THE QURAN AND LESBIANISM

AN OPEN CHALLENGE TO OSAMA ABDALLAH

Sam Shamoun

Some readers may wonder why we even bother to discuss the question of whether or not the Quran condemns lesbian acts. The relevancy of the issue goes beyond merely responding to one misguided attack on us by Osama Abdallah. This will become clear in the last section of this article, the concluding remarks.

God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, explicitly condemns the practice of homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality:

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is perversion." Leviticus 18:22-23 RSV

"If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them... If a man lies with a beast, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the beast." Leviticus 20:13, 15 RSV

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error." Romans 1:26-27 RSV

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

"Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted." 1 Timothy 1:8-11 ESV

The Holy Bible also refers to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and their neighboring cities, due to their evil and wickedness, which included homosexuality:

"Then the LORD said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor'rah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.’" Genesis 18:20-21 RSV

"The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, and said, ‘My lords, turn aside, I pray you, to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise up early and go on your way.’ They said, ‘No; we will spend the night in the street.’ But he urged them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house; and he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate. But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house; and they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.’ Lot went out of the door to the men, shut the door after him, and said, ‘I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known man; let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.’ But they said, ‘Stand back!’ And they said, ‘This fellow came to sojourn, and he would play the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.’ Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door. But the men put forth their hands and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door. And they struck with blindness the men who were at the door of the house, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves groping for the door." Genesis 19:1-11 RSV

"just as Sodom and Gomor'rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire." Jude 1:7 RSV

This is where we get the term sodomy and sodomite in connection to homosexuality.

The Quran, on the other hand, only vaguely refers to homosexuality in connection with Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. We have shown why even Lot’s story doesn’t conclusively condemn homosexuality, at least as far as the Quran is concerned, in another rebuttal: www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Menj/homosexual.htm.

In that same article, we also dealt with surah 4:16, a passage brought up by Muslims such as Osama Abdallah below, showing that it does not refer to the punishment of homosexuals, at least not explicitly.

But for argument’s sake, let us concede that these passages do condemn homosexuality, this still leaves us with the problem of the Quran never explicitly condemning either lesbianism or bestiality.

Osama Abdallah, of Answering Christianity, has sought to prove me wrong by showing that the Quran does condemn lesbianism (*). Ignoring his venomous slurs and assault, especially on Christian women (i.e. claiming that more than 95% of Christian women are "whores and sluts"), Osama writes:

My response to this loser:

Of course lewdness doesn't mean anything to you since perhaps most, if not all, of the single women in your christian community from family and friends are non-virgins.  I can clearly see why to a brainless pervert like you, lewdness is nothing, since you failed to see that lewdness in the Noble Verse 4:15 above does automatically include lesbianism and all of the other forms of sexual sinnings [sic] too.   Your failure and carelessness are all due to the way you and most christians today are raised.  Fornication with a boyfriend or girlfriend is not even considered a sexual sin.  It is a personal choice and freedom.  Hilarious indeed.

Allah Almighty not only condemns homosexuality, fornication and adultery in the Noble Quran, but He [sic] Almighty also Commands all Muslims to remain Chaste:


Fornication, Adultery and Homosexuality:

"Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).  (The Noble Quran, 17:32)"

"The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God, if ye believe in God and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.  (The Noble Quran, 24:2)"

"Let no man guilty of adultery or fornication marry and but a woman similarly guilty, or an Unbeliever: nor let any but such a man or an Unbeliever marry such a woman: to the Believers such a thing is forbidden.  (The Noble Quran, 24:3)"

"O Prophet! When believing women come to thee to take the oath of fealty to thee, that they will not associate in worship any other thing whatever with God, that they will not steal, that they will not commit adultery (or fornication), that they will not kill their children, that they will not utter slander, intentionally forging falsehood, and that they will not disobey thee in any just matter,- then do thou receive their fealty, and pray to God for the forgiveness (of their sins): for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.  (The Noble Quran, 60:12)"

"If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or God ordain for them some (other) way.   (The Noble Quran, 4:15)"   If the lesbian woman or women repent, then she or they would be set free.  See proof.

"If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone; for God is Oft-returning, Most Merciful.   (The Noble Quran, 4:16)"

"We also (sent) Lut: He said to his people: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever) committed before you?  (The Noble Quran, 7:80)"

"For ye practise your lusts on men in preference to women: Ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.  (The Noble Quran, 7:81)"

"(We also sent) Lut (as an apostle): behold, He said to his people, "Do ye do what is shameful though ye see (its iniquity)(The Noble Quran, 27:54)"

"Would ye really approach men in your lusts rather than women? Nay, ye are a people (grossly) ignorant!  (The Noble Quran, 27:55)"

Muslim men and women must remain Chaste:

"Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until God gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which God has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is God, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them),  (The Noble Quran, 24:33)"

"If any of you have not the means wherewith to wed free believing women, they may wed believing girls from among those whom your right hands possess: And God hath full knowledge about your faith. Ye are one from another: Wed them with the leave of their owners, and give them their dowers, according to what is reasonable: They should be chaste, not lustful, nor taking paramours: when they are taken in wedlock, if they fall into shame, their punishment is half that for free women. This (permission) is for those among you who fear sin; but it is better for you that ye practise self-restraint. And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.   (The Noble Quran, 4:25)"

"This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).  (The Noble Quran, 5:5)"

"She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?"  (The Noble Quran, 19:20)"

"O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste(The Noble Quran, 19:28)"

"And those who launch a charge against chaste women, and produce not four witnesses (to support their allegations),- flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their evidence ever after: for such men are wicked transgressors;-  (The Noble Quran, 24:4)"

"Those who slander chaste women, indiscreet but believing, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter: for them is a grievous Penalty,-  (The Noble Quran, 24:23)"

RESPONSE:

In the first place, even though the Quran condemns adultery in certain instances, it does permit it in other circumstances:

Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (Prohibitions) against you: Except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property, - desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree Mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-knowing, All-wise. S. 4:24 Y. Ali

This passage makes it lawful for men to have sex with married women who are owned by Muslims as slaves, whether by captivity or by purchase.

