Tower Craft: Holes in the 1914 Theory

The What Does the Bible Really Teach? book has a section on chronology, showing how JWs arrived at 1914 as “a significant year in Bible prophecy” (pp. 215-217). Again, we are confronted with the absurd “Bible fishing” tactics and claptrap logic which Watchtower leadership have mastered. Here is my rebuttal.

Decades in advance, Bible students proclaimed that there would be significant developments in 1917. What were these, and what evidence points to 1914 as such as important year

The Watchtower didn’t inform their readers that for decades before and after 1914, these same “Bible students” have also pointed at other years as significant. All the “evidence” modern JWs try to read into 1914 are events that have occurred all through history. If these Bible students and their theories could be so obviously flawed historically, their chronology couldn’t be reliable either.

As recorded at Luke 21:24, Jesus said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations [“the times of the Gentiles,” King James Version] are fulfilled.”

Here, Jesus was referring to a time in the future when the trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentile nations will end. The Greek word for “fulfil” is plero which means to expire or to end. This period is also called “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:25) (Though the passage suggests that Jerusalem will be free from Gentile oppression from a while until the Tribulation period).

The nation of Israel, however, has been trampled on by Gentile nations starting with Egypt from which God delivered her. The book of Judges alone details how Israel was oppressed by Mesopotamia, Canaan, Midian, Philistines and the Ammonites when they forsook God. After they divided into kingdoms, they were trampled on by Assyria which captured the kingdom of Israel before Babylon captured the kingdom of Judah.

Even at the time of Christ, Jerusalem was still under the rule of the Romans and today, much of it is occupied by the Arabs. This should be pointed out because as we proceed, you will see how the Watchtower grossly backdates the prophecy of Jesus.

Jerusalem had been the capital city of the Jewish nation – the seat of rulership of the line of kings from the house of King David. (Psalm 48:1, 2) However, these kings were unique among national leaders. They sat on “Jehovah’s throne” as representatives of God himself. (1 Chronicles 29:23) Jerusalem was thus a symbol of Jehovah’s rulership

This seat of rulership of kings from the house of David is an earthly rule from Jerusalem. First Chronicles 29:22, informs us that king Solomon was anointed “unto the LORD.” Jesus as the Messiah came from this Davidic lineage, so we can see why its called God’s throne. Until the day JWs agree that Jesus is Jehovah, this argument is fatal to their cause.

How and when, though, did God’s rulership begin to be “trampled on by the nations”? This happened in 607 B.C.E. when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians. “Jehovah’s throne” became vacant, and the line of kings who descended from David was interrupted.

Oh dear, what a tortured path. How can a statement Jesus made in the book of Luke about a future event be referring to an event that had occurred centuries before Christ? Jesus was speaking of the fulfillment of the times of the Gentiles, not God’s rulership.

What year was Jerusalem (capital of the kingdom of Judah) conquered by the Babylonians? The Jewish Encyclopedia records that it’s 586 BC. The Encyclopedia Britannica says the “kingdom of Judah flourished until 587 BC when it was overrun by the Babylonians.” The Encyclopedia Americana says the kingdom of Judah “finally fell due to the capture of Jerusalem in 587 BC.” Why does the Watchtower, in defiance of secular history claim Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BC?

JWs claim to follow the Bible which says the Jews would go on exile for 70 years (Jer. 20:10) and since Cyrus gave his edict for them to return to Jerusalem in 537 BC, they did a straight calculation: 537+ 70 years = 607 BC. One of them wrote: “Jehovah Witnesses have decided that the date of the desolation of Jerusalem must have been 607 B.C.” because the “organization, as a whole, over a long term has the guidance of Holy Spirit.”

This excuse is typical of cults. They appeal to history only when its convenient. They make exceptions for themselves from the rules that govern others. The World Book Encyclopedia says “The exile in Babylon occurred in three waves from 597 to 581 B.C.E. as a result of Judean rebellion against Babylonian rule.” That is, before Jersualem was finally destroyed in 587, many Jews had already been captured on exile to Babylon.

