continuation of Part 1
Forgiveness is stronger
The Old Testament endorsed the stoning of adulterers (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22) and fornicators, including a monetary fine and stoning, depending on the circumstances (Ex. 22:16-17; Deut. 22:23-26; 28-29). But there came a moment in the human history, when the law was fulfilled in a Man, who’s words brought healing instead of stoning.
Because stoning as a form of punishment was recognized and ordered by Mohamed in the hadiths, there is still a strong base for it’s validation. In my comparison list between Mohamed and Jesus, the two worlds, according to their teachings and life examples, collide in many areas, and the stoning reveals one of the aspects of a quite different Word of God they preached and practised.
When Jesus came, He changed the world upside down. He revealed the truth about His Father’s heart. In the Sermon on the Mount, which is Christianity 101, He touched upon the sins of adultery and lust in a way that changed the perspective on men’s righteousness completely.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt. 5:27-28
This statement was soon followed by an incident which we can read about in the Gospel of John, chapter 8. The smart and intelligent scholars (teachers of the law) and the religious leaders (Pharisees) caught a woman in adultery. In reality they were preying on Jesus, trying to corner Him and expose His luck of, according to their way, cohesive teaching. But the whole story turned into something unexpected, life changing, mind bugling. After dragging her to Jesus’ feet they left the power for her life and death in His hands. Jesus replied:
“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
adulterous woman scene from the movie "The Passion of Christ"
The verdict which was expected to be imposed upon the fallen woman, was turned upon the accusers’ consciousness. There were probably few things that could happen then, but the most bizarre happened, and it was recorded in the Gospel. One by one, they all left. Was it, because the spoken Word penetrated their hearts? Was is because they realized their hypocrisy? Was it because they decided they can’t win their tricky game this time? was it because the fear of God fall upon them? Was is because they had a glimpse of God who is just and merciful?
This one moment changed the universe forever. The power of forgiveness was installed in the human race. It was cried out not in a moment of speech or preaching, but in the moment where someones destiny was about to be overturned.
“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
Jesus spoke to a condemned woman. That was a shocking reality by itself. The question He asked was for her to realize, that the accusers lost their ground. There were no more threats. And then comes the punching line, that is the quintessence of God who is Justice and Mercy at once.
“I do not condemn you either, go, from now on sin no more.”
This is the way to a human heart and the root of the sin. The spiritual solution is forgiveness without condemnation, with the encouragement. Later on, Jesus fulfilled the law by taking the penalty for our sins on Himself.
How different from Mohammed’s form of justice – stoning and flogging. Did these kinds, still used in some countries as a “Muslim way” of dealing with the criminals, ever work? As far as I am aware, in Judaism, there is no more stoning imposed as a punishment for the sins or committed crime. Christian based judicial systems are not allowing such cruelty. But in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, it’s still a different story. It just torns families apart, deprives the children of the parent, causes damage to the child’s life, brings shame without resolution, drives the sin underground, does not offer any healing to the families or the society. If it would work in theses controlled societies, is the sin purged out of the hearts of people?
Can’t Allah forgive?