In keeping with my updates on my Koran reading, I will report that I soldiered on to the next two surahs, Al-Imran and al-Nisa (The Woman), in order to read the Koran authentically as it was introduced to the world. Per some wise advice, I plan on now reading from the last surah’s first, although in all honesty the two surahs that I just read would be just as hard for me to personally digest later as they were now.
Al-Imran continued with the previous ideas of punishing the wicked and the non-believers. I must admit, a (no doubt blasphemous) thought crossed my mind: God is highly authoritarian, almost like a dictator! Basically, “do as I say or feel my wrath.” Of course, unlike a real dictator, God is “merciful,” as the Koran keeps telling me, and so one can reason with him and be forgiven, but passages like “3:83” where it constantly goes on and on about punishment is somewhat unnerving.
A good line:
“Indeed, you have argued aboutthingsof which you have some knowledge. Must you now argue about that which you know nothing at all?(3:66)
“Al-Nisa” or “The Woman” was a much more interesting (if outraging) chapter, as one can infer simply by it’s title. Again, the Koran proves to me that all those crazy fanatics out there might be following a partial truth about Islam: witness line 4:34:
“Men have superiority over women because god has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. good women are obedient.”
Again, I will repeat: I’m not sure how any self-respecting woman can read these words and agree with the Koran and Islam. A book that denounces human rights should certainly not be used as the basis of any law (see: Shariah). It then goes on to say that a man can beat a disobedient wife! Now we’re promoting domestic abuse? Absolutely not! I know that one “virtue” of the Koran that Muslims extoll is that it, unlike the Bible or Torah, has not been changed in format or content, in part due to the fact that the original was written in Arabic and thus can still be read by modern people today. However, I think that (like slavery and concubinage before it) it would be great justice and no great sin if people would expunge these words of “superiority over women” and “beat them” out of the Koran. Do you think the millions of Africans or Asians would follow Islam if the book said “White males are superior over Black males or Asian males?” I don’t think so! Thus, women are again swept under the doormat. Stick up for yourselves!
“God wishes to lighten your burdens, for man was created weak.” (Line 4:27)
I can’t help but assume that a book such as the Koran only adds to a persons burdens, as the religious try so hard to be good Muslims!
On a more cheerful, peaceful note: all this talk about gardens with running streams sounds highly delightful (if not out of date with what a modern person might dream of Paradise). I suppose the thought of a stream and lush vegetation while one was living in a dry, stony desert was quite the mirage! Garden of Eden, anyone?