June 17, 2024

An Infidel Reads Sūrah 4

This is the 51st part of this series, reading The Qur’an; A New Translation by Abdel Haleem. We’ll occasionally compare that to other translations and with tafsirs for clarification. We’re also reading each “chapter” [surah] in order of revelation [mostly] rather than the order in which they are typically printed. If you missed some of this series, you can see:
my 1st post on surahs 1 & 2.
my 2nd post on surahs 96, 68 & 73.
my 3rd post on surahs 74, 111 & 81.
my 4th post on surahs 87, 92, 89, 93, 94 & 103.
my 5th post jumping to surah 18.
my 6th post on surahs 100, 108, 102, 107, 109 & 105
my 7th post was on surahs 113, 114, 112 & 53.
my 8th post on surahs 80, 97, 91, 85, 95 & 106.
my 9th post on surahs 101, 75, 104 & 77.
my 1oth post on surahs 50, 90 & 86.
my 11th post on surah 54,
my 12th post on surah 38,
my 13th post on surah 7,
my 14th post on surah 72,
my 15th post on surah 36,
my 16th post on surah 25,
my 17th post on surah 43,
my 18th post on surah 35.
my 19th post on surah 19.
my 20th post on surah 20,
my 21st post on surah 56.
my 22nd post on surah 26.
my 23rd post on surah 27.
my 24th post on surah 28.
my 25th post on surah 17.
my 26th post on surah 10.
my 27th post on surah 11.
my 28th post on surah 12.
my 29th post on surah 15.
my 30th post on surah 6.
my 31st post on surah 37.
my 32nd post on suras 31 & 34.
my 33rd post on surah 39.
my 34th post on surah 40.
my 35th post on surah 41.
my 36th post on surah 42.
my 37th post on surah 44.
my 38th post on suras 45 & 46.
my 39th post of suras 51 & 88.
my 40th post on surah 16.
my 41st post post on suras 71 & 14.
my 42nd post on surah 21,
my 43rd post on surah 23
my 44th post on suras 32 & 52
my 45th post on suras 67, 69 & 70.
my 46th post on suras 78, 79, 82 & 84.
my 47th post on suras 30 & 29.
my 48th post on sura 83
my 49th post on surah 8
my 50th post on surah 3.
and my 51st post on surah 33 & 60.

Sūrah 4 (An-Nisa) Women

1People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide; be mindful of God, in whose name you make requests of one another. Beware of severing the ties of kinship: God is always watching over you.

This refers of course to the fable of Adam & Eve, which was just a story, an adaptation of a number of unrelated legends from earlier polytheism that were blended and adapted into a cultural myth that was obviously always only metaphorical. It was never meant to interpreted literally. Nor could it be.

Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health was previously Director of the Human Genome Project. He is also an evangelical Christian. Yet in his 2006 Bestseller, The Language of God, Collins reported scientific indications that anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors long before the Genesis time frame, originating from a population that numbered something like 10,000, not two individuals. In a more recent book, “The Language of Science and Faith”, Collins said that ‘unfortunately’ the concepts of Adam and Eve as the literal first couple and the ancestors of all humans simply ‘do not fit the evidence’, saying “There is no way you can develop this level of variation between us from one or two ancestors.” This is important because we know for certain that the fable of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden never really happened. So interpreting this story literally is simply wrong.

2Give orphans their property, do not replace [their] good things with bad, and do not consume their property with your own–a great sin. 3If you fear that you will not deal fairly with orphan girls, you may marry whichever [other] women seem good to you, two, three, or four. If you fear that you cannot be equitable [to them], then marry only one, or your slave(s): that is more likely to make you avoid bias.

I find it remarkable that there was ever a place and time when polygamy was somehow intended to be fair or considerate to underprivileged bride-girls.

4Give women their bridal gift upon marriage, though if they are happy to give up some of it for you, you may enjoy it with a clear conscience.

This too is suspect.

5Do not entrust your property to the feeble-minded. God has made it a means of support for you: make provision for them from it, clothe them, and address them kindly. 6Test orphans until they reach marriageable age; then, if you find they have sound judgement, hand over their property to them. Do not consume it hastily before they come of age: if the guardian is well off he should abstain from the orphan’s property, and if he is poor he should use only what is fair. When you give them their property, call witnesses in; but God takes full account of everything you do.

You’re supposed to test orphan girls until they reach marriageable age because there is never any age in Islam when a woman has independent agency.

7Men shall have a share in what their parents and closest relatives leave, and women shall have a share in what their parents and closest relatives leave, whether the legacy be small or large: this is ordained by God. 8If other relatives, orphans, or needy people are present at the distribution, give them something too, and speak kindly to them. 9Let those who would fear for the future of their own helpless children, if they were to die, show the same concern [for orphans]; let them be mindful of God and speak out for justice. 10Those who consume the property of orphans unjustly are actually swallowing fire into their own bellies: they will burn in the blazing Flame.

Seems these people have no means of enforcing prosocial behaviors without threatening this fictitious Hell.

11Concerning your children, God commands you that a son should have the equivalent share of two daughters. If there are only daughters, two or more should share two-thirds of the inheritance, if one, she should have half. Parents inherit a sixth each if the deceased leaves children; if he leaves no children and his parents are his sole heirs, his mother has a third, unless he has brothers, in which case she has a sixth. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts. You cannot know which of your parents or your children is more beneficial to you: this is a law from God, and He is all knowing, all wise.

This all knowing wise god considers women to be half the worth of males but with none of the independence or competence.