In 2 Kings 25:12-16 Jehoachin, the king of Judah was captured by Nebuchadnezzar. This happened in 597 BC. This gives a gap of 60 years between 597 BC and 537 BC. Daniel indicated that they had been captured before Jehoachin (Dan. 1:1-3, 6). Jewish historian, Josephus agrees, that Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians in 605 BC and sent captives from the Jews, Phoenician, Syrians and Egyptians to Babylon (Antiquities 10.11.1).

Additionally, the Jews counted their calendar according to the sabbath years and they must have stopped counting the 70 years at the feast of Tabernacles (Ezr. 3:4). The Babylonian captivity of the Jews must have started around 604 BC while their nation, Jerusalem was finally conquered in 587 BC.

…Ezekiel said regarding Jerusalem’s last king, Zedekiah: “Remove the turban and lift off the crown. … It will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has legal right, and I must give it to him.” (Ezekiel 21:26, 27) The one who has “the legal right” to the Davidic crown is Christ Jesus. (Luke 1:32) So the ‘trampling’ would end when Jesus became King

God debased Zedekiah by removing his crown and decreed that the kingdom of Judah was to be overthrown and exist no more until the Messiah would come whose right it is; and it would be given Him (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 9:6-7, 42:1). The trampling of the Gentiles over Jerusalem would end at Jesus’ second advent when He will reign as King from Jerusalem.

[Nebuchadnezzar] saw an immense tree that was chopped down. Its stump could not grow because it was banded with iron and copper. An angel declared: “Let seven times pass over it.” – Daniel 4:10-16. In the Bible, trees are sometimes used to represent rulership … So the chopping down of the symbolic tree represents how God’s rulership, as expressed through the kings at Jerusalem, would be interrupted.

It’s mystifying how the Watchtower writer managed to put this art work together. This is a skill an interior decorator needs. The “chopping down” and “seven times” refer to the 7 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness not to trampling by Gentile nations. How did a dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity relate to “God’s rulership”? Or how did a Bible passage about a king of Babylon become that of the kings of Jerusalem?

However, the vision served notice that this ‘trampling of Jerusalem’ would be temporary – a period of “seven times.” How long a period is that? Revelation 12:6, 14 indicates that three and half times equal “a thousand two hundred and sixty days.” “Seven times” would therefore last twice as long, or 2,520 days.

That vision neither refers to trampling nor Jerusalem. If “seven times” means 2,520 days in one passage, it must also mean it in all passages unless otherwise stated. Using this Watchtower standard, Jacob bowed down to Esau for 2,520 days (Gen. 33:3), the Jews sprinkled blood on their sacrifices for 2,520 days during each day (Lev. 4:6), Israel marched around Jericho 2,520 days on the 7th day (Jos. 6:4), Elijah’s servants looked for rain for 2,520 days (1 Kgs. 18:43) and the resurrected child sneezed for 2,520 days (2 Kgs. 4:35). Do these statements make sense?

On the basis of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, which speaks of “a day for a year,” the “seven times” would cover 2,520 years

Whether by hook or by crook, the Watchtower is bent on latching on to 1914. No one has the authority to change a day to a year in any Bible passage he pleases. If God, who knows the difference between a day and year, said “days” in a certain scripture He meant days, and if he said “years” He meant years. Just because He commanded Israel to wander in the wilderness for 40 years according to the number of days the spies were in Canaan and appointed years according to the same number of days in Ezekiel’s case doesn’t give anyone the right to conclude that the word days means years in every place in prophecy.

The 2,520 years began in October 607 B.C.E., when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and the Davidic king was taken off his throne. Ther period ended in October 1914. At that time … Jesus Christ was installed as God’s heavenly king.”

This is a sandcastle. The Watchtower Society has invested too much in 1914 to give it up, so they disregard Biblical exegesis or history to build their raft. How did the earthly Davidic throne of Christ become a heavenly one? When did God transport Jerusalem up into heaven? Every honest JW must reject the uninspired teachings of the Watchtower and hold to the plain teaching of inspired Scripture.

Advertisements

Sharia: The Path of Doom (I)

On July 27, 2016, a gang of Muslim men stormed a German swimming pool yelling “Allahu Akbar!” They warned a group of nudist swimmers, whom they called “infidels” and “sluts” that they would be “exterminated.”

