These verses feel as though they stem immediately from the ones preceding them. Of course, all Quranic verses of a particular surah stem from the verses preceding them, but oftentimes the guiding breaks we find (and use for Quran Read-A-Long), make for a neat subject break, too. Here, however, it seems that we are still talking of the importance of turning towards the Qa’aba and the Holy Mosque that enshrines it.
I think the line in verse 150 is interesting, when it asks everyone to turn towards the Holy Mosque so that “people may have no cause for argument against you.” My curiosity is about the ability to take issue with others’ way of worship that is conveyed here. On the one hand, it’s nice because it says that we shouldn’t argue so long as we all pray the right direction. Seems easy and basic enough and leaves little room for argument. However, it does seem to imply that there is cause to argue with one another about such issues as prayer. I also wonder (if this is even so), whether or not this argument can be taken up with non-Muslims who obviously aren’t facing this direction. Or is this just something internal to Islam so long as those not praying in the right direction aren’t actually wicked?
The message in verse 152 is lovely: be grateful. That’s right: be grateful! There is always something for which to be grateful. My mother hammers that lesson into me all the time. When I’m down or dejected or complaining, she always reminds me that there’s always something for which to be grateful. This isn’t meant to be annoying or to belittle my problems but to help me see past them. By telling me to look for that for which I am grateful and concentrate on it, it’s amazing how quickly I can feel better. I don’t know the last time my mom cracked the Quran open, but it looks like her message to me comes straight from God. Ah, the universal wisdom to be found in the Quran. Gotta love it!
What did you think of these verses? Do you have anything that you can add to help us understand their meaning better?
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The Cow 148-152
148. Each has a goal to which he turns. So strive towards piety and excel the others: God will bring you all together wheresoever you be. God has power over every thing. 149. Wherever you come from turn towards the Holy Mosque: This in truth is from your Lord. God is not negligent of all you do. 150. Whichever place you come from turn towards the Holy Mosque, and wherever you are, turn you faces towards it so that people may have no cause for argument against you, except such among them as are wicked. But do not fear them, fear Me that I may accomplish My favors on you, and you may find the right way perchance. 151. Even as We sent a messenger from among you to convey Our messages to you and cleanse you, and teach you the Book and the wisdom, and what you did not know; 152. So, therefore, remember Me, and I shall remember you; and give thanks and do not be ungrateful.