Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, “The Cow,” verses 75-140

posted at 9:00 am on June 24, 2007 by Robert Spencer

The next segment of Sura 2, verses 75-105, continues the Qur’an’s criticism of the Jews. When you read statements by Hamas leaders or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Israel, remember that they view Israel and Jews through a Qur’anic prism. They have learned, if they have studied the Qur’an at all, that the Jews are the most perverse and guilty – as well as the craftiest and most persistent – enemies of Allah, Muhammad and the Muslims.

In verse 75 Allah asks the Muslims how they can hope that the Jews will come to believe in Islam, since “a party of them used to listen to the word of Allah, then used to change it, after they had understood it, knowingly?” In his Tafsir Anwar al-Bayan, the twentieth-century Indian Mufti Muhammad Aashiq Ilahi Bulandshahri notes that some commentators “have mentioned that the verse refers to the adulteration of the Torah. The Jewish scholars used to accept bribes from people to alter certain injunctions to suit their desires.” Expanding on this in connection with verse 79, Bulandshahri says that the Jews “commit a dual sin by altering Allah’s scripture and by accepting bribery as well.” This is a traditional view: the Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that the Jews “altered the description of the Prophet in the Torah, as well as the ‘stoning’ verse, and other details, and rewrote them in a way different from that in which they were revealed.”

In their arrogance they also think they will only be in hell for a few days (verse 80). Bukhari recounts that after Muhammad conquered the Jews of Khaibar, an Arabian oasis, they roasted a sheep for the Prophet of Islam – and poisoned it. Sensing their stratagem, he summoned and questioned them. In the course of this, they told him, “We shall remain in the (Hell) Fire for a short period, and after that you [Muslims] will replace us.” Muhammad responded indignantly: “You may be cursed and humiliated in it! By Allah, we shall never replace you in it” and revealed that he knew of their plot to poison him.

Verses 81-105 remind the Jews again of Allah’s favors, favors from which most of them “turned back” (v. 83), and chastise them for their willfulness and disobedience. Verse 85 summarizes their various acts of disobedience, culminating in the assertion that the Jews believe in “only a part” of their sacred writings, and “reject the rest.” Ibn Kathir says that they rejected parts of the Torah, and also: “they should not be believed when it comes to the description of the Messenger of Allah, his coming, his expulsion from his land, and his Hijrah, and the rest of the information that the previous Prophets informed them about him, all of which they hid. The Jews, may they suffer the curse of Allah, hid all of these facts among themselves…” Verses 88 and 89 emphasize that they are accursed for rejecting Islam. (This is why most Muslims don’t accept the idea that the Jews have any right to the land of Israel, despite 5:21 and other verses: an accursed people doesn’t receive Allah’s gifts.) Verse 98 says that their enemy is Allah himself.

Verses 94-96 issue a challenge: if the Jews’ claim that Paradise is reserved for them alone, why don’t they seek death, instead of being the people “most greedy for life”? This is the foundation of a jihadist taunt, as an Al-Qaeda warrior in Afghanistan put it a few years ago: “The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death.” The true believers long for Paradise and disdain this world.

Verse 106 interrupts the condemnations of the Jews to introduce the Islamic doctrine of abrogation, in which Allah replaces what he has previously revealed with “something better or similar.” The Tafsir al-Jalalayn says that this verse was revealed because “the disbelievers began to deride the matter of abrogation, saying that one day Muhammad enjoins his companions to one thing and then the next day he forbids it.” The Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs says that it refers to “what was abrogated of the Qur’an and that which was not abrogated.” Sayyid Qutb maintains that “partial amendment of rulings in response to changing circumstances during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad could only be in the interest of mankind as a whole.” The concept of naskh, abrogation, is the foundation of the widespread Islamic understanding that the violent verses of sura 9 take precedence over the more peaceful verses revealed earlier, since they come later in the lifetime of Muhammad – an idea we will return to later. (For a full discussion of the Islamic idea of abrogation, see Ahmad Von Denffer’s ‘Ulum al-Qur’an.)

Verses 107-121 warns the Muslims to keep up their religious duties and not to allow themselves to be led astray by the Jews and Christians, who will try to deceive the Muslims (v. 109) even as they fight among themselves (v. 113). Verses 111 and 120 (as well as v. 135) deride Jewish and Christian attempts to proselytize Muslims, and verse 116 marks the first appearance of the oft-repeated rejection of the Christian belief in Jesus as the Son of God. The idea that Allah could have a son is considered to compromise monotheism: “Nay, to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth: everything renders worship to Him.”

Verses 122-140 return to the Jews, reminding them of the covenant Allah made at the Ka’ba in Mecca with Abraham and Ishmael (v. 125). The Jews are reminded that even as Abraham prayed that Mecca would become a “City of Peace,” Allah answered that “such as reject Faith” would soon taste his “torment of Fire” (v. 126). If you’re surprised to find a Jewish patriarch, Abraham, linked to an Islamic holy site, the Ka’ba, remember that only the perverse “say that Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes were Jews or Christians” (v. 140). In fact, they were submitters to Allah – Muslims (v. 128). If they weren’t believers in Muhammad as a prophet, they were at least hanifs: pre-Islamic monotheists.

This underscores the recurring Qur’anic theme that the people we know of today as Jews and Christians are only renegades from the true religion actually taught by Abraham and Moses, as well as Jesus – and that true religion was Islam. As we have seen, much of sura 2 is devoted to addressing the renegade Jews who have rejected Muhammad and calling them back to the true faith, the faith of Abraham and Moses as well as Muhammad. Thus Islam challenges Judaism and Christianity by claiming that the true and original form of both religions is Islam. Today Islamic spokesmen in the West often present the status of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as Muslim prophets as evidence of Islamic open-mindedness and ecumenical-mindedness. In fact, however, it is only a declaration of the supremacy of Islam and the illegitimacy of Judaism and Christianity.

Next week: sura 2, verses 140-210, containing instructions on Ramadan, the Hajj pilgrimage – and jihad.

Here is a link to Bryan Preston’s introduction to the series, where you’ll find links to the earlier segments.

