Orphans and Widows in Christianity and Islam – Part 1

I was just reading an article that made me think about the differences in teachings related to orphans and widows in Christianity and Islam.  Both books talk about widows and orphans.  No real surprise there.  But the things they have to say are very different.  That should not have been a surprise, but it was.  At least, it was more of a surprise than I expected.  When we hear about something, like the Qur’an and Islam – and also read the actual Qur’an – it can be hard to remember what the actual book says versus what people claim about the book.  The same is true for anything.  We really need to pay attention to what’s real and what’s opinion.

In this case, I did a search through the Bible (NIV) and two different translations of the Qur’an.  As I said, I was surprised at what I found in the Qur’an.  More correctly, at what I didn’t find.

Orphans and Widows in the Bible and the Qur’an

Orphans and Widows in Christianity and IslamHere’s what got all this started.  There was an article in Christianity Today titled The Biggest Mistake Teaching Pastors Tend to Make – And How To Correct It.  The subtitle was even more of the driving force: Jesus didn’t tell us to teach students, he commanded us to make disciples.  This is absolutely true.  It’s about the Great Commission – making disciples of all nations.  That’s not new.  However, I’ve been trying more and more lately to get less “fact teaching” and more application into what I write.  The same goes for the adult Bible Study class I teach.  Now, I’m not a Pastor, but I do teach, so I take what James wrote very seriously:

Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

First thing this morning, I opened up my email with The Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway.  Today, it was from James:

Jas 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

So, if you’re paying attention to the verses, both are from James.

Just now, I opened up an email from Christianity Today.  That’s where I read the article referenced above.  Guess what’s at the end of that article.  This:

The biggest mistake we tend to make is to think we’re equipping when all we’re doing is teaching.

Certainly teaching is a vital part of equipping. But it’s just one aspect. It’s not the whole thing.

If all we do is teach people more about God and the Bible, we won’t have better equipped church members, just better informed ones.

Information is not enough. It never has been.

So how do we fix this oversight? Do what Jesus told us to do. Jesus didn’t tell us to teach students, he commanded us to make disciples. Disciples aren’t just learners, they’re doers. Doers of the Word, not just hearers of it.

In fact, the New Testament contains some harsh criticism for people who hear the Word, but don’t translate that hearing into doing. James 1:22-25 says such people are living in self-deceit.

James.  Again.  Not only that, but the verses immediately after the one about being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Apparently being quick to listen (this time at least), I noticed right away the connection between the two emails.  I also remembered the passage from James about teaching, which is the subject of the CT article.  Putting all of it together, we have :

Listening and Doing

Jas 1:19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Jas 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

Jas 1:26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

And that’s where the orphans and widows part comes in.

Add to that a comment I recently got from someone telling me, correctly saying that I should do a better job of explaining how I feel about passage I quote from both the Bible and the Qur’an.  She was saying that instead of putting in the passages and some explanation of each, then leaving the reader to draw their own conclusion – I should also include my own conclusions.  Of course, that still leaves the reader to agree or disagree – but I can see where she’s coming from.  

I do that when I write strictly about Christianity.  I also do it when comparing Christianity to science, government, Etc.   So why not do it with Islam as well?  And that’s what drew me to research on Orphans and Widows in Christianity and Islam.

The searches were performed on the 1984 NIV translations of the Bible, and The Message of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad.

Orphans and Widows in Islam
Orphans in the Qur’an
you are not generous towards the orphan

There are 22 verses where the word orphan(s) appears.  Although it would make for a lengthy article, I am going to include all of them – but in a multi-part series.  I feel this is necessary in order to show that the differences between the Bible and the Qur’an are real – not something contrived because I left out something that would have shown them to be identical.

Furthermore, given the choice of going in printed Sura number or chronological order, I have chosen to use chronological order.  In some cases, the earlier Sura’s are vastly different from later ones as to the message they portray.  Going in chronological order will make it possible to see any trends / differences that may show up.

chronological order print
Sura #
verse text
3 89 17 (17) But nay, nay, [O men, consider all that you do and fail to do:] you are not generous towards the orphan, (18) and you do not urge one another to feed the needy, (19) and you devour the inheritance [of others] with devouring greed, (20) and you love wealth with boundless love!


