Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Speaking the Same Language

While perusing some of the work of Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway (see post on October 28, 2007), I came across a quote from the Qur’an that reminded me almost word for word of a famous passage from the Talmud, the lengthy record of rabbinic discussion that serves as the basis for Jewish law. Take a look at these translations:

From the Qur’an:

If anyone slays a person
- unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land -
it would be as if he slew all people.
And if anyone saves a life,
it would be as if he saved the life of all people.
(Qur'an 5:32)


From the Talmud:

For this reason, man [i.e. the first human being] was created alone, to teach that whoever destroys a single life is as though he had destroyed an entire universe, and whoever saves a single life is as if he had saved an entire universe.
(Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5)

Though there are notable differences – for example, the conditionality inserted into the Qur’anic verse – overall these excerpts are remarkably similar in wording in addition to message. I’m not sure I have much else to say – I think these quotes and their resemblance speak for themselves. What do you make of these two verses?

1 comment:

Andy McKenzie said...

Very interesting, Avins. Just goes to show you how morality is similar across so many domains and beliefs, it's just getting there that people seem to have an issue with.