are those who make a show of being religious but do not give alms to the impoverished (107:1-7).

Favors   Do not give expecting more in return (74:6).

Stains   Do not let your clothes be stained by bodily fluids (74:4).

Patience   Be patient for Allah to act (74:7). A Muslim regularly prays, demands that others obey Islamic law and patiently endures whatever life brings to him (31:17).

Financial Contributions   If Muslims do not give generously to the Islamic cause, they will harm their soul and will be replaced by others (47:38).

Testimonies from Hell   The sinners will be questioned by those in the Garden Paradise, “What did you do to be sent to Hell?” The answer will be that they did not pray or feed the hungry, gossiped and denied belief in the Judgment Day (74:40-46).

No Assurance   Those who repent, devote themselves to Islam and do what is right, have a chance or hope for the Eternal Gardens (28:67).

Traveler   Give what is due to relatives, the needy and the traveler (30:38).

Adopted Sons   Adopted sons must be named after their true fathers if that is possible (33:5).

Denying Islam   If any one is forced to recant their Muslim faith but in their hearts they believe, they will be forgiven. Those who sincerely deny Islam, after being a Muslim, will suffer the wrath of Allah and be sternly punished (16:106).

Food Restrictions   The only restricted foods are of dead animals, blood, pork and food offered to idols, but if they are eaten without an intent to sin, Allah will be merciful (16:115). These are the same foods that were restricted to the Jews who came before the Muslims (16:118).

Visiting Mosques   Non-Muslims should not be allowed to visit the mosques of Allah but only those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, attend their prayers and pay the alms-tax and fear only Allah (9:18).

Reject Unbelieving Family   Muslims must not treat their fathers or brothers as friends if they choose to reject Islam (9:23).

Tests of Fortitude   Allah uses fear, famine, death and loss of wealth to test the steadfastness of Muslims (2:155).

Alcohol and Gambling   Wine, gambling, idolatry and using arrows to predict the future are Satan’s devices (5:90).

Islamic Nationalism   Muslims must become a righteous and unified nation (3:104,105). Muslims are the best nation that has ever been raised up for mankind (3:110).

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