MAKING A SUCCESS OF CONTRACTED CHRISTIAN-MUSLIM MARRIAGE

Unequal yoking

by
Babatunde Fagoyinbo

INTRODUCTION

Christian-Muslim Marriage

We need to have a good understanding of the scriptures before delving into the affairs of marriage; otherwise, we shall be confused. Let us begin from creation “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: So God created man …male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion …” (Gen 1:26-28, KJV). This implies that man is in two components, male and female. The word man refers to both sexes and that will be the concept of this article. There will be no need to use alternative man/woman, boy/girl, he/she. This also does not prevent the use of man for males only and specifically mention woman when only the female is referred to. That was creation. Man was created last.

You do not think of who to employ until you have decided and planned what business you are going into. And the Lord God saw his loneliness “… the Lord God said, … I will make him an help meet for him….And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast …And Adam gave names to all … but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” (Gen 2:18-20, KJV). This implies that Adam was brought into physical existence before other living creatures. To give him a wife “… the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam … and he took one of his ribs, …And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman… she shall be called Woman…Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother… and they shall be one flesh…” (Gen 2:21-25, KJV). This is God’s original plan for man. To be one with his wife; not throw her out at will. When Adam was formed, Eve was part of him.

Irrespective of the number of years that Adam had been in existence before the physical Eve, there was a component of Adam that was Eve. Adam knew that Eve was part of him when he woke after her extraction from his ribs “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen 2:23, KJV).

Husband-Wife Relationship

You will ask about our patriarchs who had multiple wives. You are right for the Lord Jesus answered the Jews on that matter that “…For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5, KJV). God did not make provision for divorce for God is united in Himself and since He created us in His image, He expects us to be one flesh “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. .. one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:6-9, KJV).

Saul discussed the God-man-wife relationship as “… the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3, KJV). To Muslims who are in doubt, the Qur’an says “So if you are in doubt concerning that which We have revealed unto you, then ask those who are reading the Book before you. Verily, the truth has come to you from your Lord. So be not of those who doubt (it). 10:94”.

Muhammad was aware of dissidents among the children of Israel “Is it not [true] that every time they took a covenant a party of them threw it away? But, [in fact], most of them do not believe” (2:100). Was God not aware of this scenario when He advised Muhammad to consult the people of the book? That advise still stands today and always, for God declared “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal 3:6, KJV). Aisha says that Khadija took Muhammad to a Christian convert who used to read the Gospels in Arabic” from Bukhari vol.4 book 55 ch.17 no.605 p.395. Note that Muhammad studied under a Christian convert; not just any Jew or Hebrew

Sonship of Adam

What makes you know that you are the child of your father? I’m from the most homogeneous state in Nigeria. My father’s cousin saw me in the heart of Oyo town and recognised me. I was shocked. She had never seen me before, even as a baby! What did I receive from my father? A tiny drop of sperm, not feasible to the naked eye, meets with my mother’s egg {about 100 microns (millionths of a meter)}, or roughly the thickness of a strand of hair) and then God nourished it until it becomes me. Who is the father?

The LORD God created us like He created the angels but He didn’t form us like them. He formed us in a way that would relate us close to our domain; the earth. God wants us to cherish the earth, to love it and to adequately take care of it in a sustainable manner. Knowing the earth as a component part of our body would cause us to honour and cherish it. Angels don’t have domain but man has. After my father dropped that sperm, he went about other businesses only occasionally asking my mother “How’s the baby doing? “ But God continued with the work of bringing me into the world, nurturing and caring for me so that I would be well shaped and that everything that would make me function well is done for me “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7, KJV).

Can you quantify the breath of life inputted into you? The breath that makes you a living soul! Can you compare that precious breath with the tiny sperm measuring about 0.002 inch (about 50 micrometres) from head to tail? Your earthly father has no choice in what you are: tall or short; fat or slim; light or dark; male or female. But the LORD God takes interest in everything concerning you, your mother, your siblings, your father, the resources they need to take care of you.

You say that you are the servant of God! How? What work do you carry out for him? Clean his farm/ Wash His clothes? Make his bed? Cook His food? What work do you do other than work out your salvation? Now, let’s look at it this way, Dictionary.com says that a servant is a person employed by another, especially to perform domestic duties. A cook is a servant. You are an old person and a cook is employed for you, then you cook falls sick and cannot enter the kitchen. You’ll starve that day except you look for an alternative to cook for you.

Now, tell me what assignment you are charged with by God that if you don’t carry out He will have to desperately look for an alternative. God created us as His children but we fell short and descended to the rank of a servant. No, not of God but of Satan “… wasted his substance with riotous living…. How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough… make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:12-19, KJV). But for His compassion, we have not truly repented and returned to the Father for forgiveness and reabsorption into His Vineyard but we go about labeling ourselves servants of God when, in actual sense, we are slaves to sin. The prodigal son raised his heart and his soul and looked towards his home and sought to repent. He did not just think it, he took a step of faith and headed home.

Have we got to that level? Have we repented? If we are truly servants what have the nearly 200,000,000 of us done about the Ogoja Five?

