In which it is all about the women. So there. Let's get right into this.
2. Give orphans what is theirs and do not substitute your worthless things for their good ones, and do not devour their substance along with your own, for verily it is a great sin.
Let me just say how amused I am reading this first ayah. Not that it's a silly ayah or unimportant, because I think it is very important that people who have charge of orphans who come with, perhaps, an inheritance that you are keeping in trust for them not treat that trust ad though it belongs to you. It's not yours. What I find amusing is the mental image I get of someone dividing things into two piles, the orphans' belongings and the guardians, and going, 'Your shit', pointing to one pile, 'Not your shit.' and pointing to the orphans' things. Could just be a me thing though.
3. If you fear that you cannot act justly among orphans, then marry women who seem good to you, two or three or four, and if you fear that you shall not deal justly (with many), then (marry) only one, or whom your right hands have acquired; that is more proper for you else you should err.
Okay, at first I read this and I thought that it was telling the men to marry the orphans, and that was giving me issues because I picture orphans as like...Little Orphan Annie, you know? Definitely not marrying material. Then I was typing it out for the post and I had this thought: what if it's just saying, if you become responsible for an orphan and oh don't think that oh can act 'justly' which I assume means keeping up your responsibility to not touch use their shit like it's yours, then get married and our wife/wives will keep you on line. Slacker.
Also, *points up* I know that technically the Qur'an allows for polygamy, so does the Bible, I don't care what oh say about Jesus changing that, unless you can point me to where Jesus (or one of the prophets speaking for God) specifically says 'One wife at a time.' then polygamy is still on the Biblical table. But. There's a very important caveat up there; 'if you feel that you shall not deal justly (with many), then (marry) only one' - it goes on about 'right hand possessions' but since we all agree that slavery is *wrong*, we're not going to go there. No one should have slaves anymore, but you could maybe have multiple wives (or spouses). The idea being, to my mind, that it's permissible/allowed for someone to have more than one wife but *only* if they can deal justly (fairly) with all of them. This comes back later, so just keep it in mind.
4. Give women their dowry freely (without any) restraint; but if they of their own accord are pleased to give up to you anything thereof, then (you may) spend it with pleasure (and it shall be) wholesome (to you).
Womens' money/property is theirs, not their husbands. If the women decide to share it or to put in for expenses, then that's their business. But it doesn't automatically become the husbands' property once they marry. Just...throwing that out there.
5. Do not give away your property which God has made for you (a means) for sustenance to the weak-minded, but maintain them therewith, and clothe them, and speak to them with words of kindness and counsel.
So I have a question about the above ayah. Does anyone else think that it's referring to dependents who are never going to be mentally mature? People with Down's Syndrome, for example, or similar conditions.
Inheritance laws are covered in ayah 11 and 12. Here's an accurate visual representation of my face reading these: @.@ I hate math. Maybe that's my problem. I start reading about half of this and one eighth of that and I start going LALALALALAAAAAAAAA until the numbers stop. Does anyone understand the inheritance laws set out in the Qur'an in a way that they can explain them to me? Fractions man. Fractions.
15. As to those who are guilty of lewdness among your women, bring four witnesses against them from among yourselves, and if they bear witness, confine them to their houses till death takes them away or God makes some way for them.
What's the definition of 'lewdness' here? When I hear 'lewdness' I think of flashers, maybe, or people having sex in public. Both are 'lewd' behaviors in my mind. And they get, I guess it sounds like permanent house arrest here.
18. Repentance is not for those who (continue to) do evil until, when death comes to one of them, he says: "Now surely I repent," nor for those who die unbelievers; these are they for whom We have prepared a grievous torment.
So no death bed conversions in Islam? Or just no converting because of fear of death maybe. I would assume that someone who converted shortly before their death, through sincere reasons that had nothing to do with being afraid of death, their belief would be accepted.
The 'no fly zones':
22. Do not marry women whom your fathers had married, except what has already passed, for it is shameful and abominable and an evil way. 23. Forbidden to you are your mothers, daughters, sisters, paternal aunts and maternal aunts, the daughters of your sister, your foster-mothers and your foster-sisters, the mothers of your wives, and your stepdaughters in your guardianship (born) of your wives to whom you have had cohabitation-but if you have not cohabited with them, it shall not be a sin on you (to marry them) - and the wives of your sons who are of your own loins, and that you combine two sisters (at one and the same time in wedlock), except what has already passed; God is Forgiving, Merciful. 24. All protected (married) women (are forbidden unto you) save those whom your right hand possesses. (This is) God's written guidance to you. Other women are lawful for you, provided that you seek them with (dowries from) your own property, taking them honorably, not in debauchery. Those whom you marry for a fixed period of time (i.e. in mut'a), give them their dowries, and there is no blame on you concerning whatever you mutually agree after what is appointed. Verily, God is all-Knowing, Wise.
