(Mormonism & Islam part 3)
The many historical similarities are not the only factors shared by both Islam and Mormonism. Although the five pillars of Islam and the first four principles of the Latter-day-Saint (Mormon) gospel are different, both religions fully accept each other's basic tenets. The five pillars of Islam are:
Shahadah - the confession of faith, testimony.
Salat - worship, prayer.
Zakat - giving a percentage of income
Siyam - fasting
Hajj - pilgrimage, visit to the holy shrine
These are also very important principles of the Mormon faith. Bearing testimony and missionary work are highly emphasized by the Mormons as an important facet of their religion. The Islamic witness consists of declaring "la illaha ila Allah' or "there is no god but God." Mormons testify "I know that God lives." Moslems declare "ashadu ana Mohamad ar-rasulullah" or "I witness that Mohammad is the messenger of God." Mormons declare "I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God."
Moslems participate in five daily prayers at fixed times. Staunch Mormons also participate in daily prayers, one upon rising, one blessing the meal at breakfast, one blessing the meal at lunch, one blessing the meal at dinner and one prayer before retiring. Giving a percentage of income is a strongly emphasized rule of Mormonism called tithing and is 10% of a member's income. In Islam the zakat is set at about 2.5%. Mormons also give a small amount of money representing the cost of meals missed as part of a monthly fast offering. The Quran states:
Who is that will lend Allah a goodly loan that He may multiply it for him manifold (2:246)
Fasting is an important Mormon practice. Mormons fast once a month, Saturday until after the church meeting on Sunday. The standard practice is to miss two meals, some miss two on Saturday and forego breakfast on Sunday. The total of one or one and a half days fasting a month is still less than the full month of daily fasting by Moslems. The Islamic fast is from sunrise to sunset during the month of Ramazan which consists of missing meals during the daylight hours but catching up at night. The Quran advises:
O ye who believe, fasting is prescribed for you; as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.(2:184)
Pilgrimage to the sacred shrine in Mecca is similar to the Mormon visit to the temple. Although Moslems go to Mecca and Mormons originally went to the Salt Lake Temple, now there are many Mormon temples throughout the world. A few facts about the Islamic hajj might be of interest. Pilgrims are clad in two-piece white clothes. Men often wear a white robe over the left shoulder. Women are clad from head to foot and wear white veils. Ritual washing is done by pouring water from the well of Zemzem over the head and letting it fall over the body. Pilgrims move from one place to another during the hajj. Stones are thrown at pillars representing the Devil to show rejection of him. Sacrifice is performed according to the Mosaic law. Prayer at the Kaaba is performed by raising the hands, repeating the prayer and then letting the hands fall to face level. Mormon temple ordinances are not shared with the general public and thus information about them is known to and understood by those who have been to the temple. Mormons who have gone through the temple may find some similarities to certain aspects of the hajj.
The pillars or first principles of the Mormon religion, somewhat different than the pillars of Islam, are found in the Latter-day Saint Articles of Faith, in article number four:
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The principle of faith is also important in Islam and is mentioned in the Quran in several places:
So, as for those who believe in Allah and hold fast to Him, He will surely admit them to His mercy and grace and will guide them on a straight path to Himself.(4:176)
. . . In Allah, then, let the believers put their trust.(3:161)
Repentance is also promoted in the Quran:
Except those who repent and amend and hold fast to Allah and are sincere in their obedience to Allah. These are among the believers.(4:147)
But whoso repents after his transgression and amends, then will Allah surely turn to him in mercy; verily, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.(5:40)
But those who did evil deeds and repented after that and believed, surely thy Lord is thereafter Most Forgiving, Merciful.(7:154)
Although baptism by immersion for remission of sins as an ordinance for those who join the Mormon Church is not a practice of Islam, ritual washing is an important practice. The ritual washing done before prayer in Islam is more akin to other ritual washing in Mormonism than it is to baptism. Possibly due to the dearth of water in desert lands, Islam may have foregone any rite which required enough water to perform total immersion. In emergency circumstances, Islamic ritual washing before prayer (wudhu), which consists of washing the face, the arms up to the elbows and the feet before prayer, may be done using a small amount of water and even dust might be substituted. Another Islamic practice is called ghusl which entails washing the whole body after certain activities or before burial. Citings for washing (wudhu and ghusl) in the Quran include the following:
O ye who believe! when you stand up for Prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and pass your wet hands over your heads, and your feet to the ankles. And if you be unclean purify yourselves by bathing. And if you are ill or on a journey, or one of you comes from the privy or you have touched women, and you find not water, betake yourselves to pure dust and wipe therewith your faces and your hands.(5:7)
O ye who believe! approach not Prayer when you are not in possession of your senses, until you know what you say, nor when you are unclean . . . (4:44)
The covenant of the Christians was mentioned in the Quran and part of this covenant included baptism:
And from those who say, 'We are Christians,' We took a covenant, but they too have forgotten a part of that with which they were exhorted.(5:15)
Islam places importance on the Holy Ghost or ruh al qudus referred to as the Spirit of holiness in Quranic translations:
Say the Spirit of holiness has brought it down from thy Lord with truth, that He may strengthen those who believe, and as a guidance and glad tidings for Muslims.(16:103)
. . . and to Jesus, son of Mary We gave manifest Signs, and strengthened him with the Spirit of holiness. (2:88)
. . . "O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon thee and upon thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the Spirit of holiness . . . (5:111)
Both Islam and Mormonism share the Ten Commandments of the law of Moses. The Quran states:
And when the anger of Moses was appeased, he took the tablets, and in their writing there was guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord.(7:157)
And We wrote for him upon the tablets about everything--an admonition and an explanation of all things. So hold them fast and bid thy people follow the best thereof.(7:146)
The Ten Commandments as found in the Bible in Exodus are:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me...