True Sonship

The Police impounded my 23-year old car in Nsukka because I was not carrying the bill of laden. I had to send the driver back for the paper. When I went to retrieve the car, I met a man who came to bail out his son that was arrested for harassing a woman on her farm. He was not ashamed to call the young man his son. If the man is decent he would, on reaching home, scold the child and threaten to disown him and declare. “You are not like me!”

Man is not only in the image of God but also in His likeness “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26, KJV). This informs God’s decision when He sent to Pharaoh “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Ex 4:22, KJV). If we have not accepted Christ we overrate ourselves if we call ourselves His servants. Christ said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin” (John 8:34, KJV).

In the course of time man began to multiply in response to the blessing at creation “That the sons of God (that is, the professors of religion, who were called by the name of the Lord, and called upon that name) saw the daughters of men (those that were profane, and strangers to God and godliness) that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen 6:2, KJV). The generation coming out of Seth did not keep by themselves, as they ought to have done, both for the preservation of their own purity and in detestation of the apostasy. They intermingled themselves with the excommunicated race of Cain (MH, 2006). Their choices were guided by physical beauty; based their choice on the assessment which their own corrupt affections made without regard to divine instructions and became unequally yoked with strange women. No doubt, they must have married their daughters out to them too.

What Does Marriage Entail?

As a teenager, I used to read Denise Robins’ novels but when I started work I noticed that nearly all my colleagues who were married did not have the same ending as Denise Robins’ “they both lived happily thereafter”. There were mountains to climb, rivers to cross and swamp lands to pass through. Notwithstanding, I still had problems with my first relationship. I saw the problem about two years earlier than our breakup but I couldn’t leave. I kept on praying that the relationship should be terminated by God. I knew my error. I picked a relationship by myself; I never consulted Him but kept on praying that He should make her my wife. God kept on revealing to me that she was not for me.

When the break came, it was not easy but I made up my mind I won’t enter into any relationship for two years. I’d known better: I asked God to provide His choice for me. He did. My first sighting of her the spirit told me that she is my wife. We were in close proximity for about two weeks and I had every opportunity to drop a hint on having a relationship but I never did. Then, she left. I did not even blame myself for not taking the chance. The following day, she was back with an errand to her brother who was my colleague. Had she not been sent back I don’t think we would have met again.

The following morning was when I remembered the first day that I saw her and the voice that I heard. Today, we are blessed with four children and grandchildren. I have not, on any occasion wondered why I did not marry someone else. We have our differences but they make us stronger.

Conversion

An elder cousin of mine dated a Muslim babe and they eventually got married. After marriage, the babe reneged on her promise to become a Christian. My cousin never bothered himself about it until their first baby was 40 days. Then he told the wife “Our daughter will be dedicated tomorrow.”

“That’s Ok. Mama will mount her.” She replied.

“Mama is not her mother. She cannot present her to the priest.” He stated emphatically.

Notwithstanding his wife’s refusal to go with him to the Church, he instructed everybody in the family not to collect the child from her. 30 minutes later she joined them in the Church. The following week she was ready for service ahead of the husband.

Another case was a friend of mine who converted to marry a Muslim girl. The day after the marriage the father-in-law told him “Waheed, you have demonstrated love by converting to Islam to marry my daughter. By virtue of my position in Islam and the family, I cannot give my daughter in marriage to a Muslim. Your wife should also be able to demonstrate her love to you. The two of you should decide what faith you would follow but you must be of the same faith.” This is not a narrative. I was part of the system from conversion to reversal. The girl had assured him of reversal after marriage. They are happily married.

Already Married

In the case of a marriage between a Christian and a Muslim, the Muslim has acted in faith as the Qur’an allows it (Qur’an 2:221; 5:5). Even if the Muslim does not understand it at the time of the marriage, there has been no violation. However, the Christian has violated the ethics of the Christian faith. They now have the right to re-oil and rekindle their lamps, drain the oil and put off their lights or keep their lights glowing and continue praying for the spouse.

ON THE PERIPHERY

There are four possible situations that can create marriage between a Christian and a non-Christian: both were unbelievers before marriage but one of them received the light and got converted; one was a Church goer and married a Muslim but now has submitted self to Christ; One is a warm Christians married to a Church goer and One is a Christian but pushed God aside and followed their passions.

One of Unbelieving Couple Got Converted

Unequally Yoked

If one partner becomes a Christian after the marriage, the inherent struggles of living under two different authorities quickly become apparent: values will clash, attitudes will conflict, priorities will differ and desires will be at odds.  It won’t be easy for the new convert to grow in the faith. They won’t be able to share the newfound source of wisdom, comfort and joy with the spouse they loved the most. Making the other partner understand may generate ridicule.

The onus of success rests on the convert. They must be prepared for the storm. They must learn how to live their faith in a way that will attract the other partner rather than repel them, how to grow and even flourish in their relationship with Christ, irrespective of discouragement from the spouse and admit possible mistakes to restore stability to the family relationship.

A Church Goer, Married a Muslim and Became Born-again

Their case is akin to that of an unbelieving couple of which one got converted, but in addition, they carry the guilt of deception to self. This is the most common among Christian-Muslim marriages. Marriage is hard enough when you have two believers who are completely in harmony spiritually.

Warm Christians married an in-name-only Christian

The genuine Christian should’ve known the situation of the nominal Christian during the courtship days and should have taken adequate care to decide on the course of action In-name only abound all over and in every congregation.

