QUR’AN: THE COW

Reference: QUR’AN: THE OPENING
[NOTE: I am not blogging about Islam. I am blogging about knowledge in the tradition of JNANA YOGA (the yoga of knowledge). My interest is to interpret Qur’an from the viewpoint of knowledge that is useful to mankindI shall be interpreting this knowledge as consistent with my view of God as unknowable. If there is any historical, religious or cultural inconsistency in this material, I shall point it out as such. ~ Vinaire]

QUR’AN:  THE COW

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL

(2 – 20)

.

 This book, without doubt

has guidance in it for the conscientious;  

those who believe in the unseen,

and steadily practice prayer,

and give of what We have provided them,

.

COMMENTARY:  This book (Qur’an) consists of the guidance that would bring prosperity to individuals, families, and societies and even to the mankind. Those who are conscientious and think of the survival of everybody and not just their own self, would, no doubt, instinctively follow this guidance.

These laws and principles are quite abstract and they are not very obvious at first glance. However, those who are conscientious would apply them anyway for the good of all. With diligent study and steady practice, they would in time come to appreciate what is in this book.

Giving is always holier than receiving. Those who are conscientious would share their prosperity and help others improve their condition.

NOTE: God is unknowable. There is no person out there providing us with material prosperity, and handing down this guidance. Actually, these are intuitions arrived at by keen observation. 

Prayer is not a mere supplication for relief. Prayer is practicing the principles of Qur’an correctly. Prayer consists of giving rather than receiving.

 .

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and those who believe

what has been sent down to you

and what was sent down before you,

and are certain of the Hereafter.

They follow guidance from their Lord,

and they are the happy ones.

.

COMMENTARY:  Those who are conscientious can see the consistency of the truths (laws and principles) revealed in Qur’an with those revealed earlier in the Torah and the Gospel. They know that it is the consequences of their own actions that determine the future. Such people humbly follow the guidance given in Qur’an, and thus achieve success and happiness in their lives.

NOTE: The use of the word “Lord” is poetic. It is not to be taken literally. God is unknowable. Man controls his own destiny. He is his own lord.

Qur’an is describing the characteristics of a SOCIAL PERSONALITY. The social personality naturally operates on the basis of the greatest good for all. The social personality wants to survive and wants others to survive, whereas the ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY (as described in the subsequent verses) really and covertly wants others to succumb.

.

.

As for the ungrateful who refuse,

it is the same to them

whether you warn them or not;

they do not believe.

God has sealed their hearts

and their hearings,

and covered their eyes;

for them there is a great torment.

.

COMMENTARY:  There are some who are ungrateful even when they are helped. Such people do not care for this guidance even when it is explained to them how indispensable it is for survival. Such people really have no feelings in their heart for others. They do not want to hear about doing anything good to others. They do not want to see any good being done to others. For such people there is a great torment.

NOTE: Qur’an is describing here the characteristics of an ANTISOCIAL PERSONALITY. The antisocial personality really and covertly wants others to succumb.

.

 .

And among humankind

are those who say

they believe in God and the Last Day

but they do not believe.

 They try to deceive God

and those who believe,

but they do not deceive anyone

except themselves,

although they do not know it.

.

COMMENTARY:  Unfortunately, such people do exist among humankind. They say that they believe in the welfare of all, and that, like anybody, they too are responsible for their actions, but they don’t really mean it. Such people think that they would survive better if others don’t do so well. So they only pretend to help without really helping. But they don’t deceive anyone except themselves, and they do not even know it.

.

 .

There is a sickness in their hearts,

and God has made them sicker;

and theirs is a painful torment,

because they were in fact lying.

 And when they are told not to make trouble on earth,

they say they are only doing good.

Is it not that they are in fact

the troublemakers,

without even knowing it?

.

COMMENTARY:  Such people are actually sick to their core. They lie and they are tormented by the thought of being found out. Thus, they become sicker. Such people only make trouble even when they say that they have only the best of intentions.  Their actions always lead to trouble but they can’t see it.

 .

.

