Okay, trying to get back in the swing of regular postings. :) Since we're still waiting for the conclave to begin, Pope Watch 2013!, and I don't have new pet rats to post a million pictures of, we'll go back to my reading the Qur'an. Which I am behind on in both posting and actual reading.
This is another combined post, since my notes for these two chapters are rather short.
Alrighty then. Surah Younus or, Jonah.
My first note reads: 'God speaks in plural? Our - We - Us?'
Because, and I've glanced back through the previous chapters of the Qur'an, but it feels like this is a change. As if God, when he spoke previous in the Qur'an - being quoted directly - spoke in the singular and then all of a sudden it's plural. Is my impression right or is this a misconception I've got stuck in my head?
10.19: Mankind were but one community;
then they differed; and had it not been for a word that had already
gone forth from thy Lord it had been judged between them in respect of
that wherein they differ.
I think that in part this is a reference to sects within religions, but could it also be a reference to the story of Babel? Where all of humanity became divided in language?
10.37-38: And this Qur'an is not such as
could ever be invented in despite of Allah; but it is a confirmation of
that which was before it and an exposition of that which is decreed for
mankind - Therein is no doubt - from the Lord of the Worlds. Or say they: He hath invented
it? Say: Then bring a surah like unto it, and call (for help) on all ye
can besides Allah, if ye are truthful.
There's this command, again and again that if you doubt that the Qur'an is from God, then write something like it. Obviously I can't read Arabic so maybe there's something special about the text in the original language, but the translation isn't that...*waves hands* It's not that spectacular. It's not anything that hasn't been written before, none of the information is information that was unknown to mankind prior to the time of the Qur'an, as far as I can tell. The language isn't particularly beautiful or poetic.
Ever since Susanne mentioned it in a comment on an earlier post, I've been watching for references to Moses. There are quite a few, aren't there? The same story, over and over again, of Moses and Pharoah. It runs from 10.75 through 10.93.
Keeping in mind that this chapter is named after Jonah, of the Jonah and the whale fame, I was waiting and waiting for that story to be relayed, at least in part.
Jonah gets one line.
10.98: If only there had been a
community (of all those that were destroyed of old) that believed and
profited by its belief as did the folk of Jonah! When they believed We
drew off from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world and
gave them comfort for a while.
Seriously. Who named these chapters?
Right. On to Hud.
Hud, who is a prophet in Islam but is unknown outside of it as far as I'm aware. I've been trying to find any articles that reference him outside of the Qur'an, in a historic context, but have come up blank. That goes for the people he was supposed to have been sent to as well, the people of 'Ad. But from what I've read, according to Islamic lore, he was a prophet prior to Abraham's time on the Arabian peninsula. So, there. Hud.
The Qur'an does reference a couple of prophets that, so far as I have been able to find, are mentioned in no other scriptures. Of course that could be taken as being because the other scriptures were corrupted, which is the Islamic claim. Or it could be taken that these are strictly Arabian, pre-Islamic figures that were folded into the Qur'anic text because the Arabian people were familiar with their stories.
Hud also isn't in this chapter much, but he at least gets more than one line.
In this chapter we have part of the story of Noah. It varies from the Biblical version a bit, which you can read here: Genesis 6 - 9 if you want to refresh your memory. The biggest difference is that one of Noah's sons, in the Qur'anic version, rejects his fathers' faith and is drowned with the rest of humanity.
11.42-46: And it sailed with them amid
waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son - and he was standing
aloof - O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers. He said: I shall betake me to
some mountain that will save me from the water. (Noah) said: This day
there is none that saveth from the commandment of Allah save him on whom
He hath had mercy. And the wave came in between them, so he was among
the drowned. And it was said: O earth!
Swallow thy water and, O sky! be cleared of clouds! And the water was
made to subside. And the commandment was fulfilled. And it (the ship)
came to rest upon (the mount) Al-Judi and it was said: A far removal for
wrongdoing folk! And Noah cried unto his Lord
and said: My Lord! Lo! my son is of my household! Surely Thy promise is
the truth and Thou are the Most Just of Judges. He said: O Noah! Lo! he is not
of thy household; lo! he is of evil conduct, so ask not of Me that
whereof thou hast no knowledge. I admonish thee lest thou be among the
I've heard it said that the last line from God to Noah, about the dead son not being of his household, is a reference to the fact that he was not Noah's son at all, but rather the fruit of an illegitimate union between Noah's wife and another man.
If that's the case though, it seems strange to me that there's no mention of what happens to Noah's wife after her adultery is discovered. I guess it would be hard for Noah to divorce her since there were (theoretically) no other people on the planet except for his sons and their wives, so maybe Noah just had to suck it up?
The other interpretation that I've seen is that when God says the son was not of Noah's family, it was because he was a disbeliever. Which I think should be patently clear from how he didn't believe his father and tried to escape by climbing a mountain. So...this is the story of God failing at comforting someone after he kills their child? I don't know.
11.81: (The messengers) said: O Lot!
Lo! we are messengers of thy Lord; they shall not reach thee. So travel
with thy people in a part of the night, and let not one of you turn
round - (all) save thy wife. Lo! that which smiteth them will smite her
(also). Lo! their tryst is (for) the morning. Is not the morning nigh?
We get a little bit of the story of Lot here, but this is the verse that sticks out to me. It seems to be saying that the angels (the messengers) told lot to run and to tell all of his fleeing family not to turn back, except for his wife. Who, as we all know, turns back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Is that what you guys are getting from this? And what about 'their tryst is for the morning'? Does that mean to say that Lot's wife was having an affair?