The Bible and Qur’an Are Very Similar Books

It is perhaps no surprise the Qur’an (and another Islamic holy book, the Hadith) is very similar to the Bible. They were both written by primitive Middle Eastern tribes who lived relatively close to each other. The Qur’an was written later than the Bible, and contains copies of the same stories but with unique variations, in the same way the Bible borrowed most of its stories from older religions. No, the works are not precisely the same. The Qur’an is not an historical narrative like the Bible, nor does it feature God taking human form and sacrificing himself to forgive sins. Yet they are similar in an irrefutable and important way: their words can easily justify almost any action, no matter how horrific and evil or kind and loving.

Each book contains many verses that are moral and good, and many verses encouraging (on God’s orders) murder for nonviolent crimes, war on unbelievers, slavery, the brutal oppression of women and homosexuals, etc. These disturbing verses have been used to justify atrocities by Christians and Muslims across the world and throughout history, from the Spanish Christians who butchered and cut off hands of native peoples in South America who wouldn’t convert to the Saudi Arabian Muslims who flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York. When asking the question “Is Islam a religion of peace or a religion of violence?” it seems obvious the answer could be “both” — the same answer to the question “Is Christianity a religion of peace or violence?” — because different people will act on different verses.

Christians and Muslims both stress these murderous verses must be taken in context. So Christians and Jews justify the (God-ordered) Hebrew slaughter of men, women, and children in foreign cities by saying, “If they let them live, their sinful pagan ways would have turned the Jews from God” or “God promised them that land!” As if that somehow justifies a genocidal bloodbath and Hebrew military conquests. Muslims often insist their calls to kill pagans were justified because the very existence of Islam was threatened — pagans were waging war against them. But some might feel the edicts in the following verses sound more like revenge than self-defense. In any case, Muslim armies would soon build a massive empire across the Middle East and Africa, using their holy books as justification — so much for self-defense.

So, the religious insist, mass killings were only appropriate in certain situations. But if we were to actually take these verses in context, we would see a context of primitive, warlike societies that often used their gods to justify atrocities, oppression, and imperialism. Many (but not all) human societies at this time behaved the same way across the globe, and their holy scriptures both encouraged and recorded this.

For every barbaric edict and act in Muslim holy books an equally horrific one is found in the Bible. The central difference between Christianity and Islam in today’s world is that the former has abandoned ancient barbarism to a greater degree than the latter, at least when we’re speaking of many African, Arabian, and Asian Muslim societies. Some day, after more years of reform, Islam will be where Christianity is now (in the same way Christianity used to be as violent and brutal as sharia Islam).

Here are some interesting verses that reveal Bible-Qur’an/Hadith similarities — both the admirable and the disturbing:

Protecting Life

Bible                                          

Thou shalt not kill. (Exodus 20:13)

Qur’an

And do not take any human being’s life – that God willed to be sacred – other than in justice. (17:33)                 

Loving Others

Bible

Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

Hadith

None of you has faith unless you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself. (Sahih Muslim 45)

A Loving God

Bible

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Qur’an

Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful. (4:96)

Killing Adulterers

Bible

If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife — with the wife of his neighbor — both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death. (Lev. 20:10)

Hadith

A man who committed fornication after marriage…should be stoned… (Sunan Abu Dawud 38:4413)

Punishing Sex Outside Marriage

Bible

If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father’s house. (Deut. 22:20-21)

Qur’an

The [unmarried] woman or [unmarried] man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each one of them with a hundred lashes, and do not be taken by pity for them in the religion of Allah… (24:2)

Killing Nonbelievers

Bible

 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. (Deut. 13:6-9)

Qur’an

They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them… (4:89)

Murdering Homosexuals

Bible

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:13)

Hadith

If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death. (Abu Dawud 38:4448)

Making War on Others

Bible

In the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you…When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them? (Deuteronomy 20:16-19)

Qur’an

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (9:5-6)

Slavery

Bible

You may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are round about you…you may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a possession forever. (Leviticus 25:44-46)

Qur’an

O Prophet, indeed we have made lawful to you your wives to whom you have given their due compensation and those your right hand possesses from what Allah has returned to you [captive slaves]… (33:50)

Hell

Bible

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41)

Qur’an

And [mention, O Muhammad], the Day when the enemies of Allah will be gathered to the Fire while they are [driven] assembled in rows, until, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them of what they used to do. (41:19-20)

Oppressing Women

Bible

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

Qur’an

Men are in charge of women… But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. (4:34)

Slavery/Maiming For Theft

Bible

If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. (Exodus 22:3)

Qur’an

[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (5:38)

Other Verses

Bible

If there is found in your midst, any of your towns, which the Lord your God is giving you, a man or a woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord…stone them to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-7)

Qur’an

Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them. Know that God is with the righteous. (9:123)

Bible

Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel…go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Samuel 15:3)

Qur’an

Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (9:29)

Bible

If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

Qur’an

Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution and oppression are worse than slaughter… (2:190-194)

Bible

If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to dwell there, that certain worthless fellows have gone out among you and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other Gods”…put the inhabitants of that city to the sword, devoting it to destruction, all who are in it and its cattle, with the edge of the sword. (Deuteronomy 13:12-15)

Qur’an

He that leaves his dwelling to fight for God and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by God… The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies. (4:95-101)

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