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Can't Allah forgive? part 2

continuation of Part 1

Forgiveness is stronger

The Old Testament endorsed the stoning of adulterers (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22) and fornicators, including a monetary fine and stoning, depending on the circumstances (Ex. 22:16-17; Deut. 22:23-26; 28-29). But there came a moment in the human history, when the law was fulfilled in a Man, who's words brought healing instead of stoning.

Because stoning as a form of punishment was recognized and ordered by Mohamed in the hadiths, there is still a strong base for it's validation. In my comparison list between Mohamed and Jesus, the two worlds, according to their teachings and life examples, collide in many areas, and the stoning reveals one of the aspects of a quite different Word of God they preached and practised.

stoning in Afghanistan

When Jesus came, He changed the world upside down. He revealed the truth about His Father's heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, which is Christianity 101, He touched upon the sins of adultery and lust in a way that changed the perspective on men's righteousness completely.

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matt. 5:27-28

This statement was soon followed by an incident which we can read about in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The smart and intelligent scholars (teachers of the law) and the religious leaders (Pharisees) caught a woman in adultery. In reality they were preying on Jesus, trying to corner Him and expose His luck of, according to their way, cohesive teaching. But the whole story turned into something unexpected, life changing, mind bugling. After dragging her to Jesus' feet they left the power for her life and death in His hands. Jesus replied:

"He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

adulterous woman scene from the movie "The Passion of Christ"

The verdict which was expected to be imposed upon the fallen woman, was turned upon the accusers' consciousness. There were probably few things that could happen then, but the most bizarre happened, and it was recorded in the Gospel. One by one, they all left. Was it, because the spoken Word penetrated their hearts? Was is because they realized their hypocrisy? Was it because they decided they can't win their tricky game this time? was it because the fear of God fall upon them? Was is because they had a glimpse of God who is just and merciful?

This one moment changed the universe forever. The power of forgiveness was installed in the human race. It was cried out not in a moment of speech or preaching, but in the moment where someones destiny was about to be overturned.

"Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?"

Jesus spoke to a condemned woman. That was a shocking reality by itself. The question He asked was for her to realize, that the accusers lost their ground. There were no more threats. And then comes the punching line, that is the quintessence of God who is Justice and Mercy at once.

"I do not condemn you either, go, from now on sin no more."

This is the way to a human heart and the root of the sin. The spiritual solution is forgiveness without condemnation, with the encouragement. Later on, Jesus fulfilled the law by taking the penalty for our sins on Himself.

How different from Mohammed's form of justice - stoning and flogging. Did these kinds, still used in some countries as a "Muslim way" of dealing with the criminals, ever work? As far as I am aware, in Judaism, there is no more stoning imposed as a punishment for the sins or committed crime. Christian based judicial systems are not allowing such cruelty. But in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, it's still a different story. It just torns families apart, deprives the children of the parent, causes damage to the child's life, brings shame without resolution, drives the sin underground, does not offer any healing to the families or the society. If it would work in theses controlled societies, is the sin purged out of the hearts of people?

Can't Allah forgive?

More:

PBS Frontline story about Saudi princess executed for adultery (1980)

Islam and stoning

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American boys forced by father to memorize Koran in Pakistani school

I've read this post today and it is about: 2 American boys, sons of a Pakistani taxi driver in USA, were tricked by their father. Thinking they are going on a vacation, the were send to a Pakistani madrassa school, were the only thing they study is memorization of Koran. It's important to mention that their knowledge of Arabic language is limited. They predict that it will take them about 7 years to finish the memorization.

As the background of the story you will hear proud principal of the school convincing the audience that among his students he has many foreigners, even from the Western countries. He assures that after the initial month or two of readjustment, the children are so content in the new place, that they do not want to go back to their families. He also speaks about the educational aspect of the "curriculum" provided.

Watch this video here

User name: karachi

Password: karachikids

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Can't Merciful Allah forgive? part 1

Stoning - such a cruel death.

Throwing stones at someone's humiliated body, until the person gives out their last breath, seems inhumane. But throughout the history of humankind, stoning has been practiced by many cultures and imposed as community justice or as a judicial form of capital punishment.

In today's world, there are countries that defend exercising this kind of justice upon it's citizens. Incidents of stoning are reported frequently from: Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria.