In fact, there is a passage which implicitly permits prostitution under certain circumstances:

And let those who do not find the means to marry keep chaste until Allah makes them free from want out of His grace. And (as for) those who ask for a writing from among those whom your right hands possess, give them the writing if you know any good in them, and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, WHEN THEY DESIRE TO KEEP CHASTE, in order to seek the frail good of this world's life; and whoever compels them, then surely after their compulsion Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. S. 24:33 Shakir

The way this passage is worded one can easily conclude that prostitution is only a sin when the slave girl desires chastity. Otherwise, if she does not desire to be chaste then it is okay for her to prostitute herself for gain. This understanding is supported by the fact that Muhammad allowed his followers to contract temporary marriages (called Muta in Arabic) for the sole purpose of sexual gratification, an obvious form of prostitution. The verse used to justify Muta is actually the very one used above which permits adultery in specific situations:

[Forbidden to you] are married woman, except what your right hand possesses. This Allah has written for you, and all other women besides these are permitted to you, so that you may seek them out with your wealth, seeking chastity and not fornication. So when you have contracted temporary marriage [istimt'atum] with them, then give them their words. There is no sin on you for whatever you agree to after this. Indeed, Allah is Knowing, Wise. S. 4:24

The word, istimta'tum, is the verbal form of the word Mutah. Now, there must be women who are willing to sleep with Muslim men under the guise of temporary marriages for money. This is where prostitution comes in, i.e. slave girls who would be willing to sleep with these men for money or material goods!

{Note: Although Sunni Muslims claim that this practice of temporary marriages has been canceled, Shia Muslims disagree (cf. http://www.answering-ansar.org/answers/mutah/en/index.php). Thus, there are thousands of Muslims till this very day who engage in what is nothing more than prostitution!}

Allah even justified Muhammad’s adulterous desires for his adopted son’s wife, Zaynab bint Jash, which led to his adopted son divorcing her so that Muhammad could then marry her:

And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah's command shall be performed. There is no harm in the Prophet doing that which Allah has ordained for him; such has been the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and the command of Allah is a decree that is made absolute: S. 33:37-38 Shakir

Note the wording of the text carefully. Muhammad was hiding within himself what Allah supposedly was to bring to light, namely, that Muhammad was to marry his adopted son’s divorcee. This means that even before the divorce, Allah allegedly ordained that Muhammad would desire and wed a married woman, which further implies that it was Allah who caused Zaid to divorce his wife so that Muhammad could have her! No wonder Muhammad feared men!

The authoritative Muslim historian and commentator, al-Tabari, provides the alleged historical background for these verses:

The Messenger of God came to the house of Zayd b. Harithah. (Zayd was always called Zayd b. Muhammad.) Perhaps the Messenger of God missed him at that moment, so as to ask, "Where is Zayd?" He came to his residence to look for him but did not find him. Zaynab bt. Jash, Zayd's wife, rose to meet him. Because she was dressed only in a shift, the Messenger of God turned away from her. She said: "He is not here, Messenger of God. Come in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother!" The Messenger of God refused to enter. Zaynab had dressed in haste when she was told "the Messenger of God is at the door." She jumped up in haste and excited the admiration of the Messenger of God, so that he turned away murmuring something that could scarcely be understood. However, he did say overtly: "Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes the hearts to turn!"

When Zayd came home, his wife told him that the Messenger of God had come to his house. Zayd said, "Why didn't you ask him to come in?" He replied, "I asked him, but he refused." "Did you hear him say anything?" he asked. She replied, "As he turned away, I heard him say: ‘Glory be to God the Almighty! Glory be to God, who causes hearts to turn!’"

So Zayd left, and having come to the Messenger of God, he said: "Messenger of God, I have heard that you came to my house. Why didn't you go in, you who are as dear to me as my father and mother? Messenger of God, perhaps Zaynab has excited your admiration, and so I will separate myself from her." Zayd could find no possible way to [approach] her after that day. He would come to the Messenger of God and tell him so, but the Messenger of God would say to him, "Keep your wife." Zayd separated from her and left her, and she became free.

While the Messenger of God was talking with 'A'isha, a fainting overcame him. When he was released from it, he smiled and said, "Who will go to Zaynab to tell her the good news, saying that God has married her to me?" Then the Messenger of God recited: "And when you said unto him on whom God has conferred favor and you have conferred favor, ‘Keep your wife to yourself .’"- and the entire passage.

According to 'A'isha, who said: "I became very uneasy because of what we heard about her beauty and another thing, the greatest and loftiest of matters - what God had done for her by giving her in marriage. I said she would boast of it over us." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 2-3; bold emphasis ours)

The following is the English translation of al-Tabari's Arabic commentary on surah 33:37:

When the exalted Allah said, "Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor: ‘Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.’ But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest: thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah" this was said by Allah as chastisement to His prophet. For when He said, "one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor" this was in reference to Zaid son of Haritha who had been set free by the apostle of Allah – prayers and peace be upon him.

When the Exalted Allah said, "Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah" this was concerning Zainab the daughter of Jash whom the prophet – pbuh – had seen in her robes and was enamored by her. Thus when Allah saw what was stirring in His prophet’s soul, he placed hatred in the heart of Zaid towards Zainab that he may depart from her. When Zaid mentioned his intention to separate from Zainab to the prophet, the prophet told him, "Retain thou thy wife" even THOUGH THE PROPHET DESIRED THAT THEY SEPARATE SO THAT HE COULD MARRY HER...

When Allah said, "Thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest," means that the prophet hid in his heart his desire for Zaid to depart from Zainab so that he may marry her, and Allah will reveal what you are concealing in your heart concerning this.

The Almighty said, "Thou didst fear the people, but it is more fitting that thou shouldst fear Allah," because Allah was telling the prophet who feared people might say, "He ordered a man to divorce his wife so that he himself may marry her after she is divorced," and Allah aught to be feared more than people.

Narrated by Yunis, narrated by Ibn Wahab, narrated by Ibn Zaid who said, "The prophet –pbuh– had married Zaid son of Haritha to his cousin Zainab daughter of Jahsh. One day the prophet –pbuh– went seeking Zaid in his house, whose door had a curtain made of hair. The wind blew the curtain and the prophet saw Zainab in her room unclothed and he admired her in his heart. When Zainab realized that the prophet desired her SHE BEGAN TO HATE ZAID.

