Sabbath according to Islam
Jewish and Muslim Sabbath, the similarities, the differences and why.
Intention of the Sabbath (Hebrew; Day of Rest)
Is the Sabbath for Remembering God ? Yes, even more so than resting.
The Bible editors humanize God in relation to the Sabbath by saying;
"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Genesis 2:2).
Bible editors took the idea that God rested farther still when they wrote as follows: "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (Exodus 31: 17).
Is God a human that gets tired and needs to rest and refresh ? Of course not;
"GOD IS NOT A MAN, that he should lie ; NEITHER THE SON OF MAN that he should repent.... (Numbers 19:23)
God in the Quran clarified the matter in His own words when He declared:
"And verily we created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six periods, and naught of weariness touched us" (Quran 50:38 see also v. 15).
Dispelling any human weaknesses attributed to God and showing the intention of the Sabbath is not to rest, but to remember the beautiful Creation God made.
Even Prophet Jesus emphasizes the misinterpretation of the Sabbath;
Mark 3:1-5: Jesus observed the Sabbath, but criticized the Pharisees' overly strict rules and regulations concerning the day of rest. He emphasized throughout his ministry a different purpose for the Sabbath: a day to be enjoyed by the believer, and a time when many normal activities were quite permissible.
The idea that God rests like humans and gets refreshed like humans was also criticized by Jesus. According to John, he declared that God never stops working, even on the Sabbath day (see John 5:16).
According to the Holy Quran, the Final Testament, God does not get tired "Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him" (Quran 2:255), verifying the focus of the Sabbath is not rest, but remembrance.
What day was the Sabbath ?
Today we know that the creation process can be measured in billions of years.
The Bible editors could not have known this. In their eagerness to enjoin Sabbath observance on others they wrote that God rested on the very first Sabbath day after finishing up his work of creating the heavens and the earth.
The six days of creation in the book of Genesis was believed to be like six days of any seven-day week. They believed that the reason the Sabbath day became holy is that God Himself had rested on that day.
The scientific discovery regarding the actual time period of the creation of earth causes concern as to which day the Sabbath actually is. The Sabbath can not be associated with the earth creation because that would mean we would have a Sabbath once every 6 billion years.
The Holy Quran simply designates the "Day of Assembly" in addition to clarifying God does not rest, Hence completely dispelling the incompatible association between the Sabbath and Day of Creation as made in the Bible.
Was the Sabbath on Friday or Saturday ? Another tension in the Bible Corrected by God through the Holy Quran is knowing the exact day to practice the Sabbath.
When the Julian calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in 1582 CE, ten days were deleted in order to bring the calendar in synchronism with the seasons. Thus, 1582-OCT-4 (a Thursday) was followed by 1582-OCT-15 (a Friday), indicating the Sabbath was originally Friday, rather than Saturday.
There is no record in the Bible showing who did this or when he did it. So, the present Jewish Sabbath observance can be traced back, through the discontinuity of 1582 CE into ancient times to an arbitrary choice of day by person or persons unknown.
There is thus no reason to believe that there was a seventh day of creation or that there was any continuous celebration of the Sabbath until the 10th century BCE. It is probable that some Jewish official made an arbitrary selection of the day for the first Sabbath about 3 millennia ago. As history shows the intended day for the Sabbath is Friday as in Islam.
What time was the Sabbath to take place ? The Bible demonstrates that the intended time is for the afternoon, also as in the Islamic teachings;
The Bible makes the strong distinction between day and night, the word "Night" is mentioned in the Jewish Bible ((233)) times yet it is never mentioned in conjunction with the weekly Sabbath,
The Sabbath is always referred to as "The Sabbath Day". In fact, a distinction is made between the Weekly Daytime Sabbath and a monthly 24 Hour Sabbath.
"It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves; on the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your sabbath." Leviticus 23:32
Hence clarifying there are different types of Sabbaths for different time periods and that the weekly Day Sabath was not intended for 24 hours, but rather for the Daytime as the clear distinction is made in Leviticus 23:32
Who was to follow the Sabbath ?
Israelites ask Muslims "If Abraham's way was the right way, why don't Muslims follow the Saturday Sabbath ?" The Sabbath has nothing to do with Abraham, it was instituted with the Law of Moses.
There is no evidence that Adam and Eve ever celebrated the Sabbath.
The first instruction from God to the Hebrew people to observe the Sabbath appears in Exodus 16:27, when the Hebrew people were wandering in the desert after having escaped from Egyptian captivity and starting to doubt and be disobedient to God. Therefore Hebrews have been worshipping God for centuries without observing the Sabbath.
