Friday, 18-Nov-2016

Every day is a good day to praise God. What about formal worship?

The correct day of worship is always a hot topic among religious people. We have received numerous inquiries into this important area. But, we want to warn everyone of any 'Bible professionals' who want to prefer one day over another according to his or her Bible-based guidelines. One can easily interpret various passages in the Bible to make it look like you are falling short unless you tow the line and worship only on a particular day selected by the 'professional.' Romans 14:5-6 is the passage that neutralizes such strategies.

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Thoughts and words are the currency of the spirit

What makes mankind different from animals? It is our God-given ability to think rationally and communicate verbally. How, then, should we think and speak?

The Gospel

The Bible Gospel message is very simple: God loves you so much that He died for you on a cross, gaining victory over sin and hell on your behalf.

This good news is found throughout the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments. A concise summary appears in I Corinthians 15:3 and 4, the Apostle Paul speaking:

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

Sometimes human teachers take away from the Gospel saying, for instance, that our sin is not the reason Jesus died. More often they add rules and regulations to it, furthering their own agendas. But the true Gospel is very simple, and believing it brings new life.

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Islamic and Western civilizations clash with one another. They are based on different religious writings.

Paul asks: What is Sharia Law? I hear it on the news but nobody explains it
Question about Right and Wrong in the Bible: God's laws
Motivation - Curiosity: Sincere curiosity
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 192, Friday, 19-Sep-2014]

Kalimah Tayyibah
Kalimah Tayyibah

You have heard about Sharia Law, but do you know what it is? This article presents an overview in three broad areas: moral law, civil law, and religious law.

Laws that govern Islamic societies are based on the Quran, the Islamic Scripture, and other components of Islamic civilization. In contrast, laws that govern Western societies are based on the Bible, and other components of Western civilization. The Quran is much different than the Bible, so it is not surprising that Islamic and Western civilizations clash.

We are trying to find someone who can give an Islamic view of this article. If you are willing to do this, please write to us.

This page presents a Westerner's understanding of classic Sharia Law. This understanding comes from information taken from the Wikipedia online encyclopedia and from the book Islam for Dummies by Malcolm Clark, professor emeritus of religion at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, USA. This page condenses many pages of information into one short list of topics; all detail is left out. As such, this page is an introduction to Sharia Law and serves as an outline for further study.

Interpreting Sharia Law

This article presents the tenets of 'classic' or 'fundamental' Sharia Law. Only the most militant Islamic societies use it unaltered. Other, more moderate societies temper Sharia concepts by interpreting them through established Schools of Law. The interpretations are compatible with modern society, applying modified Sharia concepts to real-life situations today.

Schools of Law interpret Sharia concepts for application to society.
Schools of Law interpret Sharia concepts for application to society.

For instance, one of the tenets of classic Sharia Law is 'Religion and state are one.' In Turkey, this provision has been secularized so that religion and state are, to a large degree, separate, handling religion one way and politics another way. Secularized Sharia has common ground with 'Separation of church and state' in America, and reflects the New Testament idea of separation:

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
- Mark 12:17 [KJV]

Tenets of Fundamental Sharia Law

Sharia Law comes from two primary sources: (1) the Islamic Scriptures, the Quran, and (2) Islamic traditions Sunnah, captured in written hadiths, which record the teachings, deeds, and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him. We have partitioned several tenets of Sharia Law into three broad categories:

  • Moral: right and wrong behavior
  • Civil: related to citizens of a country
  • Relgious: duty toward Allah

References in the lists below come from the Quran, the hadith, and documents called out by Wikipedia. A color-coded rating system indicates compatibility with Old Testament (OT) Hebrew Scriptures (the Tanakh) and with modern western practice, as follows:

OT:
+++ (green): Compatible with Old Testament Scriptures
++ (yellow): Somewhat compatible with the OT
+ (red) Not compatible with the OT

West:
+++ (green): Compatible with recent western thought and culture
++ (yellow): Somewhat compatible with the West
+ (red) Not compatible with the West

Red areas in the 'West' column indicate marked differences between fundamentalist Sharia concepts and modern western society. Red ares in the 'OT' column indicate marked differences between the Quran and the Bible.

