Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Koran: The Cow, Part 1

This is the first chapter of the Koran.  Check out Wikipedia for information regarding the layout of the Koran.

The Cow

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
[2.1] Alif Lam Mim.
[2.2] This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil).

It's always nice when a book tells you what it is, and that it is unquestionable.  Shouldn't this raise some eyebrows already?

[2.3] Those who believe in the unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them.
[2.4] And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.
[2.5] These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.

A true believer must:
1. Believe without evidence
2. Deal with the hand they were dealt
3. Believe what this book says 

[2.6] Surely those who disbelieve, it being alike to them whether you warn them, or do not warn them, will not believe.
[2.7] Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and there is a covering over their eyes, and there is a great punishment for them.

I think that the manner in which the Koran addresses unbelievers may be unique.  To have it written by Mohammad that unbelievers will be unbelievers and that Allah not only made it so, but will punish them for it.  Predetermination much?

[2.8] And there are some people who say: We believe in Allah and the last day; and they are not at all believers.
[2.9] They desire to deceive Allah and those who believe, and they deceive only themselves and they do not perceive.
[2.10] There is a disease in their hearts, so Allah added to their disease and they shall have a painful chastisement because they lied.

Pascal's wager will not help you in the eyes of Allah.  He will know whether you faked it or not.

[2.11] And when it is said to them, Do not make mischief in the land, they say: We are but peace-makers.
[2.12] Now surely they themselves are the mischief makers, but they do not perceive.

I am confused by these two lines.  Do they refer to the fakers?  Regardless, it is interesting that the perceived reality of those who say they are peace-makers is being questioned.  I feel like this opens the door for believers to label others as they see fit for their faith.

[2.13] And when it is said to them: Believe as the people believe they say: Shall we believe as the fools believe? Now surely they themselves are the fools, but they do not know.

So we are talking of the fakers. 

[2.14] And when they meet those who believe, they say: We believe; and when they are alone with their Shaitans, they say: Surely we are with you, we were only mocking.
[2.15] Allah shall pay them back their mockery, and He leaves them alone in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on.
[2.16] These are they who buy error for the right direction, so their bargain shall bring no gain, nor are they the followers of the right direction.

Allah warns: playing both sides gets you nothing in the end.

[2.17] Their parable is like the parable of one who kindled a fire but when it had illumined all around him, Allah took away their light, and left them in utter darkness-- they do not see.
[2.18] Deaf, dumb (and) blind, so they will not turn back.

Is this parable elsewhere? It seems to be lacking in substance.  Why would Allah take the light?  Unless, of course, it is reason that illumined around our fire-starter.  Reason is dangerous and anathema to religion.

[2.19] Or like abundant rain from the cloud in which is utter darkness and thunder and lightning; they put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder peal, for fear of death, and Allah encompasses the unbelievers.
[2.20] The lightning almost takes away their sight; whenever it shines on them they walk in it, and when it becomes dark to them they stand still; and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have taken away their hearing and their sight; surely Allah has power over all things.

If it was Allah that made certain people disbelievers, or keeps disbelievers as disbelievers, why go on about what he can do to them? 
[2.21] O men! serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil).
[2.22] Who made the earth a resting place for you and the heaven a canopy and (Who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.

Do not have any other gods, other than Allah!  That sounds familiar.  Here we learn that:
1. Allah created man
2. By serving Allah you guard against evil
3. Allah made the Earth and Sky
4. Allah sends rain for the tillers
5. Because of all these things, Allah asks we have no other gods
[2.23] And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.

And if you don't believe us, go write your own religious text. What an interesting injunction.
[2.24] But if you do (it) not and never shall you do (it), then be on your guard against the fire of which men and stones are the fuel; it is prepared for the unbelievers.

So if disbelievers don't "produce a chapter" you go to hell?  
[2.25] And convey good news to those who believe and do good deeds, that they shall have gardens in which rivers flow; whenever they shall be given a portion of the fruit thereof, they shall say: This is what was given to us before; and they shall be given the like of it, and they shall have pure mates in them, and in them, they shall abide.

Believers will be rewarded, as always, by promises.  
[2.26] Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable-- (that of) a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors,
[2.27] Who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land; these it is that are the losers.

A believer does not question Allah, but just knows what he says is true.  Are we to be surprised that he calls for blind faith?  Disbelievers on the other hand see Allah as casing "many to err by it."  But, Allah's disciples tell us, it is only those that don't follow his command that "are the losers;" they are the ones in error.

*The Cow will be in multiple parts as it is over 280 verses.  Coming soon: creation! 

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