English-38

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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