Monday, April 11, 2011

Sura 32 - The Prostation

The title comes from verse 15 and seems to represent the ideal response to the sura.

Date, Context and Theme

It is a middle Meccan sura. The main theme seems is answering the objections of the Meccans who say that what Muhammad is saying is strange and doubtful.

Structure


v. 1, Mystery letters.

Vv. 2-3, Doubting the Qur’an and Muhammad. This is the issue the sura addresses.

Vv. 4-9, Allah is the one God who created all things. A declaration of tawheed. You should not doubt this.

Vv. 10-22, How can Allah recreate us when we are dead? Allah will and will bring you to judgement.

Vv. 23-26 You have seen a book before with Moses so be not surprised at the coming of the Qur’an..

Vv. 27-30 Allah will bring his judgement therefore wait for the victory.

What I found interesting.

1. This sura seems to answer this verse.
Or say they (the Meccans): He hath invented it? Nay, but it is the Truth from thy Lord, that thou mayst warn a folk to whom no warner came before thee, that haply they may walk aright. 32:3

There were three main evidences that were put forward for why the Qur’an and Muhammad are genuine.

a. Allah is the one God who rules over all. This is logically seen in the created order. Tawheed, one God, is the logical conclusion from creation.

b. The idea that Allah would send a book is not new. You already know this from Moses.
We verily gave Moses the Scripture; so be not ye in doubt of his receiving it; and We appointed it a guidance for the Children of Israel. 32:23

This assumes that the Meccans know about Moses.

c. Allah will resurrect to judgement. Look at the dry land and see how it goes from death to life.
Have they not seen how We lead the water to the barren land and therewith bring forth crops whereof their cattle eat, and they themselves? Will they not then see? 32:27

This is similar to Paul’s argument in 1 Corinthians 15:35-36.

2. God and Time
He directeth the ordinance from the heaven unto the earth; then it ascendeth unto Him in a Day, whereof the measure is a thousand years of that ye reckon. 32:5

This is similar to Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8.

3. The Creation Account.
Allah it is Who created the heavens and the earth, and that which is between them, in six Days. Then He mounted the Throne. Ye have not, beside Him, a protecting friend or mediator. Will ye not then remember? 32:4

At first I thought that this verse was saying the same thing as Genesis 1. But I do not think so now because in the Bible it never says God created the world in six days and finish there. It always refers to the seven days. There is work and then there is rest. A rest that we as the image of God share in.

This is just another example of how the Qur’an appears to be similar to the Bible yet lacks the content and details. For example the Qur’an mentions Abraham but there is no mention of covenant of circumcision. It has sacrifices but none for sin. It talks about the Spirit but there is no gift. It alludes to many of the Biblical stories yet has very few details. Most of the content and detail from the Law of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms and the Gospel are missing.

4. The sura ends with promise of victory to the Muslims. Muhammad must have been preaching that he would rule and the Meccans did not seem to think that this would happen.
And they (the Meccans) say: When cometh this victory (of yours) if ye are truthful? Say (unto them): On the day of the victory the faith of those who disbelieve (and who then will believe) will not avail them, neither will they be reprieved. So withdraw from them (O Muhammad), and await (the event). Lo! they (also) are awaiting (it). 32:28-30

8 comments:

  1. >But I do not think so now because in the Bible it never says God created the world in six days and finish there. It always refers to the seven days. There is work and then there is rest. A rest that we as the image of God share in.

    The idea of ascribing rest to God is a blasphemous one even if one expends small amount of time thinking about it. To put limits to what God can do and to think that he gets tired and needs to get 'refreshed' is not in line with the concept of omnipotence as mentioned in the bible:

    "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (The Holy Bible, King James Version, Exodus 31: 17)

    Further detail of this specific topic can be found at:
    http://quran.al-shia.org/en/qur%27anic-knowledge/six%20days%20of%20creation%20or%20six%20periods.htm

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  2. >This is just another example of how the Qur’an appears to be similar to the Bible yet lacks the content and details.

    As I mentioned above, this is not 'lacking content and details' but a correction of a fallacious concept in the bible which goes against any monotheistic understanding of God, be it Jewish, Christian or Islamic.

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  3. >The sura ends with promise of victory to the Muslims. Muhammad must have been preaching that he would rule and the Meccans did not seem to think that this would happen

    Is rulership the only form of victory for you? The quran talks about their faith prevailing. It should also be pointed out that this surah was revealed at the lowest ebb of the the Islamic message. When Muslims were being tortured and killed for their faith. This was reassurance to the Muslims to have patience and perseverence and a prediction of the eventual victory of their faith over the disbelievers.

