The Commandments are the well-known instructions, the essence of the Torah, which Allah revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, peace and blessings be upon him. The commandments prohibit the major sins of idolatry, impiety, disrespect for parents, murder, theft, adultery, false witness, and envy. Allah said:
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ
“O people of the Book, let us come to a common word between us, that we will not worship anything but Allah, we will not associate anything with Him, and we will not take one another as lords instead of Allah. But if they turn away, then say Bear witness that we submit to Allah.” (Surah Ali Imran 3:64)
The commandments are among the core teachings of Judaism and Christianity that are taught to children at an early age, and all of them are included within the teachings of Islam. Some believe these commands go back as far as the seven laws of Noah, peace, and blessings be upon him. Allah said:
خَفِ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى مَخَافَةً لا يَكُونُ عِنْدَكَ شَيْءٌ أَخْوَفَ مِنْهُ وَارْجُهْ رَجَاءً هُوَ أَشَدُّ مِنْ خَوْفِكَ إِيَّاهُ وَأَحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا تُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِكَ
“Fear Allah the Exalted more than anything else, hope in Allah more intensely than you fear him, and love for people what you love for yourself.” (Hilyat al-Awliyā 46930)
These common teachings can be distilled into two main principles: love for Allah and love for our neighbours. In other words, we should respect the rights of Allah by holding sound beliefs and performing acts of worship in the best manner, and we should respect the rights of people by treating them in the way we would love to be treated. All of the divine revelations throughout history are founded upon these two principles.
Ten Commandments are generally summarized as follows:
- You shall not worship any other god but God
- You shall not take the name of God in vain
- You shall not make a graven image
- You shall not break the Sabbath
- You shall not murder
- You shall not steal
- You shall not covet
- You shall not commit perjury
- You shall not commit adultery
- You shall not dishonour your parents
Only God’s path is straight. There is only One God. To believe that there is anyone else who shares the Divinity with Allah is Shirk, blasphemy and a major sin. Belief in Tawhid or the Oneness of Allah is the true, most logical and reasonable principle. All other beliefs in duality or multiplicity of gods have no foundation in truth, reason or reality.
Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran:
- “And They (Servants of God) do not testify falsely.” (Quran 25:72)
- “And do not even go near adultery. It is open vice and a bad way.” (Quran 17:32 )
- “And do not covet what Allah has favoured some of you over others.” (Quran 4:32 )
- “When (Abraham said to his father and tribe, ”What are these images that you sit around? They said, “We found our ancestors worshipping them. (Abraham) said, “Verily, you and your ancestors were in open error.” (Quran 21:52 -54)
- “When Abraham said to his father… do you adopt idols as your things of worship? I see you and your tribe in open error.” (Quran 6:74)
- “He created the heavens and the Earth in six days, and then He settled down on the Throne to administer matters.” (Quran 10:3)
- “Neither drowsiness nor sleep overcomes Him…He is not fatigued by taking care of both (Heavens and Earth).”. (Quran 2:255)
- “As to the thief (man or woman) let their hands be cut off, retaliation for what they did, a punishment from Allah.” (Quran 5:38 )
- “When Abraham said, O my Lord,… and save me and my offspring from worshipping idols.” (Quran 14:35)
- “And do not kill anybody that Allah has prohibited except when you have a right to kill.” (Quran 6:151)
- “And do not stretch your eyes towards what We have provided some of them.” (Quran 15:88)
- “And your Lord has ordained that you should not worship anyone except Him.” (Quran 17:23 )
Islam commands its followers to avoid many things. Some of them are prohibited because they contradict some of the doctrines which a Moslem is supposed to believe. Some of them are prohibited because they are immoral or unethical or unhealthy or because they represent disobedience to the devotional duties. These prohibitions may be regarded as Islamic commandments, the violation of which may constitute a major sin.
A Muslim is prohibited:
- To ascribe to God a partner or associate: “Associate not any other god with the Almighty, lest thou sit down despised forsaken.” 17:22
- To deny the revelation of God to His prophets: To deny any of the prophets who are recognized by the Qur’an, such as Jesus, Moses, Abraham, and Noah.
- The denial of the revelation or any of the recognized prophets is a denial of Islam: “Your lives and properties are sacred and inviolable amongst you until you appear before your Lord…” said the Prophet.
- To feel safe in opposition to God: “Are they secure against the plan of God? But none feels secure against the plan of God except the losing people.” 7:99
- To lose hope in the mercy of God: “…And despair not of the mercy of God. Surely none despairs of the mercy of God except the disbelieving people.” 12:87
- To swear in the name of God falsely: “Hast thou not seen those who take for friends a people with whom God is wrathful? They are neither of you nor of them, and they swear falsely, while they know. God has prepared for them a severe chastisement. Evil indeed is what they do!” 58:14-15
- To break a covenant deliberately: “And fulfil the covenant of God when you have made a covenant, and break not the oaths after making them fast, and you have, indeed, made God your surety. Surely God knows what you do.” 16:91
- o kill a human being premeditatively: “And slay not the soul which God has forbidden except for the just cause…” 17:33
- To be a traitor to the right cause of one’s nation:
- To help defeat it militarily by retreating at the battlefield when the nation is defending itself against aggression: “And whoso turns his back to them (the aggressors) on that day (of fight) unless manoeuvring for battle or turning to join a company, he indeed incurs God’s wrath and his refuge is hell, and an evil destination it is.” 8:16
- To steal.
