Blogging The Quran: Sura 5


Here I am again, I apologize for taking last week off, it was a busy week and I frankly just lost complete track of time.
The Fifth sura is titled "The Table". I'm guessing that's because the dietary rules for Muslims appear here.

v1-10 It's what's for dinner!

It begins with freedom to eat four legged animals – except of course the ones you can't eat, which aren't listed right away but a little later they are. During the pilgrimage, Muslims are not allowed to hunt. Not that they probably would today but there's the rule anyway.
Muslims are forbidden to eat anything which dies on it's own, pigs, or anything which is blessed by a non-Muslim (kind of makes me want to bless all the food in the world.) They are forbidden from eating which are killed by beating, strangling, falling, what is sacrificed to idols or killed by another animal. Though it does appear that if, for instance, you're hunting dog kills a duck for instance you can eat it just fine.
All in all the food restrictions thus far are fairly reminiscent of the Levitical food purity laws. Interestingly enough we're told

"the food of those who have been given the Book is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them;

So Muslims and Christians are supposedly able to eat together. Not sure what would happen though if I were to bless the food in the name of Jesus. That's not all.
Finally, Muslims are allowed to have Christian virgins for wives

the chaste from among those who have been given the Book before you (are lawful for you)

The restriction of course is that you give them their dowry and marry them. Fornication is not permissible.

v11-34 More Hate Speech

Once again, curses on the Jews for not being Muslim and curses on the Christians for not believing the Quran / Koran. There are a few direct accusations that Jews and Christians knew all the stuff that was in the Quran but we intentionally removed it.
When you think about it, that's a fairly clever – albeit easy to disprove even at the time of writing- hypothesis. The whole block is taken up with lessons about how to respond to a Jew or a Christian if they claim to be following God. Most of the arguments are pretty watery although I did find one interesting view of theology around v 18. When a Christian claims to be God's child the Muslim is supposed to respond with the equivalent of "Nonsense, you're just a human being and Allah forgives whomever he wants to and condemns who he wants to."
To my eyes it appears that Almost every diatribe of hatred and seething directed and Jews and Christians comes down to a few issues; the most prominent of which is that Mohamed really didn't understand Christianity, but what he thought he knew – he railed against it. The problem is that he failed to understand Christianity. His Biblical theology was weak so he created one of his own. That's not at all unlike your average non Christian. Most don't really know anything significant about Christianity but if you press them on reasons why they don't believe they'll shoot back all kinds of "supposed inconsistencies" but they won't be able to name one.
What follows the twentieth verse is a reminder of and a bit of a faulty remix of the sin of Kadesh Barnea (Numbers 14) where the people refused to enter the promised land. Moses intercedes for them in the Bible but in the Quran he prays against them. I really get the point by now. Muhamad hated the Jews. This of course should not shock anyone who has been paying attention to the evening news for the last few decades.
Mohamed continues with the story of Cain and Able but out of thin air he creates not only a dialog between Cain and Able, but also blames a crow for scratching the earth to show Cain how to bury Abel's body. Right.

v35- 69 Justice!

This is where Muslims are told to cut the hands off a thief.
It seemed an odd little statement with no apparent flow in thought. Come to think of it, lots of what I've read this far is disjointed. Maybe that's why my little commentary here seems disjointed. It is not easy to synthesize this text because the text itself consists of rambling sermons of a guy with a limited number of axes to grind. Maybe that is an unfair statement because I'm only in the fifth sura (109 to go) but from what I've read elsewhere I can't expect much difference for the next 109 chapters.

Muslims are "Calvinistic"

In the same section we come to some encouraging words for the apostle (I'm guessing that means Mohamed). Basically it's this, "Don't get too upset if you tell someone about the Quran and they don't believe – if Allah doesn't give them repentance that's Allah's doing not yours."
So I think I may have discovered the Muslim view of Allah's absolute sovereignty If I can recklessly use a Christian theological term: they are Calvinists. I'm not sure why that made me laugh, but it did.
Apparently, some Jews were coming to the Muslims in order to have court cases decided and then they were ignoring the judgment given by the Muslims. It just flat out reminds me of 1 Corinthians 6:1-7 where Paul lambastes the Christians for going to court against one another in pagan courts. His point there is made here: The Muslims blaspheme because of them.
On the other hand, I've found another little Justice Gem. The whole Eye for an Eye thing holds for Muslims too, but if they choose to just let it go for the sake of charity – Allah will knock off some of your guilt as well. So there you have it once again, the Muslims are responsible for earning their way into the arms of 70 virgins heaven.
Time and again the Islamic view of the Bible is reiterated, according to Mohamed, the Bible is good but corrupted. Yet even here there is a fair bit of inconsistency. For Christians are urged to simply believe and obey the Bible!

if they would but truly observe the torah and the gospel and all the revelation that has been bestowed from on high upon them by their sustainer, they would indeed partake of all the blessings of heaven and earth. – Sura 5:66

So Salvation is indeed found in the pages of the Bible. Even Mohammed confesses that. The claim of Mohammed however is that his speeches need to be added to the Bible.

vv70-120 The Trinity and Christology

For the rest of the book of number of bad Christological statements make their way into conciousness of Islam. Again the Quran / Koran reveals itself as primarily a diatribe against Judaism and Christianity. In this, the very last Sura written or spoken by Mohammed the end of the book is an outright denial of the deity of Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God.
Apparently Mohamed thought that Jesus and Mary were the second and third persons of the trinity. Moreover the trinity, he thought, was three gods, rather than one God revealing himself in three persons. I really wish I could adequately grasp the trinity myself, so I can't really be too hard on Mohamed's misunderstanding of it. He just couldn't grasp the Trinity concept and ruled it damnable heresy.
Several times Mohamed declares that Jesus was just an apostle, like Moses. He makes a bit of hay over the fact that Jesus ate food like any other mortal, an item which wouldn't have bothered true Christians, though the Gnostics might have had a hernia over that comment. In fact some of Mohamed's blathering makes me wonder if the "Christian" influences to which he was exposed were gnostic? IMHO that would explain his frequent diatribes against the divinity of Jesus because he saw in the gospels the humanity of Jesus.

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
James 1:13 NASB95

Jammed in the middle of this section is a very brief command not to gamble, divine the future or use "intoxicants". A little later another interesting tidbit reveals that Allah will tempt people on pilgrimage. It's a far cry from James 1:13.