Copyright © 1996 by M. Rafiqul-Haqq and
All rights reserved.
Some claim that "God is one and the same, only people call him by different names". Such a statement aims to reconcile all the religions of the world. It sounds safe and friendly; making nearly all religions acceptable so that people are lulled into a false sense of security.
This false concept becomes even more misleading when the same names for God are used, such as the Almighty, the Merciful, the Creator. It is tragic because the outward differences that demand investigation are brushed aside. The unenquiring mind is deceived and dulled by the use of the same titles, just as a buyer may be satisfied by labels and pictures without examining the contents.
This booklet examines the attributes of God as the Creator in the light of three areas of teachings of Islam and Christianity. The first area is concerned with the punishment for theft. The second with some teachings about the rights of men and women. The third with the love of God.
The teachings of Christianity come from the Bible. The teachings of Islam come from the Qur'an (the Muslim's holy book) and the Hadith. ('The Tradition of Mohammad' - the accounts of Mohammad's deeds and sayings.)
The authentic Hadith is believed to be "nothing short of revelation," [for the Qur'an says of Mohammad]
"Thus, next to the Holy Qur'an the Hadith is the second source of the Islamic Law of social and personal behaviour, because the commandments of the Holy Prophet are as binding on the believers as the commandments of Allah. 'Whenever Allah and the Apostle have decided a matter, it is not for a faithful man or woman to follow a course of their own choice (Q.33:36).'"
"A Muslim therefore stands in absolute need of a copy of the Qur'an and a copy of the Hadith for the guidance of his life"6
The Qur'an teaches that the person who steals should have his hand cut off; stating:
This cutting off of the hand serves as retribution for any profit or gain the thief has made and as a punishment from God.
Later Muslim scholars insisted that this punishment could only be practised in a society where the basic needs of its citizens are adequately met.
The Qur'an teaches that the hand of the thief should be cut off, the Hadith adds that Mohammad applied this form of punishment in his own time, as is clear from the following collection of incidences from the Hadith. (We assume that the citizens under his leadership were provided for adequately.)
2. "Fuzalah-Ibn-Obaid reported that a thief was brought to the Prophet and his hand was cut off and on a further order from the Prophet, the hand was hung around his neck." 
3. "'A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger cut off the hand of a thief for a quarter of a dinar and upwards."
4. "Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: 'let there be the curse of Allah upon a thief who steals an egg and his hand is cut off and steals a rope and his hand is cut off'"
5. "It is narrated in Sharih Sunnat that Safwan-b-Umayyah came to Medina and slept in the mosque using his sheet as pillow. A thief came and stole his sheet. Safwan overtook him and came with him to the Messenger of Allah. Mohammad gave the order for the thief's hand to be cut off. Safwan said, "I did not wish it (that punishment); I give it (the sheet) to him as charity," upon which the Messenger of Allah asked, "Why didn't you (tell him) before you came with him?"
In other words it is too late, and the man's hand must be cut off.
6. Tabari, commenting on the Table:38 reports an incident which supports this last teaching: "A woman stole jewellery from some people who then brought her to The Prophet. He ordered that her right hand be cut off. The woman then asked him if there was room for repentance to which he replied, "Today [that is after your hand is cut off] you will be pure from your sin like the day you were born."
1. Both the Qur'an and the Hadith require the amputation of the hand of the person who steals. From Hadith No. 6 and according to the teaching of the Fukaha (Muslim scholars), the thief's right hand is cut off at the wrist.
2. The value of the stolen article that calls for the cutting off of the hand must be above a quarter of a dinar.
3. Repentance by voluntary restitution and determining never to steal again, does not spare the person from having his hand cut off. This is also the opinion of Ibn 'Abbas who was one of the early renowned followers of Mohammad. This view is supported by commentators on the Qur'an, eg. see Razi.
4. In all the collected Hadith on the subject, not once was a person forgiven or the punishment waived. In every case the thief's hand was cut off.
In the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), God gave laws whereby His people could deal with the problem of theft. We find four responses to the problem:
1. If a man steals an article, but is repentant he has to pay back the worth of whatever he stole plus twenty percent.
Unlike the punishment of slavery which was permanent, this one is temporary, lasting only six years. In addition, when freed, the man must be supplied with resources that will prepare him for and give him a good start in his new life. The Bible thus states:
Moses was given one message in the Torah: In God's message to Moses, punishment for theft is mainly restitution and compensation with some concession for repentance. The message for Mohammad in the Qur'an is a different one, punishment for theft is the inflicting of a permanent physical handicap. Can the two messages be reconciled?
God is sovereign, and could well provide different laws for different circumstances. Were the circumstances different for Mohammad to those at the time of Moses? Muslims claim that God did indeed speak through Moses but gave a later, perfect and final revelation through Mohammad. If His word to Mohammad is inconsistent with His word to Moses - does that mean that God cancelled His first message? Or could it be that the voice that spoke to one of them was in fact not that of God the Creator? The following discussion may throw light on this dilemma.
Let us look at the magnificence of the creation of God, manifest in the human hand.
The hand is a masterpiece of engineering. It is immensely strong. The whole weight of the body, for instance, can be supported by the small bones, muscles and tendons of the end joints of the fingers, of even one hand alone. There is enormous power in the hand for lifting weights, chopping wood or rowing a boat, yet the bulk of that power, while delivered by the hand, actually comes from the arm and the shoulder. Thus the source of the major part of the hand's power is located away from the hand leaving the tiny muscles which are located in the hand itself to be used in fine precision movement. Imagine how clumsy the hand would be if God had located the biceps within it. One would not then be able to thread a needle or play a violin or even write.