Zaid then came to the prophet –pbuh– and said, "O apostle of Allah, I wish to separate from my mate." The prophet responded, "Why? Has anything evil come from her?" Zaid responded, "No, by Allah! I haven’t seen anything evil from her only good."

The prophet said, "Hold unto your wife and fear Allah." That is what Allah said in the Quran, "Thou didst say to one who had received the grace of Allah and thy favor: ‘Retain thou (in wedlock) thy wife, and fear Allah.’ But thou didst hide in thy heart that which Allah was about to make manifest." For the prophet was concealing the fact that he would marry Zainab when Zaid had divorced her. (Source; translated by Dimitrius)

Here, also, are the comments of renowned Muslim commentator, al-Qurtubi, on surah 33:37, translated directly from the Arabic:

Muqatil narrated that the prophet married Zainab daughter of Jahsh to Zaid and she stayed with him for a while. Then one day the prophet –pbuh– came seeking Zaid but he saw Zainab standing; she was white skinned with a beautiful figure and one of the most perfect women in Quraish. So HE DESIRED HER and said, "Wondrous is Allah who changes the heart." When Zaynab heard the prophets exaltation of her, she relayed it to Zaid who then understood (what he had to do). Zaid said to the prophet, "O prophet of Allah, allow me to divorce her, for she has become arrogant; seeing herself superior to me and she insults me with her tongue."

The prophet replied, "Hold onto your wife and fear Allah."

It was said that Allah had sent a wind which lifted the curtain to reveal Zainab in her room. When the prophet saw her HE DESIRED HER and it delighted Zainab to be desired by the prophet – pbuh. When Zaid returned home, she informed him of what had happened and Zaid was thus determined to divorce her. (Source; translated by Dimitrius)

Al-Qurtubi also lists the "blessings" and privileges given to Muhammad, which even includes taking another man’s wife if he so desired:

And any believing woman who dedicates herself to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed (Nikah) her; this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large).

As for what was granted and made lawful (by Allah) to the prophet -pbuh- they are 16 issues:-

"Yas-tan-kih" comes from the word "Yan’kah." For it is said in different forms "Nakaha" and "Istan-kaha" just as it is said "Ajab" and "Ista-jab"... It is permissible to use the word, "Istan-kaha," to mean one whom requests marriage or one who requests sexual intercourse. (Source)

We also provide Al-Zamakhshari's comments on surah 33:37:

Keep thy wife to thyself: that is, Zainab bint Jahsh. After having given her to Zaid ibn Haritha as a wife, the Messenger of God once caught sight of her, and she made an impression of him. At this sight he said: ‘Praise be to God who changes the heart!’ Previously his soul had turned away from her so that he had not desired her (as a wife). If he had desired her at that time, he would have asked her for her hand in marriage. Now Zainab heard of this praise and mentioned it to (her husband) Zaid, who understood and to whom God gave antipathy against her and aversion to intimacy with her. So Zaid said to the Messenger of God: ‘I might divorce my wife’; to which the latter replied: ‘What is it? Has something filled you with mistrust against her?’ Zaid answered: ‘By God, no! I have observed only good in her; yet her noble rank places her too high above me and causes me to feel hurt.’ Thereupon the Messenger of God said: ‘Keep thy wife to thyself and fear God.’ But Zaid (nevertheless) separated from her, and as soon as the waiting period (during which the wife may enter into no new marriage) had elapsed, the Messenger of God had said (to Zaid): ‘I have no one whom I trust more than you; therefore, seek the hand of Zainab for me!’

Zaid reported: I went forth and there I suddenly found her just as she was leavening some dough. As soon as I saw her she made such an impression on me, since I knew that the Messenger of God had been speaking of her ...

One may ask what the Prophet kept secret within himself. To this I answer: the fact that he was devoted to her in his heart. Others say: the wish that Zaid might separate from her. Still others say: his knowledge that Zaid would separate from her and that he would marry her, for God had already given this knowledge to him ...

(Further) one may ask what the Prophet should have said when Zaid informed him that he wanted to separate from Zainab, since it would have been objectionable if he had said: ‘Do it, for I want to marry her!’ To this I reply: It may perhaps be God's will that in this case he keep silent or say to Zaid: ‘You know your situation best.’ In this manner he would not have contradicted his secret which he (later) indicated had been revealed ... (Helmut Gtje, The Qur'an and its Exegesis [Routledge and Keagan Paul, London UK 1976], pp. 83-85; bold emphasis ours)

The final reference we present comes from modern Muslim writer Martin Lings:

Such demands as these upon the Prophet's time were not to be avoided; but there was a growing need that he should be protected in other ways, and the protection that now came was not unconnected with the following altogether unexpected event which served to emphasize his uniquely privileged position. It happened one day that he wanted to speak to Zayd about something and went to his house. Zaynab opened the door, and as she stood in the doorway telling him that Zayd was out but inviting him none the less to enter, a look passed between the two cousins which made each one conscious of a deep and lasting bond of love between them. In a moment the Prophet knew that Zaynab loved him and that he loved her and that she knew he loved her. But what could this mean? Surprised at the strength of his feeling, and as he turned to go she heard him say: "Glory to God the Infinite! Glory be to Him who disposeth men's hearts!" When Zayd returned she told him of the Prophet's visit and of the glorification she had heard him utter. Zayd immediately went to him and said: "I have been told thou camest unto my house. Why didst not enter, thou who art more to me than my father and my mother? Was it that Zaynab hath found favour with thee? If it be so, I will leave her." "Keep thy wife and fear God," said the Prophet with some insistence. He had said on another occasion: "Of all things licit the most hateful unto God is divorce." And when Zayd came again the next day with the same proposal, again the Prophet insisted that he should keep his wife. But the marriage between Zayd and Zaynab had not been a happy one and Zayd found it no longer tolerable, so by mutual agreement with Zaynab he divorced her. This did not, however, make Zaynab eligible as a wife for the Prophet for although the Koran had only specified that men were forbidden to marry the wives of sons spring from their loins, it was a strong social principle not to make a distinction between sons by birth and sons by adoption. Nor was the Prophet himself eligible, for he had already four wives, the most that the Islamic law allows. (Lings, Muhammad: His Life based on the earliest Sources [Inner Traditions International, Ltd., Rochester, Vermont 1983], pp. 212-213; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Thus, the Quran not only does not condemn adultery in every case, but actually permits it if the circumstances are ‘right’.

