The World English Dictionary defines intolerance as “the lack of respect for … beliefs other than one’s own.” If it can be shown that the beliefs of Muslims, Christians and Jews are similar, then, by definition, they would have no reason to be intolerant toward each other based on religious beliefs. I chose to compare the Ten Commandments, the fundamental law of Jews and Christians governing ethical and moral behavior, with the Qur’an, God’s book of guidance and the central religious text of Islam, to search for similarities.
Although the text of the Commandments is not included in the Qur’an, the Qur’an references the Commandments and admonishes Muslims to follow them. More importantly, words throughout the Qur’an parallel those found in the Commandments as they appear in Exodus 20: 2-17 and Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. For example:
Ten Commandments / Qur’an
- Thou shall have no other gods before me/Know there is no god but God (chapter 47: verse 19);
- Thou shall not take the name of God in vain/Make not God’s name an excuse to your oaths (2:224);
- Thou shall honor they mother and father/Be kind to your parents; address them in terms of honor (17:23);
- Thou shall not kill/If anyone has killed one person it is as if he has killed the whole mankind (5:32); and
- Thou shall not commit adultery/Adultery is an indecent deed and a way for other evils (17:32).
For more similarities, see http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0705-3281 and http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr10cisl.htm.
The similarities are too easy to find and too striking to ignore. Believers of each of the three faiths could logically conclude that both the Qur’an and the Commandments come from a common source – the one God. Maybe we know each other better than we think. There is no chasm to bridge, but merely a gap to step over to dispel the distrust and intolerance on both sides. So, let’s just take the step.
Photo by: atemporelspirit Image courtesy of: http://plancksconstant.org/blog1/2009/11/is_the_quran_based_on_the_bible.html