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.

The Quran and Being True to Ourselves: The Cow 1-10

Welcome to week 1 with the Quran, where we’ll take a peek at the first ten verses of the first sura, The Cow.

What really jumped out at me was the amount of beliefs and life requirements that appeared, including a belief in revelation, prophets, the afterlife, faith, God, and Judgment Day. And then there were the actions: verse three articulates two of the Five Pillars of Islam, prayer (devotional obligations) and charity. I actually like these items inclusion, particularly the charity one.

Verses 8-10 were the ones I found most intriguing. Though the discussion is about those who feign faith and loyalty to God and the requisite beliefs of Islam, I think that the point about deceivers is most applicable today. We are told that those who try to deceive others about their beliefs – that is, convince people that they’re something they are not – are really only deceiving themselves. Of course, Islam isn’t suggesting that these people be true to themselves and embrace the fact that they don’t follow God – the text would prefer that they follow God and Islam – but it does raise a good point about deception.

Trying to be something we’re not is fruitless and attempting to convince others of this fact rarely hurts them as much as it hurts us. Be yourself and embrace that in which you believe.

What did you get out of these first ten verses? What was your initial reaction to the Quran? Did anything remind you of the Bible?

Administrative: Oh my goodness is the Quran dense! I thought we would be reading 100 verses a week, but so I don’t go crazy with what to say, we’re going to do 10 a week (and I’ll include them at the end of the post for your convenience). Feel free to read ahead if you’re into it. Also, please comment on whatever you want regarding the week’s verses – don’t feel obligated to stick to what I’ve chosen to say.

Also, my friend and fellow scholar, Hilla, will be joining us each week to kick off the discussion of these verses so make sure to take a look at the first comment as she’s sure to have something great to add.

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The Cow 1-10

1. Alif Lam Mim 2. This is The Book free of doubt and involution, a guidance for those who preserve themselves from evil and follow the straight path. 3. Who believe in the Unknown and fulfil their devotional obligations, and spend in charity of what We have given them. 4. Who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed to those before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. 5. They have found the guidance of their Lord and will be successful. 6. As for those who deny, it is all the same if you warn them or not, they will not believe. 7. God has sealed their hearts and ears, and veiled their eyes. For them is great deprivation. 8. And there are some who, though they say: “We believe in God and the Last Day,” (in reality) do not believe. 9. They (try to) deceive God and those who believe, yet deceive none but themselves although they do not know. 10. Sick are their hearts and God adds to their malady. For them is suffering for they lie.