Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Koran: The Cow, Part 6

As we grow ever closer to the end of The Cow, I grow excited.  I am hoping that future suras will not be as repetitious or convoluted.  High hopes, I know. To catch up on past Koranic posts, check here.

[2.164] Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which profits men, and the water that Allah sends down from the cloud, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between the heaven and the earth, there are signs for a people who understand.

We are supposed to believe there is a God because of nature?  Shouldn't there be a more compelling argument.  This is basically saying: if you believe, then everything you see will just reify (mozilla doesn't think reify is a word, buy a dictionary firefox!)your belief. 
[2.165] And there are some among men who take for themselves objects of worship besides Allah, whom they love as they love Allah, and those who believe are stronger in love for Allah and O, that those who are unjust had seen, when they see the chastisement, that the power is wholly Allah's and that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).

Don't love anything more than you love Allah or you will be punished!  Allah- better than your money, your children and your wife!
[2.166] When those who were followed shall renounce those who followed (them), and they see the chastisement and their ties are cut asunder.
[2.167] And those who followed shall say: Had there been for us a return, then we would renounce them as they have renounced us. Thus will Allah show them their deeds to be intense regret to them, and they shall not come forth from the fire.

So because those who were idolizing others got dumped by those they were idolizing, they are going to hell?  Allah seems to be short on forgiveness for mistakes.  Where's the chance for repentance?

[2.168] O men! eat the lawful and good things out of what is in the earth, and do not follow the footsteps of the Shaitan; surely he is your open enemy.
[2.169] He only enjoins you evil and indecency, and that you may speak against Allah what you do not know.

Such a mix of sentiment in ayah 168.  Eat halal (which hasn't been explained, unless we are supposed to get our cues from the Old Testament Kosher laws) and don't follow Satan.  
[2.170] And when it is said to them, Follow what Allah has revealed, they say: Nay! we follow what we found our fathers upon. What! and though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right way.
[2.171] And the parable of those who disbelieve is as the parable of one who calls out to that which hears no more than a call and a cry; deaf, dumb (and) blind, so they do not understand.

Don't follow what your father did, I'm Allah, and I'm here to teach you the right way.  
[2.172] O you who believe! eat of the good things that We have provided you with, and give thanks to Allah if Him it is that you serve.
[2.173] He has only forbidden you what dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that over which any other (name) than (that of) Allah has been invoked; but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Here is something we don't see too often in the Koran: an explanation!  However small...  So, a believer should not eat an animal that dies naturally, should not ingest blood (no medium rare steaks!), no pork, and no food that has been blessed in the name of a different god.  Amazingly, Allah does allow that if you are starving, it is not a sin to eat whatever is at hand.  We will be hearing more about Halal eating in following Suras.  It may be the only understandable thing in the Koran!  (Please note: understandable does not mean logical.)
[2.174] Surely those who conceal any part of the Book that Allah has revealed and take for it a small price, they eat nothing but fire into their bellies, and Allah will not speak to them on the day of resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement.
[2.175] These are they who buy error for the right direction and chastisement for forgiveness; how bold they are to encounter fire.
[2.176] This is because Allah has revealed the Book with the truth; and surely those who go against the Book are in a great opposition.

But let us not forget that this Book is the truth and if you conceal what Allah has revealed: punishment punishment punishment!
[2.177] It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise, and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts-- these are they who are {rue (to themselves) and these are they who guard (against evil).

Here we have a checklist for the faithful, nothing we haven't already come across in this never ending surah. 
[2.178] O you who believe! retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the slain, the free for the free, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female, but if any remission is made to any one by his (aggrieved) brother, then prosecution (for the bloodwit) should be made according to usage, and payment should be made to him in a good manner; this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy; so whoever exceeds the limit after this he shall have a painful chastisement.
[2.179] And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O men of understanding, that you may guard yourselves.

Just like the Old Testament God, Allah is all about a life fore a life.  I think it is interesting that he gives the reason that it will put in man the fear of retaliation.  Not very dissimilar from the notion of the death penalty being a deterrent. 
[2.180] Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relatives, according to usage, a duty (incumbent) upon those who guard (against evil).
[2.181] Whoever then alters it after he has heard it, the sin of it then is only upon those who alter it; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
[2.182] But he who fears an inclination to a wrong course or an act of disobedience on the part of the testator, and effects an agreement between the parties, there is no blame on him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

So having a codicil will somehow protect against evil.  I imagine the true wish is that the wealth be left to a Mosque.
[2.183] O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).
[2.184] For a certain number of days; but whoever among you is sick or on a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; and those who are not able to do it may effect a redemption by feeding a poor man; so whoever does good spontaneously it is better for him; and that you fast is better for you if you know.
Would the Koran make more sense if it wasn't set up into meaningless chapters?  Perhaps there should just be a couple of ayahs on a page, ones that actually go together.  It isn't like Allah decided the layout after all.  Wouldn't it be useful for the spread of Islam to lay out the text in such a way as to make it more easily decipherable to those who might want to read it?  
[2.185] The month of Ramazan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction; therefore whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or upon a journey, then (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days; Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks.

