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The Ten Commandments in the Quran


The Ten Commandments in the Quran


Was published in Arabic in December, 20 , 2009

Translated by Ahmed Fathy


 The scientific methodology of research entails us to know about the environment in which the Quran was revealed and that witnessed the call of Islam within the pre-Islamic society, called the society/era of ignorance of God (in Arabic: Al-Jahiliyya) due to the dominant polytheism. The dominant culture of that era in the deserts of Arabia could not acknowledge anything but power and violence. This culture of violence was practiced as a way of living, and acts like thievery, enslavement of free people, aggression, burial of baby-girls alive, disregarding one's relatives, bloodshed, injustice toward women, and subduing all the peaceful and weak ones were glorified. Such horrid acts were linked to the practices of an earthly, man-made creed that allowed the Qorayish tribe to dominate and control all Arab tribes among the gentiles (i.e. non-Jewish and non-Christian people) who used to live in Arabia. Such violent society of the desert whose men tended to engage into bloodshed could not be reformed by imposing directly the Quranic legislations and their details. This start could not have been the right one within the river-side peaceful societies as well; they would have taken time to understand and apply the legislations. The reason: due to lack of moral preparation. Let alone the violent, hard-hearted desert society of Arabia. The most important point here is that the application of the Quranic legislations relies mainly on the human conscience itself. These legislations assert the human freedom of choice between obedience and disobedience. Hence, the moral levels of the human beings had to be elevated first to nurture such a God-fearing conscience and an ethical code in dealing with fellow human beings. This superego, or conscience, in our modern tongue is the nearest term for the Quranic term: (piety). Accordingly, the divine revelation of the Quran in Mecca focuses on the moralistic side of faith, interlaced with belief concept to prepare the believers to apply later on the details of the Quranic legislations that were revealed in Yathreb. We will confine this article to a quick overview of what we call the Quranic Ten Commandments.


The Ten Commandments in the Quran:

 It is strange that the concept of the Ten Commandments is famous among the Jews and Christians whereas the Quranic Ten Commandments were ignored totally in volumes and tomes of the theologians and scholars of the man-made creeds of the ancient Muhammadans: the Sunnites, the Shiites, and the Sufis. If a Quranist mentions these commandments to any of today's Muhammadan clergymen, they would have been amazed and would cast doubt on this concept. It is noteworthy that the Quranic Ten Commandments are mentioned within a context that contains a dialogue with the People of the Book (the Quranic term for the Jews and Christians). Hence, the Ten Commandments unite the three divine books of the Abrahamic religions within one moralistic framework. Even within differences in their narration, the Ten Commandments are revered and remembered by the People of the Book, whereas the Muhammadans do not acknowledge their existence in the Quran!


 God says in the Meccan revelation these commandments: "Say, "Come, let me tell you what your Lord has forbidden you: that you associate nothing with Him; that you honor your parents; that you do not kill your children because of poverty-We provide for you and for them; that you do not come near indecencies, whether outward or inward; and that you do not kill the soul which God has sanctified-except in the course of justice. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may understand." And do not come near the property of the orphan, except with the best intentions, until he reaches maturity. And give full weight and full measure, equitably. We do not burden any soul beyond its capacity. And when you speak, be fair, even if it concerns a close relative. And fulfill your covenant with God. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may take heed. This is My path, straight, so follow it. And do not follow the other paths, lest they divert you from His path. All this He has enjoined upon you, that you may refrain from wrongdoing." (6:151-154).

 Here is a brief analysis of these verses:

Firstly: The Quranic Ten Commandments are as follows:

1- Avoiding polytheism in one's faith by invoking deities and saints alongside with God the Almighty.

2- Taking care of one's parents.

3- Never to kill one' progeny due to poverty.

4- Never to get nearer to any extramarital sexual relations in secret or in public.

5- Never to kill except those who have killed.

6- Never to confiscate the money/wealth of an orphan; it must be used to care for such an orphan and for the investment of this wealth for his sake.

7- Never to cheat others in measures and weighing; but to deal justly with others in trade.

8- Justice is to be regarded and applied in all our words, even if this brings harm to the nearest ones to you.

9- The divine covenant: i.e. to obey divine orders of the Quran.

10- Following the only way of guidance in Islam: the Quran.


Secondly: It is noteworthy that we find the following:

* We are not to fall into the trap of polytheism in faith, and this order is directly linked to behavioral unbelief; i.e., aggression like murder and confiscating the money of an orphan. Such commands in the Quran reflect that such crimes were prevalent in that society.

* The divine orders to care for one's parents, to follow justice in all things, especially in trade, and to adhere to God's covenant; i.e. the Quran alone, reflect the fact that such a society used to ignore all these items.

* By applying these orders, the legislations of Islam and faith tenets are applied in our lives. These basic tenets are linked to moral and ethical orders; we are to preserve human life, chastity, and orphans' rights. Such tenets pave the way for other details in the Quranic text: the rights of orphans, the punishments of fornicators/adulterers and murderers, and the paramount importance of just testimonies.


