Islam versus Christianity: Utilitarian purpose of the Islamic teachings

It is said that a teaching of the Bible is that if a person is smitten on the right cheek he should present the left one to the one who smites. This sounds very attractive so long as it is not put into practice. But if an attempt is made to act upon it, it is soon discovered to be entirely unpractical.

It is related, that a Christian missionary used to preach in the streets of Cairo how full of love and tolerance the teachings of Jesus were. He would cite the injunction to turn the left cheek when the right one is smitten as an example, and make unfavourable comparisons with the teachings of other faiths. His discourses were couched in a very fine language and his audience used to be greatly affected. A Muslim, who had heard the missionary preach in this fashion on several occasions, became much upset. He wondered why no Muslim divine cared to tackle the missionary on the comparative merits of Islamic and Christian teachings. One day while the missionary was in the middle of his discourse this man approached him and expressed a desire to speak to him. The missionary inclined his head towards him to be able to listen to what he had to say. But the man instead of saying anything gave the missionary a violent slap on the face. The missionary was taken aback for a moment, but then fearing lest the man should proceed to further violence, raised his own hand in order to strike his assailant. The man remonstrated with the missionary and pointed out that he was expected to turn his other cheek, rather than preparing to strike him back.

The missionary retorted, “I have decided today to act upon the teaching of the Qur’an, not the Bible.”

The punch line being that most Christians in day to day life practice Islam rather than Christianity.  A recent development is the granting of permission to divorce in the last European country, namely Malta.

Islam provides wholesome guidance in all aspects of human life. This article is devoted to demonstrating the utilitarian value of some of the Islamic teachings.  The Holy Quran not only provides rational and utilitarian teachings but also a complete set of guiding principles to lead a fully satisfying life in all necessary human dimensions:

“This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion. But whoso is forced by hunger, without being wilfully inclined to sin, then, surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. ” (Al Quran 5:4)

All theists can agree on the limitations of atheism. Once we settle that question the next obvious one is, which theism to go for?

Most readers will agree that we should judge any set of teachings by their fruits, in other words, we can fully appreciate religions by the utilitarian value of their teachings. Let me remind the Christian readers also that Jesus will agree with my thesis or yard stick of how to judge things or religions and their teachings:

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:16-19)

In the Alislam-eGazette linked here you will find comparison on some of the teachings of Islam and Christianity:

1.  Alcohol

2. Gambling

3.  Hijab

4.  Divorce

5.  Turning the other cheek

Read more in March 2010 Al Islam – eGazette: Utilitarian purpose of Islamic teachings:

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