QUR’AN: THE COW (23 – 25)

QUR’AN: THE COW

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL

(23 – 25)

.

And if you (Arab pagans, Jews, and Christians)

are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down

(i.e. the Qur’ân)

to Our slave (Muhammad Peace be upon him),

then produce a Sûrah (chapter) of the like thereof

and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers)

besides Allâh, if you are truthful.

.

COMMENTARY: Muhammad used to go into a trance like state. It was during such moments that Qur’an was recited through his lips. These verses were of such excellent poetic quality that no poet could match them. Muhammad himself could not compose such verses under full consciousness. Therefore, these recitations came to be regarded as miraculous. In absence of any known explanation, it was considered that “God was speaking through Muhammad.”

But God is formless per Qur’an. God represents the potential inherent in existence. Only a part of this potential is ordinarily expressed through man. Under special circumstances, such as trance, unutilized potential may be manifested in the form of some extraordinary capabilities.

These verses address the Jews of Madinah, who were making a mockery of Muhammad‘s efforts to preach Qur’an. This verse simply points out that Qur’an expresses extraordinay wisdom that is evident in the unmatched quality and depth of its poetry. Therefore, one should pay attention to it.

.

.

But if you do it not, and you can never do it,

then fear the Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones,

prepared for the disbelievers.

And give glad tidings to those who believe

and do righteous good deeds,

that for them will be Gardens

under which rivers flow (Paradise).

Every time they will be provided

with a fruit therefrom,

they will say:

“This is what we were provided with before,”

and they will be given things in resemblance

(i.e. in the same form but different in taste)

and they shall have therein Azwâjun Mutahharatun

(purified mates or wives –

having no menses, stools, urine, etc.)

and they will abide therein forever.

.

COMMENTARY: This verse expresses anger and a threat of punishment for those who mock the wisdom of Qur’an, and promises rewards to those who pay attention to the wisdom of Qur’an. These ideas of reward (heaven) and punishment (hell) had been used in Christianity prior to Islam. Here the same idea is being given an additional urgency because the Arabic culture of Muhammad’s time was steeped in ignorance compared to other cultures surrounding it. Muhammad was very concerned about this situation.

It is interesting to note that the rewards, which are promised, are sensual in nature. Women are looked upon as objects of pleasure. This reflects the male-dominated Arabic culture of Muhammad’s time.

Note: God is not some powerful entity external to man in control of man’s destiny. That interpretation of God can easily be used to control and oppress man. Unfortunately, that has been done by the anti-social personality in most religions.

.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • larry  On August 21, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Dear V,

    I very much love and admire and appreciate your works. Starting from there then, I have a question for you (and for all of those/us like you):

    If………(grand hypothetical to follow lol)…..the exact words penned above by the One called Muhammad, were found inscribed on a template of stone that was found with the name of Christ as the author, on earth (or the name of Tom Jones, or John Doe) which discovered stone was authenticatable, and authenticated….

    ….my question is: would it matter to you? Which is to ask: does it make a difference, to you? And if so, why so? And if not, why Not?

    Given your works (above) I am certain your response would be most worthy of my personal unconditioned contemplation. Which I will exchange with you, in a heartbeat.

    Thank you my friend,
    iamlam

  • vinaire  On August 21, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    The mantra I use is Vipassana, meaning, “Observe things as they really are, not as they seem to be.”

    I don’t care for proofs. I don’t care for the names attached. Those things are crutches.

    I like to understand a piece of knowledge for what it is. What do I really see there? Is there some inconsistency? What is causing that inconsistency? That is how I approach knowledge.

    Great to hear from you, Larry!

    .

  • anon  On August 21, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    verse 23—The Quran does not advocate blind belief. When the Prophet(pbuh) first recieved a revelation, he thought he was going Insane—-and this would be a pretty normal reaction of any human being. Doubt would also be a normal reaction when it is claimed that the Quran is a revelation. (revelation= not man-made…but Divine). Therefore if the Quran claims it is not man-made and it does not advocate blind belief—then there must be a way to PROVE it.
    One way is for humans to produce a surah like it in quality—if humans can do so—it will disprove the claim in the Quran.

