Tag Archives: koran

Qur’an 6: The Cattle

The sixth chapter of the Qur’an is centered around the soul’s individual and direct connection to God. The Qur’anic author teaches that no intermediary of any kind or nature can help or hinder the soul’s relationship with God. He believes his teaching is a summary of the scriptures. The Church, the Holy Spirit, the Papacy, even Wisdom are found lacking by the Qur’anic author. There is only God, Who said “Be,” and all was.

Partners to God

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:16-17

Christians believe the Church is the Bride of Christ — that God has a spouse. For most Christians through most of history this has meant the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, including both the visible church ministering sacraments and the invisible Church known only to God. A lot of Christian history has been disputes over degrees of meaning in these descriptions of the church. The Qur’anic author denies this, and thus separates himself from the religion of the monk Arius as well as billions of other Christians through the millennia.

On the day when We gather them all together, We shall say to those who ascribe partners, ‘Where are your partners that you used to claim’ Then their only excuse will be to stay, ‘By God, our Lord, we were not polytheists.’

Look how they forswear themselves, and what they used to fabricate has forsaken them!
Qur’an 6:22-24

The Qur’anic author states that believers will be together in the end for judgment. But this gathering is not an entity in itself, anymore than the author believes the Church is an entity. The Church is not purified at the judgment — to paraphrase Ayn Rand

The “Christian Church” (or “the bride of Christ”) is an undefined and undefinable concept: there is no such entity as “the Church,” or “the Synagogue”; the people of God (or Jesus or Israel) is only a number of individual men. Nothing can be good for the Church as such; “good” and “value” pertain only to a ensouled organism—to an individual ensouled organism—not to a disembodied aggregate of relationships.
with apologies to Ayn Rand, “The Common Good,”

At the end of the world, according to the Qur’an, the Church will not be there anymore than she is now here:

And We gave [Abraham] Isaac and Jacob and guided each of them. And Noah We had guided before, and from his offspring David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron — thus do we reward the virtuous — and Zechariah, John, Jesus, and Elijah — each of them among the righteous — Ishmael, Elisha, Jonah, and Lot – each We preferred over all the nations — and from among their fathers, descendants and brethren — We chose them and guided them to a straight path.

That is God’s guidance: with it He guides whomever He wishes of His servants. But were they to ascribe any partners, what they used to do would not avail them.

They are the ones whom We gave the Book, the judgment, and the prophethood. So if these disbelieve in them, We have certainly entrusted them to a people who will never disbelieve in them. They are the ones whom God has guided. So follow their guidance.
Qur’an 6:85-90

Virtually the entire canon is surveyed, with perhaps the notable exceptions of letters at the end of the Christian New Testament. Jews (Aaron, David, Solomon) and Non-Jews (Noah, Lot, Ishmael), Moses who created the covenant and Elijah who tried to destroy it, and Jesus who did both: all are both mentioned. They share a similarity: no plain reading of any word for any of them would imply the existence of a “church” that is primarily viewed as God’s wife. (Jeremiah, who hilariously writes of God seeking a divorce from Israel, is not mentioned.)

Intercessors

“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-18

The Qur’an and the New Testament both speak of the Holy Spirit — but then so do the Psalms. The Qur’anic author’s point seems to be either the Holy Spirit is an angel or aspect of God, but not as equal to God. In this the Qur’an accords with a plain reading of the Psalms.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalms 51:10-11

Warn by its means those who fear being mustered toward their Lord, besides whom they will have neither friend nor intercessor, so that they may be Godwary.

Do not drive away those who supplicate their Lord morning and evening, desiring His face. Neither are you accountable for them in any way, nor are they accountable for you in any way, so that you should drive them away and thus become one of the wrongdoers.
Qur’an 6:51-52

The Qur’anic author quotes the Psalms, both in reference to times of prayer and also in reference to God’s role as savior. The Qur’an omits the mid-day prayer mentioned in the same list, but perhaps there is a point: if the Scripture is so detailed about times of days to prayer, would not it have been equally detailed about a need for intercessors?

As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud,
And He shall hear my voice.
Psalms 55:16-17

The first sign given so that people would believe was given to Moses:

And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
Exodus 4:3-5

and later Christ was explicit in linking the signs to epistemology, though it’s interesting that Christ demands obedience, not belief:

Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”

The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.”
John 4:48-50

The Qur’anic author sees the same path — the goal is obedience, but faith in signs is an easier first rung of the ladder of righteousness:

When those who have faith in Our signs come to you, say, ‘Peace to you Your Lord has made mercy incumbent upon Himself; whoever of you commits an evil out of ignorance and then repents after that and reforms, then he is indeed all-forgiving, all-merciful.
Qur’an 6:54

The Qur’anic author adores Jesus, but along the lines of the most beloved Prophet, as Jews adore Moses or Catholics adore Mary. Christ cannot bare the burden of sins, not because he is week or without righteousness, but because there is no intermediary between God and man:

Say. ‘Shall I seek a Lord other than God, while He is the Lord of all things?’

No soul does evil except against itself, and no bearer shall bear another’s burden, then your return will be to your Lord, whereat He will inform you concerning that about which you used to differ.
Qur’an 6:164

Papacy

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 16:16-19

Christ explicitly made Peter his Prime Minister, giving him the Keys of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Heaven. But the Qur’anic asserts that Christ’s keys (whatever the specific nature of his Kingdom) are either still in heaven or returned to heaven upon Peter’s death:

With Him are the keys of the Unseen; no one knows the except Him. He knows whatever there is in land and sea. No leaf falls without His knowing it, nor is there a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor any fresh or withered but it is in a manifest Book.
Qur’an 6:59

The Qur’anic author accepts there may be a worldly entity known as the church, and it may even be the source of prophets and righteous men, but the church is more of a concept than an entity. It is not the Church that delivers…

Say, ‘Who delivers you from darkness and land and sea, you invoke Him suppliantly and secret;y “If He delivers us from this, we will surely be among the grateful.”
Say, ‘It is God who delivers you from them, and from every distress, then you ascribe partners.’
Qur’an 6:63-64

and when there are prayers or signs, those are to individual believers. This accords with Paul, if body is assumed be a collective association and not a metaphysical reality:

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28

This individual-level reality includes non-human and even non-material individuals.

O community of the jinn and humans! Did there not come to you apostles from yourselves, recounting to you My signs and warning you of the encounter of this Day? They will say, ‘We do bear witness against ourselves,’ The life of this world had deceived them, and they will testify against themselves that they had been faithless.
Qur’an 6:130

An “angel of the church” is simply another entity who has his or own or its own relationship with God:

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,

‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
Revelation 2:8

It is thru these non-material creatures that John warned Babylon, a coded reference to Rome:

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
Revelations 17:4-6

It is this great woman, this great city, that the Qur’anic author also warns. She who claims a special relationship to revelation. She who claims to be a mediatrix. She claims her priests bring the true presence to earth:

Blessed is the Book that We have sent down, confirming what was before it, so that you may warn the Mother of Cities and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they are watchful of their prayers.

Who is a greater wrongdoer than him who fabricates lies against God or says, ‘It has been revealed to me,’ while nothing was revealed to him, and says, ‘I will bring the like of what God has sent down.’

Were you to see the wrongdoers are in the throws of death, and the angels extend their hands, ‘Give up your souls! Today you will be requited with a humiliating punishment because of what you used to attribute to God untruly, and for your being disdainful towards His signs.
Qur’an 6:92-93

The Qur’anic author contrasts his own work with this Mother of Cities: he does not add or subtract from the Book, and indeed his authority is simple paraphrasing of what has already been said and done:

Thus do We paraphrase the signs variously, lest they should say, ‘You have received instruction,’ and so that We my make it clear for people who have knowledge.