Fasting during Ramadan is done because that is supposedly when Allah sent down the Koran... I'm assuming that Allah is aware that he didn't send it all down at once and that it was supposedly a collection of revelations over 23 years.  Why make a statement that seems to imply that the Koran was "handed down" at one particular point in time.  
[2.186] And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way.

If you pray, I will answer.
[2.187] It is made lawful to you to go into your wives on the night of the fast; they are an apparel for you and you are an apparel for them; Allah knew that you acted unfaithfully to yourselves, so He has turned to you (mercifully) and removed from you (this burden); so now be in contact with them and seek what Allah has ordained for you, and eat and drink until the whiteness of the day becomes distinct from the blackness of the night at dawn, then complete the fast till night, and have not contact with them while you keep to the mosques; these are the limits of Allah, so do not go near them. Thus does Allah make clear His communications for men that they may guard (against evil).

I don't think I've ever heard of anyone described as an apparel.  Regardless, how kind of Allah to let his followers know that they are permitted sexual relations during the nights of Ramadan.  The phrasing of this ayah is very peculiar.  It makes it seem like at some point, sexual relations were not allowed during Ramadan.  Allah, in his goodness, saw that his believers were having relations anyway, so he forgave them and said that it was fine to do so as long as it was done within his prescribed hours.  
[2.188] And do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means, neither seek to gain access thereby to the judges, so that you may swallow up a part of the property of men wrongfully while you know.

Don't cheat or bribe.
[2.189] They ask you concerning the new moon. Say: They are times appointed for (the benefit of) men, and (for) the pilgrimage; and it is not righteousness that you should enter the houses at their backs, but righteousness is this that one should guard (against evil); and go into the houses by their doors and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, that you may be successful.

This supposedly has to do with the lunar calendar.  For me it seems to attempt to explain the importance of the lunar calendar for their pilgrimage and worship and then tack on some weird stuff about entering houses.  I guess we can say that the entering the houses may be discussing mosques or how believers should present themselves.
[2.190] And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.
[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.
[2.192] But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[2.193] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

Wow.  These few ayah have probably been used for the justification of many aggressive acts.  So Allah says that if his followers are feeling persecuted, it is fine for them to kill those whom they feel are persecuting them.  The only two exceptions are: unless they are near a mosque or if they have desisted from their actions.  After reading these ayahs repeatedly, I have been trying to determine in what manner the hijackers on the different 9/11 flights felt persecuted.  I can more or less comprehend how Muslim Iraqis may feel persecuted by what they see as a terrestrial incursion, however, what bothered the 9/11 hijackers?  What gave them cause to feel persecuted?  Was it just because they felt our culture is so hedonistic that it will corrupt good Muslims?  Was it because they were fed lies regarding Americans that they took as truth?  I wouldn't be surprised at the later.  They've already accepted enough bizarre beliefs, what's a few more?

[2.194] The Sacred month for the sacred month and all sacred things are (under the law of) retaliation; whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you and be careful (of your duty) to Allah and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Does that make it divine retribution?

[2.195] And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good.

This line would make sense on it's own page.  It talks of charity, however it is much tarnished after all of the violence of the preceding ayahs. 

What follows is the call to pilgrimage, ending, as always, with the day of reckoning.
[2.196] And accomplish the pilgrimage and the visit for Allah, but if, you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination; but whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, he (should effect) a compensation by fasting or alms or sacrificing, then when you are secure, whoever profits by combining the visit with the pilgrimage (should take) what offering is easy to obtain; but he who cannot find (any offering) should fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days when you return; these (make) ten (days) complete; this is for him whose family is not present in the Sacred Mosque, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
[2.197] The pilgrimage is (performed in) the well-known months; so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be no intercourse nor fornication nor quarrelling amongst one another; and whatever good you do, Allah knows it; and make provision, for surely the provision is the guarding of oneself, and be careful (of your duty) to Me, O men of understanding.
[2.198] There is no blame on you in seeking bounty from your Lord, so when you hasten on from "Arafat", then remember Allah near the Holy Monument, and remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly of the erring ones.
[2.199] Then hasten on from the Place from which the people hasten on and ask the forgiveness of Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[2.200] So when you have performed your devotions, then laud Allah as you lauded your fathers, rather a greater lauding. But there are some people who say, Our Lord! give us in the world, and they shall have no resting place.
[2.201] And there are some among them who say: Our Lord! grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire.
[2.202] They shall have (their) portion of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in reckoning.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Genesis 9


The Koran was written well after the Old Testament, however I find the latter is more cohesive and rational.  Someone raised as a Muslim would probably disagree, but I feel that even if I hadn't been brought up Catholic, the Bible would still be easier to read and interpret.    