Secondly: Details of the Quranic Ten Commandments in the Meccan Chapter 17:

1- "Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them kind words. And lower to them the wing of humility, out of mercy, and say, "My Lord, have mercy on them, as they raised me when I was a child." Your Lord knows best what is in your minds. If you are righteous-He is Forgiving to the obedient.  And give the relative his rights, and the poor, and the wayfarer, and do not squander wastefully. The extravagant are brethren of the devils, and the devil is ever ungrateful to his Lord.  But if you turn away from them, seeking mercy from your Lord which you hope for, then say to them words of comfort. And do not keep your hand tied to your neck, nor spread it out fully, lest you end up liable and regretful. Your Lord expands the provision for whomever He wills, and restricts it. He is fully Informed, Observant of His servants.  And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them, and for you. Killing them is a grave sin. And do not come near adultery. It is immoral, and an evil way. And do not kill the soul which God has made sacred, except in the course of justice. If someone is killed unjustly, We have given his next of kin certain authority. But he should not be excessive in killing, for he will be supported. And do not go near the orphan's property, except with the best of intentions, until he has reached his maturity. And honor your pledge, because the pledge involves responsibility.  And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with accurate scales. That is fair, and the best determination. And do not occupy yourself with what you have no knowledge of. The hearing, and the sight, and the brains-all these will be questioned.  And do not walk proudly on earth. You can neither pierce the earth, nor can you match the mountains in height. The evil of all these is disliked by your Lord.  That is some of the wisdom your Lord has revealed to you. Do not set up with God another god, or else you will be thrown in Hell, rebuked and banished." (17:23-39).

 We note the following points:

1- These verses assert the command never to be polytheistic in faith during one's lifetime.

2- We find details concerning caring for one's parents and relatives, as well as orphans and the impoverished ones. This is the horizontal level. The vertical level is to be charitable with them from a distance if they transgress against us.

3- We notice the reiteration of previous commandments like never to kill one's progeny in times of dire poverty, never to commit fornication and adultery, never to kill except in retribution; i.e. to punish killers, never to confiscate orphans' money, and following justice in dealing with God's covenant and with others in trade.

4- The emergence of new details like the order never to be miserly and never to spend in excess, as well as to avoid intruding someone's privacy, arrogance, vanity, and snobbery.

5- We find affirmation of the need to avoid polytheism and unbelief in matters of faith and behavior and of the legislation tenets to preserve money and lives. Human rights in Chapter 17 include never trespassing on one's privacy. This is detailed in 49:11-12, revealed in Yathreb.


Thirdly: The orders in the Meccan Chapter 25:

 "The servants of the Merciful are those who walk the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, "Peace." And those who pass the night prostrating themselves to their Lord and standing up. And those who say, ''Our Lord, avert from us the suffering of Hell, for its suffering is continuous. It is indeed a miserable residence and destination." And those who, when they spend, are neither wasteful nor stingy, but choose a middle course between that. And those who do not implore besides God any other god, and do not kill the soul which God has made sacred-except in the pursuit of justice-and do not commit adultery. Whoever does that will face penalties. The punishment will be doubled for him on the Day of Resurrection, and he will dwell therein in humiliation forever. Except for those who repent, and believe, and do good deeds. These-God will replace their bad deeds with good deeds. God is ever Forgiving and Merciful. Whoever repents and acts righteously-has inclined towards God with repentance.  And those who do not bear false witness; and when they come across indecencies, they pass by with dignity. And those who, when reminded of the revelations of their Lord, do not fall before them deaf and blind. And those who say, "Our Lord, grant us delight in our spouses and our children, and make us a good example for the righteous.""(25:63-74).

 Here, we note the following points.

1- We find the traits of those pious ones who are busy contemplating God's orders and seek with all their might to attain His satisfaction. These traits are advised to all people; we are invited to be real believers in God. Others choose to be the followers of Satan, as per their choices and deeds.

2- The same details are repeated: to avoid polytheism and unbelief in faith matters and in behavior toward others, to keep away from killing, fornication, adultery, false testimony, vanity, arrogance, miserliness, and extravagance.

3- What is new here is to assert acts of worship like voluntary nightly prayers, supplication of God, regarding one's progeny and making sure they follow the true faith, being charitable to those who have wronged us, being peaceful toward them while avoiding their bad discourses. Hence, charity here extends even to aggressors, who harm us with their bad language, as well as to take care of one's parents and relatives, while being charitable toward orphans and the impoverished people.

 In all of the above in the three Meccan chapters of the Quran, we find shared points in preserving the right of God (by avoiding polytheism) and the rights of our fellow human beings (concerning one's life, possessions, money, honor, chastity, and privacy). Such verses, along with several others, were aimed to prepare the people of Mecca on the moralistic level. The setback occurred once Prophet Muhammad died. The early Muslims regressed once more into polytheism by ignoring the moralistic and ethical orders of the Ten Commandments of the Quran in order to invade and commit aggression in neighboring lands by conquering them. Such conquests have led to the emergence of the earthly, man-made creeds that claim to be Islam: the Sunnite, the Shiite, and the Sufis creeds. Such creeds allow and justify all types of grave injustices. That is why all ethical and moralistic aspects in the Quran have been ignored for centuries. Such aspects are found in verses revealed in Mecca and in Yathreb, whereas the Sunnite/Wahabi/Salafist legislations focus on overt hypocritical acts of worship with total disregard to piety and ethical and moralistic responsibility. Hence, the Sunnite way of performing acts of worship leads to more corruption, disobedience, and evildoing. The reason, the Sunnite Muhammadans falsely claim that one is free to sin as long as he performs acts of worship! By ignoring ethics and moralistic side of the Quran by the gods/imams/scholars of the man-made creeds, all legislations of the Quran have been distorted, ignored, misinterpreted, and manipulated by the ancient and contemporary Muhammadans.             

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