Follow that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, there is no god except Him, and turn away from the polytheists. Had God wished they would not have ascribed partners. We have not made you a caretaker for them, nor is it your duty to watch over them.

Do not abuse those whom they invoke besides God, lest they should abuse God out of hostility, without any knowledge. That is how We have made their conduct seem decorous to every people. Then their return to their Lord and He will inform them concerning what they used to do.
Qur’an 6:105-108

God does not need a mechanism or suffering to save others, according to the Qur’anic author, just his will:

You Lord is the All-sufficient dispenser of mercy. If He wishes, He will take you away and make whomever He wishes succeed you, just as He produced you from the decedents of another people.
Qur’an 6:133

It is this view Paul adopts once — God as the nailer to the cross, and not the nailed:

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Colossians 2:11-15

Wisdom

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.: So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
Luke 4:20-22

The Qur’an insists on the reality of the celestial Book, the equivalent to The Book of Jubilees Heavenly Scrolls, that have been revealed to a few men, to Christ, and also to Moses:

Then We gave Moses the Book, completing on him who is virtuous, and as an elaboration of all things, and as guidance and mercy, so that they may believe in the encounter with their Lord.

And this Book We have sent down is a blessed one; so follow it and be Godwary so that you may receive mercy.
Qur’an 6:154-155

But the book is to be understood with Wisdom. So, for instance, the counterposition of different rules against “mixing” in the Old Testament:

“You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until morning. The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.
You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
Exodus 23:18-19

Is with Wisdom interpreted as a prohibition against the ultimate mixing — polytheism.

Meat boiled in milk is undoubtedly gross food, and makes overfull; but I think that most probably it is also prohibited because it is somehow connected with idolatry, forming perhaps part of the service, or being used on some festival of the heathen. I find a support for this view in the circumstance that the Law mentions the prohibition twice after the commandment given concerning the festivals “Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God” (Exodus 23:17, 34:73, as if to say, “When you come before me on your festivals, do not seethe your food in the manner as the heathen used to do.” This I consider as the best reason for the prohibition: but as far as I have seen the books on Sabean rites, nothing is mentioned of this custom.
Moses ben Maimon, Guide for the Perplexed, Ch 48, AD 1190.

The Qur’anic author uses the same pattern. Food laws are not given because the food it was unclean. They are given. Because the followers of God are unclean. (It is from this passage that the chapter gets it title, “the Cattle”):

And two of camels and two of oxen. Say, ‘Is it the two males that He has forbidden or the two females, or what is contained in the bombs of the two females? Were you witnesses when God enjoined this upon you? So who is a greater wrongdoer than him who fabricates lies against God to mislead the people without any knowledge? Indeed, God does not guide the wrongdoing lot.

Say, ‘I do not find in what has been revealed to me that anyone should be forbidden to eat anything except carrion or spilt blood, or the flesh of swine — for that is indeed unclean — or an impiety offered to other than God.’ But should someone be compelled, without being rebellious or aggressive, indeed your Lord is all-forgiving, all-merciful.

To the Jews We forbade every animal having an undivided hoof, and of oxen and sheep We forbade them their fat, except what is borne by their backs, or their entrails, or what is attached to the bones. We requited them with that for their rebelliousness and We indeed speak the truth.
Qur’an 6:144-146

To a follower of Christ who denies His Divinity, Wisdom is a useful parallel. The world may have been created with the word Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 1:1-3

but it was already created by Wisdom, and no one worships her:

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew…

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.”
Proverbs 3:19-20, 8:22-23

The Creator

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:14-15

The Qur’an agrees with the Bible that God created the heavens for keeping time:

Splitter of the dawn. He has made the night for rest ,and the sun and moon for calculation. That is the ordaining of the All-mighty, the All-knowing.
Qur’an 6:96

But the bigger point is that God created. He is the Creator, and all other things are creatures:

It is He who created the heavens and the earth, and with consummate wisdom, and the day He says, ‘Be!’ it is, His word is the truth, and to Him belongs all sovereignty on the day when the Trumpet will be blown. Knower of the sensible and the Unseen, He is the All-wise, the All-aware.
Qur’an 6:73

All things besides the Creator become more or less great as they change. Abraham uses this rustic logic to conclude that the stars should not be worshiped, as they become less great as they pass over the horizon:

Thus did we show Abraham the dominions of the heavens and the earth, that he might be of those who posses certitude, ‘When night darkened over him, he saw a star an said, ‘This is my Lord! But when it was set, he said, ‘I do not like those who set.’
Qur’an 6:75

John the Baptist at least partially agreed with this:

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:27-30

Though many Christians would disagree with an obvious, if implied, corollary: anything that is made more or less great cannot be God.

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
buried with Him in baptism, in which
you also were raised with Him
through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Acts 2:11-12

The Qur’anic author denies both that God the Father has a son, and that God the son has a spouse. He denies the plurality of persons of God at all. To him there is one God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of the sensible and the invisible.

The originator of the heavens and the earth — how could He have a child when He has had no spouse? He created all things and He has knowledge of all things.
Qur’an 6:101

Qur’an 4: The Women

The fourth chapter, or book, or the Qur’an is called “The Women.” It is thematic but not linear. The Qur’anic author cares about Natural Law, Revealed Law, the relationship between God and the sinner, and the sinner’s calling on earth. The attacks on the Catholic Church escalate in metaphysical significance. Together these form of guide to what the Qur’anic author views as the good life.

The Natural Law

The Theme

We are sinners who find ourselves in the wrong places at the wrong times. To go from the right space, whether geographical or metaphysical, to the right one, is a migration:

Whoever migrates in the way of God will find many havens and plenitude in the earth.
And whoever
leaves his home
migrating toward God and His Apostle,
and is then overtaken by death,
his reward shall certainly fall on God, and
God is all-forgiving, all-merciful.
Qur’an 4:100

Man has migrated in this manner since Seth, the son of Adam and Eve:

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh…
Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.
Genesis 2:24, 5:6-8

The destination of this migration is “God and His Apostle.” Let’s put aside the identity of His Apostle for now…

Avoiding Chaos

According to the Qur’an, God so loves the world that he provides a logos that exists in the world that helps the sinner wherever he is. This logos is the Book, and is not ashamed to help a sinner in any step. Even prostitution is regulated and proscribed:

As to others than these, it is lawful for you to seek with your wealth, in wedlock, not in license. For the enjoyment you have had from them thereby, give them their dowries by way of settlement, there is no sin upon you in what you may agree upon after your settlement. God is indeed all-knowing, all-wise.
Qur’an 4:24

In the moral or psychological sense of the scripture, the unordered world that is outside the Logos brings chaos, but the unordered world inside the Logos brings wisdom. Thus, the Qur’an’s regulation of chaotic aspects of human life provides wisdom for navigating life:

This system of legalized and controlled prostitution is described in the Old Testament. What Muhammad brought after Christ is what Moses brought before Christ. The catch is even with Moses this chaos is not limitless — the temporary marriage contract can be entered into once per woman. (Lawyers may enjoy the complicated procedural process here)

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he
* writes her a certificate of divorce,
* gives it to her and
* sends her from his house,
and if after she leaves his house
* she becomes the wife of another man, and
* her second husband dislikes her and
* writes her a certificate of divorce,
* gives it to her and
* sends her from his house, or
* if he dies,
then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled.