When God the Creator creates, He creates so magnificently and generously. When man first attempted to design an artificial hand, he came up with a two-pronged claw which could open (and shut) and rotate, two basic movements. The human hand has an infinite number of movements, with "seventy separate muscles contributing to hand movements." Even if man could invent an artificial hand that resembles the mechanics of the human hand, this artificial hand would not be able to function like the one God created.
If one is to move the tip of the little finger in a hand that has been severed from a body, "four minutes are needed to sort through the intricate network of tendons and muscles to arrange at least a dozen muscles in the correct configuration and tension, so that the little finger firmly moves without the proximal joints buckling."
Every day we make countless number of such movements without giving them a second thought, and they are done in a split second.
How generous God the Creator has been in providing us with such incredibly complex, in-built, multi-purpose tools which can hold, lift, push, pull, twist, wave, flick, caress, clap, slap, pinch, punch, touch, smooth, scratch, point, beckon, rub, knock, stroke, and squeeze!
The tissue in the palm of the hand is a special tissue. It is not flabby like the tissue found in the cheeks and not as hard as the muscles, but of special design so that it fulfils the gripping function of the hand. Dr. Paul Brand the famous hand surgeon explains:
"... I grasp a hammer in the palm of my hand. Each cluster of fat cells changes shape in response to the pressure. It yields but cannot be pushed aside because of firm collagen fibrils around it. The resulting tissue, constantly shifting and quivering, becomes compliant, fitting its shape and its stress points to the precise shape of the hammer. Engineers nearly shout when they analyse this amazing property, for they cannot design a material which so perfectly balances elasticity and viscosity."
The palm of the hand is always moist. Any one who works with sand and cement becomes fully aware of this. When the palm of the hand is dry, the person has very little control of the object he grasps. This continuous wetness of the palm increases our ability to grasp any object, by creating a kind of vacuum between the hand and the surface of that object.
Also this continuous moistness acts as a little cooler in hot weather as the moisture continually evaporates; thus helping to cool the whole body.
Every part of the human hand is a masterpiece of engineering. Jonathan Jones, a plastic surgeon made the following comments:
And how is it that the paired digital arteries to each finger are so enveloped with ligamentous supports that they will not kink off during finger flexion (bending)?
Why is it that the low pressure venous system is primarily located on the back of the hand where restriction of blood-flow would not occur with grasp?
Many surgeons have devoted countless hours to developing some understanding as to how blood flows to the small bones within the wrist. The built-in servo-mechanisms which regulate blood-flow to the hand in response to tissue needs are only now beginning to be understood.[23a]
The marvel of blood supply to the hand took scientists many hours to discover, but spare a thought for the humble nails. Try not to scratch your body for the next ten minutes and you will discover how wonderful even the humble nails are!
The whole hand is a masterpiece.
The hand is not merely a masterpiece of engineering but a masterpiece of Divine design. While each of the other organs of sense; eye, ear, nose, tongue, are also important to us and reveal the generosity of the Creator, a good case can be made for regarding the hand as the most important of them all.
Every part of the body is represented by a specialised area of the brain. The eyes, the nose, the ears, even the toes are represented in the brain. Just like a factory operated by a computer, every department is represented in the computer. The larger the area of representation, the more important that department is. The area of the brain representing the hand is greater than that for the eyes or ears and, in fact, is about equal to the area representing the whole of the body from the waist down.24 This is the degree of importance the Creator Himself placed on the hand. It is safe to say that losing a hand is really more disastrous than losing an eye or an ear. A blind person can still read Braille and find his way with a stick: knowledge is entering his brain through his hand. Deaf people can still talk to each other with their hands.
Dr. Paul Brand said "I could fill a room with surgery manuals suggesting various ways to repair hands that have been injured. But in forty years of study, I have never read of a technique that has succeeded in improving a normal, healthy hand."
In other words the hand is so perfect that no one can improve on the work of the Creator. It is not only precious and important, practical, and brilliantly designed, but it is also a Divine masterpiece fashioned by God the Creator Himself.
The question that must be asked is: "How do people treat masterpieces?" Or perhaps, "What does the artist himself do when one of his masterpieces are spoiled and tainted?"
If someone discovers a painting by Picasso, Van Gogh or Leonardo De Vinci - which is damaged on one side, is it likely that he will take a pair of scissors and cut away that damaged part? We would be horrified and would rightly deduce that that person has no idea of the real value of the painting. If an average person, with small knowledge of the work of Leonardo De Vinci would not dream of cutting that damaged part, is it likely that Leonardo De Vinci himself would give instructions to cut parts of his paintings, even if they were damaged?
The frustrating attempt to capture the American satellite Intelsat 6, is a powerful illustration of the brilliance of the design of the human hand. This is what one of the newspapers commented on that event:
All of our efforts to build a computer capable of the breadth and complexity of thought of the human brain have failed. All of our efforts to create robotic hands with the range and subtlety of manipulative skill of the human variety have failed. Let us face it. We haven't even been able to sort out the best way for astronauts to go to the toilet. But when we stop trying to be so clever and use what nature has given us by way of the remarkable design of our bodies and our innate commonsense, we are sharp ... What a piece of work is man, indeed."
