Monday, July 5, 2010

Koran: The Cow, Part 7

Two more parts to go!  Woo-hoo!  We left off with some info about the pilgrimage, this part starts with an ayah concerning it as well.

[2.203] And laud Allah during the numbered days; then whoever hastens off in two days, there is no blame on him, and whoever remains behind, there is no blame on him, (this is) for him who guards (against evil), and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you shall be gathered together to Him.

[2.204] And among men is he whose speech about the life of this world causes you to wonder, and he calls on Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the most violent of adversaries.
[2.205] And when he turn,s back, he runs along in the land that he may cause mischief in it and destroy the tilth and the stock, and Allah does not love mischief-making.
[2.206] And when it is said to him, guard against (the punish ment of) Allah; pride carries him off to sin, therefore hell is sufficient for him; and certainly it is an evil resting place.

A warning to believers to not get caught up by those who may use the name of Allah for their own purposes.  Such a person will go to hell (of course).
[2.207] And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah; and Allah is Affectionate to the servants.

What a kind master, Allah!  I appreciate the wording of this translation: "he who sells himself." It is true that he who follows Allah probably doesn't know himself and has given up on some level of rational thinking.  Another translation is: "he who would give away his life."  This ayah may be referring to martyrdom.
[2.208] O you who believe! enter into submission one and all and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan; surely he is your open enemy.

Watch out!  Even though Allah knows all and created all, he will test you and threaten you with Satan.  So kind.  

The following two ayahs are not interpreted with the previous one.  I fell that if you read them together it seems that they refer to the trickery of Satan, however according to's translation they are for apostates.

[2.209] But if you slip after clear arguments have come to you, then know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.
[2.210] They do not wait aught but that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds along with the angels, and the matter has (already) been decided; and (all) matters are returned to Allah.

It's humorous to think that if one were Muslim they would interpret the "clear arguments" as arguments for Allah.  If such a "clear argument" exists in the Koran, it will in fact be a miracle.  

So basically, if you stop believing (even after all those amazing lucid arguments for the existence and omnipotence of Allah), well know that he is wise and that he already decided that you would stop believing.  I'm actually surprised that hell isn't mentioned here.  
[2.211] Ask the Israelites how many a clear sign have We given them; and whoever changes the favor of Allah after it has come to him, then surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil).

Spoke too soon!  
[2.212] The life of this world is made to seem fair to those who disbelieve, and they mock those who believe, and those who guard (against evil) shall be above them on the day of resurrection; and Allah gives means of subsistence to whom he pleases without measure.

Here the term fair does not denote some idea of justice, but more of an aesthetic.  I admit that the universe does seem a fair place.  It is majestic and amazing- and achieves it's awesomeness without any kind of magic or duplicitous interference by pesky deities.  Ah, but only a disbeliever would think such a thing and those believers will go to heaven for pleasing Allah while I burn with my fellow "disbelievers." 

[2.213] (All) people are a single nation; so Allah raised prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He revealed with them the Book with truth, that it might judge between people in that in which they differed; and none but the very people who were given it differed about it after clear arguments had come to them, revolting among themselves; so Allah has guided by His will those who believe to the truth about which they differed and Allah guides whom He pleases to the right path.

So the purpose of the Bible is to be divisive and decide who is bad and good?  Of course those Jews and Christians didn't get "it."  Let's blame them for their misinterpretations even though Allah didn't guide them to "the right path."
[2.214] Or do you think that you would enter the garden while yet the state of those who have passed away before you has not come upon you; distress and affliction befell them and they were shaken violently, so that the Apostle and those who believed with him said: When will the help of Allah come? Now surely the help of Allah is nigh!

Oh, the trials and tribulations will be many because Allah will test us all.  Only then will he know whether we truly believe, even though He has told us repeatedly that He is all knowing and all seeing and the creator of the disbelievers. Oh, Allah, you are a paradox wrapped in a mystery.
[2.215] They ask you as to what they should spend. Say: Whatever wealth you spend, it is for the parents and the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, and whatever good you do, Allah surely knows it.
[2.216] Fighting is enjoined on you, and h is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.
The like how the last segment of the second ayah states " and Allah knows, while you do not know."  Ain't that the truth?  Isn't it always that "God knows best" and "it's in God's hands."  And we can't forget, "God willing."  Us poor humans are not responsible for ourselves!  We are at the mercy of some paternalistic patron who will decide our fates.  Praise him and give him your money.
[2.217] They ask you concerning the sacred month about fighting in it. Say: Fighting in it is a grave matter, and hindering (men) from Allah's way and denying Him, and (hindering men from) the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out of it, are still graver with Allah, and persecution is graver than slaughter; and they will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can; and whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever-- these it is whose works shall go for nothing in this world and the hereafter, and they are the inmates of the fire; therein they shall abide.