Actually, Muhammad’s so-called privileges, such as having wives of his liking, even led some people to accuse him of being a womanizer:

... Layla bt. al-Khatim b. 'Adi b. 'Amr b. Sawad b. Zafar b. al-Harith b. al-Khazraj approached the Prophet while his back was to the sun, and clapped him on his shoulder. He asked who it was, and she replied, "I am the daughter of one who competes with the wind. I am Layla bt. al-Khatim. I have come to offer myself [in marriage] to you, so marry me." He replied, "I accept." She went back to her people and said that the Messenger of God had married her. They said, "What a bad thing you have done! You are a self-respecting woman, but the Prophet is a womanizer. Seek an annulment from him." She went back to the Prophet and asked him to revoke the marriage and he complied with [her request]. (The History of Al-Tabari: The Last Years of the Prophet, translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1990], Volume IX, p. 139; bold emphasis ours)

The Quran also gives Muslim men the right to have as many slave girls as they choose:

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. S. 4:3 Y. Ali

And who guard their private parts, Except before their mates or those whom their right hands possess, for they surely are not blameable, S. 23:5-6 Shakir

O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncle on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage - a privilege for thee only, not for the (rest of) believers - We are Aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess - that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful... It is not allowed thee to take (other) women henceforth, nor that thou shouldst change them for other wives even though their beauty pleased thee, save those whom thy right hand possesseth. And Allah is ever Watcher over all things. S. 33:50, 52

And those who guard their private parts, Except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess -- for these surely are not to be blamed, S. 70:29-30 Shakir

In light of such privileges, what need is there for Muslim men to commit adultery seeing that they can have sex galore with as many captive and slave women as they like?!

There even are commentators, while commenting on specific Quranic passages, who say that incestuous relations are permitted in certain instances. The Quran says in surah 25:54:

And He it is Who hath created man from water, and hath appointed for him kindred by blood and kindred by marriage; for thy Lord is ever Powerful. Pickthall

Al-Qurtubi wrote regarding this passage:

نَسَبًا وَصِهْرًا

النَّسَب وَالصِّهْر مَعْنَيَانِ يَعُمَّانِ كُلّ قُرْبَى تَكُون بَيْن آدَمِيَّيْنِ . قَالَ اِبْن الْعَرَبِيّ : النَّسَب عِبَارَة عَنْ خَلْط الْمَاء بَيْن الذَّكَر وَالْأُنْثَى عَلَى وَجْه الشَّرْع ; فَإِنْ كَانَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ كَانَ خَلْقًا مُطْلَقًا وَلَمْ يَكُنْ نَسَبًا مُحَقَّقًا , وَلِذَلِكَ لَمْ يَدْخُل تَحْت قَوْله : " حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أُمَّهَاتكُمْ وَبَنَاتكُمْ " [ النِّسَاء : 23 ] بِنْته مِنْ الزِّنَى ; لِأَنَّهَا لَيْسَتْ بِبِنْتٍ لَهُ فِي أَصَحّ الْقَوْلَيْنِ لِعُلَمَائِنَا وَأَصَحّ الْقَوْلَيْنِ فِي الدِّين ; وَإِذَا لَمْ يَكُنْ نَسَب شَرْعًا فَلَا صِهْر شَرْعًا فَلَا يُحَرِّم الزِّنَى بِنْت أُمّ وَلَا أُمّ بِنْت , وَمَا يَحْرُم مِنْ الْحَلَال لَا يَحْرُم مِنْ الْحَرَام ; لِأَنَّ اللَّه اِمْتَنَّ بِالنَّسَبِ وَالصِّهْر عَلَى عِبَاده وَرَفَعَ قَدْرهمَا , وَعَلَّقَ الْأَحْكَام فِي الْحِلّ وَالْحُرْمَة عَلَيْهِمَا فَلَا يَلْحَق الْبَاطِل بِهِمَا وَلَا يُسَاوِيهِمَا . قُلْت : اِخْتَلَفَ الْفُقَهَاء فِي نِكَاح الرَّجُل اِبْنَته مِنْ زِنًى أَوْ أُخْته أَوْ بِنْت اِبْنه مِنْ زِنًى ; فَحَرَّمَ ذَلِكَ قَوْم مِنْهُمْ اِبْن الْقَاسِم , وَهُوَ قَوْل أَبِي حَنِيفَة وَأَصْحَابه , وَأَجَازَ ذَلِكَ آخَرُونَ مِنْهُمْ عَبْد الْمَلِك بْن الْمَاجِشُونِ , وَهُوَ قَوْل الشَّافِعِيّ , وَقَدْ مَضَى هَذَا فِي " النِّسَاء " مُجَوَّدًا

Explanation of Surah 25:54 by Imam Qurtubi:

"It is He Who has created man from water: Then has He established relationships of lineage and marriage: for thy Lord has power (over all things)." (Surah 25:54)

Regarding the terms "lineage and relationship through marriage":

Lineage and relationship through marriage are two terms that describe the personal relationships that may exist between humans. Ibn Al-Arabi said, "Lineage is an expression referring to the mixture of fluids between a male and a female from a religious legal point of view. However, if this union (between male and female) occurs through disobedience (fornication) then the resulting child is not considered a part of a person’s true lineage. That is why a daughter born from adultery is not mentioned in Allah’s saying, ‘Prohibited to you (for marriage) are: your mothers and daughters’ (Surah 4:23) because she is not considered a daughter according to the most authentic teaching of our (Islamic) scholars and the most authentic teaching of our religion. If there is no legal lineage then there is no legal relationship; for adultery does not prohibit (from marriage) the daughter of the mother (you committed adultery with) nor the mother of a woman (you committed adultery with). What is lawfully prohibited is not also prohibited due to sin, for Allah has bestowed lineage and relation through marriage upon His servants and greatly esteemed these relationships. Allah has also established laws identifying what is legal and what is prohibited, which are not equal to each other; therefore falsehood cannot be a part of these laws."

