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    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an (OP)


    Greetings,

    I have begun re-reading the Qua'ran online for educational purposes. For those interested, I'd like to document my experience on this thread.

    Currently, I'm using this translation: http://www.noblequran.com/translation/

    I'd welcome advice for other translations, especially if they have footnote references for further study.

    Thanks,

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

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    Dan,

    If you go to bayyinah.tv and apply for free subscription, then they will give you one. I usually read quran, and if I need more clarification on something, i go and listen to the explanation of it. If you want, I have a coupon for a free subscription as well, I can send it to you.

    Alhamdulillah, Happy Muslimah already answered some of your questions.

    Here Nouman Ali Khan explains the context behind those verses: www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=R3iUCqqNdZg
    2 | Likes Muslim Woman, DanEdge liked this post

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    use this site
    if you want to learn more about a verse just look it up and it will tell you the tafsir of what the verse means
    http://www.qtafsir.com/
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    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    worship the creator not the creation


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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Miss Hijabi,

    Thanks for the reference. I watched that video you posted, along with a few others from the same speaker. I like him, but I wasn't so sure about his analysis of the Surah under discussion. He said the non-Muslims that were re-conquered were given a few weeks to think about whether or not they accepted Islam, then were executed if they did not agree. Is this the common Muslim view? I'd like to hear some others points of view.

    --Dan Edge


    Quote Originally Posted by misshijabi View Post
    Dan,

    If you go to bayyinah.tv and apply for free subscription, then they will give you one. I usually read quran, and if I need more clarification on something, i go and listen to the explanation of it. If you want, I have a coupon for a free subscription as well, I can send it to you.

    Alhamdulillah, Happy Muslimah already answered some of your questions.

    Here Nouman Ali Khan explains the context behind those verses: www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=R3iUCqqNdZg

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    sister herb's Avatar
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Quote Originally Posted by DanEdge View Post
    Miss Hijabi,

    Thanks for the reference. I watched that video you posted, along with a few others from the same speaker. I like him, but I wasn't so sure about his analysis of the Surah under discussion. He said the non-Muslims that were re-conquered were given a few weeks to think about whether or not they accepted Islam, then were executed if they did not agree. Is this the common Muslim view? I'd like to hear some others points of view.

    --Dan Edge
    Forced Conversion?

    So the foundation of Jihad is Islamic propagation (da’wah). The question often asked is whether Islam condones and teaches the forced and armed conversion of non-Muslims. This is the image sometimes projected by Western scholars and as any Muslim scholar will tell you, is seriously flawed. The Qur’an clearly states “There is no compulsion in religion, the path of guidance stands out clear from error” [2:256] and [60:8]. In this verse, the word “rushd” or “path of guidance” refers to the entire domain of human life, not just to the rites and theology of Islam.

    There is no debate about the fact that pre-Islamic Arabia was a misguided society dominated by tribalism and a blind obedience to custom. In contrast, the clarity of Islam and its emphasis on reason and rational proofs excluded any need to impose it by force. This verse is a clear indication that the Qur’an is strictly opposed to the use of compulsion in religious faith. Similarly, Allah addressed Sayiddina Muhammad r saying, “Remind them, for you are only one who reminds.” [88:21] Allah addresses the believers, urging them to obey the injunctions of Islam, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, then know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.” [5:92] However, this verse makes it clear that the Messenger’s duty is only to proclaim and preach the message; it remains to each individual to accept and to follow.


    http://islamicsupremecouncil.org/und...m.html?start=3

    Also:

    http://www.muftisays.com/blog/Seifed...-to-islam.html

    Nobody can´t say have rulers ever forced anyone to Islam. If they have done so, we need to remember that not everybody has the wisdom of the Prophet.
    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    From Occupied Palestine:

    We have suffered too much for too long. We will not accept apartheid masked as peace. We will settle for no less than our freedom.




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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Sister Herb,

    Based on the speaker in the video, the non-Muslims were given 4 weeks to decide if they were going to be Muslim or not. Those who declined were free to leave. Those who stayed, and would not accept Islam, were to be destroyed.

