Universal Message: The Ten Commandments

Allah says in the Quran,

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near to Al-Fawahish (shameful sins, illegal sexual intercourse, etc.) whether committed openly or secretly, and kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause (according to Islamic law). This He has commanded you that you may understand.”

“And come not near to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he (or she) attains the age of full strength; and give full measure and full weight with justice. We burden not any person, but that which he can bear. And whenever you give your word (i.e. judge between men or give evidence, etc.), say the truth even if a near relative is concerned, and fulfill the Covenant of Allah, This He commands you, that you may remember.”

“And verily, this (i.e. Allah’s Commandments mentioned in the above two Verses 151 and 152) is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious/God-conscious).”” [Surah Al-An’am, 6:151-153]

In these verses we have Ten Commandments of Islam. ‘Ubadah ibn Samit – may Allah be pleased with him- said that Prophet Muhammad used to take pledge of Islam (bay’ah) from the people in Makkah by reciting these verses. Some scholars call them as al-Din al-Jami’ (the Universal and Comprehensive Teachings of Religion).

These commandments include belief, worship, ethics, and laws pertaining to social, economic and civic matters. Similar teachings were also given in the Torah (Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21) to Bani Israel and they are known among Jews and Christians as the Ten Commandments. They are generally summarized as follows:

1. You shall not worship any other god but God.
2. You shall not make a graven image.
3. You shall not take the name of God in vain.
4. You shall not break the Sabbath.
5. You shall not dishonor your parents.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not commit perjury.
10. You shall not covet.

In the Quran these commandments are given in three verses. Each verse has a very appropriate ending. In the first verse there are five commands ending with the statement ‘that you may understand.’ In the second verse there are four commands ending with the statement ‘that you may remember.’ In the third verse there is one command ending with the statement that you may become ‘Al-Muttaqun.’

It is reported on the authority of Amir b. Sa’d that:

Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas was in the fold of his camels that his son ‘Umar came to him. When Sa’d saw him he said: “I seek refuge with Allah from the mischief of this rider.” And as he got down he said to him: “You are busy with your camels and your sheep and you have abandoned people who are contending with one another for kingdom.”

Sa’d struck his chest and said: “Keep quite. I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Allah loves the servant who is god-conscious and is free from want and is hidden (from the view of people).”” [Sahih Muslim, Book #042, Hadith #7072]

The obvious meaning is that when you use your reason, remember your responsibilities and follow the Divine Path then you can acquire righteous and pious character, Taqwa. This should be the final objective of your faith.

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