I (Qurtubi) said: The scholars have differed on the permissibility of a man marrying his daughter who was the result of an adulterous relationship; or for that matter marrying his sister or granddaughter who was the result of adultery. Some prohibited this type of relationship; among them was Ibn Al Qasim, which is also the saying of Abu Hanifa and his companions. Others however, allowed this type of marriage such as Abdul Malik Al Maj’shun, which is also the saying of Al Shafi’i. This was detailed in the explanation of Surah 4 (Al Nisa’).

(Taken from Al-Azhar’s website: source; translated by our dear brother Dimitrius.)

Thus, certain Muslim scholars and Islamic schools of jurisprudence allow for a man to marry his very own daughter, as long as she was born from an adulterous relationship!

Furthermore, Osama puts the cart before the horse, so to speak, since he already has a presumed definition of what being chaste implies. He assumes that being chaste means refraining from lesbian relations. But, one can argue and say that being chaste means that a person can engage in sexual acts, whether it is with a member of the opposite sex or one of the same sex, provided that their dowers are given, and that they do so in a marital bond or contract. In other words, Osama can’t simply assume his definition of ‘chaste’ or ‘marriage’. Rather, he must first prove his position with EXPLICIT statements from the Quran.

Osama thinks he has done so by appealing to surah 4:15, since there it speaks of women who have committed fahishah. Osama thinks that both the Arabic term fahishah and the English word lewdness necessarily imply lesbianism. But as we shall now see, this is not the case at all, but is simply Osama’s wishful thinking and erroneous exegesis. Neither the Arabic fahishah nor the word lewdness necessarily implies that lesbianism is being addressed. Note how the following dictionaries define lewd and lewdness:

lewd   
adj. lewder, lewdest

1a. Preoccupied with sex and sexual desire; lustful. b. Obscene; indecent. 2. Obsolete. Wicked.
(Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000)


Main Entry: lewd
Pronunciation: 'ld
Function: adjective
: involving or being sexual conduct that is considered indecent or offensive : LICENTIOUS <convicted of lewd and lascivious assault upon a child —National Law Journal> —lewdly adverblewdness noun
(Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary of Law, 1996 Merriam-Webster, Inc.)


lewd

\Lewd\ (l[=u]d), a. [Compar. Lewder (-[~e]r); superl. Lewdest.] [OE. lewed, lewd, lay, ignorant, vile, AS. l[=ae]wed laical, belonging to the laity.] 1. Not clerical; laic; laical; hence, unlearned; simple. [Obs.]

For if a priest be foul, on whom we trust, No wonder is a lewed man to rust. --Chaucer.

So these great clerks their little wisdom show To mock the lewd, as learn'd in this as they. --Sir. J. Davies.

2. Belonging to the lower classes, or the rabble; idle and lawless; bad; vicious. [Archaic] --Chaucer.

But the Jews, which believed not, . . . took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, . . . and assaulted the house of Jason. --Acts xvii. 5.

Too lewd to work, and ready for any kind of mischief. --Southey.

3. Given to the promiscuous indulgence of lust; dissolute; lustful; libidinous. --Dryden.

4. Suiting, or proceeding from, lustfulness; involving unlawful sexual desire; as, lewd thoughts, conduct, or language.

Syn: Lustful; libidinous; licentious; profligate; dissolute; sensual; unchaste; impure; lascivious; lecherous; rakish; debauched. -- Lewd\"ly, adv. -- Lewd\"ness, n.

(Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.)


lewd

adj 1: suggestive of or tending to moral looseness; "lewd whisperings of a dirty old man"; "an indecent gesture"; "obscene telephone calls"; "salacious limericks" [syn: obscene, raunchy, salacious] 2: driven by lust; preoccupied with or exhibiting lustful desires; "libidinous orgies" [syn: lascivious, libidinous, lustful] (Source: WordNet 2.0, 2003 Princeton University)

The broad range of meanings show that Osama is erroneously assuming that lewdness, in the context of surah 4:15, is indeed referring to lesbianism, as opposed to a whole host of other things. Besides all this, Osama has to first show that the Quran considers lesbianism to be an unchaste and immoral act in order to conclude that being a lesbian is to engage in lewd behavior.

This leads us to the Arabic word, fahishah. The word is used in many places in the Quran with a broad range of meaning, similar to the English word lewd or lewdness. It is even used in connection with the people of Lot, but even in those specific passages, it is the context that shows that fahishah is referring to the homosexual inclinations of Lot’s people.

But not every context where fahishah is used refers to homosexual acts.

He enjoineth upon you only the evil and the foul (waalfahsha-i), and that ye should tell concerning Allah that which ye know not. S. 2:169 Pickthall

The Evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly (bialfahsha-i). God promiseth you His forgiveness and bounties. And God careth for all and He knoweth all things. S. 2:268 Y. Ali

O you who believe! it is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not straighten them in order that you may take part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency, and treat them kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it. S. 4:19 Shakir

When they do aught that is shameful (fahishatan), they say: "We found our fathers doing so"; and "God commanded us thus": Say: "Nay, God never commands what is shameful: do ye say of God what ye know not?" S. 7:28 Y. Ali

She verily desired him, and he would have desired her if it had not been that he saw the argument of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might ward off from him evil and lewdness (waalfahshaa). Lo! he was of Our chosen slaves. S. 12:24 Pickthall

Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency (alfahsha-i) and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful. S. 16:90 Shakir

Lo! those who love that slander (alfahishatu) should be spread concerning those who believe, theirs will be a painful punishment in the world and the Hereafter. Allah knoweth. Ye know not. S. 24:19 Pickthall

O ye who believe! follow not Satan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful (bialfahsha-i) and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but God doth purify whom He pleases: and God is One Who hears and knows (all things). S. 24:21 Y. Ali

Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to thee, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful (alfahsha-i) and unjust deeds; and remembrance of God is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And God knows the (deeds) that ye do. 29:45 Y. Ali

In some of the examples, the precise meaning of the word is unspecified. Yet in 24:19, 21, it speaks of a slanderous report which Islamic traditions say refers to the slander of Aisha, where she was accused of adultery. And in 12:24, it refers to Joseph being protected from committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife.

