The Heirs of Hell vs. the Patronizers of Paradise: The Koran

“You shall find no believers in God and in the last day on friendly terms with those who oppose god and his apostle.” (58:22)

And so The Koran continues to pit the believers against the non- believers, the patronizers who will call Paradise home versus the heirs of hell. The constant warnings and “threats” become quite redunant, as do the comparaisons. Can the faithful really not be friends with non-believers? In modern interpretation, would a Muslim not be friends with a Hindu for this very reason? Agree to disagree–but do not forsake a friendship that would not corrupt! As I read the Koran, I ask myself: why does the Koran spend so much time addressing the non-believers? It is already established that they will meet a fiery end; did they even listen to Mohammad’s messages? Do they even now read the Koran, if only in interest?

Houris in Paradise (riding the camels), taken from (odd name, but some great images of Islamic art)

“Know that the life of this world is but a sport and diversion, a show and an empty boast among you, a quest for greater riches and more children.” (57:20)

Besides the constant talk of the fate of mankind, the Koran also continued to discuss Paradise (which I always enjoy reading about). Obviously ,if one is told that life on Earth is nothing but a “show and an empty boast,” one would then place a lot of value on Paradise! (Although I suspect the other reason for that might have been that life in general wasn’t too pleasant circa 600 A.D.) Even if one were promised Paradise, why can’t one have a little fun on Earth? After all, why are we here on Earth? Is our time merely a way for God to judge each soul? Maybe so, but I don’t think having children or some money is bad nor would it distract even the loosely pious away from God and his path.

Although riches might be viewed as sinful and boastful on Earth, they are definitely not denied in Paradise. There is more fanciful description of the pleasures that await believers, “that which is coming:” jewelled couches with rich brocade, gold cups filled with purest wine (“that will neither pain their heads nor take away their wisdom,” yes!!), flesh of fowls, palm trees and pomegranates, and best of all, “virgins of rubies and pearl,” the dark-eyed houris sitting in their tents. (56:6 and 55:52)

Does man still pray in paradise? Does he still exalt God, and behave righteously? For surely man is much more lazier in Paradise. Is it a sin for him to have his children? Or to spend all day relishing good drink and good feast, which is only a reach away? And the houris, who are known for their beautiful eyes: does their name at all relate to the eye of horus, a pagan symbol of the Ancient Egyptians? Do these houris have a male counterpart for the female patronizers of Paradise? Surely women deserve virgin companions as well.

“Yet they assign to him offspring from among his servants. Surely man is monstrously ungrateful. Would god choose daughters for himself and sons for you alone? Yet when the birth of a girl is announced to any of them his countenance darkens and he is filled with gloom. would they ascribe to god females who adorn themselves with trinkets and are powerless in disputation?” (43:11)

“He gives daughters to whom he will and sons to whom he pleases. To some he gives both sons and daughters, and he makes  sterile whom he will.” (42:49)

I found these two statements to be highly telling, if one applies them to today’s moral practices. Female children are treated with disdain throughout the Middle East; doctors don’t let mothers know the sex of their babies after their ultra sounds so that they are not disappointed, for the arrival of a daughter is met with sad faces, and can prompt the dissipation of a marriage. If the Koran itself is knocking daughters, by basically saying “How dare one attribute daughters only to God, and mankind gets sons!” and in the process adding that women are “drawn to trivial, silly matters and unable to argue” then of course the true believers of the Holy Koran are going to think that there is something wrong with having a daughter. I think that second verse (“He gives daughters…”) is an interesting play on words: God gives daughters to those whom “he wills” and gives sons to whom “he pleases” or likes.

“Believers, avoid immoderate suspicion, for in some cases suspicion is a crime.” (49:10)

Despite the talk of Paradise, Hell and woeful redundancy, there were also many wonderful and intelligent verses about mankind. The one above caught my eye as it reminded me several times of cases against Muslim women that I have read about, where women were unjustly accused of a sin and then severely punished for it. While I might not believe that suspicion is a crime (except for in instances where gross punishment is inflicted) I would say that it has caused many a problem, especially in many a relatonship, when it is often uncalled for. Wouldn’t the world be a more peaceful place if people learned to trust?

The other verse that stood out to me, which made me smile upon reading it and exclaim, “Salam!” was the one below. It is the best verse that I have read in the Koran so far. It refers to people of different religions, and although the first verse that I mentioned seemed to deny friendship, there will be no denying peace when peace is due in Islam:

“We have our own works and you have yours; let there be no argument between us. God will bring us all together, for to him we shall return.” (42:15)



Sad The Throngs (Al Zumar) The Forgiving One (Chafir) The Believer (Al Mu’min)(/td>

Revelations Well Expounded (Fussilat)

Counsel (Al shura) Ornaments of Gold (Al Zukhruf) Smoke (Al dukhan) Kneeling (Al jathiyah) The Sand dunes (Al ahqaf)
Muhammed Victory (Al-fath)) The Chambers (Al Hujurat) Qaf The Winds (Al-dhariyat)
The Mountains (AL-Tur) Te Star (Al Najm) The Moon (Al-Qamar) The Merciful (Al-Rahman) That Which is Coming (Al-Waqi’ah)
Iron (al-Hadid) She Who Pleaded (Al-Mujadilah)

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