The Golden Rule

The most familiar form of the golden rule is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many people think that Jesus was the first to propound this ethical principle, but in fact it was given a variety of forms by moral philosophers from the ancient world. In most of these formulations, it is expressed negatively (stating what should not be done) rather than positively.    

The rule was found, for example, among the ancient Greeks many centuries before Jesus. One of the characters described by the Greek historian Herodotus (fifth century B.C.E.) said, “I will not myself do that which I consider to be blameworthy in my neighbor”; and the Greek orator Isocrates (four century B.C.E.) said, “You should be such in your dealings with others as you expect me to be in my dealings with you.” The saying was present in Eastern cultures as well, most famously on the lips of Confucius (sixth century B.C.E): “Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you.”

Nearer to Jesus’ time, the golden rule was endorsed (in various forms of wording) in a number of Jewish writings. For example, in the apocryphal book of Tobit, we read, “And what you hate do not do to anyone”; and in the ancient Jewish interpretation of the book of Leviticus, we find, “Do not do to him (your neighbor) what you yourseklf hate.”      

Perhaps the best-known expression of the rule in Jewish circles, however, comes from the most revered rabbi of Jesus’ day, the famous Rabbi Hillel. A pagan approached the rabbi and promised him that he would convert to Judaism if Hillel could recite her entire Torah to him while standing on one leg. Hillel’s terse reply sounds remarkably like the statement of Jesus in Matthew 7:12: “What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbour; that is the whole Torah, while the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.”

Jesus, in short, was not the only teacher of his day who taught the golden rule or who thought that the essence of the Law of Moses could be summed up in the commandant to love.

The Bible: A Historical and Literary Introduction by renowned biblical scholar and New York Times Bestselling author Dr Bart D. Ehrman, p. 274.



The Golden Rule in Islam 

Some sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in the hadith collections:

“None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.” (Sahih Muslim)

“Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter Paradise…should treat the people as he wishes to be treated.” (Sahih Muslim)

“None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” (Forty Hadith, Nawawi)

“None of you is a believer if he eats his full while his neighbor hasn’t anything.” (Musnad)

“Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.” (Abu Dawud)

“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” (Farewell Sermon)

“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Ibn- Majah)

The Qur’an teaches:

“Serve God, and join not any partners with Him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess [the slave]: For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” (Q:4:36)

In fact, the Qur’an goes beyond the Golden Rule by stating in more than four places, “Return evil with kindness.” (see 13:22, 23:96, 41:34, 28:54, 42:40)



Categories: Bible, Christianity, Dr Bart Ehrman, Jesus, Judaism, Paganism, Tanakh

35 replies

  1. Reblogged this on The Quran and Bible Blog and commented:

    Contrary to the claims of many Christians, the Golden Rule was not unique to the teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him).

  2. In Sharia it can only apply Muslim to Muslim. Otherwise it would make Jihad impossible for Muslims and Dhimmitude impossible for non-Muslims.

  3. ‘In Sharia it can only apply Muslim to Muslim.’

    No so. It applies to whosoever is our neighbour or friend.

    “Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourselves.” (Abu Dawud)

  4. The Golden Rule is also no good for Islam because it would outlaw all extreme forms of slavery, e.g chattel and sex slavery, dissolution of the family as a consequence of kidnapping and slavery. These are divine rights of the Ummah in Islam.

    • lol you don’t know much about Islam do you?

    • Hey Iggy the moron, what did your mangod savior say about outlawing slavery again? Oh right…nothing.

    • ³⁸You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” ³⁹But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. ⁴⁰And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. ⁴¹And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. ⁴²Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

      iggy, your slaviour enjoyed getting slapped around only when he was caught by the authorities. i am wondering how being a easily abused slut of your roman master would help bring change?

      • The Sermon on the Mount is personal or private law. It doesn’t stop nations bringing about change or inflicting punishments by violent means if necessary. This would include execution of judicial punishments on its own citizens or going to war with other nations to liberate them from oppressive regimes or ideologies.

        An example would be the reconquista by Ferdinand and Isabella, islamic pushback by Charles Martel or the various battles against Islam that Christian Europe fought to prevent Islam taking over in Europe. Also the Crusades themselves were self defensive in nature after the Muslims invaded Byzantine lands and occupied them.

        Any non-Muslim that voluntarily chose to live under Sharia must be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

      • LOL, and I suppose most Europeans voluntarily chose to live under Christian tyrants like Isabella and Ferdinand. I wonder how the Jews felt? Jews fled to the Ottoman Empire and lived under Sharia because they wouldn’t be…um…killed…there.

        And isn’t it just so convenient? Your mangod said to turn the other cheek, but Christians decided that secular principles of “self-defense” is more preferable (and for good reason) in this case, at least at the national level.

      • “The Sermon on the Mount is personal or private law. ”

        “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock”

        been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
        19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
        20 teaching them to observe all that i COMMAND you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

        “It doesn’t stop nations bringing about change or inflicting punishments by violent means if necessary.”

        where did u see that ? i didn’t see that bs part “DOESN’T stop nations bringing change/inflicting PUNISHMENTS by violent means if….”

        you ashamed of jebus’ commands?

      • LOL, Iggy is ashamed of his pacifist mangod!

      • Very good points. It doesn’t make sense for the disciples to be preaching that Jesus was God openly in the temple, yet the Christians want us to believe that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus for allegedly claiming to be God.