In France, a woman and her 3 daughters were stabbed by a Muslim man who was offended because they were “scantily dressed.”

In Sweden, Muslims placed up posts at strategic street corners saying “Women who don’t wear a headscarf are asking to be raped” and “No democracy. We just want Islam.”

In Manchester, leaflets were posted in people’s letterboxes warning them against walking their dogs in public, in order to keep the area “pure” for Muslims. “Those who live in the UK must learn to understand and respect the legacy and lifestyle of the Muslims who live alongside them,” says the leaflets.

To an informed observer, these are cries of an ideological war brewing in the West. It’s a clash between Western civilization and Middle Eastern barbarity; between a mentality that belongs to the Iron Age and a mentality that belongs to the 21st century. Some countries have walked this path.

In 1989, key Muslim leaders from all over Africa gathered in Nigeria. They founded the Islam in Africa Organization (IA0) and made Nigeria its headquarters. Its members concluded: “We are ready to go any length to get Sharia established in this country whether we are alive or dead.”

Unknown to many, that was a declaration of war. Today, out of 36 states in Nigeria, Sharia laws are fully operational in 12. It took Muslims only 11 years to achieve that agenda.

In the battle of mindsets which we are currently witnessing, knowledge gaps must be filled with sufficient information.

In the Islamic worldview, there is no king but Allah, and he alone is to be the supreme ruler and legislator of the world. No earthly ruler has sufficient authority to legislate any law. Since Allah’s final laws have purportedly been given to Muhammad in the 7th century, they must be followed to the core.

Muslims believe Allah has sent Muhammad with Islam to dominate all other religions even though the infidels detest it, therefore, every Muslim must overthrow democracy (and other ideologies) and enforce Sharia on the whole world under an Islamic caliphate.

A 2008 YouGov survey in the UK found that 40% of Muslim students want Sharia infused with British law.

A 2013 Pew Forum random survey of 38,000 Muslims from 39 countries also revealed that most Muslims favour Sharia and want it imposed on Muslims as well. Contrary to the rehearsed speeches of Muslim leaders, Sharia is not compatible with democracy.

Islam basically rejects the tenets of democracy, and this explains why Muslim leaders oppose the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which they insist is unislamic.

In contention, they met at Cairo in 1990 at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to adopt the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam, prohibiting freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of association, equality in rights and equal protection under the law.

Now, if Allah is the king over Islamic regions where people can’t exercise their God-given freedom of conscience or speech, where they can’t openly declare Jesus as Lord; where human lives are cheap and savagery prevails; then we need to critically examine his dogmas and laws and decide whether or not he should rule our land.

We need to judge Allah’s constitution with Scripture, history and reason to determine if they are divine or demonic.

Sharia (“pathway”) is the religious legal system aimed at governing Muslims in the area of politics, marriage, economy, crime, military, gender roles and religious rites. It is primarily derived from the Quran and hadiths; making some practices obligatory, permitted and some forbidden.

As Islam moved beyond the borders of Arabia it assimilated some laws from Persia, India and Rome, thus, divergent views of how Sharia is to be interpreted developed (fiqh).

These schools rely on statements agreed on by all Muslims (Ijma), analogies from the Quran or sunna (Qiyas) and rulings of Islamic jurists (Istihsan) in following Sharia.

These schools are considered orthodox despite their different rulings. They are: Hanafi (common in Egypt and Turkey), Maliki (West and North Africa), Shafi (East Africa, Indonesia), Jafari (Iran, Iraq, Lebanon) and Hanbali (Saudi Arabia).

First we need to ask, which nation of the world has ever adhered to Sharia law perfectly? Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Iraq? Iran? or Egypt?

This question is crucial, because if Sharia is a divine law meant for the whole world there should be, at least, a single nation that has followed it ideally to show us its measurable contributions towards human civilization.

Is Saudi Arabia – a country stuck in a backwater, plagued by racism, tyranny, sexism and gross injustice – a template of an ideal Sharia? Many Muslims would disagree. They suggest that Saudi Arabia’s monarchical rule negates Islamic theocracy, and that no nation of the world currently practices Islam up to Allah’s standards.