Genesis Chapter 9

1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

I can just see a tiger fearing a man... cowering in his little corner of the jungle. 

3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.
4But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Don't eat raw food... or still living food.  Is sushi not kosher?

5And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.
6Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

If an animal kills a man, he should be killed.  If a man kills a man, he should be killed.  I'm for capital punishment, but I don't think I agree with killing an animal if it killed a man.  It depends if the man was being really stupid at the time.
7And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
8And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12And God said, This [is] the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations:
13I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

Aww, God made the rainbow!  When God makes this promise, is you only talking about a flood of such large proportions that would destroy all life on Earth, or also of smaller ones that destroy some life.  Hurricanes and Monsoons cause so much damage and can have high death tolls.  Why didn't God promise to not have those either? 
14And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Funny, I see clouds pretty often, but rarely see a rainbow.  Is God forgetting?  Getting lazy?  
16And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
17And God said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
18And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham [is] the father of Canaan.
19These [are] the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.

Score!  So we have an interbred family interbreeding some more!  No wonder they were all believers.
20And Noah began [to be] an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:
21And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
22And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
23And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid [it] upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces [were] backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.
24And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
25And he said, Cursed [be] Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.

He's going to curse his grandson because he was drunk and naked?  If he's upset because Ham told his brothers how he found his father, then blame Ham, not Ham's son.  And really, this is Noah's fault.  When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (I don't think it ever said it was an apple), they tried to pass the buck and deflect responsibility.  Now Noah is doing the same. 
26And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
27God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
28And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.
29And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died.

And he was probably drunk.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Koran: The Cow, Part 5

This is The Cow that never ends... yes it goes on and on my friends...

[2.122] O children of Israel, call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations.
[2.123] on your guard against a day when no soul shall avail another in the least neither shall any compensation be accepted from it, nor shall intercession profit it, nor shall they be helped.

And fear the day of reckoning!
[2.124] And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.

I imagine this is concerning the attempted sacrifice of his son.

[2.125] And when We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security, and: Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Ibrahim. And We enjoined Ibrahim and Ismail saying: Purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion and those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves.
[2.126] And when Ibrahim said: My Lord, make it a secure town and provide its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the last day. He said: And whoever disbelieves, I will grant him enjoyment for a short while, then I will drive him to the chastisement of the fire; and it is an evil destination.

And there will be punishment! Surprise!  I recently read a piece in the Blackwell Reader that mentioned the repetitious nature of the Koran.  It stated that it is because of the nature of the revelation (slow bits over 23 years).  It also mentioned the "unique" nature of the Koran: it is the only text written by God/Allah.  That was enough for me to discount the article.  If a supposed academic can claim that, then he doesn't strike me as a learned man.  

[2.127] And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House: Our Lord! accept from us; surely Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing:
[2.128] Our Lord! and make us both submissive to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely Thou art the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

Surely you are the merciful one who talks of punishing everyone!

[2.129] Our Lord! and raise up in them an Apostle from among them who shall recite to them Thy communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them; surely Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.

And send Mohammad to write down your story... over a thousand years later.  If the Koran and it's teachings are supposed to be so important, and Allah so all knowing, why did he wait so long to deliver his message?  Why did he let over a 1000 years go by without helping man truly understand his nature?  Probably because he doesn't exist.

[2.130] And who forsakes the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool, and most certainly We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter he is most surely among the righteous.
[2.131] When his Lord said to him, Be a Muslim, he said: I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds.

Abraham is seen as high ranking for his readiness to submit.  Incidentally, by "Be a Muslim" Allah is effectively stating: submit to my will.

[2.132] And the same did Ibrahim enjoin on his sons and (so did) Yaqoub. O my sons! surely Allah has chosen for you (this) faith, therefore die not unless you are Muslims.
[2.133] Nay! were you witnesses when death visited Yaqoub, when he said to his sons: What will you serve after me? They said: We will serve your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq, one God only, and to Him do we submit.
[2.134] This is a people that have passed away; they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer for what they did.

Follow the line!  Submit submit.  Don't think for yourself.  

Ayah 2.134 is interesting as it speaks against the Christian idea of original sin and biblical notions of the sins of the father being passed to the son.  So far, this is the only line in the Koran I have cared for.

