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Q 10:16 is pretty round about

Reader comment on item: A Saudi Prince's Threat to the Obama Administration
in response to reader comment: A Very Concerned Reader: Reading Q10:16 and 610 or is it 612 0r maybe 613 AD? And the Topos of 40 in the Qur'an

Submitted by Prashant (United States), May 3, 2021 at 20:09

Dear Dr Pipes, I hope some Islamic scolars come here and explain Q10:16 to us. To me it looks pretty ambiguous (like the most of the rest of Quran). Some of the context for 10:16 comes from Q10:15. It seems Muhammad was facing some challenge to what he was telling people as Allah's revelation. The people probably challenged Muhammad about either the content or authenticity of Quran and asked him to either bring a different book or change some of the verses. It is not very surprising almost any sane person will demand some changes in Quran and it is good to see that people in the then Arabia were questioning Muhammad. Q10:15 is a classical case of circular logic that Muslims, Allah, and Quran use so often. In 10:15 Muhammad refuses to change the quran because Allah revealed it to him. And, then he continues with his lame argument by saying that he cannot offend his lord by disobeying him.

So the people who requested a change in Quran were silenced entirely on Muhammad's testimony: Muhammad was the messenger, Allah revealed the message to Muhammad, Muhammad was not able to change it because he cannot offend his Lord.

I do not know what happened to the people who challenged Muhammad at that time. Did they get convinced by the above circular logic? Did they get scared of Allah? Or of Muhammad?

Q10:16 further solidifies this circular logic. Muhamamnd now says that if Allah had so willed, this message had not been revealed to the listeners through Muhammad. Muhammad then tells them that he had lived with these people for a lifetime and so they should naturally believe him.

This is the best meaning that I could derive out of these two verses using eight different translations available to me. The verses, themselves, are fairly confusiong.

I have not spent a lifetime reading Quran. I could be wrong. But I do not have to read the Quran for a lifetime. A religious book should not be more complex than the concept that it is trying to explain. No book should be more complex than its subject matter. But Quran is. And if it so, then what good it is? And, why it is good?

Muslim scholars should not hide away from this message. Standard alibis like Quran is untranslatable will not fly. Because these alibis render Quran unfollowable. If a quranic scholar happens to read this message, she should explain the error in my interpretation.

BTW self-evidential logic exists in other religious texts also. In Vedantic Hinduism, the teacher carries his reasoning as far as he can. The reader will obviously disagree with the details but s/he will definitely understand what the teacher is trying to say. But a point comes in the argument where the teacher stops and clearly says that beyond that point the argument will depend on the student's own personal intuition or faith and the reasoning will not go beyond that point. And, the student will make this transition fully at his will and with no threat of Hell or the punishment of Allah and no murders of any kind.

If I must translate Q10:15 and 16 in a Hindu style, they will translate as follows: I have lived with you for so long and I hope you trust me. This is what I believe God says. I do not have to change it because this is my belief and God will not punish me for it. If you like it, please accept it. If not, study whatever you want to study some more.

Now, this is simple and clear. You do not need eight different translations to understand it. What do you say, folks?

I think polite and scholarly criicism of Quran is the need of our times.

Submitting....

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