THE ETHICS OF ISLAM SEEN FROM A CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW

Like any other religion, Islam has a definite Code of ethics. These are based decidedly on Sunnah. What Mohammed did, is right and commendable. What he rejected, is wrong and to be condemned. here we find irreconcilable differences between Christian ethics and those of Islam. Without wishing to be polemical, we should like to mention the position of women within Islamic culture.

We are told that the status of equality of women derived from Islam, whereas the "Christian" Westerner has exploited women and made them object of crude sexuality. We observe, however, that the Quran permits polygamy. Although we do not desire to give polygamy a positive or negative connotation, we wish to state that equality would mean that women should have the same rights as men. This is not so in a polygamous society, for a woman cannot be married to more than one man at the same time. Some quotations from the Hadis enlarge on privileges of men:

In Christian ethics, and this is reflected in the ethics of "Western World", this is a most degrading and unacceptable concept. In the Bible we are commanded:

This is strengthened sby the interpretation of love: Marriage in Islam is a contract that, in the days of Mohammed, was engaged rather lightly. All it required, was that a dower had to be paid, which was often of very little value, however. It could be a garment or even a few handfuls of dates: The value of the dower Mohammed gave for his wives amounted to approximately R50.00 (US$75.-).

If marriage was easy, so was divorce. Three "pronouncements" by the husband (except during the time of menstruation) dissolved a marriage. (ibid. pages 769-770, 754, 759).

Again Jesus shows us a different concept: At the turn of this century 99% of Muslims women were illiterate. There were no state schools for girls, because Islamic leaders opposed them.

The Westerner who visits Islamic countries is at once aware of the absence of women in public life everywhere. Whether it be in the cafes, shops, restaurants or cinemas, one sees men only. Again this is not a criticism of cultural concept, but rather of the Islamic concept of equality.

According to Sura 4:35 :

It sounds almost ironic that a Muslim lady (Olive Toto) wrote a poem that was published in an Islamic paper sometime back, part of which reads as follows:

Without suggesting that this is typical, we ought to mention the "flexibility" one may have regarding the Shariat (Law). Ibn-Saud of Arabia admitted to having had over 200 wives, but maintained that since he had never had more than four at one time, he had never sinned.

According to the laws of inheritance, daughters inherit only half of the portion of the sons and in court it takes the evidence of two women to equal the evidence of one man.

On the other hand we see a very strong emphasis on the care of orphans and widows and the poor, as well as people in distress. Mohammed himself set a shining example in this field. The hospitality of a Muslim home in exemplary.

Christians find many of the Islamic concepts of ethics strange, to say the least. One sample may be presented at random:

A Christian will at once recall what Jesus had to say about prayer:

We realize that the exhibitionist aspect of prayer is a temptation to Muslims and Christians alike, and don't we all become painfully aware of it time and time again? But the Christian is challenged to forget about form of any sort--the outward, visible, checkable, measurable--be it in posture, quantity, timing or pattern; and have communion with the Father; love Him, appreciate Him, adore Him, follow Him, obey Him and be devoted to Him alone!

In my mind's eye I see our Muslim friends protesting and saying that we misunderstand them, for as Muslims they also pray in the above way. Perhaps some do, but that is not what Islam demands. Besides, as we have, already observed, many a Christian concept has been absorbed by Islam, but such tendencies do not represent the "Spirit of Islam."

QUESTION: Do Muslims as a rule approve of such ethics relating to women by practicing them, or have they preferred to accept the "Western" style of partnership? Would any Muslim lady like to be regarded and treated as outlined above, particularly when knowing of true partnership and equality? Is there a young wife who does not mind to share her husband with another wife?

We now venture to discuss a highly delicate subject. We do not need to apologize for this, for it is in reply to a challenge.

Measured by Christian, i.e. Biblical standards--and that is legitimate for Muslims also, for the Torah and the Gospel are accepted as revealed by God--how do certain sayings and actions of Mohammed stand up to scrutiny? How can they be related to his prophethood and the Islamic rejection of the Bible?


http://answering-islam.org/Nehls/Ask/ethics.html


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