The Scriptural Foundations Of An Open Immigration Policy

by Bruce and Judy Hake

[Written in 1998]

The Lord God requires all people and nations to be generous to foreigners. That is the word of God. Holy Scripture is incredibly clear on the point. As Reverend Joan M. Maruskin puts it so well: “The Bible is the ultimate immigration handbook.” The Bible teaches that sins against foreigners are especially serious sins, sins that cry out to Heaven. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), 1867 at p. 457, citing Ex. 20:20-22.

But that central point has gotten lost in the current national debates about immigration. The purpose of this article is to call attention back to the scriptural foundations of American immigration policy.

The end of this article collects many passages from the Old and New Testaments regarding the imperative of generosity to foreigners. [June 2005 edit: A colleague observes: “Many of the Jewish faith would prefer that their living bible be referred to as the ‘Tanakh’ or ‘Torah’ rather than the ‘Old Testament.'” Point taken.] The introduction summarizes some key points of immigration policy. An appendix presents additional Biblical references plus similar passages from the Koran.

Introduction: Some Key Points of Immigration Policy

The worst kind of sanctimonious hyprocrisy in Washington, D.C. these days comes from Republicans like Lamar Smith (R-Tex), Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary, who are energetically imposing unprecedentedly harsh restrictions on foreigners, while at the same time claiming to be Bible-reading Christians.

Immigration policy is being publicly debated in the United States more intensely these days than ever before. It seems to us that too much of this debate centers around economic and social arguments, when the heart of the matter is clear in scripture.

The United States has been far and away the most generous nation in world history in its treatment of foreigners. For this reason above all, according to a gifted African pastor-psychiatrist we know, God has blessed the United States above other nations. The United States is still the most generous nation for foreigners: from the Golden Gate in the west to the Statue of Liberty in the east.

The United States has also gone through regular ups and downs in immigration policy. There have always been prominent Americans who were xenophobic, scared of foreigners. Benjamin Franklin, for example, a champion of liberty, was long preoccupied with worries about German immigrants. He believed they would never learn English, would never assimilate and become good citizens, were a threat to social stability, and so forth. Now, of course, the Germans make up the majority ethnic stock in the United States, having passed the British a generation ago. At various times, many Americans have been worried about the Chinese, the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, and so forth. Nowadays the worry is mainly about Hispanic peoples and Haitians. But there is no evidence that the American melting pot has stopped working.

American cycles in immigration policy have generally swung in the opposite direction about every generation. Alternatively, the country has been especially open to foreigners, or especially closed, fierce with “nativist” prejudices. The down-cycles, the times of nativism and restriction, have generally corresponded to periods of great economic stress.

The late 1990s are unique in American immigration history because a period of unprecedented economic growth is coinciding with a period of extreme repression of foreigners. Compared to many other countries, current U.S. policy is angelic. But compared to America’s own ideals and past history, the current period in American immigration law is darker than any time that has preceded it. You have to go back to the specifically anti-Chinese immigration statutes of the late 1800s to find comparably mean-spirited laws. This period of restriction has so far culminated in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which among other things tries to abolish fundamental constitutional rights that all persons, including foreigners, have enjoyed in this country all the way back to its foundations.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg of the current wave of anti-foreigner rhetoric and action blowing out of the Republican-controlled Congress. The 1996 official party platform of the Republican Party called for the abolition of birthright citizenship, forgetting that we already fought a bloody Civil War over this issue, which is resolved in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Current law and political rhetoric demonizes “illegal aliens.” But there is no such thing! A person cannot be “illegal.” One does not call a citizen who cheats on taxes an “illegal citizen.” Moreover, most of the kinds of trivial status violations that make many foreigners “illegal” are not crimes, and the people are not criminals! Many “illegal aliens” are law-abiding people who have technically gone out of status through no fault of their own because of delays by the U.S. Government in adjudicating properly filed and lawful applications for extension of status.