That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Christ emphasized this law was given for the frailty of man. It is within the Logos not because it is an end-point, but because of the depravity that exists. Moses presents a stepping stone to Christ for those with heard hearts. Christ emphasizes this is not the final step. (And, like the Qur’anic author, he implicit references Genesis 2:24):

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
Matthew 19:3-9

Christ says “It was not this way from the beginning” because rules were given to man because of

Moreover I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them through the countries, because they had not executed my ordinances, but had rejected my statutes and profaned my sabbaths, and their eyes were set on their fathers’ idols. Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life; and I defiled them through their very gifts in making them offer by fire all their first-born, that I might horrify them; I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 20:23-26

Paul makes the same point. Pursuing the Law for itself is not good, because the law is not meant to be a rule-unto itself (there is no celestial “rule of law”), but a sign pointing to faithful allegiance to the Logos:

What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.
Romans 9:30-32

Paul is concluding by quoting Isaiah:

He will be as a holy abode, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of stumbling over To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 8:14

An example of this interactive nature of giving the Law to the Jews was Christ’s noting that Moses gave the Jews a law of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. And the same focus on Israel’s faults occur in this chapter of the Qur’an too:

Then because of their breaking their covenant, their denial of God’s signs, their killing of the prophets unjustly and for their saying, “Our hearts are uncircumcised,’ … Indeed, God has set a seal on them for their unfaith, so they do not have faith except a few.
Qur’an 4:155

Paul mentions this same blocking of faith by a covering placed by God, and the eventual solution for it:

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. But their minds were hardened;

for

to this day,
when they read the old covenant,
that same veil remains unlifted,
because only through Christ is it taken away.

Yes,

to this day
whenever Moses is read
a veil lies over their minds;
but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:12-18

Indeed, all who believe will see Christ:

There is none among the People of the Book but will surely believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.
Qur’an 4:159

Desiring the Good

Yet, the mercy of God does not imply confusion of the good or the bad. Virginity is better than whoredom. And the virginity of Mary Mother of Jesus is enthusiastically defended:

And for their faithlessness and their uttering a monstrous calumny against Mary
Due to the wrongdoings of the Jews, We prohibited them certain good things that were permitted to them, and for their barring many from the way of God.
Qur’an 4: 156, 160

This appears to be reference to an encoded section of the Babylonian Talmud, which to Jews is something like Patristic writings are to Catholics. The Babylonian Talmud reads in part:

Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, [did the children of Israel slay with the sword]. A soothsayer? But he was a prophet! — R. Johanan said: At first he was a prophet, but subsequently a soothsayer. R. Papa observed: This is what men say, ‘She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters.’
Sanhedrin 106:39-41

A contemporary Jewish commentary on this passage reads:

‘Shipdraggers,’ (v. Rashi). Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, p. 48, suggests that Balaam is frequently used in the Talmud as a type for Jesus (v. also pp. 64-70). Though no name is mentioned to shew which woman is meant, the mother of Jesus may be alluded to, which theory is strengthened by the statement that she mated with a carpenter.

The God of the Qur’an is merciful and forgiving, but not blind. A weakness is not a strength, and a whore is not a virgin.

Avoiding Tyranny

If Order within the Logos is of God, the Order that is outside the Logos is just tyranny. The tyrannical nature of anti-Logos order can be seen by a mechanical interpretation of the rules for an Orderly life given by Moses:

“If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:22

Christ, the Logos as shown by Christianity, mediates the relationship of man to God by removing tyranny. The law is not nullified, but what it means in practice is changed by its passages through the Logos:

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
John 8:3-8

The Qur’an’s advice is parallel. “Four witnesses,” is a lot for any crime, and even more for a “lewd” crime which, even in a menage-a-trois, would leave only two witnesses against each participant!

Should any of your women commit an indecent act, produce against them four witnesses from yourselves, and if they testify, detain them in houses until death finishes them, or God decrees a course for them.
Qur’an 4:15

Just as the Logos defeats Chaos by providing wisdom to unordered activity, the Logos transforms Tyranny into the experience of God. Anyone could have executed the whore caught by the pharisees. Christ transformed the situation into an opportunity for penance.

Revealed Law

The Theme

The Qur’an is a post-Arian religious text and asserts the Unity of God and the created nature of his Son. But while this passage may seam to be an attack on the Trinity:

Indeed, God does not forgive that a partner should be ascribed to Him, but He forgives anything that to whomever He wishes. Whoever ascribes partners to God has indeed fabricated a great sinfulness.
Qur’an 4:48

It’s not, at least not in this passage. Elsewhere as we’ll see the Qur’an makes clear it is female partners which are being denied. And the Qur’an’s veneration for Mary makes it unlikely it is attacking the Holy Mother. Rather, the Qur’an is consistently against the one female or females that virtually all Christians consider to be totally necessary in salvation history, and which almost all Christians treat as a partner for God.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:4

God Alone

“The Women” contains a creed that is the clearest summary of Qur’anic religion I have found:

O People of the Book! Do not exceed the bounds in your religion, and do not attribute anything to God except the truth.

The Messiah,
Jesus son of Mary,
was only an apostle of God, and
His word that He cast toward Mary, and

a Spirit from Him.

So have faith in God and His apostles, and do not say “Three,” Relinquish! That is better for you.

God is but the One God.
He is far too immaculate to have any son.
To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens
and whatever is on the earth,

and God suffices as trustee.
Qur’an 4:171

It is interesting that this is parallel to the original Nicene Creed . The procession is changed from Father, Son, and Spirit, to Son, Spirit, and Father (reverse of the procession presented in The Shepherd of Hermas). The Nicene Creed, re-ordered to be parallel to the Qur’an, would read:

We believe in

One Lord Jesus Christ God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father

And in the Holy Ghost.

But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;’ and ‘He was not before he was made;’ and ‘He was made out of nothing,’ or ‘He is of another substance’ or ‘essence,’ or ‘The Son of God is created,’ or ‘changeable,’ or ‘alterable’— they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.

In one God
the Father Almighty
By whom all things were made both in heaven
and on earth

[Christ] for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man;

But do you notice the partner that is added to the Trinity by the Nicene Creed, but rejected by the Qur’anic creed?

A first hint: it’s the only entity mentioned in the Nicene Creed consistently described as feminine in both Scripture and Church writings.

Indeed, God does not forgive that any partner should be ascribed to Him, but He forgives anything besides that to whomever He wishes. And whoever ascribes partners to God has certainty strayed into far error.

They invoke none but females besides Him, and invoke none but some froward Satan.
Qur’an 4:116-117

The Qur’an rejects the Bride of Christ, the Church.

You and God Alone

In Christianity not only are all Christians part of Christ:

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.
1 Corinthians 12:27-28

This is a partnering like the partnering of a man and a woman in marriage, an analogy that goes back to John the Baptist:

John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.”
John 3:27-29

Christ extended this analogy:

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”
Matthew 25:1

In the Qur’an the struggle to find God is fundamentally individualistic. It is closer to Jordan Peterson’s intellectual system than either Catholic tradition or, perhaps, Peterson’s own works. The relationship is between the individual and God. Intercession, either of the saints or even of sinners by prayer, is non-existent. The Logos of the Qur’an is fundamentally passive and does not plead or intercede as does the Logos of Christianity, Christ.

Indeed, We have sent down to you the Book with the truth, so that you may judge between the people by what God has shown you; do not be an advocate for the traitors, and plead to God for forgiveness; indeed God is all-forgiving, all-merciful.

And do not plead for those who betray themselves; indeed God does not like those who are treacherous and sinful.

