Islam Old Testament

I’m having a difficult time criticizing Islam when it clearly mimics the ethics of the Old Testament. The Old Testament shows the gravity of sin this is shown in the punishments God administers to his people. How then can I judge Muslims for doing the same? It’s very clear that Islam seeks uniformity, peace and stability through force. They are faithfully trying to submit to God’s righteousness albeit in an extreme way.
I understand that in a Catholic perspective Christ did away with those punishments and that he only seeks repentance. Still my mind is having a hard time wrestling with this fact that Muslims have adopted themselves into the family of Abraham by taking on the covenant God had with the Jews.

Furthermore, medieval Christianity and medieval Islam were pretty similar in how they dealt with these kinds of issues. If anything, Christians may have been a bit more intolerant, though I’m not going to defend that point staunchly since the comparisons are complex. The difference is that Christians were nonviolent for their first three centuries, and modern Christians have mostly come to see that some of the ways we’ve dealt with violence in the past were flawed, while many highly successful and visible modern forms of Islam have actually removed many of the checks on violence found in the older tradition.

Back to the OT: I think you have a point. In fact, the slaughter of the Canaanites described in the OT goes beyond anything ever sanctioned in Islam, where the killing of women and children is forbidden. Christian apologists will argue that it’s different because it was a limited command given under specific circumstances, but I can’t see that this makes a huge difference morally and in terms of one’s understanding of the nature of God.

In fact, I think the criticism to make of Islam is precisely that it “returns” to aspects of the Old Testament ethos that Christians have reinterpreted through Jesus. I don’t think this lets Muslims off the hook. After all, Islam claims to be a fuller revelation. Furthermore, Jewish tradition in fact has softened much of the harshness of the OT. Muslims often claim to be the “middle ground” between Jewish legalism and Christian spiritualization, but that claim doesn’t hold up given that Jewish tradition, just as law-based a Islamic, is generally more humane.

So I think the consideration you mention should not stop us from criticizing Islam, but it should make our criticisms more moderate and reasonable.


I wouldn’t really be puzzled that the Qu’ran imitates the Old Testament, Muhammad was friends with Jews and would have probably adopted many things from them to insert into his new religion. But you are wrong, they are not adopting themselves into the family of Abraham via the Mosaic Covenant as they believe they are descended from Ishmael who is the uncle of Jacob (Israel) and his son’s, etc. They are creating an entirely new covenant that hadn’t existed beforehand.

While, yes, the O.T. shows the gravity of sin and the punishment God must necessarily distributes it also shows the unbridled love of God for His people, I really noticed this in the Prophets, that is more or less absent from the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran is almost entirely bereft of love and compassion, whereas even the O.T. shows a great display of it, except that God (Allah) in the Qu’ran only loves in return, not beforehand.

Compare: Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Qu’ran 3:31

Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your faults, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful

Notice the Bible has God, even in the O.T. as loving first whereas the Qu’ran necessitates some part on man for God to love him. That’s what I’ve seen at least.

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