Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 4, “Women,” verses 17-34

posted at 9:00 am on August 26, 2007 by Robert Spencer

Verses 17-28 of Sura 4, “Women,” continues with various regulations for marriage and the treatment of women. Verses 17-18 continue the call to repentance in v. 16 by warning that Allah will only accept repentance from those who sinned out of ignorance, and will not look kindly upon deathbed changes of heart. Then v. 19 forbids the inheriting of women against their will, and enjoins men not to treat them harshly in order to get them to forfeit part or all of their dowry – “unless they be guilty of flagrant lewdness.” Aisha, Muhammad’s favorite wife, recounts according to Mishkat al-Masabih that Muhammad said: “The best of you is he who is best towards his wife, and I am the best towards my wives.”

Verses 20-21 continue with these exhortations toward just treatment, telling men that if they have decided to “exchange one wife for another,” they must not take back the dowry they have given to the wife who is to be discarded. Verses 22-25 prohibit marriage with various women who are related by blood or marriage.

V. 23 refers to “foster mothers,” or more literally “mothers who suckled you,” as being among those with whom marriage is forbidden. Men and women who are not related are forbidden by Islamic law to be alone together, but a man and a woman who are forbidden to marry each other – i.e., who are related in some way – can be alone together. Once a woman came to Muhammad and told him that her husband, Abu Hadhaifa, was angry because a freed slave of his, a young man who had reached puberty, “enters our house freely.” Muhammad told her: “Suckle him and you would become unlawful for him, and (the rankling) which Abu Hudhaifa feels in his heart will disappear.” The woman later reported that it worked: “So I suckled him, and what (was there) in the heart of Abu Hudhaifa disappeared.” This directive gained worldwide attention recently when a cleric at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, recommended that this could solve a problem in the workplace: a man could be alone with, and work with, a woman with whom he was not related, if the woman suckled the man and thereby became his foster mother. After the story got out and Al-Azhar was subjected to international ridicule, the lecturer who recommended this was suspended. Left unaddressed, however, was the root of his recommendation in the words of Muhammad himself.

V. 24 forbids Muslims to marry women who are already married, except slave girls: according to Islamic law, once a woman is captured and enslaved, her marriage is immediately annulled (cf. ‘Umdat al-Salik o9.13). At one point, according to a hadith reported by Sahih Muslim, “the Companions of Allah’s Messenger seemed to refrain from having intercourse with captive women because of their husbands being polytheists.” So the Companions “asked the Prophet about this matter, and this Ayah [verse] was revealed…Consequently, we had sexual relations with these women.” Ibn Kathir says that this verse also prohibits temporary marriage – marriage with a predetermined expiration date, which Shi’ites believe was never prohibited. Meanwhile, men who don’t have the money to marry believing women should marry Muslim slave girls (v. 25).

Verses 29-33 contain general moral exhortations, including a prohibition of suicide (vv. 29-30). Is suicide bombing included in this prohibition? The Muslim leaders who justify it say that it isn’t, as the object of the action is not to kill oneself, but to kill infidels, and thus is the killing and being killed that is rewarded with Paradise according to Qur’an 9:111. More on that when we get to that verse. V. 31 tells Muslims to avoid the “major sins.” Hafidh Dhahabi lists 70 major sins in his Kitab ul-Kaba’ir, beginning with shirk, or associating partners with Allah (i.e., saying Jesus is God’s Son), and including black magic, adultery, desertion on the battlefield, drinking alcohol, lying, stealing, pride, misappropriating the booty, spying on others, harming Muslims and speaking ill of them, disobeying one’s husband, and making pictures. Other lists add more. Another book, Al Ashba wa al-Nadha’ir, lists offenses such as eating pork, dancing, castrating one’s slave, apostasy, playing chess, masturbation and drug use among the major sins.

Verse 34 tells men to beat their disobedient wives after first warning them and then sending them to sleep in separate beds. This is, of course, an extremely controversial verse, so it is worth noting how several translators render the key word here, وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ, waidriboohunna.