Persecution is greater than slaughter?  Providing a hindrance to the path to Allah is a greater sin than killing someone?  Really?  Allah (Mohammad?) really has it all worked out.  He created a religion in which it is completely normal to be paranoid that people are working against your eternal reward.  He made persecution of Muslims a graver sin than killing in his name.  What a guy. 

[2.218] Surely those who believed and those who fled (their home) and strove hard in the way of Allah these hope for the mercy of Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Of course.

[2.219] They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder

Drinking and gambling is not permitted.  Me, I like my wine more than any deity.  Maybe I should follow Jesus, since he was all about turning water to wine.  That's something I can get behind.  
[2.220] On this world and the hereafter. And they ask you concerning the orphans Say: To set right for them (their affairs) is good, and if you become co-partners with them, they are your brethren; and Allah knows the mischief-maker and the pacemaker, and if Allah had pleased, He would certainly have caused you to fall into a difficulty; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.

Allah enjoys telling Mohammad about that which he will be questioned upon.  Who thinks "Oh, but what about the orphans?" when they are considering a new faith?  I understand questions regarding previous religious beliefs and the tenets of Islam in general, but the importance of orphans in the Koran is peculiar.  The question that popped into my mind after this was "What gives?  Was Mohammad an orphan or something?"  And lo and behold, he was!  Amazing how Allah was able to "reveal" to Mohammad something so dear to his heart...

[2.221] And do not marry the idolatresses until they believe, and certainly a believing maid is better than an idolatress woman, even though she should please you; and do not give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe, and certainly a believing servant is better than an idolater, even though he should please you; these invite to the fire, and Allah invites to the garden and to forgiveness by His will, and makes clear His communications to men, that they may be mindful.

Surround yourself with believers, those others will lead you to hell.  Sounds pretty cult-ish to me. 

[2.222] And they ask you about menstruation. Say: It is a discomfort; therefore keep aloof from the women during the menstrual discharge and do not go near them until they have become clean; then when they have cleansed themselves, go in to them as Allah has commanded you; surely Allah loves those who turn much (to Him), and He loves those who purify themselves.

After the first line I thought, oh great, a question supposedly posed by the women.  HA!  What was I thinking?  Of course it is posed from the viewpoint of men.  Men know so much about these matters.  

[2.223] Your wives are a tilth for you, so go into your tilth when you like, and do good beforehand for yourselves, and be careful (of your duty) to Allah, and know that you will meet Him, and give good news to the believers.

I am finding it more ridiculous that Islam is sometimes said to be a religion that sees women as equals to men.  No religion that views women as dirty during menstruation and as a tilling ground for children will ever treat women as equals. 

[2.224] And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
[2.225] Allah does not call you to account for what is vain in your oaths, but He will call you to account for what your hearts have earned, and Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.

So Allah won't hold you to your promises, however he will hold you to whatever is in your heart.  And in that way, he is forgiving.  And backward.

[2.226] Those who swear that they will not go in to their wives should wait four months; so if they go back, then Allah is surely Forgiving, Merciful.
[2.227] And if they have resolved on a divorce, then Allah is surely Hearing, Knowing.

Does this actually say anything?  Allah is forgiving if you give up on divorce but he knows if you don't?  Come on, Allah, give us the consequences.  Don't leave us hanging.
[2.228] And the divorced women should keep themselves in waiting for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they should conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the last day; and their husbands have a better right to take them back in the meanwhile if they wish for reconciliation; and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner, and the men are a degree above them, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

So women have to be good and seeming virtuous after a divorce, in case their husbands want them back.  Once again, Allah shows that the misogynistic apple doesn't fall far from the Abrahamic tree. Those that state that the Koran advocates for equality between the sexes either have a skewed view of what equality means or have never actually read the Koran. 
[2.229] Divorce may be (pronounced) twice, then keep (them) in good fellowship or let (them) go with kindness; and it is not lawful for you to take any part of what you have given them, unless both fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah; then if you fear that they cannot keep within the limits of Allah, there is no blame on them for what she gives up to become free thereby. These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust.