They try to hide from people, but they do not try to hide from God, though He is with them when they conspire overnight with a discourse that He does not approve of. And God encompasses whatever they do.

Aha! There you are, pleading for them in the life of this world! But who will plead for them with God on the Day of Resurrection, or who will be their defender?
Qur’an 4:105-109

This sounds harsh, but the very next verse emphasizes three-fold aspect of Divinity, Forgiveness, and Mercy. God saves souls, because He made them. Humans didn’t, goes the logic, and so don’t.

Whoever commits evil or wrongs himself and then pleads to God for forgiveness, will find God all-forgiving, all-merciful.
Qur’an 4:110

Others are on the same journey as you. But you do not need them, you do not need their prayers, you do not need their prayers. They are with God, where you want to be, but your destination is to God, not to them.

Whoever obeys God and the Apostle — they are with those whom God has blessed, including the prophets and the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous and excellent companions are they! That is the grace of God, and God suffices as knower.

O you who have faith! Take your precautions, then go forth in companies, or go forth en masse.

Among you is indeed he who drags his feet, and should an affliction visit you, he says, ‘It was certainly God’s blessing that I did not accompany them! But should a bounty from God come to you, he will say, — as if there were no affection between you and him — ‘I wish I were with them so that I had achieved the great success!’
Qur’an 4:72

God’s control of the cosmos is absolute. He has the power to destroy humanity if he wishes:

If He wishes, He will take you away, O mankind, and bring others; God has the power to do that.

Whoever desires the reward of this world, with God is the reward of this world and the Hereafter, and God is all-hearing, all-seeing.
Qur’an 4:133-134

Though he has promised not to do so, provided that man keeps the Commands given to Noah:

Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with
you and with
your descendants after you, and with
every living creature that is with you:
the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you,
of all that go out of the ark,
every beast of the earth.

Thus I establish My covenant with you:
Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.
Genesis 9:8-11

This extends to the death of the Messiah. Christ did not die because of Jewish actions:

And for their saying, ‘We killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of God — though they did not kill him nor crucify him, but so it was made to appear to them. Indeed, those who differ concerning him are in doubt about him: they do not have any knowledge of that beyond following conjectures, and certainly they did not kill him.
Qur’an 4:157

But because of God’s actions:

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
Colossians 2:13-19

But note the end of that excerpt, where Christ is the Head and the body are the members. In the Qur’an, your hopes and prayers do not matter to any soul except your own.

It will be neither after your hopes nor the hopes of the People of the Book: whoever commits evil share be required for it, and he will not find for himself any friend or helper besides God. And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female, should he be faithful — such shall enter paradise and they will not be wronged the speck on a date-stone.

Who has a better religion than him who submits his will to God, being virtuous, and follows the creed of Abraham, a hanif! And God took Abraham for a dedicated friend.
Qur’an 4:123-125

This Message Is For You

The Theme

The lack of intercession radically changes the understanding of the Messiah’s greatest work It was not salvation for others, God has no son and no one except God can save. Rather, the Messiah was a perfect Apostle who, in spite of all the power he was given, humbled himself before God:

The Messiah would never disdain being a servant of God, nor would the angels brought near. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant, He will gather them all toward Him. Qur’an 4:172

Aryan Christians believed this interpretation was in keeping with the Bible, as long as phrases that would seem to indicate equality between Jesus and the Father instead emphasized similarity. For instance, the Christology of Paul’s letter to the Philippians hangs on the meaning of the phrase “form of God”:

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:3-9

For You

Somewhere in the middle of the below passage I realized that “you” did not just refer to some Jews who lived 2,000 years ago. The text’s “you” is the reader’s “me.” And everything he said about me is true:

Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…

And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.

You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept glory from human beings. But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.
John 5:24-25,37-39

John the Evangelist uses the alienation effect to force the reader to realize he is reading a book, but the book has a message for him, right now, today. The Qur’anic author imitates this style. Superficially, “you” is the anonymous transcriber of the Qur’an. But you are “you”:

Say, ‘The enjoyments of this world are a trifle, and the Hereafter is better for the Godwary, and you will not be wronged so much as a single date-thread. Where-ever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you were in fortified towers.

If any good befalls them, they say, ‘This is from God:’ and when an ill befalls them, they say, ‘This is from you,’ Say, ‘All is from God.’ What is the matter with these people that they would not understand any matter?

Whatever good befalls you is from God;
and whatever ill befalls you is from yourself.

We sent you as an apostle to mankind, and God suffices as witness.”
Qur’an 4:77b-79

You will not be harmed. You will die. You are a messenger from God. And you are seen by God.

The Message

As Peter taught, we are all vicars of God’s grace:

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another,
as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.

If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies,
that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:8-11

Similarly, “you” are interrogated for your belief, and the pattern is that the faithful man who is interrogated is given authority:

The People of the Book ask you to bring down for them a Book from the heaven. Certainly they asked Moses for greater than that, for they said, ‘Show us God visibly,’ whereat a thunderbolt seized them for their wrongdoing. Then they took up the Calf after all the clear proofs that had come to them. Yet we excused that, and we gave Moses a manifest authority.
Qur’an 4:153

It is to “you” that believes:

O you who have faith! Have faith in God, and His Apostle and the Book that He has sent down to His Apostle and the Book He had sent down earlier. Whoever disbelieves in God and His angels, His Books and His apostles and the Last Day, has certainty into far error.
Qur’an 4:136

As Paul believed:

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.
Acts 23:6-8

We can follow Christ

Indeed, God raised him up toward Himself, and God is all-mighty, all-wise.
Qur’an 4:158

And be gathered to God:

God — there is no god except Him — will surely gather you on the Day of Resurrection, in which there is no doubt; and who is more truthful in speech than God.
Qur’an 4:87

In the Qur’an the relationship of the believer and God is direct, one-way, and unmediated. Only you can pray for your salvation. And only you can take it away…

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
James 1:13-18

… because God is all-forgiving, and all-merciful.

Conclusion

The most obvious, or at least pruriently interesting, features of “The Women” are regulations around prostitution, lewdness, and a clear pain at insults against Mary. But beyond and behind the women are a clear hierarchy — God, the Book, and you — which obviate the need for any society or any females in the work of salvation.

Some criticisms of Jordan Peterson have attacked him for not having elucidated the role of grace in his system. But reading “The Women” made me think a more serious problem is the lack of a role of the Church. In Maps of Meaning and later works he has tried to envision a Christianity without a church, whether based on alchemy or on a direct connection to the Holy Spirit as predicted as the Blessed Joachim of Fiore. It is that view of the Holy Spirit, a view that frees it from the Church,

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Matthew 12:31-32

This is a fundamental difference between Qur’anic religion and Christianity. The Church is a partner to God, a created and lesser partner, one on earth that is tainted by sin, one that is essentially feminine to Christ’s masculinity.

The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.
Cyprian of Carthage, “On the Unity of the Church,” circa AD 250

In the Name of
God,
The Son,
the Holy Spirit,

God, you who have established the foundations of your Church upon the holy mountains: Grant that she may not be moved by any wiles of error which would fain compass her overthrow, nor may she be shaken by any earthly disquietude, but ever stand firmly upon the ordinances of the Apostles, and by their help, be kept in safety.

Qur’an 3: The Family of Amram

There are parts of some texts that are easy to understand. Then there are texts that are harder to understand.

And then there are texts even provide a hermenutical key to help in deciphering them.

It is He who has send down to you the Book.
Parts of it are definitive verses, which are the mother of the Book,
while others are ambiguous.

