"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Notes on Quran - Suras 4-6

Thanks to everyone who commented on my first post about my thoughts on the Quran. I greatly enjoyed having your feedback and hope to reply to you individually very soon. For now I wanted to do another post on the other suras I've read. Let me check my drafts folder for the verses I saved to ponder. :)

Ah, here they are.

Sura 4 - An Nisa' --

For some reason I saved these verses.

148. Allah loveth not that evil should be noised abroad in public speech, except where injustice hath been done; for Allah is He who heareth and knoweth all things.

149. Whether ye publish a good deed or conceal it or cover evil with pardon, verily Allah doth blot out (sins) and hath power (in the judgment of values).

150. Those who deny Allah and His apostles, and (those who) wish to separate Allah from His apostles, saying: "We believe in some but reject others": And (those who) wish to take a course midway,-

151. They are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and we have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment.

152. To those who believe in Allah and His apostles and make no distinction between any of the apostles, we shall soon give their (due) rewards: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Merciful.

Maybe I was thinking about Jews who reject Jesus and Christians who reject Muhammad in verse 150. Also I liked the reference to God blotting out sins in verse 149. What does wishing to take a course midway mean? Accepting some teachings and not others? I see there should be "no distinction between any of the apostles." Are prophets considered apostles in Islam? Are the words used interchangeably? Honestly I feel Muslims value Muhammad way more than any other prophet. For one thing he is mentioned in all prayers and calls to prayer..right up there with Allah. And why is there a special blessing on Muhammad compared to the others? I even see this on blogs where they'll write Muhammad (saws) and then other prophets (as). For a book that declares no distinction, most Muslims do not follow this! Just an observation on my part. :)


Sura 5 - Al Ma'ida --


44. It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah.s will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah.s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.

45. We ordained therein for them: "Life for life, eye for eye, nose or nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal." But if any one remits the retaliation by way of charity, it is an act of atonement for himself. And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers.

46. And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

47. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;


I thought this passage was interesting. It seems God gave a "holy book" for each group: the Law of Moses for the Jews, the Gospel of Jesus for his followers, and this new Scripture for Muhammad. Each was supposed to confirm the scripture that came before it. Yet it seems according to the latter half of 48 that God purposefully gave each group something a bit different. Perhaps He desired us to be divided in order to test us and make us "strive as in a race" of virtues. At least God is our common goal and He has promised to show us the truth in the matters we dispute. That's good to know! I find hope in this that if we seek God's direction as we wrestle with these various views - which is the right path? - He will show us the truth. Or should I say the Truth - as in God is Truth?


64. The Jews say: "(Allah)'s hand is tied up." Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Amongst them we have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war, Allah doth extinguish it; but they (ever) strive to do mischief on earth. And Allah loveth not those who do mischief.

65. If only the People of the Book had believed and been righteous, We should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss.

66. If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil.


Does the Jews' charge against God in verse 64 mean He is stingy? I think the "if onlys" took my attention in verses 65 and 66. If only are two of the saddest words in the English language.


101. O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Forbearing.

102. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.

103. It was not Allah who instituted (superstitions like those of) a slit-ear she- camel, or a she-camel let loose for free pasture, or idol sacrifices for twin-births in animals, or stallion-camels freed from work: It is blasphemers who invent a lie against Allah. but most of them lack wisdom.

104. When it is said to them: "Come to what Allah hath revealed; come to the Messenger.: They say: "Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following." what! even though their fathers were void of knowledge and guidance?

105. O ye who believe! Guard your own souls: If ye follow (right) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. the goal of you all is to Allah. it is He that will show you the truth of all that ye do.


I thought verses 101 and 102 were troubling, yet if I'm reading it correctly I see why many Muslims will not question things in their faith. It's almost like they are scared to delve too deeply for fear that the warning in verse 102 will come true! Why did asking questions make them lose their faith? Does this mean questions are bad? Granted, I also know Christians who seem to be this way, but my thinking is if your faith is right, it will stand even when questioned! If your truth is from God then why worry that it won't stand up to the questions? Furthermore if something is supposed to save you for all eternity, don't you want to make sure you are following the right path?