12You inherit half of what your wives leave, if they have no children; if they have children, you inherit a quarter. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts. If you have no children, your wives’ share is a quarter; if you have children, your wives get an eighth. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts. If a man or a woman dies leaving no children or parents, but a single brother or sister, he or she should take one-sixth of the inheritance; if there are more siblings, they share one-third between them. [In all cases, the distribution comes] after payment of any bequests or debts, with no harm done to anyone: this is a commandment from God: God is all knowing and benign to all.

Yet God is also unknown to all who claim to know him.

13These are the bounds set by God: God will admit those who obey Him and His Messenger to Gardens graced with flowing streams, and there they will stay– that is the supreme triumph! 14But those who disobey God and His Messenger and overstep His limits will be consigned by God to the Fire, and there they will stay– a humiliating torment awaits them!

These bounds were not set by God but by men pretending to speak for God. That’s why the rules laid out by this prophet don’t match those laid by any other prophet.

15If any of your women commit a lewd act, call four witnesses from among you, then, if they testify to their guilt, keep the women at home until death comes to them or until God shows them another way.

So extramarital sex is an automatic sentence of life imprisonment in the home, unless God shows another way. And how are we to know when God shows another way? Translator Abdel Haleem suggests that it might be by another regulation or that she still might marry out of house arrest. However, IslamicStudies.info says that “Later another injunction was revealed see (Surah al-Nur 24: 2) which laid down that both the male and female should be given a hundred lashes.” Curious that the Qur’an always says that God is merciful and wise when he is clearly neither.

16If two men commit a lewd act, punish them both; if they repent and mend their ways, leave them alone– God is always ready to accept repentance, He is full of mercy. 17But God only undertakes to accept repentance from those who do evil out of ignorance and soon afterwards repent: these are the ones God will forgive, He is all knowing, all wise. 18It is not true repentance when people continue to do evil until death confronts them and then say, ‘Now I repent,’ nor when they die defiant: We have prepared a painful torment for these.

I read this as a clear reference to homosexuality. Amusingly, IslamicStudies.info says I’m wrong about this. “The apparent difference between the contents of the two verses led al-Suddi to the misconceived belief that the first verse lays down the punishment for married women, and the second that for unmarried men and women. This is a tenuous explanation unsupported by any serious evidence and argument. Even less convincing is the opinion expressed by Abu Muslim al-Isfahani that the first verse relates to lesbian relations between females, and the second to homosexual relations between males. It is strange that al-Isfahani ignored the basic fact that the Qur’an seeks merely to chart a broad code of law and morality and hence deals only with fundamental questions. It is inconsistent with the majestic style of the Qur’an to discuss secondary details which have been left to people to decide through the exercise of their legal judgement.”

I say this is amusing because the Qur’an repeatedly insists that it is so very clear. Yet even the scholars disagree on even the clearest implications. But then only some translations say “If two men among you commit [lewdness] punish them both”, while others say “And the two persons (man and woman) among you who commit illegal sexual intercourse, punish them both.” 

19You who believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women against their will,

Translator Abdel Haleem explains that “In pre-Islamic Arabia, if a man died leaving a widow, her stepson or another man of his family could inherit her.” More about that in a moment, after we see the double-standard.

nor should you treat your wives harshly, hoping to take back some of the bride-gift you gave them, unless they are guilty of something clearly outrageous. Live with them in accordance with what is fair and kind: if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something in which God has put much good.

I took this to mean that divorce is prohibited without solid grounds. But the next verse implies otherwise.

20If you wish to replace one wife with another, do not take any of her bride-gift back, even if you have given her a great amount of gold. 21How could you take it when this is unjust and a blatant sin? How could you take it when you have lain with each other and they have taken a solemn pledge from you? 22Do not marry women that your fathers married– with the exception of what is past– this is indeed a shameful thing to do, loathsome and leading to evil.

I can see why it might be a bit creepy to marry one of your fathers’ wives who is not your mother. But how would that be evil?

23You are forbidden to take as wives your mothers, daughters, sisters, paternal and maternal aunts, the daughters of brothers and daughters of sisters, your milk-mothers and milk-sisters, your wives’ mothers, the stepdaughters in your care– those born of women with whom you have consummated marriage, if you have not consummated the marriage, then you will not be blamed– wives of your begotten sons, two sisters simultaneously– with the exception of what is past: God is most forgiving and merciful–

Remember that only a few lines earlier, the Qur’an said that it’s OK for a widow to become a side-wife to her own daughter’s husband. Somehow it’s only evil if a man gets one of his dead father’s wives, but not if a daughter has to share her husband with her mom.

24women already married, other than your slaves. God has ordained all this for you.

Haleem explains that “slave women were often unclaimed war captives, who would not be in a position to dissolve any previous marriage. An owner was not permitted to touch a slave woman whose husband was with her”. So God is totally against extra-marital affairs, even with slaves. Because that would be immoral, if the slave husband is around. But God is totally OK with slavery. Keeping people in bondage as property is just fine and godly. How’s that for objective morality?

Other women are lawful to you, so long as you seek them in marriage, with gifts from your property, looking for wedlock rather than fornication. If you wish to enjoy women through marriage, give them their bride-gift– this is obligatory– though if you should choose mutually, after fulfilling this obligation, to do otherwise [with the bride-gift], you will not be blamed: God is all knowing and all wise.

So am I to understand that regardless where Muslim men may live, it still today obligatory that they pay a bride to marry them?

