COMMON PRAYERS AND COMMON MORAL VALUES
It is God, Who created humanity and has the best and most complete knowledge
of each person's constitution and needs. Therefore, each person should
follow the path ordained by God, Who has guided humanity since His creation
of Adam (pbuh) and Eve with His Prophets and Books, and has revealed to
them the values, beliefs, and code of conduct of which He approves. Those
who adopt this way of life and moral code can hope to find happiness,
contentment, and beauty in this life as well as the Hereafter.
Followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, regardless of when and where they lived, had the same moral values. Refraining from murder, theft, adultery and fornication, lying, injustice, and every kind of wrong-doing, as well as behaving in a polite and respectful manner to others, are basic values recognized by all believers. Thus, they respond in a very similar manner to events, even though there are differences in their views and practices.
This moral code is common to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. For example, members of these three divinely revealed religions are told to avoid ungratefulness, transgression, arrogance, rebellion, lies, mockery, selfishness, greed, fraud, envy, aggression, disobedience, avarice, betrayal, gossip, confrontation, tyranny, slander, lack of patience, hypocrisy, and agitation, for they are incompatible with the morality that He tells believers to follow. In fact, He clearly tells all believers to be respectful, loving, just, conscientious, compassionate, merciful, helpful, modest, honest, trustworthy, generous, grateful, selfless, gentle, obedient, and loyal.
Genuinely religious people who abide by these principles are respectable, honorable, and distinguished. They have submitted wholeheartedly to God, have deep faith and superior moral qualities, expect no reward for helping others, and desire only to earn His good pleasure. They side at all times with the right, good, true, and virtuous morality, and refrain from all kinds of evil and immorality.
Many philosophies contain teachings that contradict the morality of divinely revealed religions. For instance, those materialistic philosophies that have been so influential during the last two centuries portray individuals as selfish and unscrupulous and depict life as an arena full of people ruled by their selfish desires and thus driven to satisfy their strong desire at all costs. Since materialism rejects the existence of God's revelation, it does not recognize any absolute criteria applicable to human nature, disregards all moral values, and rejects all values introduced by the divinely revealed religions. The results of such views are clearly visible: conflict and tension; ruthless aggression directed toward a piece of land, status, or office; the ever-worsening oppression of the vulnerable and needy; and increasing injustice, immorality, and rapid degeneration in the quality of life.
In the face of this reality and for the salvation of those who have been misled by materialism, all followers of the divinely revealed religions must unite. Believing in God's existence and unity and that He has sent Prophets to guide humanity are important common points. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have much more in common with one another than with people who reject these facts.
We will study the common moral principles between the three divinely revealed
religions under their respective headings. Each of these principles makes
a case for an alliance between the followers of the divinely revealed
religions. It must not be forgotten that a world dominated by virtue is
attainable if the believers work together.
Modesty is a common attribute of believers, for God reveals that He disapproves of arrogant and vain people.
Believers know that God gives them all they have and that He is the One
and true owner of everything. Therefore they never surrender to vanity,
because they know their helplessness in His presence and that reason,
knowledge, beauty, wealth, status, and all other desirable commodities
originate with Him, not within themselves.
God reveals the believers' modesty, as follows:
The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk lightly on Earth and, who, when the ignorant speak to them, say: "Peace." (Qur'an, 25:63)
Whether you keep your words secret
or say them out loud He knows what the heart contains. Does He
Who created not then know? He is the All-Pervading, the All-Aware.
Another verse reveals that modest Muslims will be rewarded with Paradise:
Your God is One God, so submit to Him. Give good news
to the humble-hearted. (Qur'an, 22:34)
The New Testament reveals that modesty is important and that humble people are superior in His presence:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another
in love. (Ephesians, 4:2)
Likewise, the Old Testament states that one must refrain from arrogance and that God approves of humble people. Believers are required to be modest, and arrogant people will be humbled. For example:
Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the LORD has spoken.
Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility... (Zephaniah, 2:3)
You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them
low. (2 Samuel, 22:28)
When he is told to fear [and respect] God, he is seized by pride, which drives him to wrongdoing. Hell will be enough for him! What an evil resting-place! (Qur'an, 2:206)
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James, 4:6)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant
nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their
hope in God, Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
(1 Timothy, 6:17)
You warned them to return to Your law, but they became arrogant and
disobeyed Your commands. They sinned against Your ordinances, by which
a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on
You, became stiff-necked, and refused to listen. (Nehemiah, 9:29)
It has been sent down to you in the Book that when you hear God's Signs being rejected and mocked at by people, you must not sit with them until they start talking of other things. If you do, you are just the same as them. God will gather all the hypocrites and unbelievers into Hell. (Qur'an, 4:140)
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But his
delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and
night. (Psalm, 1:1-2)
Those who turn away from worthless talk. (Qur'an, 23:3)
Avoid godless chatter... (2 Timothy, 2:16)
Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according
to Your word. (Psalm, 119:37)
Remember God at All Times
[People with intelligence are] those who remember God,
standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation
of the heavens and Earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing.
Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Qur'an,
[There are people who are] not distracted by trade or
commerce from the remembrance of God, the performance of prayer, and the
giving of the alms; fearing a day when all hearts and eyes will be in
turmoil. (Qur'an, 24:37)
Blessed is the man... [whose] delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm, 1:1-2)
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will
bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. (Proverbs, 3:6-8)
Trust in God
God is the believers' best friend and helper. When they encounter hardship or troubles, and when they are in safety and tranquility, they know that He is with them and so turn only to Him with absolute trust and in complete reliance upon Him. They take all possible precautions and make contingency plans, but do not forget that everything happens according to His will. Whatever the outcome, they know that there is a reason and wisdom in it. For instance, believers refrain from unhealthy things as a precautionary measure. However, if they somehow become infected with a deadly disease, they know that it is God's will. Given this fact, they do not panic or despair; rather, they remain patient and trusting. Believers are not saddened or worried by events, but live in the peace and calm that comes from trusting God.
Such trust brings a comfort and beauty to believers that no unbeliever can ever experience. One of the most fundamental causes of the stress, depression, sorrow, and suffering experienced by unbelievers is their turning away from this reality. The Qur'an reveals this truth in several verses, some of which are given below:
Whoever has fear [and respect] of God - He will give
him a way out. And [He will] provide for him from where he does not expect.
Whoever puts his trust in God - He will be enough for him. God always
achieves His aim. God has appointed a measure for all things. (Qur'an,
Say: "Nothing can happen to us except what God has ordained
for us. He is Our Master. It is in God that the believers should put their
trust." (Qur'an, 9:51)
Trusting in God and relying only on Him are attributes required of all devout Christians and Jews as well. The New Testament reveals the futility of worrying and calls for faith in God in all matters:
But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you
from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians, 3:3)
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry
about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will
wear... Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom
or barn. Yet God feeds them... Who of you, by worrying, can add a single
hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you
worry about the rest? (Luke, 12:22-26)
The Old Testament reveals that someone who turns to God and trusts and relies only on Him will be rewarded with success:
..."Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the
LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His Prophets and you
will be successful." (2 Chronicles, 20:20)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
God Protects Believers
He [Moses] said: "Never! My Lord is with me and will
guide me." (Qur'an, 26:62)
God is with those who fear Him and with those who are
good-doers. (Qur'an, 16:128)
My Protector is God, Who sent down the Book. He takes
care of the righteous. (Qur'an, 7:196)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified
or discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the
wicked, for the LORD will be your confidence... (Proverbs, 3:25-26)
Being just is one of the believers' most important qualities. God commands people to be fair with each other, even if this means going against their own interests or those of their relatives. Believers protect justice and prevent injustice, for, as the Qur'an states:
God commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust and, when you judge between people, to judge with justice. How excellent is what God exhorts you to do! God is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. (Qur'an, 4:58)
For Muslims, it is irrelevant whether the person is rich or poor or whether their decision may conflict with their personal interests. Whatever the circumstances, Muslims do not compromise on justice. This superior morality is described in the Qur'an, as follows:
O you who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 4:135)
Another verse states that hatred should not cause people to be unfair:
O you who believe! Show integrity for the sake of God, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you to being unjust. Be just, for that is closer to heedfulness. Fear [and respect] God, for God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 5:8)
The Old and New Testaments also call for justice. In the New Testament, Jesus (pbuh) condemns those religious figures and Pharisees who disregard justice:
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You
give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected
the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former. (Matthew,
Other Biblical passages require people to be just, as follows:
Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment. (John,
Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair. (Colossians,
When the Old Testament describes virtuous people, it emphasizes fairness. Furthermore, it states that just and righteous people refrain from evil, are just to others, and protect the poor. Some of the passages encouraging justice are as follows:
... "Since you have asked for... discernment in administering justice,
I will do what you have asked. (1 Kings, 3:11-12)
This is what the LORD says: "Maintain justice and do what is right."
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive
decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from
the oppressed of My people, ... and robbing the fatherless. (Isaiah 10,
Slander and Aggression
Throughout history, Prophets have called people to righteousness, God's religion, and guided them to enlightenment. But in every era, some people turned on His Prophets and did their best to prevent them from teaching. These people believed that by slandering these individuals, whom God had chosen to serve as role models of morality, they could block their mission. When they realized that their slander had little or no effect, they resorted to exile, arrest, or even murder.
The Qur'an relates the Prophets' struggles in great detail, especially those of our Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant him peace), who struggled against the Makkan unbelievers and hypocrites. It also reveals that those believers who faced slander and aggression never compromised; rather, they continued their struggle with the same motivation and persistence.
The Qur'an reveals that Prophets endured slanders like "mad"
(Qur'an, 15:6; Qur'an, 68:51) and "lying magician" (Qur'an,
38:4). These and other slanders were used against Prophet Mohammed (may
God bless him and grant him peace), and his people conspired to imprison,
kill or expel him (Qur'an, 8:30).
Believers will experience similar hardships, for:
Or did you suppose that you would enter the Garden without facing the same as those who came before you? Poverty and illness afflicted them, and they were shaken to the point that the Messenger and those who believed with him asked: "When is God's help coming?" Be assured that God's help is very near. (Qur'an, 2:214)
The New Testament reveals that Jesus (pbuh) was accused of being demon-possessed (John, 7:20, 8:48, 8:52), as well as of madness (John, 10:20), subverting their nation (Luke, 23:2), and not living according to the traditions of the elders (Mark, 7:5). Other passages relate that Jesus (pbuh) was mocked and subjected to insults and physical attacks.
No doubt, the unbelievers' ugly slanders were the product of their mediocre intellect and misguided beliefs. God has created all Prophets as role models characterized by such qualities as superior intellect, foresight, and morality. But they and their followers, as the Qur'an reveals, never relented or despaired. As the Qur'an states:
Many a Prophet has fought, when there were many thousands with him. They did not give up in the face of what assailed them in the Way of God, nor did they weaken or yield. God loves the steadfast. (Qur'an, 3:146)
The Prophets enlightened their followers and gave them this good news.