One is a Christian but Pushed God aside for Their Passion

The temptation to get romantically involved with a non-Christian is usually not hidden and an attempt is usually made to justify it to themselves and co-worshippers. Any feeling arising from any infatuation to a non-Christian is a temptation to call right that which God calls wrong; generally, such feelings are not accompanied by any affirmation from God. You’ve definitely told a lie: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4, KJV). You should repent from your sin of deceit.

The Christian had probably got romantically involved having spent a great deal of time with the opposite sex one-on-one. This was what happened in my first relationship. I was coaching her for admission into a Teachers’ college. If you don’t want to get romantically involved with someone, don’t spend hours one-on-one.

Possible Outcomes of Christian–Muslim Marriage

There are only three ways an unequal marriage can turn out, (and by unequal I am willing to stretch a point and include genuine, warm Christians who want to marry an in-name-only Christian, or someone very, very far behind them in Christian experience and growth). The followings are what you are experiencing now:

  1. There is a need to sacrifice such essential Christian activities as devotional life, hospitality to believers, missionary support, tithing, raising children in the faith, fellowship with other believers;
  2. The deep unity and oneness of a marriage cannot flourish when one partner cannot fully participate in the other person’s most important commitments: this would result in the unbelievers seeing themselves as marginalised.
    1. A cousin of mine was dating a Muslim. I noticed in their album they never sat or stand fully side by side. Their sitting and standing positions were always looking in different directions. I asked him why but he dismissed it as superstitious. I told him he thought they lovd each other but that their spirits were not in agreement. They got married. Within three months there were tensions in the family. I wasn’t married then. The wife insisted he must become a Muslim. It was after they separated that my cousin regained his senses, repented and asked God for forgiveness. He loved the woman and never searched for an alternative. He was shocked , after three and a half years of separation, when the womn packed her things and came back home, unannounced; and
  • Stress, loneliness and unhappiness will result from forced co-habitation or eventual breakup.

Prayer is a wonderful instrument in this matter. The Christian should exploit this resource.

THE BIBLE HAS THE SOLUTION

Staying On

Christians are not meant to live solitary lives “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen 2:18, KJV); they need to find support from outside sources such as the Church and Bible study groups for the Scriptures enjoined “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb 10:25), KJV). Being married to an unbeliever does not alter the sacredness of the relationship, so it should be the priority of every Christian to pray for their spouses and set good examples, allowing Christ’s light to shine brightly “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Phil 2:14, KJV).

It is often said that each believer has their own experiences and priorities “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations “Jer 1:5, KJV) that influence their unique collection of ideas, beliefs, practices, and all the other parts that make up the sum of what they mean when they say “I’m Christian,” or such remark as those who share the same religious affiliation does not necessarily share the same opinions on important issues. But it is ever ethical for Christians to commune together on what the Bible says on important issues. If we want to use our wisdom or our own experience we would falter. The Bible provides the benchmark.

The Bible is a complete manual of life and goes deeply into every situation. It is consistent on all matters. As a young Christian, I wondered why Reuben’s relationship with Jacob’s concubine and David’s illicit relationship with Uriah’s wife were recorded. The Bible wants us to know. Is God’s word not true to-date? “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren” (Gen 16:12, KJV). The Bible recorded all so that we would learn the fact that every action we take has a spiritual impact on the creation and spiritual consequences on the immediate environment made up of you and your generations.

Let’s remind ourselves of what you’ve done by marrying an unbeliever or what situation you’ve put yourself in the period of ignorance. If you’re selected for military training, the first task you are put on is repentance “for being a civilian”. Now that you are a Christian, the first task is to realise that you are a sinner and have to repent. Repent of what?

God’s image: You are to display God’s image (Gen 1: 26) in obedience to His commands (Deut 7:3-4). Marriage is to display God’s image by obeying God’s commands for fruitfulness and dominion (Gen 1:28). Obeying God’s word is doing what pleases God. Otherwise, you are either pleasing yourself or others. And that’s idolatry.

Marriage is a partnership for God’s service: God formed other living creatures before forming Eve. To fulfil the blessing of prophecy/priesthood/kingship contained in Gen 1:28, God had to provide a suitable help in Eve. He created man and woman in relationship for competence to fulfil his calling to His image. Samson is a good example of not being able to fulfil God’s purpose when you ignore His commands “… Let me die with the Philistines. … the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life” (Judg 13:1-16:30, KJV).

He was aware of God’s purpose for his life. Have you realised God’s purpose for your life? Having a Christian spouse will assist you to be focused and accomplish. Had Samson prayed aright, repented and asked for full restoration, he would have received both his sight and his strength.

Marriage is harmed by sin: While Adam went about his business in the Garden, Eve glorified God. Her relationship with the husband was as designed: “a help meet”. There was a reversal of God’s will in “…thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen 3:16, KJV). In a Christian marriage, spouses have the opportunity to call each other to submit their respective sinful wills to God’s perfect will. An unbeliever would not understand this and thus lose out on the blessing of having a spouse who calls you to submit your will to Christ, and instead have a spouse who has no interest in being called to submit their own will to Christ.

