The Qur’an (part 1 of 10)

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After reading the first set of suras my strongest impression, which I cannot shake despite my best intentions, is that the person who wrote them must have experienced serious psychological difficulties. These are not the well laid-out, clear writings of an intelligent, sane person, but the rantings of a mad man obsessed with violent apocalyptic visions.

It is telling that on more than one occasion, the author claims that he is not mad (or that the faithful are not mad) – perhaps he doth protest too much.

Another interesting theme is the continually recurring exhortation to look after orphans. Thinking this was a little strange, I looked up the Wikipedia entry on Muhammad, and lo and behold, it appears the man himself was an orphan.

Here is my sura-by-sura commentary:

========== sura 96

The most interesting part of this sura was the claim that man was created from a “clinging substance”.

========== sura 68

  • The people should be assured that they are not mad or possessed. Rather, the unbelievers are mad.
  • A fairly long reference to the garden of Eden story.

========== sura 73

Some basic guidelines for reading the Qur’an, and the usual dose of venom for unbelievers.

========== sura 74

This entire sura is given to condemning unbelievers, and describing the terrible fate that awaits them.

========== sura 1

Allah is merciful.

========== sura 111

  • A wealthy person called the “Father of Flame” is condemned to the Fire.
  • His wife, who will have a noose about her neck, will carry the firewood.

========== sura 81

The world will end, there will be chaos everywhere, and souls will be judged according to their adherence to Allah.

========== sura 87

Yet another warning that those who do not heed the Message will be cast into the Fire.

========== sura 92

Give to charity, and do not be greedy (else you’ll be thrown in the Fire, of course).

========== sura 89

  • The author boasts of the “scourge of diverse chastisements” that Allah poured onto sinful cities.
  • Orphans should be honored and the poor should be fed.
  • Do not be greedy and do not love wealth too much.

========== sura 93

Be good to orphans.

========== sura 94

Work hard, knowing that there will be relief.

========== sura 103

The righteous, the faithful, and those who teach truth, patience, and constancy, will not be lost.

========== sura 100

Man is ungrateful to Allah, and loves wealth too much.

========== sura 108

  • Turn to Allah in prayer and sacrifice, because he will provide abundance.
  • Your enemies will be “cut off”.

========== sura 102

If you accumulate too much wealth, you’ll go to hell.

========== sura 107

Say your prayers, look after orphans, feed the indigent.

========== sura 109

People who reject faith do not worship what I worship.

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2 Responses to The Qur’an (part 1 of 10)

  1. RuediG says:

    Hey Keith, What a way to spend Christmas vacation! 🙂

    Just a quick note: The Quran may look even more helter-skelter simply because the suras are arranged by their length, not in order of revelation. If you can find an edition (or at least a list) that shows their chronological order, that might make it a bit more easy to find some semblance of coherence, or at least of development of ideas.

  2. Keith says:

    Good advice Ruedi, thanks.

    I suspected that the suras might be chronologically unsorted, but unfortunately I didn’t do enough research before jumping in.

    What I’ll probably do is continue in the order that the suras appear in the Qur’an, since that is how the book is usually ordered, but I’ll keep the chronological issues in mind for any final comments.

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