As for those whose hearts is deviance,
they pursue what is metaphorical in it, perusing misguidance and aiming at its interpretation.

But no one knows its interpretation
except God and
those firmly grounded in knowledge;
they say, ‘We believe in it; all of it is from our Lord.’

Only those who possess intellect take admonition.
Qur’an 3:7

The third chapter of the Qur’an takes its name from the father of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: Amram. An extended comparison between Miriam and the Virgin Mary (who in Hebrew have the same name) is presented. As before there’s also another voice, focused on the political and religious events of another time and that views Christians as an out-group. These two voices have a surprising convergence, at least for me, in their understanding of words and books.

Arian Christianity

The Two Marias

The Christian Bible contains two Marias, with the same name in Hebrew (“????????” or Miryam) . The name of the first is typically translated as “Miriam,” she is the sister of one of the men who during the Transfiguration talked with Christ: Moses. The second is typically translated as “Mary,” she is the mother of the man-god who during the Transfiguration talked with Moses: Jesus.

Both Marias are associated with songs, celebrating God’s overthrowing of the human inequity. In her song to the women, Maria sister of Moses sang:

And Miriam answered them:
“Sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!”
Exodus15:21

In her own song to Elizabeth, Maria mother of Jesus sang:

And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord…
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
Luke 2:46,51-52

The typological similarities between the Marias as well known in our academic church literature

Tracing the attributes of Miriam, the sister of Moses, we discover the following: she is a leader, a prophetess, a mediator, an initiator, a servant. a nurse. a caring person, a model of discretion and timing, a negotiator, and a woman who secretly and effectively works behind the scenes in the salvific history of the people.
The Catholic Tradition uses such attributes for Mary of Galilee in the Church’s devotional hymns and litanies. The biblical sources for such expressions are taken from the Cana event (Jn 2:1-11) and from the Annunciation and Visitation accounts (Lk 1:28-45).
Old Testament Types of Mary,” Father Johann Roten, S.M.

Perhaps this is why the prophets who bridged the Old and New Testaments looked back not just on Egypt, not just on redemption, but the Family of Amram— the Prophet Moses, the Priest Aaron, and Maria:

For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
Micah 6:4

The Family of Maria

In the above, I’ve said “Maria sister of Moses” and “Maria mother of Jesus,” but properly the style should be patristic. The first Maria would be “Maria daughter of Amram”:

The name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and to Amram she bore Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam.
Numbers 26:59

And the other Maria… well, we don’t know exactly. Smart people, going back to the Church Fathers, argued Mary’s father’s name was Perhaps Joachim/ and that we went by a nickname, “Heli.”

It is into this ambiguity that the Koran gives the Father of Maria another name, the name of the father of the first Maria: Amram

When the wife of Amram said, ‘my Lord, I dedicate to You in consecration what is in my belly. Accept it from me; indeed You are all the All-hearing, the all-knowing.’ When she bore her, she said, “My Lord, I have born a female’ — and God knew better what she had borne, and the male was no match for the female — ‘and i have named her Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to Your care against the outcast Satan.’
Thereupon her Lord accepted her with a gracious acceptance, and made her grow up in a worthy fashion, and He charged Zechariah with her care.
Qur’an 3:36-37

The Qur’anic author doesn’t just emphasize the connection between the Marias, he recapitulates their Songs into a new form, using the words of neither but the theme of both:

Say, ‘O God, Master of all sovereignty!
You give sovereignty to whomever You wish,
and strip of sovereignty whomever You wish;
You make mighty whomever You wish,
and You degrade whomever You wish;
all choice is in Your hand.
Indeed, You have power over all things.”
Qur’an 3:26

Post-Christianity in the Context of Christianity

The New Luke, the New Paul

After I read The Heifer I felt the Arian Christian and the post-Christian voices in the Qur’an were fundamentally alien to each other, or at least only inexplicably connected. But the beliefs of the men behind those voices may have been more similar than I suspect.

For instance, it may be that one or both of these men saw himself as a new Paul of Tarsus, or new Luke the evangelist

But if they deny you, apostles have been denied before you, who came with manifest signs, holy writs, and an illuminating scripture.
Qur’an 3:184

Luke quotes Christ speaking of the Jews in the third person in his edition of the Beatitudes

Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Luke 6:22-23

Paul elevates this charge, adding the murder of Christ to their misdeeds:

For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men
1 Thessalonians 2:14-15

Yet Paul nonetheless identified as Jew, at least tactically:

But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
Acts 23:6

And at times a Pauline verse…

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5

appears to cleanly flow int o a Qur’anic one, especially if the three-hold description of God (“Him, the All-mighty, the All-wise”) is in fact Trinitarian:

Nothing is indeed hidden from God in the earth or in the sky.
It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wishes.
There is no god except Him, the All-mighty, the All-wise.
Qur’an 3:6

This rhetorical imitation continues into unexpected areas. Luke uses the term “womb” more than all other New Testament writers combined. Though the emphasis on female participation reproduction according to God’s plan is more common in the Old Testament than the New:

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
Isaiah 44:24

That’s not even to mention the time travel.

The Apparition at Fatima

Take this verse, which is Luke writing Christ’s words to Paul:

So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said,
‘I am Jesus,
whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to
turn them from darkness to light, and
from the power of Satan to God, that
they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me
.’
Acts 26:15-18

Edit the text down, and rearrange:

I am Jesus,
they may receive forgiveness of sins and
turn them from
from the power of Satan
darkness to light, and
an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

Compare with the Fatima Decade Prayer, given by Our Lady to girls in Portugal nearly 1,900 years later:

My Jesus,
forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell.
Lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Amen.

And in between, the text of The Family of Amram:

Those who say,
‘Our Lord!
Indeed, we have faith.
So forgive us our sins,
and save us from the punishment of the Fire.’
Patient and truthful, obedient and charitable, and
they plead forgiveness at dawns.
Qur’an 3:16-17

Twice:

Our Lord, whoever that You make enter the Fire will surely have been disgraced by You, and the wrongdoers will have no helpers. Our Lord, we have indeed heart a summoner calling to faith, declaring, ‘Have faith in your Lord!’ So we believed.
Our Lord,
forgive us our sins and
absolve us of our misdeeds,
and make us die with the pious.
Our Lord, give us what You have promised us through Your apostles, and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, you do not break Your promise.’
Qur’an 3:192

This is just weird. How can Christ’s words to Paul, as recorded by Luke, show up both in the Qur’an and at Fatima but chopped up and in a different order, and translated from the Lord’s perspective to man’s? There must, I think be, an intermediate form of this pray circulating in the Patristic age.

Does anyone still know that prayer?

The Battle

The post-Christian voice in the Qur’an returns multiple time to a battle. The battle seems to have been lost. But the specific details and locations are not described — the battle that either would have been well known to the audience, or its an allegorical battle.

The battle was against a people of the Book:

A group of the People of the Book were eager to lead you astray; they they lead no one stray except themselves, but they are not aware.
O People of the Book! Why do you deny God’s signs while you testify? O People of the Book? Why do you mix the truth with falsehood, and conceal the truth while you know?
A group of the People of the Book say, ‘Believe in what has been sent down to the faithful at the beginning of the day, and disbelieve at its end, so that they may turn back.’
Qur’an 3:69-72

Perhaps these references are to a battle in the late Classical period in the Arabian peninsula…

Certainly He has excused you, for God is gracious to the faithful. When you were fleeing without paying any attention to anyone, while the Apostle was calling you from your rear, He requited you with grief upon grief, so that you may not grieve for what you lose nor for what befalls you, and God is well aware of what you do.
Then He sent down to you safety after grief — a drowsiness that came over a group of you — while another group, anxious only about themselves, entertained false notions about God, no notions of ignorance. They said, “Do we have any role in the matter.’ Say, ‘The matter indeed belongs totally to God,’ They hide in their hearts what they do not disclose to you.
They say, ‘Had we any role in the matter, we would not have been slain here.’ Say, ‘Even if you had remained in your houses, those destined to be slain would have set out toward the places where they were laid to rest, so that God may test what is in your hearts, and God knows well what is in the breasts.
Qur’an 3:154

Or perhaps the references — to the persecuting people of the Book, to the falling asleep, to the death that awaits — is to something else:

And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
Mark14:40-43

There was, after all, something of a battle:

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.