God’s commands warn against marrying unbelievers: (Deut 7:3-4; Josh 23:12). Gen 24 revealed the extent to which he planned that Isaac would not be unequally yoked. Isaac did the same to Jacob “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan” (Gen 28:1, KJV), being disgusted with the marriage of Esau to the Hittite women. Jacob’s children refused to intermarry with unbelievers “…The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter… give her him to wife. … We cannot …to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us (Gen 34:8-14). The hidden intention of the Shalemites is contained in “Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us” (Gen 34:23, KJV).

God positively pictures believing marriages: The book of Ruth presents the most beautiful picture of believers marrying. Boaz provided and protected; Ruth trusted and took the Godly initiative. It’s a wonderful love story of how a woman who has come under the wings of the Lord comes within the love of a godly man.

Christ endowed the Old Testament: Christ declared “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: …  but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:17-19, KJV).

What to do

Now that we have a good picture of God’s stand towards marriage we can look at what God expects of us “…to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. …, Let not the wife depart from her husband: … For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife… For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? …” (1 Cor 7:2-17, KJV).

Christians married to unbelievers will need to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to profess Christ and live in the light of God’s presence (1 John 1:7). They should seek God’s transforming power to change their hearts and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A Christian wife is obligated to have a submissive heart, even toward her unbelieving husband (1 Peter 3:1), and she will need to remain close to God and rely on His grace to enable her to do so.

Procedure

Divorce is UnChristian: Being married to an unbeliever does not alter the sacredness of the relationship, so it should be the priority of every Christian to pray for their spouses and set good examples, allowing Christ’s light to shine brightly. Exiting from the marriage is not the solution “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matt 5:32, KJV). Matt 19:4-8 also emphasises on this. Paul was emphatic about it “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39, KJV). In the same way is the husband

Praying unceasingly: Christians married to unbelievers will need to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable them to profess Christ and live in the light of God’s presence (1 John 1:7). They should seek God’s transforming power to change their hearts and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). A Christian wife is obligated to have a submissive heart, even toward her unbelieving husband (1 Peter 3:1), and she will need to remain close to God and rely on His grace to enable her to do so.

Encourage your spouse: You are called simply to love your spouse (Eph 5:21-25; Tit 2:4). No matter how strong one’s walk with God, sacrificial love is a daunting standard. Indeed, the depth, breadth and intensity of the divine standard for husbands; of love, of providing for the family, of guiding the family spiritually,  may cause them more stress than we realise. So also are the homecare demands, the care of the children (the husband inclusive) etc. on the wives. ·

Although your eyes naturally fall on areas in which your spouses need to improve, you should instead look for ways to bless them with encouragement.

Love is enjoined: “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Eph 5:33, KJV)

God is aware of our shortcomings: God has made adequate provisions for our shortcomings and desires our salvation. He uses every opportunity to manifest His glory. You’ll be amazed when He takes over “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29, KJV). Howbeit you have to be patient and persevere.

Next: The Fundamentals of Major Religions

REFERENCES

MH (2006). Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. PC Study Bible Formatted Electronic Database Copyright © 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc.

RELIGION, FAITH, EMOTION AND INTERFAITH MARRIAGE

Interfaith Marriage

By
Babatunde Fagoyinbo

Introduction

Qantara.de – Dialogue with the Islamic

Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu was born September 1, 1940, to an Igbo father and a Fulani mother of Katsina. One of his cousins (would be about 5 years younger than Ike) happened to be close to me. He said his own mother was Ike’s mother’s cousin and his father Ike’s father’s cousin. He claimed that his father knew his mother through Ike’s mother. The cousin claimed that Ike’s mother is of the royal family in Katsina. Knowing the royalty in Katsina, these could not have been accidental marriages and to borrow the language of the Kara tribe in Ethiopia, the children could not have been mingi children.

It amazes me is that in the 1940s, when our literacy rate was lower than 20% Christians and Muslim could marry without any misgivings (even in the royal family in Katsina) but now that our literacy rate has gone up to about 50% we raise dust even on Facebook page about Christian-Muslim inter-marriage. Some of the pages include:

  1. Dawud AlBritaani on Wed 10 Oct “…why I consider it impermissible to marry a non Muslimin the West even though the Qur’an gives a general permission to …
  2. The Gospel Herald 15 AugustA Muslim … sentenced to death … shot and killed his son-in-law because … his daughter had disgraced the family by marrying a Christian man.
  3. Francisco Jimenez 16 September at 05:15Her mother raised her as a Christian, even though the father was Muslim. Married a Christian. Ordered to recant her faith or die.
  4. Islamic court permits pregnant woman to give birth before she is hanged Sudanese court says that Meriam Yehya Ibrahim who faces a death sentence for apostasy can have her baby
  5. Christian News Network 20 AugustA Muslim man … sentenced to death …engaging in two “honor killings” … his daughter … converting to Christianity and marrying a Christian.
  6. Muslim Immigrant Sentenced Over ‘Honor Killing’ of Christian Who MarriedHis Converted Daughter
  7. The Christian Post 22 September at 23:05Pakistan: Christian Girl Thrown Off Roof for Refusing to Marry Muslim, Convert to Islam
  8. Sharique Sharoshared a link to the group: Friends who like Mufti Ismail Menk.29 September at 12:28 A muslim man never marry a christian girl now a days
  9. COM Muslim man shouldn’t marry christianwoman nowadays #HUDATV
  10. Abdulwahab Ibrahim Kehinde‎ toThe World of Islam 3 October at 19:31 Is it good for muslim marry to christian
  11. com Breaking News 4 October 2017· … the perfect match for her based on the prayers they have done. 😍💞 Do you think there is any big deal in her marrying a Christian?
  12. My father said I would regret it if I marry a Christian – Muslimlady cries out after being threatened by her father for wanting to marry a Christian.
  13. Roberts Emmanuel‎ toIni Edo GossipMill 18 June Can a Christian marry a Moslem
  14. H Corede Adam‎ toI AM MUSLIM 14 September at 11:23 Pls, can Muslim marry a Christian…
  15. Itz Rhosheed Harkhintaryhorwas thinking about a lot of things with Oluwatobiloba Aribaba and 24 others. 24 September at 10:55can a muslim married a Christian,or …
  16. Joshua Lordrick Okoyeshared Taofeek HoluwaPelumi Soliu‘s post. 25 August Can a christian marry a Muslim?
  17. Taofeek HoluwaPelumi Soliuis with Olamide Adebisola and 3 others. 20 March
  18. Can a christian marry a Muslim?
  19. Friendly Atheist 15 AugustAli Mahwood-Awad Irsan was convicted of killing two people to punish his daughter for leaving home and marrying a Christian.
  20. PATHEOS.COM Muslim Extremist Who Committed Two “Honor Killings” Gets Death Penalty He won’t hurt anyone ever again.
  21. Winnie Thuku-Craig 2 October at 06:52Interfaith Marriages- Faith is a very personal matter and is of little significance when it comes to human relations. Two individuals belonging to entirely different faith systems can be an ideal couple. Faith matters little in the modern world and humans are judged by their attitudes and behaviour and not what they believe in!

Above are some of the posts that I got on my fb page within August and now (11102018). I shall neither comment on the posts nor edit them but examine what the scriptures say.

Religion, Faith and Emotion

Religion: Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organisations that relate humanity to the supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. The practice of Christianity and of Islam is a religion.

Faith: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith goes beyond trust and beyond belief.

You have a friend who you trusted very much and he invites you to a function. When you get there you discover all the seats carry name tags. You search out your seat and seat down. I’m sure you will not put the seat to structural test before sitting. That is belief. However, you are about waking up and you hear a voice that says “My son, take up your Bible and proceed to Sambisa forest, ask for Abdulwaheed Issah and ask him to follow you back to Kaduna.” You’ll need faith to respond positively to that.

The Bible allows you to test the faith. God was not angry with Gideon’s requests of confirmation that the messages received were from Him (Judg 6:17-18; 21-22; 36-40). Your faith must take into consideration the fact that God will do what would bring glory to His name. Shadrach, Meshak and Abednego were sure of God’s capability to deliver them from the burning fiery furnace but at His own will; not theirs “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan 3:16-18, KJV).

Emotion: Emotion is any conscious experience described by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure. It is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioural or expressive response. Emotion is often intertwined with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. Those acting primarily on their emotions may seem as if they are not thinking, but mental processes are still essential, particularly in the interpretation of events.

Religious Practice

Both Christianity and Islam grew out of Judaism. It is true that Isaac and Ishmael were both from the loins of Abraham. So were the children of Keturah who were blessed with gifts but dismissed from the land of Canaan which God promised him in Isaac. Isaac remained in the faith of ONE GOD but Ishmael went into idolatry; his mother’s religion.

Christianity

Christianity grew out of Judaism still upholding the commandments of God. Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17, KJV). However, man’s infusions were removed “…For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5, KJV).

Christ was born as a Judaist and every right, custom and sacrifice that needed to be carried out were observed, however, His mission was to reform the minds of the people and direct them aright to the path of salvation.

The Jews were awaiting His coming as their savior. The salvation they wanted was to deliver them from Rome, conquer Rome and appoint them as overlords so that they could revenge on Rome. Christ’s mission was liberation from the pangs of satanic forces. Their hopes were dashed. As far as they were concerned He was not like David that liberated from the Philistines; why should they accept this weakling who wanted them to continue paying taxes unto Caesar? They are still expecting their ‘Savior’ who would take over the administration of the United Nations Organisation, merge the world into one country and appoint them as clan leaders.

Islam

Prophet Mohammed had a pagan background. His grandfather was a chief man of Banu Hasim of Quraish and the guardian of Kabah but Mohammad grew up to believe he should not worship man-made god. It is claimed that Khadijah, daughter of Khuwaylid bin Asad introduced Mohammad to a Christian cleric who introduced him (Mohammad) to the gospel (muslimhope.com  (2008)). In his trade visits to Jewish land, he interacted with Judaists, with the idea of ONE GOD. He studied Judaism with all the infusion of their hearts and adapted it into Mohammedanism. Jews were astute tradesmen, so it suited him to relate with them. They would transact their businesses and relax with the religious practices of Judaism. He learned the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. The respective views of Christians and Muslims over Isaac and Ishmael are outside the scope of this article.

