AN EYE FOR AN EYEBy Ghada KhafajiSome people believe that Jesus Christ came with love to end the barbarism in theworld but that this is not the case with Muhammad. Didnt Jesus say: "Love yourenemies" while Muhammad fought his enemies? (PAUSE) One thing that seems to bedifferent between the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad is the Law that Muhammadbrought, known as the Islamic Shariah Law. In this article we will tackle only onespecific point in this Law: (PAUSE) an eye for an eye.In the Old Testament, in the Book of Exodus (pronunciation: eg-ze-des), chapter 21,we read that whoever kills or injures another, then the penalty is life for life, an eyefor eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound,bruise for bruise.Some say that Jesus Christ came to end these harsh punishments of the Old Testamentand bring love to the world unlike Muhammad whose book, the Quran, reinforcesthese practices once again and so would be pulling the world backward rather thanforward. But is this true? Isnt the eye for an eye part of the words of God in the OldTestament? Can we say that Gods Law is cruel? Was God harsh and then He becamemerciful? Does God change? According to the Bible, God does not change. We readin the Book of Malachi (pronunciation: malekai), chapter 3, verse 6:Quote: I the LORD do not change. End of quote.Now lets examine some of what Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount in the Gospelof Matthew, chapter 5. (PAUSE) Jesus said:Quote: Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come todestroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, onejot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoevertherefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shallbe called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shallbe called great in the kingdom of heaven….You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoevermurders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angrywith his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment….You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But Isay to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committedadultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and castit from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than foryour whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut itoff and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your membersperish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell….
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tellyou not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn theother to him also. End of quote.The Sermon on the Mount consists of the most important teachings of Jesus Christ.But how can Jesus be saying that not one jot will pass from the Law till all is fulfilled,and then instead of reinforcing an eye for an eye, he tells people to turn the othercheek to those who slap them? Isnt this contradictory? The answer is no, just try tounderstand it through the Quran not through the words of Paul who is considered bysome historians and current biblical scholars to be the founder of the present dayChristianity. Paul (PAUSE), who never met Jesus Christ and who even – according tothe book of Acts, chapter 26 – tortured and killed many of his followers said inRomans, chapter 7:Quote: For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as longas he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. Sothen if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called anadulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is noadulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you alsohave become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married toanother: to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. Forwhen we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were atwork in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from thelaw, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness ofthe Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. End of quote.He also said in Romans, chapter 3, verse 28:Quote: For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.End of quote.According to what Jesus Christ said in his sermon, Paul broke the commandments and“taught men so” earning the position of “the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Nowlets examine what the Quran, the book believed by Muslims to be the actual words ofGod revealed to Prophet Muhammad, says regarding this matter. We read in theQuran, chapter 5, verses 44 to 48 the following words:Quote: Indeed, We did reveal the Torah, wherein was guidance and a light, by whichthe prophets who submitted to God judged the Jews, as did the rabbis and scholars bythat with which they were entrusted of the Scripture of God, and they were witnessesthereto. So do not fear people but fear Me, and do not exchange My verses for a smallprice (i.e., worldly gain). And whoever judges not by that which God has revealed:such are the disbelievers.And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for anose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution. Butwhoever gives up his/her right as charity, it shall be expiation for him/her. Andwhoever judges not by that which God has revealed: such are the wrongdoers.2
And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in their footsteps, confirming thatwhich came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, wherein wasguidance and a light, confirming that which preceded it of the Torah and as guidanceand instruction for the righteous.Let the People of the Gospel judge by that which God has revealed therein. Andwhoever judges not by that which God has revealed: such are the defiantlydisobedient.And to you (Muhammad) have We revealed the Book (i.e., the Quran) with the truth,confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judgebetween them by that which God has revealed and do not follow their inclinationsaway from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a lawand a method. Had God willed, He would have made you one nation (united inreligion), but (He intended) to test you in what He has given you; so race to (all thatis) good. To God is your return all together, and He will (then) inform youconcerning that over which you used to differ. End of quote.In chapter 42 of the Qur’an, verse 40 we read:Quote: And the retribution for an evil act is one like it, but whoever pardons andmakes reconciliation – his reward is (due) from God. Indeed, He does not likewrongdoers. End of quote.In chapter 16, verse 126 we read:Quote: And if you punish (an enemy), punish with an equivalent of that with whichyou were harmed. But if you resort to patience (instead of revenge), it would be betterfor the patient ones. End of quote.The message of forgiving others is repeated over and over in the Quran. In chapter 3,verses 133 and 134 we read:Quote: And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and for a Paradise as wide as theheavens and the earth, prepared for those who are pious: those who spend (in goodcause) during ease and hardship, those who control their anger, and are forgivingtoward people; God loves the doers of good. End of quote.An eye for an eye, therefore, exists in the Islamic Shariah Law alongside with theoption to forgive those who transgress against us, and we learn through the Quranthat forgiveness is better for those who forgive in this life and in the Hereafter.Now just imagine yourself going home one day and opening the door of your house tofind your loved ones murdered and mutilated. The police catch the murderer and thedeath penalty is not applied because it is barbaric or cruel. The murderer spends yearsin prison eating food that you yourself pay for (through taxes) and you might evenend up as a drug addict or an alcoholic. Is this fair? Will this deter others fromcommitting crimes?In some Islamic countries where the Law is enforced, the scenario would be different.They will bring the murderer to be executed in front of you and if you wish you could3
stop the execution by forgiving the murderer. You are given the chance to forgivewillingly. Which scenario is better for you?According to the Qur’an, chapter 2, verse 179, the aim of Gods Law, is not to kill butto prevent murder. These harsh punishments are to deter murderers, criminals andrapists and make them think twice before they commit such crimes. Just compare thecrime rates in countries where the Law is enforced with those elsewhere.Now go back to the Sermon on the Mount in your Bible in the Gospel of Matthew,chapter 5 and read the words of Jesus Christ in context. What was the message he wastrying to convey to the Israelites?4