    --Dan Edge

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Here is explanation about that surah:


    http://theamericanmus lim.org/tam.php/features/articles/quran_95_commentary

    (take this space away from the link - seems it doesn´t show in here without it)

    Here is text:

    9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them.

    This verse, often called “the verse of the sword”, has been misquoted in a manner similar to the previous verses. First, we shall provide the verse in its context:

    9:5-6 But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

    Having presented the verse in context, we can analyze it properly. Dr. Maher Hathout gives an explanation on the historical context of the verse:

    This verse was revealed towards the end of the revelation period and relates to a limited context. Hostilities were frozen for a three-month period during which the Arabs pledged not to wage war. Prophet Muhammad was inspired to use this period to encourage the combatants to join the Muslim ranks or, if they chose, to leave the area that was under Muslims rule; however, if they were to resume hostilities, then the Muslims would fight back until victorious. One is inspired to note that even in this context of war, the verse concludes by emphasizing the divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness. To minimize hostilities, the Qur’an ordered Muslims to grant asylum to anyone, even an enemy, who sought refuge. Asylum would be granted according to the customs of chivalry; the person would be told the message of the Qur’an but not coerced into accepting that message. Thereafter, he or she would be escorted to safety regardless of his or her religion. (9:6). (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, pp.52-53, emphasis added)

    Therefore, this verse once again refers to those pagans who would continue to fight after the period of peace. It clearly commands the Muslims to protect those who seek peace and are non-combatants. It is a specific verse with a specific ruling and can in no way be applied to general situations. The command of the verse was only to be applied in the event of a battle. As Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

    The emphasis is on the first clause: it is only when the four months of grace are past, and the other party show no sign of desisting from their treacherous design by right conduct, that the state of war supervenes - between Faith and Unfaith. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary, emphasis added)

    If the pagans would not cease their hostilities towards the Muslims, then they were to be fought, especially since they were living in the land of an Islamic state. Dr. Zakir Naik writes concerning this verse:

    This verse is quoted during a battle. ...We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them”. Today if I say that the American President said, “Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them” without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war. ...Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, “Kill the Mushriqs (pagans) where ever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:

    “If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge.” [Al-Qur’an 9:6]

    The Qur’an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security? This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

    Dr. Naik makes some very interesting observations about the verse. Indeed, it is truly amazing how Islam-haters will ignore God’s infinite mercy in their attempt to malign Islam. God has always given human beings a way out of any suffering, and has only ordained fighting as a last resort. Muslim scholars have written much commentary on these Qur’anic verses explaining the historical context in such great detail so that there may be no misconceptions. We have quoted extensively from various commentators on these verses and there is no need to repeat the same material again. We will provide one more commentary before moving on. Professor Shahul Hameed writes on verse 9:5:
    This is a verse taken from Surah At-Tawba. This chapter of the Qur’an was revealed in the context when the newly organized Muslim society in Madinah was engaged in defending themselves against the pagan aggressors. The major question dealt with here is, as to how the Muslims should treat those who break an existing treaty at will. The first clause in the verse refers to the time-honored Arab custom of a period of warning and waiting given to the offenders, after a clear violation. That is, they will be given four months’ time to repair the damage done or make peace. But if nothing happens after the expiry of these forbidden months, what should be done? This is what the present verse says. According to this verse, fighting must be resumed until one of the two things happens: Either the enemy should be vanquished by relentless fighting. That is what is meant by {then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]}; or they should repent, establish prayers and pay zakah, etc. This is one of those verses of the Qur’an which are likely to be misunderstood, if quoted out of context. We must understand that this fighting was against a people who forced the Prophet and his companions to leave not only their own homes but all their property and even their hometown of Makkah to Madinah. Once the Muslims were organized into a community in those lawless times, the rules to be followed by the Muslims were clearly laid down, even in the matter of war. Since Islam is a comprehensive system, no human activity could be ignored. And given the nature of mankind, we cannot imagine a situation where fighting is completely ruled out either. As can be seen, the above injunctions on fighting is not on an individual level, but only in the case of a society that strives to flourish and thrive as a nation. But even here the norms are clear: fighting is only in self defence or for the establishment of justice; and always fighting is the last option. And no one is allowed to transgress the limits set by God. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

    Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’an, writes:

    “It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are waging war against you.” (Ahkam al-Qur’an: 2/456, emphasis added)
    Shaykh Sami al-Majid also makes some very interesting points in his discussion on this verse:

    If we look at the verses in Sûrah al-Tawbah immediately before and after the one under discussion, the context of the verse becomes clear. A few verses before the one we are discussing, Allah says:

    “There is a declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the pagans with whom you have contracted mutual alliances. Go then, for four months, to and fro throughout the land. But know that you cannot frustrate Allah that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 1-2]

    In these verses we see that the pagans were granted a four month amnesty with an indication that when the four months were over, fighting would resume. However, a following verse exempts some of them from the resumption of hostilities. It reads:

    “Except for those pagans with whom you have entered into a covenant and who then do not break their covenant at all nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill your engagements with them until the end of their term, for Allah loves the righteous.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 4]

    So when Allah says: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” we must know that it is not general, since the verse above has qualified it to refer to the pagan Arabs who were actually at war with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and those who broke their covenants of peace. This is further emphasized a few verses later where Allah says:

    “Will you not fight people who broke their covenants and plotted to expel the Messenger and attacked you first?” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 13] (SOURCE)

    Therefore, the context of the verse within the Surah makes it clear that this refers to those who are persistent in their hostilities and attacks against Muslims, and it is applied in battle only. We recommend that one reads Shaykh Sami Al-Majid’s full article entitled There is no Compulsion in Religion.
    ———————————————— ———————————————— ——————

    Abrogated?

    The next issue with this verse concerns abrogation. It has been claimed by some that this verse 9:5 has abrogated all the peaceful verses in the Qur’an. However, this claim results from a misunderstanding of some Qur’anic concepts. In the Qur’an there is naskh and there is also takhsees. Naskh is the abrogation of a ruling by a ruling that was revealed after it. Naskh occurs in matters of Islamic law. Takhsees on the other hand refers to specification, where one verse restricts the application of another verse, or specifies the limits not mentioned in the other verse. As Shaykh Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi writes:

    Specification involves one verse limiting or restricting a general ruling found in another verse, whereas naskh involves abrogating the first verse in toto (i.e., it is not applied in any circumstances or conditions). (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 233)
    Shaykh Qadhi also explains that one of the conditions for naskh is that the two conflicting rulings apply to the same situation under the same circumstances, and hence there is no alternative understanding of the application of the verses. As he states:

    Therefore, if one of the rulings can apply to a specific case, and the other ruling to a different case, this cannot be considered an example of naskh. (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 237)

    Therefore, verse 9:5 can in no way be considered an example of naskh since it is only a ruling applied to a very specific situation and circumstances. There is a lot of confusion surrounding some verses labeled as cases of naskh because the early Muslims used to use the word naskh to refer to takhsees as well. Therefore, some Muslims failed to realize that some of these cases labeled by early Muslims as ‘naskh’ were cases of takhsees. This is why some early Muslim scholars are quoted who have classified this verse as a case of ‘naskh’. One should realize that they used the term naskh to refer to a broader range of meanings, including takhsees. As Dr. Jamal Badawi writes:

    Any claim of naskh must be definitive, not based on mere opinion or speculation. It should be noted that earlier Muslims used the term naskh to refer also to takhsees or specifying and limiting the ruling than abrogating it. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

    Shaykh Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi specifically addresses the confusion about verse 9:5, and after citing the different claims he concludes:

    It can be seen from the examples and categories quoted that, in reality, most of these verses cannot be considered to have been abrogated in the least. Some of them merely apply to situations other than those that they were revealed for. Almost all of these ‘mansookh’ (abrogated) verses can still be said to apply when the Muslims are in a situation similar to the situation in which the verses were revealed. Thus, the ‘Verse of the Sword’ in reality does not abrogate a large number of verses; in fact, az-Zarqaanee concludes that it does not abrogate any! (fn. Az-Zarqaanee, v.2, pps.275-282) (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 254)

    Shaykh Sami Al-Majid also states the same thing in his article:

    Some people – especially some contemporary non-Muslim critics of Islam – have tried to claim that this verse abrogates the verse “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” They argue that the generality of this statement implies that every unbeliever who refuses to accept Islam must be fought. They support their allegation by pointing out that this verse is one of the last verses to be revealed about fighting. However, this verse in no way abrogates the principle in Islamic Law that there is no compulsion in religion. It may be general in wording, but its meaning is quite specific on account of other verses of the Qur’ân that are connected with it as well as on account of a number of pertinent hadîth. (SOURCE)

    Shaykh Jamal Al-Din Zarabozo also deals with this issue in his writings on the verse “There is no compulsion in religion”. He mentions the view that this verse has been abrogated as then states:

    Al-Dausiri rejects this statement because of the following: A verse cannot abrogate another verse unless it completely removes the ruling of the earlier verse and there is no way to reconcile the contradictory meanings of the verses. (Zarabozo, There is No Compulsion in Religion, Al-Basheer)

    This was the view of the great scholars and mufasireen (Qur’anic commentators) both classical and recent, like Ash-Shanqeeti or Ibn Jarir At-Tabari. Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Awa also comments on this issue in his discussion on the puunishment for apostasy:

    At the same time, one can say that the death penalty for apostasy – especially when it is considered as a hadd (prescribed) punishment – contradicts the Qur’anic principle [law] in Surah II, verse 256, which proclaims “No compulsion in religion.” Ibn Hazm, to avoid this criticism, claimed that this verse had been abrogated and that compulsion is allowed in religion; consequently, according to him, the punishment for apostasy does not contradict the Qur’an (fn. Muhalla, vol. XI, p. 195). However, this claim is invalid, since Qur’anic scholars have established the abrogated verses and this verse is not among them (fn. Suyuti, Itqan, vol. II, p. 22-24). Accordingly, one can say with the Encyclopaedia of Islam that “In the Qur’an the apostate is threatened with punishment in the next world only.” (fn. Heffening, Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. III, p. 736 under “Murtadd”). (El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law; US American Trust Publications, 1993, p. 51, emphasis added)

    Therefore, when we discuss the merciful and loving verses of the Qur’an and we receive a claim that they have been abrogated by the specific verses concerning battle, we can dismiss such a claim as mere speculation and invalid. Peace and justice are fundamentals of the religion of Islam and can never be removed from it.

    http://www.whyislam.org/877/FAQ/q12.asp


    I was thinking the other thing while wrote my previous post. I couldn´t watch the video as it´s difficult to me to understand when someone is speaking fast using an American accent. My English bases quite much to (clear) British pronunciation.
    Last edited by sister herb; 12-12-2015 at 10:54 AM.
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    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    From Occupied Palestine:

    We have suffered too much for too long. We will not accept apartheid masked as peace. We will settle for no less than our freedom.




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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Sister Herb,

    Your post has paralyzed me. I've read it three times, and now I'm going to have to go back and read it again before I post more on this thread. You make a man think too hard

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Hi DanEdge, not surprising to read your reaction to sister herbs post.

    Often, when I come across stuff like this, my mind will bring me back to a story I read about the prophet on his speech regarding the Hajj. He had said that everyone, if able, must perform the Hajj in their lifetime.

    Somebody asked if that meant every year? The prophet did not answer until the question was repeated for the third time. When he did answer he was rather upset with the question and told off the enquirer by saying that it people like him that causes splits. The prophet went on to say (words to the effect of) "what if I had said 'yes', then wouldn't it be a burden for all? So why can't you just accept it as what I said, and if you have performed the Hajj, you have performed the Hajj."

    In other words, sometimes our questions make our life more difficult. Case in point, when the Jews asked Moses to describe the cow for sacrifice. It was an easy matter but they made it difficult for themselves.. (don't know if this is at all relevant)..

    Last edited by greenhill; 12-19-2015 at 06:28 PM.
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    As long as my heart does beat, I shall live, not lie
    For when my heart does stop its beat, with truth, I die.

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Quote Originally Posted by DanEdge View Post
    Sister Herb,

    Your post has paralyzed me. I've read it three times, and now I'm going to have to go back and read it again before I post more on this thread. You make a man think too hard

    --Dan Edge
    I didn´t mean anything negative with my post.
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    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    From Occupied Palestine:

    We have suffered too much for too long. We will not accept apartheid masked as peace. We will settle for no less than our freedom.