Muslims who were with our Prophet Mohammed (may God bless him and grant
him peace) said, while enduring hardships: "This is what God and
His Messenger promised us. God and His Messenger told us the truth"
(Qur'an, 33:22). Our Lord also reveals that those who show determination
and virtue will have their faith and submission enhanced.
The Old Testament also reveals the Prophets' struggles and the hardships they endured in great detail. The New Testament, on the other hand, states that sincere believers will encounter hardship and troubles and that these will be causes of joy for them:
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness...
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say
all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because
great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the
Prophets who were before you. (Matthew, 5:10-12)
The New Testament reveals that Jesus (pbuh) warned his followers that they would suffer injustice:
You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils
and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me, you will stand before
governors and kings as witnesses to them... Whenever you are arrested
and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just
say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but
the Holy Spirit.
but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mark,
Fear and Sorrow
Those who conveyed God's Message and had fear [and respect]
of Him, fearing [and respecting] no one except God. God suffices as a
Reckoner. (Qur'an, 33:39)
They said: "Our Lord, we are afraid that he might persecute
us or overstep the bounds." He said: "Have no fear. I will be with you,
All-Hearing and All-Seeing." (Qur'an, 20:45-46)
[Believers are] those to whom people said: "The people
have gathered against you, so fear them." But that merely increased their
faith, and they said: "God is enough for us and the Best of Guardians."
So they returned with blessings and bounty from God, and no evil touched
them. They pursued the pleasure of God. God's favor is indeed immense.
That was only Satan who intimidated his adherents. But do not fear them
- fear [and respect] Me, if you are believers. (Qur'an, 3:173-175)
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.
"Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (1 Peter, 3:14)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of
them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor
forsake you. (Deuteronomy, 31:6)
The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never
leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (Deuteronomy,
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because
of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater
power with Us than with him. (2 Chronicles, 32:7)
Those Who Plot Evil
They have the word "Obedience!" on their tongues. But when they leave your presence, a group of them spend the night plotting to do other than what you say. God is recording their nocturnal plotting. So let them be, and put your trust in God. God suffices as a Guardian. (Qur'an, 4:81)
Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the
LORD, who do their work in darkness and think: "Who sees us? Who will
know?" (Isaiah, 29:15)
Pagan Religions and Traditions
God reveals that some people opposed the true religion delivered by the Prophets, for their deep-rooted pagan beliefs dominate their societies, as do their misguided religious practices and some traditions. The Qur'an refers to this as the "religion of their forefathers," and the New Testament and the Old Testament refer to it as the tradition of the elders. In reality, the true religion in His presence is the religion taught by His Prophets. Believers will not be held accountable for these pagan beliefs and traditions, but will be judged by God's Books of revelation and his Prophets' practices. The situation of the people who follow such traditions is described in the following terms:
When they are told: "Follow what God has sent down,"
they say: "No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing." What!
Even if Satan is calling them to the punishment of the Blazing Fire? (Qur'an,
When they are told: "Come to what God has sent down,
come to the Messenger," they say: "What we found our fathers doing is
enough for us." What! Even if their fathers did not know anything and
were not guided! (Qur'an, 5:104)
The Old Testament relates that some people who had been informed of the true religion chose to follow their forefathers' misguided religious practices. One such passage is given below:
They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused
to listen to My words. They have followed other deities to serve them...
I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. (Jeremiah, 11:10-11)
The New Testament reveals that the Pharisees and the Sadducees accused Jesus (pbuh) and his disciples of forsaking their forefathers' traditions. However, it would have been righteousness to abide by the true religion delivered by Jesus (pbuh) instead of following the misguided beliefs so fervently advocated by these people. Obviously, genuine believers need to abide by Jesus' (pbuh) religion in obedience to him.
The New Testament states that those who persisted in rejecting Jesus' (pbuh) teachings accused his disciples of forsaking their forefathers' traditions:
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem
and asked: "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?"
Another verse reveals Jesus' reply to such accusations, as follows:
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus: "Why don't
your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders?"
replied: "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to
the traditions of men." And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting
aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!" (Mark,
Hypocrisy and Ostentation
One other shared moral quality of believers is sincerity. Believers are aware that God knows everything and that they will have to account in the Hereafter for all of their thoughts, speeches, and conduct in this world. They strive to earn God's approval and are sincere in their conduct. As they expect to be rewarded by God for their actions, they have no petty interests and do not behave in ways designed to impress or gain the love of other people.
The Prophets' devotional behaviors, as related in the Qur'an, are examples for believers to follow. Good news awaits His sincere servants, for "Those who shun the worship of false deities and turn toward God will have good news" (Qur'an, 39:17). Other verses deal with those who show off to attract other people's notice, such as:
O you who believe! Do not nullify your charity by demands
for gratitude or insulting words, like him who spends his wealth, showing
off to people and not believing in God and the Last Day. His likeness
is that of a smooth rock coated with soil, which, when heavy rain falls
on it, is left stripped bare. They have no power over anything they have
earned. God does not guide disbelieving people. (Qur'an, 2:264)
So woe to those who perform prayer and are forgetful
of their prayer, those who show off. (Qur'an, 107:4-6)
The New Testament warns: Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them... (Matthew, 6:1). The Pharisees, supposedly men of religion, are mentioned: Everything they do is done for men to see... (Matthew, 23:5). Their hypocrisy is likened to tombs that are impressive on the outside but full of filth on the inside:
You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside
but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.
