15: Al-Hijr (Part II — Devil may care?)
Like I said in the last post, there isn’t much excitement in chapter 15. It’s mostly just a regurgitation of the same boring old bullshit. The story I’ll break down in this post has come up a few times already. I thought it was worth examining in detail, because — come on! — it’s about the devil.
He may well be the only interesting character in the Quran. And, as I learned in this chapter, he may not be such a bad guy after all. If he actually existed, I might feel kinda sorry for the guy. Shit, I might even invite him over for a beer & ice cream pity party. We probably have a lot in common; hating God and all.
Let’s get a little back story on what’s going on:
(26) Man We fashioned from fermented clay dried tingling hard,
(27) As We fashioned jinns before from intense radiated heat.
OK, so God created jinns from intense radiated heat. Sounds fancy! A little too fancy if you ask me. Turns out it’s just Ahmed Ali’s clever spin on what the other translations say:
A. J. Arberry
(27) and the jinn created We before of fire flaming.Pickthall
(27) And the jinn did We create aforetime of essential fire.Yusuf Ali
(27) And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.
Yup. Fire. Not nearly as cool as intense radiating heat, right? Ahmed Ali’s kind of a shithead like that.
Anyway, jinns are made from fire. And man is made from dry, tingling fermented clay. Sorta. Check out the following verses to see contradicting accounts of what man is made out of:
- 96:1 & 2
Yeah. Check all of those verses out. Or be lazy and read the post I wrote back in July ’08 about scientific miracles in the Quran. Or be even lazier and check out the nifty little chart of contradicting verses at Skeptic’s Annotated Quran.
Or, shit, if you’re as lazy as I am today, I’ll just go ahead and list it out for you: water, clay, blood, dust, semen, and nothingness. You’re welcome. At one point or another, God says man was created from one of those. Dude is all over the damn place. In this chapter, though, he’s all about that hard, dry, tingly clay.
(28) But when your Lord said to the angels: “I am verily going to create a human being from fermented clay dried tingling hard;
(29) And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, bow before him in homage;”
(30) The angels bowed in homage in a body
See how God’s just talking to angels there? K, keep that in mind when you read the next verse:
(31) Except Iblis. He refused to bow with the adorers.
All the angels bow down to Adam. Except Iblis. One more time? All the angels with the exception of Iblis. So Iblis is an angel. Right? Right?? Well no, not quite. That would be too easy.
See, in Christianity, the devil is a fallen angel. In Islam, angels don’t have free will. They’re mindless drones who do whatever God says. Bitches, if you will. So Iblis, by default, can’t really be an angel. He chooses not to bow down to Adam. The way apologists get around this shit is by saying that Iblis was God’s favorite jinn, so he elevated him to angel status. Convenient!
(32) “How is it, O Iblis,” said (the Lord), “you did not join those who bowed in homage?”
(33) “How could I bow,” said he, “before a mortal whom You created from fermented clay dried tingling hard?”
Good question, Iblis! How could Iblis bow before a mortal? Isn’t that idolatry? Isn’t that totally against Islam? So if Iblis obeys God and bows down to someone other than him, he’s actually disobeying God. Catch fucking 22.
You’d think God would — I dunno — reward him for figuring that one out. But no. This is the Quran. Thinking only leads to punishment:
(34) “Go hence, execrable,” (said the Lord), “from this place,
(35) Condemned till the day of Doom!”
Then, of course, Iblis grovels for God’s forgiveness. Why wouldn’t he? He’s pretty much the perfect follower:
(36) “O my Lord,” said he, “give me respite till the day the dead are raised.”
And then God snaps his fingers and *poof* Iblis goes straight to hell, where he is tortured for all eternity. God don’t take no lip from nobody!
….wait, he kinda does:
(37) “You are among the reprieved,” (said the Lord),
(38) “Till the predetermined time.”
Yup! God totally kowtows to Iblis! He talks big game and has zero follow-through. To his credit, though, God puts a time limit on the get-out-of-jail-free pass. To his discredit, he basically flushes all credibility down the pooper by going back on his own word. Major blow to his reputation, know what I mean?
(39) “O my Lord,” he said, “since You have led me into error I’ll beguile them with the pleasures of the world and lead them astray,
(40) Except the chosen ones among Your creatures.”
Oooh. Iblis accuses God of leading him astray. Dude. Them’s fighting words! God is so totally going to annihilate Iblis.
(41) (To which God) said: “This way is right by Me.
(42) No power shall you have over (all) My creatures except those who fall into error and follow you,
(43) For whom the ordained place is surely Hell,
(44) Which has several gates, and each gate is marked for every section of them.”
Uhhh. OK, wait. What just happened here? God doesn’t deny leading Iblis astray. And he doesn’t annihilate Iblis’s ass either. He just sort of lets Iblis off the hook. Again. Because God is completely full of shit. Or at least he would be if he wasn’t so busy not existing.
Arright, that’s all I’ve got for chapter 15. Next up, chapter 16: The Bees. Stay tuned!