The human hand is not a human masterpiece but a Divine masterpiece. It is more precious, and far greater than any human achievement. Will the Creator of the hand give orders for His masterpiece, to be cut off and destroyed to penalise a person for theft of property? Or did He command that a greater amount of property must be given back; that the punishment for stealing property should be property, as in His commandment given to Moses? Property damage should be compensated for by property. If we use the analogy of the human masterpieces it is safe to say that damaging part of the body to compensate for the loss of some property is like damaging the masterpiece to compensate for the loss of some paint. No amount of paint and canvas will compensate for one of Picasso's masterpieces. There is more than paint and canvas in a masterpiece. Could it be that the hand-cutting law originated from someone who was not the hand's creator?
Would the God who knows the worth of His creation order the destruction of one of His most important masterpieces -the hand- for the sake of property damage? If we compare the teachings of the Qur'an and the teaching of the Bible on the subject of theft, we can see that the God who spoke in the Bible behaves as a Creator- who knows the worth of the hand- and the one who spoke to Mohammad does not appear to behave like a Creator. When two mothers came to King Solomon with one child, each claiming that the child belongs to her and seeking his judgement on the matter king Solomon said, "Bring me a sword." So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: "Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other."
The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, "Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don't kill him!" But the other woman said, "Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!"
Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother."
What made king Solomon come to this conclusion? It is because he saw that the woman who did not want the child to be cut in two behaved like a mother; she had the heart and compassion of a mother. She would rather lose the baby and spare his life than lose him altogether. Likewise it is the God who spoke in the Bible who behaves like a Creator, who knows the real worth of the human hand but the one who spoke in the Qur'an does not behave like a Creator.
It must be remembered that the crime of theft is a form of damage to property, but the cutting of the hand causes damage to the body. There is a big difference between property damage and bodily damage, for no amount of property damage will ever equal bodily damage. Property can be compensated for or replaced, but where can one find a replacement for the human hand? It is important to note that not one of the many prophets of the true God, the Creator, (before Mohammad's time) ever delivered a commandment specifying bodily damage as a compensation for property damage. Prophets of idol worshippers called for such punishments.
For example the Assyrian law states:
THE MAGNITUDE OF THE LOSS CAUSED BY THE CUTTING OFF OF THE HAND
The loss of the hand is not the only damage that results from this form of punishment. Cutting off the hand destroys the efficiency of the arm and makes it almost useless, for the hand is connected to the forearm which is connected to the upper arm. To cut off the hand that God created destroys the usefulness of the arm, for it makes the muscles and the tendons that empowers and controls the hand useless.
Not only does this punishment render useless the arm and the forearm God created to work together, but it makes the hands that were intended to work in pairs useless as well. The loss of one of them does not make it a loss of 50 per- cent of the ability of the hands. The cutting off of one hand is to a degree a form of destruction of the other hand. For the two work together. They were designed to work together, just as one side of a pincer works with the other side. Try to hammer a nail , or saw a piece of timber , or try to peel an orange or even to cut an onion with one hand. Cutting off one hand is a virtual destruction of the other, resulting in the loss of much of its effectiveness. The thief is left also with a permanent affliction that hinders him for the rest of his life. It jeopardises his chances of future employment, and ironically might force him to steal again merely to satisfy his basic needs. Is this a Divine solution to the problem of theft?
In the first centuries of Islam, when its followers practised cutting off of the hand of the person who stole, "the stump of the hand used to be held in hot oil or fire to stop the bleeding ".
But this burning is an additional punishment.
Here the punishment was exceeded by the additional pain caused by trying to stop the bleeding and the infection. (Can this form of punishment come from the Just God?) There are even cases where people whose hands were cut off subsequently died from infection. The punishment in those cases grew in severity to equal the punishment for murder. We could deduce that whoever gave that law didn't know the implications of this form of punishment. Surely God knows exactly how to prescribe everything with precision, not only in His creation but also in imposing punishment. How would you react if your motor mechanic, while repairing the starter motor, ruins the engine and the transmission, causing the whole car to be written off? Or how would you react if your builder, while making an opening for a door in one of the walls brought the whole house down? God is far too wise to be taken by surprise. There are no miscalculations with God. Only people can fall into this trap.
But that is not all. Hands have cultural as well as practical significance. There are vast numbers of people in the East in countries like Pakistan and India whose right hands have a special significance not found in Western countries. For example, they give money only with their right hand, and they eat with their right hand, because they use their left hand to clean their private parts. The left hand would never be used to place food in the mouth or even to pay money.
If a person in that part of the world steals and has his right hand cut off, he is doomed to eat with the hand with which he cleans himself. And if the left hand is cut off instead of the right, the problem still remains, for that person will still eat with the same hand which he uses to clean himself. The punishment does not stop at the loss of the hand but thus becomes a terrible stigma contaminating his social dealings with others, and brings him down almost to the level of animals.
Thus the punishment has at least been doubled in such countries. But God is just, and All-knowing. He knows the social customs of all peoples. His Laws and penalties will not have consequences which effectively make them twice as severe in some countries as in others. In such places it could, conceivably, be worse than death which is the punishment for adultery. The adulterer suffers death once but the thief suffers psychologically every day and every moment of his remaining life. The absence of his hand will proclaim every minute, "thief! thief! thief!" Even more humiliating is the personal agony caused by the inability of the victim to accept himself, and the unbearable revulsion he feels at his every attempt to eat food using the same hand with which he cleans himself. This form of punishment inflicts a different and extra kind of handicap; a disgrace that can not be wiped away from the mind of the 'victim' himself. So this punishment becomes a life long torture.