Inter-faith Marriage

Christianity

That a person bears Mary, Martha, Matthew or Moses does not make him or her a Christian. Christianity requires that you study the word and live by the word. Just this week a fellow declared at our House Fellowship that less than ten per cent of attendees listen to sermons. To confirm this view you may ask worshippers immediately after the close of service what the sermon was and you’ll hear “O, it was a powerful sermon, the preacher actually exposed the topic. He was eloquent. The Holy Spirit used him to deliver the message..” They may not even remember the topic. Majority carry their Bibles to Church on Sundays only. Many do not know how to access any of the books in the Bible. Many do not know which books the stories of Jesus, Abraham Moses, etc. are in the Bible

It’s immaterial if they attend such Pentecostal Churches as Living Faith, Redeemed, Greenlight, Dayspring, HighMountain, lowValley Churches. They are worse than those that attend the Orthodox Churches in accessing the Scripture books. They can speak in tongues and teeth. Their pastors fall people down in prayers. I am yet to come across a passage in the scriptures where Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc. made people fall in prayers

The Jews were given a set of commandments to distinguish them from the neighbours they would have by the time they would arrive at the Promised Land. God gave Noah to eat everything but the blood of animals (Gen 9:1-4) while there were prohibitions to the Jews (Ex 22:31; Lev 11; Lev 17:13-14). As to marriage “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly” (Deut 7:3-4, KJV) succinctly states why the children of Israel should not contract marriages with unbelievers for their offspring. Other passages referring to this include but not limited to Ex 34:16; 1 Cor 7:39; 2 Cor 6:14.

Abraham arranged for Isaac to marry from his own relation (Gen 24:3-4), notwithstanding the distance and “Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan” (Gen 28:1, KJV). We do not have records of Jacob marrying for his children but for Joseph who married the daughter of an Egyptian priest. He was isolated from his people and God knows how to take care of such situations (Rom 8:26).

Esau was a dissident. His marriage to Hittite women was “a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah” Gen 26:35, KJV. See also 28:9). But the consequence was that he had no portion in the blessing of Abraham. Other dissidents include Samson (Judg 14:1-7; 16:1-28).

Equally yoked

Even though Paul was a controversial figure, he shed some light in “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? “(2 Cor 6:14. KJV). Yoking requires that the bullocks should be equally matched, otherwise the work will be retarded, the stronger one overloaded and the weaker one strained to death.

Love can develop between a Christian and a Muslim but the issue of faith should be straightened out before marriage. The Muslim must convert as the Christian is barred from marrying a Muslim; either way, male or female.

This short story will lighten this matter. I have a couple as god-children. Both were newly converted. I noticed a strained relationship between them and it was heading for divorce.  They were just about seven years in marriage.

“What’s the problem?” I asked my god-daughter.

“He smokes cigarettes and keeps late nights.”

“When you were courting, what time was he leaving your hostel?” My god-daughter was a student during their courtship.

“About 3 am, even sometimes around 4 am.” She replied.

“Did you notice he was smoking?”

“Yes.”

“What did you do about it?”

“I thought he would change” her voice dropped. She was sobbing.

My verdict was that she had no right to leave the husband. She should be ready to bear the burden of praying for him to drop the habits, otherwise, she must live with them. For new converts, it was not easy but glory to the Almighty God they are still together and their third and last child is about finishing in the university.

Islam

Muslims have the same problems as Christians. Less than 5% of them understand the religion they practice; even the clerics. Majority of those that attended Islamic schools can recite the Qur’an without a single hitch but are ignorant of the contents. Mohammed had two Christian wives, namely: Ramla bint Abi Sufyan and Maria al-Qibtiyya. Muslimhope.com (2008) quoted “Aisha says that Khadija took Mohammed to a Christian convert who used to read the Gospels in Arabic” from Bukhari vol.4 book 55 ch.17 no.605 p.395.

Qur’an (2:221) and Qur’an (5:5) emphatically grant permission to Muslims to marry Christians. However, a true Christian cannot be accessed because he/she would stick to the Bible passages stated above.

What it means is that a Muslim can propose to a Christian if, and only if, he/she is ready to convert to the Christian faith.

Interfaith Marriage

Interfaith marriage is a marriage between spouses professing different religions and in this case, Christian and Muslim. In an interfaith marriage, each partner adheres to their own religion; this excludes a marriage of a Christian to a Muslim who has converted to Christianity and vice versa.

Christianity not only frowns against but prohibits interfaith marriage. It is known as unequal yoking. Islam, on the other hand, accepts interfaith marriages with “people of the book” who incidentally are either Christian or Judaist. Christianity and Judaism prohibit interfaith marriages for the preservation of spiritual purity.

References

muslimhope.com  (2008). Why Did Mohammed Get So Many Wives? Accessed 12 Oct 2018. http://muslimhope.com/WhyDidMohammedGetSoManyWives.htm

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APPLICATION OF “OJU BǪRǪ KǪ NI A FI NGB’ǪMǪ L’ǪWǪ EKURǪ” TO CHILD UPBRINGING

palm-kernel-extraction

By

JB Fagoyinbo

“Oju bǫrǫ kǫ ni a fi ngb’ǫmǫ l’ǫwǫ ekurǫ” The palm kernel cannot be extracted from its nut with ease.