[2.135] And they say: Be Jews or Christians, you will be on the right course. Say: Nay! (we follow) the religion of Ibrahim, the Hanif, and he was not one of the polytheists.

The Koran is claiming that the Jews and Christians are polytheists.  I can understand the condemnation for a Christian and their trinity, but not for the Jews.

[2.136] Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa and Isa, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit.

Here Jesus is equated with the other prophets and Allah states that he is not different from the others.  It is only to Allah that one should submit.

[2.137] If then they believe as you believe in Him, they are indeed on the right course, and if they turn back, then they are only in great opposition, so Allah will suffice you against them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
[2.138] (Receive) the baptism of Allah, and who is better than Allah in baptising? and Him do we serve.
[2.139] Say: Do you dispute with us about Allah, and He is our Lord and your Lord, and we shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds, and we are sincere to Him.

I understand the need for some flattery of the deity in a religious text, but I feel like the Koran is going above and beyond.  So far, it lacks substance.

[2.140] Nay! do you say that Ibrahim and Ismail and Yaqoub and the tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Are you better knowing or Allah? And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.

Don't question Allah!  When he tells you something, it is because he knows everything.

[2.141] This is a people that have passed away; they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer for what they did.
[2.142] The fools among the people will say: What has turned them from their qiblah which they had? Say: The East and the West belong only to Allah; He guides whom He likes to the right path.

If he guides whom he likes to the right path, what is the point of trying to convince others they are on the wrong path?  It won't work unless Allah wills it to be so. 

[2.143] And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Apostle may be a bearer of witness to you; and We did not make that which you would have to be the qiblah but that We might distinguish him who follows the Apostle from him who turns back upon his heels, and this was surely hard except for those whom Allah has guided aright; and Allah was not going to make your faith to be fruitless; most surely Allah is Affectionate, Merciful to the people.

Once again, whats the point of proselytizing? 

[2.144] Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not at all heedless of what they do.

This may be why Muslims face Mecca when they pray.  Qiblah= direction.

[2.145] And even if you bring to those who have been given the Book every sign they would not follow your qiblah, nor can you be a follower of their qiblah, neither are they the followers of each other's qiblah, and if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust.

Just follow Allah!  Don't let others lead you astray.

[2.146] Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it).

The pesky Jews and Christians try to conceal the prophethood of Mohammad.

[2.147] The truth is from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the doubters.
[2.148] And every one has a direction to which he should turn, therefore hasten to (do) good works; wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together; surely Allah has power over all things.
[2.149] And from whatsoever place you come forth, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque; and surely it is the very truth from your Lord, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.
[2.150] And from whatsoever place you come forth, turn your face towards the Sacred Mosque; and wherever you are turn your faces towards it, so that people shall have no accusation against you, except such of them as are unjust; so do not fear them, and fear Me, that I may complete My favor on you and that you may walk on the right course.

Fear me!  Do what I say! Believe what I say!

[2.151] Even as We have sent among you an Apostle from among you who recites to you Our communications and purifies you and teaches you the Book and the wisdom and teaches you that which you did not know.

Mohammad's mission.

[2.152] Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.

But remember me.

[2.153] O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.

And pray to me

[2.154] And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.

And remember the martyrs.

[2.155] And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient,
[2.156] Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return.
[2.157] Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course.

But Allah reserves the right to test you in whatever manner he wishes.  Even though he knows everything and made everything happen, he will test you just to check you are still a believer.  How thoughtful.  What a way to to ensure that people don't question his existence in times of trouble. Oh, no, He is just testing me.

[2.158] Surely the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah; so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them both; and whoever does good spontaneously, then surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing.
[2.159] Surely those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance that We revealed after We made it clear in the Book for men, these it is whom Allah shall curse, and those who curse shall curse them (too).
[2.160] Except those who repent and amend and make manifest (the truth), these it is to whom I turn (mercifully); and I am the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.
[2.161] Surely those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, these it is on whom is the curse of Allah and the angels and men all;
[2.162] Abiding in it; their chastisement shall not be lightened nor shall they be given respite.
[2.163] And your God is one God! there is no god but He; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful.

And we end today's piece of The Cow with some hell fire and mercy!  Surprised?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Genesis 8

And magically, it all dries up.

Genesis Chapter 8

1And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that [was] with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
2The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
5And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth [month], on the first [day] of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
For 9 months (roughly 274 days) Noah, his family, and all the worlds animals were on a boat together.  How long do you think it would take them to feed all the different species?  How did they get enough food?  An elephant can eat upwards of 300 pounds of food a day.  For one elephant to eat normally for 9 months it would need at least 82,200 pounds of food.  That is just one of the animals supposedly on board the yacht.  Who brought all that food aboard?  Or did everyone just live off of God's love...
6And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.
8Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.