Is this new and added punishment consistent with the justice of the All- knowing God? Did the cutting off of the hand come from the One who knows the customs of all the peoples of the world or did it come from a mind that was unaware of the significance of the right hand in the east?
THEFT COMPARED TO FORNICATION IN PUNISHMENT
In Islam the prescribed punishment for theft is cutting off of the hand, while it prescribes one hundred lashes for the sin of fornication by a single man. We can only conclude that according to the Qur'an, property theft is many times more serious than sin against persons. A single man who commits fornication, can go and live in another city. There is no permanent scar, no permanent identification for all to see. But a person with a hand cut off is marked for the rest of his life. If a single man fornicates with someone's daughter, he will receive one hundred lashes, and gets banished from his city as a punishment, but if he steals the money purse that belongs to the girl's father from the house, his hand will be cut off. Which will make the father's blood boil, the act of fornication or the loss of his money purse? Fornication involves another human being, while the sin of theft involves property. You can pay back the property, make amends and the matter is finished. But you can't undo the act of fornication; the consequences are harmful and lifelong. Surely the sin of fornication is far greater than stealing even a million dollars. Can these respective punishments be consistent with the God of justice?
Did the just God treat the sin of fornication which can result in life long scars, as a lesser sin than stealing, which could be compensated for by paying back money or property? Did hand cutting come from the just God or did it originate with the "haves" to protect themselves from the "have nots", Could it have originated with the rich who wanted to protect their belongings from the weak and the poor?
If the commandment to cut off the hand of the person who steals (in a society that provides its basic needs to its citizens) did not have its origin in the Creator, the All-knowing, the Just God, then where did it come from?
Ibn Kathir the Muslim commentator states in his commentary :
It is undisputed then that this form of punishment was practised by the Arabs before the time of Mohammad, namely the days of paganism (ayyam al-gahiliyah), the times of ignorance where people worshipped idols.
This form of punishment was never practised by Abraham nor his descendants. Evidence of this is found in the Qur'an itself in the story of Joseph. For when one of the brothers of Joseph was accused of stealing Joseph's drinking cup, the cutting off of his hand was never suggested as penalty. When they were asked by the Egyptians: 'What shall be its (that is the crime of stealing the drinking cup) recompense if you are liars?' The children of Jacob stated, in the Qur'an 12:75, how they deal with a thief : 'This shall be its recompense- in whoever's saddle-bag the goblet is found, he shall be its recompense. So we recompense the evil-doers.' They stated how they deal with such a crime when they said 'so we recompense the evil-doers' They suggested the most severe form of retribution which is slavery- he (the thief) shall be its recompense, as they were very sure that they are all innocent of the charge of stealing Joseph's drinking cup. If the cutting off of the hand was known to them they would have said so, just as Mohammad once said "if Fatemah the daughter of Mohammad committed theft. I will cut off her hand". Al-Galalyn and Razi the Muslim commentators admit that with the children of Israel, slavery as a punishment for theft stood in the place of hand cutting in Islam.
The important point to note is that according to the Qur'an the cutting off of the hand was never practised by Abraham nor his children. So neither Moses nor Jacob nor his grandfather Abraham practised hand cutting as a punishment for theft. For if Abraham practised it Jacob would have done so too. And according to history the cutting off of the hand was practised by the Arabs in the times of ignorance, the times of idol worship, before the time of Mohammad.
The fact that this practice belonged to the pagan times is evident from its condemnation by Amnesty International, which is fighting for human rights world wide:
In addition, any use of medical skill by physicians to assist in the infliction of any form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment would clearly be contrary to international codes of medical ethics."
Sayid Qotb, a modern Muslim scholar, has written -
Did Abraham (who rejected idol worship and worshipped the one true God) and his children receive from God an inferior solution to the problem of theft, while the idol worshippers of Arabia possessed this perfect solution?
Is it possible that God the Creator gave Moses the true and best regulations for dealing with theft? If so, this is the voice to which we must listen. We must listen and adhere to the true voice of God, for it is to Him that we must give account of ourselves.
To ascribe to the perfect God, the barbaric regulations of the pagans is a terrible insult indeed. To take the inhumane and pagan practices of the idol worshippers and make it the will of God is a form of blasphemy. God is far greater and wiser, and fairer than those who devised this savage form of punishment. God is so much higher than the image this form of punishment portrays. If this form of punishment belongs to Allah, then Allah can not be God the creator.
Does not the Bible speak also of hand cutting? Can the above argument apply to the Bible also?
Yes the Bible does indeed speak of hand cutting. But there is a big difference between the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of the Qur'an. Here is what the Word of God Jesus said:
So the Word of God Jesus was not legislating and was not giving a command that the hand should be cut off. The Qur'an, however, was.
Muslims claim that if the cutting off of the hand as a form of punishment was implemented by any government it would almost eliminate the problem of theft. The Islamic solution to the problem of theft is not that simple, but is full of anomalies as will be seen from the following discussion.
The well verified Hadith provides specific teaching complementary to the Qur'an. It can sometimes even cancel specific teaching of the Qur'an. For example, the Qur'an prescribes a hundred stripes for the sin of fornication (Sura 24:2), but that was abrogated by the Hadith that commands the stoning to death of the married fornicator.
