The Ten Commandments in the Bible and in the Koran
Here are Exodus’s version of the Ten Commandments (which are repeated in Deuteronomy):
"You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
“You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:3-17)
Now here is the Koran’s version of the Commandments, which include some not mentioned in the Exodus version, but which is still close enough to be an unmistakably parallel passage:
Say, “Come, I will recite what your Lord has forbidden you; that you associate not anything with Him, and to be good to your parents, and not to slay your children because of poverty; We will provide you and them, and that you approach not any indecency outward or inward, and that you slay not the soul God has forbidden, except by right. That then He has charged you with; haply you will understand.
(- 6:150 -)
And that your approach not the property of the orphan, save in the fairer manner, until he is of age. And fill up the measure and the blanace with justice. We charge not any soul save to its capacity. And when you speak, be just, even if it should be to a near kinsman. And fulfil God’s covenant. That then He has charged you with; haply you will remember.
(- 6:151 -)
Now here is the heart of morality. I think that these two verses contain the answers to all moral dilemmas, if you are wise enough to apply them properly to the dilemma. But the Bible’s version of the Commandments suffers from five problems:
1. It does not actually forbid you from worshiping other gods (so long as they are not graven images), but only from worshiping them before Jehovah.
2. It claims that God is a jealous God.
3. In the same breath, it claims that God punishes and rewards people for what other people do. (This contradicts Ezekiel 18, but that’s another story.)
4. It forbids only killing, not murder. Some translations, to be sure, say “murder”, but the RSV is the only one I trust completely, as comparing translations and learning about certain verses has led me to conclude that it is the most honestly translated one. In any case God repeatedly orders people in the Old Testament to commit what can only be called murder, such as in the command in 1 Samuel 15:3 to slay even the infants and sucklings of a raided civilization.
5. Wives are included on a list of property on a list with slaves, houses and farm animals.
The Koran’s version of the commandments, as you may have noticed, is free from these problems. Even if the hardcore inerrantist Christian apologists are right and I have misunderstood the text in all five of my points (as they would undoubtably say), there is no room for misunderstanding the Koran’s version of the Commandments in such an evil way, so no matter how you figure it, the Koran’s version is cleaned up from the Bible’s version, superior one way or another. Its superiority is also evident in numerous other ways:
1. While the Bible’s version, as I’ve pointed out, simply says not to have other gods before God, the Koran’s version actually says not to associate anything with Him.
2. The Koran’s version mentions the basic fact of justice, not just a few select forms of it like not stealing or committing adultery. It tells you to be just, and that covers so much more ground than these “perfect ten” do, n’est-ce pas?
3. The simple command to fulfill God’s covenant is somehow not in the Bible’s version of the Commandments! Not so with the Koran’s version.
4. The Koran’s version guides your whole speech, not just your speech about God.
I am not trying here to get into a “my scripture is better than yours!” tussle, or even to make the point, “My Commandments are better than yours!” The superiority I pointed out is of the sort where the Koran’s version of the Commandments is a polished, perfected, cleaned up version of the Bible’s, which like every other article on this page, is more evidence that the entire Koran is like that compared to the Jewish and Christian scriptures which are relevant to it. The Koran isn’t connected to the whole Bible and some of the scriptures contained in it (the Gospel written by the blessed Jesus himself, and the scroll of Abraham) weren’t in the Bible (although the teachings of the blessed Jesus and the Koran itself largely match those found scattered throughout the four Gospels and Gospel of Thomas), but in a certain, exagerrated sense, you could say that the Koran is a final draft for the Bible, that it has the good of the Bible while leaving out the bad, and I hope this article has provided another example of that.
Islam is the true way. I hope this article, and the rest of this page, help my dear Christian readers to understand that.