So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
John 18:10-11

The Battle is used as an occasion to bless the weak and marginalized — the female, the migrant, the tortured, and the dead:

Then their Lord answered them, ‘I do not waste the work of any worker among you, whether male or female; you are all on the same footing.

So those who migrated and were expelled from their homes,
and were tormented in My way, and those who fought and were killed —

I will surely absolve them of their misdeeds and
I will admit them into gardens with streams running in them,
as a reward from God, and God — with Him is the best of rewards.’
Qur’an 3:195

This also is parallel to the Gospels:

Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now,
For you shall be filled.
Blessed are you who weep now,
For you shall laugh.

Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man’s sake.

Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven,
For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.
Luke 6:20-23

I wish I understood Arabic grammar better. “God — with Him is the best of rewards” states this voice, who I have been calling post-Christian. I wonder if this is a pun

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23

Christology and Bibliology

The Word and the words

Christians hold that God created the world through the Logos (“the Word”), and in some ways is identified with the Logos:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John 1:1-5

The Word became flesh on earth:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

But is the Word-in-flesh identical to the Word, or instantiation of it? Jews believe that God has many hypostases He uses to speak to His creation, including the Spirit of the LORD, the Name of the LORD, and the Angel of the LORD. Is Jesus a part of the Word, or is He identical to it?

The Qur’anic author seems aware of this question, because it’s answered repeatedly: Christ is a Word of God:

When the angels said, ‘Oh Mary, God gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near. he will speak to the people in the cradle and in adulthood, and will be one of the righteous.’
Qur’an 3:45

And the same term is used in the angels’ words predicting John the Baptist:

Thereat Zechariah supplicated his Lord. He said, “My Lord! Grand me a good offspring from You! You indeed hear all supplications.’
Then, as he stood praying in the sanctuary the angels called out to him: ‘God gives you the good news of John, as a confirmer of a Word of God, eminent and chaste, a prophet, and one of the righteous.
He said, ‘My Lord, how shall I have a son while old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?’Said He, ‘So it is that God does whatever He wishes.’
Qur’an 3:38-40

The Members and the Body

The Church forms the body of Christ. All Christian are members of the one Body of Christ:

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
1 Corinthians 6:15-17

Christ instructed us to abandon those members which cause sin:

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
Matthew 5:29-30

A logical implication of this, I suppose, is those members of Christ which are still sinful are cast into the fire:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
John 15:1-6

Or, as the Qur’anic author puts it:

When God said, ‘Oh Jesus, I shall take you, and I shall raise you up toward Myself, and I shall clear you of the faithless, and I shall set those who follow you above the faithless until the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me will be your return, whereat I will judge between you concerning that about which you used to differ.
Qur’an 3:55

One Body, and many members.

The Qur’an’s theory of the Logos is similar. Many words, many books, many Scriptures, but one “Book.” The Torah, the Evangel (“Gospel”), and the mysterious Criterion are in some ways instances of it:

God — there is no god except Him — is the Living One, the All-sustainer. He has sent down to you the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it, and He had sent down the Torah and the Evangel before as guidance for mankind, and He has send down the Criterion. Indeed, there is a severe punishment for those who deny the signs of God, and God is all-mighty, avenger.
Qur’an 3:2-4

Yet, while a people may only have been given the Torah, and another only given the Gospel, they still had been given the Book:

When God made a covenant with those who were given the Book: ‘You shall explain it for the people, and you shall not conceal it,’ they cast it behind their backs and sold it for a paltry gain. How evil is what they buy!
Qur’an 3:187

The Seen and the Unseen

There is one Book in Heaven, the Book is with God, but the Book is not God.

The Torah, The Qur’an, the “Criterion” (whatever that is), even the Messiah, they are books or words, they are perhaps images of the Book, but they are not God.

Christians believe that face of Christ is how we see the face of God, he is a Divine Icon of Ineffable Divinity:

He is the image of the invisible God-, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 1:15

In the context of The Family of Amram, this is worse than sola scriptura — this is idolatry. Consider the following verse — it’s almost totally Orthodox, could almost conclude a Catholic prayer service – except for one line:

God will not leave the faithful in your present state, until He has separated the bad ones from the good.
God will not acquaint you with the Unseen,
but God chooses whomever He wishes from His apostles.
So have faith in God and His apostles;
and if you are faithful and Godwary, there shall be a great reward for you.
Qur’an 3:179

To me this is a striking. In my impressions of the Qur’an’s second chapter, The Heifer , I mentioned there was clearly an Arian Christian voice in the text as well a post-Christian voice. But on this issue of themes of both — the Arian instances on the created nature of Christ, and the Post-Christian emphasis on the created nature of the Torah, the Gospels, and the “Criterion,” they are.

Would these voices agree, the Word is a Book, and the Book became flesh, and in this flesh was a word in the Book?

I’m not sure. But I had not expected to find this parallelism in voices that otherwise seemed so disjointed.

Final Thoughts

The Family of Amram is the third chapter of the Qur’an. It follows The Opening, an introductory psalm or prayer, and The Heifer, which introduces both the Arian Christian voice and the post-Christian voice. The Family of Amram continues the development of these voices, but introduces a shared understanding: the multiplicity of words, scriptures, and books, in contrast with the one Book heaven. This intermingling of concepts implies that the apparently post-Christian voice may itself incorporate a Christian commentary, and is not so opposed to the Arian voice as I had first thought.

I read the second chapter of the Qur’an, The Family of Amram, in Gabriel Said Reynolds’ translation.

Qur’an 2: The Heifer

The Heifer (or “Cow,” or “Young Cow”) is the second book of the Qur’an. It is also the longest, and ironically follows one of the shortest, The Opening. The Heifer is not named after a theme of the book, but is an important reference to the Bible in the book:

Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
“This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying:
‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him.
Numbers19:1-3

The author of The Heifer — well, at least one of them — expands this episode into an illustrative commentary of Moses’s patience and Israel’s stubbornness:

Then you turned away after that. And if not for the favor of God upon you and His mercy, you would have been among the losers.
And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”
And We made it a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded and a lesson for those who fear God.
And when Moses said to his people, “Indeed, God commands you to slaughter a cow.”
They said, “Do you take us in ridicule?”
He said, “I seek refuge in God from being among the ignorant.”
They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is.”
He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow which is neither old nor virgin, but median between that,’ so do what you are commanded.”
They said, “Call upon your Lord to show us what is her color.”
He said, “He says, ‘It is a yellow cow, bright in color – pleasing to the observers.’ ”
They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, cows look alike to us. And indeed we, if God wills, will be guided.”
He said, “He says, ‘It is a cow neither trained to plow the earth nor to irrigate the field, one free from fault with no spot upon her.'”
They said, “Now you have come with the truth.” So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it.
Qur’an 2:64-71

To say one of the authors is not as such to deny Divine Authorship. In the Bible some books clearly have more than one voice. The most obvious is the The Book of Kings , which begins with the same psychological realism as The Book of Samuel and after a couple chapters transitions into either popular or merely chronological accounts. Nonetheless, the Book of Kings maintained a unity of theme of the decline and fall of the Kingdom, and is accepted by both Jews and Christians.

