Wednesday, March 2, 2005
The case of display of the Ten Commandments is making yet one more headline. According to CNN, "A cautious Supreme Court walked a legal tightrope Wednesday, seeming to look for ways that would allow displays of the Ten Commandments on government property to continue."
Alabama Chief Justice has once again brought the debate over the public display of Ten Commandments to the forefront of hotly contested controversies. Let us address the following points relating to this issue:
What are the Ten Commandments?
- What do the Islam’s Holy texts say about these Commandments?
- Who really follows these Commandments? ( Our answer may surprise you! )
- What should be a Muslim view on the posting of these commandments in public places (such as courts, schools,…)?
1. What are the Ten Commandments?
There appears to be different versions of the Ten Commandments. Chapter 20 of Exodus in the Bible gives us one version. See for example, The Bible, King James Version, Exodus 20:1-17 . Other versions from the other versions of the Bible can be seen at http://bible.gospelcom.net . Also check out the article, “Which Ten Commandments?” by Cliff Walker and Jyoti Shankar, at http://www.positiveatheism.org/crt/whichcom.htm. The article gives Protestant, Catholic and Hebrew versions of the Commandments.
2. What Islam’s Holy texts say about these Commandments?
Islam's Holy Book, The Quran, supports the text of the Ten Commandments. Read the article written by Dr. Irshad, http://www.islam101.com/religions/TenCommandments/tcQuran.htm
It is understood by all Christians and Jews that these commandments were given to Prophet Moses (peace be on him) when he went to see God, the Almighty. The Quran, Islam's Holy Book, talks about the tablets given to Prophet Moses by the Almighty God:
007.144 (God) said: "O Moses! I have chosen thee above (other) men, by the mission I (have given thee) and the words I (have spoken to thee): take then the (revelation) which I give thee, and be of those who give thanks." 007.145 And We ordained laws for him in the tablets in all matters, both commanding and explaining all things, (and said): "Take and hold these with firmness, and enjoin thy people to hold fast by the best in the precepts: soon shall I show you the homes of the wicked,- (How they lie desolate)." (The Holy Quran)
However, the Holy Quran does not explicitly speak about the Ten Commandments given to Moses. There is no record of the original words of those tablets.
3. Who really follows these Commandments?
Our answer may surprise you!
Judaism, Christianity and Islam have full agreement over most of the commandments which deal with murder, stealing, false witness, honoring parents and love for the neighbors. Muslims also believe that Israelites were asked to observe sabath. It is most interesting to read the first two or three commandments( depends on the version) and see who actually follows these. According to the King James Version Bible, the following are the verses 1-7 of Chapter 20, Exodus:
"1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
These verses clearly condemn polytheism in any shape or form. Those who make idols and worship them are condemned by God. Those who call any one god other than the Almighty God are also condemned. This includes those who say, God is Jesus or Jesus is God or God is three. The above mentioned verse 3 of Exodus states, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."
Also, the verse 4 above of the Book of Exodus forbids images of God. That means those Christians who believe in the Ten Commandments should not have images of god in their churches.
Under these observations, it is the Muslims not the Christians who really follow the above verses 1-7 of the Book of Exodus!
4. What should be a Muslim view on the posting of these commandments in public places (such as courts, schools,…)?
It can be argued that a national committee or city-based committees with membership from different religious and non-religious groups be formed to come up with a selection of verses from different religious and non-religious books for public display. The problem appears to be more fundamental than that. First of all, the segment of Christians trying to force the display is led by extremists including hate-mongers and Islam bashers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. So we do have to wonder about their real motive behind this movement. Not only do they violate the commandment, "Love thy neighbor," by issuing derogatory remarks against Islam, Muslims and Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), they also violate the first commandment by worshipping Jesus as God.So we ask and invite every one to believe in the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
Let us not be polytheists and hypocrites! Let us put the First Commandment on our lips and in our hearts before we worry about its display in schools and courts of Justice.
Read more on the First Commandment at http://www.islam101.com/tauheed/index.htm