Ten Commandments in the Quran (part 2 of 3): Commandments I-V

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First Commandment: Join not anything in worship with God (Shirk)

The first commandment is the most important and easiest one.  It is meant for the whole human race, the most severe in punishment, yet it is a commandment from which people have strayed far away.  Ignoring the first prohibition is what leads to all other evils.  It ruins all worship and works which depend on it.  Idolatry, known as Shirk in Arabic, is more than serving idols.  It is believing in a god besides the One True God who alone deserves worship and service.  Prohibiting idolatry is to affirm its opposite: proper belief in and worship of God.  Proper belief in God is the cornerstone of Islamic faith and all other commands and prohibitions rely on it.


Second Commandment: Be good and dutiful to parents

Given the often tense relation between the generations, this commandment is particularly relevant to our times.  Most kids these days are angry.  They are very angry at their parents and their childhood.  Maybe they were hurt when they were vulnerable.  Parents are imperfect.  Many people think their parents do not deserve any respect, yet God commands us to be kind to them.  They are not to be spoken harshly to or mistreated.  Instead, they are to be taken care of and shown the best manners.


Parents are so important that that they are placed right after duty to God!

At the same time, we are supposed to honor, not worship, the parents.  God comes before parents.  God, the Creator, is to be thanked for what we have, His matchless gifts to everyone of us.  After God, we owe our existence to our parents who brought us in this life.  They are not only to be treated fairly, but favor must be shown to them.  They are to be treated kindly by the way we speak to them, the way we act towards them, and to financially support them, if need be.


Third Commandment: Kill not your children because of poverty

The ancient Arabs would kill their children out of fear of poverty.  But, who would kill their own children who are so susceptible and vulnerable in an age of civilization? Yearly around 750,000 children are reported missing in the United States, around 2,000 every day.[1] Around 100 children are abducted and murdered in the U.S.  each year.[2]  About 100-200 children are killed in Britain per year.[3]  The killers are mostly parents.  According to the Society for the Prevention of Infanticide, “Today, infanticide is still most commonly seen in areas of severe poverty.”[4]


Forth Commandment: Come not near to “shameful” sins whether committed openly or secretly


This commandment deals with sexual conduct to protect the family structure.

 

What are “shameful” sins? Islam teaches that they are adultery, fornication, incest, and homosexuality.  Violation of the family unit is a crime against God and humanity.  Unfortunately, these sins have become so commonplace that it has altered society’s perception of it.


In modern times, society has developed new expressions that soften the sin of adultery.  Many are too coarse to repeat, but ones that are not include: fooling around, sleeping around, flings, and affairs.  These phrases create a notion that adultery is guilt-free and hurts no one.  Some people even suggest that it’s just a recreational activity like playing ball or going to the movies! Furthermore, some assert they have a beneficial aspect to them! The truth is that these acts bring God’s extreme displeasure.  Such sins undermine human society and laws regulating sexual behavior are part of every viable civilized community.


How prevalent is adultery? “More than one-third of men and one-quarter of women admit having had at least one extramarital sexual experience.”[5]


An article in a 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that various surveys suggest that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than their wives.[6]


The Quran lays down several steps to curb moral decadence spread by “shameful” sins:

1.      Institution of marriage.

2.      Emphasis on dress code for women.

3.      Avoiding temptations by lowering the gaze (for both men and women).

4.      Prohibition to enter others people’s houses uninvited.


Fifth Commandment: Kill not anyone whom God has forbidden


Islam views the human body as a structure built by God that no one has the right to destroy.  Human life is respected and protected as one’s body belongs to God.  Allah, the Exalted, states:


“On account of (his deed), We decreed to the Children of Israel that if anyone kills a person - unless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the land - it is as if he kills all mankind, while if any saves a life it is as if he saves the lives of all mankind.” (5:32)

Islamic law protects the lives of:

1.      a Muslim

2.      a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim country

3.      non-Muslims who have peace treaties with Muslim countries

4.      any non-Muslim who has taken temporary residence in a Muslim country.


At the same time, taking life is not always an evil deed.  Shedding of human blood by another is strictly prohibited unless it is legislated by God such as the killing of a murderer, (capital punishment) etc.



Footnotes:

[1] (www.keepyourchildsafe.org/abduction-murder.asp)

[2] (www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/law_enforcement_courts_prisons/crimes_and_crime_rates.html)

[3] www.straightstatistics.org/article/how-many-children-are-murdered-britain-every-year

[4] http://infanticide.org/history.htm

[5] Samuel Janus and Cynthia Janus, The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1993), 169.

[6] Kenneth Woodward, “Sex, Morality and the Protestant Minister,” Newsweek (28 July 1997), 62.

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