25If any of you does not have the means to marry a believing free woman, then marry a believing slave– God knows best [the depth of] your faith: you are [all] part of the same family – so marry them with their people’s consent and their proper bride-gifts. [Make them] married women, not adulteresses or lovers. If they commit adultery when they are married, their punishment will be half that of free women. This is for those of you who fear that you will sin; it is better for you to practise self-restraint. God is most forgiving and merciful,

Be kind and fair to your slaves, God says. Notice how God never says it’s immoral to keep slaves?

26He wishes to make His laws clear to you and guide you to the righteous ways of those who went before you. He wishes to turn towards you in mercy– He is all knowing, all wise–

Then he should have written a better set of rules, with some reason behind them.

27He wishes to turn towards you, but those who follow their lusts want you to go far astray.

That wouldn’t matter if God can do whatever he wants. This contradicts the other places, and even later in this very surah where the Qur’an says that God decides who will believe and who will not.

28God wishes to lighten your burden; man was created weak.

Another contradiction.

29You who believe, do not wrongfully consume each other’s wealth but trade by mutual consent. Do not kill each other, for God is merciful to you.

Eternal damnation in torture is merciLESS, not merciful.

30If any of you does these things, out of hostility and injustice, We shall make him suffer Fire: that is easy for God. 31But if you avoid the great sins you have been forbidden, We shall wipe out your minor misdeeds and let you in through the entrance of honour. 32Do not covet what God has given to some of you more than others– men have the portion they have earned; and women the portion they have earned– you should rather ask God for some of His bounty: He has full knowledge of everything.

Notice that men and women “earned” different portions, hers being generally a fraction of his.

33We have appointed heirs for everything that parents and close relatives leave behind, including those to whom you have pledged your hands [in marriage], so give them their share: God is witness to everything. 34Husbands should take good care of their wives, with [the bounties] God has given to some more than others and with what they spend out of their own money. Righteous wives are devout and guard what God would have them guard in their husbands’ absence. If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them: God is most high and great. 

Here translator Haleem explains that if your wife tries to act superior, you should only hit her once. Other translations say you should beat your wives “lightly”. IslamicStudies.info adds that “Whenever the Prophet (peace be on him) permitted a man to administer corporal punishment to his wife, he did so with reluctance, and continued to express his distaste for it. And even in cases where it is necessary, the Prophet (peace be on him) directed men not to hit across the face, nor to beat severely nor to use anything that might leave marks on the body.” So the prophet who speaks for God says there are times when beating your wives is necessary, just like those times when you have to spank your children. But in either case, you should be careful not to leave incriminating marks. See? Perfectly fair, justified and civilized. [sarchasm mode off]

35If you [believers] fear that a couple may break up, appoint one arbiter from his family and one from hers. Then, if the couple want to put things right, God will bring about a reconciliation between them: He is all knowing, all aware. 36Worship God; join nothing with Him. Be good to your parents, to relatives, to orphans, to the needy, to neighbours near and far, to travellers in need, and to your slaves. God does not like arrogant, boastful people, 37who are miserly and order other people to be the same, hiding the bounty God has given them. We have prepared a humiliating torment for such ungrateful people.

The “bounty” here is Muhammad’s assumed prophethood. Hear how just God is? Be good to everyone, even your property, your wives and your slaves. [sarchasm]God has flawless morality![/sarchasm].

38[Nor does He like those] who spend their wealth to show off, who do not believe in Him or the Last Day. Whoever has Satan as his companion has an evil companion! 39What harm would it do them to believe in God and the Last Day, and give charitably from the sustenance God has given them? God knows them well. 40He does not wrong anyone by as much as the weight of a speck of dust: He doubles any good deed and gives a tremendous reward of His own.

Notice the inconsistency in that this not only does not apply to women equally, but it does not apply to slaves either. If it was true that God did not wrong anyone, then slavery would be prohibited in the Qur’an and in the gospels and in the Hebrew Bible. But slavery is endorsed with God’s blessing in all three.

41What will they do when We bring a witness from each community, with you [Muhammad] as a witness against these people? 42On that day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Prophet will wish that the earth could swallow them up: they will not be able to hide anything from God. You who believe, do not come anywhere near the prayer if you are intoxicated, not until you know what you are saying; nor if you are in a state of major ritual impurity– though you may pass through the mosque – not until you have bathed; if you are ill, on a journey, have relieved yourselves, or had intercourse, and cannot find any water, then find some clean sand and wipe your faces and hands with it. God is always ready to pardon and forgive.

Haleem explains that “The prohibition of intoxicants was introduced by stages, and they were eventually made completely unlawful.” Because God can only prohibit things like alcohol in stages, but he still allows spousal abuse, sexism and slavery, because what could even God do about THOSE things?

44[Prophet], have you not considered how those who were given a share of the Scripture purchase misguidance and want you [believers], too, to lose the right path?

IslamicStudies.info explains that this expression means “that they caused a part of the divine revelation to be lost.” Funny how God is unable to get around things like that.

45God knows your enemies best: God is enough to protect and to help you.

But we are all supposed to be God’s children, right? Why doesn’t that also include our enemies?

46Some Jews distort the meaning of [revealed] words: they say, ‘We hear and disobey,’ and ‘Listen,’ [adding the insult] ‘May you not hear,’ and ‘Raina [Look at us],’ twisting it abusively with their tongues so as to disparage religion. If they had said, ‘We hear and obey,’ ‘Listen,’ and ‘Unzurna [Look at us],’ that would have been better and more proper for them. But God has spurned them for their defiance; they believe very little.

Yet the Jews, the “people of the book” are God’s chosen people, according to the Hebrew Bible and even the gospels. Remember that Jesus told his apostles not to bother teaching to the gentiles, but only to the other Jews. The Qur’an however seems to think that Arabs are God’s chosen people.