This is the first statement about orphans that was revealed to Muhammad.  Prior to this, there was no commandment to do anything for orphans, the needy, or anything like that.  The first reference is a warning for not doing something – even though that something was never actually asked for.

Also, this verse comes from a passage that talks about people’s attitudes about God.  It says that men say they were justly rewarded when God gives them good things.  On the other hand, it says that God is disgracing them when things don’t go well.

How is it that men should have known already about giving to the poor and needy?  The reality is, Muslims are supposed to read certain parts of both Jewish and Christian scriptures.  The reality is also that certain portions of those scriptures are considered acceptable for Muslims, while other parts are not.  It’s only over time, as more and more of the Sura’s are revealed that one finds out which parts are OK and which ones are not.  Even more surprising is that the Qur’an was assembled more than 100 years after the death of the prophet – and yet it’s still left open to the reader to determine how to balance this issue with the Qur’an referencing Jewish and Hebrew scriptures.  Even more perplexing – and problematic – different sects of Islam do not agree on how to do this.  

And so, we are left with this warning being the first introduction to orphans and the needy in the Qur’an.  And the consequences for failing to be generous towards the orphan is eternal suffering rather than eternal pleasure. 

Of course, it’s also possible to read the Qur’an in printed order.  However, that would ;eave the reader even more confused as they travel on a roller-coaster ride of changing views, which comes from not reading in chronological order.  That will become evident as we move along.  Just pay attention to the left columns of each table entry – chronological order, printed order, and verse number.  You will see that chronological and printed order are vastly different.  As the chronological order increases, the printed order bounces around.

On the other hand, the Bible has this for it’s first statement about orphans:

Ex 22:22 “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

At least the Bible gives a warning along with the consequences.  It’s not like the case of the Qur’an, where there are consequences for disobeying something that was never stated in the Qur’an.  If the Muslim was fortunate enough to have read the Jewish scripture – Exodus – they would know this command.  If not – the price must be paid anyway – ignorance of the law is no excuse.  

BTW – I am not going to include something from the Bible on every single verse from the Qur’an.  I did it here for two reasons.  First – to show something of a difference.  Second – to set a tone.  To complete that tone, here is the first instance of orphan from the New Testament, specifically from Jesus.

John 14:18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

That is very different.  When we look at orphans and widows in the Bible and the Qur’an, we will see a striking difference.  That difference will be more fully explained later.  As I said – the intent right now is to set the tone for what’s coming.

feeding an orphan of kin, on a day of one’s own hunger
chronological order print
Sura #
verse text
33 90 12 (12) And what could make thee conceive what it is, that steep uphill road? (13) [It is] the freeing of one’s neck [from the burden of sin], (14) or the feeding, upon a day of [one’s own] hunger, (15) of an orphan near of kin, (16) or of a needy [stranger] lying in the dust – (17) and being, withal, of those who have attained to faith, and who enjoin upon one another patience in adversity, and enjoin upon one another compassion.


This one might need some explanation for the non-Muslim reader.  To many, the steep road is, as compared to a level or downhill road, is the hard way.  As such, it’s often seen as the path to avoid.  In Christianity, at least in this setting, it’s what we call the narrow path, as opposed to the wide path.  It’s the way that is “right” – doing the right thing.  In Islam, this passage also refers to doing the right thing, as opposed to doing evil.  In this case, feeding someone in need, even at a time when we don’t have enough to properly feed ourselves.  It’s satisfying someone else’s hunger, rather than our own – not satisfying ourselves first and then giving whatever is left to others.

It says “an orphan near of kin”, which is odd.  What about an orphan who isn’t a close relative?  That wording is especially odd, since even a needy stranger (poor person) in another translation is specified.  I can’t help but feel it’s an issue to do with translations into English.

Having said that, there’s something peculiar with the verses right after the ones above.  

