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

Monday, June 7, 2010

Notes on Quran - Sura 31 & 32

Sura 31 -- Luqman


This sura begins with reminders of the good things in store for the obedient believers and the "shameful punishment" for those who hear the revelations yet turn from them with pride (vs. 7). We are introduced to a man named Luqman who is giving counsel to his son about following God and doing His orders.

As you can read for yourself on this interesting post, Arabs of Muhammad's day already knew about these so-called "scientific miracles" of the Quran. They never claimed them as proofs of divine revelation because the miracle of the Quran was, well, the Quran. And its poetic beauty. So it was more of an aesthetic miracle than a scientific one.

I could see that from this verse. It's like a given that the people could either see or already realized these things from past scientific knowledge.

10. He created the skies without a support, as you can see, and placed stabilisers in the earth that you may dwell at ease as it revolves; and dispersed on it all varieties of creatures, and He sent down water from the skies and grew all kinds of splendid things upon it.

The challenge isn't to our minds that these stabilisers might just be a miracle that will be proven hundreds of years from now. Hindus believed the earth was stabilized by pegs years before Islam came on the scene. Instead the quranic challenge is for everyone to see what God has created and copy it! No one can create out of nothing like God.

11. Such is God's creation. Show me now what those (they worship) beside Him have created. Surely the evil-doers are in clear error.

26.  To God belongs what is in the heavens and the earth. Verily He is all-sufficient, worthy of praise.

I think this verse is pretty!



27. If all the trees of the earth were pens and the oceans ink, with many more oceans for replenishing them, the colloquy of God would never come to end. He is indeed all-mighty and all-wise.

This verse about the "colloquy of God" never ending - which I'm sure is some of that famous Middle Eastern exaggeration to make a point - reminded me of another example of it from John 21.

25Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

Have you ever heard people joke about "hope things are back to normal soon...whatever that is"? The "joke" is that "normal" is rather subjective. I think that's why I liked this verse.

30. That is so for God is the Reality, and what they invoke other than Him is illusion. Indeed God is all-high and supreme.

While it doesn't speak of "normal," it speaks of God as "the Reality." I like to think of God setting the standard of what is Real, Right, Truth... we could call it True Normal maybe.

34. Only God has the knowledge of the Hour. He sends rain from the heavens, and knows what is in the mothers' wombs. No one knows what he will do on the morrow; no one knows in what land he will die. Surely God knows and is cognisant.

This verse took my attention. I totally agree that God is all-knowing. The part that gave me pause was about no one knowing in which land he will die. This made me reflect on those who perhaps have died while fighting for their countries or their causes in other lands, for those might be traveling abroad for pleasure or business or even nomadic people who cross from one country to the next without maybe realizing this fact. It's an interesting thought to realize only God knows in which land we shall die. My great-grandmother likely never realized when she and her husband traveled to China nearly 100 years ago that she would end up dying and being buried there due to complications from child birth. And another missionary friend had served for over 30 years in West Africa when one night as he and a native were returning from a meeting they were killed when a vehicle struck them. This verse made me think of them.



Sura 32 - al-Sajdah

2. The revelation of this Book free of doubt and involution is from the Lord of all the worlds.

I'd no sooner read the first line and questioned and noted this "free from doubt" on my paper when I continued on and read

3.  Or do they say he has fabricated it? In fact, it is the truth from your Lord so that you may warn the people to whom no admonisher was sent before you. They may haply come to guidance.

That "in fact" part got me! Ha, ha! The thing is there are and were doubts though I'm sure people translate this as another kind of freedom from doubt. :) As for "involution" -- I question that this "revelation" is completely free from complexity. While the main message may be simple, the good deed/bad deed point system and rules for getting forgiveness or not can get a bit much when you add following Muhammad's every action. Or maybe it's so ingrained in the Muslims that it's second-nature and not difficult or complex at all.

12. If only you could see when the sinners will stand before their Lord, heads hung low, (and say:) "O Lord, we have seen and heard. So send us back. We shall do the right, for we have come to believe with certainty." 13. Had We intended We could have given every soul its guidance; but inevitable is My word that I will fill up Hell with men and jinns together. 14. So now suffer. As you forgot the meeting of this your Day of Doom, so have We forgotten you. Now taste the everlasting punishment for your deeds.

These are really sad verses, aren't they? Contrast verse 13 with this one.

22.  Who is more wicked than he who is reminded of his Lord's revelations yet turns away from them; We will surely requite the sinners.

In 13 I see it was God's will that many be damned whereas in 22 it seems men were reminded yet turned away of their own accord. The predestination/free will conflict gets me!

9 comments:

mani said...

Alham-Du-Lillah

Thanks for share, really helpful. Also, please take a look at my blog
www.religionislamconcepts.muslimblogs.com
Allah help us both to spread the message of Islam.

I AM NOBODY said...

hehe-up there ;)

I hope you're doing great...left a LONG LONG message but decided towards the end of my book/message I would just copy paste all that in an email and finish it off. I kept saying I don't have time, but I find myself here again and I think about you too much and that I need to write you so...now I am off to gmail..

Lots of love

p.s. I'd like to file a complaint with corporate headquarters please...I find my word verification very offensive! I need to go look this word up in a dictionary and see if it really exist and whats the meaning. I am crossing my fingers it has nothing to do with any of my female parts as it suggest...lets see?!