In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous. But
on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew, 23:27-28)
Various passages in the Old Testament condemn those who pray to impress others and reveal that such people do not live by the morality they preach and thus are bent on evil. The situation of those who pretend to be close to God while their hearts do not appreciate Him appropriately are described, as follows:
You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts. (Jeremiah,
And [We gave John] tenderness and purity from Us - he
guarded against evil. (Qur'an, 19:13)
As for those who believe and do right actions, the All-Merciful
will bestow His love on them. (Qur'an, 19:96)
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your
neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor
and a good name in the sight of God and man. (Proverbs, 3:3-4)
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs. (Proverbs,
This is my command: Love each other. (John, 15:17)
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you
have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. (2
God Guides Those Who Seek Him
If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer
the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond
to Me and believe in Me so that, hopefully, they will be rightly guided.
O you who believe! Fear [and respect] God, seek the means
of drawing near to Him and strive in His Way, so that, hopefully, you
will be successful. (Qur'an, 5:35)
I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me find Me. (Proverbs,
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you. (Matthew, 7:7)
Come near to God, and He will come near to you. (James, 4:8)
Saying Nice Things
Do you not see how God makes a metaphor of a good word: a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven? God makes metaphors for people so that, hopefully, they will pay heed. (Qur'an, 14:24-25)
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can
break a bone. (Proverbs, 25:15)
The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote
instruction. (Proverbs, 16:21)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only
what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that
it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians, 4:29)
Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians, 4:6)
We have conveyed the Word to them so that, hopefully,
they will pay heed. (Qur'an, 28:51)
What of him who spends the night hours in prayer, prostrating
and standing up, mindful of the Hereafter, hoping for the mercy of his
Lord? Say: "Are they the same - those who know and those who do not know?"
It is only people of intelligence who pay heed. (Qur'an, 39:9)
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. (Hebrews, 13:17)
Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what
it says. (James, 1:22)
People usually understand righteousness in different ways: giving some money to the poor, helping an old person cross the road, or not lying. Clearly these are all good deeds, but on their own they cannot define righteousness. God reveals the true meaning of righteousness, as follows:
It is not righteousness to turn your faces to the East
or to the West. Rather, those with true devoutness are those who believe
in God and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets; and who,
despite their love for it, give away their wealth to their relatives and
orphans and the very poor; to travelers and beggars, and to set slaves
free; and who perform prayer and give the alms; those who honor their
contracts when they make them and who are steadfast in poverty and illness
and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people
who guard against evil. (Qur'an, 2:177)
Those who are steadfast in seeking the face of their
Lord, perform prayer, and give from the provision We have given them,
secretly and openly, and stave off evil with good. It is they who will
have the Ultimate Abode. (Qur'an, 13:22)
Believers refrain from injustice, never compromise when it comes to honesty, protect the poor, are polite and respectful to all people, and are gentle and friendly. They do good and call on others to emulate them. The Old Testament defines righteousness, as follows:
He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain
from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes... (Isaiah, 33:15)
God does not wrong anyone by so much
as the smallest speck. And if there is a good deed God will multiply
it and pay out an immense reward direct from Him. (Qur'an, 4:40)
Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right.
He does not eat at the mountain shrines or look to the idols of the house
of Israel. He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge
for a loan. He does not commit robbery, but gives his food to the hungry
and provides clothing for the naked. He does not lend at usury or take
excessive interest. He withholds his hand from doing wrong, and judges
fairly between man and man. He follows My decrees and faithfully keeps
My laws. That man is righteous. (Ezekiel, 18:5-9)
The New Testament reveals that people can find happiness in both worlds only if they believe and do good:
[Jesus said:] "There is only One Who is good. If you want to enter
life, obey the commandments." "Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied:
"Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false
testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" Jesus
answered: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give
to the poor.
Then come, follow me." (Matthew, 19:17-21)
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to
you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to
you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even
sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are
good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. (Luke,
Combatting Evil with Goodness
They will be given their reward twice over, because they
have been steadfast and because they ward off the bad with the good and
give from what We have provided for them. (Qur'an, 28:54)
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel
the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and
someone else, he will become like a bosom friend. (Qur'an, 41:34)
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,
because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who
hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone
takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. (Luke, 6:27-29)
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty,
give him water to drink. In doing this... and the LORD will reward you.
But do not obey any vile swearer of oaths, any backbiter,
slander-monger, impeder of good, evil aggressor, gross, coarse, and, furthermore,
despicable [person] simply because he possesses wealth and sons. When
Our Signs are recited to him, he says: "Just myths of previous peoples!"
An evil generation succeeded them, [one] who neglected
the prayer and followed their appetites. They will plunge into the Valley
of Evil. (Qur'an, 19:59)
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed,
and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice.
They are gossips, slanderers,
insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they
invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless,
faithless, heartless, ruthless. (Romans, 1:29-31)
They would not be like their forefathers - [rather, they were] a
stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God,
whose spirits were not faithful to Him. (Psalm, 78:8)
Suppose he has a violent son who sheds blood or does any of these
other things: He eats at the mountain shrines. He defiles his neighbor's
wife. He oppresses the poor and needy. He commits robbery. He does not
return what he took in pledge. He looks to the idols. He does detestable
things. (Ezekiel, 18:10-12)
He thwarts the plans of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no
success. He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the
wily are swept away. (Job, 5:12-13)
Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a
malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give
testimony in a lawsuit, do not block justice by siding with the crowd...
Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing
to do with a false charge, and do not put an innocent or honest person
to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. Do not accept a bribe, for
a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus,
People make mistakes. While in this arena of testing, they will make many mistakes and be wronged by other people. Most unbelievers are intolerant of mistakes and impatient with those who make them. If they are harmed by the mistakes of others, they often retaliate viciously. Religious morality, however, commands forgiveness and tolerance. Believers, aware of their total dependence upon God, know that they can make the same mistakes as others. Thus, they speak soothingly and are forgiving. The Qur'an reveals that God praises those who forgive:
Correct and courteous words accompanied by forgiveness
are better than charity followed by insulting words. God is Rich Beyond
Need, All-Forbearing. (Qur'an, 2:263)
Whether you reveal a good act or keep it hidden, or pardon
an evil act, God is Ever-Pardoning, All-Powerful. (Qur'an, 4:149)
Hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn
away from the ignorant. (Qur'an, 7:199)
The Qur'an reveals that people who wish to be forgiven should forgive others and be tolerant:
Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives, the very poor, and those who have migrated in the way of God. They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love God to forgive you? God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 24:22)
The Old Testament states that believers must be patient and forgiving. One must not elaborate upon another person's mistakes, and must not surrender to rage and revenge:
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook
an offense. (Proverbs, 19:11)
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats
the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs, 17:9)
Do not say: "I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man
back for what he did." (Proverbs, 24:29)
The New Testament states that forgiving others brings forgiveness from others (Luke, 6:37). People are required to say such prayers as: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew, 6:12). Other verses request believers to be forgiving and tolerant:
... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness,
and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you
may have against one another. Forgive, as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians,
The Qur'an condemns stinginess. People who do not realize that God is the true owner of all property and possessions passionately cling to their material possessions, believing that these will be theirs forever or that their wealth will protect them. This belief is seriously mistaken, however, for whatever people possess ultimately belongs only to God, Who gives or removes wealth or poverty as He wills. As a result, the Qur'an disapproves of both vanity and despair. Believers are deeply thankful to God for what He has bestowed upon them and use these gifts in His cause. If they are poor, they remain patient due to their knowledge that some good will come of it.
The metaphor of those who spend their
wealth in the Way of God is that of a grain which produces seven
ears, in every ear there are a hundred grains. God gives such multiplied
increase to whoever He wills. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
Many unbelievers are stingy. They show off their wealth, but do not help
the needy. They forget that God is perfect and above all needs, and that
people need to earn His good pleasure by using their God-given gifts wisely.
The Qur'an reveals the truth of this statement:
Here you are then: people who are called upon to spend in the Way of God and then some of you are tight-fisted! But whoever is tight-fisted is only tight-fisted to himself. God is Rich and you are poor. If you turn away, He will replace you with a people other than yourselves, and they will not be like you. (Qur'an, 47:38)
People who think that wealth and property are eternal are wrong. In fact, such things have no value in His presence:
We never sent a warner into any city without the affluent people in it saying: "We reject what you have been sent with." They also said: "We have more wealth and children. We are not going to be punished." Say: "My Lord expands the provision of anyone He wills or restricts it. But the majority of humanity do not know it." It is not your wealth or your children that will bring you near to Us - only in the case of people who believe and act rightly; such people will have a double recompense for what they did. They will be safe from all harm in the High Halls of Paradise. (Qur'an, 34:34-37)
The Old Testament states: Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left, and you live alone in the land (Isaiah, 5:8). Judaism condemns hording possessions and greed.
The New Testament proclaims that wealth can prevent people from practicing the religion's morality (Matthew, 19:23) and that You cannot serve both God and money (Luke, 16:13) (May God forbid this). It also relates the story of a rich but stupid man who horded possessions to ensure his security:
... The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought
to himself: "What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops." Then
he said: "This is what I will do. I will tear down my barns and build
bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will
say to myself: 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.
Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry.'" But God said to him: "You
fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will
get what you have prepared for yourself?" This is how it will be with
anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God. (Luke,
Spending and Giving
O you who believe! Give away some of the good things
you have earned and some of what the earth produces for you. Do not have
recourse to bad things when you give, things you would only take with
your eyes tight shut! Know that God is Rich Beyond Need, Praiseworthy.
Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. God promises you
forgiveness from Him and abundance. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing.
You will not attain true goodness until you give of what
you love. Whatever you give away, God knows it. (Qur'an, 3:92)
Those who give away of their wealth by night and day,
secretly and openly, will have their reward with their Lord. They will
feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Qur'an, 2:274)
The metaphor of those who spend their wealth, desiring
the pleasure of God and firmness for themselves, is that of a garden on
a hillside. When heavy rain falls on it, it doubles its produce; and if
heavy rain does not fall, there is dew. God sees what you do. (Qur'an,
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and
watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich
people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very
small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples
to him, Jesus said: "I tell you the truth. This poor widow has put more
into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth;
but she, out of her poverty, put in everything - all she had to live on."
The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the
one who has food should do the same. (Luke, 3:11)
Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans,
Practicing What You Preach
Believers encourage others to live a life of which God approves and help them improve themselves. They advise them to win God's good pleasure, whereas insincere and hypocritical people do so with profit in mind. They do not seek to serve God's religion with what they do, but pursue worthless or evil aims like status, reputation, admiration, or respectability.
