Sunday, January 25, 2009

Qur'an: The Backbiter

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy

Woe to every fault-finding backbiter who amasses riches, counting them over, thinking they will make him live forever. No indeed! He will be thrust into the Crusher! What will explain to you what the Crusher is? It is God's Fire, made to blaze, which rises over people's hearts. It closes in on them in towering columns.

*this doesn't seem to be the backbiter that I would first think of. This sounds more like Christian greed or jealousy. Is this the intent?

**historically, hell has been an uneasy topic for many Christians; it seems difficult to have a loving God condemning people to eternal punishment. Do Muslims have the same kind of problem? Or is God's will predominant?


Anonymous said...

There are two themes that are introduced here--1)We are responsible for our intentions and actions and these have consequences. 2) The consequences of intentions or actions that are deliberately hurtful to others, is "hell" at judgement day.(after death)

These verses are aimed at the Meccan arabs. Many had become very successful both with trade and with the bussiness generated by pilgrimage to Mecca. This success created an attitude of "superiority" towards others. It is this attitude of superiority (which creates a lack of compassion for others less fortunate) that is mentioned in verses 2, 3.

The word "heaven" (in translation)is often used to refer to the universe/space and can cause confusion. In arabic the notion of heaven as in heaven/hell is "garden" and is better translated as paradise.(I think)
Paradise/Heaven and Hell are complicated and nuanced in the Quran. Because of this, the idea of a loving God and Paradise/Hell is not conflicting. (I can explain now--or can wait---upto you--the concepts will come up in later surahs)

God's will--Yes, God's will is dominant--It is God's will that allows man to have free-will and the relationship between the two has been a matter of debate in Islam.(personally--I am pro-free-will)

"eternal"--this word is used in some translations but the meaning is "very long period of time". In the Quran, the "big bang" and the "big crunch" reoccur.

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