Religion and Spirituality

The Qur’an: a Readthrough. Juz 1 and Surah 2, verses 30-72

Continued from here It’s been some time. Life doesn’t stop happening.

At verse 30 of Surah 2 we have a mythological history of the world, sorta kinda similar to Genesis. But different.  Starting out right away we have an argument between God and the Angels.

Behold, thy Lord said to the angles: “I will create a viceregent on earth.” They said: ” Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify They holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.”

I have some sympathy with the angels here.  God, however, makes Adam and teaches him “the nature of all things” which is quite the lesson. He then shows off Adam to the angels and says that he told them so and they should bow down to Adam.  All the angels do, except Iblis. I sympathize. Bowing down to someone just because he knows the nature of things seems weird. Or maybe we should all be bowing down before the nearest scientist? Who knows?  Anyway, Iblis was haughty and of those who reject the faith. then Adam and his wife are told to go dwell in a garden and avoid one tree, but in one verse Satan makes them slip from the garden.

I’m not sure if Satan and Iblis are the same person here or how Satan makes Adam and his unnamed wife slip but God has some words of inspiration, and the Qur’an moves on to haranguing the Children of Israel. They are reminded of all the special things God did for them, getting them out of Egypt, and dividing the sea and drowning bunches of folk (God’s problem solving skills are questionable) but how horrible it was that the Children of Israel started worshiping a calf while Moses was chilling elsewhere.  We continue to hear about the wandering in the wilderness and how God sent manna and quail, and told Moses to hit a rock to get them water.

I remember a lot of Sunday School talks about the story of hitting the rock and how Moses was told to speak to the rock instead and this was terrible disobedience and that’s why dude died before seeing the promised land. We’re not fussed about that here.

Apparently the Children of Israel wanted more food, like “pot-herbs, cucumbers, [the earth’s] garlic, onion, and lentils.” This brings down on them the wrath of Allah.  Presumably if folk are eating nothing but manna and quail, however, wouldn’t scurvy become an issue?  Maybe we are assuming manna is complete nutritionally so that’s not an issue. I’m definitely on the side of people whining for garlic though.

We finally get to rather famous verse 62:

Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, – any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord

It’s an attempt at universalism! How almost nice!

Moving on, there is a story about Allah commanding the people to sacrifice a heifer, and all the followup questions about what kind of heifer. The heifer is sacrificed finally “but not with good-will.” The next verses (72 and 73) read:

Remember ye slew a man and fell into a dispute among yourselves as to the crime: But Allah was to bring forth what ye did hide. So We said, “Strike the body with a piece of the heifer.” Thus Allah bringeth the dead to life and showeth you his Signs. Perchance ye may understand.”

Perchance, but I don’t.  There was a murder, but the corpse was hit with a piece of the sacrificed-without-goodwill heifer and came back to life? What? I want to hear more of that, but am not getting it.

We will return next blog post to continue slogging through the 286 verses of this Surah.

Featured image 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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