Saturday, September 25, 2010

Koran: The Family of Imran, Part 1

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
[3.1] Alif Lam Mim.
[3.2] Allah, (there is) no god but He, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all things subsist
[3.3] He has revealed to you the Book with truth, verifying that which is before it, and He revealed the Tavrat and the Injeel aforetime, a guidance for the people, and He sent the Furqan.

Allah, through divine revelation (of course), authored the Torah (tavrat), the Gospel, and the Koran.

[3.4] Surely they who disbelieve in the communications of Allah they shall have a severe chastisement; and Allah is Mighty, the Lord of retribution.

Lest one forget, Allah "the lord of retribution" will punish those disbelievers.

[3.5] Allah-- surely nothing is hidden from Him in the earth or in the heaven.
[3.6] He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He likes; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise

I’ve grown so weary of the notion that God created man in his image or that Allah crafted us each personally in the womb.  We won’t even get into what that means for those born with deformities, heart conditions, disabilities, etc; the idea itself is so egotistical and patently ridiculous.   

[3.7] He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation. but none knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding.

So, if Allah is the only one who knows the interpretation of the Koran, what is the point of reading it and trying to understand?  Are we to believe that Allah illuminates some with the knowledge to understand?  

[3.8] Our Lord! make not our hearts to deviate after Thou hast guided us aright, and grant us from Thee mercy; surely Thou art the most liberal Giver.
[3.9] Our Lord! surely Thou art the Gatherer of men on a day about which there is no doubt; surely Allah will not fail (His) promise.

How does one trust a text that continually offers praise and plentiful adjectives for a supposed creator/being who supposedly authored it?  Allah/God- the original narcissist.  

[3.10] (As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire.
[3.11] Like the striving of the people of Firon and those before them; they rejected Our communications, so Allah destroyed them on account of their faults; and Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
[3.12] Say to those who disbelieve: You shall be vanquished, and driven together to hell; and evil is the resting-place.

Nothing can save one from the wrath of Allah; he taught Pharaoh a lesson and he will vanquish disbelievers to hell.  I feel that sura 3.10 is especially interesting: “and these it is who are the fuel of the fire.”  That is much more disturbing imagery than what is typically authored. I can just see limbs and bodies as the kindling in this mythical place.  Certainly an image worthy of Goya.

[3.13] Indeed there was a sign for you in the two hosts (which) met together in encounter; one party fighting in the way of Allah and the other unbelieving, whom they saw twice as.many as themselves with the sight of the eye and Allah strengthens with His aid whom He pleases; most surely there is a lesson in this for those who have sight.

Well, if you are going to tell one group of people that they are better than another, you have to give them ammunition and Allah does it in spades.  Not only is Allah so merciful, beneficent, powerful, all-knowing, etc, but his followers are quite special, too, wink wink.  

[3.14] The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life).

Religion loves to pander to the poor; I wonder if there are any passages in the Koran that would allow for a “Mosque of Affluence” similar to the Christian “Churches of Affluence.”  If you haven’t heard about them, basically the message is that God wants you to be rich, so be happy.  

[3.15] Say:Shall I tell you what is better than these? For those who guard (against evil) are gardens with their Lord, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure mates and Allah's pleasure; and Allah sees the servants.

Ahh, yes, I’d rather have the pleasure of Allah over worldly comfort any day!

[3.16] Those who say: Our Lord! surely we believe, therefore forgive us our faults and save us from the chastisement of the fire.
[3.17] The patient, and the truthful, and the obedient, and those who spend (benevolently) and those who ask forgiveness in the morning times.
[3.18] Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.
[3.19] Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given did not show opposition but after knowledge had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning.

Allah has already boasted through Mohammed about his amazing allegories and how us common folk are unable to  understand them.  So far it seems he is refraining from using them and is clearly stating the same old argument that he reiterated throughout the previous chapter: “believers go to heaven, non-believers go to hell” and “it is true because I said so!”

[3.20] But if they dispute with you, say: I have submitted myself entirely to Allah and (so) every one who follows me; and say to those who have been given the Book and the unlearned people: Do you submit yourselves? So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of the message and Allah sees the servants.

Allah is for proselytizing; spread the faith.  Especially to the Jews and Christians.

[3.21] Surely (as for) those who disbelieve in the communications of Allah and slay the prophets unjustly and slay those among men who enjoin justice, announce to them a painful chastisement.
[3.22] Those are they whose works shall become null in this world as well as the hereafter, and they shall have no helpers.

And if they don’t believe you, tell them they are going to hell!  Their lives mean nothing!  

[3.23] Have you not considered those (Jews) who are given a portion of the Book? They are invited to the Book of Allah that it might decide between them, then a part of them turn back and they withdraw.
[3.24] This is because they say: The fire shall not touch us but for a few days; and what they have forged deceives them in the matter of their religion.
[3.25] Then how will it be when We shall gather them together on a day about which there is no doubt, and every soul shall be fully paid what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly?

And those silly Jews think they will only burn in hell for a few days, little do they know what Allah had planned for them.  I’m sure passages like these have nothing to do with the vitriolic conflicts in the middle east.  

[3.26] Say: O Allah, Master of the Kingdom! Thou givest the kingdom to whomsoever Thou pleasest and takest away the kingdom from whomsoever Thou pleasest, and Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest in Thine hand is the good; surety, Thou hast power over all things.
[3.27] Thou makest the night to pass into the day and Thou makest the day to pass into the night, and Thou bringest forth the living from the dead and Thou bringest forth the dead from the living, and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest without measure.

Let me hear you sing my praises.  Really, though, I’m Allah and I can’t get enough.

[3.28] Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.

Wow, don’t even be friends with non-Muslims.  Does this also mean that there should not be business dealings between believers and non-believers?

[3.29] Say: Whether you hide what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it, and He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and Allah has power over all things.
[3.30] On the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil, it shall wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long duration of time; and Allah makes you to be cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and Allah is Compassionate to the servants.

I really can’t imagine growing up with the Koran as “my book.”  I was raised Catholic and while I know there are plenty of passages in the Bible dealing with praying to God and how to offer sacrifices, I feel the Koran calls for so much adulation and trust.  How do people raised under its umbrella not question its veracity?  Is it simply because the book tells them not to?  Isn’t that more reason to ask questions?  As I work my way through the Bible, I’ll be sure to pay attention to the Judeo-Christian God’s need for praise.  

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