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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hear ye! Quotes plus Notes on Quran - Sura 68 - 70

Hear ye! Hear ye! Let it be known throughout blog land! I finally finished reading my translation of the Quran this evening! I started reading it online on May 4 and finished the Ahmed Ali book I got from the library!

More quotes from
God & Government . . .

"Government by nature seeks power and will always attempt to generate its own moral legitimacy for its decisions. Inevitably, it resents any group that attempts to act as its conscience." (pg. 275)

"Christian patriots spend more time washing feet than waving flags. Ideally, flags should not even be thought of as symbols of military and economic might, but of the common good of the specific people a sovereign God has called them to serve." (pg. 285)

"Political illusion .... What people once expected from the Almighty, they now expect from the almighty bureaucracy. That's a bad trade for anyone; but for the Christian, it's rank idolatry." (pg. 381)

"''Basically, we live in a culture where celebrities are opinion leaders." The author gave examples of stars who were given platforms to speak for bills and issues simply because they played the roles of something related in a movie .. A media expert explained, "'We're living in an age of optics. Expertise does not photograph well. Julia Roberts does.' And what Julia Roberts says can change, overnight, the way people view an issue." (pg. 385)

"Wars proliferate; political solutions fail; frustrations rise.Yet we continue to look to governments to resolve problems beyond their capability. The illusion persists." (pg. 390)


Sura 68 - al-Qalam

This sura gave more assurances to Muhammad that he was not possessed as people were saying. After seeing this message repeated in nearly every sura, I am scratching my head wondering two things: what were these people seeing from Muhammad that had them questioning so much and also was Muhammad doubting himself and thus having to get assurances from God? It's one thing for people to say you are crazy. The Pharisees said similar things about Jesus, but Jesus didn't have to defend himself or try to assure himself in every single revelation (sura/chapter). He flat out told his naysayers that his miracles and message came from God's authority and he sought to honor only God, not himself.

From John 8

48The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"

49"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

52At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"

54Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

So why could Muhammad not use the same defense? Based on what I've read of him, perhaps it's because he got a lot of honor from his celebrity status (even exceptions to the rules of the average Muslim) so it wasn't only a message to honor God. It was a message to honor God's apostle and give him special privileges. Maybe the people saw how the Quran's revelations gave Muhammad special favor so they questioned this message. Hey, if someone told me they received a message from God, I'd question him. Especially if this message made him out to be more special than the average person. Just sayin'.

There is a story in this sura about men who were planning to visit their garden, but forgot to say "if God may please." Also it seems they were bent on being greedy as they didn't want any needy persons crossing paths with them that day. During the night their crops were destroyed and they realized their error too late.

God concludes:

33.  Such is Our chastisement; and the punishment of the Hereafter will be greater, if only they knew!

Sura 69 - al - Haqqah

This sura mentioned those ledgers of deeds and how if your ledger was in the right hand, you got a good reward and if it were in your left hand, bad news. Not even your wealth or power can save you.

28. Of no use was even my wealth.
 29. Vanished has my power from me."

I like how this sura began with

2. What is the concrete reality?

and ends answering the question.

51. And He, He is indeed the ultimate Reality.
 52. So glorify your Lord, the most supreme.

I agree that God is the Reality, the Standard.

Sura 70 - al - Ma'arij

This chapter describes some sort of judgment day for infidels. It shares how people would want to use their own family members as ransom yet will be unable to do so. Then I read this:

19. Surely man is greedy by nature.

and I thought the Quran was making a case for our sin nature which makes us naturally greedy and selfish. (I've still never seen a parent have to teach her child to be selfish and greedy.)

36. What is the matter with unbelievers that they stare at you with fixed gazes and hasten towards you

I read a lot about people staring in other cultures. It seems it wasn't well-liked even back then. :)


Wafa said...

congratualtion and still envy you for completing a book. any book . cuz it's been ages since i have finshed one :( but i am my way.

so here is a question for you, since you asking us questions all the time, i am taking your rule in here for seconds, lol.

now that you have finshed reading the quran, what do you think of it as a whole ? is't what you expected? overall , did you like it or not ? would you recommend it for someone? does it gives you any idea about Muslims or Islam ? or it simply shed a single light?

hmmm, i am thinking of more...

but that's for now.

i love to hear your thoughts <<<<<taking from you :)

Suroor said...