Such insincere people are warned in the Qur'an, as follows:
Do you order people to devoutness and forget yourselves, when you
recite the Book? Will you not use your intellect? (Qur'an, 2:44)
The New Testament severely reprimands people who claim to follow Moses (pbuh) but do not abide by the morality he taught:
... they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads
and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to
lift a finger to move them. (Matthew, 23:3-4)
Thankfulness means to express one's thanks and love to God for all of the gifts He gives, to declare that all we have comes from Him. Careful reflection reveals that God's gifts are countless and that we receive them due to His grace. For example, the fact that each of the 100 trillion or so cells in your body works for you continuously and without fail is only a small fraction of His gifts.
Believers are thankful to God regardless of their circumstances, whereas being thankful does not even occur to unbelievers.
The Qur'an requires that believers be thankful, which it considers a form of worship, and tells them to adopt this attitude wholeheartedly, as the following verses indicate:
No! Worship God and be among the thankful. (Qur'an, 39:66)
So eat from what God has provided for you, lawful and
good, and be thankful for the blessing of God, if it is Him you worship.
The Qur'an also states that thankful believers will receive more rewards, whereas ungrateful unbelievers will deserve His fierce punishment.
[Moses said to his people:] "And when your Lord announced: 'If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase. But if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.'" (Qur'an, 14:7)
The New Testament says; give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians, 5:18), and passages dealing with Jesus' (pbuh) life reveal that he thanked God for all things. All believers should follow his example.
The Old Testament tells believers to be thankful, as follows:
...there had been ... songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. (Nehemiah,
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give
thanks to Him and praise His name. (Psalm, 100:4)
I thank and praise you. (Daniel, 2:23)
We give thanks to you, O God. We give thanks... (Psalm, 75:1)
Ward off evil with what is better. We
know very well what they express. (Qur'an, 23:96)
Rage, which prevents people from evaluating situations correctly, undermines
accurate and fair decision-making, as well as acceptance and compassion.
Thus, the Qur'an urges believers not to succumb to it, for doing so only
results in misguided behavior and damaged relationships with others. The
Qur'an commends those who overcome their anger:
[People who guard against evil are] those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people - God loves the good-doers. (Qur'an, 3:134)
The New Testament states that rage is evil and that those who are angered by others deserve to be punished:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice. (Ephesians, 4:31)
The Old Testament expresses similar sentiments:
A quick-tempered man does foolish things... (Proverbs, 14:17)
Most people pray to God at certain times for certain reasons. Almost everybody knows what praying signifies, but the believers' prayers are completely different from those of the unbelievers. Believers turn to God at all times and pray wholeheartedly. Prayers made to impress others, pursue one's self-interest, or ward off disaster may not be acceptable by God. The following verses deal with this matter:
He is the Living - there is no deity but Him - so call
on Him, making your religion sincerely His. (Qur'an, 40:65)
Call on your Lord humbly and secretly. (Qur'an, 7:55)
Restrain yourself patiently with those who call on their
Lord morning and evening, desiring His face. (Qur'an, 18:28)
If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I answer
the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond
to Me and believe in Me, so that, hopefully, they will be rightly guided.
Both the New Testament and the Old Testament stress the importance of prayer and provide examples of the believers' prayers. We relate some of these below:
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers
and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for
all the saints. (Ephasians, 6:18)
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. (Matthew, 6:5)
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans. (Matthew,
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians,
The Old Testament reveals that praying is an important act of worship, how prayers should be made, and that God answers prayers:
The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in
truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear [and respect] Him; He
hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love Him.
I spread out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched
land. Answer me quickly... Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing
love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for
to You I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide
myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God... in Your
righteousness, bring me out of trouble. (Psalm, 143:6-11)
All people have faults and make mistakes. Believers need to admit their sins after committing them, make the intention to correct them, and ask God to forgive them. Even if they repent and then commit the same sin again, they should repent and seek His forgiveness yet again, for nothing is hidden from Him. Those who try to deceive God (may God forbid this) deceive only themselves.
People must accept God's compassion and mercy for His servants and not delay their repentance, for a death-bed repentance may not be accepted. Many Qur'anic verses request people to repent, as follows:
Turn to God every one of you, believers, so that, hopefully,
you will have success. (Qur'an, 24:31)
But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and puts things
right, God will turn toward him. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Except for those who repent and believe and act rightly:
God will transform the wrong actions of such people into good - God is
Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 25:70)
According to the New Testament, Jesus (pbuh) proclaimed:
I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.
I tell you, no! Unless you repent, you too will all perish. (Luke,
God's Good Pleasure
People answer the question of what they have done for God in many different ways. For example, they may say: I have stilled the hunger of the poor, I have prayed, or I have worshipped. Each of these is commendable, but it is a serious error to do what God asks at certain times and then, at all other times, be oblivious of His existence and the proximity of the Day of Judgment. Those who truthfully believe do not forget that they are always surrounded by God, and so do their utmost at all times to earn His good pleasure and Paradise and to avoid Hell.
They are not all the same. There
is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They
recite God's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They
believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the right and forbid
the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous.
The Qur'an states that the believers' prayers, life, and death are "only
for the Lord of the universe, God" (Qur'an, 6:162). This means
that each believer's life is dedicated to earning God's good pleasure.
