I hope you all are having a great Memorial Day weekend and enjoying the holiday especially if you have today off from work and/or school.
A big thank you to all who have commented on my Quran notes posts. (They start here.) I have enjoyed the feedback and found much of it helpful in getting a better understanding of quranic teachings. I've read over half of my translation of the Quran now. Not half as far as sura numbers go since they number past 100, however, having read 25 suras, the book is half finished simply because the latter suras are much shorter. I have posts ready to share, but I'll try to be a bit less hasty so you can keep up with more ease. I apologize for going too fast, but I just have these spurts of talkativeness sometimes...especially when I'm reading something that inspires me to share, share, share. And that's my "problem" with reading the Quran. So let's blame that person *ahem* who encouraged me to just read it already! Oh, Person, you know who you are so consider yourself BLAMED, Darling. With a capital B, L, A, M, E, D!
Also for those reading and commenting on the Christian Q&A Session post, I have a draft about Paul that I will publish within the next day or so. You -- along with things I've read and heard about Paul mostly from Muslims - have inspired me to rethink Paul and justify to myself why I am OK with his teachings. Oh, and thanks for the great comments there so far. I hope to reply to you soon. Just wanted to acknowledge them and let you know I wasn't ignoring you.
I think you all will enjoy the upcoming post concerning Father Jerzy Popieluszko as I have an inspiring story of the Poles' Christlike response related to his death by the Communist regime in late 1984 that is flat-out awesome, in my opinion!
So, yeah, I've been reading some pretty good stuff lately although looking at my May Books post you'd not think so.
And of course I enjoy reading your blogs and seeing what is inspiring you, taking your attention or simply what you've been doing in life.
For those who wanted more sura notes to read ...
Sura 21 -- al-Anbiya
This chapter - The Prophets - had a number of interesting verses. For starters it began with many verses concerning people who often turned away from the revelations of the Lord, how they didn't take seriously the Message of the prophets because they questioned the messengers as being mere men who invented these things or who were speaking poetry. Namely prophets were rarely accepted among their own people. Can we blame them? Who wants to hear a doom-and-gloom sermon and warnings of judgments to come if you don't turn from your wicked ways. Wicked ways are fun, right?
So the Quran speaks of the men God sent - mere mortals not immune to hunger. It also reminds us of the numerous habitations destroyed for continuing in their sinfulness. I wondered about these verses.
16. We have not created the heavens and the earth, and all that lies between them, out of fun.
17. If We had pleased to make a plaything We could have made it Ourself, if We had cared to do so.
Were people perhaps having too much fun so they didn't take eternal life and spiritual things seriously? Was life all fun and games and entertainment? I live in a culture that tends towards this. Americans are more likely to know the top songs and best movies than the fact that Obama is our current President. OK, slight exaggeration, but not much! :)
In verses 25-29 there is a statement about God not sending an apostle without teaching him "that there is no god but I, so worship me" (vs. 25). Of course there are those who insist in saying God has begotten a son whereas the Quran makes the case of those merely being God's "honoured votaries" (vs. 26).
29. If any one of them said: "I am God besides Him," We should award him Hell; for this is how We requite the evil-doers.
And although I may speak of Jesus as the Son of God, I in no way mean that Jesus is God besides God. Jesus himself said he does the will of his Father and that "I and my Father are one." Notice the unity there.
35. Every soul will know the taste of death. We tempt you with evil and with good as a trial; and to Us you will return.
It's interesting to see that God tempts people as part of a test.
47. We shall fix the scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection, so that none will be wronged in the least; and even if it were equal to a mustard seed in weight We shall take it (into account). We are sufficient for computation.
I admit that the scales of Islam intrigue me. I read things about doing this deed means you get so many good deed points. And how doing something special on a holy day means even more good deed points. I wonder if there is a list somewhere that someone has compiled so a Muslim can judge each day how many good deed points s/he has accumulated in a particular day. Is there something in the Quran or hadith about this topic?
Verse 51 begins a dialogue between Abraham and some idolaters. Basically Abraham destroys all their idols except one and when they ask who dared to destroy them, Abraham lies and tells the people to ask their idol for answers. They admit their idol cannot speak (vs. 66). Abraham challenges them on why they then worship these mute idols and not serve God! Then apparently something bad would have happened to Abraham so God rescued Abraham and Lot and put them in a land blessed by God. Additionally, Abraham was gifted with Isaac and Jacob (vs. 71-72).
This sura also mentioned Noah, David and Solomon (in some extrabiblical dispute), Job, Zachariah and Jonah.
Mary and Jesus were mentioned. Jesus as a "token for mankind" (vs. 91) though I'm not sure what that means quranically.
The rest of the verses were about future events, heaven for the good and hell for the bad. It is also a call for accepting and bowing down to God (vs. 108).