Pickthall: “and scourge them”
Yusuf Ali: “(And last) beat them (lightly)”
Al-Hilali/Khan: “(and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)”
Shakir: “and beat them”
Sher Ali: “and chastise them”
Khalifa: “then you may (as a last alternative) beat them”
Arberry: “and beat them”
Rodwell: “and scourge them”
Sale: “and chastise them”
Asad: “then beat them”

Laleh Bakhtiar, in a new translation that has received wide publicity, translates it as “go away from them.” In light of this unanimity among the translators, both Muslim and non-Muslim, this seems difficult to sustain – all of these authorities got the passage wrong until Bakhtiar? But her impulse is understandable, as many Muslims today regard this verse with acute embarrassment. Asad adduces numerous traditions in which Muhammad “forbade the beating of any woman,” concluding that wife-beating is “barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided.”

Unfortunately, however, this is not a unanimous view. Sheikh Syed Mahmud Allusi in his commentary Ruhul Ma’ani gives four reasons that a man may beat his wife: “if she refuses to beautify herself for him,” if she refuses sex when he asks for it, if she refuses to pray or perform ritual ablutions, and “if she goes out of the house without a valid excuse.” Also, Muhammad’s example is normative for Muslims, since he is an “excellent example of conduct” (Qur’an 33:21) – and Aisha reports that Muhammad struck her. Once he went out at night after he thought she was asleep, and she followed him surreptitiously. Muhammad saw her, and, as Aisha recounts: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?”

Wife-beating exists in all cultures, but only in Islam does it enjoy divine sanction. Amnesty International reports that “according to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, over 90% of married women report being kicked, slapped, beaten or sexually abused when husbands were dissatisfied by their cooking or cleaning, or when the women had ‘failed’ to bear a child or had given birth to a girl instead of a boy.”

Aisha herself said it: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women.”

Next week: What becomes of those whom Allah has cursed.

(Here you can find links to all the earlier “Blogging the Qur’an” 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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interesting, this seems like a very well balanced analysis.

zane on August 26, 2007 at 11:22 AM

This is so interesting. thanks for writing these posts. I appreciate the time you’re taking to write these.

Leiren on August 26, 2007 at 11:30 AM

“barely permissible, and should preferably be avoided.”

Allah makes people better through worship and hardship. Women should be thrilled that Allah has deemed them worthy of such a test as wife-beating. As the wife should submit to her husband, so should the infidel submit to her Muslim benefactor.

/circular fundamentalist logic off

I haven’t read the Koran: how’d I do? Fundamentalists the world over share many characteristics, the most dangerous being justifications for giving someone else a beating, or worse.

Joining the premodern mindset that prefers such beatings, is the postmodern one that justifies them through cultural equivalence.

deesine on August 26, 2007 at 11:31 AM

Sura 4:29 –

O you who believe! do not devour your property among yourselves falsely, except that it be trading by your mutual consent; and do not kill your people; surely Allah is Merciful to you.

I have often wondered about this. I had heard that Muslims were forbidden to commit suicide, and now we finally come to the first (are there more?) reference to suicide in the Quran.

Robert, you reference ‘Muslim Leaders’ as saying this does not apply to suicide bombers since the aim is to kill infidels, not kill oneself. As I have often noticed in your Blogging the Quran series, it seems more is being read into the passage by Islamic commentators than what is actually stated into the text. It seems to me this passage prohibits suicide with no qualifiers. Those qualifiers (no suicide.. but.. killers of infidels are exempt! Yeah that’s the ticket!) are add-ons by various commentators.

Yes, I read your advice to wait until Sura 9:111.

My question is, how much blame do you place on the brutality of the Muslim world? On the Quran itself? Or on the theology and interpretations of the Muslim clerics and commentators?

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Speaking as the Devil’s advocate – or what do you call the Adversary in Islam??

This passage (v34) may appear on the surface to be brutal and mysygynystyc (or however you spell it) towards women. While there are various translations to ‘beat’,'chastise’ and ‘scourge’ them, there are also methods for reconcilliation. The chastisement only occurs as a last resort, after first a harsh repremand, then refusing to share their bed. V35 goes on to say that if the husband fears a breach, than one or two artibers are brought in for reconcilliation. The arbiters come from each family to keep things fair. On top of that, men are charged as the protectors and maintainers of women. They are to love them which sometimes requires stern treatment for their safety and well-being.

