(Mormonism & Islam, part 6)


P R O P H E T S  &  P E R S E C T U T I O N

Both Islam and Mormonism accept the Judeo-Christian line of prophets except that Islam adds Mohammed and Mormonism adds Joseph Smith and subsequent Mormon prophets. Mormonism accepts certain aspects of Mohammed's mission and Islam as noted in the first section of this writing. But Islam might not easily accept Joseph Smith and the subsequent Mormon prophets although the ancient Book of Mormon prophets from the Brother of Jared up to Moroni should be acceptable to Moslems because they were before Mohammad. According to Islam the true religion was given to Adam and was fostered by subsequent prophets among whom the main are Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus with Mohammed as a recent messenger representing the same religious teachings. According to the Quran:

He has prescribed for you the religion He enjoined on Noah, and which We have revealed to thee, and which We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus(42:14)

And when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from thee, and from Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus, son of Mary, and we took from them a solemn covenant;(33:8)

Abraham is cited in the Quran as special to God:

And Allah took Abraham as a special friend.(4:126)

Say, 'Allah has spoken the truth: follow, therefore, the religion of Abraham,(3:96)

Say, 'As for me, my Lord has guided me unto a straight path--a right religion, the religion of Abraham, the upright.(6:162)

Were you present when death came to Jacob, when he said to his sons, What will you worship after me! They answered, "We will worship thy God, the God of they fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, the One God; and to Him we submit ourselves.(2:134)

Mormons also claim their religion comes from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

. . . for I am the Lord your God, even the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.(D. & C. 136:21)

Again in the Quran we find:

And We gave him Isaac and Jacob; each did We guide aright(6:85)

And We bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, and We placed prophethood and the Book among his descendants,(29:28)

We gave the Book and Wisdom to the children of Abraham and We gave them a great kingdom.(4:55)

Mormon scripture agrees on this point adding that Mormons are descendants of Abraham and thus are entitled to his religion:

For ye are the children of Israel, the seed of Abraham,(D. & C. 103:17)

The promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.(D. & C. 132:41)

Which Abraham received the priesthood from Melchizedek, who received it through the lineage of his fathers, even till Noah.(D. & C. 84:14)

This indicates that descendants of Abraham whether Moslems or, more recently, Mormons are entitled to guidance from God. The priesthood which is spoken of in this scripture is called the Melchidezek Priesthood named after the Old Testament king of Salem:

And Melchizedek king of Salem . . . he was the priest of the most high God.(Genesis 14:18)

Why the first is called the Melchizedek Priesthood is because Melchizedek was such a great high priest(D. & C. 107:2)

The name Melchizedek is cognate of the Arabic malik-essadiq which means "righteous king." Moslems do not emphasize the necessity of a priesthood but derive authority from the Quran and guidance from certain Islamic jurists who have a high degree of knowledge.

After Abraham, religion was continued through his descendants as noted above. This includes the 12 tribes of Israel as noted in the Quran which states "and We divided them into twelve tribes, distinct peoples."(7:161) Other than the 12 tribes, other nations were descendants of Abraham including the Arabs who claim Abrahamic blessings through Hagar:

God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people.(D. & C. 132:34)

According to the Quran, the Torah or Old Testament and the gospel or New Testament were revealed by God through the descendants of Abraham. Moslems believe that the Quran is in the same category:

Again, We gave Moses the Book . . . And this Book which We have sent down full of blessings. So follow it,(6:155-156)

And how will they make their judge when they have with them the Torah, wherein is Allah's judgement!(5:44)

He has sent down to thee the Book containing the truth fulfilling that which precedes it: and He sent down the Torah and Gospel before as a guidance to the people;(2:4)

. . . a promise incumbent on Himself in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Qur'an. And who is more faithful to his promise than Allah?(9:111)

While both religions believe in the prophets descended from Abraham and the scriptures which have resulted from the work of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, they also both realize that every religion established by an earlier prophet eventually disintegrates and needs to be revived by a later prophet. In the Quran:

What! every time they make a covenant, will a party among them throw it aside? Nay, most of them have no faith.(2:101)

Then there has come an evil generation after them who inherited the Book. They take the paltry goods of this low world and say, 'It will be forgiven us.'(7:170)

Say, 'O people of the Book! exceed not the limits in your religion, nor follow the evil inclinations of a people who went astray before and caused many to go astray, and who have strayed from the right path.'(5:78)

Biblical references agree that not long after a true

religion is established, the faithful begin to fall away:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.(II Timothy 4:3-4)

