Summary: Muhammad in the Koran, a strange explanation of some missing verses, final suras, and my conclusions from this study.
Lesson 35, How to Treat Muhammad, and "Satanic" Verses
Today, suras 49-60
Beginning with this lesson, I will dispense with giving you the name of each sura, unless it is truly remarkable. Be assured that every sura is named for a particular reason, even if obscure to us.
Sura 49 commences with directions for the treatment of the prophet. "Do not raise your voice above the voice of the prophet. And do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another..." One must imagine the dynamic of standing in a crowd and hearing the prophet himself say these words.
In the next section there is a bit of information that reminds one of the final chapters of the epistles of Paul to Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians. Practical, even uplifting rules of conduct. Don't scoff at others. Don't defame anyone. Don't backbite, for "does any one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother." Well put.
But for those of us who have trekked this weary journey, this may not be enough to make us forget the vengeful cruelty we have heard for so many miles.
Then we are reminded that true believers perform holy war with their money and their lives. Yes, these are the preferred ways of jihad. Spend. Live. Infiltrate. Teach. And when all else fails, slaughter.
At the end of sura 50, another way to torment the lost. The "garden" will be somehow brought near to hell-sufferers to let them know how it might have been.
And now a word about creation. It was six days after all. Not sure which version Muslims are to believe. This sura was in Mecca, but so was the eight-day version.
Sura 51 takes us once more to Abraham and Lot. In this episode, God is visiting Abraham and giving him a report of what he did to Sodom, including the saving of his nephew. Backwards from the Bible story, and from Muhammad's last accounting.
So over and over the corruption is repeated. Islam accuses Christians and Jews of corrupting their own texts to such a degree that Muhammad had to come and clarify all. But the obvious truth is that the Scriptures were in fine shape, thank you, and this book hacks away constantly at the truths revealed so many centuries before. We pass back the charge.
52. Allah is so insistent that the torment of all infidels is imminent that he swears five times in succession to begin this chapter. By the mountain, by the book, by the "inhabited house", by the thrown sea, and by the raised ceiling, that is, by all of his creation.
Our God has sworn too, but never by something that was created. He can only swear by Himself, His Name, His Word.
53. We come then to the famous "Satanic verses", or what used to be such, in sura 53. I imagine there are several explanations for it all. This is what I have found:
Muhammad was stressed by the pressure of paganism in Mecca. He wanted somehow to compromise with them. So he mentions the names of three of their goddesses, calls them "intermediaries", and states in one of his recitations clearly that their intercession can be very helpful.
Later he changed his mind about all this, and simply stated that the Devil tempted him and he fell. Sorry. The verses were replaced, the explanation recorded, and the Koran moves on.
Which of course brings up the whole question we have asked from the beginning. Where did [the rest of] the Koran come from? Did he listen to the enemy more than once?
Muslims are told later in this sura that, regarding sexual sin, the idea is to avoid the "big" ones. Actual, full blown intimacy. The rest, "your lord is broad in his forgiveness." Once more the Koran fails to set a clear standard. Jesus did it so much better, because He knows the self-righteous games we play in justifying our behavior. So for Jesus, fornication starts with the mind, the desire. Not the temptation, but the entertaining of the temptation. That is sin. That needs repentance and forgiveness.
And our Lord too is broad in His mercy. For a truly repentant man, full-fledged adultery with murder as a cover-up can also be forgiven. Immediately.
Two more principles come to light in 53. "No bearer of a burden bears the burden of another." In Christ, we bear one another's burdens gladly.
And, "the human will have nothing except what he strives for." True enough about worldly progress. Absolutely false about salvation. "By grace you are saved through faith, and even that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God."
Come to think of it, our religion must sound pretty strange to outsiders, too!
Sura 54 begins with a direct quote from a poet. "The hour has approached and the moon has been split." Muslims here want to believe that it was Muhammad that split the moon. It was just poetry, folks. Nobody split the moon. Deeper meaning here...