Quran Read-A-Long: Al-‘Imran 21-30 Speaks of Judgment Day and Allies

Considering the stories in the Bible about the Israelites slaying their prophets, is verse 21 a reference to them? The following verses makes me believe so because they are a discussion of, I think, the Israelites and their laws (the Torah). At the end of verse 23, is the “it” that is turned away from, the Torah, the true uncorrupted Torah or neither, but actually the Quran which Jews are currently not accepting? This line about the fire not touching them but for a limited time is something we saw in The Cow, I think. As for the false beliefs, is this a reference to the corrupted Torah and the associated “silly” laws or is this something more ‘present,’ – as in, their corrupted Torah has caused Jews to betray the larger faith that the Quran now teaches and they aren’t accepting the latter because of the purnicious influence of the former?

Lot of questions there but I didn’t seem to be getting these opening verses with an overwhelming amount of clarity.

The remainder of this section seems to be a recognition of God’s power and what will happen on Judgment Day when everyone will be required to reckon for his deeds. In the midst of this larger theological speech is a point about acquiring allies and how Muslims cannot accept allies who are deniers of the truth rather than believers. Interestingly, there seems to be a caveat in place that is quite practical and allows non-believing allies to be acquired if good strategy and safety require it. I suppose that in the early years of the Medinan community, it would have been an absolute necessity for this to be so and were it not, the nascent Muslims may have been destroyed. However, strategic allying and political decision making by Mohammed allowed for the community’s survival and thriving.

What can you tell us about these verses? I feel like I left out a lot, but I wasn’t quite sure what to address and how.

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Al-‘Imran 21-30

21. Verily, as for those who deny the truth of God’s messages, and slay the prophets against all right, and slay people who enjoin equity – announce unto them a grievous chastisement. 22. It is they whose works shall come to nought both in this world and in the life to come; and they shall have none to succour them. 23. Art thou not aware of those who have been granted their share of revelation [aforetime]? They have been called upon to let God’s writ be their law – and yet some of them turn away [from it] in their obstinacy, 24. simply because they claim, “The fire will most certainly not touch us for more than a limited number of days”: and thus the false beliefs which they invented have [in time] caused them to betray their faith. 25. How, then, [will they fare] when We shall gather them all together to witness the Day about [the coming of] which there is no doubt, and every human being shall be repaid in full for what he has done, and none shall be wronged? 26. SAY: “O God, Lord of all dominion! Thou grantest dominion unto whom Thou willest, and takest away dominion from whom Thou willest; and Thou exaltest whom Thou willest, and abasest whom Thou willest. In Thy hand is all good. Verily, Thou hast the power to will anything. 27. “Thou makest the night grow longer by shortening the day, and Thou makest the day grow longer by shortening the night. And Thou bringest forth the living out of that which is dead, and Thou bringest forth the dead out of that which is alive. And Thou grantest sustenance unto whom `Thou willest, beyond all reckoning.” 28. LET NOT the believers take those who deny the truth for their allies in preference to the believers – since he who does this cuts himself off from God in everything – unless it be to protect yourselves against them in this way. But God warns you to beware of Him: for with God is all journeys’ end. 29. Say: “Whether you conceal what is in your hearts or bring it into the open, God knows it: for He knows all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and God has the power to will anything.” 30. On the Day when every human being will find himself faced with all the good that he has done, and with all the evil that he has done, [many a one] will wish that there were a long span of time between himself and that [Day]. Hence, God warns you to beware of Him; but God is most compassionate towards His creatures.

3 Responses

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  2. 21.—Yes, it would be a reference to the examples in the bible. The word for Prophet in this verse is “Nabi” which is more general. But since the Quran mentions that the Biblical Prophets are not the only messengers/teachers sent to mankiind, this verse could also have a more broader meaning—particularly as it also mentions the slaying of those who enjoin/teach justice/equity. — Those who try to bring goodness to the world should be respected—not slain
    22. —Those who knowingly slay people who try to bring goodness—will not only make the world less good, but it will also not benefit them at judgement.
    23.—According to Yusuf Ali—this verse refers to an incident when a dispute occured among some Jews in Medina and they came to the Prophet for arbitration—–but some party of the Jews refused it. —Goodness, from any source, should be respected–and we muslims can also apply this message today—Many of us live in secular countries—the (just) laws of the country should be respected even if they do not have the label “muslim”/”Islamic”.
    24/25 —Again–this is a good message for muslims today–we should not be arrogant—thinking that we are muslims so everyhting is OK—we have an automatic reservation in Paradise.—-no–we must earn it.
    26/27—this reminds us of God’s omnipotence—an intro to the stories of Mary, John the Babtist and Jesus (pbut) which are comming up.
    28—My translation uses the word “unbeliever” instead of “those who deny the truth”—- the arabic word for “allies” (awliya) also has the connotation of “gaurdian”. The muslims who had escaped to Medina were themselves Meccans who had left their families and tribes behind. Some muslims may have felt their former kinsmen or tribesmen may be of help–but in battles—such a situation can cause split loyalties for both sides. On the other hand, a situation such as a treaty of alliance or neutrality would be of benefit to both sides. And common sense and battle strategy would certainly encourage it.
    Though this verse here refers to a battle situation, there are other places where a different nuance is placed on this phrase.
    29/30–action is based on intention—the same action will have different consequences at judgement if the intentions were good or if they were evil.

  3. Thanks for adding to our understanding of each of these verses, Kay. Judaism has something comparable to your comment on verse 23, which is that the laws of the country in which one resides must be respected.

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