And when it is said to them,

“Believe as the people believe,”

they say, “Shall we believe

as imbeciles believe?”

No, it is they,

they who are the imbeciles,

though they do not know.

And when they encounter

those who believe,

they say, “We believe.”

But when they are alone

with their obsessions,

they say,

“We are in fact with you;

we were only joking.”

 

COMMENTARY:  Such people look down upon those who want people to do better. They consider any helpful attitude to be foolishness.  But it is they who are fools without knowing it. Such people do not express their contempt openly.  Outwardly, they pretend to agree with the idea of everyone working for the common good, but when they are with their own kind they mock the idea of working for anybody’s welfare.

 .

.

God will make a joke of them,

amplifying their outrages

as they wander astray.

 They are the ones

who have bartered

guidance for error:

thus their trade does not profit

and they are not guided.

.

COMMENTARY:  The irony is that such people do not do well but actually suffer greatly in their ignorance. They shun any guidance and go their own stubborn way. Thus, being trapped in their own lies, they are not guided by good sense.

NOTE:  This is a sad commentary on the duplicity of human nature.  It is not easy to make such people see the error of their ways.  Such people have put themselves beyond the pale by despising those who can help them.  It is indeed a daunting and frustrating task to handle the blindness of such people.

 .

.

What they are like is one who lit a fire,

and when it illumined everything around,

God took their light

and left them in darkness,

unseeing.

 Deaf, dumb, and blind,

they will not get back.

Or like a rain cloud from the sky,

in it darkness, thunder,

and lightning.

They put their fingers in their ears

against the peal

in fear of death:

yet God surrounds the ungrateful.

.

COMMENTARY:  It is as if everyone around them can see but they can’t see even when a situation is as plain as daylight. They have become deaf, dumb and blind due to their own considerations. There is little chance of them recovering from their condition. Enlightenment comes from courageously facing the stark realities of life however frightening and dangerous they might appear to be.  However, such people are so terrified that they keep on running away.  Yet they have the potential within them to face the truth if they want to.

 .

.

The lightning nearly

takes away their vision.

Every time it sheds light for them,

they walk in it;

and when it grows dark upon them,

they stand still.

And if God willed,

God could remove

their hearing and seeing:

for God has power over all things.

.

COMMENTARY: When such people are forced to face the truth they do so but with little sense of responsibility. And as soon as they are left to themselves, they become deaf, dumb and blind to truth again. But it is just that they have chosen to be so. There is nobody else to blame. But if they want they can recover from this condition.

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Comments

  • anon  On August 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Very interesting interpretation….look forward to more…..

    just to add some info……..
    “This book, without doubt has guidance in it for the conscientious;”
    —I don’t know which translation you are using—but the arabic word translated as “conscientious” is “mutaqeen’ which means “one who has taqwa” and taqwa is God-awareness/love,awe of God..

    The middle group are the Kaffir—translation as “ungrateful” is correct. (the root word kfr has the meaning of ungrateful )

    The last group are the munafiqueen—or hypocrites.

    • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 4:36 AM

      The translation that I am using is THE ESSENTIAL KORAN by Thomas Cleary.

      When I think of Islam, I think of how knowledge was kept alive during the Dark Ages. Islam has always equated with mathematics and knowledge to me.

      It is the misinterpretation and misapplication of Islamic principles that is being hated today. This is like the “Dark Age” of Islam in a way.

      Do you think that my interpretation should be modified a bit?

      .

    • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 7:02 AM

      Mutaqeen = one who has taqwa
      Taqwa = God awareness/love awe of God

      I find that the biggest misunderstanding occcurs when God is viewed as a person with a certain ‘cultural’ personality. Many people in Islam fall under the spell of this misunderstanding even when Qur’an says that God has no form.

      So what does ‘Taqwa’ really mean? It has to do with a sense of infinite eternal knowledge that forms the basis of existence, and not with some person or personality. Man has always searched for this knowledge, and it is still being explored in all the various endeavors of Man.

