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Salah Ali: You are saying for non-Muslims the Koran has as many meanings as there are translations

Reader comment on item: Niqabs and Burqas - The Veiled Threat Continues
in response to reader comment: How can I make you see what I can see?

Submitted by Plato (India), Sep 24, 2009 at 00:13

Salah Ali, you write,

>>1. Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he……. 5. A twisted rope of palm-leaf fibre round her (own) neck!...

This verse for example reads differently in Arabic (The crackling wood) is a metaphor of swidling and conspiracy. You do not go to the trees to get logs in the night (hatibu layl). Palm-leaf fibre is also metaphoric meaning the bad deeds she did with her husband will cling to her in the after life.<<

Do tell us what you think the verse really means (different from what the translator has given?). Mohammed Asad who claims to have lived among Bedouins, to get close to the Arabic of the prophet's time, which he thinks allowed him to get closer to the correct meaning of the Koran has this translation

111:1 Mohammed Asad: DOOMED are the hands of him of the glowing countennce:1 and doomed is he! (2) What will his wealth avail him, and all that he has gained? (3) [In the life to come] he shall have to endure a fire fiercely glowing;2 (4) together with his wife, that carrier of evil tales,3 (5) [who bears] around her neck a rope of twisted strands!4

Most translators if they think the meaning is not clear put in parenthesis what they think Allah intended. In the Surat 111 some translators talk Abu of Lahab instead of Father of the flame or 'him of the glowing countenance'. How did they know it was Abu Lahab and his wife? But leaving aside the metaphorical meanings of crackling wood and palm fibre why is Allah cursing some unknown character and his wife? Is it not beneath the dignity of the Almighty to fall to such crass human behaviour? Despite metaphors we can see in this verse that Allah is really Muhammad venting his anger at his uncle (or someone with a florid face)

>>Man is not animal.<<

Man is a self-aware animal capable of rising above his/her animal instincts.

>>… The fine energy of talent won in life lasts with him.<<

You mean the good deeds we do, as defined by Allah, will be rewarded in an after life?

Qura'n is not understood but by its very misunderstanding it penetrates the heart.<<

This sounds more like zen. You make someone understand by making him misunderstand it first?


If so what use is the Koran to the large majority of Muslims? You don't seem to understand that stating this you are making God look a fool. He reveals a book which He wants all humanity to believe. But He makes the silliest of possible errors. He uses a language which for all practical purposes is untranslatable (a language in which words are not properly defined, have different meanings in different contexts) because every time someone attempts the job we end up with a new book. Could Allah not locate a Muhammad-like character whose language was easily translatable in some other country? Here is another reason why kaffirs know that the Koran is the work of a man with a clever tongue.

>>I stop here and there on worldly points in the Qur'an but still, it is not a man's work.<<

Some of these worldly points have to do with making the Prophet's sex life easy and beyond criticism of the faithful. All the legal rulings on inheritance, taboos, urging to fight wars and conquer and loot the unbelievers are also earthly points. That leaves the otherworldly things like hell and heaven where strangely you find nothing but a more elegant version of life back home on earth. No one but a man or woman could have come up with this easily translatable work. Muslims claim it is untranslatable only because they can use it as a shield to protect Islam when confronted with hate, curses and scientifically silly verses.(milk from cows 16:66, sperm from near the backbone, 86:5-7).

>>The Schailler carol can place you above yourself. so is the Qur'am.<<

Therefore the Koran is the word of Allah?

>>Why then when I read the qur'an I feel so secure and powerful.<<

Here is one reason:

008.065 YUSUFALI: O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding. (downgraded later to a one is to two advantage)

If a believer I would feel powerful and secure too after reading the verse above.

>>It creates an alterego of pure force and continuity. But again, I stress, ARABIC ARABIC , The Qur'an is ARABIC and non-Arab Moslems only appreciate voice and ut's by listening that they are attracted.<<

You are telling us non-Arab Muslims are just second class. Arab Muslims are superior. For acceptance into the lower levels of Arabian Islam you have to become a mawali of an Arab. Using pure force Arab Muslims have created millions of fawning alter egos of themselves all over the world.

>>Why don't you listen to the Qur'an recited by Abdulbasit Abdul Samad on Youtube, and get this sense.<<

I might be attracted to Samad's voice and the modulation of it. But what if I discovered that the meaning of the attractive sounds he was making was something like this:

009.098 YUSUFALI: Some of the desert Arabs look upon their payments as a fine, and watch for disasters for you: on them be the disaster of evil: for Allah is He That heareth and knoweth (all things). [ALLAH WISHING EVIL ON THE BEDOUINS]

009.111 YUSUFALI: Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.. [ALLAH URGING MUSLIMS TO KILL OR BE KILLED FOR EARTHLY REWARDS IN HEAVEN]

However, heavenly Abdul Samad's rendition of Koranic verses if I realized that the beautiful sounds he was creating had meanings which can only be called ugly, I would be revolted.

>> I read Al-Fatiha and I feel immune, powerful.<<

Unless the translators were all poor scholars of Arabic the Fatiha is only Allah praising Himself to the skies He has created.

>>It is sweet to read it and it is (point of view) that is MAN who speaks through the consciousness of an Almighty power that is God.<<

Because it is sweet to read you think it is God speaking.