So, if no nation in the last 14 centuries has exhibited the “perfect Islam,” then it’s time Muslims gave up this pipe dream. Here are some examples of laws of the Sharia betraying a deeply barbaric, empty and retrograde religious system.

1. Flogging Drunkards and Gamblers

The Quran’s stance on alcoholism and gambling oscillates from tepid approval to condemnation.

They ask you [Muhammad] about intoxicants and gambling: say, ‘There is great sin in both, and some benefit for people: the sin is greater than the benefit…” (Q 2:219)

Later, it says: “You who believe, do not come anywhere near the prayer if you are intoxicated, until you know what you are saying...” (Q4:43)

Quranic commentator, Abul A’La Maududi said Muhammad “changed the timings of their drinking so as not to clash with the timings of their prayers” (The Meaning of the Qur’an, 1:337).

So, Muslims could take alcohol in between their prayers or afterward.

But in Sura 5:90-91, Allah finally said:

O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows are an abomination of Satan’s handwork; eschew such (abominations), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer...”

The English translator inserted the words in brackets because he realises this verse also grates against the black stone Muslims worship. The hadiths record the penalties levied on drunks and gamblers.

When a drunk was dragged before Muhammad in anger, he “ordered all those who were present in the house to beat him” (Bukhari 8:6775).

Muhammad and his successor, Abu Bakr, gave drunks 42 stripes. But when Umar assumed the responsibilities as the Caliphate, he consulted people and Abd al-Rahman said: “the mildest punishment (for drinking) is eighty (stripes) and Umar prescribed this punishment” (Muslim, 4226).

Muhammad is even quoted as saying “flog them, again if they drink wine, flog them. Again if they drink it, kill them” (Abu Dawud, 4467). But Muslim scholars say this hadith has been abrogated. The penalty for gambling is to “give something in charity (as an expiation of such a sin)” (Bukhari 8:6107).

The Shafi Law code says: “If any person drinks wine or any other intoxicating thing, its hudd [fixed punishment] is forty stripes and it is lawful that by means of tazir or discretionary punishment to bring it up to 80 stripes” (p. 119).

This raises some questions. If wine is an abominable handwork of Satan on earth, why is it a reward in Allah’s paradise?

And if Muslims eschewed these vices as Allah commanded in the Quran, why did Muhammad need to institute severe punishment for it?

Here is a man who supposedly sliced the moon into two like water melons unable to help his disciples overcome their sins? How does whipping even quench a person’s thirst for alcohol or gambling? A “scientific miracle” perhaps? These laws must have come from someone quite ignorant of the human nature.

Expectedly, drunkenness and drug trafficking thrive in Islamic climes today. Thousands of Muslims reportedly drive from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain every weekend to indulge themselves at the pubs.

In contrast, the New Testament, instead of corporal punishments, invites sinners to an inner transformation to overcome their sins “As many as received [Jesus], to them he gave power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).

2. Stoning and flogging the sexually immoral

Strike the adulterer and adulteress one hundred times. Do not let compassion for them keep you from carrying out God’s law – if you believe in God and the Last Day – and ensure that a group of believers witness the punishment.” (Sura 24:2)

This was recited when Aisha was accused of committing adultery with Safwan, whom Muhammad exonerated.

The penalty for fornication is flogging and stoning for adultery. An accuser is mandated to present four male witnesses otherwise he is lashed 80 stripes (Sura 24: 4).

In a situation where a man cannot prove his wife’s adultery, he will follow the rule of Li’an by swearing 4 times and invoking Allah’s curse on himself or herself if he/she is lying. These are plainly retrogressive rules.

In the modern world, you don’t need four witnesses to prove a sexual crime, when there are audio, video and forensic evidence available. But these items would violate the sunna.

Besides, fornication and adultery are often committed behind closed doors, so this law would rather cause many rape victims be stoned to death for immorality since they can’t provide four male witnesses.