The Hadith distinguishes between theft (sarika) and usurpation (ghasb - taking by force) and confiscation (khiyana). The punishment of cutting off the hand applies only in the case of theft (sarika) but not in the cases of usurpation (ghasb), that is taking the property of another by force and confiscation (khiyana).
The Hadith states-
"The jurists defined theft for which the hadd punishment (cutting the hand) is prescribed as the clandestine removal of legally recognised property (mal) in the safe keeping (hirz) of another ......... to which the thief has no right of ownership; it is so distinguished from usurpation (ghasb) and confiscation (khiyana)" For the Hadd punishment to be applied the property must be removed in a clandestine or secretive way. "For the stipulation of stealth excludes open robbery (nahb) and snatching things unawares (ikhtilas, used of pick-pockets.)
So stealing is the removal of property by stealth, but usurpation (Ghasb), (nahb) and (ikhtilas) are not considered stealing.
The translator of Mishkat Al-Masabih defines ghasb - usurpation - as follows:
The translator of Mishkat Al-Masabih then went on to add -
According to the definition of theft, the stolen property must be classed as Hirz.
The above inconsistencies are not the only ones. For
Similarly "if a thief makes a hole in a shop, but left without taking anything, then another came and placed his hand in that hole and took some articles from the shop, no hand cutting can be applied on either men [because the first one did not steal] and the second person did not violate the hirz." For the hole made by the first man rendered the shop as non- hirz. So the second man's action is not considered stealing because he did not take from a hirz.
But "if a person enters a house, takes some articles, and ties them to a dog and he prompts the dog to go outside, his hand will be cut off, but if the dog goes outside by itself with the articles which the thief then retrieves, no hand cutting is applicable."
So in Islam if a person steals a free child (with the exception of the followers of Malik), no hand cutting is applied to him, but if he steals a slave child, his hand must be cut off, because a slave is a property.
So the god of Islam, at least, differentiates between theft (sarika) and usurpation (ghasb), confiscation (khiyana), and embezzlement (ikhtilas), while the God of the Bible treats them equally. In the Bible the LORD said to Moses:
Here are two differing sets of directions. One is from the Qur'an and the Hadith and the other from the Bible. The God of Islam differentiates between theft (sarika) and usurpation (ghasb), confiscation (khiyana), and embezzlement (ikhtilas). The God of the Bible treats them all as equal.
Which God is consistent in his teachings concerning the damage done to the property of one's neighbour? It is inconsistent to cut the hand of a person who "steals" $100, while sparing the hand of the one who embezzles the same amount of money. Such inconsistency is unworthy of a human magistrate. How much more is it unworthy of the God of justice.
It is in the Bible that God is honoured as the Just One. To Him be all glory and praise.
If the woman who stole a piece of jewellery in Hadith No.6 took it by force from its owner, she would have kept her hand. But it was not possible. If she was discovered, she would be overpowered by the owner. She is weaker than the owner. This is why stealing is done behind peoples' back. But the act of ghasb is done in defiance of the people's attempts to stop the thief. Ghasb is theft committed by the powerful, while stealing is theft committed by the weak. Whose hand gets cut off? The one who steals in weakness. The God of Islam protects the powerful thief, but cuts off the hand of the weak one! Is this justice? Does God have double standards, or is Allah, the god of Islam not God at all?
If one is to survey the Ahadith (plural of Hadith) concerning the punishment for theft, it will be observed that during the life-time of Mohammad every person who was caught stealing had his hand cut off. Not once did Mohammad say to such a person :'you deserve your hand be cut off. But in the name of Allah, the forgiving, the merciful, the All- compassionate your hand will be spared, make an appropriate restitution, and go unpunished, as a demonstration of the mercy of Allah, go in peace, but do not do it again.' Not once did that happen. But every time a person was caught stealing his hand was cut off, every time a married person was caught committing adultery he was stoned to death. The Hadith even tells us about a woman who came to Mohammad confessing that she is pregnant because of adultery. "Mohammad then called her master and said : 'Treat her well, and when she delivers bring her to me. He did accordingly. Then Allah's Apostle pronounced judgment about her and her clothes were tied around her and then he commanded and she was stoned to death."
Compare the above story with a similar incident in the life of Jesus the Word of God.
The Jewish leaders brought to Jesus a woman who was caught in adultery, wanting to stone her according to the Law of Moses. Jesus said to them, ' If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. The people hearing this began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus asked her, 'Woman, where are they? has any one condemned you? 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared, 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'
The two incidents are very similar, but with a dramatically different outcome. Notice that the woman Jesus did not condemn did not come voluntarily confessing her sin, as the other woman who came to Mohammad. Yet Christ did not condemn her. There are two other incidents about similar women recorded in the life of Jesus, a prostitute who came weeping at the feet of Jesus58, and a loose woman who had five husbands whom Jesus deliberately travelled to meet59. Jesus forgave both women. It is amazing to note that three women who were implicated in sexual sin were forgiven when confronted by Jesus. While every married person that was caught committing adultery and was brought before Mohammad was stoned to death. The contrast is the difference between life and death. Some might ask why Christ did not order the stoning of the woman who was caught in the act according to the Law of Moses? It is because Christ came to prove that God is not only Just but also merciful in time and space, and in deed and word. Christ came to demonstrate the true God, who has the power not only to punish according to the Law, but also to forgive because He is the All-compassionate. Even the Qur'an Concur that Christ was a 'mercy from God to mankind.'