In fact, Muslims have traditionally understood surah 4:15 to be referring to adultery. A. Yusuf Ali noted:

523. Most commentators understand this to refer to adultery or fornication; in that case they consider that the punishment was altered by the later verse, xxiv. 2. (Source)

Interestingly, this online version of Ali’s translation and notes, as well as many of the newer printed editions of Ali’s text, omitted a substantial part of what Ali originally said at this point. Here is the remainder of his commentary:

... But I think it refers to unnatural crime between women, analogous to unnatural crime between men in iv. 16 below : because (1) no punishment is specified here for the man, as would be the case where a man was involved in the crime ; (2) the word al-lati, the purely feminine plural of al-lati, is used for the parties to the crime ; (3) the punishment is indefinite ; see the next note but one. (Ali, The Holy Qur’an: Translation and Commentary, p. 183)

Even though Ali disagrees with the consensus position, his reference to unnatural crime is unspecified.

Renowned Muslim commentator Ibn Kathir wrote:

The Adulteress is Confined in her Houses; A Command Later Abrogated

At the beginning of Islam, the ruling was that if a woman commits adultery as stipulated by sufficient proof, she was confined to her home, without leave, until she died. Allah said...

<And those of your women who commit illegal sexual intercourse, take the evidence of four witnesses from among you against them; and if they testify, confine them (i.e. women) to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some (other) way.>

‘Some other way’ mentioned here is the abrogation of this ruling that came later. Ibn `Abbas said, "The early ruling was confinement, until Allah sent down Surat An-Nur (chapter 24) which abrogated that ruling with the ruling of flogging (for fornication) or stoning to death (for adultery)."' Similar was reported from ‘Ikrimah, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Al-Hasan, `Ata' Al-Khurasani, Abu Salih, Qatadah, Zayd bin Aslam and Ad-Dahhak, and this is a matter that is agreed upon.

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said, "When the revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah, it would affect him and his face would show signs of strain. One day, Allah sent down a revelation to him, and when the Messenger was relieved of its strain, he said...

((Take from me: Allah has made some other way for them. The married with the married, the unmarried with the unmarried. The married gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death, while the unmarried gets a hundred lashes then banishment for a year.))

Muslim and the collectors of the Sunan recorded that `Ubadah bin As-Samit said that the Prophet said...

((Take from me, take from me. Allah has made some other way for them: the (unmarried) gets a hundred lashes and banishment for one year, while the (married) gets a hundred lashes and stoning to death.))

At-Tirmidhi said, "Hasan Sahih". (Tafsir on 4:15: Source)

Another English translation of Ibn Kathir reads:

At the outset of Islam, if a woman was guilty of adultery, she would be kept locked up in a house until she died, therefore, Allah said <And those of your women who commit adultery.>, that is, illegal sexual intercourse. <take the evidence of four witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death comes to them or Allah ordains for them some other way.> This ‘Other way’, in fact, abrogates <confining them to houses until death comes to them>. Ibn Abbas said: "Such had been the judgment against the female adulterer until Allah revealed Surat which commands lashing and stoning." This statement was also narrated by a group of At-Tabi’in, and this abrogation is agreed upon by scholars.

Imam Ahmad narrated, on the authority of ‘Ubaada Ibn As-Samit: "When the Divine Inspiration comes to the Prophet, it would affect him, for it used to make him sad and change his face. One day, something was revealed to him and he said: ‘Observe what I shall say for Allah has ordained one hundred lashes and stoning for the adulterer among married women and men, and one hundred lashes and one-year exile for the unmarried.’" This Hadith was also narrated by Muslim, the authors of the Sunan from other authorities.

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal’s view is alsao [sic] based on this Hadith which is lashing and stoning for the adultery among the married. However, the majority of scholars hold that the adulterer among the married must be stoned only, supporting their view with the fact that the Prophet did stone Maiz, al-Ghamidiyyah and the two Jews, but did not lash them. This means that lashing was not necessary and it had been abrogated according to them, and Allah knows best.

Quoting Ibn Abbas, At-Tabarani said: "When Surah An-Nisaa was revealed, the Prophet said: ‘No confinement of adulterer women to the houses, after the revelation of An-Nisaa Surah.’" (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Part 4) Surah Al-Imran, ayat 93 to 200, Surah AN-Nisa, ayat 1 to 23, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 1999: first edition], pp. 194-195)

Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi translated the text in the following manner:

... As for those of your women who may commit whoredom, call against them four witnesses from among you; then if they testify confine them to their houses, till death completes their term of life, or Allah appoints for them some other way.

He then comments on the meaning of fahishah:

... in its general significance is ‘an excess; an enormity; anything exceeding the bounds of rectitude.’ but when particularized, signifies ‘adultery or fornication,’ and , in the context, evidently means an act of adultery. (Daryabadi, Tafsir-Ul-Qur'an Translation and Commentary of the Holy Qur'an, Volume I [Darul-Isha’at Urdu Bazar, Karachi-1, Pakistan; First edition: 1991], p. 310, fn. 575)

The online Pooya/M A. Ali English Commentary notes:

Fahisha in its general significance is "an excess, an enormity, anything exceeding the bounds of rectitude", but when particularised, signifies "adultery or fornication", and, in this context, evidently means an act of adultery.

The evidence in the case of adultery must be, according to the law of Islam, ocular, not hearsay, conjectural or circumstantial. Every possible safeguard is taken against hasty and unfounded accusations. When four men testify that they saw with their eyes the actual carnal conjunction, punishments mentioned in this verse, can be inflicted.

For "or Allah provides some other way for them" (through His Prophet) refer to fiqh...

The crime, mentioned here, is adultery. Adhuhuma - hurt or punish both of them. (Source)

Professor of mathematics and Muslim convert, Jeffery Lang, believes that surah 4:15 and 16 deal with the women and the men who have committed either fornication or adultery with one another, and the subsequent punishment prescribed for all the guilty parties. He sees a connection between the two texts and assumes that they refer to all the persons involved in the lewd act, i.e. the woman and the man with whom the sinful act was committed. He makes this point in response to a critic who used these specific texts to demonstrate Islam's double standards and oppression of women. Professor Lang comments on the use of alladhani in surah 4:16, normally translated as "two men", and claims:

The key difference between this and the opponent's rendition is that "two men" are not mentioned but rather the masculine dual (alladhani) is used, which in Arabic means "those two" (which can mean either "that women[sic] and that man" or "those two men," depending on the context). There is no indication or reason to assume that the two verses are not connected, quite the contrary. Hence a more natural reading of 4:16 would be:

And those two (a woman found guilty of lewdness as discussed in 4:15 and her male partner, or even two men guilty of some form of lewdness) from among you who are guilty of it, punish them both. Then if they repent, and improve, then let them be. Truly God is relenting, merciful (4:15-16). (Lang, Losing My Religion: A Call for Help [Amana Publications, 2004], p. 488)

As his comments show, Lang doesn't see any hint of proscription of lesbianism within these specific passages, contrary to Osama's position.