Moral Law

Moral law has to do with right and wrong. It is different than Religious law which deals with religious rituals, observances, and practice. Sharia has two main portions of moral law:

  • Crimes against Allah
  • Crimes against mankind

The Bible, also, has two main portions of moral law:

  • Love God
  • Love thy neighbor

The first five of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) in the Bible have to do with duties toward God. These include prohibitions against idol worship and profanity, and encouragement to remember the Sabbath. The second five Commandments are man-to-man; things like 'thou shalt not kill' and 'thou shalt not commit adultery. Jesus summarized these as follows:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 22:36ff [KJV]

In Sharia Law injunctions involving dedication to Allah, called Hudud, include prohibitions against theft and illegal sex. There are also man-to-man laws such as anti-gambling prohibitions and modest dress for women in public.

We have included Sharia tenets governing marriage and etiquette under the general heading 'Moral Law.'

MORAL LAW
Crimes Against Allah (Hudud)
Sharia

OT
West
- Theft is a crime
Quran 5:38
+++ +++
- Highway robbery is a crime
Quran 29:29
+++ +++
- Drinking alcohol is a crime
Quran 4:43
++ +
- Illegal sex is a crime
Quran 17:32
+++ ++
- False accusation of illegal sex is a crime
Quran 24:4
+++ ++
- Apostasy, including blasphemy, is a crime
Quran 3:90
+++ +
Crimes Against Mankind
Sharia

OT
West
- Homosexuality is prohibited
Quran 7:80
+++ +
- Gambling is prohibited
Quran 2:219
++ ++
- Piracy (spreading disorder) is prohibitied
Quran 5:33
++ +++
- Abortion is discouraged
Sachedina, Zulie (1990)
+++ ++
- Women must dress modestly in public
Quran 24:31
++ +
- Female infanticide is discouraged
Quran 81:8
+++ ++
- Killing innocents (fasad) is discouraged
Quran 5:32
+++ +++
In Marriage
Sharia

OT
West
- Husband and wife are to be kind to each other
Sahih al-Bukhari: 7:62:128
+++ +++
- Children are gifts from Allah
Quran 16:72
+++ +++
- Men may have concubines
Suad, Joseph (2006)
++ +
- Men may have up to 4 wives, women 1 husband
Quran 4:3
+++ +
- Men guard the family, women guard the house
Quran 4:34
++ ++
- Women can't leave house without permission
Ziba Mir-Hosseini (2009)
+ +
- Marriage is allowed any time after puberty
Masud (1996)
++ ++
- Men should strike wives who are deserting them
Quran 4:34
+ +
- Men can marry inter-faith
Quran 5:5
++ +
- Men can divorce unilaterally
Halliaq, Wael (2009)
++ +
Etiquette
Sharia

OT
West
- Say a prayer at meals
Jami at-Tirmidhi
++ ++
- Eat and drink with the right hand
Sahih Muslim
+ +
- Greet people with peace
Quran 28:55
++ ++
- Bless people after sneezing
Sahih al-Bukhari
+ ++
- Practice good hygiene
Quran 9:108
++ ++
- Wash after using the toilet
Sunan Abi Dawood
++ ++
- Circumcize males (required)
Sahih Muslim
+++ ++
- Female circumcision is noble (not required)
Gruenbaum, Ellen (2001)
+ +

Looking down the columns of red, yellow, and green (+, ++, +++) in the list above, the most significant departures of Sharia Law and Bible-based law are in the area of men-women relationships. Muslim societies are much more patriarchal, i.e., controlled by men, than Western societies, where men and women are more equal.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 3:28 [paraphrase]

Civl Law

Civil law has to do with everyday life in a civilized society. Economics, courts of justice, and political life are governed by civil law. Like the Quran, the Bible records many civil laws, and Rabbis have been arguing about them for millennia. As with the moral laws above, we have included civil aspects of marriage in this section. See our article on Bible Religion for references to Bible-based civil law.