The Qur'an says that those people who work only to win His good pleasure
will find salvation:
Who is better: someone who establishes his building on fear [and respect] of God and His good pleasure, or someone who establishes his building on the brink of a crumbling precipice, so that it collapses with him into the Fire of Hell? God does not love wrongdoers. (Qur'an, 9:109)
Solomon's (pbuh) prayer, as recorded in the Qur'an, asks God to let him do those deeds that will earn His good pleasure. Given below, it is an example for all believers:
"My Lord, keep me thankful for the blessing You have bestowed on me and on my parents; keep me acting rightly, pleasing You; and admit me, by Your mercy, among Your servants who are righteous." (Qur'an, 27:19)
The Old Testament reveals that believers asked God to "teach them to do His will." This prayer is as follows:
... I hide myself in You. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my
God... (Psalm, 143:9-10)
The New Testament reveals that Jesus' (pbuh) main request of his followers was that they do their best to earn God's good pleasure. According to it, Jesus (pbuh) always did what God approves of, and thus all of his followers should emulate his behavior. The New Testament reveals that believers should do everything only for God:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the
glory of God. (1 Corinthians, 10:31)
... Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for
the Lord, not for men. (Colossians, 3:22-23)
People have been created impatient, for they want their desires to be fulfilled at once. But God has determined a time and place for everything, and no one can bring it forward or postpone it. This is why believers must remain patient. Prophets as well as believers have proven their patience to the day they died.
God commands: "Be patient for your Lord" (Qur'an, 74:7).
Patience is a form of worship, and the believers' patience is a beautiful
one (Qur'an, 70:5). Those who remain patient during this short life are
promised the following reward:
We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger, loss of wealth, life, and fruits. But give good news to those who are patient. (Qur'an, 2:155)
Patience is a moral quality that strengthens believers mentally as well as physically. The Qur'an states that at the times of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), 20 patient believers could defeat 200 enemies on the battlefield. This clearly demonstrates how much strength the believers gain by remaining patient. This is revealed in the following verse:
If there are twenty of you who are patient, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a hundred of you, they will overcome a thousand of those who do not believe. (Qur'an, 8:65)
The Old Testament emphasizes the importance of patience and declares that such people are superior. The power of the patient is described as follows:
Better a patient man than a warrior... (Proverbs, 16:32)
The New Testament teaches this as well:
... be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians, 4:2)
... help the weak, be patient with everyone. (1 Thessalonians, 5:14)
The Qur'an invites people to think. God commands them to reflect on its verses, humanity's creation, natural phenomenon, His gifts, and other beings. Believers are told to think carefully when evaluating events so that they can help other people comprehend the profound evidence for God's existence and the magnitude of His creation. One verse reveals this reality:
In the creation of the heavens and Earth, the alternation of the night and the day, the ships that sail the seas to people's benefit, the water that God sends down from the sky - by which He brings Earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind - the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and Earth there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Qur'an, 2:164)
The Qur'an also reveals that believers reflect deeply while drawing conclusions:
In the creation of the heavens and the Earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people with intelligence: those who remember God, standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and Earth: "Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire." (Qur'an, 3:190-91)
Is he whose breast is opened to Islam,
and who is therefore illuminated by his Lord? Woe to those whose
hearts are hardened against the remembrance of God! Such people
are clearly misguided. (Qur'an, 39:22)
Wherever people turn and wherever they are, they encounter God's infinite
wisdom, unequalled artistry, inexhaustible might, greatness, and supremacy.
However, before they can benefit from all of this, they must free themselves
from prejudice and carefully study and observe the other beings in their
environment. Genuinely reflective people will find an underlying purpose
in their encounters. Learning from these encounters enables them to have
a better and deeper understanding of God's providence. As a result, their
love, respect, and devotion to Him will increase.
The New Testament states that genuine believers need to ponder and learn from their encounters, as the following passages make clear:
Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? (Mark,
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. (1 Corinthians,
Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into
all this. (2 Timothy, 2:7)
The Old Testament also emphasizes the importance of pondering God's artistry in creation and His might, and calls on believers to contemplate these matters deeply. For example:
and on His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm, 1:2)
On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the
night. (Psalm, 63:6)
I will meditate on all Your works and consider all Your mighty deeds.
Calling Others to Virtue
Throughout history, Prophets and believers have invited people to God's
path and virtue. They told people about God, the Hereafter, Paradise and
Hell, and morality, and called on them to live according to His will.
One verse commands: "Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom
and fair admonition" (Qur'an, 16:125). Other verses commend those
who call others to God and virtue:
Let there be a community among you who call to the good, enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success. (Qur'an, 3:104)
Those who repent, those who worship, those who praise, those who fast, those who bow, those who prostrate, those who command the right, those who forbid the wrong, and those who preserve the limits set by God [for humanity]: give good news to the believers. (Qur'an, 9:112)
The Qur'an refers to the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) who were given books of revelation by God and mentions that genuine Jews and Christians called others to virtue as well:
They are not all the same. There is a community among the People of the Book who are upright. They recite God's Signs throughout the night, and they prostrate. They believe in God and the Last Day, enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and compete in doing good. They are among the righteous. (Qur'an, 3:113-14)
Jesus' (pbuh) and his Disciples' lives are a good example of this. As the New Testament relates:
And will give our attention to prayer and spreading the word of God.
