Sura 57 - al-Hadid
This sura started off with some very pleasant verses about God's power and majesty.
13. The day the hypocrites, men and women, will say to the believers: "Wait for us that we may borrow a little light from your light," they will be told: "Go back, and look for your light." A wall shall be raised between them in which there will be a door. Within it will be benevolence and retribution without.
This reference to borrowing light reminds me of a parable Jesus told about ten virgins in Matthew 25.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
Here is one explanation of it.
Sura 58 - al-Mujadalah
The beginning of this sura had some peculiar story about men wanting to divorce their wives so they called them "mothers." I guessed that they were coming to Muhammad for advice and he got this revelation from God on how to deal with this custom.
This sura makes the point that there are no secrets from God as He is all-knowing and the fourth person in your group of three and sixth among your group of five (vs. 7).
Verses 12 and 13 make Muhammad seem like some counselor or psychiatrist with God commanding the people to give alms in the name of God before they went to talk with him.
22. You will not find those who believe in God and the Day of Resurrection, loving those who oppose God and His Prophet, even though they be their fathers, sons, or brothers or their kin. God has inscribed on their hearts belief, and has succoured them with His own grace, and will admit them to gardens with rivers flowing by, where they will abide for ever, God accepting them, and they, happy in the pleasure of God. They are verily the army of God. Will not the army of God be victorious?
This verse made it pretty clear that believers will not love their enemies (even their families if they disbelieve). I suppose there was no such thought as winning the unbelievers to their side by showing them the love of God in action, right?
Sura 59 - al-Hashr
These verses about God decreeing expulsion (vs. 2-3) made me think of the Palestinians of today. I know it was talking about people of the Book who refused to believe Muhammad, but that whole talk of God driving them from their homes and decreeing their expulsion made me think of more modern times and something similar happening less than one hundred years ago in Palestine.
9. Those who came to the city and to faith before them, love those who take refuge with them, and do not feel for themselves any need for what is given them, and give them preference over themselves even if they are indigent. Whoever preserves himself from his own greed will be prosperous.
I thought this was a very nice verse as it described how to treat the refugees and poor among the community. Great tidbit at the end about preserving ourselves from greed.
11. Have you never considered the hypocrites? They say to their brethren among the people of the Book who do not believe: "If you are driven out we shall go with you, and will not listen to any one in what concerns you; and if there is war against you, we shall aid you." But God is witness they are liars. 12. If they are driven out, they will not go with them; and if they are attacked, they will not aid them. And even if they aided them, they will turn their backs, then they will not be helped.
I know this refers to hypocrites among the people of the Book, however, again, I couldn't help thinking of Muslims today and how so many of them do nothing for the Palestinians. I suppose these truths about the errant people of the Book can also apply to any person today - including erring Muslims.
14. They will not fight you in a body except in fortified cities, or from behind the walls. Their enmity among themselves is great. You think they are united, but divided are their hearts. That is because these people are devoid of sense,
I just thought this verse was cute in a way. Division among people because they are void of sense - nice way to put it!
22. He is God; there is no god but He, the knower of the unknown and the known. He is the benevolent, ever-merciful. 23. He is God; there is no god but He, the King, the Holy, the Preserver, Protector, Guardian, the Strong, the Powerful, Omnipotent. Far too exalted is God for what they associate with Him. 24. He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner. His are all the names beautiful. Whatever is in the heavens and the earth sings His praises. He is all-mighty and all-wise.
Very lovely verses!
Sura 60 - al-Mumtahanah
Verse 4 describes the excellent model of Abraham who declared "enmity and hate" and rejection to the people who disbelieved in God. I question if this is the same model we should use for today. I can understand removing yourself from disbelievers so you won't pick up their pagan practices, but how do we balance this removal with the need for the unbelievers to see the good works of the believers so they will glorify God? If we reject the unbelievers and declare division, enmity and hate, how will this show them the divine qualities of our beliefs? Do we not attract people better with honey than vinegar?
7. It maybe that God will create love between you and your enemies. God is all-powerful, and God is forgiving, ever-merciful. 8. God does not forbid you from being kind and acting justly towards those who did not fight over faith with you, nor expelled you from your homes. God indeed loves those who are just. 9. He only forbids you from making friends with those who fought over faith with you and banished you from your homes, and aided in your exile. Whoever makes friends with them is a transgressor.
I started to get a little bit excited to see perhaps that God would create love between Muslims and their enemies (vs. 7.) God declared His power, forgiving and merciful qualities and that He could even create love between foes. But then it seems He qualifies His statement by allowing Muslims to be kind towards those who are just and who didn't fight with the believers over faith issues. But the true enemies (as I'd see it) are the ones God still wants you to keep at a distance. So no loving your enemies after all.
10. O believers, when believing women come over to you as refugees, then examine them. God alone is cognisant of their faith. If you find that they are believers, do not send them back to unbelievers. They are not lawful for them, nor are infidels lawful for believing women. Give the unbelievers what they have spent on them. There is no sin if you marry them provided you give their dowers to them. Do not retain your (marriage) ties with unbelieving women. Ask for the return of what you have spent (on them); and the unbelievers should ask for the return of what they have spent. This is the judgement of God. He judges between you. God is all-knowing and all-wise.
Does this part about not retaining your marriage ties with unbelieving women mean you should divorce those daughters of the Book (Jewish and Christian women) whom you previously were allowed to marry?
Its interesting to read how to treat those women who convert to Islam and the ones who go to the unbelievers' side. In verse 12 we see Muhammad is supposed ask God to forgive the Muslim convert women's sins.