Blogging the Quran: Sura 6


Welcome Back to me! It’s good to be back at it. Sorry I’ve been gone so long, life got out of control on a large scale.
As we get ready to dive into Sura 6 I’d like to share a quote from a German newspaper:

“In the Koran there is the anathema, at Christians there is the prayer for the bless of God, this is the basic difference between Islam and Christianity.” (http://www.businessportal24.com/de/Fear_Moslems_66777.html)

In other words, the Koran teaches you to kill the Bible teaches you to pray. Pretty succinct.

Weighing in at 165 verses of varying length this is a long Surah but not as long as the second one which is just plain killer when you try to boil it down. I’m hopefully getting more practiced and I might even have some skill at it by the time I finish all of this.

vv1-67 Monotheism yes, Christianity no

Right out of the starting gate this surah is on the attack with Christianity. “Those who disbelieve [Christians] set up equals with their Lord.” In other words, Christians have equated Jesus with God. Yup, that’s right. Jesus is God. In him all the fullness of deity dwells. (Col 2:9).
Of course, Mohammad never quite understood that and he launches into yet another attack on Christianity and Judaism. He accuses the Jews of rejecting the revelation of Allah, and presumably lumps the Christians in with it. The warning however in v5 is clear “They shall soon learn the reality of what they used to mock at.”
It seems that Mohammad was getting tired of having his spew defined as deception so the 7th verse claims that even if Allah had given him the Quran printed on nice paper unbelievers would naturally reject it. To which I say, “Hey, Satan probably does know how to write.”
The block includes a number of commands to “say” something. Most of them are affirmations of Allah and rejections of making anyone equal to Allah. Of course it’s a not exactly veiled reference to Jesus.
The entire rest of this verse block is dedicated to different things that Muslims should say to Christians and perhaps also Jews. The sayings are not apologetic arguments in favor of Islam but rather simple – terse statements which to a certain degree all say, “you’ll say different when judgement day comes.”
The introductory notes say this Surah came at the end of the Medina period so hostility towards Mohammad was building and that of course pours out in the Surah as seething hatred of all Mohammed’s enemies. It’s amazing to watch this man’s theology twist and turn to respond to his circumstance. I wonder how many Islamic scholars actually take note of it.

vv68–73 Back to Basics

Finally the vitriol begins to abate a little and we’re returned to standard affirmations of Islamic faith.

vv74-94 Abraham turned from Idolatry

Mohammad now returns to Abraham and uses him as an example. He imagines a dialog between Abraham and his father which the Quran mislabels as Azar. Footnotes claim all kinds of gymnastics in the Talmud to get us there but I just can’t help but see this as a clear issue where Mohammad just got it wrong again. Anyway the section begins with Abraham rebuking his father for worshiping idols. (For the real story read Genesis 12).
After Abraham rebukes his father he alternates between beginning to worship a star, then the moon, the sun. They all go down so Abraham counts them false and an argument begins with “his people”.
I am continually amazed with Mohammed’s fascination with hell. He describes it quite frequently and in many different ways. The torment of it is almost always on his lips. For instance here’s a brief one:

if you had seen when the unjust shall be in the agonies of death and the angels shall spread forth their hands: Give up your souls; today shall you be recompensed with an ignominious chastisement because you spoke against Allah other than the truth and (because) you showed pride against His communications. –Sura 6:93

vv95-99 What has Allah ever done?

Someone asked me recently, “What has Allah done for Muslims?.”
well here it is. He’s supposed to be the one making the seeds grow, the sun to rise and the one who gives life to the dead. Rain, stars the whole bit of nature is claimed to be from the hand of Allah.

vv100 -117 More attacks on Christianity

One thing that I’ve become increasingly aware of is how much trouble Mohammad had accepting the virgin birth. He accuses Christians of believing God had a “consort” whom he slept with to have a son. I remember reading other complaints about Mary. Mohammad didn’t understand that God never had sex with Mary. There was a spontaneous generation of Christ in her. I cannot explain it. The Angel Gabriel didn’t attempt. He just told Mary that the power of the most high would overshadow her. (Luke 1:35). Sex is not a part of the nativity story.
Christians are accused of being “polytheists” (Surah 6:106)

vv118-158 Eat Food Correctly

As usual, by the time you’re this deep in the sura it’s hard to tell when one topic ends and another begins. But eating is a far cry from blasting Christians so I picked a new topic here. Basically the section begins with an admonition to only eat food that has been blessed in Allah’s name. As I noted before, it makes me want to bless every meal in Jesus’ name even louder.
I’d love to walk into an Islamic cafe and start praying over all the food in the name of Jesus. Sure they’d kill me, but wouldn’t they go bankrupt because they’d have to throw all the food out?

Where the Bible normally reads like a well reasoned treatise or a collection of related stories, the Quran is such a morass of confusion.

The rest of a block is a continued threat of judgement for not believing Mohammad. The frequency of it is almost sickening. However I notice a frequent trend that seems almost to say “don’t worry about infidels, God will judge them.” That would certainly fly in the face of people like Osama-Bin-Laden. But then the Quran turns to more threats and that feeling is quickly lost.
There is such a huge difference between the Koran and the bible. Where the Bible normally reads like a well reasoned treatise or a collection of related stories, the Quran is such a morass of confusion. It’s verses are so disconnected one from another the coalescing of all of it into a systematic theology of Islam would be like reassembling a thousand documents after running them through a crosscut shredder.

When we get to v 140 it almost seems like Islam should be against Abortion.

Sura 6:140 …They are lost indeed who kill their children foolishly without knowledge…

Of course I think the real issue in the text here is sacrificing your children to idols, in which case Mohammad has finally turned away from the Christians for awhile to attack a different set of animistic religions.

vv159-165 Islamic Denominationalism is bad

Watch the news and you read about this or that breed of Muslim but even the Quran says there is only one kind and the division is terrible.

Sura 6:159 Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them; their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did.

I’m no fan of Christian denominationalism – I’ve never been a member of any denomination. “Independent Bible Church” is all I’d ever put for a label. The coming generations are putting less and less emphasis on denominations as well. I don’t see that happening in Islam though. It seems the divisions are getting broader. The largest division today seems to be between Muslims who are fundamentalists and “Christians” who think there are Muslim moderates.
I’m not seeing any Muslim moderates make a difference anywhere. Just look at the ground war in Iraq.