10: Jonah (Part II — Who wrote this thing?)
Know what hell is? Hell is getting stuck at work for 15 hours. With high heels on. While coming down with a cold. Worst day ever. I’m taking a sick day and spending it on the couch, chugging chicken soup and blogging the Quran. I’m a silver lining kinda gal and I’ll be damned if I’ll let a little calf cramping and violent sneezing get me down.
Here’s something that has been getting me down lately: my posts about the Quran have been a little blah lately. There have been hints of, as one reader said, weariness in my writing. My writing has been kinda blah lately because — guess what? — the Quran is fucking blah. Lawsie mercy. I’m surprised I made it this far without sounding jaded and burnt out. Just when you think something new will be introduced(!!!), Mohammed drags out the same old bullshit and says it in the same old bullshit words. It’s downright exhausting.
Take this chapter for example. Jonah. I assumed it would mention Jonah in there a lot. He was mentioned in passing in chapters 4 and 6:
(4:163) We have sent revelations to you as We sent revelations to Noah and the prophets (who came) after him; and We sent revelations to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob, and their offspring, and to Jesus and Job, and to Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and to David We gave the Book of Psalms
(6:86) We gave guidance to Ishmael, Elisha and Jonah and Lot; And We favoured them over the other people of the world
In short: Jonah was a prophet. The end. That’s all we’ve had on him so far. I’m sure you guys have picked up on this, but the Quran has mostly just regurgitated the same 5 things over and over again.
- God is the best.
- Mohammed is the second best.
- Heaven is great (streams, fruit, etc).
- Hell sucks (fire, pain, etc).
- It’s really easy to go to hell and damn near impossible to go to heaven.
Ho hum. Replace Mohammed with Jesus, and viola! Christianity in a nutshell.
Anyway, after 9 chapters of that, I was pretty ready to claw my own eyes out. And then I saw the title of chapter 10 and got all geeked. It at least sounded interesting. A whale swallows a guy and then pukes him back up? Score! Action and drama in the Quran! Unfortunately for me, I found neither. You wanna know what chapter 10 actually says about Jonah? Here you go:
98. Why has there been no habitation that believed and profited by their faith, except the people of Jonah? When they came to believe, We removed from them the affliction of shame in the world, and made them prosperous for a time.
Yup. That’s it. The rest of the chapter? See above for list of 5 possible discussion topics. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’ve been Debbie Downer lately. I joked earlier that you could probably take out the repetition and end up with a pamphlet rather than a book. The more I think about it, the more true that statement is. Every chapter is basically the previous chapter with a couple of new verses thrown in to shake things up. Every fucking chapter is the previous chapter in a cheap tuxedo. The kind that’s coming undone at the seams, and smells like mildew and mothballs from sitting around in grandma’s attic for, erm, 1400 years or so.
The book is a farce and I’ve gone from pity to anger at the people who insist it is the Best Thing Ever™. The fuck are they thinking? Or, hell, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe they’re not thinking. Or maybe all that intermarrying of first cousins (legal in Islam!) has made some seriously fucking stupid people. Who knows? I can’t explain it.
Anyway, that’s my little rant right there. I’ve skipped ahead to some of the later chapters — the ones that are paragraph length — and they’re actually pretty exciting compared to this shit. We’ll get there someday, babies. For now, we’re stuck in Snoresville. Lets dive in.
(1) ALIF LAM RA. These are the verses of the authoritative Book.
First off, notice that reference to the Quran being a book. Not oral tradition, not recitations, not even revelations. The word is book. Which makes no goddamned sense because this book didn’t exist until Uthman had it compiled and standardized after Mohammed’s death. Double you. Tee. Eff. What book is Mo going on about?
I’m going to preempt the standard apologetic before someone brings it up and gets all huffy about it. Inevitably, someone will say, “It’s talking about the Mother Book, you jerk.” The Mother Book. God’s personal Quran written on a tablet, hanging out in heaven with him. That’s not what this verse is talking about. If it was talking about the Mother Book, the Arabic would read Umm al-Kithab, like it does in other parts of the Quran. It doesn’t. I read the Arabic myself.
Ahmed Ali translated Umm al-Kithab to the Book of Books. It shows up like this in other parts of the Quran:
(13:39) God abrogates or confirms whatsoever He will, for He has with Him the Book of Books.
(43:4) It is inscribed in the original Book (of Books) with Us, sublime, dispenser of (all) laws.
And if that’s not enough to make you your head explode, check out how other people translated the first verse of chapter 10:
A. J. Arberry:(1) Alif Lam Ra. Those are the signs of the Wise Book.Pickthall:(1) Alif. Lam. Ra. These are verses of the Wise Scripture.Yusuf Ali:(1) A.L.R. These are the ayats of the Book of Wisdom.
Wise book, wise scripture, book of wisdom. No mention of Book of Books, or Mother Book. Just plain old book. Why they’d capitalize that shit is beyond me, but there you have it. My guess is that the whole book business was a later addition to the Quran. The unalterable Quran. Snort. I can’t believe I bought into that shit when I was younger. I actually felt proud that our book was uncorrupted and unchanged throughout all the years and the Christians and Jews — those poor suckers — had totally fucked up the word of God. Pot, kettle, black.
Chapter 10 starts out with some mystical Islamic letters. We already came across ALIF LAM MIM in chapters 2 and 3, and ALIF LAM MIM SAD in chapter 7. Here’s a quick breakdown of all mystical letters and where they appear:
- ALIF LAM MIM
Chapters 2, 3, 29, 30, 31, 32
- ALIF LAM MIM SAD
- ALIF LAM RA
Chapters 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
- KAF HA YA AIN SAD
- TA HA
- TA SIN MIM
Chapters 26, 28
- TA SIN
- YA SIN
- HA MIM
Chapters 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46
Again with the repetition. Not a single one of those chapters offers any explanation of what those letters are and why they’re there. It’s like starting out a chapter with random letters of the alphabet. D U M B — ooooh, mysterious! People are forever speculating on what those letters mean and how to unlock the code of the Quran. Can you smell the woo? Apparently some of Mo’s people could:
(2) Are the people astonished that a man who is one of them was commanded by Us to warn them and to bring glad tidings to those who believe that they have a true precedence with their Lord?
Unfortunately, those people weren’t above the woo themselves. Check it out:
(Yet) the unbelievers say: “He is a clear sorcerer.”
So people around Mohammed didn’t believe that one among them could be a prophet of God. Fine. But they thought he was a sorcerer? That seems a little off to me for one reason: by his own admission, Mohammed never received a single miracle that was witnessed by anyone else. He never turned a stick into a snake or water into wine. There was no walking on water or parting of seas. There was just his word (and perhaps his epileptic seizures, which must have been scary to see).
Mo did have that magical overnight journey to Jerusalem and that tour of heaven — on a winged horse made of fire, no less! But surprise, surprise. There were no witnesses to either of those trips. And even embarrassed apologists today try to pass those stories off as dreams from God. A mental trip rather than a physical one. Either way, I’m not really sure what reason, if any, the people had to believe that Mohammed was a sorcerer. Batshitasscrazy, yes. Sorcerer? Meh, probably not. But it does sound more badass to say that people think you’re a warlock rather than a fucking nutjob, right? Right??
(37) This Qur’an is not such (a writ) as could be composed by anyone but God. It confirms what has been revealed before, and is an exposition of (Heaven’s) law. Without any doubt it’s from the Lord of all the worlds.
(38) Do they say (of the Prophet) that: “He has composed it?” Say to them: “Bring a Surah like this, and call anyone apart from God you can (to help you), if what you say is true.”
There is so much that is so dumb about those two verses. I don’t even know where to begin. …yes I do. There’s that reference to the Quran being written word. Again. Writ means legal document, so now the Quran isn’t just a guidebook for life, but a legal guidebook. And people wonder how Sharia law could possibly fucking exist.
Then there’s the whole without any doubt it’s from the Lord of all the worlds thing. I came thisclose to doing a spit-take all over my keyboard. Off and on, the book has that affect on me. There was so much coffee and tea gunk lodged between the keys that I had to take Q-Tips and babywipes to ’em.
That verse just reeks of desperation. “No, seriously, I swear, this thing is from God!” Puh-lease. As if anyone would fall for that shit. …oh wait.
And finally there is the infamous challenge verse. Say to them: “Bring a Surah like this, and call anyone apart from God you can (to help you), if what you say is true.” Just one surah, huh? A surah, in case you didn’t know, is a chapter of the Quran. A chapter. As in the way books are divided. Whoo boy, here we go again with the book shit.
Anyway, all you need to do is write one chapter like chapter 10, and you win. Note that it doesn’t say a chapter better than chapter 10. Just something like it.
Now you guys might want to brace yourselves for this next bit of news. Are you sitting down? Yes I realize you’re on a computer, smartypants, but it’s possible to stand up and use a computer. Try it sometime. Ready? Here it comes: there’s a contradiction in the Quran. A contradiction! Can you believe it?? The infallible, immutable word of the all-knowing, most wise, most everything God has a fucking contradiction in it. According to chapter 11, you need to create not one, but ten chapters to demonstrate that the Quran is a great big pile of bullshit:
(11:13) Do they say (of the Prophet): “He has forged (the Qur’an)?” Say: “Then bring ten Surahs like it, and call anyone except God to help you, if what you say is true.”
The fuck? What happened to 1? It doesn’t really matter anyway, because chapter 2 goes right back to 1 surah:
(2:23) If you are in doubt of what We have revealed to Our votary, then bring a Surah like this, and call any witness, apart from God, you like, if you are truthful.
Ending it there would be too simple. No, no. Mohammed just can’t leave well enough alone. Chapter 17 goes way the fuck overboard by challenging people to forge the entire Quran if they think they’re so smart. It even says they can get help from jinns!
(17:88) Say: “Surely if men and jinns get together to produce the like of this (Qur’an), they will not be able to produce the like of it, however they might assist one another.
So, for the record, the Quran challenge is to mimic 1, 10 or all 114 chapters of the Quran. No word on what happens if someone succeeds, but my guess is that they’d win an all-expenses paid trip to hell courtesy of the Behead Those Who Insult Islam people. AKA Muslims.
By the way, if you believe in the Quranic miracle of the number 19, then you unknowingly support an idea that proves heresy. The guy who invented the 19 miracle used it to prove that there were two fake verses inserted into the Quran. This really doesn’t jibe well with verses like this one from chapter 10:
(64) For them is good news in the life of the world and in the life to come.
There is no changing the words of God.
See, Rashad Khalifa, the guy who invented the miracle, changed part of the Quran to make them fit his number 19. He actually removed verses 9:128 and 9:129 and claimed they were fake since they threw off the number 19 miracle. Khalifa, by the way, also added his own name in parentheses to 8 verses. The guy actually thought he was a prophet, next in line after Mohammed himself. Yeah. The guy was a nut. And yet the 19 miracle gets tossed around by ig’nant ass Muslims who would do anything — anything — to justify their belief that the Quran is the unalterable word of God.
God himself says it: There is no changing the words of God. But if you believe in the miracle of the number 19, either the Quran is not the unalterable word of God like it claims to be, or the number 19 miracle — a sign that the book is sent by God himself — is a fat load of shit. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Take your pick, babies. Me? I think they’re both bunk. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
(61) There is no state you are in, whether reading from the Qur’an, or doing something else, but We are watching you as you are engaged in it. There is not the weight of an atom on the earth and in the heavens that is hidden from your Lord, nor is there anything smaller or greater than this but is recorded in the perspicuous Book.
Oh would you look at that? Another reference to the book that didn’t exist until after Mohammed died. And a reference to an atom. Clearly this is the word of God because how else could some desert-dwelling illiterate* guy know about atoms in 600 CE? Not so much. As Watercat pointed out in the comment section of another post, that verse is actually referring to “mustard seed” in some older translations or “fleck of dust” in others. But atom sounds so much more impressive, doesn’t it?
Here is yet another reference to the book that didn’t exist:
(94) If you are in doubt of what We have sent down to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book (for a long time) before you. The truth has indeed come to you from your Lord, so do not be one of those who doubt,
I’ve had a few Muslim commenters suggest that same thing to me: if you have doubts about this book, you should go to your local Islamic center and talk to an expert. They’ll learn ya! Incidentally, my answer is and always will be thanks, but no thanks. I can read and think for myself. I don’t need a fucking mullah to do it for me.
But you know what? That’s not even the meat and potatoes of the issue. The verse says if you are in doubt about the Quran, you should talk to someone. How the fuck can someone doubt the Quran if it is what it says it is? Lets hop in the time machine and travel way back to chapter 2:
(2:2) This is The Book free of doubt and involution
Right. Of course it is. Snort.
* It’s just a myth, remember? Mo managed his first wife’s merchant business. Even Ahmed Ali, king of the apologists, agrees in his footnote on page 153, which, by the way is a run-on sentence of epic proportions:
The Quran is clearly dealing here with the conferment of the Scripture on the Prophet, thus making him and his followers a people of the Book, as until the revelation of the Quran the Prophet was a non-ahl-e-kitab, an ummi, and therefore neither read a Scripture nor wrote, that is, copy it with his right hand, the pen in those days being the sole means of making a copy of a book or Scripture. This, it seems, was misinterpreted to mean that he was illiterate.
Ahmed Ali was either unaware or chose to ignore the hadith that discuss how Khadija, wife number 1, dragged him to hear a Christian convert preach the Bible. Or how there were plenty of other Jews and Christians around who he could have picked up myths and monotheistic ideas from.
Hell, I’ve never read any Buddhist scriptures and I sure as hell have never copied them down, but I can string together a bunch of things I’ve heard from my Buddhist friends. The Quran tries to pass it off like Mohammed lived in a polytheistic bubble and never came across any Christian or Jewish scripture or ideas. That’s just fucking stupid.
Besides, the Quran itself says Mohammed can read. Check it out:
(96:1) Read in the name of your Lord who created
And one more just for good measure:
(96:3) Read, for your Lord is the most beneficient,
Booya. Longest footnote ever.