In discussion, this usually flows well as “Oju bǫrǫ kǫ l’ a fi ngb’ǫmǫ l’ǫwǫ ekurǫ”. We need palm-kernel-extractionstrong determination to be able to extract the palm kernel from the nut. Generally the nut is very hard and requires great effort to crack it open in order to remove the kernel. How did the Yoruba develop this proverb? And why apply it to difficult situations?

The African oil palm Elaeis guineensis is indigenous to Africa and yields kernels that take a good proportion of its mass. Its kernel yields kernel oil which has a strong dark brown color with a strong taste, but it is rarely used outside West Africa. It is high in saturated fats, esterified with glycerol (Imoisi et al, 2015) and is more saturated than palm oil. It does not contain cholesterol or trans-fatty acids and it is rich in antioxidants. Many people have discovered that the active substance may have the ability to reverse blockage of the carotid artery and platelet aggregation thereby reducing the risk of life-threatening diseases. It is used to manage convulsion in children, can be used to reduce the effect of epilepsy attack, it can contain arteriosclerosis and other heart disease problems and helps in managing stroke and slowpoke tumor progression.

Characteristics of Yoruba Proverbs

Most Yoruba proverbs have been able to withstand the test of time because the proverbs developed from a deep understanding of the circumstances that generated them. Let’s take, for instance, the case of a recalcitrant child to test our proverb. Such a child is not born recalcitrant but had acquired such characteristic due to environmental circumstances which .may bother on parenthood or comperes.

Unbruised Collection of Palm Kernel
Unbruised Collection of Palm Kernel

Parents would like their children to grow up to be civilized, cultured, feel comfortable doing what they are supposed to do and follow the rules most of the time without questioning the rules; which would manifest in treating other children and adults with respect, speaking politely to other people, having self-confidence and high self-esteem and commitment to and persistence in hard work.

No parents want their children to grow up to be the sort of people who act like robots: doing all they are told unquestioningly. They want them to be logical in their thinking and actions; children should not be so intimidated by parents that they will not or cannot argue their cases.

In much the same way as the palm fruit is attractive to animals so is the protection offered by

Natures-Kernel-Protection-Measures
Natures-Kernel-Protection-Measures

nature to ensure that it matures. Generally, children start off with a desire to please their parents. But there are also negative forces demanding the attention of a child at any stage of growth; these manifest in undesirable behaviors.

Parents have to determine which of their children’s undesirable behaviors are really important enough to discourage and which other misbehaviors are trivial.

Parents want to protect their children and mold their behavior into what seems to them to be proper (Peters, 2012). In the same way, as unbruised kernels attract buyers at a good price, so parents wish their offspring to be unpolluted by the environment.

Parent-Child Conflict

There is one continuing dispute that defines the relationship between children of every age and their parents. In young children, conflict often develops when parents are indistinct about what they really want. These conflicts, then, do not come from a test of will, but from a failure of communication (Peters, 2012).

But, unlike the palm fruit, children always want to assert themselves in their own ways. They wish to be independent; to the extent their age and circumstances permit. To grow up successfully, they have to become independent of their parents; implying that they have to develop their own values and attitudes about religion, sexuality, profession,  politics and whatever else they think is integral to their personality. Intrinsic in those contrasting wishes is a conflict to a greater or lesser extent; depending on just what the wishes of the growing child are and on how insistent the parents are. Such conflict cannot be completely eliminated.

Nurturing

Two things we should know that nature carries out in respect of the kernel; nurturing and protection. As nature nurtures the kernel to maturity so does it offer protection. Every part of the plant takes part in the nurturing process. Irrespective of the height, protection is offered by

Thorny Midrib Protection
Thorny Midrib

the thorns on the leaf base, the spikes on the bunch, the acidic content of the unripe seed pulp and the thick shekel that is very hard. Notwithstanding, animals like squirrels, snakes, ants, birds, bats, etc. still have access to the nuts but few have access to the kernels. Overprotection can sometimes inhibit situations to proper development. In the case of the palm, nature has allowed such fertilizing agents as bees, butterflies, ants and other small animals to have access to its inflorescence.

Although young children seem to misbehave a lot, There is need to recognize that they are simply learning how to get their desires met. It is the parents’ responsibility to help them acquire positive values. Children who learn acceptable techniques grow up to become responsible adults who act from a strong moral conscience which revolves around predicting and evaluating the consequences of actions.

In the same vein, children are to be nurtured and protected. In Yoruba communities, nurturing goes beyond the provision of food, it includes character formation. It was the responsibility of the whole community; this gives rise to “Oju meji l’ o n bi’mǫ, Igba oju l’ o nwoo”.

Yoruba tradition stresses that the parents are the first teachers of their children, instructing them in the ‘proper way of relating to their elders and people of the same age group. In the communal atmosphere of the traditional family, parents of children who behave in approved ways are approved as successful; parents whose children misbehave are shamed and advised to put their houses in order.

When parents fortify their children, provision should be made for access by agents that will positively affect the children. Teachers are the qualified and certified agents that can effectively carry this out.

Recalcitrant Children

In the Yoruba traditional system, flogging is an acceptable way of correcting children when they are wrong. However, modern child-upbringing deemphasizes flogging; but generally to the detriment of moral values. Most parents are not sufficiently knowledgeable in the act of child-upbringing. In fact, most leave the children in the care of house-helps yet admonishing teachers, who are learned in psychology, when their wards are disciplined.