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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an



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    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an


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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Sister Herb,

    I meant it as a big compliment. Your thoughtful post made me pause and think

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Analysis of Al-Anfal

    My translation (http://www.noblequran.com/translation/) subtitles this chapter "The Spoils of War," and I'm trying to interpret the author's words in this context, but it's difficult to reconcile.

    Up until verse 21, this surah is a preamble to the point: "And know that whatever of war-booty that you may gain, verily one-fifth (1/5th) of it is assigned to Allah, and to the Messenger, and to the near relatives [of the Messenger (Muhammad )], (and also) the orphans, Al-Masakin (the poor) and the wayfarer, if you have believed in Allah and in that which We sent down to Our slave (Muhammad ) on the Day of criterion (between right and wrong), the Day when the two forces met (the battle of Badr) - And Allah is Able to do all things."

    I think the whole point of this surah thus far is to lay down the importance of donation to the church and to disadvantaged people. 1/5th is for God, but this is not just for the church. Donations to other worthy causes also qualify.

    It is also a justification of confiscating property from defeated enemies. 1/5 of enemy property is to be dispensed with according to these rules.

    When at war, don't free any POWs for any price until you have slaughtered many others (67). Sounds harsh to me.

    The author assumes that man will be in a perpetual state of war until all agree of religious issues. However, emigrants deserve protection even if they do not convert, provided they are good citizens and do not violate international treaties.

    Sincerely,

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Analysis of Al-Taubah

    Here we continue the discussion of treaties from the last part of Al-Anfal. Treaties with Mushrikun (non-Muslim foreigners) are to be honored so long as the other party does not violate the treaty first. Mushrikun are to be protected if necessary because in this way they are able to see the mercy of Islam and are placed in a position to here its arguments. This all makes sense, but I was confused by verses 1-3 and 5: Muslims are free from all treaties for four months (in order to hajj?); then when the Sacred Months have passed, they are to "kill the Mushrikun wherever [they] find them." Verse 28 seems to express the same sentiment. How did we go from honoring treaties and protecting foreigners to killing them?

    While it may be economically advantageous to trade with non-Muslims, don't be lured in by gold and silver. The author asserts that some Christian and Jewish leaders use places of worship to line their own pockets, often at the expense of the truth. This takes money away from the people who really need it, and it's a grave wrong.

    When it's time to fight, everybody's got to fight. Those who don't want to fight are cowards, hypocrites, and worse. They should go hide in a cave somewhere. Even if you are old or infirm, you should want to fight for God and trust in him to protect you on the battlefield. Hypocrites and those who would speak against God, wealthy they may be in life, are promised Hellfire in death. (In later verses we see that those too weak or otherwise unable to fight are granted an exemption, and there is no shame is this so long as one would fight if he could.)

    Verse 74 seems to refer to a very specific incident, and provides some context for surrounding verses. A reference is made to an unsuccessful assassination attempt against Muhammad (pbuh). Directly afterwards there is a discussion about those who make a covenant with God in exchange for great Bounties, but then turn away from His teachings. In combination with the first part of this Surah dealing with treaties, one can infer that there was a lot of politics, international relations, and espionage going on at the time -- and a lot of bad blood left in its wake.

    Just noticed that, when it comes to the Final Judgement, much focus is placed on deeds, actions, good works, or what have you. Is this an overarching theme?

    An interesting and unexpected note from verse 117: Allah has forgiven the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers for losing heart during a journey. I found it interesting and unexpected because you rarely see a conduit to God described as fallible and requiring forgiveness. Or maybe I'm just thinking of Jesus, because most of my religious experience is with Christianity. Jesus had to be described as perfect because he was claimed to be the son of God.

    Questions for further study:

    • To what precisely does Mushrikun refer? Does it have a different meaning in different contexts (i.e., sometimes referring to non-Muslim foreigners, sometimes referring to non-Muslim citizens in a Muslim country, etc.)? Why the different treatment of Mushrikun referred to above?
    • What was going on in international politics while this Surah was being written? It doesn't sound like there was a perpetual state of war, but again, it seems like a lot of espionage and such was happening.
    • What exactly did the Prophet (pbuh) do that required forgiveness?