Some other Muslims do not believe that surah 4:15 refers to adultery or fornication. The late Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote regarding 4:15:

Al-fahishah signifies anything exceeding the bounds of rectitude (gross, immodest, lewd, obscene) (Mgh, LL). See further 556, where it is shown that fahishah includes hatred and desertion, refractoriness, etc. Though the word is used sometimes as meaning fornication, the context shows that here it is used to signify immoral conduct short of fornication, for the punishment of fornication is given in 24:2. The words of the verse that follows, referring to a similar immoral act with the indefinite nature of punishment, support this conclusion, for punishment in the case of an act short of fornication would vary with the nature of the crime. Thus women guilty of immoral conduct are curtailed of their liberty. If they mend their ways, or being unmarried they get married, a way is opened for them by Allah, and they regain their liberty; if they do not, the curtailment should be extended till they die. There is no proof for Palmer’s assertion that "women taken in adultery and fornication were, at the beginning of Islam, literally "immured". (Ali, Holy Qur'an - Arabic Text, English Translation & Commentary [Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore Inc. USA 1995], p. 193, fn. 551; Source)

Commenting on 4:19, the Maulana quotes ar-Razi regarding the meaning of fahishah in this particular context:

... The manifest indecency spoken of here is hatred and desertion of the husband, refractoriness, and doing harm to the husband and his family (Rz)... (Ibid., p. 194, fn. 556)

Muhammad Asad writes:

14 Some of the commentators attribute to the term fahishah (here rendered as "immoral conduct") the meaning of "adultery" or "fornication" and are, consequently, of the opinion that this verse has been "abrogated" by 24:2, which lays down the punishment of one hundred stripes for each of the guilty parties. This unwarranted assumption must, however, be rejected. Quite apart from the impossibility of admitting that any passage of the Qur'an could have been "abrogated" by another of its passages (see surah 2, note 87), the expression fahishah does not, by itself, connote illicit sexual intercourse: it signifies anything that is grossly immodest, unseemly, lewd, indecent or abominable in word or in deed (cf. Lane VI, 2344f.), and is by no means restricted to sexual transgressions. Read in this context, and in conjunction with 24:2, this expression obviously denotes here immoral conduct not necessarily amounting to what is termed zina (i.e., "adultery" or "fornication"), and therefore redeemable by sincere repentance (in contrast to a proven act of zina, which is punishable by flogging). - It is noteworthy that in all cases of alleged sexual transgressions or misbehaviour the Qur'an stipulates the direct evidence of four witnesses (instead of the two required in all other judicial cases) as a sine qua non of conviction. For the reasons underlying this injunction, as well as for its judicial implications, see note 7 on 24:4. (Source)

It is rather evident why Ali and Asad proposed a different meaning from the one accepted by most of the Muslim scholars. These gentlemen did not believe that the Quran abrogates itself, implying that, in their minds, 4:15 could not be referring to adultery or fornication, since this would mean that the verse was later abrogated by 24:2. Regardless of their position, neither man understood the word fahishah to be referring to a lesbian act.

If one wants further proof that the Quran nowhere condemns lesbianism then all one has to do is consult these responses (*, *, *) from a Salafi Muslim website. In these links, even though lesbianism is condemned, these Salafi writers and scholars fail to provide a single Quranic text supporting their position. They instead turn to the hadith for support of their view. The reason for their failure is obvious ... there is no explicit mention and/or condemnation of lesbianism within the Quran.

In light of the preceding data, Osama’s appeal to surah 4:15 doesn’t prove his point at all. If anyone is lying, it is Osama for trying to dupe his readers into thinking that the Quran EXPLICITLY condemns lesbianism. In fact, not only does the Quran fail to offer an explicit condemnation of lesbianism, it also fails to explicitly prohibit bestiality.


CHALLENGE TO OSAMA

Osama, please produce an explicit, unambiguous command (or commands) from the Quran, not from any other source, which condemns lesbianism and bestiality. We know you cannot, since the Quran does not provide such a statement, proving that it is an incomplete guidance for mankind.


Concluding Remarks

Now the readers may be wondering why we even bothered to address Osama’s paper, or why issue such a challenge. Let us explain our reasons for doing so.

In our debate on the prophethood of Muhammad(*), Osama attacked the Islamic traditions that we used to expose Muhammad. Instead of trying to deal with them, he essentially brushed them aside as fairy-tales, or as he referred to them, as soap opera stories. Osama also sought to attack the Holy Bible even though he went on to use it to prove that Muhammad was a true prophet!

Now our challenge is this, without appealing to either the Holy Bible or Islamic traditions, can Osama show from the Quran that acts such as lesbianism are immoral?

If Osama goes outside the Quran and appeals to either source, then he exposes his hypocrisy and inconsistency. On the one hand, Osama wants to attack the Bible and the traditions when they clearly contradict his cherished beliefs. Yet, on the other hand, he wants to also use them when they provide evidence and assistance for a point or claim he is trying to make.

[ Side remark: There is another Muslim polemicist who attacks the Bible for not prescribing an explicit and detailed dress code for Christian women. The fact that the Quran does not even forbid lesbianism and bestiality is relevant to that discussion as well. For details, see the article, Contextually Clueless. ]

Osama also faces another problem with appealing to the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. The Holy Bible, God’s true Word, and the Quran, are two completely different books. Despite both books claiming to be a revelation from the one true God of Abraham, they greatly differ and contradict each other regarding the nature of God, the stories of specific prophets, their message, the way of salvation etc., and cannot be from the same source.

Additionally, the two books make different claims about themselves. The Holy Bible claims to be a sufficient record, not an exhaustive one:

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31 NIV

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be COMPETENT, EQUIPPED FOR EVERY GOOD WORK." 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV

"His divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires... And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:3-4, 19-21 NIV

This implies that the Bible does not record everything that God and his prophets have said or done. It records only those things which are sufficient to lead one into an accurate knowledge of God and to live a righteous life pleasing to the Lord.