Suroor said...

"The revelation of this Book free of doubt and involution is from the Lord of all the worlds."

I have a question for you Susanne - do you believe in the OT and NT as the word of God or words inspired by God?

Do you see some of those words and concepts in the Quran?

So even if the Quran is *copying* from the OT and the NT, aren't those (copied) words/concepts (in the Quran) from the "Lord of all the worlds"?

Muhammad as well as earlier Muslims were certain in that the Torah and the Gospel were the exact words of God revealed to Moses and Jesus and so if those concepts or verses or words are in the Quran, they too are from the one God.

Suroor said...

Loved the post, btw!

Susanne said...

Mani, thanks for your comment. :)

Susanne said...

Shell, yikes! Sorry for the offensive word. They have some weird ones at times, don't they?

I loved your e-mail. I hope you got my reply! Thanks much for taking time to write. You are such an encouragement! :)

Susanne said...

Suroor, thought-provoking questions and comment. Hmmmm.


"I have a question for you Susanne - do you believe in the OT and NT as the word of God or words inspired by God? "

I've always believed it was God's word to us that He sent through men. Like Scripture is given to us through men...they were inspired to write His message to mankind. They were not word for word direct statements from God, but the message was what God wanted us to have. This is why you can have poetic words from David and also words with more prophetic flavor, more legal flavor, more farmer flavor, more scribe flavor depending on who was writing.

"Do you see some of those words and concepts in the Quran?"

Some, yes.

"So even if the Quran is *copying* from the OT and the NT, aren't those (copied) words/concepts (in the Quran) from the "Lord of all the worlds"? "

Yes, but I think you know what's LEFT OUT is of most importance to me. Right? :)

I know honoring parents and treating people kindly and justly is important and I think the Quran makes a strong case for this. However, it's what is left out that voids it for me. I know I am intolerant this way, but it's the main tenant of my faith so I would be totally dismissing my whole faith if I just accepted the Quran's good (but insufficient [to me] message) without question.

"Muhammad as well as earlier Muslims were certain in that the Torah and the Gospel were the exact words of God revealed to Moses and Jesus and so if those concepts or verses or words are in the Quran, they too are from the one God."

Yes, I understand!

Thanks for your good questions! :)

Durriyyah said...

*sigh* I'm -finally- getting back to this. You're unfortunately seeing my personal lack of consistency. Eek!

31:10 - Ah, but one thing to note is that each time the scientific facts were "known" is from revelation… not from scientific knowledge. When people are saying that "no one knew this until 100 years ago", we are normally talking about the scientific knowledge and coming up with proof for our belief in these facts. True enough, knowing that the Hindus had knowledge of such things is news to me, but it doesn't make the Qur'an less miraculous in the scientific facts that we have only been able to prove recently.

I agree that the challenge is to copy it, and this is my main argument to the typical atheist… if there's nothing so miraculous about this world, then do it yourself; recreate it.

31:27 - Do you think that the words of God would ever come to an end? Just food for thought… If we really think about the Majesty of God, I think this verse is well within reality. :)

31:30 - I think you're right with this… God sets the standard. In Islam we believe He sets the middle way (Islam) and anything outside of that is "extreme." We can't set the standards based on social norms. For instance, how many people does the average person kill? Let's say it is 1 (taking into consideration persons in war, serial killers, etc.). So, would killing 2 be within an acceptable range? Maybe only 1 per person, but 3 would be extreme? Yeah right! God tells us that 0 is the middle and anything outside of that is extreme… including "only" 1, even if the average person does so.

32:2 - See 2:2

Your comment reminds me of this hadith:

On the authority of Abu 'Abdullah al-Nu'man bin Bashir, radiyallahu 'anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, say:

"Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart."
[Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

The last sentence is very close to a verse in the Bible, if I remember correctly. We make things challenging when we try to count each and every thing we do. We aren't told how God keeps count of our deeds so we can do this work for Him, but rather so we are extremely clear that we are kept in account for each and everything we do. This aids us in taqwa (God consciousness) and reminding ourselves each day to do the best we can.

32:13 - I read this as saying "Had We intended, there would have not been any free will." See what I'm saying? God knows how we are going to act upon guidance and therefore determines before we are born what will happen only because He is not subject to time, only we are.

And just about your note to Suroor, but what you believe to be left out, is it in the Bible explicitly as the doctrine is followed today? Original sin - where is this in the OT? Just some things to chew on. :)

Susanne said...

Durriyyah, so I guess the Hindus were receivers of God's revelations especially about scientific knowledge? I suppose that's a definite possibility as I don't think I should limit God to ONLY working with people in the Abrahamic religions.

"I agree that the challenge is to copy it, and this is my main argument to the typical atheist… if there's nothing so miraculous about this world, then do it yourself; recreate it. "

Great response! Create your own dirt, right? :)

Thanks for your replies to the other verses in this post!

About what I wrote Suroor, I was referring to the blood of Christ and what it means for human salvation/atonement for sins. The Quran has a fine message at times, but it strongly promotes ME as my own savior whereas the message of the Bible is that God is the savior. That was what I was referring to. Not really the doctrine of original sin. Let me ask you, did your mom ever have to teach you how to lie and be selfish? Did you teach those things to your daughter? Or did they just kind of, well, come naturally?

I appreciated your comments!