The purpose of this section is to compare some aspects of the place of women in the pure teaching of Islam with the pure teaching of Christianity. Four areas of comparison will be considered under this heading. (1) Man's right to beat his wife; (2) sexual rights between husband and wife; (3) Woman's right to do optional fasting (4) the number of wives a man may marry.
The man in Islam has the right to desert his wife sexually, and to beat her in order to control her undesirable behaviour. The woman, however, cannot resort to such measures, as is clear from the following two Qur'anic verses:
This is confirmed by the sound Hadith. Most commentators mention that the above verse was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Mohammad that her husband slapped her on the face, which was still marked by the slap. At first Mohammad said to her:
Sayyed Qotb a modern scholar and commentator tries to justify the provision found in the above Qur'anic verse, for the man to beat his wife this way:
Even without the existence of this form of psychological deviation, perhaps some women will not recognise the power of the man whom she loves to have as her guardian and husband, except when he conquers her physically! This is not the nature of every woman. But this kind does exist. And it is this kind that need this last treatment to be set straight, and remain within the serious organisation [marriage] in peace and tranquillity."
On the other hand Bukhari gives an example of the wife's options if she fears cruelty or desertion or her husband's part in the following Hadith:
At least the Qur'an recommends peaceful settlement when a woman fears rebellion in her husband. On the other hand, when the man fears rebellion in his wife, the Qur'an recommends the use of violence and sexual desertion.
While in Islam, wife beating is permissible, such a commandment is unknown in the Bible. On the contrary, husbands are commanded to love their wives. The concept of the husband and the wife becoming one flesh through marriage leaves no place for wife beating.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one."
The Bible says: "Let each one of you love his wife as himself" This is consistent with the one body, one flesh, one soul concept that is intended by the creator. For God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man Adam. And when Adam saw the woman he said, 'This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.'
Elsewhere the Bible even goes further than commanding the man to love his wife as himself, stating: "Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." This presents the supreme example of love to the husbands to imitate, the kind of love that goes to the point of sacrificing one's life for the sake of the other.
If we consider the concept of the one flesh, one body, intended by the creator, through marriage, some implications will present themselves. One of the implications is that 'no man ever hates his own flesh', and equally true, no man ever beats his own flesh. This understanding befits the Creator. The one who is not the Creator would permit only the man to beat the wife. The picture given in the Bible is that the man and his wife are one flesh. The story of creation is the source of the one flesh belief. This belief is implied in the Qur'an 7:189 'It is He who created you out of one living soul, and made of him (Adam) his spouse (Eve) that he might rest in her'. Although the one flesh concept is referred to in the Qur'an, the Qur'an recommends wife beating contrary to that concept. Will any person beat his left hand with his right one, because he dropped and broke an expensive vase he was carrying with his left hand? Of course not, both hands belong to the one flesh. When one hurts the other suffers too. To beat one's wife is exactly like that. The teaching of the Bible is consistent with that concept. But the teaching of the Qur'an is not consistent with that belief, because it teaches that one part of the body (the man) can beat the other part (the woman) even though it should not cause an injury.
As stated earlier the Qur'an gives the husband the right to desert his wife in the following verse : "Righteous women are therefore obedient É And those you fear may be rebellious, admonish; banish them to their couches."
But "the woman cannot withdraw from the man's bed, or travel, or leave his house except by his permission. The man however has the right to do whatever he wills" as the following Ahadith confirms-
The above view is well established in the Islamic law:
The followers of Imam Shafi'i said: 'The most accepted view is that what is been contracted upon is the woman, that is the benefit derived from the her sexual organ. Others said, 'What has been contracted is both the man and the woman. So according to the first opinion the wife cannot demand sex from her husband because it is his right [not hers], and according to the second opinion she can demand to have sex with him.
The followers of Imam Abu Hanifah said, :'The right of the sexual pleasure belongs to the man, not the woman, by that it is meant that the man has the right to force the woman to gratify himself sexually. She on the other hand does not have the right to force him to have sex with her except once [in a lifetime]. But he must, from a religious point of view, have sex with her to protect her from being morally corrupt. "
The Bible from the other hand teaches that the sexual rights are mutual between men and their wives -
According to the Qur'an the husband can use sexual desertion to control rebelliousness in his wife. However, the wife cannot resort to such measure.
In Islam, the husband rules over the body of his wife, though she cannot rule over his body. If the husband wants sex, the wife cannot refuse him. The Bible teaches that the sexual rights of the husband and the wife are mutual. This is because the God who inspired the teaching of the Bible is the Creator who knows that the needs of both husband and wife are equal. He created them equal. The one who spoke in the Qur'an considers the husbands sexual needs to be more important than the wife's. The one who spoke in the Qur'an is inconsistent with the created nature and the equal needs of men and women. For this reason he cannot be the creator.
The method of regulating and fulfilling the sexual needs of the husband and the wife as revealed in the Bible is a brilliant one indeed. According to the Bible the man controls the body of the wife, in other words she cannot say no to the man. Conversely the wife controls the body of the man, he cannot say no to the wife, except by agreement.
The following analogy might illustrate this point: Suppose there are two fridges in a house, which can be locked. The first fridge belongs to the husband, in it meat is kept. But the woman has the key to the husband's fridge. The second fridge belongs to the wife, in it vegetables are kept. But the man has the key to the woman's fridge. So if the woman wants meat, she has complete access to it. And if the man wants vegetables, he also has complete access to it. Likewise the woman has complete access to the man's body. The man cannot say no to her. And the man has complete access to the woman's body, the woman cannot say no to him. This is the solution provided by the Bible.