So the poor raven is just flying around back and forth? I don't think birds do that.  Wouldn't it have returned also?
10And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth [was] an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

Amazing how it survived under water for 9 months.  
12And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.
13And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first [month], the first [day] of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
14And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.
Logically the Earth couldn't dry that quickly.  Unless someone turned the power of the sun waaaay up.
15And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee.
17Bring forth with thee every living thing that [is] with thee, of all flesh, [both] of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
No casualties mentioned. 
18And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:
19Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, [and] whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

How are they supposed to multiply when he is killing them off?  Also, that is a lot of animals to sacrifice.  How long did that take?
21And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

God's covenant.  Does God show remorse.  Is that possible?  If God is omniscient, shouldn't he have known he was going to be remorseful?  While the God of the Bible is easier to read about than Allah of the Koran, he makes just as much sense.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Genesis 7

The story of great deluge is one that has been repeated throughout history in many civilizations. There is no archeological or geological proof that this ever occurred. Wikipedia gives a long list of different cultures that feature the flood myth. Because this is such a common, unbelievable story, I won't bother dissecting the text. It is more interesting to check out the various cultures that have at some point ascribe to this belief. The Genesis text follows...

Genesis Chapter 7
1And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
2Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.
3Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
4For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
5And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
6And Noah [was] six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
7And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
8Of clean beasts, and of beasts that [are] not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
9There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
10And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
11In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
12And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
13In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life.
16And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
17And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
18And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.
19And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that [were] under the whole heaven, were covered.
20Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
21And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
22All in whose nostrils [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died.
23And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.
24And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Koran: The Cow, Part 4

After this post, we will be half way through the first sura of the Koran.

[2.82] And (as for) those who believe and do good deeds, these are the dwellers of the garden; in it they shall abide.

The promise of heaven once again.  Islam seems to focus heavily on the idea of heaven and a reward for good deeds and belief.  Mohammad went for the hard sell.
[2.83] And when We made a covenant with the children of Israel: You shall not serve any but Allah and (you shall do) good to (your) parents, and to the near of kin and to the orphans and the needy, and you shall speak to men good words and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate. Then you turned back except a few of you and (now too) you turn aside.

Allah reminds the people about the covenant he made with the Children of Israel:
1. There is no God but Allah
2. Honor your parents and family
3. Be good to orphans and the needy
4. Spread the word
5. Pray
6. Give me your money
He claims that they turned his back on him. 
[2.84] And when We made a covenant with you: You shall not shed your blood and you shall not turn your people out of your cities; then you gave a promise while you witnessed.
[2.85] Yet you it is who slay your people and turn a party from among you out of their homes, backing each other up against them unlawfully and exceeding the limits; and if they should come to you, as captives you would ransom them-- while their very turning out was unlawful for you. Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the re ward of such among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.
[2.86] These are they who buy the life of this world for the hereafter, so their chastisement shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped.

Allah said that part of the Covenant was that there would be no murder and people would not be forced to leave from their dwellings.  Supposedly this covenant was broken.  He questions the Children of Israel about how they can follow parts of the Book and not others.  But of course, Allah is watching and that means punishment.  
[2.87] And most certainly We gave Musa the Book and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Isa, the son of Marium, clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, What! whenever then an apostle came to you with that which your souls did not desire, you were insolent so you called some liars and some you slew.
[2.88] And they say: Our hearts are covered. Nay, Allah has cursed them on account of their unbelief; so little it is that they believe.

Isa = Jesus, Marium = Mary.  Allah is complaining of the treatment of the prophets and how the Children of Israel called some liars and killed others.  
[2.89] And when there came to them a Book from Allah verifying that which they have, and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieve, but when there came to them (Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him; so Allah's curse is on the unbelievers.
[2.90] Evil is that for which they have sold their souls-- that they should deny what Allah has revealed, out of envy that Allah should send down of His grace on whomsoever of His servants He pleases; so they have made themselves deserving of wrath upon wrath, and there is a disgraceful punishment for the unbelievers.

I don't think this is clear.  Supposedly Allah is talking about how people don't believe Mohammad is his prophet.  Regardless, such disbelief can only end in one thing...punishment!  Seriously, the mentions of punishment in this surah far outweigh those of reward.  
[2.91] And when it is said to them, Believe in what Allah has revealed, they say: We believe in that which was revealed to us; and they deny what is besides that, while it is the truth verifying that which they have. Say: Why then did you kill Allah's Prophets before if you were indeed believers?