        This is just more evidence that Christianity’s pagan obsession with Jesus (pbuh) is a self-inflicted wound. I don’t get why Kennywise and others are so insistent upon their pagan ways. They’re just like the Quraysh idol-worshipers, clinging to their gods while throwing away their reason.

    • “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:
      ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the
      camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend
      and neighbor.’ The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about
      THREE THOUSAND of the people died. (Exodus, 32:7-28)

  5. “I wonder how the Jews felt? Jews fled to the Ottoman Empire and lived under Sharia because they wouldn’t be…um…killed…there.”

    Yeah I’m sure they read the Koran and Hadith and felt the love oozing from the pages.

    • @ Watson

      Actually if you watch Rabbi Tovia Singer he says the Qur’an is not harsh in chastising them. He saud it’s nothing compared to what they record the. Prophets as saying to them in theirs (and your) text. So there goes that.

      Maybe they would enjoy the doctrine of perpetual servitude that you all have given them better?

    • LOL, look at Iggy jump like a monkey and move the goalpost!

      Where did the Jews go, Iggy? To other parts of Christian Europe? Nope. They went to the Muslim lands, because there, they could have a safe haven. They voluntarily lived under Sharia because it offered them safety. Get over it, dummy. It was a lot better than your foul Christian lands. They hated the Jews for being “God killers”. LOL, evidently they were to your mangod what Wonder Woman was to Aries.

      • All it gave them was repressive taxation and demeaning discrimination. That it what it was designed to give them.

      • Bwhahaha, oh Iggy you moron! Even IF that was true (it’s not), that would still be a lot better than being…um…(cough)…killed for not converting to Christianity.

        Not all people are as dumb as you. Professor David Wasserstein has admitted:

        “Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth.” (

        You are an idiot Iggy. No one takes you seriously. You talk out of your rear-end. Christianity and a lifetime of ignorance have caused your brain to decompose.

      • Let’s also not forget that when Christians controlled Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to step foot there. After the Persians captured Jerusalem in 614, they allowed the Jews to start rebuilding the temple. Later, they had a change of heart and the Christians became their vassals. That resulted in a renewed persecution of Jews until the conquest of Syria and Palestine by Umar (ra). For the first time in 500 years, Jews were allowed to live in Jerusalem indefinitely. The Encyclopedia Judaica states:

        “Omar permitted the Jews to reestablish their presence in Jerusalem–after a lapse of 500 years–and also seems to have allotted them a place for prayers on the Temple Mount (from which they were driven out at a later date). Jewish tradition regards Omar as a benevolent ruler and the Midrash (Nistarot de-Rav Shimon bar Yoḥai) refers to him as a “friend of Israel.”” (Bashan, Eliezer. “Omar Ibn al-KhaṬṬĀb°.” In Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed., edited by Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik, 419. Vol. 15. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. Gale Virtual Reference Library).

        Rabbi Reuven Firestone echoes this sentiment:

        “[Umar] ended Christian rule over Jerusalem and allowed Jews to legally re-enter and live in the holy city for the first time since the failed Bar Kokhba rebellion in the 2nd century” (An Introduction to Islam for Jews (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2008), p. 47).

      • Be honest and objective for once in your miserable life, Iggy. It’s for your own good. Living a life of in your fantasy world of ignorance will only hurt you in the long run.

      • Watson: All it gave them was repressive taxation and demeaning discrimination.

        At least it didn’t give theme the Holocaust like Christian Europe.

    • Watson: Yeah I’m sure they read the Koran and Hadith and felt the love oozing from the pages.

      Yeah, Jews would rather go through the Holocaust than live under Shariah.

  6. I think the biggest problem Watson has with Muslims is that we are not white.

    • @ Kmak

      Small little correction we are not PERCEIVED to be white (as both Paul and myself are.)

      But yeah I have this underlying feeling that a lot of these guys are white supremacists because they don’t act like normal people.

      • You and Paul are likely race-traitors in the eyes of Watson who, in all likelihood, is a baby boomer.

      • @ KMAK

        Agreed. For some odd reason, I suspect he has a confederate flag somewhere in the immediate vicinity of his home and has used the word “colored” more than once in his life.

  7. ““Islam saved Jewry. This is an unpopular, discomforting claim in the modern world. But it is a historical truth.””

    It may have saved them in some areas at some times but it also persecuted the Jews just as much as Christian Europe ever did.

    How comes there were more Jews living in Europe before the Nazis came to power than in the whole of the so-called “safe haven” islamic lands?

    • LOL yeah, millions of Jews living in European ghettos is somehow better. You must be the stupidest Christian out there.

      “Though by the 20th century Jews were no longer forced to live in ghettos, many continued to live in segregated quarters, in cities throughout Europe and the United States, including Warsaw, Prague, Frankfurt, the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the West Side of Chicago. Writers in the 20th century described many of these neighborhoods as slums, filled with poverty, violence, and iniquity.” (

    • David Wasserstein:

      “Along with legal near-equality came social and economic equality. Jews were not confined to ghettos, either literally or in terms of economic activity. The societies of Islam were, in effect, open societies. In religious terms, too, Jews enjoyed virtually full freedom. They might not build many new synagogues – in theory – and they might not make too public their profession of their faith, but there was no really significant restriction on the practice of their religion. Along with internal legal autonomy, they also enjoyed formal representation, through leaders of their own, before the authorities of the state. Imperfect and often not quite as rosy as this might sound, it was at least the broad norm.”

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