Monday, May 24, 2010

Sura 10 - Jonah

My Title Jonah is a great title as Jonah is the prophet whose people listened to him and were saved from judgement.

Date and Context

This is a late Meccan sura and deals with the Meccan’s rejection of Muhammad, and also the issue of why Muhammad has no sign.

Structure

vv. 1-71, The signs that Allah has given the Meccans. The sun, moon and plants (v. 6, 25) all show his power. Allah is merciful to you (13, 22-23) but after you have received it you forget and turn away. The religion of the Meccans is a lie against Allah.

vv. 72-75, Noah warned his people. They rejected him and then the judgement came.

vv. 76-96, Moses warned the Egyptians. They rejected him and then the judgement came.

v. 99, Jonah warned his people. They listened to him and were saved from judgement.

vv. 100-110 The Meccans are going to meet Allah and judgement day and Muhammad will testify against them.

What I found interesting.

1. Things we learn about Muhammad

a. Called a wizard
Is it a wonder for mankind that We have inspired a man among them, saying: Warn mankind and bring unto those who believe the good tidings that they have a sure footing with their Lord? The disbelievers say: Lo! this is a mere wizard. 10:3

b. Asked to change the Qur’an. He did this with the Satanic Verses.
And when Our clear revelations are recited unto them, they who look not for the meeting with Us say: Bring a Lecture other than this, or change it. Say (O Muhammad): It is not for me to change it of my accord. I only follow that which is inspired in me. Lo! if I disobey my Lord I fear the retribution of an awful Day. 10:16

c. Muhammad has spent his life in Mecca.
Say: If Allah had so willed I should not have recited it to you nor would He have made it known to you. I dwelt among you a whole lifetime before it (came to me). Have ye then no sense? 10:17

d. Is this verse suggesting that Muhammad was waiting for a sign too?
And they will say: If only a portent were sent down upon him from his Lord! Then say, (O Muhammad): The Unseen belongeth to Allah. So wait! Lo! I am waiting with you. 10:21

e. Muhammad is to believe the earlier prophets if he doubts the revelation he has received.
And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. 10:95-96

2. Since Muhammad has not miraculous sign from Allah, the Qur’an is again said to be the sign.
And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be invented in despite of Allah; but it is a confirmation of that which was before it and an exposition of that which is decreed for mankind - Therein is no doubt - from the Lord of the Worlds. Or say they: He hath invented it? Say: Then bring a surah like unto it, and call (for help) on all ye can besides Allah, if ye are truthful. 10:38-39

There is more to this "sura like it" challenge though because this claim of uniqueness is not limited to the Qur'an alone but equally applies to all of God's books.
Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Then bring a scripture from the presence of Allah that giveth clearer guidance than these two (Qur'an and Torah)(that) I may follow it, if ye are truthful. 28:49

Therefore the "sura like it" challenge can be used to prove that all of God's books are from him and not just the Qur'an.
3. The day of judgement.
And for every nation there is a messenger. And when their messenger cometh (on the Day of Judgment) it will be judged between them fairly, and they will not be wronged. 10:48

4. It is interesting how the way the story of Moses is told is really addressing the issue of how the Muslims are to live in Mecca when people are hostile to them.
And We inspired Moses and his brother, (saying): Appoint houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses oratories, and establish worship. And give good news to the believers. 10:88

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