Allah is very big on reiteration and not so big on clarity.  Here the Bible comes into play again.  The complaint is that people are doubting Allah.  The people say that they do believe in the Bible.  Yet Allah notes that they doubt the Koran which (supposedly) only serves to verify the Bible.  He tells Mohammad to ask them why the people killed Allah's prophets.  In this one ayah alone there is discourse between Allah and the people and between Allah and Mohammad.
[2.92] And most certainly Musa came to you with clear arguments, then you took the calf (for a god) in his absence and you were unjust.
[2.93] And when We made a covenant with you and raised the mountain over you: Take hold of what We have given you with firmness and be obedient. They said: We hear and disobey. And they were made to imbibe (the love of) the calf into their hearts on account of their unbelief Say: Evil is that which your belief bids you if you are believers.

Supposedly Allah already forgave the people for this transgression- remember, he killed them and then brought them back to life.  Regardless, those that he is preaching to aren't the ones who participated in the actions.  They are removed from the action by almost 2 millenniums.  Allah does not seem merciful if he can't learn to let it go and just preach to those that now (those of the 600 CE)exist.
[2.94] Say: If the future abode with Allah is specially for you to the exclusion of the people, then invoke death if you are truthful.
[2.95] And they will never invoke it on account of what their hands have sent before, and Allah knows the unjust.
[2.96] And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists; every one of them loves that he should be granted a life of a thousand years, and his being granted a long life will in no way remove him further off from the chastisement, and Allah sees what they do.

Ah, and here we question the people's faith!  I find this an interesting question even in modern times. Basically, if you believe you are going to heaven, why not wish for death?  If heaven is so great and you KNOW it exists and that it is your final destination, wouldn't you be excited to die?  Wouldn't you be happy for others who are dying (whom you believe to be heaven-bound)?  Of course, Allah is having Mohammad question the Jews (as it is interpreted on because they have supposedly transgressed against Allah, and the Jews are somehow aware of this.  But, alas, Allah knows all and somehow, someone, somewhere will be punished.

[2.97] Say: Whoever is the enemy of Jibreel-- for surely he revealed it to your heart by Allah's command, verifying that which is before it and guidance and good news for the believers.

Generally, whenever the Koran says "Say" it is a command to Mohammad from Allah.  Here we have Allah wanting Mohammad to attest to the revelation he (Mohammad) received from Gabriel which verifies the bible and gives guidance for the believers.

[2.98] Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His apostles and Jibreel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers.
[2.99] And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressors.
[2.100] What! whenever they make a covenant, a party of them cast it aside? Nay, most of them do not believe.
[2.101] And when there came to them an Apostle from Allah verifying that which they have, a party of those who were given the Book threw the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they knew nothing.
[2.102] And they followed what the Shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the Shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, "Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever." Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it any one except with Allah's permission, and they learned what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who bought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls, had they but known this.
[2.103] And if they had believed and guarded themselves (against evil), reward from Allah would certainly have been better; had they but known (this).

But those pesky unbelievers! Allah thinks we should know that the Koran and its revelation(s) are obviously true.  It's just those transgressors that don't believe it.  But believe and be rewarded!

[2.104] O you who believe! do not say Raina and say Unzurna and listen, and for the unbelievers there is a painful chastisement.

Raina= evil; Unzurna= Look after us.  Yeah, this ayah makes no sense to me, except for the punishment part. 

[2.105] Those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book do not like, nor do the polytheists, that the good should be sent down to you from your Lord, and Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.

The Jews, Christians and polytheists don't like what Allah is doing.  Why would they when Allah keeps telling them they are going to hell unless they follow him?

[2.106] Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?
[2.107] Do you not know that Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and that besides Allah you have no guardian or helper?
[2.108] Rather you wish to put questions to your Apostle, as Musa was questioned before; and whoever adopts unbelief instead of faith, he indeed has lost the right direction of the way.

But Allah is here to bring you the real word!  And he is powerful! Just don't question him or ask for proof.

[2.109] Many of the followers of the Book wish that they could turn you back into unbelievers after your faith, out of envy from themselves, (even) after the truth has become manifest to them; but pardon and forgive, so that Allah should bring about His command; surely Allah has power over all things.

Those Jews will try to convert you!  (Gee, I wonder why there is such division between Jews and Muslims in the Middle East...)

[2.110] And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and whatever good you send before for yourselves, you shall find it with Allah; surely Allah sees what you do.

Ignore them and do what I told you to do.

[2.111] And they say: None shall enter the garden (or paradise) except he who is a Jew or a Christian. These are their vain desires. Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful.
[2.112] Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to Allah and he is the doer of good (to others) he has his reward from his Lord, and there is no fear for him nor shall he grieve.