One should not take back a gift given to the former spouse, unless it will somehow make you sin against Allah to not do so.  Then, whatever, because Allah forgives.

[2.230] So if he divorces her she shall not be lawful to him afterwards until she marries another husband; then if he divorces her there is no blame on them both if they return to each other (by marriage), if they think that they can keep within the limits of Allah, and these are the limits of Allah which He makes clear for a people who know.

Now we are getting ridiculous.  Was Mohammad considering divorce?  Why so much exposition on it?  The Koran seems to highlight such bizarre minutiae regarding divorce. 
[2.231] And when you divorce women and they reach their prescribed time, then either retain them in good fellowship or set them free with liberality, and do not retain them for injury, so that you exceed the limits, and whoever does this, he indeed is unjust to his own soul; and do not take Allah's communications for a mockery, and remember the favor of Allah upon you, and that which He has revealed to you of the Book and the Wisdom, admonishing you thereby; and be careful (of your duty to) Allah, and know that Allah is the Knower of all things.

So take care of a woman who is past her prime or let her go.  Why even state this if either option is fine? Of course, anytime is a good time to remind the faithful of the greatness of Allah.
[2.232] And when you have divorced women and they have ended-- their term (of waiting), then do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree among themselves in a lawful manner; with this is admonished he among you who believes in Allah and the last day, this is more profitable and purer for you; and Allah knows while you do not know.

Yeah, I'm tired of divorce.
[2.233] And the mothers should suckle their children for two whole years for him who desires to make complete the time of suckling; and their maintenance and their clothing must be-- borne by the father according to usage; no soul shall have imposed upon it a duty but to the extent of its capacity; neither shall a mother be made to suffer harm on account of her child, nor a father on account of his child, and a similar duty (devolves) on the (father's) heir, but if both desire weaning by mutual consent and counsel, there is no blame on them, and if you wish to engage a wet-nurse for your children, there is no blame on you so long as you pay what you promised for according to usage; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah and know that Allah sees what you do.

Breastfeeding is not a choice of the woman, but a choice by the woman and man. It can only be stopped when they both decide or at the end of two years.  I highly doubt that American Muslims follow this ayah, considering the low rates of breastfeeding the US.
[2.234] And (as for) those of you who die and leave wives behind, they should keep themselves in waiting for four months and ten days; then when they have fully attained their term, there is no blame on you for what they do for themselves in a lawful manner; and Allah is aware of what you do.

All of the divorce ayahs and now this one too, are obviously speaking only to males.  It concerns itself only with the salvation of the male partner.
[2.235] And there is no blame on you respecting that which you speak indirectly in the asking of (such) women in marriage or keep (the proposal) concealed within your minds; Allah knows that you win mention them, but do not give them a promise in secret unless you speak in a lawful manner, and do not confirm the marriage tie until the writing is fulfilled, and know that Allah knows what is in your minds, therefore beware of Him, and know that Allah is Forgiving, Forbearing.

Pretty much, as a man, do what you want.  As a woman, follow my rules!

[2.236] There is no blame on you if you divorce women when you have not touched them or appointed for them a portion, and make provision for them, the wealthy according to his means and the straitened in circumstances according to his means, a provision according to usage; (this is) a duty on the doers of good (to others).
[2.237] And if you divorce them before you have touched them and you have appointed for them a portion, then (pay to them) half of what you have appointed, unless they relinquish or he should relinquish in whose hand is the marriage tie; and it is nearer to righteousness that you should relinquish; and do not neglect the giving of free gifts between you; surely Allah sees what you do.

More divorce, now complete with alimony!
[2.238] Attend constantly to prayers and to the middle prayer and stand up truly obedient to Allah.
[2.239] But if you are in danger, then (say your prayers) on foot or on horseback; and when you are secure, then remember Allah, as. He has taught you what you did not know.

Just pray all the time. Allah feels lonely if you don't.  Think of him as your mother.  You never pray to me anymore...
[2.240] And those of you who die and leave wives behind, (make) a bequest in favor of their wives of maintenance for a year without turning (them) out, then if they themselves go away, there is no blame on you for what they do of lawful deeds by themselves, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
[2.241] And for the divorced women (too) provision (must be made) according to usage; (this is) a duty on those who guard (against evil).

Take care of the women, they can't take care of themselves.
[2.242] Allah thus makes clear to you His communications that you may understand.

That Allah, always the jokester.   Clear communications!  Ha!

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