The Message of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad, has the following for verses 18-20:

(18) Such are they that have attained to righteousness; (19) whereas those who are bent on denying the truth of Our messages – they are such as have lost themselves in evil, (20) [with] fire closing in upon them.  [1]Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 16405-16408). The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

However, English Translation of the Qur’an by Dr Muhammad Khan has this:

18. They are those on the Right Hand (the dwellers of Paradise),
19. But those who disbelieved in Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they are those on the Left Hand (the dwellers of Hell).
20. The Fire will be shut over them (i.e. they will be enveloped by the Fire without any opening or window or outlet.  [2]Khan, Dr Muhammad Muhsin. English Translation of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 7768-7770). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

The second translation has the authors comments embedded in parentheses.  But even aside from that, the two translations are markedly different.  The second one talks about people on the right going to paradise and those on the left going to Hell.  This is a distinctly Christian-like interpretation.  

So, I looked up the translation of these verses in another book I have which contains three translations – by the following people: Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthall and Mohammad Habib Shakir  Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur’an) side by side (Kindle Locations 1-2). Kindle Edition.  Each of those has the left hand / right hand translation – not the one from The Message of the Qur’an.

Why does this matter?

This begs the question of which one is right?  After much searching, I found The Quranic Arabic Corpus web site.  In addition to seven translations, it has a word by word breakdown of Arabic into English.  After a review of this site and a comparison of several verses among the various translations, I find it necessary to change my default translation from The Message of the Qur’an to whichever one from The Quranic Corpus has the most correct translation from the Arabic.

I have to say, I fond that disturbing.  I was going to use The Message of the Qur’an, primarily because it came from CAIR – the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  It’s unfortunate that they have not supplied a more true translation from Arabic to English.  In researching concepts and words from the Bible, I find that to be critical.  Not being able to count on a Qur’an translation to provide similar capability, to me, is unacceptable.

Having said that, since CAIR is a large and important organization in the U.S., I will continue to include their interpretation along with one that is more literally correct.

The reason all of this is important is because it goes along with a series of historical events that are not often reported.  The origins of Islam go back to a time when Muhammad was not happy that his people, the Arabs, had hundreds of pagan gods.  He wanted something for them like the Jews and Christians, who believe in one all powerful God.  At first he reached out to Jews.  But they refused to join him.  Next, he reached out to Christians.  As with the Jews, because of theological differences, they also refused to join him.  Then, as history shows, the wars started and Muhammad became the great warrior that initially spread Islam by conquest.

It’s this early attempt to get Jews and Christians to join him that are of interest and importance.  That only increases as we see the differences between The Qur’an and the Jewish and Christian scriptures.  Even more curious is the odd fashion in which the Qur’an exposed these alleged corruptions – or more curiously, doesn’t even explain them.  They often just appear randomly and with no explanation of lead-in.

We just saw the two completely different translations of Sura 90:12.  Here’s what Jesus had to say about this concept of the right and the left.

The Sheep and the Goats

Mt 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Mt 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Mt 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

Mt 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Mt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

Mt 25:44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

Mt 25:45 “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Mt 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The words from Jesus are much more involved.  They have much more detail and explanation.  And they are very personal.  Jesus even puts Himself into the equation of what’s happening, and why. Compare and contrast that to the passage in the Qur’an.

The two are similar.  And yet very different.  

The Qur’an takes away the importance of Jesus as the Son of God.  It takes away the personal nature of God talking to His creation (us) through Jesus.  And it takes away the important factor that what we for to each other – or what we do not do for each other – we are also doing / not doing the same for God.  It’s like the caring factor of God for us – and in return us for God – it’s just gone.

Take only what the Messenger gives to you – Have fear of God; God is severe in His retribution
chronological order print
Sura #
verse text
39 59 7 (7) Whatever [spoils taken] from the people of those villages God has turned over to His Apostle – [all of it] belongs to God and the Apostle, and the near of kin [of deceased believers], and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, so that it may not be [a benefit] going round and round among such of you as may [already] be rich. Hence, accept [willingly] whatever the Apostle gives you [thereof], and refrain from [demanding] anything that he withholds from you; and remain conscious of God: for, verily, God is severe in retribution.
      Whatever God grants to His Messenger (out of the property) of the people of the towns, belongs to God, the Messenger, the kinsfolk, the orphans, the destitute and to those who may become needy while on a journey, so that it will not circulate only in the hands of rich ones among them. Take only what the Messenger gives to you and desist from what he forbids you. Have fear of God; God is severe in His retribution.  (translation by Muhammad Sarwar)


Once again, this is to be read strictly as a physical entity.  It may be food, maybe property, maybe money – but always something physical.

