The Top Ten Passages in the Qur’an, Part 1

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Many Christians are unfamiliar with the Qur’an. They may know that it is the sacred text of the Muslim faith, but they probably know little else about it. I’ve chosen a list of ten passages from the Qur’an that give some insight into Islam and especially into its founder Muhammad. Below are the first three (all quotations are taken from Quran.com).

#10 Ladies, You’d Better Not Burn Dinner

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. (Sura 4:34)

The Qur’an is infamous for its presentation of women as inferior to men. Some Muslim scholars have tried to minimize this particular verse by arguing that the beating is a light one; apologists have tended to dismiss it altogether as “misinterpretation.” However, the hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) make it clear that this kind of beating is painful (Sahih Muslim 4:2127; Sahih Bukhari 1:7:330) and violent (Sahih Bukhari 6:60:132; 8:82:828). Another hadith indicates that Muslim women suffered bruises from the beatings they received (Sahih Bukhari 7:6:715). One of the most heartbreaking facts about this practice is that it continues today, with many women in Muslim countries believing their husbands are justified in beating them. Some believe that it is appropriate for a man to beat his wife if she burns dinner.

#9 See You in Hell?

Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the worst of creatures. (Sura 98:6)

The “People of the Scripture” or “People of the Book” indicates Jews and Christians, whom Muhammad lumped into the same category as “polytheists” (pagans or idolaters). These are the worst of creatures, destined for eternal torment. This is a very different narrative than what we see from some Muslim apologists who try to paper over the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—especially when trying to present Islam as peaceful and tolerant. Nevertheless, the Quran is clear that Jews are almost subhuman. This teaching is connected to Sura 2:65, which states that people—apparently Jews—who broke the Sabbath were turned into apes. Another passage features the same punishment for another group of people, who also seem to be Jews (Sura 7:163-166). This teaching continues today, with an American imam repeating the story in a lecture published in December 2019.

#8 No Adoptions in This House, Mister

Allah has not made for a man two hearts in his interior. And He has not made your wives whom you declare unlawful your mothers. And he has not made your adopted sons your [true] sons. That is [merely] your saying by your mouths, but Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [right] way. Call them by [the names of] their fathers; it is more just in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their fathers – then they are [still] your brothers in religion and those entrusted to you. And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. (Sura 33:4-5)

In Islamic belief, a family may raise or “sponsor” a child genetically unrelated to them, and may even be commended for doing so if the child is poor or an orphan (this practice is called kafala). However, the person is never considered a “true” child of the adoptive parents. The “adoption” does not create a relationship between the children and their new parents, nor does it entitle them to inherit anything. This peculiar law stems from a historical account in which Muhammad fancied Zaynab, the beautiful wife of his adopted son Zayd. After the couple divorced, Muhammad decided to marry Zaynab. However, Arab culture would have viewed such a relationship as thoroughly inappropriate—in fact, they considered a man marrying his former son’s wife to be an act of incest. Consequently, Muhammad soon received a conveniently-timed “revelation” from Allah abolishing adoption. Nothing says “Father of the Year” like unadopting your adopted son to add his wife to your harem.

We will examine passages #5-7 in the next post.

For more information, see the video What Every Christian Must Know About Islam.

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