- To cheat in measuring or weighing in selling or purchasing: “Woe to the cheaters. Who when they take the measure (of their dues) from the people, take it fully, and when they measure out to others or weigh out for them they give less than is due.” 83:1-3
- To use an orphan’s fund in a way that is not in his interest: “And draw not nigh to the orphan’s fund, except in a goodly way, till he attains his maturity, and fulfil the covenant; surely the covenant will be inquired to!” 17:34
- To insult one’s, own parent: “And thy Lord has decreed that ye worship none but Him, and do good to the parents. If one of them or both of them reach old age with thee, say not “Fie” to them, nor chide them, and speak to them kind words. And lower to them the wing of the humility of mercy, and say: My Lord, have mercy on them as they brought me up (when I was) little.” 17:23-24
- To commit adultery: “And go not nigh to fornication; surely it is an obscenity. And evil is the way.” 17:32
- To scandalize people, especially women: “Those who love to see that scandal should circulate concerning the believers, will have a grievous chastisement in this world and the Hereafter, and God knows, while you know not.” 24:19
- To spy on others for no purpose of protecting your nation or yourself: “Those who scandalize virtuous, believing women (who are) careless, cursed are they in this world and the Hereafter. Theirs will be an awful doom, on the day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet testify against them as to what they used to do. On that day God will pay them their just dues, and they will know that God is the Manifest Truth.” 24:23-25
- To backbite others, exposing to those who do not know, some shameful doing: “…And spy not nor backbite each other…” 49:12
- To gamble.
- To drink intoxicants: “O you who believe, intoxicants and games of chance. .are only an abomination, the devil’s work; so shun it, that you may succeed. The devil desires only to create enmity and hatred among you using intoxicants and games of chance, and to prevent you from the remembrance of God and prayer. So will you obey this prohibition?” 5:93-94
- To eat pork or any of swine’s products.
- To eat or drink blood. (This does not include transfusion of blood for necessity.)
- To eat the meat of an animal that dies by itself or the meat of an animal on which the name of other than God is invoked when it is slain: “He has forbidden you only what dies of itself, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which (a name) other than the name of God is invoked (when it is slaughtered)…” 2:173
- To lie deliberately or testify falsely or falsify the word of God willingly: “Only they forge lies who believe not in the messages of God, and they are the liars.” 16:105
- To conceal a testimony when called to testify in litigation: “…And conceal not testimony. And whoever conceals it, his heart is surely sinful. And God knows what you do.” 2:283
- To deliberately hinder a good cause.
- To spread hatred by conveying to a person a bad word about him spoken by another person: “And obey not any mean swearer, defamer, going about with slander, hinderer of good, transgressing beyond the limits, sinful, ignoble, besides all that, notoriously mischievous…” 68:10-13
- To violate the terms of a dead man’s will: “Then whoever changes it (the will) after he heard it, the sin of it is only upon those who change it. Surely God is Hearing, Knowing.” 2:181
- To oppress the people.
- To aid an oppressor: “…And let not hatred of a people because they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque incite you to make aggression. And help one another in righteousness and piety, and help not one another in sin and aggression. Surely God is severe in requiting (evil).” 5:9
- To be proud, looking down on the people: “And turn not thy cheek in scorn towards people, nor go about in the land in insolence. Surely God loves not any self-conceited boaster.” 31:18
- To be envious, wishing people ill: “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of the dawn, From the evil of things created, …And from the evil of the envious when he envies.” 113:1-5
- To antagonize a relative for no right cause: “Will you be making mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship if you come to power?” 47:22
- To neglect any of the five daily prayers.
- To breakfast in the days of Ramadan without a legitimate excuse.
- To withhold the “Zakah” which is the share of the poor in the self-supporting person’s wealth.
- To neglect the duty of pilgrimage to Mecca which has to be done once in a lifetime by every person who is physically and financially able to make it.
- To neglect the duty of advising people to do good and avoid evil when such advice is needed and likely to be effective.
إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنفُسُ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَىٰ
“They are nothing but names you have named, you and your forefathers, for which Allah has not revealed any authority. They follow nothing but assumption and what their souls desire, yet there has already come to them guidance from their Lord.” (Surat al-Najm 53:23)
The last five are regarded as major sins, because prayer, fasting, paying Zakah, making the pilgrimage and enjoining good and prohibiting evil are Qur’anic duties.
In the Islamic view, these commandments contain what God wills for the life of all people. It has five orders and a similar number of prohibitions that define the relationship of man and his Creator, man’s obligations to his family, and commandments that order his social life. What follows are the ten commandments of the Quran and their relevance to modern life.