Friday, June 18, 2010

Koran, The Cow Part 2

And we continue with the first chapter of the Koran.

[2.28] How do you deny Allah and you were dead and He gave you life? Again He will cause you to die and again bring you to life, then you shall be brought back to Him.

The question here appears to be, how can we deny Allah when he is the creator?  Somehow, disbelievers will be made into believers once Allah causes them to die and then brings them back to life.  Since Allah created the disbelievers in the first place, this seems a bit much.  Wouldn't it have been more efficient for him to just create everyone as a believer instead of going through all this trouble?
[2.29] He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens, and He knows all things.

According to Islam there are several heavens: 
1.Firdaus (the highest)
6.Daarul Muaqaamah
7.Al-Muqqamul Amin
8.Khuldi (the lowest)
[2.30] And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a khalif, they said: What! wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know.

A Khalif in Islam is like a priest for Catholicism, they are Allah's representative on Earth.  Also spelled caliph.  I find this verse confusing.  Are the angels afraid for the Khalif?  
[2.31] And He taught Adam all the names, then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those if you are right.
[2.32] They said: Glory be to Thee! we have no knowledge but that which Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art the Knowing, the Wise.
[2.33] He said: O Adam! inform them of their names. Then when he had informed them of their names, He said: Did I not say to you that I surely know what is ghaib in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide?

Who are the angels?  Why do they not know their own names?  The Koran is not linear in its timeline, so perhaps these questions will be answered later.  Ghaib means what is unseen and unknown.  Allah, then, is all knowing. 
[2.34] And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam they did obeisance, but Iblis (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers.

How can an unbelieving angel exist?
[2.35] And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.
[2.36] But the Shaitan made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time.

Adam and his nameless wife are in a garden where they cannot eat the fruit of a certain tree. The Devil tempts them both and they are expelled from the garden.  Since Islam is an Abrahamic religion, it is to be expected that there will be parallels between the Old Testament and the Koran.  It will be interesting to see at what points they diverge.  

[2.37] Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.
[2.38] We said: Go forth from this (state) all; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.

If Allah predetermines who shall believe, does he predetermine Adam's fall?  If that is the case, he would not be merciful.  Also, how is Allah merciful in this situation?  He is expelling Adam from the place where he set him.  Sure, he offers him guidance, but he also could have forgiven him for eating from the tree.
[2.39] And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject My communications, they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.

I don't believe that the bible actually makes a reference to hell, at least not as it is popularly perceived.  The Koran has already made two references to unbelievers in a hellish inferno.
[2.40] O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and be faithful to (your) covenant with Me, I will fulfill (My) covenant with you; and of Me, Me alone, should you be afraid.

What is the covenant that Allah made?  Is this something we will learn later because of the lack of linear organization or is the covenant just the promise of heaven?
[2.41] And believe in what I have revealed, verifying that which is with you, and be not the first to deny it, neither take a mean price in exchange for My communications; and Me, Me alone should you fear.
[2.42] And do not mix up the truth with the falsehood, nor hide the truth while you know (it).
[2.43] And keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and bow down with those who bow down.
[2.44] What! do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls while you read the Book; have you then no sense?

Allah's expectations:
1. Believe in me
2. Believe what I say
3. Fear me
4. Don't make stuff up, just spread my work
5. Pray to me
6. Pay your zakat: 2.5% of your yearly wealth
7. Worship with other believers
8. Don't just read, do

[2.45] And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones,
[2.46] Who know that they shall meet their Lord and that they shall return to Him.

A reiteration on the need for prayer.  It seems the basic premise is that Allah must be exalted and all must humble themselves before him.  
[2.47] O children of Israel! call to mind My favor which I bestowed on you and that I made you excel the nations.
[2.48] And be on your guard against a day when one soul shall not avail another in the least, neither shall intercession on its behalf be accepted, nor shall any compensation be taken from it, nor shall they be helped.

Allah offers a warning to his believers.  I think the warning is a bit unclear.  I know this is probably because I wasn't raised in this tradition.  To me it implies that there will come a time when your soul cannot be helped, that it will be going to its predetermined place and no one can assist it.

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