We have to remember that this was written during a barbarous time, written amongst rude and relatively uncivilized 7th century Semetic tribes. These laws may seem crude and unjust to us, but it was as fair as it got during the time, place and culture that it was written in. These laws in the Quran were actually a vast improvement in the conditions at the time. Women were treated much more fairly under Quranic Law than the pre-Islamic barbarism of the nomadic tribes.

It is not the fault of the Quran that it’s followers have not reformed their beliefs, and have not advanced in human rights accordingly. Islam is in need of a reformation of thought, and the ancient writings of the Quran should be viewed in the time, place and culture that they were written.

Question for HotAir readers – does this argument hold any weight?

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM

My question is, how much blame do you place on the brutality of the Muslim world? On the Quran itself? Or on the theology and interpretations of the Muslim clerics and commentators?

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 11:53 AM

interesting question

zane on August 26, 2007 at 12:07 PM

We have to remember that this was written during a barbarous time, written amongst rude and relatively uncivilized 7th century Semetic tribes

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM

What we have to remember is that to it’s adherents, it is the immutable, inalterable word of God and therefore as applicable today as it was when first revealed to Muhammad.

TheBigOldDog on August 26, 2007 at 12:12 PM

Aisha: “He (Muhammed) struck me on the chest…”

This is how the false prophet treats his “favorite” wife. Not his *only*, just his favorite. And since he is to be emulated, all muslims men must beat their favorite wives too. That’s nice.

Robert, I’m reading your new book “RoP” and I just wanted to thank you for the comparision between Christianity and islam. Finally, somebody has done a side by side that examines the Religeon and the cult, it’s about time. Thanks again.

Tony737 on August 26, 2007 at 12:20 PM

Thanks Robert.

Many Western women have learned the hard way, after marrying Arabs and moving away to a Muslim country, about Islamic treatment of women.

Mojave Mark on August 26, 2007 at 12:38 PM

The religionist in me wants to say: evil. The scientist in me wants to say: lack of viable conflict resolution techniques == much violence.

Watching the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor, I was struck by the confident and emotional response of the husband and wife anthropologist team who studied the Woarnani, Robarchek and Robarchek: they weighed heavily the Christian message of forgiveness as a factor in the near total transformation of a war-locked people headed towards self-extinction.

I look at the violence done in the name of a man who never killed anybody (Jesus of Nazareth), and have to wonder about the sanity of those who would summarily discount violence committed in the name of a man who not only sanctioned such acts, but himself partook in the bloodletting. In other words, looking at the problem of Christianity’s (a religion whose central figure never harmed anyone) past violence (dark ages, inquisition) it seems a no-brainer to see how Islam would necessarily be mired in at least as much violence today.

deesine on August 26, 2007 at 1:00 PM

Thanks for these, Robert.

2 quick questions about the major sins listed:
-Why would playing chess be a major sin?

-What does “making pictures” entail?

token on August 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM

Thx Robert for doing this.

Cliff notes version: women are property, similar to owning a trained pet. You can beat them, exchange them, and even steal (capture and enslave) them.

jediwebdude on August 26, 2007 at 2:13 PM

This verse seems to be a pretty strong encouragement for bombing for virgins:

004.074
YUSUFALI: Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).

pedestrian on August 26, 2007 at 2:37 PM

So Islam treated women better than the barbarians?

Why is it that in the Old Testament, there is no order or suggestion of beating one’s wife? How come Jewish women could inherit and own property? And a whole host of other advantages that Jewish women had over muslim women.

It seems to me that the Jewish interpretation of Genesis, where the sexes are equal but different, makes a much different and better mindset in relationships than a cult that ends up considering women subhuman.

Mommynator on August 26, 2007 at 3:31 PM

Funny that the Liberal, feminist left continues to turn a blind eye towards the treatment of women by the religion of peace. Their sisters can be beaten, scourged, chastised all with the blessings of a backwards religion that also has bylaws for slave girls, but they raise their voices instead to condemn their own country and military that protects them from this very sort of dehumanizing violence and those who would make it the law.