The Heifer also displays multiple voices. The three apparent voices are an inexplicable source, a Christian sermon, a post-Christian source, and a wisdom or law code. (If you read that carefully carefully you’ll note that Numbers describes a “red” cow, while The Heifer has a “yellow” one. The voices described here are my own terms, and I am aware how far Biblical higher criticism has progressed since the Wiseman hypothesis. Qur’anic criticism is now where Biblical criticism was in the 19th century. Scholars like Michael Heiser have complicated earlier assumptions that different voices can be easily extracted from the Bible. Any literary analysis is speculative.)

Inexplicable

There are parts of the Qur’an that, if they occurred in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible, would be described as “corrupted” or “interpolations.” This does not mean that they actually are written by different writers — T.S. Elliot used such elements intentionally. Here, for example, Elliot’s poem includes a paragraph with a middle section that also would appear to be “corrupted” or “interpolated”:

On a summer midnight, you can hear the music of the weak pipe and the little drum And see the dancing around the bonfire The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie — A dignified and commodius sacrement. Two and two, neccesarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the hand or the arm Whiche botokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles, Rustically solemn, or in rustic laughter
T.S. Elliot, East Coker I

Yet, to maintain the comparison between the Qur’an and Elliot’s poetry, at times the English poet does use earlier texts. Consider the phrase (which I myself mis-remembered as “All is well, and all manner of things shall be well”), and its 600 years of history in Christian prophesy and poetry:

One time our good Lord said: All thing shall be well; and another time he said: Thou shalt see thyself that all MANNER of thing shall be well; and in these two the soul took sundry understandings. One was that He willeth we know that not only He taketh heed to noble things and to great, but also to little and to small, to low and to simple, to one and to other. And so meaneth He in that He saith: ALL MANNER OF THINGS shall be well. For He willeth we know that the least thing shall not be forgotten.
Julian of Norwhich, Revelations of Divine Love, AD 1393

C.S. Lewis, in both private letters and his published apologetics, slightly alters this phrase:,

I have been reading this week the ‘Revelations’ of Mother Julian of Norwich (14th century); not always so profitable as I had expected, but well worth reading… Christ tells her again and again ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.; She asks how it can be well, since some are damned. He replied that all that is true, but the secret grand deed will make even that ‘very well.’ ‘With you this is impossible, but not with Me.’
C.S. Lewis, “On reading The Revelations of Divine Love“, AD 1940

And, presumably via either Lewis’s published works or private conversations, Elliot adopts it too:

Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now always —
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and-
All manner of things shall be well

When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
T.S. Elliot, Little Gidding, AD 1942

So what to make of bizarre referencing, those that make no sense have no known meaning and are untranslatable, like the very first words:

Alif, Lam, Meen
Qur’an 2:1

The same occur in larger passages. Is the below reference to Exodus merely corrupted? Is it a play on a lost homily on Jerusalem? A reference to either a lost book, such as The Book of the Wars of the Lord or oral tradition, perhaps maintained by desert dwellers to the south and east of the Kingdom? We do not know.

We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails: ‘Eat of the good things We have provided for you,’ And they did not wrong Us, but they And when We said, ‘Enter this town, and eat thereof freely whencesoever you wish, and enter while prostrating at the gate and say, ‘Relieve,’ so that We may forgive your iniquities and soon We will enhance the virtuous. But the wrongdoers changed the saying other than what they were told. So We sent down on those who were wrongdoers a plague from the sky because of the transgressions they used to commit.
Qur’an 2:57-58

Christian

Yet the clearest and longest voice in the Koran is clear – it is clearly Christian. The Christian writer of the Qur’an is particularly fond of Moses, Mary, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus:

Certainly We gave Moses the Book and followed him with the apostles, and We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and confirmed him with the Holy Spirit. Is it not that whenever an apostle brought you that which was not to your liking, you would act arrogantly; so you would impugn a group, and slave a group?
Qur’an 2:57-58

The faithful await the return of the Lord in a cloud. This will be the future sign that ends all speculation, after God’s repeatedly signs given to all sons of Israel:

Do they await anything but that God should come to them in the shades of the clouds, with the angels, and the matter be decided? To God all matters are returned. Ask the Children of Israel how many manifest a sign We had given them. Whoever changes God’s blessing after it has come to him, indeed God is severe in retribution.
Qur’an 2:210-211

This is a clear reference to the Gospel of Matthew:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matthew 24:29-31

Referencing Biblical texts can slide into expanding on them. This may be for high-minded reasons, or just for curiosity. John Chrysostom’s homily on Cain and Abel is something I feel deeply, but it reads into the order of God’s interrogation of Cain meaningfully pauses and an intentionality that is not explicitly there. On the other end, the The Protoevangelium of James has no particularly deep meaning, but elaborates the story of Christ’s early family to provide models for the faithful to imitate. The Qur’an has these too. One example is the elaboration of the Book of Numbers about the Cow. Another example is the Qur’an’s explication of God’s promise to Moses. In the original text, Abraham’s response to God is not recorded:

Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.
Genesis 22:15-19

While the conversation continues in The Heifer:

When his Lord tested Abraham with certain words, and he fulfilled them, He said, “I am making you the Imam of mankind,’ said he, ‘And from among by descendants?” He said, “My pledge does not extend to the unjust.”
Qur’an 2:57-58

The idea of Abraham’s fatherhood being potentially lost exists within Christianity. As the father-in-faith to Christians, those who lose faith logically lose lose him as a father. van’t Veer and other Reformed Christians go a step further, arguing that even the Jews (except for Mary and Jesus) had lost their inheritance by the time of the Incarnation.

With Other Voices

There seem to be at least two other voices in the Koran, though perhaps they are intended to be the same author .

Anti-Catholic

The Christian voice in The Heifer clearly has a bone to pick with the Catholic Church.

A number of teachings are directly criticized, such as the Intercession of the Saints:

O Children of Israel, remember My blessing which I have bestowed upon you, and that I gave you an advantage over all the nations. Beware of the Day when no soul shall compensate for another, neither will any random be accepted from it, nor will any intercession benefit it, nor will they be helped.
Qur’an 2:48

and Purgatory:

And they say, ‘The Fire shall not touch us except for a number of days.’ Say, ‘Have you taken a promise from God? If so, God will never break His promise. Or do you ascribe to God what you do not know?’ ‘Certainly whoever commits misdeeds and is besieged by his iniquity — such shall be inmates of the Fire, and they will remain in it.’
Qur’an 2:80-81

and the procession of the Trinity:

“Who is it that may intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they do not comprehend anything of His knowledge except what He wishes. His seat embraces the heavens and the earth and He is not wearied by their preservation, and He is the All-exalted, the All-supreme
Qur’an 2:255

What could be the context of this voice, this anti-Catholic Christian? One possibility is that the author is an Arian, a believer that Christ and the Holy Spirit are created God-persons that God has made in order to provide intermediaries between Him and the human race He loves so much. Arianism was widespread in much of the Roman Empire — indeed, most bishops at one point seem to have been Arian (including Achbishop of Constantinople Eusebius of Nicomedia, who baptized the first Emperor Constantine). Further, the Qur’an’s focus on man’s ignorance echoes an Arian assertion, that the precise Christology of the Nicaean Fathers was simply inappropriate given’s man’s limited knowledge of the unseen realm:

And nobody is unaware that this is catholic doctrine, that
there are two Persons of the Father and the Son, and that
the Father is greater, and
the Son is subjected in common with all the things which the Father subjected to him; that
the Father has no beginning, is invisible, immortal, and impassible; but that
the Son is born from the Father,
God from God,
Light from Light,
whose generation as Son, as has been said already, no one knows except the Father;
Second Cirmian Creed, AD 357

Or perhaps the author was a proto-Calvinist! Amusingly, the author sharks one tic with a contemporary anti-Catholic writer, William Dumbrell. Dumbrell creates his own list of Patriarchs, using a formula found nowhere in the Bible:

Thus the book of Genesis ends with Israel preserved and populous. Curiously, blessing, or the promise of it, comes to each of the three patriarchs (Abraham Jacob, Joseph) outside of the promised land, but with reference to the land.
William Dumbrell, The End of the Beginning, p. 133

The same category of innovation — changing the formula to describe the Patriarchs — occurs here, but instead of subtracting Jacob, Ishmael is added!