In Islam the man has all the keys. The woman has no access to the meat fridge, so to speak.
Which arrangement is consistent with the created nature of men and women? Which arrangement is worthy of the creator? The one that comes from the Qur'an which considers the husbands sexual needs to be more important than the wife's? Or the one that comes from the Bible which is consistent with the created nature and the equal needs of men and women?
In Islam "The woman cannot withdraw from the man's bed, or travel, or leave his house except by his permission." She also cannot do any optional fasting, or engage herself in any spiritual seclusion, except by his permission. The man however has the right to do whatever he wills."
The above is one of the implications of rights of the husband over the wife's body, and the lack of the wife's rights over the man's body.
In Islam the man has the right to deny his wife her sexual rights, but the woman cannot refuse the man. She cannot do any optional fasting without her husband's permission, because he cannot have sexual relations with her during that fast. On the other hand, he can fast without her permission. She has to wait until he finishes his fast, but he does not have to wait. She must be available to gratify and fulfil his desires all the time.
A woman went complaining to Mohammad that her husband breaks her fast because he wants to have sexual relations with her. The man complained to Mohammad, "She goes on fasting and I am a youthful man, and cannot therefore keep patience." The Prophet said: No woman shall keep fast except with the permission of her husband'"
Although that man had to wait only for a few hours till his wife broke her fast at the end of the day, the sexual need of the husband came first before the woman's fasting. The Bible on the other hand gives men and women equal sexual rights.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." [Emphasis added]
Once again the above arrangement can only come from the creator, who is consistent with the nature He placed equally in both the man and the woman. For according to the Bible not only the sexual needs of the man and the woman are equal, but also the spiritual needs of both are equal. However, the arrangement suggested by Mohammad is inconsistent with the created nature and the equal needs of men and women. For this reason, Allah, the god of Mohammad, cannot be the creator.
In Islam a provision for men to marry more than one woman is as follows:
Because "the need of the pious men to have sex was found to be the more intense, and for the purpose of emptying the heart to the worship of God", men have been allowed in Islam to marry up to four women and an unlimited number of slave girls.
In Christianity a man is to have only one wife. The reason for that is that God, the creator, created them in pairs, male and female, He created them. God the creator did not create Adam and two or three or four Eves. God created one woman for Adam. And He is still creating one woman for every man that comes to this world. He is still creating them in pairs. If we look at the percentage of men compared to women at any time in history we will find that it fluctuates around the fifty percent mark. There was never thirty three percent men and sixty six women, so that every man can have two wives, much less four.
Suppose you enter a car factory, that is producing an equal number of car bodies to the car engines. And there you see for the assembly line one thousand car bodies, and one thousand engines. How many engines will fit in every car body? The answer is obvious. Now what will you say if one of the foremen wants the workers to put two engines for every car body? and another wants the workers to assemble one engine for every car body. Which foremen should the workers obey? The designer designed the car to have one engine. Of course they should obey the one who asks them to place one engine for every car body. The great designer, the Creator, created them male and female, one wife for the one man, and out of the 'production line', the number of men coming is still equal the number of women. There was no time in the recorded history when the number of women was twice the number of men. God is still creating one woman for every man. The number of wives recommended by the Qur'an is inconsistent with the intention of the creator, and His activity through out history, for He is still creating men and women almost in equal numbers. Hence the god of Islam cannot be the Creator.
We shall consider another ethical issue that deals with men's sexuality, in which the sexual desires of men while being away from their wives was taken care of through a form of marriage called Mut'ah marriage.
The commentator Razi says:
Even if the Mut'ah marriage was only allowed for those three days when "the woman of Mecca dressed up and adorned themselves, and the companions complained to the Prophet that they did not have sex for a long time, so he said to them: 'Enjoy these women.'", was this allowance according the will of God and His character?
The translator of Mishkat said that 'Mut'ah marriage is absolutely illegal'. What makes it now illegal, if it was for even three days legal? This is a moral and ethical issue. Moral issues do not change with time or circumstances. For example homosexuality will never be lawful before God, whether it be for three days or three minutes. Oppressing the widows and the orphans will never be lawful before God. Incest will never be lawful before God. etc. Why did the god of Islam allow this Mut'ah marriage even for three days. Because he is not the Creator. The Creator wants all human beings to live in honour and equality. If we go back in history to those three days, we notice that these women were the loose ones of Mecca. All the decent women were inside their homes, about their proper duties, but of these women the Hadith stated "they dressed up and adorned themselves" for the men. It is an insult to the institution of marriage to call what happened in those three days marriage, even if it is temporary. There is another name for it, indeed the Arabic word Mut'ah means pleasure or enjoyment. Besides, which father would've given his daughter in marriage to any one for those three days? No one, because marriage is a covenant that was meant for life. God did not create women for rent, but for permanent relationship. The Creator cares for his creatures more than any human father.
Not only that but think of the results of this permission given by the Prophet of Islam: What will happen to the children born as a result of this three day marriage. Why should they come to a world, where they miss the love and the care of their father? That temporary provision for Mut'ah marriage can only come from other than the Creator. For the Creators provision for the children and the whole family is consistent with the order of creation. The one who gave the permission of this Mut'ah marriage is interfering with and spoiling the order of creation.
Listen to what the true Creator commanded the Prophet Moses in somewhat a similar situation:
Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife."
And Jesus the Christ the Word of God said:
The study of the idea of divine love in the Qur'an provides the deciding evidence as to whether Allah is God or not.
