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The Covenants of the Prophet: Read an Excerpt
While Twelver Shi'ite Islam prohibits permanent marriages between Muslims and the People of the Book, it does allow for fixed-term marriage, which can legally apply for a lifetime. Though some Westerners would view this as a "double-standard" and a form of discrimination, the same types of marriages, both permanent and fixed-term, are routinely entered into by Muslim couples. If True Islam requires that a Muslim man and a Christian woman contract a fixed-term marriage, it is because this form of marriage provides the non-Muslim woman with a greater degree of rights, liberties, and protections. Although the Muslim community may hope and wish for the Christian woman to eventually embrace Islam, she is free to remain faithful to the faith of her forefathers. True Islam is actually tolerant to the extreme. While a Muslim is categorically prohibited from consuming wine or pork, Islamic law allows a Christian wife to do so. Though a Muslim wife would be expected to wear the hijab, the Christian woman is allowed to dress as she pleases, according to the standards of her own religious community. However, for the purpose of self-preservation, Islam requires that any child produced by mixed unions be raised in the Muslim faith. The same rule applies to Roman Catholics who enter into mixed marriages: all children are to be raised as Catholics. Strictly speaking a marriage between a Catholic of either sex and any non-Catholic is against Canon Law, which is more restrictive than the shari'ah in this regard. However, Bishops regularly grant permission for such marriages as long as the promise to raise all children as Catholics is made. And if Islam does not allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, the reason is obvious. As a man, and head of the household, a faithful Muslim would never dishonor or disgrace Jesus Christ, Moses or Abraham. No such assurances could ever be provided by a Jewish or Christian man, who may be intolerant, or consider Muhammad as a false prophet and a charlatan.
When the Prophet provided for the protection of churches and monasteries, he also ensured that they would be regularly maintained. As item fifteen declares "that no person hinder them from repairing their churches." Some misguided Muslims, though they might refrain from destroying churches, would have simply allowed them to fall into decay and disuse. Through this edict, the Prophet arranged for the continuity of the Christian community. As far as Islam is concerned, the greater the number of people who worship the one God, the better humanity will be served. Islam views religion as a positive social force. While there might be differences in certain theological matters, all monotheistic religions share the same guiding principles. Islam, under the leadership and divine guidance of the Prophet, focused on similarity as opposed to difference, seeking to unite Judaism and Christianity under the protective cover of Islam, as one cohesive monotheistic movement. By protecting other religions, Islam also protects itself from the cancerous spread of secularism, liberalism, and materialism.
If the earlier warnings were not sufficiently clear, the Prophet intensifies his admonition in item sixteen. He decrees that "Whosoever acts contrary to my grant, or gives credit to anything contrary to it, becomes truly an apostate to God, and to his divine apostle, because this protection I have granted to them according to this promise." He reiterates his pledge to exclude the Christians from military service. While Christians are not required to protect the Islamic State, the Islamic State is required to protect them. As the Prophet establishes in item seventeen, "No one shall bear arms against them, but, on the contrary, the Muslims shall wage war for them." The Prophet closes the covenant with authority in item eighteen: "And by this I ordain, that none of my nation shall presume to do or act contrary to this my promise, until the end of the world." It bears noticing that the phrase "none of my nation shall presume to do or act contrary to this my promise" lays a charge on all Muslims everywhere, yet many millions of believers have no knowledge of this covenant or its intentions.