47People of the Book, believe in what We have sent down to confirm what you already have before We wipe out [your sense of ] direction, turning you back, or reject you, as We rejected those who broke the Sabbath: God’s will is always done.

Who are the people who broke the Sabbath?

48God does not forgive the joining of partners with Him: anything less than that He forgives to whoever He will, but anyone who joins partners with God has concocted a tremendous sin.

Note: God does not forgive the Christians who join Jesus with Allah, also known as YeHoWaH.

49[Prophet], have you considered those who claim purity for themselves? No! God purifies whoever He will: no one will be wronged by as much as the husk of a date stone. 50See how they invent lies about God, this in itself is a flagrant sin!

But the Qur’an itself says that everyone who doesn’t believe will be infinitely wronged by damnation to eternal torture.

51Do you not see how those given a share of the Scripture, [evidently] now believe in idols and evil powers? They say of the disbelievers, ‘They are more rightly guided than the believers.’

Translator Haleem knows that western readers will not already know all the provincial backstories necessary to understand the Qur’an. Here he explains that “This is taken to refer to an actual event in which a group of disbelieving Meccans went to two eminent Jewish figures for counsel on the truth of Muhammad’s teachings and were told that the pagans were more rightly guided than the Muslims.” I find it perfectly believable that such people back then would have said that.

52Those are the ones God has rejected: you [Prophet] will not find anyone to help those God has rejected. 53Do they have any share of what He possesses? If they did they would not give away so much as the groove of a date stone. 54Do they envy [other] people for the bounty God has granted them? We gave the descendants of Abraham the Scripture and wisdom– and We gave them a great kingdom– 55 but some of them believed in it and some turned away from it. Hell blazes fiercely enough. 56We shall send those who reject Our revelations to the Fire. When their skins have been burned away, We shall replace them with new ones so that they may continue to feel the pain: God is mighty and wise.

But God is clearly neither merciful nor forgiving, nor is he just. Neither is he consistent. I think we are now talking here about God turning his back on his chosen people. Though that is hard to tell because the Qur’an is not as clear as it pretends to be.

57As for those who believe and do good deeds, We shall admit them into Gardens graced with flowing streams and there they will remain forever. They will have pure spouses there, and We shall admit them into cool refreshing shade.

Because the desert sun is intensely hot—in Heaven. Because remember that Muslim Heaven isn’t a spiritual place; it’s a physical palace in the sky where physical bodies will be resurrected to eat and drink and have sex forever in the lobby of this fantasy hotel in the expanse of the crystalline firmament that allegedly is our sky.

58God commands you [people] to return things entrusted to you to their rightful owners, and, if you judge between people, to do so with justice: God’s instructions to you are excellent, for He hears and sees everything.

But his judgment is obviously deeply flawed, not that surprising for a provincial war god, but not at all what we should expect of the creator and ruler of the entire cosmos.

59You who believe, obey God and the Messenger, and those in authority among you. If you are in dispute over any matter, refer it to God and the Messenger, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day: that is better and fairer in the end.

I’m sure the self-appointed prophet and author of the Qur’an would of course think it perfectly fair that we confer all authority to the him and to the book that he wrote.

60Do you [Prophet] not see those who claim to believe in what has been sent down to you, and in what was sent down before you, yet still want to turn to unjust tyrants for judgement, although they have been ordered to reject them? Satan wants to lead them far astray.

Haleem’s footnote here says that “the Arabic taghut is variously interpreted to refer to idols, a specific tyrant, an oracle, or an[y] opponent of the [self-appointed] Prophet.”

61When they are told, ‘Turn to God’s revelations and the Messenger [for judgement],’ you see the hypocrites turn right away from you [Prophet]. 62If disaster strikes them because of what they themselves have done, then they will come to you, swearing by God, ‘We only wanted to do good and achieve harmony.’ 63God knows well what is in the hearts of these people, so ignore what they say, instruct them, and speak to them about themselves using penetrating words. 64All the messengers We sent were meant to be obeyed, by God’s leave.

Yet all these preceding prophets established different religions, and they were therefore all failures in God’s current judgment according to Islam.

If only [the hypocrites] had come to you [Prophet] when they wronged themselves, and begged God’s forgiveness, and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found that God accepts repentance and is most merciful. 65By your Lord, they will not be true believers until they let you decide between them in all matters of dispute, and find no resistance in their souls to your decisions, accepting them totally–

Hear that? You cannot be a true believer until you surrender entirely to Muhammad’s assumption of absolute authority.

66if We had ordered, ‘Lay down your lives’ or ‘Leave your homes,’ they would not have done so, except for a few– it would have been far better for them and stronger confirmation of their faith, if they had done as they were told, 67and We would have given them a rich reward of Our own 68and guided them to a straight path.

Yes, it is always a strong confirmation of faith when you do whatever you’re told without question, but sadly such people are seldom lead down a good path.

69Whoever obeys God and the Messenger will be among those He has blessed: the messengers, the truthful, those who bear witness to the truth, and the righteous– what excellent companions these are!

If only you had witnesses to the actual truth.

70That is God’s favour. No one knows better than Him.

I think even I know better than him. If I know better than a 7th century desert brigand then I know better than the god he pretends to speak for, who obviously didn’t really know very much at all.

71You who believe, be on your guard. March [to battle] in small groups or as one body. 72Among you there is the sort of person who is sure to lag behind: if a calamity befalls you, he says, ‘God has been gracious to me that I was not there with them,’ 73yet he is sure to say, if you are favoured by God, ‘If only I had been with them, I could have made great gains,’ as if there had been no ties of affection between you and him.

Confirmation bias works both ways.

74Let those of you who are willing to trade the life of this world for the life to come, fight in God’s way. To anyone who fights in God’s way, whether killed or victorious, We shall give a great reward. 75Why should you not fight in God’s cause and for those oppressed men, women, and children who cry out, ‘Lord, rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors! By Your grace, give us a protector and give us a helper!’? 76The believers fight for God’s cause, while those who reject faith fight for an unjust cause. Fight the allies of Satan: Satan’s strategies are truly weak.

Of course if there was a god, there would be no Satan. And there still would be no need to fight for God’s cause even if there was a Satan.

77[Prophet], do you not see those who were told, ‘Restrain yourselves from fighting, perform the prayer, and pay the prescribed alms’? When fighting was ordained for them, some of them feared men as much as, or even more than, they feared God, saying, ‘Lord, why have You ordained fighting for us? If only You would give us just a little more time.’ Say to them, ‘Little is the enjoyment in this world, the Hereafter is far better for those who are mindful of God: you will not be wronged by as much as the fibre in a date stone.

Yet the Qur’an says that if you are unable to believe all this nonsense, then you will be wronged a great deal more than that. Fortunately none of that is true, but that is what it says.

78Death will overtake you no matter where you may be, even inside high towers.’ When good fortune comes their way, they say, ‘This is from God,’ but when harm befalls them, they say, ‘This is from you [Prophet].’ Say to them, ‘Both come from God.’ What is the matter with these people that they can barely understand what they are told? 79Anything good that happens to you [Prophet] is from God; anything bad is [ultimately] from yourself. We have sent you as a messenger to people; God is sufficient witness.

There’s that confirmation bias again.

80Whoever obeys the Messenger obeys God. If some pay no heed, We have not sent you to be their keeper.

Because Muhammad has established himself as the unquestioned authority in his cult.

81They say, ‘We obey you,’ but as soon as they leave your presence, some of them scheme by night to do other than what you said. God records what they scheme, so leave them alone, and put your trust in God: He is sufficient protector.

I’m going to guess that this verse is abrogated by 9:5.

82Will they not think about this Quran? If it had been from anyone other than God, they would have found much inconsistency in it.

Well, this series of blog posts has documented that it is quite inconsistent. So it obviously came from someone other than God.

83Whenever news of any matter comes to them, whether concerning peace or war, they spread it about; if they referred it to the Messenger and those in authority among them, those seeking its meaning would have found it out from them. If it were not for God’s bounty and mercy towards you, you would almost all have followed Satan.

I think the options here were that the people of this area could have been pagans, Jewish or Christian. In no case would they have followed Satan.

84So [Prophet] fight in God’s way. You are accountable only for yourself. Urge the believers on. God may well curb the power of the disbelievers, for He is stronger in might and more terrible in punishment. 85Whoever speaks for a good cause will share in its benefits and whoever speaks for a bad cause will share in its burden: God controls everything. 86But [even in battle] when you [believers] are offered a greeting, respond with a better one, or at least return it: God keeps account of everything. 87He is God: there is no god but Him. He will gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Whose word can be truer than God’s?

Practically anyone’s at this point. Certainly mine at least.

88[Believers], why are you divided in two about the hypocrites, when God Himself has rejected them because of what they have done? Do you want to guide those God has left to stray? If God leaves anyone to stray, you [Prophet] will never find the way for him. 89They would dearly like you to reject faith, as they themselves have done, to be like them. So do not take them as allies until they migrate [to Medina] for God’s cause. If they turn [on you], a then seize and kill them wherever you encounter them. Take none of them as an ally or supporter.

Faith is an unreasonable assertion assumed without reason and defended against all reason. Of course reasonable people would prefer that you be reasonable too, without faith. If you were, then you would notice the inconsistency in the claim above where God leads some folks astray, even though this very surah also says that God wants to be near us, yet he will punish those whom he decided to lead astray.

90But as for those who seek refuge with people with whom you have a treaty, or who come over to you because their hearts shrink from fighting against you or against their own people, God could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they withdraw and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God gives you no way against them.

Here is the admission that God decides when your enemies will or won’t fight against you. So when you bleed on the battlefield, know that it is only because God wanted that to happen to you, for his own amusement.

91You will find others who wish to be safe from you, and from their own people, but whenever they are back in a situation where they are tempted [to fight you], they succumb to it. So if they neither withdraw, nor offer you peace, nor restrain themselves from fighting you, seize and kill them wherever you encounter them: We give you clear authority against such people.

Because God loves bloodshed, hatred, violence and horror.

92Never should a believer kill another believer, except by mistake. If anyone kills a believer by mistake he must free one Muslim slave and pay compensation to the victim’s relatives, unless they charitably forgo it; if the victim belonged to a people at war with you but is a believer, then the compensation is only to free a believing slave; if he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty, then compensation should be handed over to his relatives, and a believing slave set free. Anyone who lacks the means to do this must fast for two consecutive months by way of repentance to God: God is all knowing, all wise.

Here we see a tacit admission of knowledge that slavery is immoral, but that God is still going to allow and endorse it anyway.

93If anyone kills a believer deliberately, the punishment for him is Hell, and there he will remain: God is angry with him, and rejects him, and has prepared a tremendous torment for him. 94So, you who believe, be careful when you go to fight in God’s way, and do not say to someone who offers you a greeting of peace, ‘You are not a believer,’ out of desire for the chance gains of this life– God has plenty of gains for you. You yourself were in the same position [once], but God was gracious to you, so be careful: God is fully aware of what you do.

Haleem has a footnote here, telling us that “A Muslim killed someone in battle who had given him the Muslim greeting, thinking that the man was trying to save himself, but the Prophet condemned this.”

95Those believers who stay at home, apart from those with an incapacity, are not equal to those who commit themselves and their possessions to striving in God’s way. God has raised such people to a rank above those who stay at home– although He has promised all believers a good reward, those who strive are favoured with a tremendous reward above those who stay at home– 96high ranks conferred by Him, as well as forgiveness, and mercy: God is most forgiving and merciful.

Except that God arranges and allows for wars unnecessarily.

97When the angels take the souls of those who have wronged themselves, they ask them, ‘What circumstances were you in?’ They reply, ‘We were oppressed in this land,’ and the angels say, ‘But was God’s earth not spacious enough for you to migrate to some other place?’ These people will have Hell as their refuge, an evil destination, 98but not so the truly helpless men, women, and children who have no means in their power nor any way to leave– 99God may well pardon these, for He is most pardoning and most forgiving. Anyone who migrates for God’s cause will find many a refuge and great plenty in the earth, 100and if anyone leaves home as a migrant towards God and His Messenger and is then overtaken by death, his reward from God is sure. God is most forgiving and most merciful.

The background here, as Haleem explains, is some Muslims “wronged themselves” by living in a place where they are unable to practise their religion”.

101When you [believers] are travelling in the land, you will not be blamed for shortening your prayers, if you fear the disbelievers may harm you: they are your sworn enemies. 102When you [Prophet] are with the believers, leading them in prayer, let a group of them stand up in prayer with you, taking their weapons with them, and when they have finished their prostration, let them take up their positions at the back. Then let the other group, who have not yet prayed, pray with you, also on their guard and armed with their weapons: the disbelievers would dearly like you to be heedless of your weapons and baggage, in order for them to take you in a single assault. You will not be blamed if you lay aside your arms when you are overtaken by heavy rain or illness, but be on your guard. Indeed, God has prepared a humiliating punishment for the disbelievers.

Whereas, if there really was a god, then there would not be any conflict among believers of different faiths vs unbelievers of any faith. If there really was a god, we wouldn’t need faith at all, and no one who have to die in its defense.

103After performing the ritual prayer, continue to remember God– standing, sitting, and lying on your sides– and once you are safe, keep up regular prayer, for prayer is obligatory for the believers at prescribed times.

The delusion must be absolutely pervasive and obsessive, lest the truth be revealed and recognized.

104Do not be faint-hearted in pursuing the enemy: if you are suffering hardship, so are they, but you hope to receive something from God for which they cannot hope. God is all knowing and wise. 105We have sent down the Scripture to you [Prophet] with the truth so that you can judge between people in accordance with what God has shown you. Do not be an advocate for those who betray trust.

Haleem explains that “A man from Medina stole a suit of armour and accused a Jew of doing it. He brought his family to ask the Prophet to rule against the Jew and he was about to do this when these verses were revealed”.

106Ask God for forgiveness: He is most forgiving and merciful.

If either of those were true, then we would not need to ask God for forgiveness.

107Do not argue for those who betray their own souls: God does not love anyone given to treachery and sin. 108They try to hide themselves from people, but they cannot hide from God. He is with them when they plot at night, saying things that do not please Him: He is fully aware of everything they do.

You wish.

109There you [believers] are, arguing on their behalf in this life, but who will argue on their behalf with God on the Day of Resurrection? Who will be their defender? 110Yet anyone who does evil or wrongs his own soul and then asks God for forgiveness will find Him most forgiving and merciful.

Just as long as you believe, and lend power to the clergy.

111He who commits sin does so against his own soul– God is all knowing and wise– 112and anyone who commits an offence or a sin, and then throws the blame on to some innocent person, has burdened himself with deceit as well as flagrant sin. 113If it were not for the grace of God and His mercy to you [Prophet], a party of them would have tried to lead you astray; they only lead themselves astray, and cannot harm you in any way, since God has sent down the Scripture and Wisdom to you, and taught you what you did not know. God’s bounty to you is great indeed. 114There is no good in most of their secret talk, only in commanding charity, or good, or reconciliation between people. To anyone who does these things, seeking to please God, We shall give a rich reward;

Or so Islam promises, if you buy into the nonsense no matter what cost.

115if anyone opposes the Messenger, after guidance has been made clear to him, and follows a path other than that of the believers, We shall leave him on his chosen path– We shall burn him in Hell, an evil destination. 116God does not forgive the worship of others beside Him– though He does forgive whoever He will for lesser sins– for whoever does this has gone far, far astray.

Do you hear that, Christians? How do you feel about Pascal’s wager now?

117In His place the idolaters invoke only females,

The pagans believed that God had angelic daughters.

and Satan, the rebel 118God rejected, who said, ‘I will certainly take my due share of Your servants; 119I will mislead them and incite vain desires in them;

According to Islam, God damned Satan and Satan replied saying that he would take some of God’s followers, and God agreed to this, as if God and Satan were somehow equal. Notice that both God and Satan both mislead who they will for whatever reason they like.

I will command them to slit the ears of cattle; [a pagan ritual] I will command them to tamper with God’s creation.’ Whoever chooses Satan as a patron instead of God is utterly ruined: 120he makes them promises and raises false hopes, but Satan’s promises are nothing but delusion.

Actually God’s promises are nothing but delusion. Not that it matters because no one ever chooses Satan as a patron anyway.

