An Eye for An Eye?
"If there is an injury, then you must give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, bruise for bruise, wound for wound." Exodus 21:23-25
This command from YHWH God was issued by Him to ensure that no penalty for a crime ever exceeded the crime itself, which was common in that part of the world in Moses' day. YHWH's whole point was that justice must be fair. This was called in Latin, the Lex Talionis, or law of retaliation.
Quoting from Matthew Poole's Commentary:
"This is called the law of retaliation, and from hence the heathen lawgivers took it and put it into their laws. But though this might sometimes be practised in the letter, yet it was not necessarily to be understood and executed so; as may appear,
1. By the impossibility of the just execution of it in many cases, as when a man that had but one eye or hand was to lose the other, which to him was a far greater mischief than what he did to his neighbour, whom he deprived but of one of his eyes or hands. And this is a sure and righteous rule, Punishments may be less, but never should be greater than the fault. And how could a wound be made neither bigger nor less than that which he inflicted?
2. By comparing this with other laws, wherein a compensation is allowed in like cases, as Exodus 21:18,30. And when it is enjoined that no satisfaction shall be taken for the life of a wilful murderer, Numbers 35:31, it seems therein implied that satisfaction may be taken for lesser injuries. And indeed the payment of such a price as the loss of an eye, or hand, or foot required, though it might not so much satisfy the revenge of the party so injured, yet it was really more to his benefit. This law therefore was only minatory, but so as it was literally to be inflicted, except the injuring party would give such satisfaction as the injured person accepted, or the judges determined."
In an article on Muhammad's version of the Lex Talionis, Dr. James Arlandson writes:
"... the vast majority of Rabbis throughout the formation of Talmudic literature argued for a non-literal interpretation of Exodus 21:23-24. The assailant could instead pay compensatory damages. For example, Rashi (so named after the initials of his name and title, Rabbi Shelomo Yizhaki, d. 1145), summarizes earlier traditions: "If one blinded the eye of his fellow-man, he has to pay him the value of his eye," which is calculated on the wounded man’s being hypothetically sold as a slave before his injury. "In the same way all other cases [of the law of retaliation] are to be dealt with, but it does not mean the actual cutting off of the offender’s limb—just as our Rabbis have explained" in . . . B Kamma 83b, which is a tractate and chapter in the Talmud (Pentateuch with Rashi’s Commentary, trans. and annotated by M. Rosenbaum and A. M. Silbermann, Jerusalem: Silbermann Family, 1972, (1930) vol. 2, p. 113)."
Add to that the fact that nowhere in the Bible do we find a literal implementation of the Law throughout all of the 1,700 years of Bible history covered therein from Moses to Jesus and the Apostles. So it was clear to Jews that punishment for the theft of a sheep, for example, meant replacement with another sheep of the same value.
Most unfortunately, however, the passage appears to have been taken literally and, to make things worse, it was even exceeded by Muhammad in his Quran:
“[As for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they earned [i.e. committed] as a deterrent [punishment] from Allaah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” Quran 5:38
Muhammad threw out YHWH God's fair and just law and instead created his extremely harsh and cruel Shariah Law. Under it, a hand would be cut off for even the most minor of thefts:
“May Allah curse the thief who steals an egg and has his hand cut off, or steals a rope and has his hand cut off.” Al-Bukhari
Muhammad also seems to have been totally oblivious to the fact that Jesus, the Holy and Righteous One Who will judge the living and the dead on His return, had raised the bar on the Mosaic Law:
Matthew 5 38 “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
39 But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also."
Jesus is not talking here about an individual's right to justice or self-defense. The context in which He is speaking is that of the Jewish civil law. Jesus is telling believers that they are not to take revenge on those who have done them wrong. They are not to repay evil with evil.
Once again, this is obviously not what Muhammad taught Muslims, as anyone who reads news reports knows full well. Turning once again to Dr. Arlandson:
... [I]n August 2000, the Saudi Arabian media reported that Abdel Moti Abdel Rahman Mohammad, a 37-year-old-Egyptian national was subjected to forcible surgical removal of his left eye at King Fahd Hospital in Medina. The operation was carried out as a judicial punishment of Qisas after he was found guilty of disfiguring Shahata Ajami Mahmoud, a 53-year-old Egyptian, by throwing acid at his face and damaging his left eye.
In 2003, in Saudi Arabia a man had two teeth extracted under the law of retaliation.
In May Awda al-Zahrani, a Saudi Arabian national, reportedly had two of his teeth extracted as a judicial punishment for having caused similar injury to someone during a fight. One press report suggested that the teeth were extracted by a dentist.
In 2003, a court in Pakistan sentenced a man to be blinded by acid after he carried out a similar attack on his fiancée.
The court in the town of Bahawalpur, Punjab province, sentenced Mohammad Sajid under the Islamic Qisas law that matches crime and punishment.
Sajid blinded and mutilated his fiancée after her parents called off the couple's engagement."
And on and on and on the story goes.
Will someone please explain again to the Muslim victims of this unjust and oppressive Shariah law how Muhammad is a mercy to mankind? Clearly, this was not a man who was following the traditions of the prophets of the God of Israel.
Even now, 1,400 years later, Muhammad's misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the one and only Bible verse he copied from the Old Testament has Muslims chopping off limbs and putting out seeing eyes, all in the name of pleasing their god.
Sadly for all of those lost in the darkness of Islam, it is as Jesus said:
"... if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14c
Come to Jesus and let Him open your eyes!
Bible Commentaries on the proper application of Matthew 5:38
The Law of Retaliation in the Quran and Early Islam
Why Did Allah Need to Borrow Material from Jewish Rabbis?