The parable of the prodigal son, or wasteful, son is found in the New Testament of the Bible. It tells of a man and his two sons. The younger son asked for his inheritance, moved to another country, and spent all his money. Once all his money was spent, the younger son was close to starvation. Finally he decided to return to his father. He felt that his father owed him nothing, since he treated his father ungratefully. He planned to ask his father for a job as a servant.
As the son approached the farm, his father saw him and ran to greet him. The father had the servants bring fine robes for his son and prepare a feast.
The older son, who had stayed on the farm, was angry about this. He pointed out that he had always obeyed his father and worked hard, but his father had never thrown a party for him. The father replied, “Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice! This brother of yours was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:31-32)
What do you think is the message of this parable?
Jesus told this parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the question, “What must I do to inherit everlasting life?” (Luke 10:25)
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite1, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan2, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; hen he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii3 and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.” Which of these three, do you think proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers? He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-37)
1. Levites were Jews who performed duties in the Temple.
2. Samaritans were people from Samaria; most Jews looked down on them.
3. A unit of money.
Explain the message of this parable.
The third Pillar of Islam is called zakat. It means charity or dues-to-the-poor.
There are certain requirements to be met before one can give the zakat. One must be an adult, have savings, and have paid all of one’s regular expenses. If these things are in order, Muslims pay 2.5% of their wealth to charity or government programs.
The purpose of this Pillar is to remind Muslims that those who are in need are entitled to assistance. The zakat purifies people of attachment to wealth and reminds them of Allah’s generosity.
The material world is said to distract people from leading a good life. Does a desire for money keep people from making the right decisions in life? Explain your opinion.