(Here is a good Arabic/English Qur’an, here are two popular Muslim translations, those of Abdullah Yusuf Ali and Mohammed Marmaduke Pickthall, along with a third by M. H. Shakir. Here is another popular translation, that of Muhammad Asad. And here is an omnibus of ten Qur’an translations.)


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Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on June 24, 2007 at 9:43 AM

Today Islamic spokesmen in the West often present the status of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as Muslim prophets as evidence of Islamic open-mindedness and ecumenical-mindedness. In fact, however, it is only a declaration of the supremacy of Islam and the illegitimacy of Judaism and Christianity.

If only it had occurred to Jesus to “call dibs” on the whole final prophet thing…

flipflop on June 24, 2007 at 10:02 AM

Uh huh, Moses and Jesus were muslims before Muhammed and islam existed, right, got it. They were retro-muslims, they were “for it before they were against it”. Makes perfect sense … to Jon Cary.

I’ve actually had this debate with a muslim on YouTube, he seriously thought this way.

Tony737 on June 24, 2007 at 10:45 AM

“The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death.”

Yes

Until, Coca-Cola goes on sale…Then, I throw all caution to the wind.

franksalterego on June 24, 2007 at 10:47 AM

They were retro-muslims

It’s hard to write good satire these days:

Before shrimp on the barbee, Foster’s Lager, and Crocodile Dundee, evidently there was the burqa, the book, and the Prophet. MEMRI is reporting that the Mufti of Australia and New Zealand, Taj Al-Din Hamed Abdallah Al-Hilali, is claiming that Australia was originally Muslim land, settled by Afghans. The Aborigines are their descendants (…)

(courtesy of Jihad Watch)

Niko on June 24, 2007 at 10:50 AM

It’s hard not necessary to write good satire these days

At least, not with guys like Al-Hilali around.

flipflop on June 24, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Robert,

Is there a consensus among Islamic scholars as to which English translation of the Koran most faithfully reflects the Arabic meaning (acknowledging, of course, that Allah can be truly understood only in his native language)?

RedWinged Blackbird on June 24, 2007 at 11:03 AM

The more I read, the more I understand where some people get the idea that “kill em all and let God sort em out” is the only solution.

Robert,

I get that the later violent verses supersede the earlier peaceful ones. Do moderate Muslims ignore the later verses or do they interpret them differently?

csdeven on June 24, 2007 at 11:28 AM

Mr. Spencer,

The one thing that I find ridiculous about Islamic claims in reference to Judaism and Christianity is difference in centuries between when the Bible was written and the Qur’an was written. The last book of the Bible was written around 100 AD (I think, talking about Revelation). The Qur’an wasn’t written till 622+ AD right? How can anyone take something such as the Qur’an that rewrites Biblical history in such an obvious manner so seriously? I’ve heard from a muslim that according to the Qur’an, Jesus didn’t die on a cross, but Judas Iscariot did, something about a bright light, and the soldiers thinking Judas was Jesus…

j_ehman on June 24, 2007 at 11:29 AM

I’ve read through the collection “The Lost Books of the Bible.” It is a collection of religious books that were never included in any canon of scripture and for good reason. They’re incoherent, rambling, disjointed, meanderings about life, faith, and the nature of God. My point is that they all read exactly like the Quran, in the same logically impenetrable way. It’s like the mutterings of Edgar Casey or somebody’s “automatic” writing. At best they’re all man’s vain attempt at holiness and at worst they’re taking dictation for demons.

I’m sure the only way to get people to accept this stuff is to kill them if they don’t. All the smart and brave people under the boot of Islam were killed off generations ago, and what are we left with today?

Mojave Mark on June 24, 2007 at 12:02 PM

That they trust the word of an illiterate plagiarizing pedophile warlord is what is most strange.

Doesn’t character count for anything to Muslims?

Or is the sword sufficiently-intimidating to silence all thought?

profitsbeard on June 24, 2007 at 12:16 PM

I have to reference the dictionary many many times on Sunday mornings since you started this Robert.

kahall on June 24, 2007 at 12:17 PM

The concept of naskh, abrogation, is the foundation of the widespread Islamic understanding that the violent verses of sura 9 take precedence over the more peaceful verses revealed earlier, since they come later in the lifetime of Muhammad – an idea we will return to later.

Awareness of naskh seems to make refuting arguments for the peacefulness of Islam pretty easy. If a non-muslim apologist for Islam quotes a Qur’anic verse as evidence of Islam’s toleration, the rejoinder is obliterative: “Yeah, that’s a lovely verse, but it’s regarded as having been superseded by Sura 9. If you weren’t aware that one revelation can supersede another, you really should read Sura 2 verse 106. Allah came up with something better than toleration, see, and that ‘something better’ is the ninth sura.”

Kralizec on June 24, 2007 at 12:19 PM

Do moderate Muslims ignore the later verses or do they interpret them differently?

I’d expect they are like the majority of Christians who are capable of explaining away parts of the Bible they don’t like.

It may be that abrogration is what is behind the puritanical drive in places like Iran. They know that it is only a matter of time before some imam uses it to start abrograting the more hard core kill-the-Jews passages in favor of more modern notions. Then they will find themselves in a situation where anything can be abrograted, and the loose moral standards of the west will be all over them like a lapdancer on a 9/11 Jihadi. Only by keeping the lid on tight can they postpone when that happens.

pedestrian on June 24, 2007 at 12:49 PM

So little of Islam is completely original. Even elements of its Jew hatred are borrowed.

Bukhari [in a hadith] recounts that after Muhammad conquered the Jews of Khaibar, an Arabian oasis, they roasted a sheep for the Prophet of Islam – and poisoned it. Sensing their stratagem, he summoned and questioned them. In the course of this, they told him, “We shall remain in the (Hell) Fire for a short period, and after that you [Muslims] will replace us.” Muhammad responded indignantly: “You may be cursed and humiliated in it! By Allah, we shall never replace you in it” and revealed that he knew of their plot to poison him.