Hening on August 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM

Fundamentalists the world over share many characteristics…

deesine on August 26, 2007 at 11:31 AM

Could you name a few of these “many characteristics?”

Maxx on August 26, 2007 at 3:45 PM

deesine:

Fundamentalists the world over share many characteristics, the most dangerous being justifications for giving someone else a beating, or worse.

Actually, Qur’an 4:34 would seem to be at rather direct variance with the ethos of the New Testament, which never directs anyone to beat anyone else.

This kind of thing is a focus of my book Religion of Peace?.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:16 PM

A look into the same kind of mind as the guy who was just sentenced to death in Florida for raping and killing a child.

If only that pedophile rapist and murderer could have converted to Islam beforehand, everything might have been fine.

(She would have been his captive infidel slave “wife”, and he would have merely been “shutting her away” for disobedience when he buried her alive.)

Islam: the first and last refuge the anti-moral.

profitsbeard on August 26, 2007 at 4:16 PM

Referencing v. 34, it seems different translations speak of very different punishments. To “beat” or to “chastise” seem worlds apart. Perhaps it’s been said here, but which is the most widely used translation of the Koran?

It’s written that these beatings are to be done after a warning. But is this “warning” frequently used?

As for v. 29-33, where suicide is prohibited…and where Muslim scholars see suicide bombings as exempt since one is killing infidels…How can this be? If one is to murder the unbelievers, couldn’t one do it without killing one’s self in the process? It always seemed to me that someone wants to martyr themselves in the process…thereby pleasing Allah and taking the quick road to paradise.

But I don’t see in the Koran where intentional suicide martyrdom is allowed, or am I missing something?

JetBoy on August 26, 2007 at 4:18 PM

HiIsSailing:

My question is, how much blame do you place on the brutality of the Muslim world? On the Quran itself? Or on the theology and interpretations of the Muslim clerics and commentators?

Well, the Muslim clerics and commentators who justify violence frequently do so by reference to the text of the Qur’an. Is the way they use it right or wrong? Well, it makes headway among peaceful Muslims, and has not been definitively refuted by peaceful groups.

As for your other points, some commentators do take 4:30 as not referring to suicide at all, but as prohibiting the killing of fellow Muslims: in that case, “don’t kill yourselves” would refer not to suicide but to the killing of members of one’s own community. The point I was making in saying that some take it as prohibiting suicide but that other don’t see it as prohibiting suicide bombing was perhaps not stated clearly — this is, after all, the first segment of the Q-Blog I wrote in a hotel room in between talks, and I am quite sure it was poorly written in some spots.

What I meant was that those who, like Sheikh Qaradawi and others, see suicide bombing as a positive good do not see 4:30 as applying to it at all. This is because, as they see it, the suicide attacker is not exploding his bombs in order to kill himself: suicide is not his goal. He is doing what he is doing in order to kill infidels, and if he is killed in the process, he is a martyr, eligible for Allah’s guarantee of a place in Paradise for those who “kill and are killed” (9:111).

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:25 PM

HeIsSailing:

Islam is in need of a reformation of thought, and the ancient writings of the Quran should be viewed in the time, place and culture that they were written.

Such a proposition directly contradicts the Islamic dogma that the Qur’an is a perfect, immutable book, valid for all times and places.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:26 PM

token:

-Why would playing chess be a major sin?

Because it absorbs the mind and distracts it from Allah and prayer.

http://www.inter-islam.org/Prohibitions/Chess.html

-What does “making pictures” entail?

Drawing or painting a representation of the human form.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:29 PM

Thanks for your reply, Mr Spencer. I appreciate the effort.

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 4:31 PM

JetBoy:

Referencing v. 34, it seems different translations speak of very different punishments. To “beat” or to “chastise” seem worlds apart. Perhaps it’s been said here, but which is the most widely used translation of the Koran?

Ali’s and Pickthall’s are right up there. But I referenced the translations only to show how common the idea of a physical strike was. As I noted in the article, the Arabic is اضْرِبُوهُنََّ, idriboohunna. This is, literally, “strike them,” from the root daraba, strike or beat. Daraba can mean “go away from,” as Bakhtiar has it, only with the preposition 3an, عن, which does not appear in 4:34.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:38 PM

JetBoy:

It’s written that these beatings are to be done after a warning. But is this “warning” frequently used?