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  4. Imran,

    He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:3-4

    Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." John 5:17

    God's purpose in creating is not to keep creating. The "rest" of the seventh day is about God inviting humanity to have a relationship with him. It is the demonstration by God that there is more to life than work. Humanity is in the image of God and so we are to follow this model. This is what the sabbath is about. It is beautiful. The purpose of creation is not work but a relationship with God. For the Qur'an not to include the seventh days means it is missing a very important detail.

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  5. I am familiar with that point of view which is why I explicitly quoted the line from the bible which invalidates it.

    "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (The Holy Bible, King James Version, Exodus 31: 17)

    It is the 'and was refreshed' at the end which goes against your explanation. This and your explanation show a couple of points which are not in line with our explicit understanding of God:
    1- For God, creation is 'work'. It takes effort. Islam tell us that God merely says 'be' and it is.
    You say "It is the demonstration by God that there is more to life than work.". This is true though irrelevant since we need refreshment after work. God does not get tired and neither is it 'work' as such when he creates. He merely wishes it. To suggest otherwise it to put limits on Him.+
    2- Man is the image of God. This is another concept which goes against core Christian and Islamic beliefs. God is incomparable to anything. Man works and gets tired. Man needs rest. Man has limits. Man has physical desires. God is above all this.

    I find this to be amongst many other Christian beliefs that go against the core Judeo-Christian-Islamic understanding of God. Another example if 1+1+1=1 concept. Where the square peg of trinity is fitted through the round hole of monotheism.

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  6. I have addressed the issue of the 7th day.

    Regarding the image of God, this is a clear teaching in the Law of Moses, the books of the Prophets, the Psalms and the Gospel:
    "Be holy as I am holy". That the Qur'an denies this just shows how it is not connected to the earlier prophets.

    Regarding the Trinity, God is who God is. He is more complex than us. Muslims not only reject the Trinity but also reject the books of all the earlier prophets. How can we agree on God when you only listen to what Muhammad says about God. What Christians believe comes from the Law of Moses, the prophets, the psalms and the gospel. We make no distinction between the prophets and read them all. Our understanding of God comes from all of them.

    Regarding, Islam does not provide monotheism. As I showed in a recent post there is the kissing of the black stone, and Muhammad is associated with Allah in the Shahadah, the Salaat, in intercession and by his burial in a mosque. Muhammad is associated with Allah at every point of Islamic worship.

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  7. >I have addressed the issue of the 7th day.
    You have a strange habit of becoming too easily content with your understanding and ignoring other people's response.

    I think you misunderstood what I said about the 'image of God' or my objection to it. I gave you ample explanation none of which you address. Encouragement to adopt God's traits is different from being the image of God. The later is much more comprehensive notion than monotheism permits. You yourself state "God is who God is. He is more complex than us." I said the same thing yet you respond by extrapolating from something unrelated. Islam, just like Christianity, encourages Man to adopt God's traits (to the extent that its possible) and if you actually took the time to read the Quran sincerely you would find many such examples (if you don't let me know and I'll post them). Please be fair to me and dont box me into what you perceive me to believe. "Be holy as I am holy" is completely in line with Islam. Man being the image of God is not. Not every man is successful in adopting the Holy traits, so is every Man an image of God? And while you have gone off on a tangent by quoting this line, let me remind you that we were talking about God being 'refreshed' after exerting work. You did not address ANY of what I wrote and instead started a new line of discourse.

    Regarding the trinity, you say what Christians believe comes from the Law of Moses, the prophets. I challenge you to point me to any shred of proof of the trinity in any Prophet's teaching (old testament or the psalms). In fact I challenge you to show me the existence of the trinity (explicit) even in the new testament! Please do not make statements as facts but show me some proof or logic.

    Lastly, I am surprised you are restating your charges against Islam being monotheistic. I responded to EACH claim you made earlier. Not only did you not respond, but restate the exact same lines again. In any case, I will summarize briefly: The kissing of the Black stone is out of respect and not worship. Many muslims do the same with the quran and the kaaba. Showing respect to holy relics is not contradictory to monotheism. The prophet Mohammad pbuh is mentioned in the shahada as a prophet not a deity. Monotheism is the worship of one deity. The key word is WORSHIP. Regarding his burial site, 5 minutes of searching on the web should tell you that his burial site was added to the mosque MUCH later and was originally well outside the mosque. It was added as the mosque expanded. So it because because of logistical reasons and not theological reasons. Now, since I have gone thru the exercise of responding to the same charges twice, either stop repeating yourself or tell me how I am wrong.

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