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.(Acts 30:29-30)

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:(Isaiah 29:13-14)

Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed;

And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy--even Satan, sitteth to reign--behold he soweth tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness.(D.& C. 86:2-3)

The belief held by both Islam and Mormonism is that, although originally established by God through authorized prophets, the religions of their times had become corrupt and the true religion needed to be restored. That is why Mohammed and Joseph Smith both sought guidance from God and were inspired by angelic visits to bring forth a contemporary religious text and revive God's religion. In each case, these prophets were urged by God to teach:

And when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Book, saying, 'You shall make this known to the people and not conceal it.'(3:188)

O ye who believe! be strict in observing justice, and be witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or parents and kindred.(4:136)

Mormons also share the missionary zeal:

And speak freely to all; yea preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice,(D. & C. 20:37)

. . . men shall go forth to all nations . . . Wherefore, go forth, crying with a loud voice, saying: The Kingdom of heaven is at hand(D. & C. 40:15 & 19)

Of course in both the case of Islam and Mormonism, the new message of a restored religion was not always met with a positive response. According to the Quran:

And when Our verses are recited to them they say, 'We have heard. If we wished we could certainly utter the like of this. This is nothing but tales of the ancients.'(8:32)

And surely have the Messengers been mocked at before thee,(6:11)

You shall surely be tried in your possessions and in your persons and you shall surely hear many hurtful things from those who were given the Book before you(3:187)

Mormon scripture also discusses persecution of the righteous and killing the prophets for preaching the true religion:

And if they persecute you, so persecuted they the prophets and righteous men that were before you.(D. & C. 127:4)

For they killed the prophets, and them that were sent unto them; and they have shed innocent blood, which crieth from the ground against them.(D. & C. 136:36)

The Quran also decries those who falsely accused messengers of God and tried to kill or actually did kill prophets:

Surely, those who deny the Signs of Allah and seek to kill the Prophets unjustly, and seek to kill such men as enjoin equity--announce to them a painful punishment.(3:22)

Those who say. 'Allah has charged us not to believe in any Messenger until he bring us an offering which fire devours,' Say, 'There have already come to you Messengers before me with clear Signs and with that which you speak of, Why, then, did you seek to kill them, if you are truthful?'

And if they accuse thee of lying, even so were accused of lying Messengers before thee who came with clear Signs and books of wisdom and the shining Book.(3:184-5)

When Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon and it began to be disseminated, people indicated that they had a Bible and did not need another. The Book of Mormon itself foretold this:

And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible A Bible We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.(2 Nephi 29:3)

This could be answered by the formerly cited Quranic verse:

And the Jews say, 'The hand of Allah is tied up.' Their own hands shall be tied up and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay, both His hands are wide open;(5:65)

The Quran issues a challenge to such doubters:

And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it, and call upon your helpers beside Allah, if you are truthful. (2:24)

Do they say. 'He has forged it?' Say, 'Then bring ten Chapters like it, forged, and call on whom you can beside Allah, if you are truthful.(11:14)

The Quran also challenges to pray when a dispute arises:

Now whoso disputes with thee concerning him, after what has come to thee of knowledge, say, 'Come let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our people and your people; then let us pray fervently and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie.'(3:36)

The Book of Mormon issues the challenge to pray concerning the veracity of the Book:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask of God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.(Moroni 10:4)

When Mormon or Moslem missionaries began preaching they were confronted with the attitude the 'we are good people, we are following in our fathers' footsteps.' In the Quran:

And thus that We never sent any Warner before thee to any township but the evil leaders thereof said: 'We found our fathers following a course, and we are following in their footsteps'(43:24)

The Book of Mormon criticizes incorrect traditions of fathers:

. . . and we should have been like unto our brethren the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.(Mosiah 1:5)

Both Islam and Mormonism suffered persecution which caused Mohammed to leave Mecca and Joseph Smith and his followers to leave New York, Ohio, Missouri and Brigham Young to leave Illinois. The Quran discusses suffering for the truth:

And those who have believed and left their homes and striven for the cause of Allah, and those who have given shelter and help--these indeed are true believers.(8:75)

Those, therefore who have immigrated, and have been driven out from their homes, and have been persecuted in My cause, and have fought and been killed,I will surely remove from them their evils and will cause them to enter Gardens through which streams flow--a reward from Allah, and with Allah is the best of rewards.(3:196)

Mormon scripture agrees:

And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.(D. & C. 101:35)

(Continued in Mormonism & Islam, Part 7)