Some time ago, in his expose, then Saudi Ambassador to London, Ghazi Al-Qusaibi (present Minister of Labor in Saudi Arabia) stated:

[In Islam] punishments have been set, and no matter what we say, the West will see them as barbaric and primitive. According to the Western view, flogging is illogical. Execution is unacceptable, and the same goes for amputating hands and stoning. These are things that in Muslim eyes are at the core of the Islamic faith."

Islamic scholars are not unified on this. Stoning (rajm) is not found in the Quran, but plenty of it in the hadiths (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of the Islamic prophet Muhammad), which causes much trouble to Muslim scholars. Muhammad's words concerning executing stoning ordered by him are quoted several times throughout the hadiths.

"Muhammad, on the other hand, believes in imposing sexual holiness from the outside of a person’s mind by flogging and stoning. But this has never worked throughout human history because sexual sin is too deeply entrenched in human nature. (...) Muhammad’s harsh punishments do not bring healing to a family and subsequently to society, but they tear the family and society apart. Also, it is only logical that such punishments would drive the sin underground; indeed, according to reliable hadiths that Maududi cites, Muhammad encouraged his early followers to keep their sins or "crimes" a secret. This is no long-lasting solution, either." (more here)

According to an Islamic scholar, Maududi, there is enough evidence in three hadiths, that Muhhamed advised criminals to hide their crimes rather then admitting them in order to escape the consequences.

"If any of you is guilty of any immorality, he should better remain hidden under the curtain of Allah, but if he discloses it to us, we shall certainly enforce the law of Allah on him" (Maududi 3:305).

This does not make a good case with the purposeful cruelty of the punishment for certain sins in Islam. Such executions as beheadings, stonings, amputations, should enforce the fear of Allah and in consequence, chastisement of the society.

One of the strongest arguments of Muslims to keep validating these punishments, is that this is the only way to produce a strong, Allah-fearing society and to prevent it from collapsing, as it has in the western cultures. That's why officially they go hard after the perpetrators of the Sharia law. There is no mercy, no reconciliation offered. The law is harsher in many instances toward women in these situations (raped women are condemned to death, or become the victims of honor killings; men usually are flogged and put to prison).

Muslim believers will not escape the example of their model Prophet. The law stands stronger than forgiveness.

So are these controlled societies better off now days? Is the nature of their faith engraved in their hearts?

Sharia law (Islamic religious law) institutes stoning as a penalty for adultery. And most of Islamic countries follow Sharia law (there are five different schools influencing shaping Sharia differently in different regions, although they are broadly similar).

Last year, Mohammad Javad Larijani the head of the Iranian judiciary human rights committee defended the use of execution by stoning after a sentence was carried out on an adulterer, saying the punishment was legal and in line with Iranian's human rights commitments. He said, the judiciary supported the principle of stoning after confirmation last week of the stoning sparked international condemnation. (more here)

"Stoning is based on Islamic Sharia law and it is not contrary to any of our international obligations ... We have signed four important treaties on human rights. None of them has any opposition to stoning".

While Muslims in the West are trying to soften the whole issue (by the way, how can you mercifully and compassionatly stone someone?), the acts of stoning remain undebatable.

Here is a film of an actual stoning from Iran. (Absolutely not to be watched by children!)

In Iran, stoning is included in the Islamic Penal Code. Raped women are also to be stoned, as they are seen to be offenders.

A stoned victim is wrapped in linens, buried half way in the ground, and then put to death. The whole act might take a few minutes to half an hour. In Iran, the victim theoretically might escape this gruesome death by wiggling their way out of the dirt. But look at the Iranians protocol below:

Article 102 states that a man who is sentenced to death by stoning is to be buried to his waist, while a woman who is to be stoned must be buried up to her chest.

Does it take a lot of intelligence to guess who has a better chance? The reports show that the victims who escaped the ditch, are dragged back and stoned again or shot on the spot.

Another interesting detail:

Article 104 defines the size of stones and stipulates: In stoning to death, the stones should not be so large that the person dies upon being hit by one or two of them, neither should they be so small that they cannot be called a stone.

I don't know who collects the killer-stones, who decides about the diameters or weight of a rock to be qualifies as a stone.

In the next part of this subject, I will talk about God who offers forgiveness that changes hearts.

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