The traditional Yoruba adage states “Ile l’a ti n k’ękǫ r’ode” meaning that the origin of knowledge is the family.

I tend to agree with families in de-emphasizing flogging but not complete eradication. I taught in two primary schools over a period of three years and nine months and had occasion to apply the cane only thrice; two boys and one girl in the first instance in the first school and one girl in the second instance. In my second school five of my pupils did not come to school with materials for handcraft. The girl in the second instance was getting uncontrollable because she was the pet of her influential grandmother. The first of the boys was an apprentice Babalawo (Ifa priest).

He was part of a group that refused to carry out an instruction vital to their learning. I was not informed of his status because they never believed I would apply the cane; even if I was aware I might not have relented because I was unaware of that tradition; except if I had been informed much earlier. I was brought up in the city. Unfortunately for him, when I decided to apply the cane on them he boasted that nobody could flog him. While the others got light beatings on their palms he got two hot ones on his buttocks. I had nightmares but nothing untoward happened to me. He lost his apprenticeship because of it. I got aware only eleven years after; when one of his classmates told me the full story. Not because of the beating but for acting irresponsibly to earn a public flogging.

My Headmasters were wary of my rare-flogging method but discovered that my pupils responded more positively to learning and were better cultured that the other arm of the classes. I met my little girl twelve years after and she was appreciative of the fact that what I did made her grandmother to realize that she was being over-pampered; her aunt, who happened to be her mother’s elder sister, harped on it to make the grandmother stop the over-pampering influence on her.

Caution

Parents should refrain from accosting teachers when their wards are disciplined. It is a negation of God’s laws and counter-productive on the children. Teachers’ rebukes, reprimands and corrective measures are reinforcements against social and environmental hazards of life. Once these protective measures are removed, the child becomes vulnerable and cares less about authorities, rules and regulations. School administrative rules and regulations have put sufficient checks and balances in place for the protection of children.

References

Imoisi, O. B; G. E. Ilori; I. Agho; J. O. Ekhator (2015).  Palm oil, its nutritional and health implications (Review).  J. Appl. Sci. Environ. Manage. March, 2015, Vol 19(1) 127-133

Peters, S. C. (2012). Helping a Recalcitrant Child. Accessed 07 Nov 2016. . http://www.phponline.org/1884/helping-a-recalcitrant-child/

 

The Beauty and Functionality of Proverbs

Meeting with Community Head
Meeting with Community Head
A Community Development Consultative Meeting

A proverb is a generalized statement popularly known and repeated and which expresses a truth based on common sense or experience. When it describes a basic rule of conduct it is known as a maxim. Proverbs transcend languages within similar climes, vegetation and cultural practices. As languages interact, proverbs are spread from one language to another; usually with slight adaptations. The English language, for example, is rich in proverbs because of its interaction through colonization with other languages.

A proverb is a short, generally known sentence of a language which contains a combination of wisdom, truth, morals, and traditional views in a metaphorical, fixed, and philosophical form and which has transcended many generations.

The Yoruba and the Igbo languages in Africa are rich in proverbs and their proverbs have very deep meanings. It is very easy, if you understand these languages, to identify which proverbs are original to them.

A Horse Eases Movement
A proverb is the horse with which we search for notions (Jean, 2010)

Let’s examine one Yoruba proverb that brings out its (proverb’s) function. “Owe l’ ęșin ǫrǫ. Ti ǫrǫ ba sǫnu, owe l’ a fi nwaa” A proverb is the horse with which we search for notions. Ęșin, horse, is an indigenous word, whereas horses cannot be said to be indigenous to Yoruba territories because of the presence of tsetse flies. However, the horse is likely to have come with the Yoruba when they immigrated to the South-western region of Nigeria and probably could not survive for that same reason.

Ǫrǫ can be literally translated as word but in this proverb, it goes beyond the literal translation; it is an idea or a presentation of wisdom that is based on the experience within the large community and which is found applicable to the situation at hand. It is an effective means of dissenting from a view or giving advice in a way that may be less offensive; because they are indirect.

Let’s look at this proverb “Ile l’ a ti nko ęșǫ r’ode” impacts on a child that it is the moral virtue impacted on a child in its background (family) that reflects its performance in the community. Lord John Russell’s (c. 1850) definition as “A proverb is the wit of one, and the wisdom of many” can be seen as its function; not its meaning. There is a complement to this proverb which says “Oju meji l’ o n bi’mǫ, Igba oju l’ o nwoo” which implies that the community has a role to play in the upbringing of the child.

Two People Give Birth, Community Trains
Two People Give Birth, Community Trains

Proverbs are used in conversation by adults more than children because adults have more experience in the use of words. Among the Yoruba, it is considered rude for a young person to use proverb without due reference to adults present, however, when an adult belittles himself the youth may apply proverb that will make him amend his uncomely deed. Proper application of proverbs is a skill that is developed over the years. Additionally, children have not mastered the patterns of metaphorical expression that are invoked in proverb use. Studying actual proverb use in conversation, however, is difficult since the researcher must wait for proverbs to happen.