Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Qur'an

I have recently started reading the Qur'an, because, as a idealist, I think that I should know what millions of people around the world believe. Immigrants shouldn't be the only ones to adapt, if you ask me. I see it as our duty, as the Western World, to know where these people come from.

So I bought myself a Qur'an and started reading and I find it fascinating. It is a complete oposite to the Bible in writing-style, yet there are so many similarities in stories and characters. The Qur'an talks about Moses, Jesus and Noah, just like the Bible does.

I want to quote one part of the 24th section of the 2nd Surah, Al-Baqarah.
190. Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
191. And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn the out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith,
192. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
193. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.

This section has often been interpreted as a call to arms, as a call to slay whatever opposer of the Islam. But if you read it, it doesn't say: 'Slay all the unbelievers!'.
It says, slay those who oppress and suppress faith. He (Allah) does not want there to be oppression or tumult and says that violence is justified if it is to defend the peace.
Another remarkable thing is the last sentence: '...; but if they cease, let there be no more hostility...'
He says, fight those who suppress you, but cease the violence if they surrender. I think this is very significant, because it shows that Allah is quite reasonable. He is, as he himself says, 'Oft-Forgiving, Most merciful.'If you were suppressing faith he will fight you, but if you submit He will forgive.

Allah seemd to me a very reasonable God. I think this is shown very clearly in the passage when he talks about the Ramadan. 22nd section, 2nd Surah, Al-Baqarah.
185. Ramandan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during the month should spend it fasting, but if anyone is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later, Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be gratefull.

Isn't it amazing that it actually says that Allah does not want to put you in difficulties? A religion that conforms it's rituals to its followers doesn't sound very stuck up to me. I can't see a Catholic priest delaying a ceremony because it would put people into difficulties. Sane with the next quote from Section 21.
173. He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by  necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits - then he is guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Isn't that amazing? You are forbidden to eat the flesh of swine, but if you and your family have nothing left but a swine to eat, then you are not commiting a sin, although it is agains "the rule", because it was necessity and not transgressing the rules.

As a last, I want to show you this quote on Christians and Jews. Section 8:
62. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians - any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work rughteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
Section 17:
145. Even if thou wert to bring to the People of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow thy qiblah; nor art thou going to follow their qiblah; nor indeed will they follow each other's qiblah.

Qiblah means as much as direction or way. Do you see any hint of convertism in these verses? Allah says that those who belive in the Jewish and Christian scriptures and those who are righteousness shall know no fear, not shall they grieve.

I think I will do a lot more posts on the Qur'an as I progress, but until now I am deeply impressed by it's content. Once again, as will all the major religions of the Book missinterpretations are what makes the believers clash, not the actual text itself.

What do you think of these verses?

All verses were taken from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation.

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