Marital Relationships in the Major Religions
- :Imam Muhammad Shirazi
Allah says in the Qur'an in prohibition of adultery: Verily it is a vulgarity and a vileness and an evil path to follow'. 20
The use of the expression vulgarity, together with the particular past tense verb in Arabic (Kaana) gives the command an eternal and static quality with reference to God's abstraction from time and the singularity of his law in creation, a notion which is not confined solely to Islam but is present in the remainder of the religions, because religion is one in the realm of God, just as the inherent nature of creation is one.
So when we examine the sayings of many religions, we do so with the premise that they support that, which preceded and succeeded them in the field of rational knowledge and traditions and inherent nature and not with the premise that they are a proof and an original source. 21
1. The Jewish Religion
Jewish texts affirm the impropriety of bachelorhood considering it a sin and making marriage necessary after the age of twenty. Abortion and infanticide and methods of contraception are also considered a crime and acts of unbelief.
Any woman or wife perpetrating adultery would warrant stoning and the rapist of any married woman would be killed. The rapist of a virgin girl would have to pay a monetary fine and take her as a wife for life for his ill act towards her and those caught in the act of adultery would be killed together.
Anyone slandering a married person without proof would be subject to a fine and punishment.
2. The Christian Religion
In this matter, the Christian religion does not differ from the Jewish religion because Christ came confirming what was in the Torah. 22 Hence Christianity prohibited abortion and placed it on a level with premeditated murder. In the same way, homosexuality was prohibited in the strongest possible terms.
The revolution of morals, which Jesus instigated, was in reality a war against the distortion (of religious texts), dissolution, and degeneracy among the people of Israel.
In the Gospels it says: 'You have heard it said: do not commit adultery. But I say whosoever looks to a woman he desires has committed adultery in his heart, and when your right eye calls you to sin, then pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is better for you to destroy one of your organs than for all of your body to go to Hell' 23. 'It is said that whosoever divorces a woman; let him give her a document of divorce. But I say that whosoever divorces a woman other than in the case of fornication has exposed her to the possibility of adultery'. 24
3. In the Religion of Zoroaster
This religion encouraged marriage and building a family and bearing children. In one of its texts it says that 'the married man is greatly preferable to the bachelor and he who supports a family is much more favoured than he who has no family, and he who has children is even more favourable than that.' 25
Elsewhere it says that 'every time the number of children of a man increases, his closeness to his Lord increases.' 26
Parents used to organise the marital affairs of those of their children who had reached the age of adolescence, it not being acceptable for a man to remain unmarried. Also any occupation or work which would distance the individual from the family was unacceptable. Among them, divorce was not approved of except in the case of barrenness, or adultery, or infidelity to the state of married life. Amongst their laws was the prohibition of masturbation, which could be punished by flogging. The consequences for one who committed adultery, or homosexuality, or lesbianism, was death. Likewise, the punishment for abortion among them was execution.
In Buddhism, the punishment for an adulteress was to be publicly thrown as prey to the dogs. As for her partner in the crime, he would be roasted alive on a red-hot bed of steel. Looking at a woman with desire decreased ones vows and the lustful glance stripped one of one's intellect.
The ancient Chinese considered the holding back of a man from marriage to be a character deficit and a crime against the ancestors and the state which could not be excused, even for religious men.
They used to delegate a special official whose work was to make sure that every man of age thirty was married and that every woman was married before the age of twenty.
One of the sayings of Confucius says 'if a house stands on a firm foundation then the world is safe and sound'.
20 The Holy Qur'an: Women (4): 22.
21 This is because those who fabricate lies against God do not bring forward any book or any traditions but that they have been played around with. Had it not been for God's protection of the Qur'an from corruption and substitution then talking about it today would be like talking about the books of the other religions. God though has made sure that his light is complete and his word protected whether the unbelievers like it or not.
22 Even the Gospels that exist today confirm this fact. In one of them appear the words: 'Do not think that I am here to nullify the words of the divine law and the prophets. I have not come to cancel but to perfect. I tell you the truth: Not one iota nor one full stop will disappear from the divine law.
23 The Bible: Mark 9:43 and Matthew 5:27-30.
24 Barnabas. It is well known that the Christians, for about 22 years after Christ (Peace be upon him), continued to observe all the prohibitions found in the Torah. Subsequently however, they limited them to four namely adultery, the eating of animals killed by strangling, the eating of blood, and the eating of animals slaughtered in the name of idols.
25 The Story of Civilisation. Del Durant p.41.
26 ibid. p.42.
Adapted from the book; "The Family" by: "Imam Muhammad Shirazi"
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