121Such people will have Hell for their home and will find no escape from it, 122but We shall admit those who believe and do good deeds into Gardens graced with flowing streams, there to remain for ever– a true promise from God. Who speaks more truly than God?

I do for one.

123It will not be according to your hopes or those of the People of the Book: anyone who does wrong will be requited for it and will find no one to protect or help him against God; 124anyone, male or female, who does good deeds and is a believer, will enter Paradise and will not be wronged by as much as the dip in a date stone.

But if you don’t believe, because God decided to mislead you, then this book says you will be severely wronged indeed.

125Who could be better in religion than those who direct themselves wholly to God, do good, and follow the religion of Abraham, who was true in faith?

Buddhists, Jains, Shaman, even Mormons, statistically.

God took Abraham as a friend. 126It is to God that everything in the heavens and earth belongs: God is fully aware of all things.

Except, remember when God didn’t know how many righteous people were in Sodom, and Abraham had to barter God down?

127They ask you [Prophet] for a ruling about women. Say, ‘God Himself gives you a ruling about them. You already have what has been recited to you in the Scripture about orphan girls [in your charge] from whom you withhold the prescribed shares [of their inheritance] and whom you wish to marry, and also about helpless children– God instructs you to treat orphans fairly:

Including slave children? The orphans of the people you killed in battle?

He is well aware of whatever good you do.’ 128If a wife fears high-handedness or alienation from her husband, neither of them will be blamed if they come to a peaceful settlement, for peace is best. Although human souls are prone to selfishness, if you do good and are mindful of God, He is well aware of all that you do. 129You will never be able to treat your wives with equal fairness, however much you may desire to do so, but do not ignore one wife altogether, leaving her suspended [between marriage and divorce]. If you make amends and remain conscious of God, He is most forgiving and merciful, 130but if husband and wife do separate, God will provide for each out of His plenty: He is infinite in plenty, and all wise.

Obviously God is not infinitely wise, since he [allegedly] just commanded that women can never be treated equally no matter what, and for no reason yet given.

131Everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to God. We have commanded those who were given the Scripture before you, and We command you, to be mindful of God. Even if you do ignore Him, everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him, and He is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise. 132Yes, indeed, everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to God, and He is enough for those who trust in Him.

But those who are not so credulous demand a bit more.

133If He so willed, He could remove you altogether and replace you with new people: He has full power to do so. 134If some want the rewards of this world, the rewards of this world and the next are both God’s to give: He hears and sees everything. 135You who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God, even if it is against yourselves, your parents, or your close relatives. Whether the person is rich or poor, God can best take care of both. Refrain from following your own desire, so that you can act justly– if you distort or neglect justice, God is fully aware of what you do.

It seems that the Muslim god endorses rewards some forms of injustice.

136You who believe, believe in God and His Messenger and in the Scripture He sent down to His Messenger, as well as what He sent down before. Anyone who does not believe in God, His angels, His Scriptures, His messengers, and the Last Day has gone far, far astray. 137As for those who believe, then reject the faith, then believe again, then reject the faith again and become increasingly defiant, God will not forgive them, nor will He guide them on any path.

So apostasy can be forgiven—once.

138[Prophet], tell such hypocrites that an agonizing torment awaits them. 139Do those who ally themselves with the disbelievers rather than the believers seek power through them? In reality all power is God’s to give. 140As He has already revealed to you [believers] in the Scripture, if you hear people denying and ridiculing God’s revelation, do not sit with them unless they start to talk of other things, or else you yourselves will become like them: a God will gather all the hypocrites and disbelievers together into Hell. 141The [hypocrites] wait to see what happens to you and, if God brings you success, they say, ‘Were we not on your side?’ but if the disbelievers have some success, they say to them, ‘Did we not have the upper hand over you, and [yet] protect you from the believers?’ God will judge between you all on the Day of Resurrection, and He will give the disbelievers no means of overcoming the believers.

Note that neither the Jews, nor the pagans nor the Christians ever referred to themselves as unbelievers. Rather they each saw each other and the Muslims as unbelievers, hypocrites and heretics following a corrupted scripture and deity.

142The hypocrites try to deceive God, but it is He who causes them to be deceived. When they stand up to pray, they do so sluggishly, showing off in front of people, and remember God only a little, 143wavering all the time between this and that, belonging neither to one side nor the other. If God leaves someone to stray, you [Prophet] will never find a way for him. 144You who believe, do not take the disbelievers as allies and protectors instead of the believers: do you want to offer God clear proof against you?

If God sees and knows all, then he should know better. If he were just, wise and forgiving, this would not even be a problem.

145The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of Hell, and you will find no one to help them. 146Not so those who repent, mend their ways, hold fast to God, and devote their religion entirely to Him: these will be joined with the believers, and God will give the believers a mighty reward.

The “reward” is that you won’t be physically tormented for eternity.

147Why should God make you suffer torment if you are thankful and believe in Him? God always rewards gratitude and He knows everything.

Clearly not if this book is any indication.

148God does not like bad words to be made public unless someone has been wronged: He is all hearing and all knowing. 149If you do good, openly or in secret, or if you pardon something bad, then God is most forgiving and powerful. 150As for those who ignore God and His messengers and want to make a distinction between them, saying, ‘We believe in some but not in others,’ seeking a middle way, 151they are really disbelievers: We have prepared a humiliating punishment for those who disbelieve. 152But God will give [due] rewards to those who believe in Him and His messengers and make no distinction between any of them. God is most forgiving and merciful.

This is more of the same endless mantra that the Qur’an has chanted almost constantly since page One.

