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Dear Francis, thanks for the reply

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God?
in response to reader comment: to Abdul Rahman Reijerink

Submitted by Abdul Rahman Reijerink (Australia), Jun 16, 2006 at 08:40

Dear Francis,

As someone who is just learning Arabic, I will have to take your word on it that swelling breasts is an accurate translation as you say it is. In the translation that I use (Yusuf Ali, not the "official" Saudi translations), this is not the case. In either case I will refer back to some points that I made in a different posting. i) the Qur'an talks in metaphors as well as concrete truths, especially when talking about the unseen we must realise that it cannot be using actual description, afterall the unseen is those things beyond our comprehension. Therefor this is not a description of what paradise is actually like, rather (if your translation is accurate) it is making a comparison to what many people find is one of life's greatest pleasures (ie things of a sexual nature) and saying that whatever we experience here on Earth is nothing to the delights awaiting us in Paradise. ii) The Qur'an is aimed at all people in all times. Just because for you and me this is a simplistic and low way of describing Paradise does not invalidate it as a useful way of communicating it to very simple and unworldly people iii) the highest reward in the afterlife is to see God, this is something that those given deeper understanding aim for. iv) the description is aimed at getting people to preserve their chastity and good manners in this life by saying that the reward is greater than anytthing we can achieve in this life.

I do not accuse Christians of tampering with your texts, God says that they are not 100% accurate portrayals and that they have been altered. Christian scholarship agrees. ex: who witnessed the agony in the garden to record what Jesus (AS) said when it is clear from the text that no-one else was present. Like the Catholic church says, the scriptues do not always remain faithful to actual fact, but are infallible for the purposes of spiritual guidance. Also, the direct word of God is mixed with the writings of human beings (acting under divine inspiration yes, but still through the imperfect medium of the human mind and therefore prone to error), this is not the case with the Qur'an, which is the direct revealed speech of God tranmitted by the angel Gabriel and the Prophet Muhammad saws. Also, the charge is that words have essentially been taken out of context, rather like using the story of Ham and Noah (AS) to justify slavery, read the references again more fully and you will see that this is a valid interpretation, then go by the maxim of taking the better meaning . This is not an insulting position I think. Further to your point of Tafsir, they are just that.... Tafsir, not the Qur'an, but an interpretation of it through a fallible human medium. Please read some modern scholarly works on this issue especially by Amina Wadud or Asma Barlas (two women scholars). We are not bound by the fallible (and misogynistic.. a sad reflection of their times) interpretations of the people of the past. Tafsir is now substituting for actual Qur'an... the very problem God talks about in the Qur'an (putting words in the wrong place).

Jihad is striving in something good for the sake of God. If the action is not good it is not Jihad.

you said"Personally I believe that as a human being, I am no better than you or any body else on these posts."

my sentiments exactlly, and in the spirit of this I must apologise for the harshness in some of my posts, I can only say that I was carried away.

You said" But sometimes I feel compelled to reply back when people repeat lies after lies to cover up the truth."

I hope you are not referring to me here:-) I may be frequently wrong, but by Allah I swear to tell the truth as I see it.

>> I said "we are to take what is good and leave what is not."

you said "I really wish you did it soon."

It is a constant struggle, and tankyou for performing one of the core duties of a believer... enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

My last post to you has been on my mind frequently, I was afraid you might think my "get over it" to the sex references were related to the allegations of mass rape etc... I am glad that you could see that I was not conflating violence against women with sex.

In closing Francis, i must reiterate my point that the Qur'an needs to be viewed as a textual whole. every verse bar one starts with "In the name of God the most merciful and kind "(or some such similar rendition), God frequently describes Godself the forgiving and other such terms, the position of women in the Qur'an was always an improvement over what went before... therfore the message is of improving conditions not just setting a new standard in absolute terms for all times. Please, in the interests of interfaith dialogue, read a book by a good scholar, start with either of the two authors above (Barlas is more comprehensive), a small investment of about $50 is all it would take "Believing Women in the Qur'an" is the main title.. I lack the ability and time to do the topic justice. remember the average Muslim is just as ignorant of their own faith as the average christian... and believe me in my theology classes with young university students, they can be really ignorant on basic stuff like what the bible actually says... the same goes for Muslims.

In peace, Abdul Rahman

Submitting....

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