In the hadith, after a woman confessed her adultery and subsequent pregnancy to Muhammad, she was first allowed to give birth. “Muhammad handed the child over to the community. And when he had given command over her and she was put up in a hole to her breast, he ordered the people to stone her. Khalid b. al-Walid came forward with a stone which he threw at her head, and when the blood spurted on his face, he cursed her…” (Sahih Muslim, 4206)

If there are no witnesses, the guilty is also punished if he confesses his sin 4 times.

When a man came to Muhammad “and informed him that he had committed illegal sexual intercourse and he bore witness four times against himself. Allah’s Messenger ordered him to be stoned to death as he was a married person” (Bukhari 8:6814).

With such severe penalties awaiting fornicator or adulterers, many Muslims prefer to hide their sexual sins.

Muhammad even said an immoral Muslim “should better remain hidden under the curtain of Allah but if he discloses it to us, we shall certainly enforce the law of Allah on him” (Maududi, 3:305).

This betrays the myth that Islamic nations are more sexually chaste than Western nations. These vices also persist there, but they are mostly covered up under Allah’s broad curtain. Only few cases slither out to the media. A law that is so counterproductive to genuine repentance can’t be said to be divine.

Islam operates a situational ethics. On the one hand, it’s a crime to engage in “illegal” sexual intercourse, but on the other, it’s islamically “legal” to take non-Muslim ladies as sex slaves and engage in Mut’ah.

Muhammad himself was a sexually immoral man who used his position to warm his bed.

Fornication and adultery (as well as drunkenness, gambling etc.) are sins, not crimes. With the exceptions of sexual molestation and assault, sex between consenting adults are not crimes because they are not detrimental to another person’s well being.

In fact, we now know that sexual promiscuity can stem from childhood sexual abuse or spiritual problems.

A divine law should provide a reasonable solution to sin and give the sinner a chance to live a new life.

It seems Muhammad selectively incorporated some laws from the Torah, but even while the Torah lays down death penalty for adulterers, it’s silent on the actual carrying out of the punishment.

Even Jesus didn’t stone the adulterous woman in John 8:10-11, showing us that physical punishment doesn’t take away sin. He fulfilled the Law by taking the penalty of our sins and through the Holy Spirit He resides in His people, enabling him to live a changed life.

This is something Allah, Muhammad and his laws can never do.

Go to Part II

Sharia: The Path of Doom (II)

3. Blasphemy Laws

If the hypocrites, the sick of heart, and those who spread lies in the city [Medina] do not desist, We shall arouse you [Muhammad] against them, and then they will only be your neighbors in this city for a short while. They will be rejected wherever they are found, and then seized and killed” (Sura 33:60-61)

This was recited to legitimise the genocide and banishment Muhammad executed on the Jews in Medina. He says further:

Those who insult God and His Messenger will be rejected by God in this world and the next – He has prepared a humiliatory punishment for them and those who undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and obvious sin” (Sura 33: 57).

Verse 63 says “Do they know that whoever opposes God and His Messenger will go to the Fire of Hell and stay there? That is the supreme disgrace.”

But if they violate their oaths after their covenant and attack your religion with disapproval or criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief (chiefs of Quraish – pagans of Makkah)...” (Sura 9:12)

In essence, any mockery or criticism against Muhammad or Islam is deemed as unforgivable blasphemy.

Uqba bin Abu Muayt mocked Muhammad and wrote derogatory verses about him in Mecca. When he was captured at the Battle of Badr in 624 AD, Muhammad ordered him to be executed. “But who will look after my children, O Muhammad?” Uqba cried with anguish. “Hell,” retorted the prophet coldly. Then the sword of one of his followers cut through Uqba’s neck (Bukhari 4:2934).

A blind man also had a slave mother who used to insult Muhammad. The man tried to stop her but she didn’t quit:

“One night she began to slander the Prophet … and abuse him. So he [the blind man] took the dagger, placed it on the belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who was between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there.” When Muhammad heard this and that the victim used to insult him, he said “Oh be my witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood” (Bukhari 3:4348)

This reflects the calibre of people in Islam right from its inception – people who have no qualms murdering their own family for speaking against Muhammad. Interestingly, Muhammad made it legal for Muslims to insult non-Muslims, assuring them of angel Gabriel’s protection (Bukhari 5:4123).