    However—if once the Quranic claim is proven—that it is indeed a guidance from the Divine—then to reject it would mean that one does so out of arrogance, pride ungratefulness.
    Kaffir—previously I explained about the root word—as being the same as ungrateful—-kaffir means one who buries the seed in dirt (farmer) and here refers to a spiritual state in which one covers up the truth (seed) with deception/self-deception.(dirt).

    Sensual Paradise—is a similitude (see verse 26) and not to be taken literally. We are not likely to understand either Paradise or Hell from our earth-centric perspectives.
    Houri—companions in Paradise—likewise, the entities that inhabit paradise do not have gender as we understand it from our human-centric perspective. —“We” (the self/consciousness)—understand gender through the experience of our gendered bodies.

    • vinaire  On August 22, 2012 at 5:28 AM

      Underlying a PROOF there is usually a desire to convince the other person of the view one holds. One usually thinks that one’s view is absolute and the other person needs to be convinced of it.

      Look at the proofs in the subject of geometry.

      But the proofs may, at best, lead to logical consistency in what is observed, but what is observed may not be absolute. I would like to refer to the following essay here.

      THE FUNDAMENTAL INCONSISTENCY

      .

    • vinaire  On August 22, 2012 at 5:53 AM

      Proof and convincing does not necessarily brings about an understanding on the part of the other person.

      Arabic culture in Muhammad’s time was steeped in ignorance. The insights presented in Qur’an were a great revelation relative to that ignorance. The gap in understanding was so large that the first reaction was to outright reject this revelation. The gradient then was to present those insights as something miraculous and other-worldly, which was true, but in a relative sense only.

      Ultimately, one simply wants to bring about a deeper understanding. Yes, one’s ignorance, ego and arrogance stand in the way. But the mantra of ‘seeing things as they are’ seems to chip away through that barrier. Use of ‘miraculous, divine and other-worldly’ is simply another device to overcome the same barrier.

      .

  • anon  On August 23, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Arab culture was steeped in ignorance—-One could say that about the Arabs of Mecca and to some extent the the Non-Jewish communities of Yathrib/Medina—but it would not be as accurate to do so for the Jewish (and perhaps some Christian) communities as they had scholars and wisdom teachers. —Which may be one of several reasons that Surah 2, which is more or less a Medina surah, is more complex than some of the earlier revelations. (Meccan)

    Miracle—In my opinion, If “miracle” is defined as—
    “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that is ascribed to a supernatural cause.”—then from the Quranic perspective—everything from plants growing from seed, birds flying and babies being born are “miracles” because a “supernatural cause” is behind them.Thus “miracle” would include those events/effects that follow the laws of nature as well as those that seem to go “beyond” natural laws. That is why an “ayah” (verse) of the Quran is a sign just as the natural laws we see around us are signs/ayah—both are from God.
    (All knowledge, whether revelatory or acquired, is from God)

    Mathematics–it is true that mathematics underlies our (acquired) knowledge—From the Quranic perspective this would be because God has created everything in balance and harmony. However, mathematics is an inadequate way to understand God (Tawheed=Unity). The Islamic idea of “God is One” is not bound to the concept of numbers/numeral one/units. This is because if we say God is numerically One—then it implies a limitation/definition as in God is “not”. Our understanding of God cannot be limited by language or mathematics—it must remain unbound/unlimiting. Therefore, “God is One” is understood as Divine Uniqueness—as in, unlike any.

    Personally, I find that confining wisdom teachings to absolutes is simplistic.

    • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      To an aborigine an airplane that he sees flying for the first time, is a “miracle”. Thus, miracle is relative to what one knows and understands. The ultimate miracle is GOD, the unknowable.

      .

    • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      Ignorance has many dimensions. A person who is clever in one area may be completely ignorant in another. Jews and Christians in Medina seem to have kept their distance from Arabs and were happy to keep them ignorant. Many do that to keep themselves in a privileged position. How wise is that?

      .

    • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      A “supernatural cause” is, in fact, an unknowable. When it is figured out it is no longer considered supernatural.

      .

    • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      I don’t know what God is.
      As far as I am concerned God is unknowable.
      Some say God is everything. Some say God is nothing.
      Nobody knows for sure what God is.
      God is the most speculated upon concept.

      There is this idea, “God has created everything.”
      But when I look around non-judgmentally,
      I just see things. I just see phenomena.
      These things and phenomena are just there.
      Even the most blissful moment that I experience.
      Is just the most blissful moment that I experience.

      What is the big secret?
      Is there a secret, I ask myself?

      .

    • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Knowledge is of two types:

      (1) Appreciation of what is there without adding anything to it.

      (2) Knowledge derived from what is there through the use of judgment, logic, opinions, etc.

      There can also be intuition that comes out of the blue, but that would fall under (1). An intuition is a new appreciation of what is there. Logic, judgment, or opinion has no part in it. Actually, intuition may appear because some logic, judgment, or opinion got removed.

      There can also be knowledge derived from knowledge that itself was derived, but that would fall under (2). This category comes about whenever some idea is added to what is really there.

      What is acquired is really the category (2) above. It is acquired through our own evaluation of what is there. Category (1) seems to be the knowledge that is simply there. It is difficult to see this knowledge because it requires seeing things as they are and not as they seem to be.

      Yes, mathematics underlies the acquired knowledge in category (2). Mathematics is a device to discover what is the common denominator of things, so we can move toward category (1) knowledge. Numbers are just a mathematical device to conceive a direction in which to look.

      God will gradually become visible to us as we look at things as they are without any judgment.

      .

  • vinaire  On August 23, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Simply experiencing what is there without judgment comes closest to my understanding and experience of God.

    .

  • anon  On August 23, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    From the Islamic/Quranic perspective—it matters not if a “law” is known or unknown—it is God’s will that allows the laws, known and unknown, to work. “God’s will” is an active force in the Universe/creation. Therefore there is no special category of something being a “miracle” and another thing not being a miracle (miracle—as defined previously)—-all things in creation are the way they are because of God’s will.—which is why God cannot be a “miracle”—as God is uncreated….he did not “come into being”/existence.(“time” as we understand it—past,present,future—is an irrelevant concept. God is not bound in “time” )

    God’s will (active force)—This means every single movement of an atom to the structure of the cosmos—are purposeful….nothing is random.

    If God has created everything with purpose—then “we” (human beings—both the individual and as a category) were also created with a purpose. Therefore, Guidance (Quran or other wisdom teachings) allow us to live our lives so that we may fulfill this purpose. Speculation about God is meaningful only insofar as it contributes to this purpose.

    Acquired and Intuitive/instinctive knowledge—Spirituality requires the use of both types of knowledge—which is why Science alone can be spiritually unsatisfying. Yet, superstition—to seem “to know” without the use of reason or logic is also spiritually inadequate and/or self-deceiving.

    We may differ in our views on some subjects but I enjoy knowing your thoughts. There are certain assumptions that provide a framework for the Islamic worldview—I hope we will be able to discuss them as we move further along in reading the Quran.—Do keep in mind that in the Quran—-Justice is an important theme. I have enjoyed your previous posts and look forward to more of your interpretations.

    • vinaire  On August 24, 2012 at 6:53 AM

      Yes, what is there is there. It operates according to its nature. It is not a function of whether one is aware of it or not.

      According to my understanding, term’s like “God” and “God’s will” are placeholders for something that is not understood fully. To me the structure of laws is simply there. I would not speculate upon where this structure comes from and what makes it operate until I see it for myself. Considering these placeholders “God” and “God’s will” to be facts is deceiving oneself. I am not writing this to convince anybody of my views. I am simply documenting what I see and how I feel.

      Yes, there is no special category of something being a miracle. Everything may be considered a miracle; or nothing may be considered a miracle. It depends on one’s viewpoint. All things are there simply because they are there. Attaching the term “God’s will” to them does not add any more value or understanding in my view.

      It does not matter to me whether God is considered a miracle or not. As I said it is simply a matter of viewpoint.

      Everything operates according to its nature. Any purpose is built into that nature. It is what it is, if one does not add further speculation to it. I am basically a scientist, and that is how I look at it.

