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Should a Christian man, who was a Muslim married to several wives, divorce his wives after he becomes a Christian?
Answers to a Question from Nigeria
How the Koran has Changed God's Old Testament and New Testament Commandments on Monogamy and Polygamy
(by Salam Falaki)


(illegal physical relations of a husband to another woman)
Torah: Forbidden
Gospel: Forbidden (extended to non-physical lust)
Koran: Forbidden with Muslims (allowed with Non-Muslims)
(illegal physical relations of a wife to another man)
Torah: Forbidden
Gospel: Forbidden
Koran: Forbidden

OLD TESTAMENT: Adultery is forbidden and completely rejected by the LORD: "You shall not commit adultery!" (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18) This means, a woman married to a man should not have a physical relationship with another man. If this nevertheless happens, then both the woman, who broke her marriage, and the man who broke the marriage of the woman's husband must be executed: "If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death" (Leviticus 20:10); and "If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel" (Deuteronomy 22:22). So adultery is a capital offence in the Torah. -- The Old Testament later on often described the unfaithfulness of the People of God, who worshipped other gods besides the LORD, as an act of adultery. Here is an example: "4 Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. 37 With their idols they have committed adultery …" (Ezekiel 23:4.37) Just like a husband breaks his marriage by having a physical relationship to another woman, so the people of God broke their spiritual relationship to the LORD, by worshipping other gods. This shows you that already in the Old Testament marriage had a deep spiritual dimension, modeling the relationship of the People of God to their God: the LORD of hosts, the Holy One of Israel. -- In rabbinical Judaism capital punishment for adultery is de facto no longer executed, even through the Mishna and the Talmud prescribes stoning for adulterers. For fear of executing innocent people, the hurdles for proving adultery were raised so high as to make this punishment virtually unfeasible.

NEW TESTAMENT: Jesus clearly confirmed the interdiction and utter rejection of adultery. So also have His Apostles: "17 And he (Jesus) said to him (to the rich young man): If you would enter life, keep the commandments. 18 He said to him, 'Which ones?' And Jesus said, 'You shall not murder, ' You shall not commit adultery ', You shall not steal …' " (Matthew 19:17.18). The Apostle Paul showed the spiritual intention behind forbidding adultery: "For the commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, ' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself' " (Romans 13:9; see also James 2:11). -- Also Jesus went further than the Torah in that he did not only condemn adultery, but also the lust for other women, which is the spiritual root of adultery: "27 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27.28) By saying this, Jesus revealed that every man is a sinner. All of us are condemned to death because of the lust of our heart. Only Christ can save us from this sinful flesh. Here Christ appears as the one, who is "called holy -- the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Only our Holy God can sanctify us, by first revealing our sinful heart and acts and then sanctifying us with his Holy Word and his Holy Spirit on the basis of the shed Holy Blood of Christ on the cross for our sinful intentions and sinful acts. Otherwise we would all be utterly lost. This is the reason behind a second difference between the Torah and the Gospel as concerns adultery. Nowhere did Jesus command the execution of an adulterer. Also in the New Testament we find no news about an adulterer being executed in and by the church. The reason is that those, who would execute the adulterer, are just as much sinners as the one, who is to be executed. This does not undo the death penalty for adultery, but it shows that it is not executable, if we accept the revelation of Jesus about the utter unholy rottenness of our hearts. This is the import of the story of Jesus not stoning an adulteress, who was caught red handed in John 7:53 - 8:11.

KORAN: Allah took up the commandment forbidding adultery from the Torah, but omitted the teaching of Jesus about our adulterous heart. The Koran explicitly forbids adultery: "23 And your Lord has decreed 32 do not come near adultery. It is (truly) an abomination and an evil way" (Sura 17:23.32). Another example is: "63 The (slave like) worshippers of the Compassionate One (i.e. of Allah) are those 68 who do not commit adultery … " (Sura 25:63.68). But nowhere in the Koran do we find a condemnation of a desire to sleep with a woman, who is not married to the man. Here the Koran omitted (and through this suppressed) the deep spiritual revelation of Jesus in the Gospel, which teaches us that adultery begins in the heart. For Muslims it is no offence to lust for a woman. To curb this lust of men, women have to shroud and veil their bodies, so that their (sexual) adornment is not publicly visible, enticing men to commit adultery. -- Also the penalty for adultery is not omitted in the Koran. Originally it is said to have been stoning, as in the Torah, but now, contrary to the Torah, it is lashing: "The adulteress and the adulterer whip each of them with one hundred lashes. …" (Sura 24:2). However, in direct disregard of this commandment in the Koran, many conservative Muslims demand the stoning of adulterers based on sayings of Muhammad in the Hadith. The result is that the following states have executed the punishment of stoning for adultery after World War 2: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States, Sudan, Mali and Mauretania. In addition Indonesia and Nigeria has allowed local authorities to execute this punishment for adultery. -- However, in addition to legal marriage, Muslims may engage in other legal sexual relationships. One is the sexual use of female slaves: "1 Successful are those believers, 5 who guard their private parts (from having intercourse) 6 except with their spouses and with (female slaves) that your right had possesses, for they are free from blame." (Sura 23:1.5.6) Another such legal physical relationship to women is so-called Mut'a marriage (literally a temporary marriage contract for the sake of pleasure). It was allowed at the time of Muhammad, but is today forbidden among Sunni Muslims, while still being allowed among Shiite Muslims. In light of the Gospel such relationships are outright adultery and therefore utterly forbidden in the church!

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