Noahide Law in the Qur'an
Islam inherited the tradition of 7 Mathaani from the Sabians. The word Mesani is translated as meaning "repetition" Two verses in Qur'an refer to Al mesani / Al mesaniy: 15:87 and 39:23. They are pronounced in the Noachite oath (Bayah) of the Muhajirun (HaGerim) given in Quran 60:12:
- يا أيها النبي
- إذا جاءك المؤمنات يبايعنك على أن (Deen)
- لا يشركن بالله شيئا (no Idols)
- ولا يسرقن (no Theft)
- ولا يزنين (no Immorality)
- ولا يقتلن أولادهن (no Murder)
- ولا يأتين ببهتان يفترينه بين أيديهن وأرجلهن (no Blasphemy)
- ولا يعصينك في معروف (no Haram)
- فبايعهن واستغفر لهن الله إن الله غفور رحيم
Qur'an 39:23 makes it clear that there is a mesani / mesaniy and Qur'an, and they are separate:
- 39.23 Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides therewith whom He pleases, but such as Allah leaves to stray, can have none to guide.
The main text makes it clear that something, a book or a text called mesaniy / mesani were given to Mohamed (pbuh).
- 15.87 And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur'an.
Which implies that there were seven laws before the giving of the Qur'an. It is generally accepted that saban minel masani (Seven Oft-repeated verses) and quranel azim (Grand Reading/Qur'an) must be two different things because they are separated with conjunction waw. However many Islamic scholars are at a loss to defined what the Mesani is. The proposal that they are the seven laws of Noah has been found acceptable by certain muslims who have studied the issue and not found to be theologically problematic.
In the Qur'an Noah is portrayed as prophet teaching against idolatry even before the flood.
The Qur'anic word "mesani" is the same word as the Hebrew word "mishna" (repetition), and probably derived from the hebrew.
- Qur'an 17:22 Take not with Allah another object of worship; or thou (O man!) wilt sit in disgrace and destitution.
- Qur'an 17:23 Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.
- Qur'an 17:32 Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).
- Qur'an 17:33 Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).
- Qur'an 17:34 Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).
- Qur'an 17:35 Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination.
- Qur'an 17:36 And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).
Qur'an 17:22-36 and the "Ten Commandments"
It is interesting if these verse correspond to the "Ten Commandments", only seven of them appear:
A possible connection between the Qur'an 17:22-36 and the "Ten Commandments" might be:
- Qur'an 17:22, 23 You shall have no other Gods before me (1st commandment)
- Qur'an 17:23 Honour your father and your mother (5th commandment)
- Qur'an 17:32 You shall not commit adultery (7th commandment)
- Qur'an 17:33 You shall not kill (6th commandment)
- Qur'an 17:34 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.... manservant.... maidservant.... his ox.... his ass...anything that is your neighbor’s (10th commandment)
- Qur'an 17:35 You shall not steal (8th commandment)
- Qur'an 17:36 You shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor (9th commandment)
The second, third and fourth commandments (You shall not make unto thee any graven image or likeness of any thing. You shall not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain. Remember the Sabbath day) were left out perhaps as not being applicable to Islam, being particular to Judaism. The key may be in Qur'an 15:87 “..We have given you seven (sections) of mesaniy and this great Qur'an..” Perhaps these seven were derived by Qur'an from Noahide law instead.
Qur'an 17:22-36 and Noahide law
A possible connection between the Qur'an 17:22-36 and Noahide law might be:
- Qur'an 17:22 — Prohibition of Idolatry #1
- Qur'an 17:23 — Prohibition of Blasphemy #2
- Qur'an 17:32 — Prohibition of Sexual Immorality #4
- Qur'an 17:33 — Prohibition of Homicide #3
- Qur'an 17:34 — Prohibition of Theft #5
- Qur'an 17:35 — Imperative of Legal System #7
- Qur'an 17:36 — Prohibition of Limb of a Living Creature #6??? (although the last is specifically mentioned by the Qur'an 2:173; 5:3)