Bukhari compiled hadiths in the mid to late 9th century, some 600 years after John Chrysostom condemned the Jews as killers of Christ. Jewish perfidy is a recurring cross-cultural theme of Jew haters of many faith traditions. In the case of both Islam and Christianity, both faiths are to a greater or lesser degree dependent on the claims of the Hebrew bible. Even though Islam claims that the Jews distorted the original text of the Torah and Tanach, it recognizes Moses and other Hebrew prophets as legitimate. If the Jewish prophets were true prophets, Islam must then explain how Jews have been superseded in the eyes of Allah by Muslims. What better way to invalidate them than by saying that not only did they reject the true revelation, they conspired against Allah’s true messenger?

rokemronnie on June 24, 2007 at 12:56 PM

“We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” – former Israel Prime Minister Golda Meir (1972)

Ishmael vs Isaac. I keep coming back to that central conflict in this narrative of mohammed, as if mohammed had a familial axe to grind that only rivers of ‘infidel’ blood would satisfy. But not yet.

A blood feud plain & simple, with one side decidely more rational than the other – the ‘other’ being fueled by insult & rage at seemilying everything not mated to their ‘divine dogma’.

“Thus Islam challenges Judaism and Christianity by claiming that the true and original form of both religions is Islam.”

Even though Judiasm is thousands of years older than both christianity & mohammedism.

A question, Robert. Much of the Jewish Torah & Christian Bible are similar. Both speak often about God’s mercy & justice – the Christians expanding greatly on the mercy theme to include grace.

Is there anything comparable in the koran which speaks to God’s mercy, grace – or even love – for this flawed human race? Or is the mohammedan philosophy simply of punishment & retribution in the name of ‘divine’ justice?

locomotivebreath1901 on June 24, 2007 at 1:10 PM

They know that it is only a matter of time before some imam uses it to start abrograting the more hard core kill-the-Jews passages in favor of more modern notions.

Abrogation is not a question of modern notions, but of the chronological order in which the verses were revealed to Muhammad. Modern day imams can’t abrogate anything, which is one reason that Islam defies reformation.

RedWinged Blackbird on June 24, 2007 at 1:36 PM

What I find most interesting about the Koran and assorted Islamic writings is that a Muslim will swear that every single word is true. I love to watch them squirm when I bring up these verses.

Bukhari:V4B55N546 : “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Gabriel has just now told me of the answer. If a man has sexual intercourse with his wife and gets discharge first, the child will resemble him, and if the woman gets discharge first, the child will resemble her.'”

Apparently the moon god has no knowledge or understanding of genetics. LOL.

Bukhari:V4B54N430 “Allah’s Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, ‘Regarding the matter of the creation of a human being: humans are put together in the womb of the mother in forty days. Then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period. He becomes a piece of flesh for forty days. Then Allah sends an angel who is ordered to write four things: the new creature’s deeds, livelihood, date of death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched. He will do whatever is written for him.'”

In Islam man has no choice. Islam preaches pre-destiny.

Bukhari:V4B54N482 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The Hell Fire complained to its Lord saying, “O my Lord! My different parts are eating each other up.” So, He allowed it to take two breaths, one in winter, the other in summer. This is the reason for the severe heat and bitter cold you find in weather.'”

Ha Ha. More proof that the moon god knows nothing about the tilt of the earth which gives us our seasons. Or any understanding of weather patterns.

Bukhari:V1B10N510 “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘If it is very hot, the severity of the heat is from the raging of the Hell Fire.'”

Ha Ha. We call it summer.

One of my favorites:

Tabari I:232 “Gabriel brings to the sun a garment of luminosity from the light of Allah’s Throne according to the measure of the hours of the day. The garment is longer in the summer and shorter in the winter, and of intermediate length in autumn and spring. The sun puts on that garment as one of you here puts on his clothes.”

The Sun Wears Clothes!! Ha Ha Ha

Much more here.

Yep. I have had muslims who will SWEAR that all these are true. They will tell you that the sun sets in a muddy pool at night where it is surrounded by “strange” people before they will admit that Islam is chock full of bullsh*t.

Guardian on June 24, 2007 at 1:54 PM

Modern day imams can’t abrogate anything, which is one reason that Islam defies reformation.

Well, there’s nothing in the Qur’an mandating burqa-style obfuscation of women, yet Iranian scholars in 1979 found it to be Allah’s will, and half the Muslim world agreed. So I do believe that if imams really wanted they could very well find new meaning in those ancient verses. Very much like their fellows in the Democrat Party concerning the US constitution (cf. partial birth abortion).

Niko on June 24, 2007 at 1:55 PM

Qur’an 18:83 “They ask you about Dhu’l-Qarnain [Alexander the Great]. Say, ‘I will cite something of his story. We gave him authority in the land and means of accomplishing his goals. So he followed a path until he reached the setting place of the sun. He saw that it set in black, muddy, hot water. Near it he found people.”

Guardian on June 24, 2007 at 1:57 PM

RedWinged Blackbird:

Robert,

Is there a consensus among Islamic scholars as to which English translation of the Koran most faithfully reflects the Arabic meaning (acknowledging, of course, that Allah can be truly understood only in his native language)?

No, but most generally prefer Pickthall, with some opting for Asad and Fakhry. Dawood and Arberry are written in the best English, but Muslims dislike them because Dawood and Arberry weren’t Muslims. Of those, Dawood’s is the most smoothly readable, and Arberry’s the most odd and arresting with turns of phrase that actually reflect the original, with all its twists and turns.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:17 PM

csdeven:

I get that the later violent verses supersede the earlier peaceful ones. Do moderate Muslims ignore the later verses or do they interpret them differently?

It varies. Pseudo-moderates in the U.S. often ignore them, quoting the more peaceful passages as if that is all the book says. This is one easy way to spot a pseudo-moderate.

Others argue that the Medinan verses do not apply in the present circumstances, and that therefore the Meccan verses must take priority — although that leaves the door open to the possibility that someday conditions will be right to reassert the Medinan imperatives.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:19 PM

j_ehman:

The last book of the Bible was written around 100 AD (I think, talking about Revelation). The Qur’an wasn’t written till 622+ AD right? How can anyone take something such as the Qur’an that rewrites Biblical history in such an obvious manner so seriously?

The Muslim contention is that the Bible’s text has been corrupted, and that the Qur’an restores the truth about matters that the present text of the Bible distorts. Islamic apologists including Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Ahmed Deedat and others have made use of Western historical criticism of the Bible to say — “See? This is not the original text. It has been tampered with!”