I liked the reminder if verse 105 that our goal is God and that He would show us the truth. It seems in verse 104 that they had a lot of people following tradition and what their parents and grandparents and great grandparents had followed for generations. If our goal is God and His truth then we must make sure what our fathers and mothers and grandparents have been following isn't just culture, isn't just tradition, isn't just what everyone else around us believes, but that it is from God! That's the lesson I learned from this passage!


And finally Sura 6 - Al An'am


34. Rejected were the apostles before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those apostles.


115. The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all.


I've heard Muslims say that the Bible we have now has been corrupted or changed. Yet I read verses such as these which declare that no one can alter God's words nor change them. A Muslim friend said this meant God's "original words" (which were altered by someone thus our corrupted Bibles). Yet don't we have pieces of our Bibles that predate Muhammad by a few hundred years? Copies that generally are the same as what we have now? I did a quick Google search on that this morning out of curiosity and although I didn't delve into the various websites thoroughly, I got the impression that there are some manuscripts in existence that predate Islam. And I don't know that I've seen a verse that claims the Bible in Muhammad's time was different somehow. Maybe I will find that as I keep reading.


Now I need to read some more suras before I'll have more notes. I think I'll post them more frequently so these posts are not so long. I welcome your thoughts and explanations on what I've written and on the verses. Thank you again for all who helped me out on my last post! I sincerely appreciate it!

18 comments:

Suroor said...

I’m writing from class – shh, so will be brief :)
wishing to take a course midway means - actually the word is middle path – meaning those who believe in some but not others are wishing to follow a path between the Right and the Wrong. They seem to want to find a middle path which is not the Right Path according to the Quran. So Jews rejecting Jesus and Christians rejecting Muhammad are both on the middle path which while not completely Wrong is not the Right Path either. Only Muslims are on the Right path because they accept all prophets.
Prophets, apostles, messengers are all used interchangeably in Islam.
To me it is more amusing that only a handful of Muslims will know what the Gospel is. Almost all Muslims are taught to believe that Gospel is one complete book revealed onto Jesus and that Jesus or his scribes wrote down the revelations just like the Quran and the Torah! Very few know the difference between the OT and the NT.
When someone doesn’t even know that Gospel is not a complete book revealed to Jesus you can’t argue with them that it is not corrupted.

Anonymous said...

Hey Susanne,
My friend, Sarira, told me about your blog. I just read your posts. I want to say that I really admire the fact you’re open minded enough to read the Quran for yourself. I thought I’d try to share some of my “answers” or my own reflections on some points you brought up. It’s a little long, though. Hey, I’m an English major- we’re not taught to be concise as much as we’re taught to expand our thoughts. LOL! :P

About why do Muslims seem to elevate the status of Prophet Mohamed if the Quran says “make no distinction between any of the apostles”….this is an interesting question. The truth is, though, that in order to understand this ayah correctly and to still understand Prophet Mohammed’s status, we need to look at what this ayah actually means.
When the Quran says “make no distinction between any of the apostles”, it mean that we believe in every single one of the prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Noah, Joseph, Lot, Yunus, Moses, Jesus, etc (alayhum as salaam). (We even believe in the prophets who were not mentioned by name in the Quran.) Thus, Muslims do not make a distinction between them in terms of belief. Let me try to make it clearer: if someone says that they believe in all of the prophets including Prophet Mohammed but they do not believe in Prophet Lot, for example, s/he would not be considered Muslim. Again, in order to be Muslims, we cannot deny any one of them.