Even in this supposedly sublime verse Allah cannot keep silent about his favourite bugaboo, the Jews. Ibn Kathir says in his tafsir that Allah saying in Surah Fatiha 'Not those whose portion is wrath…' is referring to Jews. In fact Kathir says that receiving wrath is characteristic of Jews. Al fatiha is trying to frighten Muslims with the fate of the Jews. Muslims to this day, perhaps because of this verse which is repeated in every Muslim prayer, are terrified of Jews. To this day mosques all over the world reverberate with abuses against Jews every Friday.

>> Islamic mysticism can provide you with so many explanation.<<

Mystics are those who are adept at turning the mundane to the sublime. What do your mystic friends have to say about a verse like 9:29? How will they turn a call from Allah to kill or humiliate kaffirs into something subline?

>>But again language will always remain a barrier!<<

Did the all-knowing Allah not realize this? Or is He incapable of removing the barriers that prevent translators from performing their job of making Him sound good instead of violent and abusive? Allah protects the words of the Koran but is incapable of protecting what should be protected, the meaning of those words.

>>Muhammad was wise, kind and had a mind of nation building he was a bit severe occasionally but there is something in the dialogue of power and eternity.<<

Muhammad's character is not in the Koran but in the Hadith and Sira. You have Allah praising him but that does not tell us anything about Muhammad the person. Let us examine some of the qualities you attribute to him.

Wise and kind. Wise he may have been, but kind he was not. One only sees ruthlessness in his actions reported in the hadith:

Bukhari Volume 1, Book 4, Number 234: Narrated Abu Qilaba: Anas said, "….So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels. ….. they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were put in 'Al-Harra' and when they asked for water, no water was given to them." Abu Qilaba said, "Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle ."

He also tortured and killed to get money (killing Paul to pay Peter)

Sira, p515 (Ibn Ishaq, Oxford, Pakitan, edition) : Kinana bin al-Rabi, who had the custody of the treasure of Bani al-Nadir, was brought to the Apostle who asked him about it. He denied that he knew where it was. A Jew came to the Apostle and said that he had seen Kinana going round a certain ruin every morning early. When the Apostle said to Kinana, "Do you know that if we find you have it I shall kill you?" he said, Yes. The Apostle gave orders that the ruin was to be excavated and some of the treasure was found. When he asked him about the rest he refused to produce it, so the Apostle gave orders to al-Zubayr bin al-Awwam, "Torture him until you extract what he has," so he kindled a fire with flint and steel on his chest until he was nearly dead. Then the Apostle delivered him to Muhammad bin Maslama and he struck off his head, in revenge for his brother Mahmud.

Nation building:

He united the tribes of Arabia. But he ethnically cleansed the Jews from Medina to achieve this end. The nation he built only lasted until his death. Tribes apostasized after his death and Abu Bakr had to wage the cruel ridda wars to bring them back to the nation Muhammad built.

A bit severe? How about the incidents I have quoted above of the camel herders and Kinana bin Rabi. And as an Arab you must have heard of what he did to the Banu Quraiza tribe.

>>Of timelessness and the ability to live the words to essences. Read William Blake, William Butler Yeats. Why you insist on sacrificing vision? And Allah (blessed be He the Master of the Worlds) is nearer to you than anything else.<<

I suppose these three sentences are connected somehow or the other. The first part of this vision of yours is negated by Allah insisting He is responsible for everything, including your essences. If Islam is to be believed we live the essences decided by Allah even before we are born. Atheists like me believe we create our own essence by how we live our lives. As existentialists contend essence follows existence and not the reverse as Allah insists. If Allah is to be believed we are no better than animated objects predestined to follow His timeless vision.

008.044 YUSUFALI: And remember when ye met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes, and He made you appear as contemptible in their eyes: that Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted. For to Allah do all questions go back (for decision).

[42:21] They follow IDOLS who decree for them religious laws never authorized by GOD. If it were not for the predetermined decision, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.

064.011 YUSUFALI: No kind of calamity can occur, except by the leave of Allah: and if any one believes in Allah, (Allah) guides his heart (aright): for Allah knows all things.

057.022 YUSUFALI: No misfortune can happen on earth or in your souls but is recorded in a decree before We bring it into existence: That is truly easy for Allah:

>>…I with all grounds and proposition against God, cannot accept to be an animal, or to be a transitional light between two hypothetical points: Thee absolute past and the absolute future.<<

The verses quoted above are grounds enough to reject Allah's vision of humans for they reduce us to animals (follow instincts) or pre-programmed zombies. Your disinclination to be a transitional light between birth and death, the only absolute points for all life, is immaterial to the mindless universe (and the vision of Allah).

>> (Allahu noor alsamawati wal Ard. mathalu noorihi kamisbahin almisbahu fi zujajatin al zujajatu ka'annaha kawkabun dhuriyun yakhruju min shajaratin mubarakatin ...noorun ala noor, yahdi Allahu linorihi man yasha') ... From Noor Surah 024.035 YUSUFALI: Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.. No way to make you understand...vision are not hats to be borrowed....<<

This verse you have quoted is along the lines of Al fatiha, self glorification. The surah itself is mostly about fornication, and Aisha's adventure in the desert, and mundane rules of behaviour such has who can come into the presence of whom etc.

More significantly Allah says He guides only whom He wishes to this mystical light of His. Believers, like moths attracted to this light, sacrifice (submit) their lives in this fire of Allah.

If these are the vision hats you have to proffer who would want to borrow them?




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