Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Doctrine - The ways of Allah - Everyday life

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.
The Koran treats regarding many aspects of everyday life, Here are three in particular, First is the issue of our speech.
"God likes not the shouting of evil words [evil being a matter of public talk] unless a man has been wronged; God is All-hearing, All-knowing." (Koran 4:147)
So, if you've been wronged, then it's OK to yell, curse, and verbally attach the one who wronged you?! God understands, your only human, and He sympathizes with you. Such permission is quite magnanimous and quite human in its nature. However, it is a far cry from God's command, "you shall be holy, for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:45) It seems that, in Islam, this command has been reduced to "be holy as Muhammad was holy." Such a verse seems more consistent with the writings of a man than those of God for they lack the element of self control and legitimize anger and wrath between men. Such a command seems at odds with the God who said, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth." (Ephesians 4:29) and who also taught us to be "quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." (James 1:19)

Secondly, Muhammad treats on civil punishment.
"And the thief, male and female: cut off the hands of both, as a recompense for what they have Earned [for their doings], and a punishment exemplary from God" (Koran 5:42)
"And therein We prescribed for them: 'A life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds retaliation'; but whosoever forgoes it as a freewill offering, that shall be for him an expiation. Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down -- they are the evildoers." (Koran 5:49)
Judgment and punishment, according to the Koran, is always harsh and severe. Here the cutting off of the hands of thieves and the like retaliation for wrongs committed against us. What is difficult for us, at times, is to separate the ideas of civil punishment from that of personal punishment. There is that punishment that is executed by civil authorities for crimes that have been established, and then there is that vengeance and punishment we demand when we have been wronged. However, in Islam, there is little difference between the two. Worse yet, these punishments are demanded by God. This means that any other form of punishment for thieves, other than cutting off their hands, is a violation of God's laws and the punishment God prescribed in His word-for-word recitation to Muhammad. Mankind is no longer permitted to pursue other punishments for theft for God has already spoken His will and His command. Furthermore, when it comes to personal punishments, Jesus taught us, "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." (Matthew 5:38-42) Quite a different spirit from that of the Koran.

Thirdly, there is the issue of gambling.
"O believers, wine and arrow-shuffling [games of chance], idols and divining-arrows are an abomination, some of Satan's work; so avoid it; haply So you will prosper. Satan only desires to precipitate enmity [strife] and hatred between you in regard to wine and arrow-shuffling [games of chance], and to bar you [turn you aside] from the remembrance of God, and from prayer." (Koran 5:92-93)
"They will question [ask] thee concerning wine, and arrow-shuffling [games of chance]. Say: 'In both is heinous sin; and uses [advantage also] for men, but the sin in them is more heinous than the usefulness.'" (Koran 2:216)
What is interesting here is the perception of Muhammad. Not everything the Koran teaches is lies and falsehoods. Muhammad also had a great perception about people and, while he did not make wine and gambling absolute sins, he recognized the potential for harm within them both. There can be some usefulness and simple pleasures found in moderate drinking and friendly games, but Satan will often try to use those occasions as opportunities to bring strife between us and, if he can get us to spend all our time in such pursuits, he can lead us away from our duties towards God and our fellow man. It reminds me of what Paul said, "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." (1 Corinthians 10:23) Sometimes the question is not if something is a sin or not, but rather is it helpful and beneficial or not. This is often the harder of the two questions.

David Robison

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