I actually have a question only about a short part of the next ayah, but I don't want to not quote the whole thing:
25. Whoever of you does not have enough means to marry believing women, then (let him marry) from among those whom your right hands possess (slaves or captives) from among your believing maidens; God has full knowledge of your faith. You are one from the other, so marry them, with the permission of their masters, and give them their dowries justly, being chaste, not committing lewdness, nor receiving lovers (secretly), and after they are protected (in wedlock), if they are proved guilty of lewdness, then on them shall be half the punishment (prescribed) for free women. This is permission for him among you who fears falling into evil; and that you show self-restraint is better for you, and God is Forgiving, Merciful.
My question is about the half-punishment for married slave women. From earlier, the punishment for wives caught in lewdness is house arrest until their death (or until God finds another path for them, which I'm not sure what that means). So what would half of that be? House arrest for half their life?
31. If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden, We will remit from you your misdeeds, and We will admit you into Paradise, an honorable place it is indeed.
I read this as saying if you manage to avoid the Big Sins (like shirk, I assume), then God will forgive you any minor sins that you haven't repented of/made amends for.
32. Do not covet that whereby God has raised some of you above others; for men shall have the benefit of what they earn, and women shall have the benefit of what they earn, and ask God of His Grace; surely God knows all things.
Women keep what they earn. It does not automatically become the property of their husband. Which is an attitude that I have seen in certain extreme Christian groups, by the way. And it used to be the law of the land. Women belonged to their husbands (and by 'land' I mean the US just so you don't get confused) and everything that they made belonged to their husbands.
34. Men have authority over women on account of that with which God has caused one of them to excel over the other, and for what they spend of their sustenance; therefore, righteous women are obedient, guarding the unperceivable just as God has guarded. As for whose whose disloyalty you fear, admonish them, then keep away from them in bed, then beat them (lightly), and if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; God is ever-High, ever-Great.
In the first part of this ayah we have the 'reason' that men are in authority is because God has said so. But a part of that is that they're responsible for the upkeep of their household - they have to pay for everything and their wives can have jobs and earn money and they don't have to contribute any of that money to the house. So in appreciation of the men running and paying for everything, women aren't pains in the asses and guard what God would have them guard. The...sanctity of the house, maybe? Like the story of Ishmael's wives?
As for the beating (lightly). Well. No. I'm reading that as a time/culture thing because you don't beat your wife. Not ever. Not anymore. And I guarantee you, any husband of mine ever tries to beat me he's not going to wake up the next morning. I have Strong Feelings about abuse, okay?
36. Worship God and do not associate anything with Him, and do good deeds to your parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the needy, the close neighbor and the neighbor who is a stranger, to a companion by your side and to the wayfarer, and to that whom your right hands possess; surely God does not love the proud, the boastful.
I read this as something similar to the lesson learned in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Do good deeds for *everyone*, not just the people nearest to your heart or your geography.
48. Verily God does not forgive that anything is associated with Him, but He forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases, and whoever associates anything with God has indeed committed a great sin.
What about people who don't realize that they're associating anything with God? In the Islamic viewpoint Trinitarian Christians are associating partners with God which, according to this verse, is something God does not forgive. But if you speak to Trinitarians they believe that the three Persons make up One God and so to their minds there are no 'partners' with God, just God. So would God forgive people like that if they realize their error do you think?
129. You will never be able to do justice between your wives, even though you may be intent (on it), so do not turn away (from a woman) altogether, so as to leave her (as if it were) hanging (in the air), and if you effect a reconciliation and guard yourselves (against evil), verily, God is oft-Forgiving, Merciful.
Remember above, in ayah 3, where it said you can marry up to four but only if you can deal 'justly' with all of them? Boom. You can't. So it's probably better to only marry one. But the Qur'an, or at least my reading of this, doesn't want these men to just abandon wives once they realize this which is what I see with the whole 'don't turn away from them altogether' part here.
Okay, I'm doing a bad thing by pulling out just one ayah out of a section but:
156. And for their disbelief, and for their utterance of a grievous calumny against Mary;
I'm wondering what the 'grievous calumny' is here. The ayah before it is talking about the Jews' hearts being covered and breaking their covenants and the ayah after it is talking about them claiming to have killed Jesus when they really didn't because God didn't allow it. I'm not seeing the calumny against Mary in those.
And that's what I've got for this surah. Any thoughts? Questions? Things I missed or didn't address?