There is, however, no manuscript evidence of any kind of any Old Testament or New Testament in whole or part that taught the Islamic message, as Moses and Jesus are, according to the Qur’an, supposed to have done.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:25 PM

kahall:

I have to reference the dictionary many many times on Sunday mornings since you started this Robert.

Uh, that’s good …isn’t it?

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:26 PM

locomotivebreath1901:

Is there anything comparable in the koran which speaks to God’s mercy, grace – or even love – for this flawed human race? Or is the mohammedan philosophy simply of punishment & retribution in the name of ‘divine’ justice?

“And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; but do good; for Allah loves those who do good” — 2:195.

This is, however, something that applies only to Muslims — those who are spending of their substance in the cause of Allah — not to the human race in general.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:30 PM

Guardian,

Those are all Hadith, not Qur’an.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:31 PM

Today Islamic spokesmen in the West often present the status of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus as Muslim prophets as evidence of Islamic open-mindedness and ecumenical-mindedness. In fact, however, it is only a declaration of the supremacy of Islam and the illegitimacy of Judaism and Christianity.

Agree, although I would suggest that the spin originally began because Muslims knew they needed to be included in the Judeo-Christian majority West before they could have much influence. Hence, their constant attempt to “remind/convince” non-Muslims that Islam is one of the 3 Abrahamic religions.

Connie on June 24, 2007 at 2:31 PM

Niko:

Well, there’s nothing in the Qur’an mandating burqa-style obfuscation of women, yet Iranian scholars in 1979 found it to be Allah’s will, and half the Muslim world agreed. So I do believe that if imams really wanted they could very well find new meaning in those ancient verses.

Actually, women covering their heads is generally understood to be mandated by Qur’an 24:31: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.”

There are also ahadith in which Muhammad says that women should cover all but face and hands.

I suspect you are referring to an article Amir Taheri wrote a few years back in which he spoke about a head covering that was introduced in Iran in 1979 and made mandatory. The article gave the impression that the covers of heads for women was something new, but actually what was new was only a particular style of covering. The command for women to be covered is as old as Islam.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 2:35 PM

Robert,

Is J.M. Rodwell a good translator? The foreward by Alan Jones says the suras have been put back in the traditional order. Haven’t started reading it yet.

aengus on June 24, 2007 at 2:54 PM

aengus,

Yes, that’s a fine work, but you should be aware that there is no consensus among Muslims as to the precise chronological order of the suras. The general longest-to-shortest arrangement that you’ll find in Arabic Qur’ans is the traditional ordering. Any reconstruction of the chronological order beyond the Mecca/Medina division necessarily involves some speculation.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 3:07 PM

Sayyid Qutb maintains that “partial amendment of rulings in response to changing circumstances during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad could only be in the interest of mankind as a whole.”

Why would changing circumstances of Muhammad’s life have an effect on the immutable revelations of Allah or how they are ruled upon? Wasn’t Qutb a literalist?

forest on June 24, 2007 at 3:37 PM

Robert,

you’re correct, it was indeed the article by Amir Taheri (and subsequent citations) that led me to believe that the Mullahs invented head to toe covering. The Qur’an verse you cite actually gave me a depression. So is there any reasonable course for the Muslim congregation to steer away from that specific form of oppression?

Niko on June 24, 2007 at 3:38 PM

forest:

Why would changing circumstances of Muhammad’s life have an effect on the immutable revelations of Allah or how they are ruled upon? Wasn’t Qutb a literalist?

Qutb was indeed a literalist. He was commenting on 2:106 when he said that, and expressing the view that the changing circumstances of Muhammad’s life were the vehicle for the revelation of those immutable revelations of Allah — and in some cases Allah chose, in this view, to reveal his will gradually, canceling earlier temporary provisions in the process.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 4:21 PM

Niko:

So is there any reasonable course for the Muslim congregation to steer away from that specific form of oppression?

Only by rejecting literalism.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 4:21 PM

Have any “earlier” collections of the Koran been found by archeologists, ala the Nag Hammadi “gnostic gospels” of the Christian apochrphya?

And, if they disagree with the Caliph-approved current version Koran, which would have precedence?

profitsbeard on June 24, 2007 at 5:11 PM

Mr. Spencer,

In his note to verse 106, Muhammad Asad argues at length against the principle of abrogation, ending by saying, “In short, the ‘doctrinte of abrogation’ has no basis whatsoever in historical fact, and must be rejected.” Is he part of a school or tradition that denies the principle of abrogation? Is there any pattern regarding who among Muslims denies and who accepts abrogation?

Pilgrim CW on June 24, 2007 at 5:33 PM

proftisbeard,

Have any “earlier” collections of the Koran been found by archeologists, ala the Nag Hammadi “gnostic gospels” of the Christian apochrphya?

You might want to look at last week’s comments, in which there are links to items about Yemeni manuscripts and Negev stone inscriptions.

Pilgrim CW on June 24, 2007 at 5:38 PM

Mr. Spencer,

Muhammad Asad’s note to verse 42 starts, “By ‘overlaying the truth with falsehood’ is meant the corrupting of the Biblical text, of which the Qur’an frequently accuses the Jews (and which has since been established by objective textual criticism.) . . . .”

Is Asad likely referring to

Islamic apologists including Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Ahmed Deedat and others

or are there other places to learn about this “objective textual criticism” and what it has established?

Pilgrim CW on June 24, 2007 at 5:45 PM

profitsbeard,

A brief note: I think the term “Christian Apocrypha” is most generally used to label the Deuterocanonical (or intertestimental) books of the Bible in some modern editions of the Bible. These books were accepted as canonical by all Christians until the Reformation in western Europe and are still so accepted by Catholics and Orthodox. The gnostic pseudo-gospels of Nag Hammadi are quite a different thing and have no canonical standing.

Pilgrim CW on June 24, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Have any “earlier” collections of the Koran been found by archeologists, ala the Nag Hammadi “gnostic gospels” of the Christian apochrphya?

http://cremesti.com/amalid/Islam/Yemeni_Ancient_Koranic_Texts.htm

pedestrian on June 24, 2007 at 5:57 PM

Islamic apologists including Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Ahmed Deedat and others have made use of Western historical criticism of the Bible to say — “See? This is not the original text. It has been tampered with!”