An immigration lawyer friend of ours commented recently that maybe immigration lawyers should start keeping Polaroid cameras in their offices, so they can compile pictures of all the children (many of them American citizens) whose lives are being disrupted by harsh new immigration laws…and send them off to the “family values” folks like Lamar Smith. Most people do not realize it, but the U.S. Government deports American citizen children frequently. And, of course, almost every foreigner who is unfairly driven out of this country leaves a trail of tears from American relatives and American employers and American friends and communities whose lives are damaged.

There are many good arguments in favor of an open immigration policy. If the modern, globally interconnected world requires free movement of goods, free movement of capital, and free movement of information, why should it not also permit free movement of labor? This is the enlightened perspective of the Wall Street Journal.

Adding more people does not mean everyone gets a smaller piece of the pie! Wealth is created by human energy. More good people means a bigger pie for everyone.

No, it is not true that immigrants consume more in government services than they pay in taxes. Look it up, watching out for the lies peddled so slickly by nativist groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

No, it is not true that immigrants take jobs from Americans. There is a huge literature proving this point. There are some local displacements, but the major group that is economically threatened by immigrants are the immigrants who came right before. Immigrants are in every way a boon to this nation.

The United States should try the experiment of completely opening all borders for five years, except for serious criminals. People would be surprised. The Republic would not crumble. There would be a great boom of productivity. Most surprising, the influx would be less than commonly believed. Most people are settled in their homelands and would not go to the great trouble of moving to this country. In general, it is the courageous, the bright, the strong, and the optimistic who go to the trouble of immigrating to the United States. All people are children of God–and those bright stars are especially good for our society. (Of course, from a scriptural perspective, it is immoral for U.S. immigration policy to favor the strong and well-educated over the merely needy.)

According to careful, scholarly documents of the Catholic Church going back for centuries, all human beings have a God-given natural right to travel where they will and to work as they will. In 1987, the U.S. Catholic Bishops came within a hair’s-breadth of actively instructing all U.S. Catholics (who comprise about one-quarter of America’s population) to actively engage in civil disobedience against the work authorization rules for foreigners that were passed that year. A large part of U.S. immigration law is illegal under God’s natural law, a higher authority. This poses a dilemma for responsible lawyers who have sworn oaths to uphold the law. There are honorable and ethical ways, however, to fight the law without breaking it.

And so forth. These debates rage on. After a point, they get tiresome. There is another place where the debate should start–and end: the Bible.

The Ultimate Authority: What Scripture Teaches About All Of This

Several years ago, we re-read together the first five books of the Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Tanakh), the Books of Moses (that is, the Torah). The thing that made the strongest impression on us was that scripture does not just occasionally mention the requirement to be generous to foreigners. Instead, it is a major theme! It comes up over and over. Recently, hardly a day goes by when one or the other of us has not had to try to explain to a foreigner what the impact of the harsh new 1996 immigration laws will have on a family or a business or a career. We are anguished about this, and angry, and ashamed of our government.

The inspiration for this little article was the notion that maybe we could do a little to help puncture the hypocrisy of men like Lamar Smith if we simply set down in the public record the exact words about this from the Bible. The next time you see a Republican drape himself in flag and Bible, maybe you can remind him of the following words of God.

The following scriptural verses are from the King James Version of the Bible. We chose this version for this article because it is the most commonly known in the United States, the one most likely to be used by sanctimonious Republicans, and the one for which we have the best concordance.

The following verses are every pertinent instance in King James Version of the terms “stranger” and “strangers,” the term used in that version for “foreigner” or “immigrant.”