Under Sharia law, a Muslim can receive a death penalty for uttering statements of unbelief; sarcastic comment about Allah’s name or command; slander against Muhammad; denying any part of the Quran; reviling Islam or being sarcastic about Islamic laws (Ahmad al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler, 597-98).

Some jurists stipulate death for non-Muslims who insult Muhammad or attempts to lead a Muslim away from Islam. Generally, the punishment ranges from imprisonment, paying fines, hanging, beheading or immediate conversion to Islam to avoid death.

Some Muslim countries have even petitioned the United Nations to limit freedom of speech because “unrestricted and disrespectful opinions against Islam creates hatred” (Brian Winston, The Rushdie Fatwa and After, 2014, 74).

In the Muslim mind “hatred” is any criticism against Islam or Muhammad. This is why Sharia must be barred from the free world, because it opposes freedom of speech and conscience. This law has been the grounds of lynching, killing and imprisoning religious minorities over flimsy accusations of insulting Islam.

In contrast, Jesus wasn’t retaliatory and when He was mistreated, He “didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly” (1 Pet. 2:23). His example is the best for mankind to follow.

4. The Status of women

The Quran’s view of women has been dealt with here. Under Sharia, females inherit half that of males and a childless widow will inherit only 1/4 of her husband’s estate (Q 4:11-12). Women are also regarded as unreliable witnesses in the Sharia court because Muhammad says they are “deficient in intelligence.”

In the hadith, when a woman came to freely offer herself to Muhammad as a concubine, “he cast a glance at her from head to feet” and she sat down in shame. One of his companions said “Messenger of Allah, marry her to me if you have no need of her.” When asked what he can give as a dowry, he couldn’t find anything tangible, but when Muhammad saw he had memorised the Quran, he said “Go, I have given her to you in marriage for the part of the Quran you know” (Muslim 2:717-718).

The value of a Muslim woman only goes so high. As shown in the above link, the Quran sanctions a husband to beat his wife on the grounds of disobedience.

“Rifaa divorced his wife whereupon Abdur- Rahman married her. Aisha said that the lady came wearing a green veil and complained to her (Aisha) and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating. It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah’s messenger came, Aisha said ‘I have not seen any woman suffering as the believing women. Look! her skin is greener than her clothes!”

Her husband admitted his reason for beating her was because she was “disobedient and wants to go back to Rifaa” (Bukhari 7:715). Muhammad didn’t rebuke the man for this. Aisha’s remarks also indicates that pre-Islamic Arabia respected women more than Islam.

Iyas Dhubab reported Muhammad saying “Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens [or female slaves] but when Umar came to the apostle of Allah and said ‘Women have become emboldened towards their husbands,’ he [Muhammad] gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of Allah complaining against their husbands” (Abu Dawud 709:2141).

In this same hadith, Umar reported that “A man will not be asked as to why he beat his wife” (No. 2142). Ash’ath b. Qais said “One night Umar arranged a feast. When it was midnight, he got up and went towards his wife to beat her. I separated them both.” (Ibn Majah 1985)

Aisha narrated: Abu Bakr came towards me and struck me violently with his fist and said, “You have detained the people because of your necklace.’ But I remained motionless as if I was dead lest I should awake Allah’s Apostle although that hit was very painful” (Bukhari 8:828).

The Hanafi law code stipulates that a Muslim husband can divorce his wife by saying so 3 times (even if he is drunk), but the woman can never divorce her husband on any ground unless the husband gives her permission. Nor can she get a judicial dissolution of marriage for neglect, ill-treatment or cruelty” (Alfred Guillaume, Islam, 1998, 172).

In other words, even when Muslim women are being battered, they are still not free to escape for their lives! In contrast, the NT commands husbands to love their wives as their own bodies (Eph. 5:28).

5. An Eye for an Eye

Sura 5:45 “And We ordained therein for them: Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wounds equal for equal. But if anyone remits the retaliation by way of charity, it shall be for him an expiation.”

The law of retaliation (Qisas) is a punishment levied on an offender for injuring another. Sura 2:178 says to Muslims “Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered.