Of course critical textual analysis of the Quran is haram.

Robert, the Christian and Hebrew scriptures have both apocryphal writings and variant texts. Are there any extant variant manuscripts of the Quran? Has there ever been anything in Islamic studies akin to the scrolls at Qumran or the genizah in Cairo?

rokemronnie on June 24, 2007 at 6:23 PM

PilgrimCW:

In his note to verse 106, Muhammad Asad argues at length against the principle of abrogation, ending by saying, “In short, the ‘doctrinte of abrogation’ has no basis whatsoever in historical fact, and must be rejected.” Is he part of a school or tradition that denies the principle of abrogation? Is there any pattern regarding who among Muslims denies and who accepts abrogation?

Muhammad Asad was a singular individual, a Jewish convert to Islam (Leopold Weiss was his original name) who died in 1992; his Qur’an commentary seems especially inclined to smooth over passages that may trouble Western readers. In any case, his view is that 2:106 refers to the abrogation not of anything in the Qur’an by anything else in the Qur’an, but only to the Bible being abrogated by the Qur’an. Maududi seems to hold this view also.

However, the view that some parts of the Qur’an abrogate other parts was held by Al-Shafi’i, the founder of one of the four principal schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence, another influential scholar, Ibn Salama, and many others. This is more of a mainstream view.

In any case, while abrogation is important for the precedence of the martial verses of sura 9 over peaceful passages, that precedence doesn’t depend on abrogation. For those who have attempted to harmonize all the Qur’anic injunctions about jihad have constructed a system that calls for defensive and offensive jihad under certain circumstances, since after all sura 9 is still in the Qur’an even if it doesn’t abrogate other passages.

Thus the only way forward, or rather, the only way to end the potential of sura 9 and other passages to incite to violence, would be a wholesale rejection of literalism. That is not on the horizon.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 6:26 PM

rokemronnie:

Yes, see above — some people have provided some links. Seek out Toby Lester’s 1999 Atlantic Monthly article about a variant manuscript in Yemen. Very illuminating in many ways.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Actually, women covering their heads is generally understood to be mandated by Qur’an 24:31:

Robert, it’s possible that covering the head for both men and women is a middle eastern tradition that predates Islam. An uncovered head is a sign of brazenness. In traditional Judaism, married women are supposed to cover their hair. That particular halacha is based on the Torah’s procedures for a woman accused of adultery, where her hair is uncovered in public. Also in Judaism, men wear yarmulkes/kippot/skull caps, hats or turbans as a sign of respect to God. Even those observant Jewish men who don’t cover their head in public will don a skull cap when praying, eating or studying Torah.

rokemronnie on June 24, 2007 at 6:28 PM

Robert,

Here’s the link to the Lester article in The Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/199901/koran

rokemronnie on June 24, 2007 at 6:32 PM

rokemronnie:

Robert, it’s possible that covering the head for both men and women is a middle eastern tradition that predates Islam.

It’s not only possible, it’s certain. No one is saying that Islam invented all these things. But in an Islamic context the divine sanction given to them makes them difficult to eradicate.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 6:57 PM

The Lester article is very interesting, except for this part:

(Centuries ago, when Europe was mired in its feudal Dark Ages, the sages of a flourishing Islamic civilization opened an era of great scientific and philosophical discovery. The ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans might never have been introduced to Europe were it not for the Islamic historians and philosophers who rediscovered and revived them.)

Lester might not have been satisfied with the rate European progress, but at least they were laying the foundation for a modern economy and democracy. Had the Arab world done the same, we wouldn’t now be losing thousands of our soldiers while the Iraqis try to absorb the concepts of a democratic society. And while there might have been an Islamic age of great discovery of ancient thought, there has been precious little new thought in the Islam world to this day.

Many of the ancient Roman and Greek ideas had been discarded by that time in the West, and when re-introduced through contact with Islam, the West had developed scientific thought sophisticated enough to discard those ideas once again instead of being frozen in time by them like the Islam world was. For example, Aristotle claimed that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones, and no one before Galileo ever bothered to drop two stones to check if that was true. In the Islamic world, scientific study was ruled out because the world was just the way Allah willed it, so there was no point to study it because Allah could just change his mind as he apparently did in the Koran. In the West, we believe that the world is a witness to God’s glory, so we study the laws of the universe to learn about God. A lo and behold, God does respect laws throughout the Universe and we get so much, including medical science and technology, because of that.

pedestrian on June 24, 2007 at 6:58 PM

How to Preserve a Primitive Culture

1. Document all customs, rituals, etc.
2. Elevate it to a religion by mixing in Biblical stories
3. Create a brutal set of laws to assure compliance
4. Kill all non-believers

RedWinged Blackbird on June 24, 2007 at 7:19 PM

It’s not only possible, it’s certain. No one is saying that Islam invented all these things. But in an Islamic context the divine sanction given to them makes them difficult to eradicate.

Robert,

I’m often struck by how though Judaism and Islam both came out of middle eastern culture, in most cases halacha mitigates the more atavistic elements while shariah enshrines them.

In the case of women, Jewish law says that women’s clothing must extend to cover the elbow, knee and collarbone, and married women must cover their hair (though it is technically permissible to show a ‘handbreadth’ of hair). While there is some debate about how tight their clothing can be, orthodox Jewish women wear clothes that make it clear that they are women. Shariah, on the other hand, obligates Muslim women to cover their entire head and neck, exposing only the face.

What’s funny is that orthodox Jewish women generally don’t wear pants – that’s considered to be a violation of the Torah’s prohibition on crossdressing, plus many styles of jeans and other pants would be considered immodest because of the cut. Here in the Detroit area, though, you will often see teenaged Muslimas wearing tight jeans and tops, but with a hijab.

rokemronnie on June 24, 2007 at 7:49 PM

Pilgrim CW-

I was using “Christian apochrypha” is the broadest sense to give a quick clue those who don’t know what the Nag Hammade finds were (essentially documents not included in the synoptic gospels, but fascinating, historically) a simile that could be extrapolated to pre- and early-Koranic texts.
(I wondered if Jesus’s (Isa’s) Beautitudes had ever been incorporated into a primitive Koran and then censored out later.

pedestrian-

Thanks for the archeological links. (There’s a “Rule of Four“/”DaVinci Code” story latent in these ‘hidden’ Yemeni Koranic texts for any author who dared what Rushdie did.)

