Faith-And-Moral Issues Between The Qur’an And The Bible: (1) The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are one of the greatest teachings that Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, came with. In Christianity and Islam as well, we find similar teachings that are sometimes identical and may exceed them.

According to some Christians, they are “essential and obligation; no one can be excused from being bound by them!”

The New Testament gives a hint at them: Christ was asked:

“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”. “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments. “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ “(Matthew, 19: 16-21).

Also in Matthew (22: 35-40), we find:

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. (Matthew, 22: 35-40).

According to some: “These two commandments relate to the whole law and all the prophets” and  were considered “A summary of the basic laws of conduct for humanity. Jews and Christians refer to them in order to learn from how to lead a moral life.”

Pope John Paul II said, “The Ten Commandments are not  obligations imposed on us by a tyrant deity. They safe our family’s day and all our coming days”.

They are, according to the Old Testament as follows:

“Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.The Ten Commandments in Islam”

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you”.

“You shall not murder”.

“You shall not commit adultery”.

“You shall not steal”.

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus, 20: 10-17)”.

Islam came with much of these teachings and with more other commandments! it was Say,

“Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you. [He commands] that you not associate anything with Him, and to parents, good treatment, and do not kill your children out of poverty; We will provide for you and them. And do not approach immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed. And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden [to be killed] except by [legal] right. This has He instructed you that you may use reason.” And do not approach the orphan’s property except in a way that is best until he reaches maturity. And give full measure and weight in justice. We do not charge any soul except [with that within] its capacity. And when you testify, be just, even if [it concerns] a near relative. And the covenant of Allah fulfill. This has He instructed you that you may remember. And, [moreover], this is My path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous”. (6 : 151-153).

Many other commandments are also mentioned in Allah’s saying:

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” Your Lord is most knowing of what is within yourselves. If you should be righteous [in intention] – then indeed He is ever, to the often returning [to Him], Forgiving. And give the relative his right, and [also] the poor and the traveler, and do not spend wastefully. Indeed, the wasteful are brothers of the devils, and ever has Satan been to his Lord ungrateful. And if you [must] turn away from the needy awaiting mercy from your Lord which you expect, then speak to them a gentle word. And do not make your hand [as] chained to your neck or extend it completely and [thereby] become blamed and insolvent. Indeed, your Lord extends provision for whom He wills and restricts [it]. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Acquainted and Seeing. And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin. And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way. ……”. (17: 23-38)

Regarding the prohibition of unlawful killing, it  says:

“And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law] (17:33)

As for tackling monotheism (tawhid) and the unity  of  God, the Qur’anic, the Islamic scripture, teachings in most of its contents refer to monotheism:

God Almighty praises (Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One, Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”)(112: 1-4).

 This surah has been considered a third of the Qur’an because it included establishing monotheism, which permeates the teachings of the Holy Qur’an much!

Islam, unprecedently, has exceeded these commandments, added much clarifications and benefits, and brought some new rulings and regulations regarding them. While forbidding adultery, Islam sets forth unprecedented rulings as regards adultery-accusations, male and female adulterer respective states of the adulterer, consequences of  accusation whether the punishment should be mitigated or strengthened, deferred or abolished.

The same applies to the crime of theft. Islam lays the appropriate punishment fit to such a heinous crime. It gives details of evidence of the accusation of theft and also takes into account the conditions of the thief and the crime of theft.

According to Islamic beliefs, God has commanded the faithful servants in the Qur’an with many commandments, the most important of which are the ten commandments that were included in the three verses of Surat Al-Anam and also mentioned in verses of Surat  (chapter of) Al-Isra.

The Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbids making statues (which could lead to their worship).

“Abu Hurairah,  a prominent companion of the Prophet -may Allah be pleased with him- says: The Messenger of God, may Allah’s peace and prayers be upon him, says: Who is more wrongdoing than the one who tries to create like my creation. Let him create an atom(ant) or a grain of wheat or that of barley”.

The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, also said:

“The most tormented people (on the Day of Judgement) are the sculptors (or cravers)”.

As for the forbidden false oath, which was stated in the Bible as: “Do not utter the name of the Lord your God in vain,” Islam has forbade swearing by God in vain; such oath was condemned by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that he called it Al-Yamin Al-Ghamus (the one which casts its doer in the Hellfire). However, we find false applications of this concept on the Christian side; we see many of them swearing by faith rather than by God, although the Bible teachings forbids to swear by God falsely only and do not discourage them from swearing by God truthfully! The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, says:

“Whoever wants to swear let him swear by God (Allah) only”.

We, moreover, find many texts in the prophetic Sunnah that show the different rulings on oath: How to preserve or break it.

The Sunnah of the Prophet abounds with talking about being kind to one’s parents: The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“A person will not recompense their parents their right except that he finds them slaves and free them (i.e. s/he cannot recompense them their right) “(Narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah).

As for the glorification of the Sabbath or other days, it was a test for the Jews who violated the sanctity of God’s commands; God afflicted them with the Sabbath. According to Islam, there are many days which are blessed by God and have merits:

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].)” (9: 36).

As for the prohibition on killing. Islam forbids killing others unlawfully. It legalizes death-penalty for those who deserve it and violates God’s law Almighty says:

“And do not kill the soul that God has forbidden except by the truth.” The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: : It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of God except for one of three: being a Thayiib (married or divorced) fornicator, killing others, and the one who leaves his religion and become an apostate dissenting from Muslims”.

The forbidding of false testimony finds support in the Qur’an. Islam condemns those who do false testimony. According to the Qur’an,  one of the characteristics of the servants of the Most Merciful that they do not do false testimony. The Prophet, as well, may God’s prayers and peace be upon him, stresses the prohibition of such testimony saying:

“Should I not inform you about the most grievous of the grave sins? (The Holy Prophet) repeated it three times, and then said: Associating partners with Allah, disobedience to parents, false testimony or false utterance. The Prophet was reclining, then he sat down, and repeated it so many times that we wished that he was silent”.

Thus, we see the comprehensiveness of Islamic commandments. Islam adds more noble commandments which are not even found in the Bible or any other scripture. It encourages observation of one’s promises or covenants, being kind or charitable to the orphans, encouraging justice and giving full scales or balance while selling to others and the fear of God Almighty!.


-Catechism of the Catholic Youth – in Arabic, a group of bishops with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, Patriarchal Youth Office, Bkerke 2012, pp. 192-193).



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