In the whole of the Qur'an there is not one verse that talks about the love of God for the sinner, the wicked, the ungodly. While in the Bible the love of God for the sinner is stated both in words and in deed.
According to the Qur'an God only loves the righteous, the godly, the repentant, and those who fight for his sake. But God does not love the wicked, the wasteful, the proud, the infidels, and the ungodly, etc.
Another Muslim scholar, observing the above, stated:
God loves the ungodly not after he repents and becomes good, but God loves him even before he is transformed. God hates sin but loves the sinner.
Unlike the Qur'an, the love of God in the Bible is directed towards and expressed for the sinner in the highest possible form, and in the following clear words:
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Allah does not love the sinner because he is not the Creator. For loving the sinner is an act of creation. Only the creator can love the sinner, the wicked, and the ungodly. For what is the act of creation? It is bringing something out of nothing. The act of creation is bringing into existence that which does not exist. And loving the sinner is an act of creation because it is love, in spite of the absence of any virtue or any thing that deserves love, thus creating that which is lovely. The true God starts with the sinner and the unlovely and by His Divine power creates loveliness and righteousness. But the one who is not God, loves only the lovely. Indeed men behave like that. Even nature reacts that way. For every action, there is a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. There is no virtue in loving those who love you. There is no virtue in being kind to those who are kind to you. This is the law of the created order, not the Creator. For the Creator is much higher than his creation.
The Salman Rushdie incident brings to life the difference between Allah and the God of the Bible. Ayatollah Khomeini, repeating his sentence of death on British novelist Salman Rushdie said:
The question of 'Whether Salman Rushdie can be forgiven is debatable. For while some Qur'anic verses speak of forgiveness to those who repent, this forgiveness is conditional, according to the following Qur'anic verse.
Whether pardon is possible or not, whereas Mohammad called for the killing of any one who insulted him, Christ prayed for forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him.
Now compare the incident of Salman Rushdie with the story of Saul of Tarsus. This man did to the Christians more that Salman Rushdie has done to Muslims. He was not only a blasphemer, but also a persecutor of the first century Christians. Salman Rushdie wrote a book and then hid himself: Saul of Tarsus went about destroying Christianity and causing Christians to blaspheme. God could have wiped him out, but on his way to Damascus to destroy the Christians;
Instead of rejecting him because he 'did not shortly repent', when the Word of God Jesus met Saul of Tarsus, He loved him and made him an ambassador of his love. And he became the greatest advocate of Christianity.
It is true that the Word of God Jesus made him blind for three days. But suppose the Word of God Jesus stopped at that. The first century Christians would have been very happy indeed. But what would that prove? It only proves that God can blind his enemies, and that God is only a vindictive, unmerciful, vengeful God.
But such a god is very small. God is far greater than that. For it is said "Great is he who can conquer his enemies but greater is he who can gain them." God is greater than the greatest sinner. God is greater than the worst sin. When God loved Saul of Tarsus to heaven He was proving that He is the Creator. Listen to the greatest enemy of the Christians praising the true God, the God who loved him:
When comparing two bank notes with the purpose of determining which is the counterfeit and which is the genuine - we must not concentrate on the similarities. For we will find that the two notes will almost look the same. But we must concentrate on the differences. For it is the differences which will prove which is the genuine one. Two genuine notes will have no differences. The similar things in the two notes will be the things that are easy to copy. So we should look also for the things that are missing, for they will be the things that are difficult to copy. The work of the counterfeiter is the work that contains only the parts that are easy to copy. The love of God for the sinner and the ungodly is totally missing from the Qur'an because it is the difficult, even the impossible thing to copy. The love of God for the sinner is not a copy from any thing here on earth. It is the reactor principle we do find on earth. But the love of God for the sinner did not come from the human experience, but through a revelation from above. The God who is capable of loving the wicked is the Creator, the most high and the true God.
This is the God who is worthy of worship.
Allah is called in the Qur'an the Creator, but he cannot love the sinner, thus showing himself to be only a reactor. His orders concerning hand cutting coupled with the unnatural treatment of women, and the permission of pleasure marriage are diametrically opposed to the character of the Creator who knows the magnificence of the hand, the equality of men and women, and the unchangeablity of His moral laws.
He is called the Just but he punishes the single man who fornicates less than the one who steals.
He is called the All-Knowing, but the side and after-effects of hand cutting, coupled with the resulting psychological devastation of hand cutting in the east shows him to be otherwise.
He is called the Forgiving, the Merciful, and the All- Compassionate, but not once did he exercise his power to have compassion over one who was caught stealing or one who was caught committing adultery, as Christ did many times.
Allah is called the creator, the forgiving, the merciful, the just, and the All-Knowing, but he is not.
God as revealed in the Bible is the Creator. God as revealed in the Bible is the Merciful, the All-Knowing, the All- Wise, and the Just. He is also the God of love. He is consistently shown to be so in this booklet.
The God who is revealed in the Bible is the true God. In the last day all of us will stand before the true God, our creator, and maker. We will not stand before an imaginary god. We will not stand before a man-made idea about God. But that is not all, we must be sure as we bend our knees to worship, that we worship the true God. For to worship a man-made idea about God is the ultimate form of straying indeed. It is more deadly than worshipping an idol made of silver or gold. For an idol is shown to be an idol, but a man's idea dressed up like God, with titles such as the creator, the merciful, yet without the reality of what God truly is, is diabolical indeed.
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