And thanks again, Mr. Spencer for this always stimulating forum.

I hope inquisitive Muslim web-surfers come across this dialog and begin to entertain more than rote responses.

profitsbeard on June 24, 2007 at 8:52 PM

By the way, the link for this thread seems to be bad. I can’t direct anyone to it.

Connie on June 24, 2007 at 10:21 PM

Yes, see above — some people have provided some links. Seek out Toby Lester’s 1999 Atlantic Monthly article about a variant manuscript in Yemen. Very illuminating in many ways.

Robert Spencer on June 24, 2007 at 6:27 PM

Robert,

All the Christian apologists on this website would benefit from your take on the Uthmanic rescension and Qur’anic corruption even amongst the Qurra. James White (www.aomin.org) has a pretty good take on it, but I’d like to hear yours. Did you cover it in the PIG? I’ll double-check.

PRCalDude on June 25, 2007 at 3:46 AM

PRCalDude:

All the Christian apologists on this website would benefit from your take on the Uthmanic rescension and Qur’anic corruption even amongst the Qurra.

I’d be happy to help, but I’m not sure I understand the question. Do you mean that you’d like to see a critical evaluation of the Islamic claim that the Uthmanic rescension has been preserved perfectly throughout the ages?

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 6:25 AM

I am a newbie here, but one of the first things I need to do is thank Mr. Spencer. His lessons in the radicalism of Islam are invaluable.

On the topic, it seems to me that the centuries of Jew hatred that we see to greater or lesser extents in both Islam and Christianity has to do with both of those faiths initial grounding in the Hebrew scriptures and their assertions that they are the correction/fulfillment/culmination of Judaism. In other words they want to be the new Jews. But you cant be the new Jews if the old Jews are still around claiming an eternal covenant. Thus, the only way to be the new Jews is to literally or figuratively eliminate the old Jews through jihad, inquisitions, or demonizing and delegitamizing them. Note that eastern faiths that do not lay claim to the Hebrew scriptures, Buddhism or Hinduism, do not appear to have such a history of anti-semitism. Anyway, that’s this newbie’s two cents, and thanks to HA for letting me in.

ncc770 on June 25, 2007 at 9:27 AM

flipflop,

If only it had occurred to Jesus to “call dibs” on the whole final prophet thing…

He did (at least in parable form) in Matthew 21:33-46, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-19

Robert Spencer,

FIRST, thank you so very much for taking all the the time and effort to do this (and do it well)-I’m very grateful.

Secondly, when you mentioned religious wars going on in Europe c.600 years ago, the only thing that sprang to my (admittedly very layman) mind was the Hundred Years War (Joan of Arc to be exact) -but not any specifics…did you have something more precise in mind?

Also,

There is, however, no manuscript evidence of any kind of any Old Testament or New Testament in whole or part that taught the Islamic message, as Moses and Jesus are, according to the Qur’an, supposed to have done.

EXACTLY! ‘gotta LOVE archeology!

Auralae on June 25, 2007 at 9:31 AM

Auralae:

Secondly, when you mentioned religious wars going on in Europe c.600 years ago, the only thing that sprang to my (admittedly very layman) mind was the Hundred Years War (Joan of Arc to be exact) -but not any specifics…did you have something more precise in mind?

Where did I mention them? My memory fails me. But anyway, I was probably thinking more of the Thirty Years’ War.

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 9:40 AM

ncc770 on June 25, 2007 at 9:27 AM

Christianity is based on a continuation. It does not displace, as Islam attempts to do.

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 10:17 AM

Connie:

Christianity is based on a continuation. It does not displace, as Islam attempts to do.

Yes. Authentic Christianity does not negate Judaism or deny the Jews their status as God’s chosen. “The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 10:18 AM

Connie, Mr. Spencer,
Thanks for the clarification. Although I think there is still support for my theory based on some 2000 years of anti-Jewish history among a great number of inauthentic Christians. I will, however, concede the point that, as this week’s entry of Blogging the Quo’ran demonstrates, the Qou’ran is rife with institutionalized anti-Jewish sentiment, to a level not present in the Gospels. I will also concede (actually proclaim) that despite the past, few legitimate Churches these days preach the vile anti-semtism prevalent and growing in Mosques all over the world.

ncc770 on June 25, 2007 at 10:37 AM

anti-semtism = anti-semitism. Sorry. Still new at this.

ncc770 on June 25, 2007 at 10:39 AM

I’d be happy to help, but I’m not sure I understand the question. Do you mean that you’d like to see a critical evaluation of the Islamic claim that the Uthmanic rescension has been preserved perfectly throughout the ages?

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 6:25 AM

How about giving your take on this instead? ;)

http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Gilchrist/Jam/chap2.html

“Zaid said ‘I missed a verse from al-Ahzab (Surah 33) when we transcribed the mushaf (the written text of the Qur’an under Uthman’s supervision). I used to hear the messenger of Allah (saw) reciting it. We searched for it and found it with Khuzaimah ibn Thabit al-Ansari: “From among the believers are men who are faithful in their covenant with Allah” (33.23). So we inserted it in the (relevant) surah in the text. (as-Suyuti, Al-Itqan fii Ulum al-Qur’an, p.138).”

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 10:43 AM

Another newbie (though, been lurking for a long time), and another immediate thank you to Robert Spencer for these invaluable lessons.

It does make me somewhat depressed that Allah is so tempermental and arbitrary, though it does bring the general illogic of Islam into sharp relief. If your god is that fickle that he’s changing his own revelations to suit his (and his prophet’s) mood, how can we even hope to engage them in any kind of logical arguement?

It also brings up another question – if Allah can change his revelations whenever it suits him, how does Islam get off saying that Judism and Christianity are “distortions of the truth?” Couldn’t they, according to Islam, be true revelations, but Allah just up and decided to change his mind a few centuries later?

