Why is the “God of Israel” fond of using woman’s metaphors, such as Babylon as a humiliated woman whose nakedness shall be uncovered (Isa. 47), Israel as an unfaithful wife who played the whore with many lovers (Jer. 3), Samaria and Jerusalem as two adulterous sisters who played the whore in Egypt (Ezek. 23), Nineveh as woman whose skirt will be lift by God to show her nakedness (Nah. 3:5)? If you compare the Qur’an’s style with these Prophetic books of the Bible, you will observe striking differences between them. Allah doesn’t use vulgar and obscene words in the Qur’an even when he talks about ancient nations who were destroyed due to disobedience.


This an oft-repeated criticism against the Bible.  I believe it is misplaced for two reasons:
First, the idea that the Bible has language about prostitution, nakedness and the like and that the Qur’an does not is simply false.  This is a perfect example of Muslims scanning the Bible to try to find “dirt” on the God-given inspired Scriptures, but not even bothering to search their own scriptures to see if the Qur’an has it as well.  For example, nakedness is mentioned four times in the Qur’an, for example in An Nur and in Al Azhab.  Also, the word whore or harlot is found in the Qur’an, for example in Sura 24:33 and several other places, as well as in the Hadith Bukhara and elsewhere.   If it is somehow bad for Scripture to mention lewd things, then why is it that the same things are mentioned in the Qur’an?  It seems somewhat hypocritical to mention these in the Bible, but to choose not to notice the same things in the Qur’an.
Add to this the fact that Sura 5:87 is used in Hadith Sahih Bukhari 7:62:130 and Sahih Muslim 8:3243 to justify the common Muslim practice of Nika Mut’a, or temporary pleasure marriage, which is a very thin veil for prostitution. According to the supposedly inspired Hadith, Muhammad told his men to engage in what amounts to prostitution in these “temporary marriages.”  Is this not a problem?  The fact is that Nika Mut’a is still practiced in most parts of the Muslim world, as I know from personal experience in such countries. The Bible certainly does not justify prostitution as Hadith does.
Second, sin is a disgusting and degrading thing, as noted in both the Bible and in the Qur’an.  It is appropriate to use shocking words to describe shocking sin.  The bottom line is that during Old Testament times, both Samaria and Jerusalem were unfaithful to God, especially in their idolatry.  Metaphorically, they “prostituted” (ie sold) themselves to foreign powers.  What is wrong with pointing out the disgusting sins of Israel using strong words?  I fail to see why this is a bad thing.  The prophets in the Hebrew Bible expose the disgusting and degraded nature of idolatry and other sins using appropriate imagery for such degraded things.  The Qur’an and the Bible both use shocking words to describe shocking sins, although I will concede that the Old Testament prophets did this more often than is found in the Qur’an.  I believe that this is appropriate, both when this happens in the Qur’an and Hadith, and when it happens in the Old Testament.
The only example I have raised which causes a problem, from my perspective, is when Muslims use the very common practice of interpreting Sura 5:87 to justify prostitution, using Bukhari and Sahih Muslim as a proof-text for allowing these supposed temporary marriages.  I know from personal experience that Nika Mut’a is common throughout much of the Muslim world, using the Qur’an and Hadith as justification for prostitution.  (On a side note, most Sunnis believe that this was later abrogated, but Shia do not. What they all agree to is that this was once supported and practiced by Muhammad) How do you explain the fact that for nearly 1400 years Muslims have favored this interpretation of the words of Muhammad?
John Oakes

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