    I'll look these things up myself at some point, but as always, thanks for any feedback!

    --Dan Edge
    Last edited by DanEdge; 06-22-2017 at 12:53 AM.

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Bismillah Ir-Rehman Ir-Raheem (In the Name of God, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful)



    Quote Originally Posted by DanEdge View Post
    Analysis of Al-Anfal
    Thank you for sharing your understanding on this Qur'anic surah (chapter).

    When at war, don't free any POWs for any price until you have slaughtered many others (67). Sounds harsh to me.
    This injunction was revealed after the Battle of Badr. This was the first military battle in Islam because until then the injunction had been to remain patient and persevere against persecution. However, Meccan forces of approximately 1,000 unbelievers of well-armed men with advanced weaponry decided to annihilate Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) once and for all along with his following of approximately 400 Muslim converts with not even proper weaponry or shields. However, Allah (God) granted the Muslims victory despite the odds against them. During this time, Allah (God) gave them the option of either ransoming the prisoners of war or killing the prisoners of war and it seemed to them from the divinely revealed words that one option was considered more desirable than the other, but the surviving Companions (may God be pleased with them) disagreed as to which one was probably the better option. Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) (peace be upon him) informed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) them that should the Muslims choose the option of ransom, they have to do so knowing that the exact outcome of that choice would be that the number of prisoners of wars totaling 70 in number released would become the means later for another battle in which the same number of Muslims totaling 70 would become martyred.

    Given those choices, the Muslim converts deliberated among themselves. One set of the Muslims believed that ransoming would the prisoners of war would be better (a) so that later perhaps the unbelievers' hearts could become softened to Islam and they may become Muslims in the future seeing the mercy of Islam and (b) they would then get funds in return to distribute among themselves because they were at that point in time as new converts a persecuted minority that had felt compelled to forsake their homes, their family and friends, tribal allegiance for following this religion, and (c) having 70 Muslims become martyrs in a future battle is not a path to be lamented because that is good news from the perspective of the hereafter. However, another set of Muslims believed that the ransoming of prisoners of war in favor of killing the prisoners of war is an idealistic but impractical decision because the prisoner of wars' release would engender in the released unbelievers renewed will and fervor to kill the Muslim converts another time when they're able to do so and worsen the situation for the already small number of Muslim converts who are no match for the unbelievers in numbers as they foment further hostility against Muslim converts upon their return to their tribes.

    Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) heard both sides of the debate and rendered the decision that his (peace and blessings be upon him) being sent as a "mercy" to the world meant that he will follow the option of ransoming the prisoners instead. Then, the verse (67) was revealed to say that the Companions (may God be pleased with them) who had advised Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) for ransom had advised him incorrectly because the Muslim converts had chosen a path of both difficulty for themselves and created everlasting trouble for all Muslim converts because it did not befit the high status of prophethood and historical rationale which all past prophets (peace be upon them all) and nations of that time used which is that defeating the enemies should also mean defeating the falsehood that they represent.

    Moreover, the Companions (may God be pleased with them) who had advised the option of ransom though of course had been motivated at the thought of the unbelievers becoming Muslim at a future date through experiencing the mercy of Islam had also simultaneously been motivated at the thought of personal gain which this ransom money would bring and that nafsani (egoistic) desire was and is seen contrary to the principles of Islam because a person must stand for what is just and correct and truth and not what is profitable from a worldly perspective. The verse (67) was highlighting that the other option of bloodshed though initially seen as the worse and more harsh option is sometimes the better option in the long-term perspective to prevent more conflict and stands also as better for Muslim converts in the hereafter due to lacking mixed motives in this context-specific situation.

    So, this path of mercy that Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) picked upon the recommendation of one set of Companions (may God be pleased with them) witnessed the prediction of 70 of the believers becoming martyrs true in the next battle (Battle of Uhud) as Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) (peace be upon him) had informed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). And of course this seemingly better decision from the Battle of Badr was the root cause of more bloodshed on both sides in the future.