And she (Moses’ wife Zipporah) bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land. Exodus 2:22

One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. Exodus 12:49

Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21

Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9

And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 19:10

And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him. Lev. 19:33

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 19:34

And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 23:22

Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. Lev. 24:22

And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Lev. 25:35

One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. Num. 15:15

One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Num. 15:16

He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Deut. 10:18

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deut. 10:19

And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. Deut. 14:29

And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Deut. 16:14

Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. Deut. 23:7

Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge. Deut. 24:17

When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. Deut. 24:19

When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. Deut. 24:20

When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. Deut. 24:21

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. Deut. 26:11

When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them. Deut. 26:12-13

Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. Deut. 27:19

If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Jer. 7:6-7

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. Ezek. 22:29

And it shall come to pass, that in what tribe the stranger sojourneth, there shall ye give him his inheritance, saith the LORD God. Ezek. 47:23

And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. Zechariah 7:10

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:5

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matt. 25:42-45


And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. Exodus 6:4

Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 22:21

Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Lev. 19:34

Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deut. 10:19

For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. 1 Chron. 29:15

The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. Psalm 146:9

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. Isaiah 61:5

And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you, and to the strangers that sojourn among you, which shall beget children among you: and they shall be unto you as born in the country among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel 47:22

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers. 3 John 1:5


THE STORY OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN (the Samaritans were strangers in the land of Israel):

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:25-37


1) The strangers in the land of Israel were expected to observe the laws of God. They were not given equal status in dealings directly with sacred things such as the Temple.

2) The Jews were often given into the hands of strangers for slavery and punishment by God when He was displeased with them.

3) God did not want the children of Israel to embrace customs and beliefs of strangers, but rather for strangers to embrace the ways of the Jews. Thus, we believe, the open immigration policy required by God Himself does not mean that Americans need to surrender America’s great ideals and customs to a tide of foreign peoples. But Americans must persevere in a very generous and open-hearted treatment of all foreigners, at all times. This nation’s prosperity and survival depends upon faithfulness to this central command of God.


Attached are additional references from the Bible and the Koran assembled by Reverend Joan M. Maruskin of People of the Golden Vision, a group of Americans in support of an open immigration policy on religious grounds. They were inspired by the U.S. Government’s harsh treatment of a large group of Chinese immigrants who essentially washed up on U.S. shores from the vessel Golden Venture.


The Bible is the ultimate immigration handbook. It is written by, for, and about immigrants and refugees. It begins with Adam and Eve being exiled from the Garden of Eden to make their home in a new land. Noah and his family are victims of a natural disaster that makes it necessary for them to rebuild their world. Abraham and Sarah are sent from their land to a place which they will be shown. Moses is a criminal alien fleeing for his life, who returns to lead the Israelites out of political persecution to the promised land in search of religious freedom. Ruth follows her mother-in-law and is dependent on Boaz for food and life. The Old Testament prophets are seen fleeing for their lives and finding protection and help in strange lands.

In the New Testament, the Messiah becomes an undocumented refugee fleeing to Egypt, with his parents Mary and Joseph, to escape political persecution and death. Jesus begins his public ministry by reading from the sacred book of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He lives out his life as an itinerant preacher with no place to lay his head. Throughout the New Testament, the stranger is affirmed and included as those for whom Christ died. The New Testament closes with John living as an exile on the isle of Patmos.

Throughout both the Old and the New Testaments, we are repeatedly instructed to care for and welcome the alien, the stranger, the sojourner. This is modelled by Abraham, when he welcomes the strangers near the oaks at Mamre-the strangers who are the manifest Lord.

The following is a partial list of Biblical tests concerning immigrants and/or refugees:

Genesis 3:22-24 Adam and Eve sent out of the garden.
Genesis 3:12-1 Abraham, go…to the land I will show you.
Genesis 18:1-8 Abraham as host at Mamre.
Genesis 37-46 Joseph, foreigner, works for Pharoah in Egypt.
Exodus 22:21 Remember to treat foreigners well
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 Remember, you were once sojourners
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 Food, clothing, love for sojourner, orphan…
Deuteronomy 26 Remember and celebrate with the aliens.
Psalm 146 Justice for the oppressed, prisoner freed, etc.
Isaiah 3:14-15 Why do you crush the face of the poor?
Jeremiah 22:3 Don’t mistreat/cheat orphan, widow, sojourner
Malachi Condemns employers cheating foreigners
Matthew 2:19-21 Jesus & parents flee to Egypt
Matthew 8:20 Son of Man…nowhere to lay
Acts God’s missionaries to foreigners
Hebrews 13:1-2 Welcome strangers…angels unawares
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 sharing tithe
Deuteronomy 26:4a-13 Wandering Aremean-sharing tithes and first fruits
Deuteronomy 27:19 “Cursed be anyone who deprives the alien, the orphan, and the widow of Justice. All the people shall say, “Amen!”
Leviticus 19:10 gleanings for aliens
Leviticus 23:22 Gleanings for aliens
Joshua 8:35 Shares word of Moses with aliens
Kings 8:41 kindness toward foreigners
Isaiah 52:4 God’s people aliens in Egypt

Jesus, the incarnate God, also sought human co-workers. The disciples and followers of Jesus learned from him new dimensions of the task of obedience to God in this world. They were especially taught the depths of the meaning of love for God and, intertwining with it, love for all people.

There are many passages throughout the New Testament that expound on what it means both to receive God’s love and to be mediators of God’s love for others. The last chapter of the gospel of John explicitly links love of Christ with action on behalf of the needy, as does the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus, himself, demonstrated his love constantly through actions – a) feeding hungry crowds; b) healing those who reached out to him; c) accepting into fellowship taxpayers, women, and political dissidents-people who were marginal in the society of that time.

The early church set itself up in such a way that all who were in the community had their needs met (Acts 4:32) and Paul constantly helped the younger churches comprehend how far the love of Christ extended. I Corinthians 13 which is about love, or the preceding chapter where a variety of gifts are affirmed as appropriate ways of involvement, are exemplary of this kind of teaching.


If you are about to get involved in ministries to refugees and immigrants, you may want to delve further into the biblical basis for your action. The following list of texts, although not exhaustive, will help you get started.