An alternative is if the injured party decides to forgo retaliation and remit by taking a compensation or blood-wit (diya) in form of money, goods or livestock. For instance, when an aunt of Anas bin Malik slapped a girl and broke her tooth, the girl’s family demanded equal retaliation, tooth for tooth.

Anas exclaimed ‘O Allah Messenger! By Allah, her tooth will not be broken.’ Muhammad replied that this is a Quranic law. The girl’s family eventually gave up their claim and instead accepted payment (Bukhari 9:6894).

This law mirrors Muhammad’s unforgiving spirit. In another instance when he “was distributing something, a man came towards him and bent down on him. The Apostle of Allah … struck him with a bough and his face was wounded. The Apostle of Allah…said to him: Come and take retaliation. He said No, I have forgiven, Apostle of Allah!” (Abu Dawud, 4521).

Sometimes a follower can be more virtuous than his leader. Islamic jurists rule that if an eye sight is lost because of a head wound “a similar kind of punishment is prescribed…which may be by having a red-hot iron held close to his eye balls” (Shafi law code, 116, note 17).

Now, try to imagine what would happen if this law is being applied worldwide. We would disintegrate into an ever-intensifying series of vendettas. If you made someone lose his teeth, yours too would have to be knocked out. This is a monstrous mentality and a twisted law of the jungle.

The concept of forgiveness is alien to Islam. But Jesus said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt. 5:44). Jesus emphasized and demonstrated the virtues of grace and forgiveness.

6. Amputation and Crucifixion

Sura 5:38-39 “Cut off the hands of thieves, whether they are male or female, as punishment for what they have done – a deterrent from God: God is almighty and wise. But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, God will accept his repentance…

Muhammad said: “God curses the thief who steals an egg, for which his hand is to be cut off, or steals a rope for which he has his hand cut off!” (Bukhari 8:6799). Repentance can only be accepted after amputation. Abu Abduallah said “If a thief repents after his hand has been cut off, then his witness will be accepted” (8:9801).

The Encyclopedia of Islam says amputation of hands for theft was a pagan custom introduced into Arabia by Walid bin Mughira before Muhammad was born. This man never claimed to have received a divine inspiration for such law – he was a pagan – yet Muhammad followed this heinous practice. Even the Torah didn’t prescribe amputation for thieves, but restitution (see Ex. 22:3, Lev. 6:4).

Sura 5:33 says “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land.

These penalties are also levied on highway robbers. The above verse was recited after Muhammad tortured 8 Arab men to death. These men embraced Islam, but later drifted into apostasy, killed Muhammad’s shepherd and stole his camels. They were caught, however, and Muhammad had their hands and feet cut off and went extra-mile:

“Then he ordered for nails which were heated and were branded with those nails, their eyes, and they were left in the Harra (i.e rocky land in Al-Medina). And when they asked for water, no water was given them till they died…” (Bukhari 4:3018)

In the Quran, Pharaoh levied this same penalty on his followers who left paganism: “Be sure I will cut you off your hands and your feet on opposite sides and I will cause you all to die on the cross.” (7:124). Indeed, the deity that put this idea in Pharoah’s mind could be the same Allah inspiring Muhammad.

Muhammad himself attacked and robbed Meccan caravans without provocation and murdered people, so why was his hand not amputated? A number of Islamic aristocrats today loot the treasuries of their countries, how many of them have been chopped into bits? It seems to me that this law is made only for the poor and weak.

In primitive societies, amputating or physically torturing criminals was observed because they didn’t have prisons. But as nations became civilized, criminals were sent to prisons rather than being maimed, and modern punishments are more humane.

As societies advance, laws must also change. But Muhammad and his Allah couldn’t see beyond their time, hence Islamic laws are retrogressive, barbaric and frankly, devilish, because they fail to deal with the roots of sin. A person can be amputated or nailed to a tree as the Quran prescribes and still end up in hell.

The New Testament shows us that all sins are “from within, out of the heart.” Once a sinner is changed from within by Christ, rather than stealing, he would find joy “working with his hands what is good” and giving to others (Mk. 7:23; Eph. 4:28).

Two other aspects of Sharia: the legality of slavery and inequality in Islam have been addressed in other articles.