    My personal thought is that this verse in the Qur'an is comparable to what military strategists and politicians and historians and political pundits alike now agree is a strategic and critical mistake: appeasement. If Hitler hadn't been appeased in the beginning when he'd been testing limits, then the bloodiest conflict that WWII represents could have been either avoided or not gotten to be as bloody as it historically came out to be. It is easier after all to solve a problem when it is in the nascent stage and harder and more burdensome and more Herculean a task to do it later when the problem can no longer be contained to that one previous dilemma and now represents a bigger problem.

    Sincere Regards & Best Wishes,

    P.S.
    I love reading your personal thoughts on how you're imbibing and processing the Qur'an. Please continue sharing.

    Last edited by Search; 06-22-2017 at 03:54 AM.
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Analysis of Surah Yunus (Jonah):

    Echoing a theme from the previous Surah, we are reminded that only those who believe in Islamic Monotheism and exhibit this belief through good works are to be rewarded in this life and beyond.

    The miracles of every day natural phenomenon are presented as proof of the one true God. The movements of the sun and moon are one example, allowing those with knowledge to calculate the days, months, and seasons. Clear logic is also asserted as evidence, though as to deeper truths, "the unseen belongs to Allah [SWT] alone." This is a theme found throughout virtually all religions: that reasoning alone is insufficient for true believers. God isn't going to come down from on high and perform miracles for you to prove his existence. Faith plays an important role.

    In verse 24, we see another fact of nature -- the life-giving power of rain and water -- presented as proof of the one God. I think this is another developing train of thought to keep in mind as I read further.

    There ought be no intermediary between Allah [SWT] and the individual. These passages remind me of the Reformation period in Christian history, in which Martin Luther and others began to press for a personal relationship with God, as opposed to using the Catholic preisthood as an intermediary.

    As in other Surahs, we find many, many different ways to say essentially the same thing: those who practice Islamic Monotheism are good and will be rewarded, whole those who don't will be punished. This is a common theme among all religious texts, I suppose. One can grow weary of the refrain.

    Moses and the Pharaoh make an appearance beginning in Verse 75. For someone raised Christian like myself, these are some of my favorite passages from the Book because I can compare it to what I was taught as a child. Moses was always one of my favorite heroes from religious history. It's so great to see the moral authority of a great leader elevated above a cruel despot. The story of Moses's trek across the endless desert is one of the most enduring images in history.

    Then we return to the main theme: belief in Islamic Monotheism is good, the opposite is bad. The end.

    Until Next Time,

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Analysis of Surah Hud:

    This Surah begins with a mystery in the very first verse. "Alif-Lam-Ra." I started looking up the meaning of these words, but the answers I found were diverse and complicated. We'll set it aside for now, but I'd like to look into this. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Verse 6 presents another mystery: the author describes a Clear Book which contains information about every living thing in every stage of its development, from in utero to death. From what I can understand from this and later passages, Allah [SWT] uses this book of knowledge to judge the worth of each man and women, in order properly to inflict justice upon him/her.

    Verse 17 interested me because it adds to the author's depiction of People of the Book. In some passages I've read, the author seems to love People of the Book, and wishes them well, though he is frustrated by their self-imposed ignorance. Here we see much harsher justice for Book-ers: they "will enter Hell." I don't recall anything like that from previous Surahs; I'll have to go back and check.

    Noah has arrived! He's another great character that I always found interesting in the Bible, so I'm excited to read the Muslim account of his adventures. Like in the Bible, most people doubt him and even make fun of him when he brings the warning of God's wrath. Though, when asked by the doubters if Noah will judge them harshly, he says "No." Allah [SWT] is the arbiter of all thing, and Noah feels it's not his place to pass judgment. He's just a humble servant and messenger.

    Noah's story is also tragic. His beloved son did not follow him in his belief, so they became separated, and his son drowned beneath the waves. Very sad. Lot experiences a similar tragedy. His wife pleaded for the lives of of those about to be swept away by a supernatural disaster, and as punishment she was left behind to face death along with the rest. Allah's [SWT] wrath is powerful and terrible, just like the God of the Old Testament. This Surah describes the complete destruction of Midian, Thamud, and other peoples.