The Holy Bible also points to creation and to natural design as ways in which God communicates some of his truths:

"In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: ‘Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.’ Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them." Acts 14:8-18

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged NATURAL RELATIONS for UNNATURAL ONES. In the same way the men also abandoned NATURAL RELATIONS with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion." Romans 1:18-27

In these passages, Paul argues that God’s moral goodness can be seen from creation and design. The fact that people receive rain and enjoy food shows God’s goodness to mankind. Paul further argues that nature shows that lesbianism and homosexuality are wrong.

This means that one can even draw moral inferences from the design of creation, of the body etc., much like Paul did above. Hence, God has given us a sufficient witness and testimony of himself and his laws in Scripture, creation and conscience, with Scripture being a more thorough record since it more clearly reveals the identity of the God who exists and created all things.

The differences are not over yet, especially in relation to the NT and the Quran. The NT documents do not contradict the moral and sexual code of the Hebrew Scriptures, but presuppose their binding and lasting authority. This is why the NT writers would allude to specific moral issues without having to fully explain or define them, since they were presupposing their readers’ or audience’s familiarity and knowledge of the OT laws. In fact, in specific situations, the NT actually makes an OT command or tolerance of specific acts stricter, i.e. the reasons for valid divorce or the prohibition of having multiple wives etc.

The places where the NT writers would have to obviously explain something would be when a specific command or practice relating to ceremonies or sacrifices had been consummated in Christ’s work of redemption, since this meant that these things were no longer binding in the sense in which the OT commanded. Now a person could choose to observe them, if they so wished, but weren’t required to do so for meriting their salvation. For more on this point, please see the following article: www.answering-islam.org/Responses/Shabir-Ally/pork2.htm.

Explanations may also be required regarding how to apply specific OT commands in light of the fact that the Church didn’t rule over the land, but was under pagan rule and authority, and couldn’t therefore impose specific regulations or carry out the prescribed punishments upon citizens.

Also, the Church isn’t limited in geography, but its sphere of influence extends to all of the earth, which would also affect the application of specific OT injunctions. Cf. Matthew 28:18-20

For instance, during the OT period, where the people of Israel were given specific geographical borders as their inheritance, it was important for the Israelites not to take spouses from the pagan nations in order to insure that the land would not become perverted and polluted by pagan worship and practices. This may have entailed persons divorcing their pagan spouses and setting aside their children.

Yet, during the NT period, there were no borders to protect from pagan defilement since the Church is universal in scope, having no set geographical limits. As such, even though believers could not marry unbelievers, married persons who converted from pagan backgrounds were not required to set aside their unbelieving spouses or their children, but could remain with them as long as the unbelieving partners were willing.

What this basically means is that Christians are required to consult the OT and seek to understand and apply its commands in light of the NT understanding and teaching. The only laws that are not binding are those which the NT says have been fulfilled in Christ’s life, death and resurrection, or which have been reapplied in light of the cultural and historical context in which the Church found itself. Thus, any OT Law that the NT does not say has been consummated, or which has not been reapplied, is still binding on Christians.

The Quran, on the other hand, does contradict the Old Testament. Note, for instance, the following difference between these books:

"If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance." Deuteronomy 24:1-4

And now the Quran:

"A divorce is only permissible twice: after that, the parties should either hold together on equitable terms, or separate with kindness. It is not lawful for you, (men), to take back any of your gifts (from your wives), except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah. If ye (judges) do indeed fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allah, there is no blame on either of them if she give something for her freedom. These are the limits ordained by Allah. So do not transgress them if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others). So if a husband divorces his wife (irrevocably), he cannot, after that, re-marry her until after she has married another husband and he has divorced her. In that case there is no blame on either of them if they re-unite, provided they feel that they can keep the limits ordained by Allah. Such are the limits ordained by Allah, which He makes plain to those who understand." S. 2:229-230

What Yahweh calls shameful and detestable, Allah calls permissible! An abomination is an abomination, it doesn’t change with time or culture.

The Quran also claims to be an exhaustive record, fully detailed, specifically in relation to religious matters. For a list of verses stating this, please go here: www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Incoherence/index.html.

And here is where the problem lies for Osama. The fact of the matter is that the Quran is anything but an exhaustive record, a point which even many Muslims gladly admit. For instance, MENJ of the Bismikaallahuma website issues the following challenges to those Muslims who argue that the Quran is a complete record:

Questions for Anti-Hadith Proponents

The "Qur'an-only" folk are known for their deviant attitude towards Islam because they reject the hadith narrations as recorded in the Sahih collections of Bukhari, Muslim, An-Nasa'i (and the body of works by other hadith compilers not mentioned here) and thus the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P).

The following are some questions which I pose to every anti-Hadith/"Inkaarus Sunnah" (rejectors of the Sunnah) person I met. Needles to mention, I have yet to obtain a satisfactory response to the questions posed. Enjoy!

If the hadith has "no significance in Islam", as any Hadith rejector would like us to believe, then perhaps they can tell us the following answers to these questions, without relying on the hadith:

1) How did the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) receive his Revelation? When in his life did it happen?

2) Was the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) a Rabbi who decided to start his own religion? If your answer is "no", then how do you know from just reading the Qur'n?

3) What do you do to someone after they die? Can I cut your corpse up into tiny pieces after you die and use it as feed for livestock? If your answer is "no", then why not? What is your evidence from the Qur'n only?

These should suffice for now. Don't take too long in answering. (Source)

The dilemma for Osama is quite clear. If he tries to answer our challenge from the Holy Bible or Islamic traditions, he not only exposes his hypocrisy but serves to falsify the Quran’s own claim of being complete. If he tries to reason from natural design that such practices are immoral and unnatural he would again be undermining the Quran since it states that it is an exhaustive record on such matters of morality, religion etc. Unlike the Holy Bible, the Quran doesn’t simply say that it is a sufficient record, and that some laws are to be inferred from natural design and creation. The Quran boasts that it is a fully detailed revelation, a claim which is clearly false, as Osama’s failure to meet our stipulated challenge will show.


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