Besides believing that they were prophets, we believe in every one of their miracles. Thus, as Sarira said, we believe that Jesus (as) , for example, had a divine birth, was able to speak upon birth, could resurrect the dead, could heal the blind and deaf, and was able to breathe life into clay birds- all through Allah’s help. (If we reject just a SINGLE one of these miracles, then we are considered nonbelievers) Similarly, we believe that Moses (as) was given a “stick” that would change into a serpent as proof of his prophet-hood and that the sea was split in half and a clear path made for him and his people to escape from Pharoah. We believe Prophet Noah was saved from the Great Flood. The idea, then, is we do not claim to believe in one prophet’s miracles and deny another….we can’t say “Oh, I believe Moses was able to split the sea but I don’t believe Jesus could raise the dead”. If we said anything remotely similar, we'd be differentiating between the prophets and making a major sin.

Anonymous said...

Continued...
So far, then, not making a distinction between them means recognizing they were ALL PROPHETS (all sent by God) and believing in every single one of their miracles. It means that we recognize that all of them are EQUAL in terms of the fact they are all HUMANS- none of the prophets was, in himself, more than a Prophet. If we claimed that any one of them (ex. Jesus) was more than a prophet, then, we would be making a distinction between the apostles. But we don’t say/ believe that.

It also means that we respect ALL of our prophets and esteem them greatly. As Muslims, we believe that Allah is the One who chose His messengers and He chose the very best people to deliver His Message. Thus, all of the messengers had the highest characters and morals; they were the most selfless, patient, honest, sincere, hard working, etc people. Muslims would never think to scorn, joke, mock, belittle or in any way belittle any ONE of the prophets. But, at the end of the day, none of them is worthy of worship; only Allah is. Instead, they are all equal in terms of the fact they were all PROPHETS.

This is what is meant by not making a distinction between the prophets. We believe in all of them and respect all of them, but we do not elevate one to the status of worship.

Now, before I answer about Prophet Mohammed’s status (saws), I just want to point out something most non-Muslims aren’t really aware of. Did you know that every year we’re encouraged to fast the day that Moses (as) was rescued? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashoora. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day; this is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Moosa fasted on this day.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “We are closer to Moosa than you.” So the Prophet fasted and encouraged us to fast; to differentiate ourselves from the Jews, however, he encouraged to fast an extra day before it or after it.

Anonymous said...

Continued...
Also, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hajj, right? Every able bodied Muslim who is financially capable must perform the Hajj once in their life. But what about the rites of Hajj? What exactly are Muslims doing? The reality is the majority of the rites of Hajj all celebrate Abraham, Hajar (his wife), and their son’s triumph over their selves and the Devil. Here are some of the rites: (I didn’t say it in order because the order can actually differ depending on which type of Hajj a Muslim decides to perform)… Muslims do tawaf, or circle the Kaaba (which Abrahim and his son laid the foundations of), 7 times and then they pray near “Maqam Ibrahim” (or where Ibrahim’s footsteps can still be found). They also commemorate Hajar’s struggle to find water for her son, Ismail, after Prophet Abraham left them in the desert at the command of Allah. Thus, Muslim men imitate her, running where she ran between the mountains looking for water. Muslim women walk the same area)Is there any other religion that has so memorialized a mother’s act of love? Perhaps you’ve heard about Muslims throwing pebbles at a pillar and wonder how that could have anything to do with Ibrahim? Well, we believe that when Allah commanded Ibrahim to slaughter his son, the Devil tried to tempt Ibrahim, Hajar, and Ismail not to follow Allah’s commandment. However, each time he went to one of them to try to seduce them from submitting to Allah’s Will, they would throw pebbles in his direction, determined not to falter and to submit. So what we’re actually doing when we throw the pebbles is announcing that we will do our best to imitate Ibrahim’s family’s steadfastness in the face of temptation and the Devil. Finally, I’m sure you’ve heard that Muslims slaughter an animal near the completion of Hajj- again, this is because Allah sent a sheep to be slaughtered instead of Ismail when He saw that the whole family had truly submitted.