Homelessness/Being Sojourners:
Genesis 3:22-24 (Adam and Eve sent out of the garden)
Genesis 12:1 (Abraham, go…to the land I will show you)
Genesis 23:4 (Abraham, stranger, acquires a burying ground)
Genesis 37-46 (Joseph, foreigner, works for Pharaoh in Egypt)
Leviticus 19:33-34 (Remember, you were once foreigners)
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (Remember, you were once sojourners)
Deuteronomy 26:5 (Remember, a wandering Aramean was my father)
I Chronicles 29:14-15 (All things come of thee…we were strangers)
Psalm 105 (Remember ancestors, sojourners)
Psalm 137 (How can we sing…in a strange land?)
Matthew 2:13 (Jesus & parents flee to Egypt)
Matthew 8:20 (Foxes have holes..Son of Man…nowhere to lay)
Luke 2:7 (No room at the inn)
Acts (God’s missionaries to foreigners)
Acts 7:1 (History of Abraham in a strange land)
Hospitality/Receiving Strangers:
Genesis 18:1-8 (Abraham as host at Mamre)
Genesis 19:1-3 (Abraham as host at Sodom)
Exodus 2:15-22 (Moses as guest in Midian)
Exodus 22:21 (Remember to treat foreigners well)
Exodus 23:9 (Remember to treat foreigners well)
Leviticus 19:33-34 (Do stranger no wrong)
Numbers 35 (Cities of refuge)
Deuteronomy 27:19 (Curse those who deny hospitality)
Joshua 20:1-3 (Cities of refuge)
Joshua 21:13-38 (Cities of refuge)
Ruth 2 (Boaz receives Ruth)
Luke 10:38-42 (Jesus with Mary and Martha)
Luke 19:1-9 (Jesus with Zacchaeus)
Luke 24:28-3 (Jesus with disciples after Emmaus road)
John 19:25-27 (John takes Mary home)
Romans 12:13 (Practice hospitality)
Ephesians 2:11-22 (No longer strangers and sojourners)
Hebrews 13:1-2 (Welcome strangers…angels unawares)
Help/Justice for the Poor/Oppressed:
Leviticus 19:9-17 (Rules for justice to neighbor)
Leviticus 25 (Jubilee year)
Deuteronomy 10:18-19 (Food, clothing, love for sojourner, orphan…)
Deuteronomy 15:1-18 (Seven-year release from debts, etc.)
Deuteronomy 24:17-22 (Leave gleanings for widow, orphan, sojourner)
Psalm 9:7-12, 18 (God forgets not the afflicted, the needy)
Psalm 107 (God is wonderful to poor, hungry, thirsty, etc.)
Psalm 145:13-20 (God upholds all who are falling)
Psalm 146 (Justice for oppressed, prisoner freed, etc.)
Psalm 147:1-6 (God uplifts downtrodden, heals brokenhearted)
Proverbs 14:31 (To oppress a poor man insults the maker)
Proverbs 22:8-9, 16 (Sow injustice, reap calamity, etc.)
Proverbs 31:8-9 (Speak for those who cannot speak for selves)
Isaiah 1:17 (Learn to do good, seek justice, etc.)
Isaiah 3:14-15 (Why do you crush the face of the poor?)
Isaiah 61:1-3 (Prisoner freed, justice for oppressed, etc.)
Jeremiah 7:5-7 (Justice will be rewarded)
Jeremiah 22:3.13-17 (Don’t mistreat/cheat orphan, widow, sojourner)
Malachi 3:5 (Condemns employers cheating foreigners)
Matthew 25:35-46 (When you did it to the least)
Luke 1:46-55 (Exalted those of low degree)
Luke 4:14-21 (Jesus in synagogue in Nazareth)
Luke 10:25-37 (Good Samaritan)
Luke 14:12-24 (Get dinner guests from highways and byways)
Luke 18:18-22 (Rich ruler, sell all, give to poor)
II Corinthians 8:13-14 (Share your abundance)
James 2:5-9, 15-17 (Faith without works is dead)
I John 3:14-18 (Love in deed and truth)
I John 4:7-21 (God loves us-we should love one another)


In the name of God, the Beneficient, the Merciful

Hast thou observed him who belieth (makes a lie of) religion? This is he who repelleth the orphan, And urgeth not the feeding of the needy. Ah, woe unto worshippers Who are heedless of their prayer; Who would be seen (at worship) Yet refuse small kindnesses.
(Quran 107)

Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves (by sinning), (the angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not God’s earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein?
(Quran 4:97)

But those who entered the city and the faith before them love those who flee unto them for refuge, and find in their breasts no need for that which has been given to them, but prefer (the refugees) above themselves though poverty become their lot. And whose is saved from his own avarice-such are they who are successful.
(Quran 55:9)

And those who became (refugees) for the cause of God after they had been oppressed. We verily shall give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the hereafter is greater, if they but knew.
(Quran 16:41)

And let not those who possess dignity and ease among you swear not to give to the near of kin and to the needy, and to refugees for the cause of God. Let them forgive and show indulgence. Yearn ye not that God forgive you? God is Forgiving, Merciful.
(Quran 24:22)

Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for God, even though it be against (the worldly interests) of yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man.
(Quran 4:135)

Be steadfast witnesses for God in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to God. Lo! God is Informed of what ye do.
(Quran 5:8)

(Note: The verse numbers given in the above references sometimes vary slightly in different editions and translations of the Quran. However, they are rarely off by more than five verses in either direction.) 

The body of this article is copyright 1998 by Bruce and Judy Hake, and the appendix is copyright 1998 by Rev. Joan M. Maruskin. All rights reserved worldwide, except that reprint permission is freely granted to all supporters of an open American immigration policy so long as authorship credits and a citation to this Internet page ( are included.

Comments encouraged: