This is the 46th 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
and my 45th post on suras 67, 69 & 70.
Sūrah 78 (An-Naba’) The Announcement
Translator Abdel Haleem said that this surah would give evidence of God’s power, but he neglected to note which verses that would be. I suspect that we’re just supposed to assume that whatever exists is an act of God, so that our “evidence” is just the circular reasoning of the question-begging fallacy again.
1What are they asking about? 2The momentous announcement 3about which they differ. 4They will find out. 5In the end they will find out.
Should I skip to the end of this book to find out myself?
6Did We not make the earth smooth,
No, because the earth is not smooth.
7and make the mountains to keep it stable?
No, because mountains don’t keep anything stable. A common interpretation is that the mountains serve as paperweights to hold down the map of the earth. But the lithosphere flows under them unimpeded.
8Did We not create you in pairs,
No, we were not “created” at all.
9give you sleep for rest, 10the night as a cover, 11and the day for your livelihood?
No. Day and night are an inevitable consequence of the spinning globe that Muhammad obviously never knew about.
12Did We not build seven strong [heavens] above you, 13and make a blazing lamp?
No, there are no “heavens” such as this book describes, and the sun is not a lamp either. The god of this book was imagined into being billions of years too late to be the cause of any of this.
14Did We not send water pouring down from the clouds 15to bring forth with it grain, plants, 16and luxuriant gardens?
No. Nor was a god ever necessary to bring about any of these natural systems.
17A time has been appointed for the Day of Decision: 18a Day when the Trumpet will sound and you will come forward in crowds, 19when the sky will open up like wide portals, 20when the mountains will vanish like a mirage. 21Hell lies in wait, 22a home for oppressors 23to stay in for a long, long time, 24where they will taste no coolness nor drink 25except one that is scalding and dark––
Because the Qur’an has to repeat the same empty threats of unjust judgment in every single surah.
26a fitting requital, 27for they did not fear a reckoning, 28and they rejected Our messages as lies.
Your message is a lie, and an infinite punishment for a finite crime cannot be fitting, especially not for an imagined thought crime of simply not believing the ravings of madness.
29We have recorded everything in a Record.
And then lost or forgot all the important details.
30‘Taste this: all you will get from Us is more torment.’
Having already read more than half of the Qur’an, I’ve already figured that much out on my own.
31For those who were aware of God there is supreme fulfilment: 32private gardens, vineyards, 33nubile, well-matched companions, 34and an overflowing cup.
The empty promise that no matter how much your life sucks now, if you give money and power to the clergy, that somehow you’ll get wealth and sex later on, after you die. So they get all your support and take your resources while you live, and never have to pay anything back. It’s the perfect scam.
35There they will hear no vain or lying talk: 36a reward from your Lord, a fitting gift 37from the Lord of the heavens and earth and everything between, the Lord of Mercy. They will have no authority from Him to speak. 38On the Day when the Spirit and the angels stand in rows, they will not speak except for those to whom the Lord of Mercy gives permission, who will say only what is right. 39That is the Day of Truth. So whoever wishes to do so should take the path that leads to his Lord.
Have you noticed that most oft-repeated lies are always presented as truth with a capital T?
40We have warned you of imminent torment, on the Day when every person will see what their own hands have sent ahead for them, when the disbeliever will say, ‘If only I were dust!’
I already feel like that just trying to get through this awful book.
Sūrah 79 (An-Nazi’at) The Forceful Chargers
Translator Abdel Haleem chose the title “the forceful chargers”. Other translations include “those who pull out”, which seems to mean quite the opposite.
1By the forceful chargers a 2raring to go,
It seems that whatever the title is depends on the translation of the first or sometimes the second verse. Quran.com has that as “By those angels stripping out evil souls harshly, and those pulling out good souls gently”. IslamicStudies.info says “By those (angels) that pluck out the soul from depths, and gently take it away”. And ClearQuran says “By those who snatch violently, and those who remove gently.” How can there be so much variance? And why does Haleem’s translation the odd one out, so different from all the others?
3sweeping ahead at full stretch, 4overtaking swiftly 5to bring the matter to an end, 6on the Day when the blast reverberates 7and the second blast follows, 8hearts will tremble 9and eyes will be downcast.
While we are hunted down by angels.
10They say, ‘What? shall we be brought back to life, 11after we have turned into decayed bones?’ and they say, 12‘Such a return is impossible!’
That is correct.
13But all it will take is a single blast, 14and they will be back above ground.
Note that while Christianity imagines that our souls are a ghostly inhabitant of our material selves, Islam continues a fully physical existence instead.
15Have you [Prophet] heard the story of Moses?
Here we go again, just like half the other suras we’ve read, this one too repeats the summary of Moses and Pharaoh.
16His Lord called out to him in the sacred valley of Tuwa: 17‘Go to Pharaoh, for he has exceeded all bounds, 18and ask him, “Do you want to purify yourself [of sin]? 19Do you want me to guide you to your Lord, so that you may hold Him in awe?” ’
If you have to lead me to him first, then my expectations are already too low for that.
20Moses showed him the great sign, 21but he denied it and refused [the faith].
Moses pulled his hand out of cloak and showed that it was white. “Look, I have leprosy!” Then he slipped his hand back into his cloak and pulled it out normal again. “Now, for my next trick….” Somehow Pharaoh was not impressed.
22He turned away and hastily 23gathered his people, proclaiming, 24‘I am your supreme lord,’ 25so God condemned him to punishment in the life to come as well as in this life: 26there truly is a lesson in this for anyone who stands in awe of God.
But there is no lesson here for those who are not so credulous.
27Which is harder to create: you people or the sky that He built, 28raising it high and perfecting it,
Another reference to “raising” the solid, crystalline firmament, which we now know doesn’t exist.
29giving darkness to its night and bringing out its morning brightness,
Again, an inevitable consequence of the earth turning and the sun remaining in one place.
30and the earth, too, He spread out,
Another reference to the earth in a form of a flat map until God laid mountains on it to hold it in place.
31bringing waters and pastures out of it, 32 and setting firm mountains [in it] 33for you and your animals to enjoy? 34When the great overwhelming event arrives 35on the Day that man remembers what he has done 36and Hell is there for all to see, 37for anyone who has transgressed 38and preferred the present life 39Hell will be home; 40for anyone who feared the meeting with his Lord and restrained himself from base desires, 41Paradise will be home.
False promises and empty threats constantly repeated, when no real god would ever allow either one as described.
42They ask you [Prophet] about the Hour, 43saying, ‘When will it arrive?’, but how can you tell [them that]? 44Its time is known only to your Lord;
Because we can’t allow there to be an expiration date to this prophesy. If they had one, it would have surely passed at some point in the last 14 centuries.
45you are only sent to warn those who fear it. 46On the Day they see it, it will seem they lingered [in this life] an evening [at most,] or its morning.
Well, then you weren’t said to warn me, because I am not so fearful.
Sūrah 82 (Al-Infitaar) Torn Apart
Other translations use “The Cleaving”, “The Shattering” or “Bursting Apart”.
1When the sky is torn apart, 2when the stars are scattered, 3when the seas burst forth, 4when graves turn inside out: 5each soul will know what it has done and what it has left undone.
But the firmament doesn’t exist. So it can’t be torn apart. The actual sky refers either to the envelope of our atmosphere or to everything we can see in the cosmos beyond that. Neither of those could ever be torn apart either. The stars are pretty well scattered already. If Muhammad only knew how obvious it it is that he had no idea what he was talking about way back when.
6Mankind, what has lured you away from God, 7your generous Lord, who created you, shaped you, proportioned you, 8in whatever form He chose? 9Yet you still take the Judgement to be a lie!
As the creation is a lie also, yes, and so is God himself.
10Over you stand 11watchers, noble recorders 12who know what you do:
They don’t stand over you, they stand on your shoulders. This passage is talking about the shoulder angels mentioned in earlier surahs.
13the good will live in bliss, 14and the wicked will burn in the Fire. 15They will enter it on the Day of Judgement 16and they will find no escape. 17What will explain to you what the Day of Judgement is? 18Yes! What will explain to you what the Day of Judgement is?
A con job to yoke the gullible, that’s all the alleged day of judgment is.
19The Day when no soul will be able to do anything for another; on that Day, command will belong to God.
There will come a time when this god will be entirely forgotten by men, and the alleged day of judgment will never come.
Sūrah 84 (Al-Inshiqaq) Ripped Apart
I can see why these surahs were lumped together. They all have ambiguous titles and are primarily worried about the sky falling.
1When the sky is ripped apart, 2obeying its Lord as it rightly must, 3when the earth is levelled out, 4casts out its contents, and becomes empty, 5obeying its Lord as it rightly must, 6you humans, toiling laboriously towards your Lord, will meet Him:
But if the earth is levelled out and casts out its contents such that it is “empty”, then that means we’ll have dinosaurs again too, right? Of course not, because Muhammad didn’t know about those either, just like he didn’t know much of anything else.
7whoever is given his record in his right hand 8will have an easy reckoning 9and return to his people well pleased, 10but whoever is given his record from behind his back 11will cry out for destruction––12he will burn in the blazing Fire. 13He used to live among his people well pleased. 14He thought he would never return [to his Lord]––15indeed he will! His Lord was watching him. 16I swear by the glow of sunset, 17by the night and what it covers, 18by the full moon, 19you will progress from stage to stage.
What does it mean to swear by something? If I am absolutely confident about something, but I was misinformed or remembered incorrectly, but I swear by the full moon, and it turns out I was wrong, then what happens to the full moon?
20So why do they not believe?
Because we have no reason to.
21Why, when the Quran is read to them, do they not prostrate themselves [to God]?
Have you read it? Wait, this FROM that. So you’re still writing it, complaining about how people don’t believe what hasn’t even been written yet? How could anyone hear this book and still revere it? You know, several ex-Muslim apostates have told me that as bad as the Qur’an is to begin with, that it still keeps getting worse right ’til the end. It looks like they may be right.
22No! The disbelievers reject the Quran––23God knows best what they keep hidden inside––
Heart on my sleeve, man. Give me evidence, good evidence, or don’t expect me to believe you.
24so give them news of a painful torment. 25But those who believe and do good deeds will have a never-ending reward.
Sure they will, and I have offshore real estate to sell near the Florida Keys.