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

Friday, June 18, 2010

Notes on Quran - Sura 49 - 53

Sura 49 - al-Hujurat

This sura begins with a warning to those who spoke loudly in Muhammad's presence. Maybe they were arguing and questioning him so God sent this verse for Muhammad's peace of mind. Quite an incentive for keeping your voice low and reverent with the promise of forgiveness and a great reward for those who comply! My thoughts -- if someone were coming to me with revelations they claimed were from God then I would likely be asking questions and wanting to hear his qualifications. So this command is to basically censor myself from finding out the truth even with the threat of my deeds being nullified if I dare to question.

The next verses talk of promoting peace between two groups who differ as well as admonishing the believers against slander, gossip and backbiting. There is also a reminder that the faithful are brothers so they should get along.

9. If two groups of believers come to fight one another, promote peace between them. Then if one of them turns aggressive against the other, fight against the aggressive party till it returns to God's authority. If it does so, make peace among them equitably and be impartial. Verily God loves those who are just.

Does this mean literal fighting? Like fighting people into submission to God's authority?

I dubbed this as the Muslim creed.

15. They alone are believers who come to believe in God and His Apostle, then never doubt again, and struggle wealth and soul in the way of God. They are the truthful and sincere.

I wish I had enough faith to never doubt once I believed.

Sura 50 - Qaf

This sura was a reminder of topics discussed in past chapters - the Quran, creation, a warning for people who reject the message by using example of previous doubters. This sura declares God is closer to us than our jugular vein. I'm not sure if this is a close relationship or simply a way to say God knows our motives, thoughts, desires -- everything about us that clearly. This sura also reminded us of the angels who are taking account of our deeds (vs. 17), mentions the trumpet blast on the day of doom and speaks metaphorically of hell being asked if it were full (vs. 30).

Sura 51 - al-Dhariyat

This sura mentions past prophets such as Abraham and his visit by three messengers who predicted Isaac's birth. It also makes mention of Noah, Moses and a couple other people who went to groups who rejected the message of God and were destroyed.

58. God is certainly the great provider, Lord of strength and power.

I liked this verse!

Sura 52 - al-Tur

A few more details of heaven most of which were familiar such as reclining on couches and drinking and eating and even the mentioning of those fair and bright-eyed companions. I hadn't seen mention of these attendants like pearls in their shells before though. I'm sure this is imagery somehow, but I can't help but think of some albino-looking waiters taking orders from those reclining on couches with their fair maidens. Interesting visual. Honestly it pales in comparison to how the Bible speaks of heaven where we will worship our Lord.

Sura 53 - al-Najm

32. As for those who avoid the greater sins and shameful acts, except minor trespasses, your Lord's forgiveness surely has great amplitude. He is fully knowledgeable of you as He produced you from the earth, and since you were a foetus in your mother's womb. So do not assert your goodness; he is better who takes heed and preserves himself.

Does this mean God is able to forgive only those who commit "minor sins"? I like the last part about not speaking confidently about your own goodness.

38. That no one who carries a burden bears another's load; 39. That a man receives but only that for which he strives; 40. That his endeavours will be judged, 41. And only then will he receive his recompense in full;

This shows that you earn good things by your works. You strive and when your striving is judged, you will be paid in full for whatever you did.

This contrasts with the Apostle Paul's statement about our salvation being a gift of God and not from our works lest any of us start boasting (Ephesians 2:8,9). The Bible says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. So according to these quranic verses if I do good and believe, I will be rewarded such as if I worked all week at my job and got my paycheck. Heaven (my wages) is not a gift from God (or my boss), I'm rightly getting what I deserved (worked for.) For this, I could boast. My hard work paid off. Yay me!!

Interesting comparison, but nothing surprising as I knew this already. Just nice to see it spelled out so clearly in a few short verses.


Suroor said...

Susanne, I don't have anything to add as comment but I really enjoy reading your thoughts.

Thank you so much!

Susanne said...

And thank YOU for reading and replying! Next up are posts on the Islamic heaven. Hehehehe.

Sarah said...

I can't remember where I was up to in the Quran at the point where I decided it wasn't a divine book. I was most of the way through it I think, but I remember hoping that once I got past surah 33 it would all be nice and sweet - and it wasn't! There are quite a few problematic bits that you highlight here. The first few verses of 49 are really hard having had the model of Jesus who washed his disciples' feet. But they do make it easier to see why Muslims give so much reverence to Muhammad.

Susanne said...

Sarah, so glad to read your comments!

"But they do make it easier to see why Muslims give so much reverence to Muhammad. "

Yes, very true. I need to keep this in mind more. Thank you for the reminder.