What’s my point with all of this? I’m trying to say is that though we love Prophet Mohammed, we also love and revere all of our prophets.

Now what is Prophet Mohammed’s status? Prophet Mohammed said, “My parable among the Prophets is that of a man who built a house and did a good and complete job, apart from the space of one brick which he did not put in its place. The people started to walk around the building, admiring it and saying, "If only that brick were put in its place. '' Among the Prophets, I am like that brick.) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said "Hasan Sahih.”

Anonymous said...

The Prophet, then, did not elevate his own status. However, we believe that Allah ,(swt) Himself, elevated Prophet Mohammed’s status. Allah chose Him to be his final Messenger- the one to deliver the most Holy of His Books, the Quran. As the Seal of the Messengers, he was the one who led us BACK to the true path after people had begun to ascribe partners to God.

Now, you might be thinking but that’s what Christians think about Jesus….the difference is that as much as we love Prophet Mohammed (and we love him more than our own souls), we NEVER pray to him or through him. We never ask him to help us….In fact, anyone who does something like that would be considered a NONBELIVER . Thus, his status is not elevated to the status of worship and that makes him EQUAL to the other prophets.

Anonymous said...

About these two verses:
101. O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur'an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, Allah will forgive those: for Allah is Oft- forgiving, Most Forbearing.
102. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.

Your reflections are spot on. If you read this verse quickly and without any background knowledge, it really seems like it’s telling us to have “blind faith” and to just accept Islam without thinking. But this isn’t the spirit of the Quran, at all. In fact, the Quran constantly asks us questions/ challenges us to think for ourselves to come to the Truth:
- “See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the Cause? Were it Our Will, We could crumble it to dry powder, and ye would be left in wonderment” 56:63-65
- “See ye the water which ye drink? Do ye bring it Down (in rain) from the Cloud, or do We? Were it Our Will, We could make it salt (and unpalatable): then why do ye not give thanks?” 56:68-70
- Say: “Who is the Lord and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “(It is) Allah.” Say: “Do ye then take (for worship) protectors other than Him, such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves?” Say: “Are the blind equal with those who see? Or the depths of darkness equal with Light?” Or do they assign to Allah partners who have created (anything) as He has created, so that the creation seemed to them similar? Say: “Allah is the Creator of all things: He is the One, the Supreme and Irresistible.” 13:16

Constantly, then, the Quran asks us to THINK- to reflect on signs in nature, in ourselves, and all around. It asks us to use logic and to probe deeply into everything. Furthermore, it elevates the status of those with understanding and it says they are the ones who truly worship God.
Say: are those equal, those who know and those who do not know? It is those who are endued with understanding that receive admonition. 39/9

Anonymous said...

So, then, what does that that ayah refer to? Let’s look at another translation to understand the ayah better and then we’ll look at the reason of revelation which should make everything clear.
Khalifa translates it saying: O you who believe, do not ask about matters which, if revealed to you prematurely, would hurt you. If you ask about them in light of the Quran, they will become obvious to you. GOD has deliberately overlooked them. GOD is Forgiver, Clement.
Okay, now to make it even more clear:
There are two reasons the ayah was revealed. Some people used to put questions to the Prophet PBUH to mock him. One would ask him: 'Who is my real father?' And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed about them this verse (O ye who believe! Ask not of things which, if they were made unto you, would trouble you) up to the end of the verse”.

The other reason:'Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be well pleased with him, who said: “When the verse (And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind) [3:97], people asked: 'O Messenger of Allah, is it every year?' He did not answer but they asked him again: 'Is it every year?' He kept silent. When they asked him the fourth time he said: 'No! But if I had said 'yes!' it would have been incumbent upon you to go to pilgrimage every year'.

So what is Allah telling us here? Sayyid Abdul Ala Maududi writes:
There are certain things and commandments which have been left vague and without details. This is not because the Law-giver had forgoten to give details or to make them specific but because He did not intend to limit these in order to leave a wide scope for the people. Therefore if a person goes on creating one issue after the other, by putting unnecessary and useless questions and thus creates limitations and specifications, he puts the people to unnecessary trouble.

Amber said...

Susanne,

I know that Muslims say that they accept all the prophets equally, but in practice, it really doesn't appear to be true. As you say, Mohammed is mentioned in all the prayers, yet they don't list all, or even most, of the prophets like that. The 'saws' vs. 'as', as well. And there is the belief that Mohammed was the 'perfect' example, which is why Muslims attempt to emulate him down to how to sit and eat.

'O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.'

That's always struck me as the people being told not to question. I know some Muslims will argue otherwise, but it looks like a clear injunction that if you come to something that gives you trouble, to stop asking about it. Whether or not it's being understood correctly, this just lends to the blind faith of so many people. They're *told* not to question.

We have copies of the Bible that predate Mohammed, yes. And the content is the same, essentially, as what we have today. I think the 'corruption' that Muslims believe happened is supposed to have happened before everything was written down. It's all St. Paul's fault, you know. *tongue firmly in cheek* And, any 'corruption' that happened afterward, well, we managed to destroy all the things that would prove it. Because we're clever like that.

Now, from what I recall, Mohammed's interaction with Christians was mainly with heretical sects, so yes, what he met with and what the truth was that was consistently being taught would be two different beasts. Add in the changes to Biblical stories that were made, and if he's to maintain his claim of divine revelation, then he has to say that the Jewish and Christian accounts were corrupted.

Wafa' said...

Muslims think that all prophets are the same, but even in the Quran there are favored ones.ones who are mentioned more than the rest.
But why Muhammad especially? it's because he was the last prophet and with him all devine messages from God has stopped. Muslims believe that all religions are from the same God and that each one completed the previous one, and since Islam is the final religion then it has completed all previous ones. hence the prefrence of Muhammad and when we say "peace b upon him" it's because we were asked to say it everytime we mentioned his name, that's why you would find it rarly that any Muslims would say only Muhammad.

You will find through reading the Quran that God has created us differently and the stress that if He wanted us to be alike or all Muslims or Jews or Christians that He would be creating us this way, but He didn't.
And sadly that's one of the things that a lot of Muslims keep skipping that we are not supposed to be alike, we should be different.

As of the truth , yes it means
" God is Truth" . And that's one of the biggest notion of Islam , believeing in God and worshipping Him.

God is not stingy, that's what the Quran said was the accusation of the Jews and then He answered them immeditely by saying
" Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth (of His bounty) as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from Allah increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy"

Finally, i know that Islam asked us to ask and wonder and question to find the truth and you will find lots of verses and stories about that from the Quran.
i am not sure about this verse, but i guess the warning may come for those who ask not to find the truth but to cause trouble and suspecious and so on. Because that's what some at the early history of Islam used to do to disturbe people.
Another thing is that yes there is a few times in the quran you will find the request or order not to question and just believe,but...is not that what faith all about ? "believe without asking" and that what would some say. As for me ,i will keep asking and questioning until i got my answers.

Susanne said...

OK, I'm starting at the top comment and responding as I read. Here goes...

Suroor, thanks for writing from class. Ha, ha! I appreciate your explanation of the middle path. Makes sense.

Good points about the Gospel's revelation and such. And it being different from Torah and Quran. You know for us the Gospel or "good news" is JESUS. Not necessarily the books written although they teach us about Christ. But the actual "good news" is Jesus and what he did for us - according to our views of course. :)

I appreciate your help!

Susanne said...