      If it is a matter, ultimately, of how we should live our lives, then my philosophy is to live without deception… see things as they are without speculation… when there is some inconsisencey then there is also something hidden from view… so keep looking until what is hidden comes to view and the inconsistency resolves.

      The ultimate goal to me is to resolve all inconsistency, because it is then that the veil is lifted, and one can see God for oneself.

      Science is unsatisfying because it has been directed solely for looking at physical forces and energies. I feel that much needs to be done in directing the scientific method to looking at mental forces and energies.

      Speculation about mental forces and energies can be satisfying because it gives one a sort of an answer, but there is deception in it. We feel that we know it when we really don’t.

      We may differ in our views only in that I see the terms “God” and “God’s will” as part of an unsatisfactory theory. These terms do not provide a satisfactory explanation to me. And so I continue to look.

      .

    • vinaire  On August 25, 2012 at 7:54 AM

      As far as JUSTICE goes, I am now exploring THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran. Have you read that prose-poem?

      .

  • vinaire  On August 25, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    From THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran:

    “It is when your spirit goes wandering upon the wind,
    That you, alone and unguarded, commit a wrong unto others and therefore unto yourself.
    And for that wrong committed must you knock and wait a while unheeded at the gate of the blessed.”

    .

    I like this notion that a wrongdoing committed against another is actualy a wrongdoing committed against oneself. One has introduced an inconsistency with one’s nature. One has separated oneself with the natural harmony.

    I believe that the reason is attachment. One has attached oneself to some notion. In an attempt to preserve that notion, one than goes wandering upon the wind.

    That almost sounds like attaching oneself to some assumption or theory. Thus, there are great atrocities committed to defend the notion/theory of God.

    .

  • vinaire  On August 26, 2012 at 6:41 AM

    From THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran:

    “Like the ocean is your god-self;
    It remains for ever undefiled.
    And like the ether it lifts but the winged. Even like the sun is your god-self;
    It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
    But your god-self dwells not alone in your being.
    Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
    But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.
    And of the man in you would I now speak.
    For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist, that knows crime and the punishment of crime.

    .

    Trouble seems to come from what is added to what we inherently are. We then become heavy and cannot soar high as we inherently can. Justice then comes in to restrain us from doing wrong, but that seems to just add more weight.

    Yes, restraint from wrongdoing is necessary, but it is not sufficient in itself. What is it that restores us to ourselves? What should be stressed?

    When threat of punishment, or promise of reward, becomes the norm, we lose ourselves to conditioning. We become completely incapable of soaring high as free spirits. We are imprisoned from ourselves.

    .

  • vinaire  On August 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    From THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran:

    “Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
    But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each one of you,
    So the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also.
    And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree,
    So the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
    Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
    You are the way and the wayfarers.
    And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
    Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.

    .

    A wrong committed is a wrong committed for all of us. By isolating the individual who commits the wrong, we do not isolate the wrong. By killing him we do not free ourselves from the wrong. Wrongdoing and the individual involved in it are not the same thing. Restraining the individual or eliminating him does not restrain the wrong or eliminate it. The wrong is with us as long as we are aware of it.

    Wrongdoing is relative and so is righteousness. We who are being righteous are being so only in a relative sense. We carry the seed of wrongdoing of others within us. A wrong done by one is in some way a wrong done by all of us.

    .

  • vinaire  On August 26, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    From THE PROPHET by Khalil Gibran:

    “And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
    The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder,
    And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.
    The righteous is not innocent of the deeds of the wicked,
    And the white-handed is not clean in the doings of the felon.
    Yea, the guilty is oftentimes the victim of the injured,
    And still more often the condemned is the burden bearer for the guiltless and unblamed.
    You cannot separate the just from the unjust and the good from the wicked;
    For they stand together before the face of the sun even as the black thread and the white are woven together.
    And when the black thread breaks, the weaver shall look into the whole cloth, and he shall examine the loom also.”

    .

    The whole situation needs to be examined and that involves the victim as much as the condemned. It is not a matter of who is guilty and who is innocent. It is a matter of looking at the whole picture and spotting all inconsistencies in it. This needs to be done by the victim as well as by the condemned.

    .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: