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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Notes on Quran - Sura 29 & 30

Sura 29 - al - 'Ankabut

"The Spider" starts off with a great question.

2. Do men think they will get away by saying: "We believe," and will not be tried?

It made me think of James and the whole faith without works is dead thing. Basically it's not simply saying "Sure, I believe." Well, in a sense it might be, however, this belief will produce good deeds. Willllll, will, will! None of this "I believe," but your life is as sorry as it always was. A living faith works.

I always think it's funny how the Quran points out all of Lot's family would be saved except his wife who was destined to stay behind. I've seen it in other suras and twice here! (vs. 32 &33) What's the deal with not liking Lot's wife? I especially like the "old woman" reference in one of the suras I've read. Cracks me up. :)

This sura makes mention just a bit of Noah, Abraham, Lot, Moses, Shu'aib and Thalmud and also speaks of a spider.

41. The semblance of those who take protectors besides God is that of the spider. She arranges a house for herself, but the flimsiest of houses is the spider's. If only they had sense!

On another blog I was reading the other day about how there are more women in hell according to Islamic tradition. Today I found out why!

They say women tend to be more emotional than men, right? I know it's gender stereotyping perhaps and there are exceptions, but generally speaking women are a bit more emotional than our male counterparts. Men, they say, are more logic-minded. Women, the caregivers and nurturers. So, I saw these verses ...

43.  These are precepts of wisdom We offer to men, but only those who are rational understand. 44. God has created the heavens and the earth with reason. Surely in this is a sign for those who believe.

and found out that only the rational understand! Since men tend to be a bit more rational [and I will be the first to admit this is debatable], thus it makes sense for Islamic scholars to say that hell has more women! Like my logic there? ;)

Sura 30 ar-Rum

I liked all the "there are signs in this for those who understand" verses. Anything from humans being dispersed everywhere, to our variety of colors and languages, to the signs in the sky, the breezes and rain. All signs for those who reflect and get it.

21.  Another of His signs is that He created mates of your own kind of yourselves so that you may get peace of mind from them, and has put love and compassion between you. Verily there are signs in this for those who reflect.

The one about marriage was especially good and made me think of how marriage is treated in the Bible. Paul says it's a mystery of Christ and the Church. So when I read this quranic verse, I reflected and thought of this wonderful relationship of how Christ cherishes and cares for his Bride, the Church. He even gave his life for it. Thus he commands men to do the same for their wives.

28.  He gives you an example from your own life: Do you possess among your dependants any partners in what We have bestowed on you, so that you and they have equal (share) in it, and that you fear them as you fear each other? That is how We explain Our signs clearly for those who comprehend.

Obviously I'm not one of those who can comprehend since this was supposed to be clear. Can one of you explain for me?


Sarah said...

Still enjoying these posts a lot!

I looked up the Arabic for the word translated as "rational" in 29:43 and it seems to be from the same root as 'ilm, knowledge. Better translated as "those who have knowledge" I think. So it seems to be saying that only those with knowledge will understand the meaning of the parables in the Quran.

30:28 - Muhammad Asad might help clarify it:

(28) He propounds unto you a parable drawn from your own life: [Lit., “a parable (mathal) from yourselves”.] Would you [agree to] have some of those whom your right hands possess [I.e., slaves or persons otherwise subject to ones authority.] as [full-fledged] partners in whatever We may have bestowed upon you as sustenance, so that you [and they] would have equal shares in it, and you would fear [to make use of it without consulting] them, just as you might fear [the more powerful of] your equals?

[Lit., “yourselves” - i.e., “those who are equal to you in status”. The question is, of course, rhetorical, and must be answered in the negative. But if (so the implied argument goes) a human master would not willingly accept his slaves as full-fledged partners - even though master and slave are essentially equal by virtue of the humanness common to both of them (Zamakhshari) - how can man regard any created beings or things as equal to Him who is their absolute Lord and Master, and is beyond comparison with anything that exists or could ever exist? (Parables with a similar purport are found in 16: 75-76.) Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason.

Susanne said...

Sarah, thanks much for the explanation! That was helpful.

I was being a bit on the joking side with my rational comment re: more women in hell. I was pretending I'd solved the mystery! Yes, I'm a nerd. :D

I appreciate your comment!

Hijabis On Ranting Tour. said...

Your blog is interesting nice that you are erm studying the quran in depth, (i find people who study other religions cool, i have a bible which i am currently reading and its cool ) i only memorised parts of the arabic quran trying to finish it but the kind of arabic in the quran is so very different from the kind we speak now so it is difficult to understand the translations fully, because we dnt even have the same vocabulary anymore if i making any sense lol, just so you know your not the only one who may be unable to comprehend it all :P
naz@ somalianarab.blogspot.com

Hijabis On Ranting Tour. said...

OO btw i have a theory on women in hell thing :P aparently theres a higher population of women then men in the world-therefore duh more ppl to commit ins thatd tke them 2 hell :P

Sarah said...

Oops, I didn't get that it was a joke about the reason for more women being in hell! I got that you didn't really believe it, but I took it more seriously than it was.

So for 30:28, I think it is basically saying: since the people it addresses would never allow their slaves to be equal to them, how can they think God would allow any created being to be equal to him when he is beyond comparison with any created thing?

How do you feel about that as a Christian? Is this also the reason why worship or prayer to anything besides God is wrong in Christianity - is it an insult to God in this way? Or is it just that prayer to created idols is ineffective and useless?

Susanne said...

Naz, welcome and thanks for your comment. LOL @ your theory of the women in hell thing. I've heard that one too. It makes the most sense, doesn't it? My "theory" here was mostly a joke as I mentioned above to Sarah. I know it's hard to tell tone of voice while writing and reading comments. I like to pretend sometimes that I am a hero who can solve mysteries! Ha! :-)

" i only memorised parts of the arabic quran trying to finish it but the kind of arabic in the quran is so very different from the kind we speak now so it is difficult to understand the translations fully, because we dnt even have the same vocabulary anymore"

Yes, that makes perfect sense. I've heard that Arabic has so many different "dialects" that not all Arabs can understand each other. :)

Again, thanks for your comment. I'll have to check out your blog to learn more about you. :)

Susanne said...


"Oops, I didn't get that it was a joke about the reason for more women being in hell! I got that you didn't really believe it, but I took it more seriously than it was."

No problem!! It wasn't really a good joke...just my weird reasoning as I tried to solve a quranic mystery. :) How would you know how I was thinking? At least you got that I didn't really believe it and I LOVED the explanation you gave so I'm so glad you commented on the rational/knowledge thing! Your comments are always enriching to my understanding. Thank you so much for that!

As for your question, yes, I think worshiping and praying to something besides God is ineffective since a mere statue can't even move on its own. Granted maybe the statue *represents* some force out there so people aren't merely worshiping something made of brass or gold. I think worshiping false gods IS offensive to God. You can really get that if you read the OT and see how often the Israelites did worship false gods and how often God lamented the fact. So I agree with the Quran in this matter. If Jesus were a mere human to me, I would not worship him. This is why I "mock" Muslims sometimes who seem to worship Muhammad more than a mere human should be allowed. At least with Jesus, I have an "excuse" since I believe him to be one of the three persons that make up The God. I know that is weird and hard to understand, but I worship one God ("the God" if you will) who reveals Himself to man in different ways, different "persons." As the Father, as the Son and as the Spirit. I don't worship Moses, Abraham, John the Baptist or Paul because they are men. Muhammad is a man. I don't worship him either.Jesus, on the other hand...well, you know. ;)

Thanks for your great follow-up question!

Suroor said...

Interesting post with a lot of latent humour :-D Do you like my description of your humour? :D

Three more posts ;)

Susanne said...

Suroor, yes! You make me laugh! :-D

Durriyyah said...

Here's the hadith you're mentioning about the majority of people in Hell are women. It shows us that we must be mindful to be grateful:

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I was shown Hell and I have never seen anything more terrifying than it. And I saw that the majority of its people are women.” They said, “Why, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “Because of their ingratitude (kufr).” It was said, “Are they ungrateful to Allaah?” He said, “They are ungrateful to their companions (husbands) and ungrateful for good treatment. If you are kind to one of them for a lifetime then she sees one (undesirable) thing in you, she will say, ‘I have never had anything good from you.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1052) 

I like that you made mention of the verse of the spider. I love this analogy.

30:21 - This is a beautiful verse about the relationship between man and wife. I think it goes to show that marriage isn't just some wife getting beat down by her husband in Islam. :) Can you explain further about the "mystery" of the Bride and the Church? I am always a bit taken aback by things that are described as a "mystery" within Christianity. Interesting, my husband tells me that when he was studying Revelations in a Bible study class, the teacher concluded that the Bride of Christ is Jerusalem and not the Church

30:28 - This is a parable of sharing your status/wealth with your descendants, or kids (creation in God's terms). It is meant to make us think of why we might be worshipping God's creation instead of God. This relates both to full blown shirk (associating partners with God), which is obvious, and "hidden shirk" where you aim your life towards getting money, fame, etc. Whatever you strive for and center your life around, is your god.

Susanne said...

Durriyah, thanks for another great comment! I appreciate you sharing the hadith about women in hell. I think I've read it before on other blogs, but it's always good to see it again in order to remember the full thing. I guess we women will just have to remember to be grateful to our husbands, huh? :)

" Whatever you strive for and center your life around, is your god. "

I totally believe that! Idols aren't just little wooden or gold statues, but *anything* more important to you than God. Thanks for the explanation of that passage!

Here is what I was talking about re: Christ and the Church and where I got the "mystery" terminology. :)

22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Interesting that your husband's Bible study group concluded the Bride was Jerusalem. I have heard of Israel being the Bride, I think. Meaning the Jewish people, not the city/country. Thanks for sharing that.