We read the Quran so you don’t have to.

12: Joseph (Part IV — God lies)

with 24 comments

Here’s the first in the series of posts I’ve been working on.  It was done at the airport on the day I left.  To all the Paki fundos who emailed asking if I’d like to meet up to discuss religion in person…no thanks!  To everyone who wanted to make sure I wasn’t in the earthquake region, I’m not.  I’m a-OK.  Super homesick and pining away for the old ball-n-chain, but otherwise OK.  Thanks for the well wishes.  I’ll be back on a plane tomorrow night and should be back by Saturday morning.  Expect a ton more posts.

You know what I hate the most about airports?  Bad coffee.  It’s always either Starbucks (which tastes like charred feet) or the gas station style DIY stuff (water with a little coffee flavor).  And they have the audacity to charge $2.50 for the stuff.  Traveling is a goodnfast way to remind myself how wonderful my home life really is.  What with the shadegrown, organic, pays-workers-even-more-fairly-than-Fair-Trade java we spoil ourselves with.  *Le sigh*

Anyway, where were we?  Oh I know.  I was taking my sweetass time getting through chapter 12, taking things line by line and really savoring the newness of it all.  Two more segments, and I swear we’ll move on.  Just let me enjoy this story while I can, plzkthnx.

So far we’ve watched poor Joseph get screwed over by his own brothers, accused of rape, and sent to prison, where he interpreted some dreams that eventually won him his freedom and landed him a cushy government job.  And that’s when the story gets really interesting.  Lets jump right in.

(58) The brothers of Joseph came (to Egypt) and visited him. He recognised them, though they did not recognise him.
(59) When he had supplied their provisions, he said to them: “Bring your (half) brother with you. Have you not seen that I have given full measure, and that I am the best of hosts?

OK, so Joseph is working for Mr. Egypt now (which must be pretty awkard for that wiley old vixen, Mrs. Egypt).  His half brothers just arrived in town to business with him.  Joseph, of course, recognizes them right away, but they don’t recognize him.  This is the stuff movies are made of.  Really, really bad movies.

Joseph goes on to tell his brothers that if they don’t bring their half brother to him, they won’t be able to do business together.  Which, what the fuck, should be setting off some serious alarms for the half brothers.  Here’s what would happen if I was a half brother and Joseph had just made the same demand:

A) How did you know we have a half brother?
B) Hang on a sec. Your name is Joseph?
C) OMFG you’re the guy we threw in a well all those years ago.
D) Run away!  Run away!!

But no.  That’s now how the brothers roll.  Here’s what they say:

(61) They said: “We shall request his father, and will certainly do that.”

Not the brightest bunch, Jacob’s kids.  Joseph is a pretty clever guy, though.  Just to make sure they come back, he puts their money back in their packs.  In other words, he pretends to be a generous guy to trick them into coming back.  That’s the kind of shit a man of God would do!

Anyway, Joe’s bros go to their father and ask his permission to take thier other half brother back to Joseph.  (Was that confusing enough for you?)  Now, knowing what happened the last time these yo-yo’s took a kid somewhere, I’d probably say, “Fuck no, you’re not taking him anywhere!”  But that’s not quite what daddy says:

(64) He replied: “Should I trust you with him as I did his brother? But God is the best of guardians, and most merciful of all.”

That’s right.  God’ll take care of him.  Just like he took care of the last one, you fucking moron.  It’s like having sex with a hooker and not using a condom.  “I could get genital warts, but what the hell.  God’ll take care of me.”  Newsflash for you religious types:  There is no God.  Take care of yourself.

(65) When they unpacked their goods they said: “O father, what more can we ask? Look, even our money has been returned. We shall go and bring a camel-load more of grain for our family, and take good care of our brother. That will be an easy measure.”

You know what?  Maybe this is just because I’m a city girl, but this is some retardedly suspicious stuff.  As in if you don’t find this suspicious, you must be retarded.  The guy knows they have a half brother.  He tells them to bring the half brother or else there will be no more grain for them.  He gives them a camel-load of grain but he doesn’t charge them for it.  What the fucking fuck?  That’s the kind of shit the mafia does right before they pull out the Quick Mix cement and buckets.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably fucking is.  Then again, a little common sense never gets in the way of religious stupidity.  Joseph’s father shrugs it off, just so long as the boys will — get this bullshit — swear to God that they’ll bring their brother back.