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone
should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the
error of his way will save him from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Throughout history, people have asked Prophets for miracles so that they would believe. As Jesus (pbuh) put it:
"Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders," Jesus told
him, "you will never believe." (John, 4:48)
The Qur'an reveals that those who persisted in their unbelief demanded that the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) perform miracles:
They say: "We will not believe you until you make a spring gush out from the ground for us; or have a garden of dates and grapes through which you make rivers come pouring; or make the sky, as you claim, fall down on us in lumps; or bring God and the angels here as a guarantee; or possess a house built out of gleaming gold; or ascend up into heaven - and even then we will not believe in your ascent unless you bring us down a book to read!" Say: "Glory be to my Lord! Am I anything but a human Messenger?" (Qur'an, 17:90-93)
Conscientious and rational people do not require miracles to believe in God, because for such people of awareness everything is a proof of God's existence. Everything from atoms to galaxies, every piece of the universe, is full of His existence and creation. Those who persistently demand miracles are, in reality, only looking for an escape route. In fact, they always make allegations of sorcery or anarchy when they witness the Prophets' miracles. Such an attitude only proves their unbelief.
The insincerity of such people is exposed, as in the passage given below:
If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be
convinced even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke, 16:31)
The Qur'an states that such people will not believe, even if they see a miracle:
Even if We sent down angels to them, and the dead spoke
to them, and We gathered together everything in front of them right before
their eyes, they would still not believe, unless God willed. The truth
is that most of them are ignorant. (Qur'an, 6:111)
They have sworn by God with their most earnest oaths
that if a Sign comes to them, they will believe in it. Say: "The Signs
are in God's control alone." What will make you realize that even if a
Sign did come, they would still not believe? (Qur'an, 6:109)
Insensitive Eyes, Ears, and Hearts
They say: "Our hearts are covered up against what you
call us to, and there is a heaviness in our ears. There is a screen between
us and you. So act - we are certainly acting." (Qur'an, 41:5)
God has sealed up their hearts and hearing, and over
their eyes is a blindfold. They will have a terrible punishment. (Qur'an,
We created many of the jinn and humanity for Hell. They
have hearts with which they do not understand. They have eyes with which
they do not see. They have ears with which they do not hear. Such people
are like cattle. No, they are even further astray! They are the unaware.
For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with
their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see
with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and
turn, and I would heal them. (Matthew, 13:15)
[Jesus asked:] "Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail
to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the
five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?"... (Mark,
Perfection and faultlessness belong to God. Believers make mistakes knowingly
or unknowingly, but always repent each time wholeheartedly and try their
best never to repeat the same sin. They do not try to portray themselves
as free of sin and faults or exalt themselves by looking down on others.
Those who arrogantly take salvation for granted through their insincere
acts cannot earn God's approval and compassion:
Do you not see those who claim to be purified? No, God purifies whoever He wills. They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck. (Qur'an, 4:49)
The Qur'an reveals that such people's insincere efforts will not save them, and that they will be devastated:
Say: "Shall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided, while they suppose that they are doing good." (Qur'an, 18:103-104)
The Old Testament reveals to believers that expecting any compliments
and admiration is immoral (Psalm, 25:27). Many Biblical passages state
that those who expect exaltation in their conceit are, in reality, debased.
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles
himself will be exalted. (Luke, 18:14)
Wishing Others Well
Greetings or wishing well are ways to express one's best wishes for someone else when they meet. Believers do this without fail, even when they are busy or have urgent business elsewhere, when they enter each other's houses or meet somewhere. The Qur'an commands believers to reply in a similar manner, or with even nicer wishes, when they are greeted and to say suitable words of greeting when they enter another person's house:
When you are greeted with a greeting, return the greeting
or improve on it. God takes account of everything. (Qur'an, 4:86)
And when you enter houses, greet one another with a greeting
from God, blessed and good. In this way God makes the Signs clear to you
so that, hopefully, you will use your intellect. (Qur'an, 24:61)
The New Testament contains similar instructions, such as:
As you enter the home, give it your greeting. (Matthew, 10:12)
Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you!" (John,
Say: "I seek refuge with the Lord of Daybreak, from the evil of what He has created, from the evil of the darkness when it gathers, from the evil of women who blow on knots, and from the evil of an envier when he envies." (Qur'an, 113:1-5)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity,
and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits
of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness,
orgies, and the like. (Galatians, 5:19-21)
have done with telling lies. (Qur'an, 22:30)
O you who believe! Fear [and respect] God, and speak
the right word. (Qur'an, 33:70)
For out of the heart come evil thoughts... false testimony... (Matthew,
Do not lie to each other... (Colossians, 3:9)
Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a
malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give
testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.
And do not go near to fornication. It is an indecent act, an evil way. (Qur'an, 17:32)
You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus, 20:14)
... What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean. For from within,
out of men's hearts, come ... sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.
All these evils come from inside and make a person unclean. (Mark, 7:20-23)
O Prophet! When women who believe come to you pledging allegiance to you on the grounds that they will not associate anything with God, or steal or fornicate, or kill their children or give a false ascription of paternity - making up lies about their bodies - or disobey you in respect of anything right, then accept their pledge and ask forgiveness for them. God is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 60:12)
Do not steal... Do not deceive one another. (Leviticus, 19:11)
Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give
false testimony, do not defraud, and honor your father and mother. (Mark,
Treating Parents Well
Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and that you should show kindness to your parents. Whether one or both of them reach old age with you, do not say "Ugh!" to them out of irritation, and do not be harsh with them. Rather, speak to them with gentleness and generosity. (Qur'an, 17:23)
Honor your father and mother. (Luke, 18:20; Matthew, 19:19)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor
your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise
- that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the
Earth. (Ephesians, 6:1-3)
Honor your father and your mother. (Exodus, 20:12)