There is one translation – Arberry – that has this verse being about the spoils of war.  Given the second verse of this Sura, that is very appropriate.  It’s also something of a problem for those who would try to claim Muhammad did not spread Islam by way of war.  Even the CAIR provided translation says this:

(2) He it is who turned out of their homes, at the time of [their] first gathering [for war], such of the followers of earlier revelation as were bent on denying the truth. You did not think [O believers] that they would depart [without resistance] – just as they thought that their strongholds would protect them against God: but God came upon them in a manner which they had not expected, and cast terror into their hearts; [and thus] they destroyed their homes by their own hands as well as the hands of the believers. Learn a lesson, then, O you who are endowed with insight!  [3]Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 14634-14642). The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

However, even this translation is somewhat muted compared to others.  We can once again see some usage of decidedly more Christian wordings in the other eight translations.

Yusuf Ali: It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers, take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!

The idea of a battle / war is still there.  But the additional part is “O ye with eyes (to see)!  The Qur’an does have a few verses that mention something about eyes to see.  But that’s all they do – mention it.  There’s nothing to say what it really means.  In order to know the meaning behind the phrase – Muslims must turn to the Bible.  For instance, here is where Jesus tells His disciples a great deal about parables – and why it’s important to have both eyes to see, and ears to hear.

The Parable of the Sower

Mt 13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.”

Mt 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

Mt 13:11 He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

Mt 13:14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

Mt 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

Mt 13:18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

So we learn a lot from both the parable and the explanation.  We also see that, unlike the passage in the Qur’an, it’s not all negative.  There’s an explanation of why some people understand, some appear to understand for only a short time, and why others never understand.  There is also the concept of those who do understand do the good things – such as taking care of the poor and orphans – because they understand.  It’s not just a case of be afraid of God – take what Muhammad gives you – and don’t complain about it because Allah’s retribution is severe.  Once more, the loving side of God is missing.  

Furthermore, while it’s not apparent in this particular passage, there is absolutely no instance in which Jesus would be in favor of, let alone tell someone, to go to war and take the spoils of war.  It’s just not there.  Truth is, many people at the time were quite upset because they thought Jesus was there to overthrow the Romans –  but that was never part of God’s plan.

By all appearances, since this is after being rejected by the Christians, Muhammad has now waged the first battle against them.  The supposed message of peace is no longer a message of peace at all – but one of war against “the people of the book” – Jews and Christians.  And while some Muslims will deny this – they cannot really escape the words from the Qur’an.  They say what they say. 

For those that want and desire a religion of peace – it’s Christianity, not Islam.  We cannot / should not go with what some people claim about any religion, Christianity included.  Wars are fought in the name of Islam – because that’s what the Qur’an teaches.  Wars are fought in the name of Christianity – because people do things that are not part of what the New Testament says.

In the case of the orphans and the poor, Christianity says to take care of them from the things God has given us.  There is nothing that says to take from someone else, by way of theft, war, or any other means, to do the good things that we should do with what we already have.

We feed you for the sake of God alone – because we are afraid of God
chronological order print
Sura #
verse text
52 76 7 (7) [The truly virtuous are] they [who] fulfil their vows,and stand in awe of a Day the woe of which is bound to spread far and wide, (8) and who give food – however great be their own want of it – unto the needy, and the orphan, and the captive,(9) [saying, in their hearts,] “We feed you for the sake of God alone: we desire no recompense from you, nor thanks: (10) behold, we stand in awe of our Sustainer’s judgment on a distressful, fateful Day!”
       The servants of God fulfill their vows and are afraid of the day in which there will be widespread terror. They feed the destitute, orphans, and captives for the love of God, saying, “We only feed you for the sake of God and we do not want any reward or thanks from you. We are afraid of our Lord and the bitterly distressful day”. (translation by Muhammad Sarwar)


Once again, this is to be read strictly as a physical entity.  It may be food, maybe property, maybe money – but always something physical.