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain...
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy...
Honor thy father and thy mother...
Thou shalt not kill.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet...
The Quran reiterates these items in various verses:
And your God is One God,(2:126)
And worship Allah and associate naught with Him,(4:37)
And make not Allah a target for your oaths (2:225)
Allah does not like uttering unseemly speech (4:149)
As for keeping the Sabbath, the Quran affirms this principle as well:
When they profaned the Sabbath; when their fish came to them on their Sabbath day appearing on the surface, but on the day when they did not keep the Sabbath, they came not to them.(7:164)
Honoring parents is also stressed in various passages of the Quran:
The Lord has commanded, "Worship none but Him, and show kindness to parents.(17:23)
And We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents;(20:9)
. . . show kindness to parents,(4:37)
The commandment of not killing is also noted in the Quran:
If thou stretch out thy hand against me to kill me, I am not going to stretch out my hand against thee to kill thee.(5:29)
On account of this we prescribed to the children of Israel that whosoever killed a person--unless it be for killing a person or for creating disorder in the land--it shall be as if he killed all mankind.(5:33)
Adultery is condemned in the Quran in various verses:
The adulteress and the adulterer (or fornicatress and the fornicator)--flog each one of them with a hundred stripes.(24:3)
And forbidden to you are married women, except such as your right hands possess. This has Allah enjoined on you. And allowed to you are those beyond that, that you seek them by means of your property, marrying them properly and not committing fornication.(4:25)
Stealing is strongly decried in the Quran and grim punishment, even amputation might be assigned in severe cases. The Quran says:
And the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands in retribution of their offence as an exemplary punishment from Allah.(5:39)
Bearing false witness is severely discouraged in Islam and the person who falsely accuses another is assigned a punishment similar to that which he endeavored to have delivered to the innocent:
And those who calumniate chaste women but bring not four witnesses--flog them with eighty stripes, and never admit their evidence, and it is they that are the transgressors.(24:5)
Other than the five pillars of Islam, the first four principles of the Mormon gospel and the Ten Commandments, many other laws, practices and beliefs are shared by both religions. Mormons are known for their health code of abstinence from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea and coffee as well as dietary advise. Islam prohibits alcohol as reflected in the Quran and decries gambling which is also a Mormon prohibition:
They ask thee concerning wine and the game of hazard. Say: 'In both there is great sin(2:220)
O ye who believe! wine and the game of hazard and idols and divining arrows are only an abomination of Satan's handiwork.(5:91)
In the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants alcohol is discussed:
And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgement.B (D. & C. 89:7)
Although the Quran does not directly prohibit tobacco, some mujtahed (Islamic jurist) have from time to time indicated that tobacco is not beneficial.
The Quran discusses diet as well:
And He it is Who brings into being gardens, trellised and untrellised, and the date-palm and cornfields whose fruits are of diverse kinds, and the olive and the pomegranate, alike and unlike. Eat of the fruit of each when it bears fruit, but pay His due on the day of harvest and exceed not the bounds.(6:142)
In the Doctrine and Covenants this is reaffirmed:
And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained to the constitution, nature, and use of man--
Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.(D. & C. 89:10-11)
Islam and the Quran indicate that blood and the flesh of swine are not to be eaten:
He has made unlawful unto you only that which dies of itself, and blood and the flesh of swine, and that on which the name of any other than Allah has been invoked. But he who is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, it shall be no sin for him.(2:17)
Say, "I find not in what had been revealed to me aught forbidden to an eater to eat it, except it be that which dies of itself, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine--for that is unclean(6:146)
. . . and eat and drink but exceed not the bounds;(7:143)
The concept expressed in the above Quranic quotes "exceed not the bounds" and not "exceeding the limit" are shared in Mormonism as found in the Word of Wisdom and other scriptures. Mormons are advised that flesh of animals be "used sparingly" when man is driven by necessity in "time of famine and excess of hunger." (D. & C. 89:12 & 15) Mormons are advised to practice moderation in all things. LDS scriptures agree with the Quran that "the blood shall ye not eat."(Joseph Smith translation of Genesis 9:9-12) Genesis continues on to advise that animals in general should not be killed unless one is driven by necessity:
And surely, the blood shall not be shed, only for meat to save your lives: and the blood of every beast will I require at your hand.(Joseph Smith translation of Genesis 9:9-12)
The Quran condemns killing animals while on pilgrimage:
O ye who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of pilgrimage(5:96)
Brigham Young also felt that swine is inferior food:
If the people were willing to receive the true knowledge from heaven in regard to their diet they would cease eating swine's flesh. I know this as well as Moses knew it, and without putting it in a code of commandments.(Widtsoe 1951:189)
Also in the Discourses of Brigham Young, he decries fancy eating including ham and pork.
Another LDS leader, Heber C. Kimbal, agreed in Journal of Discourses 12:190-191 AG of PV:52):
I am inclined to think that pig meat is not good
(Moslems and Mormons both believe in blessing food:
And eat not that on which the name of Allah has not been pronounced,(6:122)
(Continued in Mormonism & Islam, Part 4)