Hello Anon (Sarira's Friend), thank you for dropping by and leaving your own thoughts and reflections on these verses. I truly appreciate that! :)

I enjoyed reading your explanation of the distinctions verse I mentioned. You made your stance much clearer and in a good way. I didn't know about the fasting for Ashoora...that's interesting. But is it only Shiites that do this or all Muslims? I know about the Ramadan fasting, but not this. I thank you for the interesting facts. :)

The Hajj part is interesting. I am familiar with it somewhat, but I like how you wrote it very nicely. Of course your facts about Abraham differ from the Jewish and Christian recollection in the Bible, but it was nice reading the other point of view and why Muslim pilgrims do certain things like throwing stones and running to certain areas. That's pretty neat. :)

I'd never heard Muhammad compared to a brick - hmmm! It reminded me of Jesus being called the chief cornerstone in the Bible.

Here's one instance from Peter in Acts 4.

10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Neat comparison!

Thanks for the verses and explanation concerning the spirit of Islam wanting you to think. As I said in my first post, I am just reading straight through and seeing what stands out to me. So when I read those verses which seem to encourage not asking questions for fear of losing faith, you can see why that troubled me. :) But I appreciate the additional information you shared to help me see this is not necessarily the case.

"This is not because the Law-giver had forgoten to give details or to make them specific but because He did not intend to limit these in order to leave a wide scope for the people. "

So there is an element of personal freedom in deciding what is required or not?


Thank you again for all your help! I enjoyed reading your replies. :)

Susanne said...

Amber,

I'm glad you can relate to my thoughts about Muhammad's elevated status. Anon (above), at least, explained why they felt justified in doing this. I appreciated hearing her thoughts on it.

Yes, I've often thought Muslims seemed almost too "frightened" to question things. Not all of them obviously and like I said I know plenty of Christians who seem to accept things blindly, but I think a bit of doubt and searching is a good thing - for ALL of us at times.

Ah, St. Paul....I see. Yes, quite the corrupter. :) How dare he preach overcoming evil with good! :-P


"Add in the changes to Biblical stories that were made, and if he's to maintain his claim of divine revelation, then he has to say that the Jewish and Christian accounts were corrupted."

Yes, that's true since the Bible and Quran do not agree on even simple Jewish history stories. Good point. I see why Muhammad was motivated to claim corruption. Interesting!

Thanks for your comment! :-)

Susanne said...

Wafa', thank you for sharing your perspective. I greatly enjoyed reading what you had to say.

" we are not supposed to be alike, we should be different. "

I like that. It would be a boring world if we were all replicas of each other. :)

"Another thing is that yes there is a few times in the quran you will find the request or order not to question and just believe,but...is not that what faith all about?"

Indeed! I guess I was just surprised that it implied those who asked questions lost their faith. But maybe that's why -- it was no longer faith. :) Ha, ha...good answer, Wafa'! ;)

"As for me ,i will keep asking and questioning until i got my answers."

You're cute. :) I wonder what answers you seek.

Thank you for your lovely comment!

Durriyyah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Durriyyah said...

Sorry for removing a comment of mine... I realized I had a to-do list at the top of the notepad I was using on my laptop. **blush**

In ayah 4:150, that's how I understand it as well, is picking and choosing what they believe. We are not at a religion buffet, you know? :) Prophets and Messengers are slightly different in that one type brought a book and others pointed to previous books… I forget which is which, sorry. I think apostles just refers to both in this translation.

I had the same feeling, that Muslims value Muhammad (pbuh) more than the others, until I understood that valuing Muhammad (pbuh) in turn values everything he taught, which includes the value of all the other Prophets. Revering another Prophet doesn't have this all-inclusive meaning behind it. We make no distinction on who brought a "better message" or the like, because all the messages were sent by God. Also, in humankind, we have the best and most reliable documentation of the teachings of Muhammad (pbuh) in comparison to other Prophets, which also gives more attention to him.

Interesting note - Muhammad isn't mentioned the most in the Qur'an. Moses is, and Muhammad isn't second either.

