Saturday, April 30, 2016

Doctrine - Muhammad's rules on marriage - Husbands and wives

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Much of what Muhammad wrote on marriage and family life grew out of his own marriage experiences, his polygamy, and his sexual apatite. Muhammad had strict rules over who could marry who.
"The fornicatress [whore] and the fornicator [whoremonger] -- scourge each one of them a hundred stripes, and in the matter of God's religion let no tenderness [compassion] for them seize you if you believe in God and the Last Day; and let a party of the believers [the faithful] witness their chastisement. The fornicator [whoremonger] shall marry none but a fornicatress [whore] or an idolatress, and the fornicatress -- none shall marry her but a fornicator or an idolator; that is [such alliances are] forbidden to the believers." (Koran 24:2-3)
Marriage was a blessing or a curse based upon you moral standings. If you were a fornicator, you were cursed to only marry fornicators or idolaters. However, if you were pure and faithful, you were blessed to marry a spouse (or spouses) who were likewise pure and faithful. For the fornicator, there was no compassion, no forgiveness, and no mercy towards their just deserts. They were to be severely punished, in public, with the faithful looking on. This was more than a civil punishment for a civil crime, it was a religious punishment for a religious crime.

How different the cause of fornicators, and the rules of marriage, that Jesus taught us. When Jesus met the woman at the well, He, being a prophet, knew what sort of woman she was. "He said to her, 'Go, call your husband and come here.' The woman answered and said, 'I have no husband.' Jesus said to her, 'You have correctly said, "I have no husband"; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.'" (John 4:16-18) However, instead of condemning her for her fornication and adultery, He leads her to saving faith in the Messiah. "The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.'" (John 4:25-26) Jesus always showed Himself to be "a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" (Luke 7:34) Instead of judging and condemning the sinners, He loved them and extended to them his mercy and forgiveness.

As to the rules of marriage, Paul teaches us, "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) Such bonds would include the bonds of marriage. However, in giving these instructions, the restriction on marriage is not between sinners and non-sinners but believers and non-believers. These instructions are not given to punish the fornicator and reward the pure, but to safeguard the faith of the believer. We are not to marry an unbeliever because they are beneath us or they do not deserve the love of the pure, but that our faith may stand firm and that we might not grow weak in our faith through our marriage to an unbeliever. We all know what happened to King Solomon when he started marrying foreign, unbelieving, wives. "For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been." (1 Kings 11:4)

What is most interesting regarding this portion of the Koran is its timing. Rodwell notes that this first portion of Sura 2 was written in reference to the scandalous report regarding Muhammad's wife Ayesha. There had been a "rumor of improper intimacy between Ayesha and Safwan Ibn El Mottal, during Muhammad's return from the expedition against the tribe of Mostaliq, in which he was separated from her for an entire day, which she passed in the company of Safwan, who had found her when accidentally left behind." (J.M. Rodwell, The Koran, footnote 24.3) Muhammad was incensed that someone would accuse such things regarding his wife. It was in this state that he supposedly received another revelation from God.
"And those who cast it up on women in wedlock [defame virtuous women], and then bring not four witnesses, scourge them with eighty stripes, and do not accept any testimony of theirs ever;" (Koran 24:4)
No charge against a believing woman was to be received unless it could be corroborated by four eye witnesses. This included those who sought to besmirch his beloved Ayesha. Furthermore, he penned the following punishment against those who would such to such a woman as Ayesha.
"Surely those who cast it up on [through charges against] women in wedlock that are heedless [virtuous but careless] but believing shall be accursed in the present world and the world to come; and there awaits them a mighty chastisement [terrible punishment] on the day when their tongues, their hands and their feet shall testify against them touching that they were doing." (Koran 24:23-24)
It was in this context that he delivered his most biting rebuke to those who slandered Ayesha.
"Corrupt [bad] women for corrupt [bad] men, and corrupt [bad] men for corrupt [bad] women; good [virtuous] women for good [virtuous] men, and good [virtuous] men for good [virtuous] women" (Koran 24:26)
Those who accused Ayesha were corrupt men and they certainty did not deserve a wife as virtuous as Ayesha. They were corrupt and they deserved only what was also corrupt.

One again we find in the Koran where Muhammad claims to have received a word-for-word revelation from God that just happens to justify, validate, and vindicate himself and his present situation. How convenient for God to suddenly prophesy through Muhammad judgment against those who sought to tarnish the reputation of his wife. In no other account in the Jewish or Christian scriptures do we see a prophet prophesying to his own benefit or to justify his own feelings, situation, or conduct. Such self-serving use of prophesy does not befit a true man of God. In my opinion, such as what Muhammad prophesied is an abuse of any spiritual gift or calling he might have had, had he in fact had such a gift or calling.

David Robison

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