(66) He said: “I will never send him with you until you swear by God that you will bring him back to me, unless all of you are overtaken (by misfortune).” When they had given their promise, he said: “God is witness to our conversation.”

Hell-oh?  These are the same guys who threw a kid down a well, found some goat or camel blood to smear on his shirt and then lied about a wolf eating him.  They’re liars.  Swearing to God is good for two things:  jack and shit.

Anyway, they go back to Joseph with their half-brother in tow.  Joseph reveals his secret to his real brother, and then he does this:

(70) When he had given them their provisions he put his goblet in his brother’s saddle-bag. Then a crier announced: “O men of the caravan, you are thieves.”

He lies to them.  He tricks them.  He decieves them.  He’s supposed to be a man of God, pious as fuck, flawless in every way.  And he’s a liar.  Here’s how it does down:

1. Joseph puts the goblet in his “real” brother’s bag.
2. His servants cry thief.
3. Everyone agrees that the owner of the bag which the goblet is is will be held in punishment.
4. They search for the goblet, starting with the half-brothers’ bags for dramatic effect.
5. They find the goblet in the real brother’s bag and keep him prisoner.

This is what God has to say about the whole thing:

(76) That is how We planned an excuse for Joseph, for under the law of the king he could not detain his brother unless God so willed. We raise the status of whom We please. Over every man of knowledge there is one more knowing.

That’s right:  God condones lying!  He’s a-OK with planting false evidence and accusing people of shit they didn’t commit (which, come to think of it, is how Joseph ended up in prison the first time around, right?).

I’m cutting in here to share what I hate most about airplanes:  children.  Babies.  Toddlers.  Pretty much anyone under the age of 16.  Not a fan.  Especially when they kick my seat and / or cry and / or make noises.  Even more than the screaming, crying child thrashing about wildly, I hate parents who don’t do anything about it.  They just sit there with a blank expression as their little asshole of a child makes everyone else’s life miserable for, I dunno, a 19 hour flight.  I have vivid fantasies about sneaking some Benadryl in the baby bottle but I’m pretty sure there are laws against that sort of thing, even in airspace.  Sad.

Anyway, back to the story.  The half-brothers call the guy a thief and ditch his ass, although there is an attempt at trying to cover their asses somewhat.

(78) They said: “O Minister, he has an aged father, so keep one of us in his place. We see you are a virtuous man.”

Joseph doesn’t let them get away with that sort of thing.  The “thief” doesn’t get off the hook for anything.  The brothers have to go back to the father minus one more son.  And he’s so pissed that he beats the shit out of them and throws them all down a well.  OK, not really.  This is what he says:

(83) “No,” said (the father). “You have made up the story; but patience is best; God may bring them back to me. He is all-knowing and all-wise.”
(84) He turned away from them and cried: “Alas for Joseph!” And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.

He does what good religious people are supposed to do:  nothing.  It’s the same impotent “God knows best” bullshit he’s been spouting all along.  Also, he goes blind from the stress, which kind of reminded me of this episode of “Band of Brothers.”  Apparently stress will do that to you, and it’s temporary.  I’ll believe “Band of Brothers” over the Quran any day.

Check out how sensitive Joseph’s half-brothers are:

(85) “By God,” said they, “you will never stop thinking of Joseph till you are consumed or perish.”

Wow.  What a bunch of assholes.  I bet Joseph just died when they had to go back to him and beg for food:

(88) When they returned to him, they said (to Joseph): “O Minister, calamity has befallen us and our people. We have brought but a meagre sum, but give us full measure as alms bestowed. God surely rewards those who give alms.”

Aww sad.  Nobody should have to beg.  But, erm, quick question:  what happened to all that money Joseph put back in their bags?  Just sayin’.  I wouldn’t put it past these guys to blow all that money on booze and lottery tickets on their way back to Joe’s.  They have a reputation for lying, you know.

At this point in the story, Joseph finally (FINALLY!) reveals his true identity:

(89) He said: “Do you know what you did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?”
(90) They said: “Surely you are not Joseph!” “I am Joseph,” he said, “and this is my brother. God has been gracious to us; for God does not verily deprive those who fear Him and are patient of the recompense of those who are good.”

The fuck?  Where has Joseph been this entire story?  God’s graciousness has been pretty hit or miss so far.  But that’s just like religious folks.  If God bends you over and fucks you black and blue, you’re supposed to say “Thank you,” and hope for more.  It’s Stockholm syndrome through and through.  Not that they see it this way.

Anyway, the half-brothers finally realize that Joseph is not only their father’s favorite, but also God’s favorite.

(91) They said: “By God, God has favoured you above us, for we have indeed been sinners.”
(92) “There is no blame on you today,” he said, “May God forgive you. He is the most merciful of all.

We suck, Joseph, you rock.  We get it, we get it.  We’re not worthy.  At least the little shit was halfway decent about the matter.  If he was at all bitchy or snarky, I wouldn’t blame the bros for punching him in the nuts.

This next part caught me off guard because it’s exactly what happened in “Band of Brothers”:

(93) Take my shirt and put it on my father’s face; his eyesight will be restored; and bring your entire family to me.”

…ok, not really.  The guy’s eyesight came back on its own once he rested up.  No magic shirt necessary.

Coming up next:  more Joseph. More brothers. Does this chapter ever end?  Stay tuned to find out!


Written by kafirgirl

October 29, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Posted in Quran

24 Responses

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  1. Not that I’m encouraging you to read the Christian Bible, but the story was way better before it got Islam-ized.

    Your commentary improves the telling, though. Thanks and keep it up!


    October 30, 2008 at 11:47 am

  2. That’s right: God condones lying!

    Not only does Allah condone lying, but several times in the Quran he admits to deceiving his believers. Sweet! Plus, of course, Muhammad told his followers they could lie to gain the trust of at least one non-Muslim so they could assassinate him. And Muhammad is a beautiful model of conduct.

    Hope you have a safe flight!


    October 30, 2008 at 12:44 pm

  3. I’m all for believing Band of Brothers over any religious text–Captain Winters would never stoop to the kind of amoral conduct most prophets get up to. Also, he’s dishy as hell. As my grandmother says, “Wouldn’t you just wanna follow him through the desert?”

    Now I have to go home and watch BOB again. I smell a new liveblogging opportunity (after the Bible, of course).

    Sarah Beedoo

    October 30, 2008 at 2:48 pm

  4. Ain’t it great to have an actual narrative, with a sequence of events you can sorta follow? Instead of a lot of disconnected ravings? This chapter is really different from the rest of the book.

    I’m glad to find someone who agrees with me; ‘charred feet’ is a good description of Starbucks coffee. I was back in Seattle when the christains got all in a tizzy and made them change their “obscene” logo, too. Craziness.


    October 30, 2008 at 4:21 pm

  5. Yo KG! Welcome back!

    Jo’s story reads like a string of Godly Failure. But the nerve to sum up this litany of sheer incompetence with “We raise the status of whom We please”….

    God plays spin-the-bottle and if it points to you then just drop your pants, bend over and let him have his way. And since He is all-knowing and all-wise, He decides whether lube is needed and how much.


    October 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm

  6. That “whom we please” bit is really getting on my nerves too. It keeps pounding in the point that nothing matters: even the faith they keep demanding won’t save you if god happens to get a bug up his ass.

    A moral guide book would say “do X–> god rewards you.” This says “do whatever–> if gods in a good mood, you might get a reward,and then again you might not.” It completely obviates any reason to worship the fucker, or even to behave morally.


    October 30, 2008 at 6:33 pm

  7. Whew!! Nice work girl! Keep it up.. btw, m a paki 2..


    October 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  8. @Alice.. bet it was better b4 ’twas christian-ed .. moses prolly had the best version, or maybe the pagans did or whaeva..


    October 30, 2008 at 7:36 pm

  9. Hey KafirGirl,

    Thank you very much. Charred feet. For years I’ve had in the back of my mind the need to find some description for regular Starbucks coffee. Then you come and nail it. Nicely done.

    An entertaining and informative post as usual. Looking forward to the next. But I have to say, this Islam sounds a bit like the Plan 9 of religions…

    (formerly TimJ)


    October 30, 2008 at 9:04 pm

  10. i’m just wondering, who exactly is the “we” in “whom we please”? isn’t there supposed to be just one god?

    also, a friend of mine recently converted to islam and he had to change his name to an islamic name. for the life of me i couldn’t figure out why that is necessary but every convert seems to do so.

    so i asked a muslim friend about it and she told me it’s because allah has a preference for names with meaning to him. those with islamic names will be put on the front line in the queue to heaven and those without, will be shoved to the end of the line.

    i almost died from trying too hard not to laugh at that statement. so god only speaks arabic because names from a different language or culture have no meaning to him?

    it just reeks of arab imperialism to me. but hey, what do i know? i’m just a fucking heathen.

    anyways, does anybody here know if that every-muslim-must-have-an-islamic-name thingy written in the quran? or is what my friend told me just some local belief?


    October 31, 2008 at 1:18 am

  11. Yoke

    October 31, 2008 at 1:28 am

  12. KG – another great post!

    Re: “(90) They said: “Surely you are not Joseph!”

    If only Joseph’s response was “Are you f’ing blind AND deaf? Of course I am, and stop calling me Shirley!”

    How did they not recognise him? Or had Joseph been wearing a Groucho Marx glasses and moustache set which, let’s be honest, would fool anyone Biblical in nature.


    October 31, 2008 at 9:39 am

  13. Y’know, I don’t really have the need of a paperweight, but when I should happen to get one, I’ll name it Father of Joseph, because that’s about all the idiot amounts to. Less, really, because I could at least throw the thing at someone.

    Mike Lee

    October 31, 2008 at 10:21 am

  14. YOKE said:

    “Who exactly is the “we” in “whom we please”? isn’t there supposed to be just one god?”

    We also decide on Grammar. We Capitalize whatever we feel like and Verily use terms like “verily” whenever and wherever we please. Surely We is your master and you is our Slave. Now bend over because we are about to elevate you as we please. -GOD.


    October 31, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  15. Welcome Back KG. Nice to hear that you were not in the earthquake zone. Hope you had a good trip back in Pakistan. Will be waiting for your posts. This Joseph stories are way fun to read than the quran!!

    Take care


    October 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm

  16. I’m glad you’re okay. Let’s just hope God doesn’t decide to make you a prophet or something, and you should be fine.


    October 31, 2008 at 1:25 pm

  17. Phrases like “whom we please” and “suffer a terrible doom” repeated over and over might have something to do with the poetic aspect of the koran. Y’know like rhymes or alliteration etc. I don’t understand classical Arabic so I don’t know. To bad the koran can’t be properly translated into any other language. That’s sort of an anti-miracle. If it could be translated perfectly into all languages, now that would be a miracle.

    The book of psalms is poetry written by prophets. That’s what prophets were – poets and musicians – entertainers obsessed with god. Read Samuel 1 chapter 19 verses 20-24. It’s like this:

    I’m a prophet.
    He’s a prophet.
    We’re all prophets.
    Wouldn’t you like to be a prophet too.


    October 31, 2008 at 11:58 pm

  18. Regarding the Muslim names, what about Malcolm X? Somehow I doubt “X” is an Arabic name.


    November 1, 2008 at 2:17 pm

  19. As far as the “we” thing goes, it could be used in the royal sense (i.e. a king says “We are not pleased” when talking about himself…Or there could be multiple gods, trinity-style. At this point either one is plausible.


    November 1, 2008 at 2:30 pm

  20. Too confusing… will have to re-read another time.. glad to have you back..

    Another Kafir

    November 2, 2008 at 10:18 pm

  21. rahul…hahahaha!


    November 2, 2008 at 11:32 pm

  22. There is no reason to change your name when you convert to Islam unless your given name has a bad meaning. I WAS a convert and didn’t change my name and all of the converts I am friends with also did not change their names. Some people I know go by different names in Muslim circles, but never legally changed their names.


    November 4, 2008 at 2:54 pm

  23. Starbucks (which tastes like charred feet)

    Ah, a woman after my own heart. One of the things I loved about Seattle was that even though they have even more Starbuckses per square foot than other cities, there is also an infinite number of other coffee shops. So you can always sit down, enjoy a cup of good coffee, look out at the Starbucks across the street and remind yourself of what it is you’re not having to settle for.


    November 17, 2008 at 12:43 am

  24. Oh, bleah. Forgot to close the <blockquote> tag there.


    November 17, 2008 at 12:44 am

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