This is saying to feed the orphans for the love of Allah.  And because of a great fear of Allah and judgement day.  Sounds like a contradiction – doing something for love and out of fear.  But really, it’s not.  There’s a way to interpret these two seemingly opposite sentiments.

Feeding the orphans out of fear – that part is pretty straightforward.  There’s no other way to interpret what it says. 

But doing it for love – that could mean two things. 

First – it could be for the love of Allah.  That means doing something good in order to gain love from Allah.  Doing enough things to curry Allah’s favor might mean avoiding Hell and going to paradise. 

Second – would be that one feeds the orphans because Allah already loves us, and so we do it for that reason.  However – that means totally ignoring both verse 7 and verse 10.  We can’t do that, because something that appears in two our of the four verses has to be the most important part of the passage.  

And so, the only way to interpret this passage, from the Muslim point of view, is that one should feed the orphans and the poor out of fear.  Because of that fear, one must try to gain favor from Allah by doing good things.

That is completely opposite of the Christian point of view.  The Christian would take the second view.  A Christian – one who truly follows the New Testament, does not need to be afraid of God.  We do the good things because God already loves His people.  We don’t have to try to gain His favor.  In fact, Christianity teaches that there is nothing – I repeat nothing – that we could possibly due to gain His favor.  This whole thing is spelled out quite nicely by John, the author of the fourth Gospel.  In his first epistle, he writes about our love and God’s love:

God’s Love and Ours

1Jn 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1Jn 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Once again, we see a much greater explanation in the Bible.  We have a reason for things being the way they are.  It’s not only the terse words from the Qur’an.  There is love – not fear, because fear is not needed.  Throughout the Bible, “Do not be afraid” or a variation of it is said by an angel of God to the person being addressed. 

There is no such greeting in the Qur’an.  Actually, the very first Sura given starts like this:

 (Muhammad), read in the name of your Lord who created (all things).

Completely different.  Allah of the Qur’an and God of the Bible have a very different way of communicating and a very different message.

the (man) who repulses the orphan – him who calls the judgment a lie
chronological order print
Sura #
verse text
66 107 1 (1) HAST THOU ever considered [the kind of man] who gives the lie to all moral law? (2) Behold, it is this [kind of man] that thrusts the orphan away, (3) and feels no urge to feed the needy.
      Have you considered him who calls the judgment a lie? Then such is the (man) who repulses the orphan (with harshness), And encourages not the feeding of the indigent.  (translation by Yusuf Ali)


You may have noticed the change of author for the second translation.  The reason for that is the accuracy of the translation.  Various translators use moral law and religion in the first verse – where the word used actually is about judgement.  

So we have another example of doing the right thing out of fear.  Since we just covered that, no more needs to be said here.


This concludes Part 1 of the series on Orphans and Widows in Christianity and Islam.  There is more.  Much more.

I expect there will be at least 4 more segments.  We’ve looked at the first 5 passages from the Qur’an on the topic of orphans.  There are a total of 22, so more is to come.  After that, we’ll look at the passages from the New Testament related to orphans.

Next, well do the same thing for widows.  There are only 2 occurrences of the word widow(s) in the “The Message of the Qur’an” that I’m using.  However, that word shows up 8 times in the commentary – so we’ll look at some of them as well.  After that, we’ll look at the New Testament thoughts on widows.

Finally – conclusions.  While there are many instances include already with some comparisons and contrasts between the two religions, final conclusions will be presented in one place.

You’re welcome to return to the site occasionally to see when the additional segments are published.  I’d like to invite you to subscribe to the site, using any of the methods at the top / left of the page.  Then you’ll receive an email when they’re available.


1 Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 16405-16408). The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.
2 Khan, Dr Muhammad Muhsin. English Translation of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 7768-7770). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
3 Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an (Kindle Locations 14634-14642). The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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