Not fair! Wafa stole my question :D

I wanted to request you to put down the message of the Bible in 5 points according to your reading. And the message of the Quran in 5 points.


truerivers said...

"So why could Muhammad not use the same defense"

Don't know if it's right to compare prophets.Just like our five fingers are not alike,they serve to complete a common purpose.If everyone is to act the same,then what's the point of individuality?

sarah said...

Susanne, glad that you have finished reading the Quran and wait to hear what your overall thoughts were. Your opinions have prompted me to also look at the Quran and study more so thank you for your effort.

The Surah Qalam was one of the first revealed and so is talking to Prophet Muhammad about the future and warning him that he will face opposition but he should not yield to the influence of power and wealth.

As for the tale of the gardens. I think that it is metaphorical language. Fruits are usually true followers (or good followers of truth). Morning is obviously after nighttime - ie. after the revelation to a messenger has ended. It is speaking of the universal pattern of how religion will be changed after time. People will return to greed, etc until another pious person comes to again bring a message (or revive the prior message) from God. They lost their fruits because they forgot God and became niggardly and concerned with wealth is the message. It is the point when they are confronted with the knowledge that their efforts have been in vain and the 'best among them' (the messenger) was correct.

The point you are saying about why didn't Muhammad make his reply only once. From my prespective I think the NT is the words of Jesus recorded and compiled by followers. Muslims believe that the Quran was sent by God. Therefore it is not seen as Muhammad speaking but God. It is not Muhammad who is repeating but God. So perhaps it was repeatedly given to assure Muhammad that he was on the right path and to ignore the nay sayers. I am sure Jesus received similar repetition of status from God also.

Here's a point of interest for you. Who do you feel was the man of the fish?

Unknown said...

Hurray! I haven't been closely following a lot of the Quran posts because I figured I'm going to want to read them again when I'm actually taking my class on it next year and reading it myself so I'll know what you're talking about. So you might get a whole new batch of comments on these in a few months! Hope you don't mind.

The only thing I can think of for the difference with the craziness/possession accusations is that they were living in very different cultures and doing different things. Jesus wasn't really saying or doing that much that was unique to him, from what I can tell. He just sort of brought it all together. People were questioning the leaders' authority and people were teaching about love being the point of the Law, etc. It's just that popular prophets weren't going around making it sound like GOD didn't approve of the leaders. :D A bit more threatening.

Also, they were doing different things, right? Jesus traveled around and taught, from Scriptures their culture already accepted. What he said didn't become Scripture until long after he died. Muhammad was handing down the direct word of God that was meant to be turned verbatim into the Quran, right? Or am I way off on that? If I'm right, that does sound a bit crazier. Someone coming up and talking to you about God or even teaching you about correct interpretation is one thing, someone coming up to you and telling you they want you to memorize the new set of Scriptures God just gave them is another.

Susanne said...

Wafa', ha, ha, ha! Your comment made me laugh when you copied me! :-D You're so cute! Wow, lots of great questions! Let me mull over what all you asked and I will answer you soon. If I forget, come back and pester me with my own words again...hahahahahahha! :-D

Been thinking of you and your family. Hope you all are doing OK.

Susanne said...

Suroor, ah, more questions...ha, ha! OK, stay tuned. :) I still have a few more Quran notes posts so even though I finished READING, I still haven't finished POSTING. :)

So if anything in my notes strikes you to clarify, keep commenting. That goes for all of you (Wafa'...hear me? ) :)

Susanne said...

