38) Do not the other religious scriptures also prescribe an exemplary code of righteous conduct ?

 

It is true that all religious scriptures do, indeed, provide for certain moral injunctions. It is also true that some of the remnants of the ideals taught by the messengers, located as they are in the moral prescriptions of various religious scriptures, do conform to the teachings of the Qur’an itself. However, the moral injunctions in the Qur’an have certain basic differences with those of the other religious scriptures. These can be summarized as follows:

One: There are only divine commandments in the Qur’an. In the other religious books, on the other hand, along with the description of divine commandments there also exists the laws that were the fabrication of the priests themselves. Indeed, they have become so intertwined, one with the other, that it is now impossible to understand the exact position of each.

Two: The prohibitions and recommendations of the Qur’an are out-and-out humane. Other religious texts, however, contain certain legal prescriptions that are inhuman. For instance, in the first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote: “ ….. it is good of a man not to marry.” (1 Cor 7:1) and “ … he who does not marry…. does even better.” (1 Cor. 7:38). If all men were to follow this ‘better’ prescription, the human race itself would become non-existent in a few decades time. It is, however, not possible to locate such absurd prescriptions in theQur’an.

Three: None of the injunctions of the Qur’an command violence or injustice. Other religious scriptures, however, do give out the call to violence and injustice. For instance, in the Kaushithaki Brahmanopanishad, Indran is quoted as saying, “Na’Mathravadena na Pithravadena nasthayena na broona hathys nasya paapam chana chakrasho mukaneelam vetheethi” (3:1) (Even if my people were to kill their mother and father; even if they were to steal and to practice infanticide; even if they were to commit such sins, they are to feel no remorse. Their faces should never be down-cast).

Four: There is nothing that is despicable in the legal prescription of the Qur’an. However, in some of the other religious scriptures there is a clear distinction between a person of a higher caste and another of a lower caste. For example, consider the punishment prescribed by the Manu Smrithi for insult and abuse: “The punishment for the Kshatriya who insults the Brahman is one hundred coins; for the Vaishya it will be two hundred coins and for the Shudra it will be the whip. If the Brahman were to insult the Kshatriya his punishment would be fifty coins, if he insults the vaishya it would be twenty five coins and if the Shudra, twelve coins.” (Manu Smrithi 8:267, 268)

Five: There are no legal prescriptions of an impracticable nature in the Qur’an. Other religious texts prescribes certain laws which are impracticable. Look at the ruling concerning divorce in the Bible: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery ….” (Luke 16:18) In fact, Christians today admit that this law of the Bible which prohibits divorce is, indeed, not practicable. This is evident in the efforts of the Christian assemblies, to bring forth a new legislation that permits divorce.

Six : The Qur’an describes the history of the prophets who, by way of being the protagonists of the code of righteousness prescribed by the Qur’an, were made pure and blessed. Although the other religious scriptures do state that the prophets were pure and blessed, their lives have, nevertheless, been depicted in the most vulgar fashion. Noah who is rendered a drunkard and one who exposes his nakedness (Genesis 9:20-23), Lot who gets drunk and cohabits with his daughters (Genesis 19:31-36), Jacob who deceives (Genesis 27:1-36), David who lures women into his bed-chamber (2 Samuel 11:2-5) : are these people to be the role models? Great personalities have also been mentioned in the Hindu Puranas in a similar fashion.From Shri Ram himself who is depicted as the one who kills the Shudra Shambukan (Valmiki Ramayan
Yudha Kandam) and as the one who abandons his pregnant wife in the forest (UttaraKandam) to Shri Krishna who is depicted in the Puranas as the one who steals the clothes of the bathing gopikas….. and as the one who commits atrocities and treacheryin the battlefield. In this light, can it be said that they were the ones who had established moral laws? As for the Qur’an, it teaches that all prophets were pure, and exemplary, in the conduct of their lives. The history which the Qur’an does put forward bears ample testimony to the facts in this matter.

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