This is the 45th 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
and my 44th post on suras 32 & 52
Sūrah 67 (Al-Mulk) Control
Other translations call this chapter Sovereignty, Kingdom or Dominion.
1Exalted is He who holds all control in His hands; who has power over all things; 2who created death and life to test you [people] and reveal which of you does best––He is the Mighty, the Forgiving; 3who created the seven heavens, one above the other. You will not see any flaw in what the Lord of Mercy creates. Look again! Can you see any flaw?
Yes. According to these scriptures, every seemingly random thing that ever happens in our lives is just God orchestrating events, to test us, as if an omniscient being would need that. More like a child playing with his toys, none of which have free will. We are just playthings.
4Look again! And again! Your sight will turn back to you, weak and defeated.
Not MY sight, as this series demonstrates.
5We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made them [missiles] for stoning devils d for whom We have also prepared the torment of a blazing fire.
This has come up a number of times, with believers denying that these lamps and missiles are both supposed to be stars, nor even meteors. Modern apologists want this “lowest Heaven” to be interpreted as the stars and planets that can be seen with the naked eye, but that is certainly not how 7th century Arabs would have interpreted this. For them, the lowest Heaven might have been literally the lowest in the vault of the dome they call the firmament. And for many believers still today, these “lamps” are stars which angels can use as projectiles against demons.
6For those who defy their Lord We have prepared the torment of Hell: an evil destination. 7They will hear it drawing in its breath when they are thrown in. It blazes forth, 8almost bursting with rage. Its keepers will ask every group that is thrown in, ‘Did no one come to warn you?’ 9They will reply, ‘Yes, a warner did come to us, but we did not believe him. We said, “God has revealed nothing: you are greatly misguided”.’ 10They will say, ‘If only we had listened, or reasoned, we would not be with the inhabitants of the blazing fire,’ and 11they will confess their sins. Away with the inhabitants of the blazing fire! 12But there is forgiveness and a great reward for those who fear their Lord though they cannot see Him.
So there is no forgiveness from the “most forgiving”. Nor is there any love or wisdom from this character either. If there really was a god, we would not be expected to believe the unsupported and highly improbable, if not impossible claims of suspicious weirdos. We would not need prophets. Instead we would have reason, provided for us by God himself, directly. That god would not need or want our worship, and we would not be punished for anything we did or didn’t believe. All these threats of Hell are for the self-appointed prophets and clergy to assume authority based only on empty assertions. This reality renders the majority of the Qur’an worthless.
13Whether you keep your words secret or state them openly, He knows the contents of every heart.
Empty assertion. I call Hitchens’ razor.
14How could He who created not know His own creation, when He is the Most Subtle, the All Aware?
Because he is only imaginary.
15It is He who has made the earth manageable for you––travel its regions; eat His provision– and to Him you will be resurrected. 16Are you sure that He who is in Heaven will not make the earth swallow you up with a violent shudder?
Yes. Because there is no Heaven and no god either.
17Are you sure that He who is in Heaven will not send a whirlwind to pelt you with stones?
You will come to know what My warning means.
I think I already do. We call it posturing, otherwise known as a bluff, or a con.
18Those who went before them also disbelieved– how terrible was My condemnation! 19Do they not see the birds above them spreading and closing their wings? It is only the Lord of Mercy who holds them up: He watches over everything.
What holds up the birds is air, which is particulate matter, and is not at all spiritual or supernatural.
20What force can help you if the Lord of Mercy does not?
There are many choices. It depends on the situation.
The disbelievers are truly deluded. 21Who can provide for you if He withholds His provision? Yet they persist in their insolence and their avoidance of the Truth.
Apologists are the ones who avoid truth. We are not credulous enough to believe in lies mislabeled as truth.
22Who is better guided: someone who falls on his face, or someone who walks steadily on a straight path?
You mean, someone who corrects their mistake versus one who refuses to acknowledge when they are mistaken?
23Say [Prophet], ‘It is He who brought you into being, He who endowed you with hearing, sight, and understanding– what small thanks you give!’ 24Say, ‘It is He who scattered you throughout the earth, He to whom you will be gathered.’ 25They say, ‘If what you say is true, when will this promise be fulfilled?’ 26Say, ‘God alone has knowledge of this: my only duty is to give clear warning.’
So we have lots of nonsense assumptions, empty promises and baseless threats, but there is no expiration date, because this day of judgement is never going to happen, and they know it.
27When they see it close at hand, the disbelievers’ faces will be gloomy, and it will be said, ‘This is what you were calling for.’ 28Say, ‘Just think– regardless of whether God destroys me and my followers a or has mercy on us– who will protect the disbelievers from an agonizing torment?’ 29Say, ‘He is the Lord of Mercy; we believe in Him; we put our trust in Him. You will come to know in time who is in obvious error.’ 30Say, ‘Just think: if all your water were to sink deep into the earth who could give you flowing water in its place?’
We would have to find it somewhere else, because there is no god.
This was probably the most vapid surah I’ve read so far.
Sūrah 69 (Al-Haqqah) The Inevitable Hour
1The Inevitable Hour! 2What is the Inevitable Hour? 3What will explain to you what the Inevitable Hour is? 4The people of Thamud and Ad denied that the crashing blow would come: 5Thamud was destroyed by a deafening blast; 6Ad was destroyed by a furious wind 7that God let loose against them for seven consecutive nights, eight consecutive days, so that you could have seen its people lying dead like hollow palm-trunks. 8Can you see any trace of them now? 9Pharaoh, too, and those before him, and the ruined cities: these people committed grave sins and disobeyed the messenger of their Lord, so He seized them with an evertightening grip. 10But when the Flood rose high, 11We saved you in the floating ship, 12making that event a reminder for you: attentive ears may take heed.
Once again for all those Muslims who pretend that the Qur’an does not talk about a global flood, here we see that whoever the reader is, they (meaning their ancestors) were saved on Noah’s floating ship. So it doesn’t matter that we know, and can show, that the global flood never happened; the Qur’an says it did. Because (as was already obvious) it was written by people who didn’t know any better.
13When the Trumpet is sounded a single time, 14when the earth and its mountains are raised high and then crushed with a single blow, 15on that Day the Great Event will come to pass. 16The sky will be torn apart on that Day, it will be so frail. 17The angels will be on all sides of it and, on that Day, eight of them will bear the throne of your Lord above them. 18On that Day you will be brought to judgement and none of your secrets will remain hidden. 19Anyone who is given his Record in his right hand will say, ‘Here is my Record, read it. 20I knew I would meet my Reckoning,’ 21and so he will have a pleasant life 22in a lofty Garden, 23with clustered fruit within his reach.
Because remember that the Muslim version of Heaven and Hell is not a supernatural spiritual realm. It is supposed to be on our physical world, where the reconstituted dead will still have to eat and drink and defecate and so on.
24It will be said, ‘Eat and drink to your heart’s content as a reward for what you have done in days gone by.’ 25But anyone who is given his Record in his left hand will say, ‘If only I had never been given any Record 26and knew nothing of my Reckoning. 27How I wish death had been the end of me. 28My wealth has been no use to me, 29and my power has vanished.’
Oh, if only God had the wisdom, compassion and foresight to realize that smart people have a hard time believing absolute nonsense from unreliable whackos. Then God would have given reason to believe, and he would have no reason to punish those who didn’t. Religion is always such an obvious hoax!
30‘Take him, put a collar on him, 31lead him to burn in the blazing Fire, 32and [bind him] in a chain seventy metres a long: 33he would not believe in Almighty God, 34he never encouraged feeding the hungry, 35so today he has no real friend here, 36and the only food he has is the filth 37that only sinners eat.’
See, a good story would have given this exact warning, but more believably. Then we would have that warning reinforced with a visit from three ghosts.
38So I swear by what you can see 39and by what you cannot see: 40this [Quran] is the speech of an honoured messenger, 41not the words of a poet– how little you believe!–
Is that supposed to be an excuse for the Qur’an being so poorly written?
42nor the words of a soothsayer– how little you reflect! 43This [Quran] is a message sent down from the Lord of the Worlds: 44if [the Prophet] had attributed some fabrication to Us, 45We would certainly have seized his right hand 46and cut off his lifeblood, 47and none of you could have defended him.
Except that the character allegedly speaking here is God, as reported by Muhammad, supposedly taking dictation from an angel. So Muhammad is writing as God, as if God is assuring everyone that Muhammad would not lie, when Muhammad says he is speaking for God. And some people believed him!
48This [Quran] is a reminder for those who are aware of God. 49We know that some of you consider it to be lies–
50this will be a source of bitter regret for the disbelievers– 51but it is in fact the certain Truth.
What a lie! Certain truth is demonstrable. If it is just lies, then you won’t be able to defend it, like you can’t. If it was true, then you could. But then, if it was true, it would be written completely differently, if it still needed to be written at all. But you wouldn’t have to say it was truth, you could show that it is, and you can’t.
52So [Prophet] glorify the name of your Lord, the Almighty.
How can you?
Sūrah 70 (Al-Ma’arij) The Ways of Ascent
1A man [mockingly] demanded the punishment. 2It will fall on the disbelievers––none can deflect it––3from God, the Lord of the Ways of Ascent, 4by which the angels and the Spirit ascend to Him, on a Day whose length is fifty thousand years.
Why does the Qur’an have days in variable lengths? Where one day is both a thousand years and fifty thousand years? One of the apologists‘ excuses for this contradiction is that “Time of Allah is incomparable to earthly time”. Well, if it is incomparable, then why is the Qur’an telling us these contradictory nonsensical numbers in the first place? Because if one day does not equal 1,000 years or 50,000 years, then it’s not just “incomparable”, it’s false.
5So be patient, [Prophet], as befits you. 6The disbelievers think it is distant, 7but We know it to be close.
So that was 1,400 years ago, a day and a half by God’s calendar. Or we still have another 48,600 years to wait until “tomorrow”. However, if that is the case, there won’t be any Muslims left in the world by then. Islam doesn’t have another thousand years left in it, not if it has to stay with this book.
8On a Day when the heavens will be like molten brass 9and the mountains like tufts of wool, 10when no friend will ask about his friend, 11even when they are within sight of one another. The guilty person will wish he could save himself from the suffering of that Day by sacrificing his sons, 12his spouse, his brother, 13the kinsfolk who gave him shelter, 14and everyone on earth, if it could save him. 15But no! There is a raging flame 16that strips away the skin, 17and it will claim everyone who rejects the truth, turns away, 18amasses wealth and hoards it.
Translation: “rejects the truth” means “doesn’t believe the lies”.
19Man was truly created anxious: 20he is fretful when misfortune touches him, 21but tight-fisted when good fortune comes his way. 22Not so those who pray 23and are constant in their prayers; 24who give a due share of their wealth 25to beggars and the deprived; 26who believe in the Day of Judgement 27and fear the punishment of their Lord––
So even if you believe absolute nonsense and do as you’re told, you still have to live in fear that it ain’t good enough. What a miserable belief system. But it certainly keeps the minions in submission.
28none may feel wholly secure from it––29who guard their chastity 30from all but their spouses or their slave-girls––there is no blame attached to [relations with] these, 31but those whose desires exceed this limit are truly transgressors––
This came up too, that a man may cheat on his wife with slaves who have no right to refuse him. Apologists, of course, tell me that slave doesn’t mean slave and that these owned captive females are granted human right of refusal to extra-marital relations, but they couldn’t cite where the Qur’an says that, because it doesn’t. Instead, I found an article on Islam and Slavery at Brandeis University that says “female slaves do not have the right to grant or deny sexual access to themselves. Instead, the Qur’an permits men to have sexual access to “what their right hands possess,” meaning female captives or slaves “.
I found a similar statement from an author in the Religion Department of Cambridge University Press: “an enslaved female’s consent was never required for a marriage contracted by her owner. Al-Shafiʿi (d. 820) is typical: “He may marry off his female slave without her permission whether she is a virgin or non-virgin.” 7 It strains logic to suggest that an enslaved woman is subject to being married off without her consent or against her will to whomever her owner chooses but that he cannot have sex with her himself without her consent.”
Thus, it seems the apologists were wrong again. A slave cannot refuse sex with her master.
32who are faithful to their trusts and their pledges; 33who give honest testimony 34 and are steadfast in their prayers. 35They will be honoured in Gardens of bliss. 36What is wrong with the disbelievers? Why do they rush to peer at you [Prophet], 37from right and left, in crowds? 38Does every one of them expect to enter a Garden of bliss?
Regarding this verse, IslamicStudies.info accuses the unbelievers of “rushing in towards the Prophet in order to suppress every invitation to the truth”. It is getting for me to hear obvious lies constantly referred to as “the Truth”.
39No! We created them from the substance they know, 40and, by the Lord of every sunrise and sunset, We have the power 41to substitute for them others better than they are– nothing can prevent Us from doing this. 42So leave them to wallow in idle talk, until they come face to face with their promised Day, 43the Day they will rush out of their graves as if rallying to a flag, 44eyes downcast and covered in shame: that is the Day of which they were warned.
And that day will never come.