153The People of the Book demand that you [Prophet] make a book physically come down to them from heaven, but they demanded even more than that of Moses when they said, ‘Show us God face to face,’ and were struck by the thunderbolt for their 141presumption. Even after clear revelations had come down to them, they took the calf as an object of worship, yet We pardoned this, and gave Moses clear authority;

Now we’re back to reciting what happened to Moses, Abraham, Noah and the rest.

154We made the mountain tower high above them at their pledge; We said to them, ‘Enter the gate a humbly,’ and, ‘Do not break the Sabbath,’ and took a solemn pledge from them. 155And so for breaking their pledge, for rejecting God’s revelations, for unjustly killing their prophets, for saying ‘Our minds are closed’ – No! God has sealed them in their disbelief, so they believe only a little–

IslamicStudies.info offers a deeply ironic explanation for this: “In fact, like all ignorant worshippers of falsehood, these people also boasted that their faith in the ideas and prejudices, customs and usages of their forefathers was so firm that they could never be made to forsake them. Whenever the Messengers of God tried to admonish them, they have been told point-blank that no matter what argument or evidence the latter might adduce in support of their message, they would never be prepared to alter their viewpoint.” How is it that these Muslim interpreters don’t realize how they just described themselves?

156 and because they disbelieved and uttered a terrible slander against Mary, 157and said, ‘We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.’ (They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: they certainly did not kill him– 158God raised him up to Himself. God is almighty and wise. 159There is not one of the People of the Book who will not believe in [Jesus] before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.)

I once got into an argument with a Christian friend over religion, when she said that Muslims revere Jesus and the Bible. Yes, they do, but not the way you think. They say that the Bible is corrupted and that Jesus never died. Not just that he didn’t die on the cross, that he didn’t die for your sins, but that he never died at all; that Jesus is not God, nor is he the son of God. Jesus is only a prophet of God, second to Muhammad, but Jesus is a god in the “little-g” sense that he is immortal and he has magic powers.

160For the wrongdoings done by the Jews, We forbade them certain good things that had been permitted to them before: for having frequently debarred others from God’s path; 161for taking usury when they had been forbidden to do so; and for wrongfully devouring other people’s property. For those of them that reject the truth we have prepared an agonizing torment.

Remember that “rejecting the truth” here means rejecting the lies of one religion to favor those of another.

162But those of them who are well grounded in knowledge and have faith do believe in what has been revealed to you [Muhammad], and in what was revealed before you– those who perform the prayers, pay the prescribed alms, and believe in God and the Last Day– to them We shall give a great reward. 163We have sent revelation to you [Prophet] as We did to Noah and the prophets after him, to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon– to David We gave the book [of Psalms]– 164to other messengers We have already mentioned to you, and also to some We have not. To Moses God spoke directly. 165They were messengers bearing good news and warning, so that mankind would have no excuse before God, once the messengers had been sent: God is almighty and all wise.

Objection: Assumption of facts not in evidence.

166But God Himself bears witness to what He has sent down to you– He sent it down with His full knowledge– the angels too bear witness, though God is sufficient witness.

No, God is not a sufficient witness, since he never speaks objectively. Instead he only gives vague and contradictory impressions in the minds of mad-men and lunatics who claim that he tells them all sorts of nonsense.

167Those who have disbelieved and barred others from God’s path have gone far astray; 168God will not forgive those who have disbelieved and do evil, nor will He guide them to any path 169except that of Hell, where they will remain for ever– this is easy for God.

Remember that “doing evil” means no more than not believing these absurdities being asserted.

170The Messenger has come to you [people] with the truth from your Lord, so believe– that is best for you– for even if you disbelieve, all that is in the heavens and the earth still belongs to God, and He is all knowing and all wise. 171People of the Book, do not go to excess in your religion, and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary, a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’– stop [this], that is better for you– God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust.

Hear that, Christians? Here God himself [allegedly] is correcting you about the very god y’all claim to know. So since Jesus and Al-Lah give conflicting testimony, and YeHoWaH declares even in scripture there is no god besides him, and that there is no one beside him where Jesus claims to be, then Jesus is not “God made flesh” and God is obviously not a reliable witness, at least not in the eyes of Christians in this case; since God is testifying against them.

172The Messiah would never disdain to be a servant of God, nor would the angels who are close to Him. He will gather before Him all those who disdain His worship and are arrogant: 173to those who believe and do good works He will give due rewards and more of His bounty; to those who are disdainful and arrogant He will give an agonizing torment, and they will find no one besides God to protect or help them. 174People, convincing proof has come to you from your Lord and We have sent a clear light down to you.

Except that no, no convincing proof was ever provided. Nor was there even any evidence.

175God will admit those who believe in Him and hold fast to Him into His mercy and favour; He will guide them towards Him on a straight path.

And yet the Jews have corrupted God’s message, the Christians worship a different god, and the Muslims have added and corrupted the scriptures, admitting that God will mislead who he will. So he has apparently mislead everyone who believes in him.

176They ask you [Prophet] for a ruling. Say, ‘God gives you a ruling about inheritance from someone who dies childless with no surviving parents. If a man leaves a sister, she is entitled to half of the inheritance; if she has no child her brother is her sole heir; if there are two sisters, they are entitled to two-thirds of the inheritance between them, but if there are surviving brothers and sisters, the male is entitled to twice the share of the female. God makes this clear to you so that you do not make mistakes: He has full knowledge of everything.’

The Muslim god is a sexist pig. Actually, that’s true of all versions of the God of Abraham. It’s just slightly more obvious in the Islamic version.

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