Sura 13 -- al-Ra'd
In English this sura is "Thunder" and it's basically a chapter reminding us of God's creation and control over nature. It had quite lovely and picturesque verses.
2. It is God who raised the skies without support, as you can see, then assumed His throne, and enthralled the sun and the moon (so that) each runs to a predetermined course. He disposes all affairs, distinctly explaining every sign that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.
I thought this was a lovely verse declaring God's power in creation and also in putting things into place. However, I was curious about this phrase "distinctly explaining every sign" as I feel there are many things about God that are still mysteries to me. Perhaps this is a reference to God giving us His Word so we may be certain of things as the time approaches to meet Him on Judgment Day. What do you think?
4. On the earth are tracts adjoining one another, and vineyards, fields of corn and date-palm trees, some forked, some with single trunks, yet all irrigated by the self-same water, though We make some more excellent than the others in fruit. There are surely signs in them for those who understand.
I enjoy visualizing all of this and also imagining what fruit some may find more excellent. I know I really love cantaloupe and watermelon among others. How about you? Also I wonder what signs are in the fruit? Obviously I'm not among those who understand since I'm asking this question. Have any of y'all figured it out? :)
11. His angels keep watch over him in succession (night and day), in front and behind, by God's command. Verily God does not change the state of a people till they change themselves. When God intends misfortune for a people no one can avert it, and no saviour will they have apart from Him.
I've heard many Muslims quote this phrase ("God does not change the state of a people till they change themselves") on blogs. I recall my Syrian friend sharing how 20 to 40 years ago the Arab people were quite liberal, however, they saw themselves getting defeated and their countries basically being pitiful so they decided to "go back to" the religion. Thus the women started donning the headscarf and society got more conservative. Their hope was that God would notice how they were changing themselves so He would then step in as their Savior. I can see how this verse would be special as one I hear quoted quite often and in a similar fashion is this promise from God to the children of Israel,
"14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7)
Some preachers and other religious folks urge Americans to do this so that God will heal our land.
13. The thunder sings His praises, and the angels too, for awe of Him. He sends thunder-bolts and strikes whosoever He will with them: Even then it is God they contend about! But mighty is He in (His) power.
I love the first part of this verse and hope next time I hear thunder, I realize it's merely singing praises! Love that imagery! Reminds me of David's words in Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
their words to the ends of the world.
27. The unbelievers say: "How is it that no miracle was sent down to him by his Lord?" Say: "God leads whosoever He wills astray, and guides whoever turns to Him in repentance. 28. Those who believe and find peace in their hearts from the contemplation of God: Surely there is peace of heart in the contemplation of God!"
I've heard people say that God guides people to Himself, but I am not sure I've heard the same thing about God leading people astray. Those in Christianity who believe in predestination would say that man is so depraved - so sinful - that they follow their own lusts astray so God cannot be blamed for that. But in agreement with the Quran, they would agree that God guides people to Himself.
I love verse 28 and how contemplating God brings peace to our hearts. I suppose this is true only if we are in right relationship with God. I can't imagine a person living in sin enjoying thoughts of God. :)
I noticed descriptions of Paradise several times in the suras. It always sounds green and refreshing!
38. We sent many apostles before you, and bestowed on them wives and children, but it was not for any apostle to come up with a miracle unless by the leave of God. For every age there is a law. 39. God abrogates or confirms whatsoever He will, for He has with Him the Book of Books.
I thought this part about every age having a law, God abrogating and confirming to be interesting. I assume the "Book of Books" refers to the Quran?
43. Yet those who are disbelievers say: "You are not the apostle sent (by God)." Tell them: "God is sufficient as witness between me and you, and he who has knowledge of the Book."
I thought this was a nice assurance for Muhammad. God is a sufficient witness for him. Who is "he who has knowledge of the Book"? Was the Quran a book at this time? I keep seeing references to it as either "Book" or "this Quran." I was always under the impression it wasn't written down at this point except maybe on scraps of leather or paper. Does anyone know?