CIVIL LAW
Economics
Sharia

OT
West
- Collecting interest is prohibited
Quran 3:130
++ +
- Rate of money growth is limited
Meinhaj Hussain (2010)
+ +
- Inteference with free market is prohibited
Quran 4:29
++ ++
- Money supply indexed to population, not to banking
Meinhaj Hussain (2010)
++ +
- Individuals only, no corporations
Timur Kuran (2005)
++ +
Courts
Sharia

OT
West
- Sharia is a body of doctrines, not codified law
Gibb, et al (1970)
+ +
- Judges only: no lawyers, no jury system
Tetley (1999)
+++ +
- Testimony only: no forensic or circumstantial evidence
Tetley (1999)
+++ +
- Testimony of two women equals that of one man
Quran 2:182
+ +
- Four male wittnesses needed to establish rape
Quraishi (1997)
+ +
- Punishments are stoning, amputation, and flogging
Quran 5:38
++ +
- Enforcement is by government religious police
Hans Wehr (1994)
++ +
- Settlements can be by retribution
Quran 2:178
+ +
Politics
Sharia

OT
West
- Obey Allah first, then obey human rulers
Quran 4:59
++ +
- Religion and state are one
Tony Johnson (2010)
+++ +
- Rulers are elected (Sunni) or hereditary (Shia)
Bernard (1995)
++ ++
- Women are allowed to hold political office
Anne Sofie Roald
+++ +++
Marriage
Sharia

OT
West
- Marriage is a contract, not a legal merged identity
Ahmad v. Ahmad (2001)
++ +
- Permanent (nikah) marriage contracts are the norm
Quran 4:4
+++ +++
- Temporary marriage contracts are possible
Quran 4:24
+ +
- Women get dowry (mahr) upon marriage
Jamal (2012)
++ +
- Women can be paid for being a housewife
Al-Misri, Ahmad
+ +
- Women may be employed outside the house
Quran 28:23
+++ +++

There are many red indicators (with the single plus sign, +) in the civil law list. Islamic and Western societies are markedly different. It is no wonder they clash.

Religious Law

Religious law governs religious practice. There are Sharia rules about diet, praying, visiting Mecca, and religious war. These are quite different than religious law in the Old Testament, which focus on the Tabernacle, the Temple, and the system of animal sacrifices.

With the Bible, Old Testament animal sacrifices gave way to New Testament personal salvation and forgiveness of sin. There is no 'New Testament' version of the Quran, so the old ways of religious war, called Jihad, have not changed substantially over the years. Some modern Islamic scholars see Jihad as a personal struggle against personal sin, but they are in the minority today.

RELIGIOUS LAW
Practice
Sharia

OT
West
- All Muslims must visit Mecca at least once
Quran 2:124
++ +
- Men and women have same relationship to Allah
Three Levels
+++ +++
- Pray (salat) five times each day
Quran 24:58
+ +
Military
Sharia

OT
West
- War is just, both offensive and defensive
Aboul-Enein (2004)
+++ +++
- Fight people who do not believe in Allah
Quran 9:29
+++ +
- Jihad (military struggle) is commanded
Quran 2:190
+++ +
- Military objective is worldwide empire (Caliphate)
Sahih Bukhari 4:52:50
+ +
- Muslims must participate in jihad (fight or donate)
Esposito (2005)
++ +
- Greater jihad is the struggle against personal sin
Streusand (1997)
++ ++
Dietary
Sharia

OT
West
- Eat no meat that dies of itself
Quran 5:5
+++ +
- Eat no blood
Quran 5:3
+++ +
- Eat no pork
Quran 2:173
+++ +
- Eat only meat dedicated to Allah
Quran 5:3
++ +

Conclusion

We have presented a total of 66 tenets of fundamental Sharia Law. Of course, this is an over-simplification and in no way captures the Law's full depth of meaning. Vibrant and prosperous Islamic societies are based on Sharia and, although they differ widely from Western societies, Sharia has proven effective for millennia. We hope our list brings better understanding between Islamic and Western cultures.

by Paul Richards

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Does the Bible say anything about housework and who is supposed to do it? Surprisingly, yes.

Does the God of the universe care about who does the housework?

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Did God create Adam out of dust, and Eve out of Adam's rib? This seems very far-fetched!

Questions about creation are super-important. They form a dividing line between people who believe the Bible has value, and those who believe it is worthless. We hope you believe the Bible has value.

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What the Bible says -- concisely.

The Bible makes it clear that once an embryo reaches the biblical stage of unformed substance, adoption, not abortion, is the proper way to avoid a grievous sin and minimize the effects of unwanted pregnancy. The precise time of unformed substance is not specified in the Bible, but it is surely early in the pregnancy. Further, the Bible is full of encouragement for loving parenting of young children. Remember: God is for you. He loves you beyond measure.

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