No way to tell. No police are going around in Islamic countries issuing citations for “wife-beating without a prior warning.”

As for v. 29-33, where suicide is prohibited…and where Muslim scholars see suicide bombings as exempt since one is killing infidels…How can this be? If one is to murder the unbelievers, couldn’t one do it without killing one’s self in the process? It always seemed to me that someone wants to martyr themselves in the process…thereby pleasing Allah and taking the quick road to paradise.

I explained this above. If one’s intention is not to kill oneself but only to kill infidels, this is (by some scholars) not seen as suicide.

But I don’t see in the Koran where intentional suicide martyrdom is allowed, or am I missing something?

It is generally based on 9:111.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 4:41 PM

fundamentalists the world over share many characteristics, the most dangerous being justifications for giving someone else a beating, or worse.

You mean like invading a sovereign nation without provocation?

Bush is a Christian. He doesn’t seem very peaceful to me.

B26354 on August 26, 2007 at 5:56 PM

You mean like invading a sovereign nation without provocation?

If you’re talking about Iraq, its ‘sovereignty’ was heavily qualified by international sanctions which reflected its noncompliance with important U.N. resolutions.

aengus on August 26, 2007 at 6:33 PM

You mean like invading a sovereign nation without provocation?

Bush is a Christian. He doesn’t seem very peaceful to me.

B26354

You seem to have the scenario a bit mixed up. Saddam was doing the beatings, and was wanting to expand his beatings to other nations (see Iraq War I as an example). Bush intervened to rescue the Iraqi people from Saddam, and to prevent Saddam’s beating expansion plan.

jediwebdude on August 26, 2007 at 6:34 PM

Robert-

I think the “representational art” that Mohammad (and thus Allah) forbade was of any living thing, not just of humans.

It was a woven curtain with pictures of animals stitched on it, if I remember the Hadith correctly, that first scandalized Mohammad into saying that “An angel would never enter a house with a ‘picture’, or a dog, in it.” And he tore the curtain down and ripped it to pieces.

“Pictures” would thereby signify any image of a living creature formed by Allah, whether done by a human being inthe shape of an embroidered pillow or a statue or a painting.

Life itself was forbidden to be imitated by men, because such an act arrogantly usurped Allah’s ultimate claim to all true creativity.

But, since life-forms are now known to come in every possible shape (thanks to our discoveries with the microscope, etc., showing geometrical viruses that could be seen as models for even Muslim tile arabesques.) no image, even the most abstract, would thus be permitted if Islam were serious about its restrictions. (Photographs would have to be forbidden, also, and movies, t.v., the internet, etc.)

Mohammedans sidestep this prohibition, as needed, showing their tactical hypocrisy.

It is all very strange, since there is no prohibition of art or images in the Koran, which is supposed to be the true source of Allah’s word.

They cripple themselves and impoverish the world because of a desert warlord’s distaste for artwork.

Silliness, apotheosized.

profitsbeard on August 26, 2007 at 7:00 PM

JetBoy on August 26, 2007 at 4:18 PM

JetBoy, you and I must be on the same wavelength. We asked Mr Spencer essentially the same questions.

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 7:03 PM

Thanks you Jesus I was not born a muslim woman is what I say.

Thank you Robert. I have really learned a lot because of your efforts. I will pray for your continued success and safety.

CCRWM on August 26, 2007 at 7:14 PM

profitsbeard:

Re representations of any living being being prohibited in Islamic law: Sho nuf.

Robert Spencer on August 26, 2007 at 7:18 PM

You mean like invading a sovereign nation without provocation?

That would depend on your definition of “provocation”.