Ha!  The Muslims should require proof from the Jews and Christians in regard to their righteousness, but what proof do they themselves offer? 

[2.113] And the Jews say: The Christians do not follow anything (good) and the Christians say: The Jews do not follow anything (good) while they recite the (same) Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like to what they say; so Allah shall judge between them on the day of resurrection in what they differ.

Has there ever been a religious text that flat out questioned other religions by name?  What a way to sow hatred.

[2.114] And who is more unjust than he who prevents (men) from the masjids of Allah, that His name should be remembered in them, and strives to ruin them? (As for) these, it was not proper for them that they should have entered them except in fear; they shall meet with disgrace in this world, and they shall have great chastisement in the hereafter.
[2.115] And Allah's is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah's purpose; surely Allah is Amplegiving, Knowing.

As I read the Koran, I have less hope for peace in the Middle East if people are willing to take this book verbatim.  Religion is such a destructive, ignorant force. 

[2.116] And they say: Allah has taken to himself a son. Glory be to Him; rather, whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His; all are obedient to Him.
[2.117] Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth, and when He decrees an affair, He only says to it, Be, so there it is.

Regarding Jesus as the son of God/Allah, which is seen as blasphemous.

[2.118] And those who have no knowledge say: Why does not Allah speak to us or a sign come to us? Even thus said those before them, the like of what they say; their hearts are all alike. Indeed We have made the communications clear for a people who are sure.

Only those that are "sure" are getting the signs from Allah... that's not self-fulfilling prophecy or anything. 

[2.119] Surely We have sent you with the truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and you shall not be called upon to answer for the companions of the flaming fire.
[2.120] And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians until you follow their religion. Say: Surely Allah's guidance, that is the (true) guidance. And if you follow their desires after the knowledge that has come to you, you shall have no guardian from Allah, nor any helper.
[2.121] Those to whom We have given the Book read it as it ought to be read. These believe in it; and whoever disbelieves in it, these it is that are the losers.

I've grown weary of Allah's need to reiterate that the Koran is the "true" book for the "true" believers.  Seriously, does he have to work that hard to convince us?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Koran: The Cow Part 3

[2.49] And when We delivered you from Firon's people, who subjected you to severe torment, killing your sons and sparing your women, and in this there was a great trial from your Lord.
[2.50] And when We parted the sea for you, so We saved you and drowned the followers of Firon and you watched by.

This details the Israelite's torture at Pharaoh's hand and how Allah rescued his people.  
[2.51] And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust.
[2.52] Then We pardoned you after that so that you might give thanks.

When Moses was hanging out with Allah, the people began worshiping a golden calf.  Allah forgives them.  It is interesting that it states that the people were forgiven so that they might give thanks to Allah.  It seems that Allah forgave them for his own purposes.
[2.53] And when We gave Musa the Book and the distinction that you might walk aright.
[2.54] And when Musa said to his people: O my people! you have surely been unjust to yourselves by taking the calf (for a god), therefore turn to your Creator (penitently), so kill your people, that is best for you with your Creator: so He turned to you (mercifully), for surely He is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.

When Moses returned with "the Book" (what book?) and the knowledge necessary for the Muslims to worship Allah he found them worshiping the calf.  He told them to slay themselves for Allah would then accept their repentance since he is merciful.  When I imagine a merciful being, his or her's mercy is not dependent on martyrdom.   

[2.55] And when you said: O Musa! we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you looked on.
[2.56] Then We raised you up after your death that you may give thanks.

Here it is believed that because the people asked Moses to manifest Allah, Allah struck the people down with lightning (not clear in this translation, it was clearer in another one I found; I will switch to that one after this surah) and then raised them from the dead so that they could be thankful.  When Mohammad created this reiteration of God, I think he could have made him kinder and more efficient.  Or is that just not believable?
[2.57] And We made the clouds to give shade over you and We sent to you manna and quails: Eat of the good things that We have given you; and they did not do Us any harm, but they made their own souls suffer the loss.

Here we should forget that Allah just killed everyone in order to raise them from the dead and remember that he is so giving. 

[2.58] And when We said: Enter this city, then eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish, and enter the gate making obeisance, and say, forgiveness. We will forgive you your wrongs and give more to those who do good (to others).
[2.59] But those who were unjust changed it for a saying other than that which had been spoken to them, so We sent upon those who were unjust a pestilence from heaven, because they transgressed.

I imagine those that were unjust where the Jews or the Christians who supposedly perverted the word of Allah to suit their own purposes.  I just can't imagine religion doing such a thing... The always merciful Allah then punished them.  I should keep tally of how many times Merciful is said and how many times "punished" or some variant is used.
[2.60] And when Musa prayed for drink for his people, We said: Strike the rock with your staff So there gushed from it twelve springs; each tribe knew its drinking place: Eat and drink of the provisions of Allah and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief.