Lat, that's a wonderful way to look at it,

"If everyone is to act the same,then what's the point of individuality?"

but I hear it stressed often that Muhammad had the same message as the other prophets. So he wasn't an "individual" in that way, was he? Not in his prophethood. I mean the Quran stresses allllllllllll the time about "Hey, Muh, don't worry, you are just like Noah, Moses, Jesus, Lot, the prophet to Talmud people because they also rejected those prophets." It seems Muhammad was being defended in 80% of the suras and I WISH I were exaggerating! :-S

So that's why I asked. It was the same ol' defensive sura stance over and over again and it's just an impression I came away with STRONGLY from my reading of the Quran for the first time.

Thanks for your observation though. It's a good one.:)

Susanne said...

Sarah, I am thankful you explained some things from my notes on this post. I appreciate what you had to say. :)

"It is not Muhammad who is repeating but God. So perhaps it was repeatedly given to assure Muhammad that he was on the right path and to ignore the nay sayers. I am sure Jesus received similar repetition of status from God also."

Hmmmm, yes maybe so. I hadn't thought of that. I don't get this impression from the NT, but as you said....*shrug* ...maybe so.

I must have missed reference to a man of the fish. :/ I was trying to pick out many things, but I know I missed stuff. Sorry....what sura is that?

I enjoyed your thorough comment...thanks much!

Susanne said...

Sanil, of course you are welcome to reread my posts and leave comments when you finally read the Quran during your class next year. I'm sure you will have interesting insights and point out flaws in my own interpretations. I admit that I am not the most openminded and come into this with a lot of biases (especially towards Jesus). I never claimed otherwise. So please do come and critique if you want. :) Plus some of the posts have some interesting comments from people who are much more knowledgable than I...some much more openminded and all that good stuff. Maybe you can learn from them as I have.

I always enjoy hearing your views so thanks for what you shared regarding the comments on my post.

" It's just that popular prophets weren't going around making it sound like GOD didn't approve of the leaders. :D A bit more threatening. "

Aha! :-)

Yes, for sure someone coming with a whole new set of Scriptures would be thought of as crazy. Good point! That's why I'd be scrutinizing him as well. So maybe this IS why he needed all the reassurances from God. Thank you!

Any time you can help me out, well, you just do that! :-D I appreciate your stopping by!

Wafa said...

you are so sweet :)

tanks for thinking of me and my family. Things are still the same. I don't know what to hope for but anything good, though now we know- according to the doctors that they can not do anymore-.

sorry to have turn your comment section into personal stuff, but it's your fault- as usual, i like to balme you, lol- . You are a wonderful woman :)

sarah said...

I think the reference to the man of the fish was in Surah al Qalam after the allegory of the gardens.

When I say that you were open minded I mean that I have noticed you have said positive and negative things and are not purely one or the other. I appreciate that your opinions are informed by your faith but it is interesting for me as a Muslim to learn your point of view. As i said, it makes me think about things too which is always good.

Susanne said...

Wafa', blame away! Ha ha! :)

I'm sorry nothing has changed for dad. Ugh....thanks for the update.

Susanne said...

Sarah, oh thanks for explaining what you meant. Yes, I hope I was somewhat balanced in presenting what I saw in the Quran during my first ever reading. I really tried to make notice of things that were good messages and good verses and pretty ones. Of course there were things that really made me angry most notably suras 33, 47 and 48. You'll probably think I am mean if you read the notes on those chapters, but those are my honest reactions. Otherwise I tried to point out some good.

The translation I have has Jonah in parenthesis when it is speaking of the man of the fish. I guess this is why this story didn't stick out to me as it made sense since we also have Jonah and the big fish story in the Bible. A whole (small) book about him, in fact. :)

Thanks for your comment!

Sarah said...

You are getting to the earliest surahs here, which I think was when Muhammad was still dealing with a lot of doubt concerning his sanity. It would be interesting to read the revelations in chronological order and see how the message developed.

Susanne said...

Sarah, I agree. I thought the same thing while partway through the book. I'd love to see how he developed from maybe being questionable in his prophethood to being a full-blown celebrity of sorts. Though it seems to me the message that "We vouch for you" and "you are not a poet/madman/sorcerer" was throughout the WHOLE book. I read it so many times. I should have kept track how often this came about. :)