And the concept of no free will really goes against the grain. The whole central tennant of Judeo-Christianity – Man, through his own choice, went against God and brought sin and death into the world, and through God’s Son we are forgiven for our willful transgressions – flies in the face of a religion that preaches that everything has already been pre-determined by a changable, tempermental god. It’s very disheartening.

crazy_legs on June 25, 2007 at 10:49 AM

I’d be happy to help, but I’m not sure I understand the question. Do you mean that you’d like to see a critical evaluation of the Islamic claim that the Uthmanic rescension has been preserved perfectly throughout the ages?

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 6:25 AM

Robert,

They like to say that we’ve corrupted the Bible. I think it’s fairly safe to say that there was plenty of corruption of the Qur’an, even in its earliest form (i.e. before Uthman burned up all the other copies). That is, the members of the Qurra didn’t all agree on a definitive Qur’an, nor were there handwritten copies that agreed, so that when Uthman compiled it, he burned up the variant versions. Christians have textual variants in their manuscripts, but we’ve kept all of them and you can even look at them today if you have the right credentials. These variants don’t affect one iota of doctrine either. If Uthman burned all of the other copies and we only have an incomplete pre-Uthmanic Qur’an from Yemen, it’s safe to say that Muslims have something to hide.

PRCalDude on June 25, 2007 at 12:03 PM

ncc770:

Although I think there is still support for my theory based on some 2000 years of anti-Jewish history among a great number of inauthentic Christians.

I would never dream of denying it. In fact, I discuss it at length, and compare it to Islamic antisemitism, in my forthcoming book Religion of Peace? (coming this August from Regnery Publishing).

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 12:03 PM

Connie:

How about giving your take on this instead? ;)

http://www.answering-islam.de/Main/Gilchrist/Jam/chap2.html

It’s an excellent overview. Is there something specific in it you’re looking for my take on? The passage you quote from As-Suyuti only underscores for Muslims the idea that Allah miraculously protected the Qur’an from error. Of course, non-Muslims may be tempted to see in it confirmation of exactly the opposite point.

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 12:05 PM

PRCal Dude:

In regard to the integrity of the Qur’anic text, yes.

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 12:06 PM

crazy legs:

It does make me somewhat depressed that Allah is so tempermental and arbitrary, though it does bring the general illogic of Islam into sharp relief. If your god is that fickle that he’s changing his own revelations to suit his (and his prophet’s) mood, how can we even hope to engage them in any kind of logical arguement?

This was one of the Pope’s points in his now-notorious Regensburg address.

It also brings up another question – if Allah can change his revelations whenever it suits him, how does Islam get off saying that Judism and Christianity are “distortions of the truth?” Couldn’t they, according to Islam, be true revelations, but Allah just up and decided to change his mind a few centuries later?

That is indeed a common Islamic view: they were true revelations, at least before they were corrupted by the Jews and Christians, but even in their true forms they are abrogated by the Qur’an.

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 12:07 PM

Is there something specific in it you’re looking for my take on? The passage you quote from As-Suyuti only underscores for Muslims the idea that Allah miraculously protected the Qur’an from error. Of course, non-Muslims may be tempted to see in it confirmation of exactly the opposite point.

Robert Spencer on June 25, 2007 at 12:05 PM

No, and I apologize. I was responding to PRCalDude’s cattiness about Christian apologists. I’ll be a good girl now.

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 12:49 PM

No, and I apologize. I was responding to PRCalDude’s cattiness about Christian apologists. I’ll be a good girl now.

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 12:49 PM

Uh, I wasn’t being catty. I’m a Christian apologist. I wanted Robert’s take on the Uthmanic rescension, but answering Islam has a good one as well.

PRCalDude on June 25, 2007 at 12:53 PM

Uh, I wasn’t being catty. I’m a Christian apologist. I wanted Robert’s take on the Uthmanic rescension, but answering Islam has a good one as well.

PRCalDude on June 25, 2007 at 12:53 PM

Double apologies are in order then.

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 12:58 PM

And I mean that sincerely.

Connie on June 25, 2007 at 1:01 PM

test

HAID DASALAMI on June 25, 2007 at 2:40 PM

That is indeed a common Islamic view: they were true revelations, at least before they were corrupted by the Jews and Christians, but even in their true forms they are abrogated by the Qur’an.

Man, the theological knots they tie themselves into in the process of de-legitimizing the Bible is truly something (and gives me a bit of a headache). Thank you for this invaluable service, Mr. Spencer.

crazy_legs on June 25, 2007 at 2:48 PM

Man, the theological knots they tie themselves into in the process of de-legitimizing the Bible is truly something (and gives me a bit of a headache). Thank you for this invaluable service, Mr. Spencer.

crazy_legs on June 25, 2007 at 2:48 PM

The law of non-contradiction doesn’t apply in Islam.

PRCalDude on June 25, 2007 at 2:59 PM

PRCalDude-

It’s Like Alice in Wonderland revised by Winston Smith.

What I want to know is:

Did early Muslims eat the passing goat (as noted in the Hadiths), who capriciously ate one of the now-missing suras of the Koran (written on a piece of bark) as a way of incorporating it into Islam? And how can the Koran be considered complete or perfect without this lost, devoured bit?

profitsbeard on June 25, 2007 at 3:43 PM

Mr. Spencer,

Where did I mention them? My memory fails me. But anyway, I was probably thinking more of the Thirty Years’ War.

I’m sorry, I should have quoted–you originally mentioned it on June 11,

It is extraordinarily common to hear people affirming that yes, the Islamic world tends to violence today, but Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity, and just look at the Christian world 600 years ago!

This seems to assume that all things that are labeled “religions” will develop in similar ways, along similar time frames. But there is no reason why this should be so.

If we do look at the Christian world 600 years ago (in Europe anyway) they were embroiled in the 100 Years War…which was political…power hungry wannabe monarchs duking it out on the heads and backs of the peasantry–turning them into armies for mere personal gain (says the staunch American girl) ;-) But even two hundred years later–into the 30 Years War–wasn’t it much more about who’s going to rule than about who’s Truth is actually TRUE? These European wars seem much more about politics and excersize of power at the top–rather than about belief. Regardless…it is as you say, Islam is very different from both Christianity and Judaism–and there never was any founding to any supposition that it shouldn’t be or won’t be.