Allah provides provisions and expects the people to be happy with them.  Alas...

[2.61] And when you said: O Musa! we cannot bear with one food, therefore pray Lord on our behalf to bring forth for us out of what the earth grows, of its herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions. He said: Will you exchange that which is better for that which is worse? Enter a city, so you will have what you ask for. And abasement and humiliation were brought down upon them, and they became deserving of Allah's wrath; this was so because they disbelieved in the communications of Allah and killed the prophets unjustly; this was so because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits.

...the people tell Moses they want variety of food!  Desire for things beyond what Allah has granted brings abasement, of course. Can you imagine bringing down the wrath of the almighty by desiring more than what you have?   Shouldn't people want more, and then strive to be better and do more to achieve it?  No, of course not.  People should only strive to serve Allah and believe and worship him. 

[2.62] Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

Once again, believers will be rewarded.
[2.63] And when We took a promise from you and lifted the mountain over you: Take hold of the law (Tavrat) We have given you with firmness and bear in mind what is in it, so that you may guard (against evil).
[2.64] Then you turned back after that; so were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy on you, you would certainly have been among the losers.

I have been unable to find what mountain was lifted.  These verses supposedly talk of a covenant made with Allah and how, because he is merciful, he forgave the people turning his back on it.
[2.65] And certainly you have known those among you who exceeded the limits of the Sabbath, so We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated.
[2.66] So We made them an example to those who witnessed it and those who came after it, and an admonition to those who guard (against evil).

Which Sabbath is to be observed?  We have three days up for contention: Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  While we aren't specifically given that information, we do know that not observing the sabbath leads to punishment.  Surprising, no? 
[2.67] And when Musa said to his people: Surely Allah commands you that you should sacrifice a cow; they said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant.
[2.68] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this); do therefore what you are commanded.
[2.69] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Musa said: He says, Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow, giving delight to the beholders.
[2.70] They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright.
[2.71] Musa said: He says, Surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plough the land, nor does she irrigate the tilth; sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).

Because Allah is able to specifically "say" which cow he wants sacrificed, the people are satisfied with his divinity and follow his orders.
[2.72] And when you killed a man, then you disagreed with respect to that, and Allah was to bring forth that which you were going to hide.
[2.73] So We said: Strike the (dead body) with part of the (Sacrificed cow), thus Allah brings the dead to life, and He shows you His signs so that you may understand.
[2.74] Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness; and surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth, and surely there are some of them which split asunder so water issues out of them, and surely there are some of them which fall down for fear of Allah, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.

When reading about the Koran, I learned that within it Allah refers two types of verses.  Basically, one is easy to understand and it's meaning is clear, the other is vague and difficult to understand.  Due to the lack of linearity, I think there are a lot of verses that fall on the latter side.  As I read through this I don't understand how people can believe in it while lacking comprehension.  The randomness does not seemed inspired or contrived, but set down by a poorly educated hand.  There are plenty verses that seem out of place and the previous three are no exception.  It appears that after the sacrifice, someone, or everyone, killed a man.  Allah brought him back to life by throwing some meat on him.  Instead of pleasing the people by his show of divinity, some were put off.  Regardless, as always, Allah knows what you do.  
[2.75] Do you then hope that they would believe in you, and a party from among them indeed used to hear the Word of Allah, then altered it after they had understood it, and they know (this).
There are times in the Koran when the voice portrayed is Allah, times when it is Mohammad, and times when it is Allah speaking to Mohammad.  This is supposed to be the latter.  Allah says that the Jews have heard his word and altered it... and they know it.  
[2.76] And when they meet those who believe they say: We believe, and when they are alone one with another they say: Do you talk to them of what Allah has disclosed to you that they may contend with you by this before your Lord? Do you not then understand?
[2.77] Do they not know that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make known?
[2.78] And there are among them illiterates who know not the Book but only lies, and they do but conjecture.
[2.79] Woe, then, to those who write the book with their hands and then say: This is from Allah, so that they may take for it a small price; therefore woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.
[2.80] And they say: Fire shall not touch us but for a few days. Say: Have you received a promise from Allah, then Allah will not fail to perform His promise, or do you speak against Allah what you do not know?
[2.81] Yeal whoever earns evil and his sins beset him on every side, these are the inmates of the fire; in it they shall abide.

And here we have some reason for Muslims to hate the Jews.  Allah has already said the Jews altered his teachings.  Now he tells us that they are aware that they have done so, and that they (the Jews) think they are only going to hell for a few days.  But no, Allah says they shall roast forever.  No mercy there.