The Qur’an: a Readthrough. Juz 1, Sura 1 and part of 2.

I have a copy of the Qur’an, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali  A billboard near my home was offering them for free, so I filled out a form and got one.  The letter I received with it very politely asked me to treat it with respect, so I am going to read it and talk about it because that is the way I understand respecting books.  There is an intro at the beginning on how to read the book properly which I am skipping because it looks boring, and jumping right into the first Sura (chapter, of which there are 114 total) of the first Juz(book? ish? of which there are 30). From there it is divided into verses. So we start with Juz 1, Surah 1.  Al Fatihah, the opening.

There are 7 verses here, praising Allah, who we learn is the Cherisher and Sustainer of worlds, along with the Most Gracious, Most Merciful, and Master of the Day of Judgment, and that we worship and seek Allah.

This is not particularly interesting, so let us forge ahead to Sura 2, Al Baqara, the heifer.  268 verses, so half may need to wait for another post.

The first few verses, we learn that this book is guidance from the lord, if you believe, however:

As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or or do not warn them; they will not believe.

So if you happen to think Faith is not a particularly good path to truth, as Matt Dillahunty would phrase it, there is nothing convincing here.

We continue with a lot of calumnies against those who don’t believe, that they are deceiving themselves and really do in fact believe but deny it, that they are the ones causing mischief while claiming to want peace and are deaf and dumb.  It is mildly interesting that this may actually be the fault of Allah the most Merciful because “in their [nonbelievers] hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease.”

We are also told that if we doubt what “We have revealed from time to time to Our servant  [? Mohammed? ], then produce a Sura like thereunto; and call your witnesses and helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your doubts are true.” But charmingly, “if you cannot–and of a surety you cannot–then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones, -which is prepared for those who reject Faith.”

After a few more statements about how wonderful Faithful people are and how terrible everyone else is, we are about 30 verses in and ready for a mythological history of the world, next blog post.

Featured image credit: Umar Nasir via flickr

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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.

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