    In general, this Surah is about Allah's judgment of individuals. I believe that with the earlier presentation of the Clear Book, the author is making the case that Allah's [SWT] omniscience extends to individual minds and souls. He knows what you're thinking, what are your deepest desires, what are your true motives. Allah [SWT] knows you better that anyone else possibly can. For this reason, it is argued, He is most fit to pass judgment. Those who sincerely believe will be rewarded in this life and the next, while those who don't pass the test face death, destruction, and hellfire.

    I never liked these stories about the destruction of cities, even when I was a Christian. God as described in these stories, while wise and powerful, is also vengeful and cruel. Were I religious, I think I would prefer a more loving, forgiving God who gives you a second chance. Then a third and a fourth chance. In my opinion, there are few truly evil people in the world. Even the best of us have a dark side, and even the worst of us have a silver lining, something hidden deep inside. This is just my opinion.

    In general, I prefer Surah passages that point to evidence, logical arguments, and proofs to support the existence of a Monotheistic God. The threat of mass destruction seems overly harsh and unnecessarily intimidating. Why push a man to accept a belief through fear? I like the more positive approach.

    The Surah is more familiar to me than any other that I've read, because the stories it tells overlap the Jewish and Christian accounts of the same characters. Very interesting from the perspective of comparative religion.

    Thanks for Reading,

    --Dan Edge

    - - - Updated - - -

    EDIT: Peace be upon any prophets I mentioned in the above post. Forgive men, I had forgotten that important piece of etiquette.

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Please go to tafheem.net, you will find three commentaries. Those are in great detail giving the background /sircumstances in which a surah/chapter or verses were sent down by Allah (The Creator and God) to the Final Messenger and Final Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
    Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    For the translation and short explanation of the surahs / verses of the Holy Quraan go to


    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAb...TcknAmy9Y5Bv1A

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Quote Originally Posted by OmAbdullah View Post
    Please go to tafheem.net, you will find three commentaries. Those are in great detail giving the background /sircumstances in which a surah/chapter or verses were sent down by Allah (The Creator and God) to the Final Messenger and Final Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him).
    Great site! I checked out the Intro for the Surah I just read, and it gave me plenty of food for further though. Thanks for the reference.

    Sincerely,

    --Dan Edge
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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    Quote Originally Posted by DanEdge View Post
    "Kill them wherever you find them..." This may be the most often quoted verse professed as proof of the enmity of Islam. But seen in this context, it's clear that those who "do not offer peace" are those who should be killed. This passage is likely in reference to sectarian wars that are not applicable to the present day. I'm starting to see a theme here of misinterpreted Quar'an versus regarding violence. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a liberal looking for reasons to love everybody. I'm just reading the book.

    More stuff about hell and fire for disbelievers, and how Jews don't get it, then end.

    --Dan Edge
    If we take a literal translation of the verse in question:

    And they wish that you should disbelieve like they have, then you will be equal; so take them not as your friends until they migrate in the Path of Allah. And if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or helper.

    To me, it is clear that it is not those who "do not offer peace" who have to be killed but rather those who "turn away from Allah." See how it can be a little problematic?

    And then the stuff about hell and fire for disbelievers... this is the kind of stuff that turns me off. Why would a kind, compassionate and all-knowing God who deosn't make himself obvious be so angry that we do not follow a certain dogma to the point of condemning non-believers to eternal damnation? This makes absolutely no sense to me no matter how I think about it.

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    Re: Non-Muslim Reading the Qur'an

    I believe you are taking this Surah quote out of context. From the beginning of the ninth Surah, we see a list of rules about how to engage in combat, written from the perspective of a people who are currently at War for their survival.

    Even during these desperate times, faithful Muslims are commanded to take Mercy on their enemy if the enemy forms a treaty, or repents of evil Behavior, or displays integrity, or agrees to live in peace with peaceful Muslims.

    It is a gross misinterpretation of this Surah to state that it endorses the wanton slaughter of their enemies.

    I recall also that there are numerous passages in the Koran which detail how to deal with members of other religions. Most of these passages reference treaties, peace , and non-violence means of resolution.

    I believe that any discussion of this passage from the Surah requires an understanding of how these ancient Islamic laws apply to the historical context in which they were living. One must also take into account the surrounding verses and chapters from the source material. In my view these passages do not support the brutal War tactics of Islamic extremists.

    Dan Edge
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