It was difficult for me to find a wall plaque containing the Ten Commandments for sale in 2010. I searched twelve stores, including four Christian centers, periodically over several months, to no avail. The store attendant’s responses were always, “We are out of stock,” or “I didn’t even realize that the last plaque was sold.” Sometimes I even heard, “It’s quite a while since we got some of those”. I was raised Catholic, but became Muslim in 1989. Today, I live by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an (the last revealed book of guidance for mankind) and the Hadith (way of life) of the final Messenger from Almighty God, Muhammad, peace upon him, to whom the Holy Qur’an was revealed. My quest for a copy of the Ten Commandments was to remind me of God’s unchanging Divine laws for living.
Today, Christians can please Almighty God by following the simple laws brought by the holy Messenger Moses, upon him be peace, to whom the Ten Commandments were given to convey to his people. Those sacred laws also represent common ground for dialogue between Muslims and Christians. They remind us that Almighty God is One, that we should not worship idols or commit adultery, or covet what belongs to our neighbor. As a child growing up in the Caribbean, Christian homes traditionally had a copy of the Ten Commandments on the living room wall for all to see. They were committed to memory and used to admonish or remind friends and family members when they were going astray. My grandmother often repeated to us children, “Do not call the name of the Lord thy God in vain!”
So, where are the Ten Commandments today? In my search in Trinidad, what I found for sale instead were copies of plaques with man-made compositions like- “The Virtues of a Mother” or “A Marriage Creed” or advice for “Success” or “Friendship”. As I lookfor the Ten Commandments, I soon realized that there were also lots of books by popular male and female televangelists whose pictures were adorning paperback covers in varied colors and styles. Book titles included topics like, “How to Serve God and Make Money” or “It’s Time for You”. I even saw a new Bible that contained special highlights and explanations for those who loved the author or read the Bible. While inspirational, man-made texts could serve a purpose, I got scared when I realized that there may be a creeping trend to replace spiritual guidance from God’s laws with man-made alternative spiritual best sellers!
Eventually, I found an inexpensive wall-hanging with the Ten Commandments at a Muslim- owned variety store that was holding a closing-down sale. Unfortunately, the colors on the floral design and print were a bit faded as it was an old plaque that remained unsold for many years. I just wondered if my experience with trying to locate a copy of the Ten Commandment was unique. Perhaps we should all ask for the Ten Commandments at national bookstores, Christian bookstores and variety stores. After all, the Ten Commandments serve as a timeless guide for all the faithful, be they Muslim or Christian. Almighty God knows we need His Guidance today more than ever.