      To me a scientist like Einstein was a ‘mutaqeen’. A great political reformer like Gandhi was a ‘mutaqeen’. It is the anti-social personality who would dispute this and would insist on a narrow interpretation that only serves to divide Mankind.

      .

  • Kevin Oborne  On August 13, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    God is both knowable and unknowable and both viewpoints exactly fit the facts.

    • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 4:39 AM

      God is always an interpretation. God cannot be known in the absolute sense. That is how I see it.

      You may see it differently, and that is OK.

      .

      • Kevin Oborne  On August 14, 2012 at 8:05 AM

        I suppose it depends on the definition of known. If one means by known, having the immediate consciousness of God, that isn’t going to happen. If one means understanding the nature of God in this place, that can be done.

        • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 9:10 AM

          My understanding is that anything that can be known is, ultimately, one’s own consideration.

          .

  • Kevin Oborne  On August 14, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Only in this place.When one steps outside, things become more definite. simply because one has perspective on the whole operation.
    One can decide this is a hall of mirrors and nothing is real, (which is of course, true as well) but to see what is here, acknowledging it exists first, is useful. At least that is my experience. The end result is freedom to move around. One is free to go where one is willing to admit exists. That means one never is stuck.

    • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      I have trouble understanding what is this place and what is atepping outside. Can you please clarify?

      .

    • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      Per my understanding, nothing is absolute. Therefore, there is no “stepping outside” in an absolute sense. There is relativity only.

      We may differentiate only when there is inconsistency. As we eliminate inconsistencies, we may move toward what you call “stepping outside.”

      .

  • Kevin Oborne  On August 14, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    This place is the relative universe. One can step outside the universe. One gets a view of God, or creation, appropriate to one’s willingess to see, but the main point is one is outside the relative universe. As one’s focus permits, the operation of the relative universe opens to view. This is a process, as is all understanding, in my experience.
    Since this is a relative universe stepping out takes one outside and one understands the relative universe is not the only existence possible.
    Ah, thank you for the comment on inconsistencies. I did not understand your viewpoint. If the way things work are as they appear, to me at tleast, there are no inconsistencies. All fits together. Anyhting and everything is possible. So all one does is see what is there, without judgment, and eventually one pops out. After about 20 hours of Idenics I sudcenly had the idea I wanted to find my place in the universe. I met a fellow a couple years ago whose father was “enlightened” and he said that sort of realization is typical. Then I read Simon Singh’s The Big Bang and Greene’s The Elegant Universe, and after reading a description of The Special Theory of Relativity, boom. The main operation is having no fixed ideas, what is here is here and one accepts it. However it does not matter in the least what one does in the overall. God will move things around regardless. My experience.

  • vinaire  On August 14, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    (1) When one sees something for what it is, its significance reduces to zero.

    (2) What is persisting is the significance.

    (3) An inconsistency is a significance that is persisting.

    (4) ‘Stepping out’ is the reduction of inconsistencies / significance / persistence.

    .

  • anon  On August 21, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    apologies for the late reply…….

    In Islam God is not anthropomorphic, nor does “he”/it have Gender—God is also unlike creation (any creation)

    Taqwa–God-awareness—when our intentions and actions reflect an altruistic attitude which arises out of humility and gratefulness——“to do for God”

    Other spiritual categories in the Quran—-
    muslim—one who submits (to God)
    momeneen—one who has Iman (Iman= the use of ones intellect and reason to arrive at conviction)

    Levels of spirituality in the Quran—
    lowest level = Islam (one who submits (to God))
    higher level = Iman (one who trusts (in God))
    Highest level = Ihsan (beautiful action)—- (one who reflects God’s will in his intentions and actions—highest degree of Taqwa)

    God’s will = right belief that promotes right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of God’s creations.

    right belief= Tawheed (Unity)—
    unity with the Divine, unity with humanity, unity with nature/God’s creation……
    (wrong belief—one that promotes division and arises out of arrogance,pride, ingratitude)

    By the way, you wrote–“God cannot be known in an absolute sense”—This also reflects the Islamic belief—that is why we have the 99 names of God—because God is beyond “definition”. —any definition limits “God”.

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