Qur'an 5:48 - Each book had slightly different "rules" or Shariah, as Muslims call it. Just as an example of changing laws, the children of Adam and Eve had no restrictions on who they could marry; they had to marry their brother or sister. Now, there is a law that prohibits marrying your brother or sister. Likewise, some laws have changed through time, but the message of monotheism stays the same. Also, as earlier books have been changed or lost, this is a test to humankind on which they will follow. Look at some Christians today, they choose to follow their own version of Christianity and water down some core principles or rules to fit their own desires. The book will be a test for them on the Day of Judgement. They claimed to follow it, but did they? Each of us will be tested in such a way.

5:64 - The Jews in this verse are "blaming" Allah for their own stinginess and committing blasphemy.

I agree that how humans use "if only" is sad. I think we must be careful though not to attribute these weaknesses to God. :)

5:101-105 - There are good questions, and honestly, useless questions. The useless questions are the unnecessary "how." How does God hear everything? Does he have a million ears? How does He see everything? Are his eyes bigger than the moon? Other useless questions are unnecessary "whys." Why did my grandmother die of cancer? Why didn't God make me taller? Why was I born with a handicap? These are the questions that take people out of any faith. The questions that truly affect your faith and how you practice your worship to God are the ones that matter and SHOULD be questioned. Why do we pray? How should we pray? Who is God? What does he want and expect from us? God tells us in the Qur'an to reflect and ponder.

Your notes on Surah 6 - The New Testament doesn't contain the original book that Jesus brought, the Gospel. The Gospels as we have them today are written from third parties that documented what they found to be the stories of Jesus, what we taught, and what he said. Much of the remaining books of the New Testament are not considered the Word of God by Muslims as Paul was not a Prophet, nor did he claim to be.

In both passages, it appears that the Word of God is referred to as His decree and judgement in the situations outlined. When God decrees a matter, it can not be changed.

Susanne said...

Durriyyah, no problem! I was puzzled for a second thinking "Is Durriyyah trying to sell me some insurance?" ;) Then I figured it out and thought it cute. :)

Good point about the religion buffet! It seems that Quran believes its readers/followers already know the previous stories in full since much of the details are NOT in the Quran. (Quran seems more of a summary or a reference with small details not the full stories.) Maybe we all are a bit at fault for not knowing what came previously (Torah, Gospel, etc.) and after (Quran, hadith)? Interesting bit to ponder anyway. :)

Thanks for sharing your understanding of valuing Muhammad and why that was important. Good point! Ah so Moses is mentioned the most - that's cool. I have noticed him quite a bit so far in my reading. Interesting take on 5:48 -- I like your explanation.

Love your example of useless questions - so true! Some of those made me laugh. :-D

Thanks for your thoughts on the NT books today and Paul. No, Paul never claimed to be a prophet although he did claim to be an apostle. There is a difference in my understanding of those words.

I appreciate your thoughts! Thanks much! :)

Durriyyah said...

There's quite a bit of difference with the intention behind the stories in the Qur'an and in the Bible. The Bible serves as a history book along with direct revelation, hadith (sayings of the Prophets), and biography. The Qur'an is a book of guidance (see Qur'an 2:2) and guidance only. If there are details that wouldn't change how we worship God, it isn't included. When we look at it in such a way, we hang in each word and ponder how this would make us a better worshiper of God. In contrast, the Bible has some parts that the typical follower really doesn't need to be concerned with (the lineage that we find in I believe Numbers and other OT books). Also, how many cubits the ark was in length and width doesn't make any difference in how I understand the meaning and relevance of the story of Noah.

Also, you'll notice as you go along that some stories are repeated over and over (and over...) and it can seem repetitive, but in each instance we are told another detail to provide another piece of guidance. This is where the commentary really comes in handy, or knowing the surrounding situation of when the verses were revealed.

Susanne said...

Durriyyah, right, I understand. I just meant if people wanted to know the stories of Adam, Lot, Abraham, David and so forth to get a better picture of their histories, it would probably be helpful to read the biblical accounts.

I see what you are getting at though. Thank you!