After invading Kuwait and having to be forced back into Iraq, Saddam unleashed a genocidal wave of attacks against innocent civilians in Iraq. This was the same man that randomly shot Scuds at Israel and was giving out cash prizes to families of suicide bombers. The USA and allies set up no fly zones to protect the people of Iraq from air attacks launched by Saddam. The US pilots flying these mission were being lit-up and fired upon by Saddam’s forces on a regular basis. Saddam also played a losing game regarding WMDs, and his refusal for inspectors to have full access for searches, as per the peace treaty. Add to all of this, the other agreements of surrender that were broken by Saddam, and it’s a tough case for crying no provocation. Saddam’s game was total provocation, and he played it with the wrong US President.

Hening on August 26, 2007 at 7:20 PM

JetBoy, you and I must be on the same wavelength. We asked Mr Spencer essentially the same questions.

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 7:03 PM

After reading back through the thread, I guess we do see the same things here. I too am waiting to read 9:111, which will explain much we’re told.

JetBoy on August 26, 2007 at 8:01 PM

One thing I still don’t quite understand…if becoming a suicide bomber to, say, blow up a bus in Jerusalem is OK, since the goal is to “kill the infidels”…wouldn’t it be (how to put this) more prudent to simply plant a bomb on the bus, and run for cover?

So suicide is OK, according to the Koran, as long as you take out some infidels with you? And is it justified to “take out” Muslims who may be in the vicinity, knowing the bomber will kill them as well…saying, is collateral damage acceptable?

Mr. Spencer, you said:

As I noted in the article, the Arabic is اضْرِبُوهُنََّ, idriboohunna. This is, literally, “strike them,” from the root daraba, strike or beat. Daraba can mean “go away from,” as Bakhtiar has it, only with the preposition 3an, عن, which does not appear in 4:34.

Does this preposition not appear in any translation in 4:34?

JetBoy on August 26, 2007 at 8:09 PM

Saddam’s game was total provocation, and he played it with the wrong US President.

Bush is a Christian. So why didn’t he use Christ’s prescription for dealing with enemies (love them; turn the other cheek)?

If Christianity is a religion of peace, why are Christians not peaceful?

B26354 on August 26, 2007 at 8:19 PM

If Christianity is a religion of peace, why are Christians not peaceful?

B26354 on August 26, 2007 at 8:19 PM

That is a ridiculous thing to say obvioulsy…but I think you know that…so I’ll just comment that we have a right to defend ourselves and you can’t turn the other cheek if you’re dead.

CCRWM on August 26, 2007 at 9:16 PM

JetBoy on August 26, 2007 at 8:09 PM

Most of the suicide bombings in Iraq are directly targeting Muslims. So according to those guys it seems that killing other Muslims is very ‘justified’.

Good post this week Robert. Your new book is in the mail and I’m hoping to start reading it Thursday.

BadgerHawk on August 26, 2007 at 9:55 PM

B26354,

George W. Bush is President of a secular state and acts as such. He does not act in the name of Christendom, nor does he provide detailed theological proofs of how his actions are inspired by Christ.

Supporters of Sharia and Jihad do act in the name of their religion, and they provide ample justification from their Prophet’s revelations, sayings and example.

There’s no valid comparison to be made.

forest on August 26, 2007 at 10:17 PM

“The heart is deceitful above all thing, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” – Jer. 17-9

Krykeee. This chapter on women reads like stereo instructions: “Operation & repair of the human female.” My guess is teet sucking at BestBuy is no sub for consumer’s report. Haram!@

A question for you, Robert Spencer. This koran strikes me as terribly inbred and myopic. Does this koran ever leave its minutia of earth bound legalism – ala leviticus – to deal with a more eternal epistemology of God Himself and His providence into the affairs of individuals and nations? (The old testament book of Malachi is a good example.)

Or does this koran remain confined to human aspirations, human instruction and human dealings with other humans – unless or until a reference to allah or mohammed be invoked for ‘divine motivation’?

Just wondering. I feel like I’m slogging through mud here.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 26, 2007 at 10:38 PM

locomotivebreath1901 on August 26, 2007 at 10:38 PM

I am with LocoBreath here. I have been wondering this from day one really, but as long as the question has been posed, I will also ask. Does the Quran ever deal with spiritual matters? Does it have a soteriology beyond ‘submit’? Or should we just be patient and wait for those things in later Suras?

HeIsSailing on August 26, 2007 at 11:19 PM

A question for you, Robert Spencer. This koran strikes me as terribly inbred and myopic. Does this koran ever leave its minutia of earth bound legalism – ala leviticus – to deal with a more eternal epistemology of God Himself and His providence into the affairs of individuals and nations? (The old testament book of Malachi is a good example.)

Or does this koran remain confined to human aspirations, human instruction and human dealings with other humans – unless or until a reference to allah or mohammed be invoked for ‘divine motivation’?

locomotivebreath1901 on August 26, 2007 at 10:38 PM

I sure hope Mr. Spencer makes it back to this thread and answers your question, because now that you’ve ask it, I’m very curious in that regard also.

Maxx on August 26, 2007 at 11:26 PM

LocomotiveBreath1901, HeIsSailing, Maxx,

Epistemology of God and His Providence? Soteriology?

Yes, but probably not in the way you might expect. Sura 18 tells a fantastic story that is the foundation of Sufi mysticism. The later suras are full of arresting images, but they are mostly just warnings of the impending Judgment.

Of course, at this rate, it will be awhile before we get to either. I am going at the rate I’m going because I believe there is pertinent material that needs to be brought out in these early Suras, but they are more concerned with laws than later ones.

Robert Spencer on August 27, 2007 at 8:21 AM

Robert/AP/Bryan, (no offense, Robert, because I love you, man), but this is the best rant ever on Islam and I haven’t even finished watching half of it yet.

It’s like watching Christopher Hitchens or Mark Steyn on a tear, but… better.

You gotta blog this or at least watch it.

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 11:21 AM

3/4 done now.

That’s gotta disappear off of YouTube pretty soon, it makes too much sense.

You guys got the techno mojo… you should download it pronto.

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 11:25 AM

Oh, he had me until the last 30-seconds. It’s still worth watching.

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 11:28 AM

Thank you, Robert.

locomotivebreath1901 on August 27, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 11:21 AM

Thanks for posting that video. Just finished watching, and boy…does this guy hit the nail on the head. That last 30 seconds I don’t believe to be a “jab” at America….he’s just pointing out that Europe needs to show the US that they do have a spine, and can fight Islamification on their own.

JetBoy on August 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM

If Christianity is a religion of peace, why are Christians not peaceful?

B26354 on August 26, 2007 at 8:19 PM

That is a ridiculous thing to say obvioulsy…but I think you know that…so I’ll just comment that we have a right to defend ourselves and you can’t turn the other cheek if you’re dead.

CCRWM on August 26, 2007 at 9:16 PM

Uh, dude.

That’s all very cool and all (“I’ll just comment that…”), but what did JESUS say?

Where was his advocating of a military strategy vs. turn the other cheek?

I’d say Christianity makes allowances for reality while trying to hold onto a religion that doesn’t conform to it… as none do.

Hopefully, Islam will make similar allowances one day and stop cutting of people’s heads.

But anyway. For you to defend an attack on militant Christianity by giving your opinion, completely ignoring the teachings of your savior, is too funny.

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 1:59 PM

By the way, I’m not attacking Jesus. I’m saying if Christianity is true, then no, it should not conform to reality as it is, which is evil. It should be beyond that if difficult or impossible to reach in this world.

But his question was not only legitimate, he hit the nail on the head whereas you glanced off without even knowing it.

Christoph on August 27, 2007 at 2:00 PM

hat is a ridiculous thing to say obvioulsy…but I think you know that…so I’ll just comment that we have a right to defend ourselves and you can’t turn the other cheek if you’re dead.

Do Muslims have the same right?

I’m not saying Christians have to be peaceful, or that Christianity is the same as or worse than Islam. I’m just saying don’t call it the religion of peace when all it does is preach peace, and few Christians actually put that into action.

Of course Bush is the head of a secular state, and he doesn’t have much choice when responding to an attack. But he does say he believes God meant for him to be President, and his favorite philosopher is Jesus. I wonder what would have happened if he had used His teachings after 9/11, and declared a moratorium on killing by Americans.

If we’re going to end the cycle of violence, someone has to start.

B26354 on August 27, 2007 at 3:04 PM