Were you witnessed when death approached Jacob, when he asked his children, ‘What will you worship after m?’ They said, ‘We will worship your God, and the God of your fathers, Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, the One God and to Him do we submit
Qur’an 2:133

The Post-Christian

While one voice appears to specifically challenge the Catholic church’s teachings on Christianity, another seems to abandon identification as Christian altogether. For instance, like Mormonism, this voice views the canon as still open:

For any verse that We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring another better than it, or similar to it. Do you not know that God has power over all things? Do you not know that to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth? And besides God you do not have any friend or helper.
Would you question your Apostle as Moses was questioned formerly? Whoever changes faith for unfaith certainly straits from the right way.
Qur’an 2:106-108

This voice also refers to Christians in the third person, along with Jews and a group called the “Sabeans” (some speculate that “Sabeans” are followers of St. John the Baptist who thought following Christ wasn’t such a good idea):

Indeed, the faithful, the Jews, the Christians, and the Sabeans — those who have faith in God and the Last Day and act righteously — they shall have their reward near their Lord, and they will have no fear, nor will they grieve.
Qur’an 2:62

A New Law

The other voice provides what appear to be reasonable practical guidance, and is something between wisdom literature that provides solid advice:

O you who have faith! When you contract a loan for a specified term, write it down. Let a writer write with honesty between you, and let not the writer refuse to write as God has taught him. So let him write, and let the one who incurs the debt dictate, and let him be wary of God, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it. But if the debtor be feeble-minded, or weak, or incapable of dictating himself, then let his guardian dictate with honesty, and take as witnesses two witnesses from your men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women — from those whom you approve as witnesses — so that if one of the two defaults the other will remind her. The witnesses must not refuse when they are called, and do no consider it wearisome to write it down, whether it be a big or small sum, until its term. That is more just with God and more upright in respect to testimony, and the likeliest way to avoid doubt, unless it is an on-the spot deal you transact between yourselves, in which case there is no sin upon you not to write it down. Take witnesses when you make a deal, and let no harm be done to the writer or witnesses, and if you did that, it would be sinful of you. Be wary of God and God will teach you, and God has knowledge of all things.
Qur’an 2:282

… and a law code basic on Moses:

O you who have faith! Retribution is prescribed for you regarding the slain: freeman for freeman, slave for slave, and female for female .But if one is granted any extenuation by his brother, let the follow up be honorable, and let the payments to him be with kindness. That is a remission from your Lord and a mercy; and should anyone transgress after that, there shall be a painful punishment for him.
Qur’an 2:178

Conclusion

I have spoken of the voices of the Koran. But as with the Bible and the mysterious “redactors,” at time the voices intertwine in the same paragraph. David’s last words to Solomon, for instance, combine the ruddy faith of the Shepherd-King with the high-minded theology of the Deuteronomist:

Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’

“Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.
1 Kings 2:1-6

In the same way, who can untangle the first paragraph of The Heifer. What is the “book” mentioned? Who is the “we”?

This is the book, there is no doubt in it, a guidance to the God-wary, who believe in the Unseen, maintain the prayer,and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. Those who follow their Lord’s guidance and it is they who are felicitous.
Qur’an 2:2-5

I read the second chapter of the Qur’an, The Heifer, in Gabriel Said Reynolds’ translation.

Want to buy a Koran at UNL?

Good luck.

Daily Nebraskan – Muslim students buy out Qurans in protest
Religious sensitivity made its way into the classroom early this semester for University of Nebraska-Lincoln students in an Introduction to Islam class.
When Michael Huston went to the bookstore to buy a copy of the Quran for the class last month, he learned it was sold out. However, it wasn’t bought out by students from the class.
Huston. a senior art major, learned that a few students from the Pakistan Students Association had bought all the books because they didn’t want non-muslim students to accidently deface the Quran.
“It seems more like a protest in general to get people aware of their stance,” Huston said about PSA students’ sensitivity to the Quran’s usage. “It’s kind of bizarre that they would go to that extent.”
Summayia Khan, president of the Pakistan Students Association, declined to comment.
Misuse or defacement of the Quran, which is highly respected within the Muslim faith, can be considered blasphemy.
“The concern from the Pakistan Students Association over whether it was appropriate for non-muslims to use the Quran was resolved in a pleasant, collegial conversation between the instructor of the class, the president of the Pakistan Student Association and myself,” said Sidnie Crawford, chairwoman of the classics and religious studies department at UNL.

Of course, the Pakistan Students Association has a right to protest against non-Muslims handling the Quaran, and they did so peacefully and in a way that brought some coin to the university bookstore. Still, this hardly demonstrates a respect (or even tolerance) for liberty, as their actions were specifically aimed at limiting the ability of those not in their religion from reading their religious texts.

Of all the trials that students in the Pakistan Students Association have gone through, joining the Scientologists in hiding their beliefs from others is perhaps the dumbest.

For What Crime

The Overthrowing,” recited by Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, The Recitation, circa AD 620, http://www.universalunity.net/quran4/081.qmt.html.

US accused of trying to block abortion pills,” by Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, 21 April 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1464644,00.html (from Democratic Underground).

Infanticide — baby killing — is not new, and it is not going away easily.

When the sun is overthrown
And when the stars fall
And when the hills are moved
And when the camels big with young are abandoned
And when the wild beasts are hearded together
And when the seas rise
And when souls are reuinted
And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked
for what she was slain

And when the pages are laid open
And when the sky is torn away
And when hell is lighted
And when the Garden is brought night
Every soul will know what it hath made ready
Oh, but I call to witness the planets
The stars which rise and set
And the close of night
And the breath of morning
That this is in truth the word of an honored messenger
Mighty, established in the presense of the Lord of the Throne
To be obeyed, and trusworthy.

Babies, both born and unborn, are being killed regularly in the world. We need to figh this. Anti-infanticide laws are one part of the fix. Another part is birth control, both before and after conception.

This makes America’s latest neo-Puritanism even more enraging.

The US government is trying to block the World Health Organisation from endorsing two abortion pills which could save the lives of some of the 68,000 women who die from unsafe practices in poor countries every year.

The WHO wants to put the pills on its essential medicines list, which constitutes official advice to all governments on the basic drugs their doctors should have available.

Last month, an expert committee met to consider a number of new drugs for inclusion on the list. They approved for the first time two pills, to be used in combination for the termination of early pregnancy, called mifepristone and misoprostol. In poor countries where abortion is legal, doctors currently have no alternative to surgery.