I once got royally ticked off at one of FoxNews commentators for offering her ignorant opinion that had someone “dropped off” a bunch of Jewish boys with “their holy scriptures” “in the middle of the (I forget which) desert” that they basically would have turned out exactly the same as militant Muslims.

This completely and totally ignored the fact that for thousands of years, Jewish boys have been schooled using exactly that–their Holy Scripture –and yes in desert settings as well–and PRECISELY nothing LIKE the Muslims had EVER ocurred. They are not, nor have they ever been even vaguely similar.

Auralae on June 25, 2007 at 6:43 PM

Can anyone explain the difference between the Qur’an and the Sunnah and the Hadiths?

I thought the Koran and the Hadiths were differnt things, and I have not been able to determine what the “sunnah” is.

Is it just me? Or do Muslims seem to spell things differently at will, and to call things whatever they want at will? If they say it’s in the Qur’an it is. If they say it’s not in the Qur’an it isn’t.

If a Sunni doesn’t like a website they say it’s a Wahabbi site. If a Shiite doesn’t like a website they say it’s a Sunni site.

Do most Muslims even know what’s in the Koran? Because a lot of them don’t seem to.

Jaynie59 on June 25, 2007 at 10:19 PM

From several things I’ve read on Answering Islam–that’s exactly the case–there’s a whole lot of Muslims who DON’T know what’s in the Koran, Qur’an, Q’ron–oh whatever. (and yeah–they DO spell things quite arbitrarily-but I suppose that’s to be expected considering the alphabet and language differences…I think Hebrew has some similar issues doesn’t it?

Since any translation (from the Muslim perspective) in an interpretation–and that was been prohibited for so long — all Muslims are encouraged to memorize and recite in the original language REGARDLESS of whether they understand it or not. Much like the early Catholic Church and the Latin liturgy–the congregations are entirely dependant on their priest/imam to tell them what’s just been read/recited/preached.

Why they converted, off of Answering Islam is some fantastic reading imho.

Auralae on June 25, 2007 at 11:25 PM

Oh–I forgot–Now someone please correct me if I’m wrong–but I THNK the sunnah are practices of Islam-things the prophet put into practice: the Koran are things he’s supposed to have said (with witnesses around) and the hadith are basically also things he’s supposed to have said (and done) with commentary added by whomever heard them (thus Aisha’s Hadith etc etc)

Auralae on June 25, 2007 at 11:50 PM

Jaynie59-

The Koran is the “revealed word of Allah, transmitted to Mohammad through the angel Gibreel [Gabriel]”.

The Hadiths are the recorded doings and random quotes of Mohammad as recalled by his contemporaries (child “bride” Aisha, et al), often repetitious, silly, sexually crude, and brutal.

The Sunnah are biographical details of Mohammad’s life that constitute his “way” -or religious examples- for correct Muslim behavior as determined by emulating Mohammad’s most-Islamic acts and sayings.

Only the Koran is “perfect” and the word of Allah and followed by all mMslims.

The Mohammedans have been at war over the meanings and accuracy and emphases of the Hadiths and Sunnah ever since the family feud for control of Islam began in the 7th century. (A bloody schism between the Shi’ite “heretics”/”fundmentalists” and Sunni “orthodoxists”/”who-also-call-themselves fundamentalists”.)

Much of the Koran was borrowed from the Old Testament and heretical gnostic (New Testament) offshoots.

The sharpest sword gets to say what the Truth is in Islam.

Which makes debate messy.

profitsbeard on June 25, 2007 at 11:55 PM

Spencer sez:

Verses 94-96 issue a challenge: if the Jews’ claim that Paradise is reserved for them alone, why don’t they seek death, instead of being the people “most greedy for life”?

It seems to me these verses refer to Christians, not Jews. Shakir’s translation issues the challenge to ‘polytheists’, which could be a reference to the Trinity. There is also an accusation of the idolators wishing to live 1000 years. This to me signals the millenial reign of Christ from Revelation 20.

HeIsSailing on June 26, 2007 at 5:56 AM

HelsSailing:

It seems to me these verses [2:94-96] refer to Christians, not Jews. Shakir’s translation issues the challenge to ‘polytheists’, which could be a reference to the Trinity.

No, 2:94-96 definitely refer to the Jews. Shakir doesn’t issue the challenge to polytheists, he says that the people he is talking about are “the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists.” And who are these people who are greedier for life than the polytheists? They are the people to whom Moses came with clear signs (2:92) — that is, the Jews.

Robert Spencer on June 26, 2007 at 6:58 AM

I see some strong parallels with the Bible. Though largely similar in basic body, they depart radically in their conclusions:

1.The Bible clearly indicates that many Jewish sects were corrupt. Christ accused these elders of precisely the same twisting of the Torah. When the Pharisees tried claiming he was implying God had changed his mind, Christ answered that he was not changing any words, but was simply restoring the original meaning. Whereas Christ sought the Torah itself for meaning, the Qu’ran appears to contain whole-cloth new messages. Are we then expected to believe such teachings were to have been applied retroactively to Abraham himself? How is it the Jews are guilty of willfully abandoning Allah, and Christians are only guilty of straying, when Christianity grew directly out of Judaism centuries before Muhammad’s revelation?

2.Judeo-Christian philosophy holds to hate the sin, love the sinner. A good Jew or Christian may speak out against a person’s action, but in the end it is His place alone to render judgement. Islam, however, apparently holds that it is a Muslim’s personal duty to judge not only another human being’s worth, but their fitness to live on Earth. This strikes me as perhaps the most important- and most foreboding- difference between the three.

cadetwithchips2 on June 26, 2007 at 9:52 AM

Sweet blue Jesus.

The more I read, the more it plays out like the local imam is David Duke with a bomb strapped to his chest and a dirty diaper on his head. Verse 140 plays out like the Muslim version of CI (where Jesus – never mind Abraham, Isaac,and Jacob – was not a Jew), and abrogation IMO bears some striking similarities to replacement theology, in its spirit.

The next time some Muslim claims that their religion is “tolerant” or “open-minded”, I’m going to laugh in his face.

Ryan Gandy on June 26, 2007 at 2:40 PM