The second command from God is seen in Exodus 23:12. Both passages were written by Moses circa 1491 BCE. No evidence the Sabbath was observed before then by previous Prophets.
Furthermore, there are 613 laws obligatory for Israelites, yet according to Judaism, not all Israelites have to follow these laws, for example, of those 613 Laws, only certain ones apply to certain tribes of Israelites, the Levi tribe only follows certain parts of the 613 Laws, as well as the Cohen tribe following different sets of the Commandments.
Different laws apply to different types and tribes of Jews. Similarly, Jewish Muslims follow the Quranic Commandments, identical to the Ten commandments of Moses, without the false associations made by Bible editors.
Sabbath in the Bible
Similar to the Muslim form of the Sabbath, the Bible lists a Function of the Sabbath is to have a Religious Assembly. Congregating on the Sabbath is commanded by God in Leviticus:
The Hebrew word for convocations is migra, meaning a calling (together), according to Young's Analytical Concordance. Migra is the Hebrew word used in Leviticus 23:4-44 for all the holy convocations commanded for the High Sabbaths also.
Another similarity is Leviticus 23:32, the Day of Atonement is defined as a Sabbath. Islam also believes that Friday is a day for attaining atonement more than any other day of the week:
The Holy Prophet Muhammad said : "The day of Friday has been exalted and conferred many rights. Therefore do not be negligent of your duty. Do not be tardy in your worship this day. Try to attain nearness to Allah by performing pure deeds and refraining from the prohibited things, because this day Allah increases the reward for good deeds and obliterates the sins. Allah raises the position of the believer in the world and the Hereafter."
Yet the Israelites considered the Sabbath a curse as pointed out in Amos 8:4-6 4
"Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?"
Israelites disobeying the Sabbath was also documented in Nehemiah 13:16
Sabbath in the Quran
"O ye who believe! When the call is
proclaimed to prayer on Friday (the Day of Assembly), hasten
earnestly to the Remembrance of Allah, and leave off business (and
traffic): That is best for you if ye but knew! " 62:09
The curse of financial confinement is forgivingly removed upon embracing Islam while the substance and content of the Sabbath is in place, the merciful removal of the restriction from God's bounty is specified in the following verse:
"And when the Prayer is
finished, then may ye disperse through the land, and seek of the
Bounty of Allah: and celebrate the Praises of Allah often (and
without stint): that ye may prosper. " 62:10
An example in the Bible of God no longer desiring Israelis to follow the Sabbath is:
" Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of assemblies--I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood."
Here we see how God depending on the Actions of the Jews, changes His relationship with the Jews, similar to being exiled from Israel and being returned to Israel.
With this in mind, the Quran Sabbath is understood as a Merciful Sabbath. Though there is still a Punishment for Breaking the Sabbath.
"The punishment for profaning the Sabbath was imposed only on those who had differed about it and thy Lord will surely judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they differed." Quran 16:124
The words penalty and punishment at the beginning of the verse are supplied by the translators, because they are implied in the word ju'ila. The meaning of the verse is that there is a punishment for Sabbath-breaking, but it is to be carried out on upon those who dispute the obligation to keep the Sabbath. Furthermore, it is concluded from this text, that no punishment for Sabbath-breaking is to be carried out before the Day of Judgment.
This is another excellent illustration of how the Quran complements and completes the Bible. In the Bible we are faced with two complications regarding Sabbath breaking. The first is that the punishment for Sabbath-breaking is death. In practice, this is not carried out in the current age. Christ showed by his example how the legislation of the Torah was to be interpreted. He did not as Christianity claims abrogate it.
The second Friction is that there is no provision for delaying the Sabbath. If there is something to prevent Sabbath observance on the seventh day, there is no provision in the Torah or any other Scripture for putting it off to the following day, as there is for the Passover, for example, which under certain conditions may be observed in the following month. This means that there are occasions when the intention to observe the Sabbath cannot always be carried out perfectly. If something arises which was unforeseen and unintended, the Sabbath cannot be delayed to the following day.
It has to remain as it is, whether or not its observance turned out to be as was intended. Therefore, the punishment is meted out upon those who dispute the obligation. Those who made the proper intention to observe the Sabbath, but whose observance for unforeseen reasons did not match their intention, are not punished for Sabbath-breaking.
Prior to scientific knowledge of earth formation, or scholarly Bible criticism, the Holy Quran in 632 AD, has purged the man made editing in the Bible and in swift concise Words, Bestowing upon us the proper date, time, and intention of the Sabbath as well as conscientious judgement for Sabbath breakers.