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

15: Al-Hijr (Part II — Devil may care?)

with 40 comments

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.
(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:

  • 25:54
  • 25:45
  • 96:1 & 2
  • 15:26
  • 32:7
  • 38:71
  • 55:14
  • 3:59
  • 30:20
  • 35:11
  • 16:4
  • 19:67

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!


Written by kafirgirl

January 7, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Quran

Tagged with ,

40 Responses

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  1. I’m a little late to the party. Just discovered yur blog, and I am an instant fan. I can’t wait to go back and read your old posts.


    January 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm

  2. Lemme understand this:

    Iblis: Since You have led me into error I’ll beguile them with the pleasures of the world and lead them astray except the chosen ones among Your creatures.
    GOD: Sure thing. You can fuck up anyone except my chosen ones.

    And then the first person Iblis goes on to “lead into error” is Adam – the clay-dude whom God not only chose but actually created.

    I like this Iblis-chap. Nothing says “up yours” quite like messing up god’s original copy.

    You know KG, I did not miss the Koran as much as I missed you. Take it easy.


    January 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm

  3. BTW… I had to look up excrable. It means detestable, despicable… AKA piece-of-shit.


    January 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm

  4. 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.

    I somehow never connected those dots together. Great observation, KG. I love learning new things.


    January 7, 2009 at 11:27 pm

  5. OT: Call me cynical, but isn’t it forbidden in Islam to create pictures (including art) of people (or even animals)?

    If so, isn’t this Muslim website haram?



    January 8, 2009 at 12:01 am

  6. OT Michael: No, not necessarily. As with most other things, there is a variety of opinions on this issue. I’m sure you can find some scholar somewhere to haraamize the site, but it wouldn’t be binding on any other Muslim.

    Happy to Be Gone

    January 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

  7. “Tingly” clay? Did God add some spearmint extract to the water or something?


    January 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm

  8. Some clay they use in those spa mud baths is tingly. I think it is because of the minerals in it. That is a really weird image.


    January 8, 2009 at 6:40 pm

  9. water, clay, blood, dust, semen, and nothingness

    OK, I’ve been pondering this all day …

    Where did the blood and semen come from? Chimpanzees?


    January 8, 2009 at 8:31 pm

  10. Recently i’ve been left wondering why the devil is represented as the one that posesses the faculties of intellect, the arts, etc. Does anyone have any idea?


    January 8, 2009 at 9:51 pm

  11. “OK, so God created jinns from intense radiated heat. Sounds fancy!”

    I declare all translators wrong and offer my own :)

    It’s interesting how each translator has a different take on the same two Arabic words (Nar & Al-Semoum.) The first word is FIRE. The second one, according to my ragged Arabic-Arabic dictionary, is basically SWIFT. So Iblis is made of swift fire. I strongly advice against inviting him for ice cream.

    So much for the Quran being plain reading.


    January 9, 2009 at 3:57 am

  12. what exactly is hard, tingly, clay? how does clay tingle?

    ps: good to have you back KG :-) take it easy and rest if you need to…especially since we know now that you’re still alive.


    January 9, 2009 at 5:49 am

  13. Looks like Iblis was a real freethinker, and had some balls too!


    January 9, 2009 at 6:10 am

  14. Greenishblue, welcome to the party =)

    Robin, funny. I always think of this tingly mint mud mask I have. The fermented part is what throws me off. How exactly does clay ferment?

    Priest, good question. He’s certainly the character I feel most sympathetic towards. Maybe it’s just because his motivation is clear. He’s got some dimension to him. I can understand why he did what he did. God, on the other hand, spews out “Do it or I’ll fuck you up,” and I have no idea where the guy’s coming from.

    Elis, swift fire? Like a fireball? Makes more sense than smokeless fire, I guess!

    Yoke, thanks dude. I do need to take it easy. I don’t know what that face-cougher infected me with, but I haven’t felt this crappy in years. I’m going back to work today though. Too much going on to skip out for 3 days in a row. *Le sigh*


    January 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

  15. Wait, am I missing something. Adam was created immortal, only becoming mortal after the fall.

    And “the day of Doom”, “the day the dead are raised”, and the “the predetermined time” are things that come about after the fall, there was no dead when Adam was created he was the first.


    January 9, 2009 at 6:37 pm

  16. GAD: Even if Adam were initially immortal, you can’t have worshiping of idols (others other than Allah), so the point is still valid (even if the Quran — gasp — again has an error). Look at how bent-out-of-shape Muslims get over the Trinity. Allah doesn’t allow worship to anyone but himself (including proxies), but he demanded Iblis to prostrate himself before (worship) Adam. Allah set Iblis up.


    January 9, 2009 at 7:59 pm

  17. Michael: I don’t know if Bow down is worshiping or not, that was not my point in any case. If the events being described happened at the creation of Adam then that is a far bigger issue then any question of worshiping.


    January 9, 2009 at 8:52 pm

  18. GAD, I’m not sure I get what you’re saying. If I’m reading it right, you’re saying that death and judgment day were created after Adam. Not before. Buuuut I don’t know that we can pull that from these verses.

    God created jinns before he created Adam. And they have free will, etc. They, too, will go to either heaven or hell — so death & hell may have existed before Adam.


    January 10, 2009 at 11:09 am

  19. KG, that is what I was getting at, and that is very interesting. If that is the case that is a huge departure from the bible, as well as Adam being created mortal.

    A world before Adam (search Preadamites) has a long history outside the bible, but not in it.


    January 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

  20. i may not be an expert on this sort of deal, but if i created a universe, and especially if i am omniscient and knowing of the future, i wouldn’t create a being so powerful he could rival me and allow him to lead my creations astray with evil.

    God is a fucking moron. He won’t destroy him either. i wonder what the book of Mo says about that shit [if anything at all], and what the end of days saga is like in Islam. It may be stupid in christianity, but at least it’s profitable!


    January 10, 2009 at 7:16 pm

  21. Another thing, if man was created after the jinn, and because of his ‘fall’ was made mortal, why not make Iblis mortal too? Great, my fucking head hurts now.


    January 10, 2009 at 7:36 pm

  22. Priest: I don’t have my references handy (yeah, I’m lame), but I believe that at the end of days in Islam, the Muslim Jesus (Isa) comes back to Earth to kill all the Christians. (Of course, there is more to it, but you get the idea: The good guys in the Bible are the bad guys in the Quran and vice-versa.)


    January 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm

  23. when I die and go to hell, I get my very own gate with my name on it? Sweet! Much better than a bunch of communal couches (which I don’t qualify for, because I am a girl.)

    do I get my own hellhound too, or do I have to pay extra?


    January 10, 2009 at 11:35 pm

  24. Hi Kafira .Wish u a happy new year. Hope u r recovering from flu.

    BTW, whether Iblis was an angel or a jinn wud require a specially dedicated post from you. First question …when was the comamnd to prostrate to Adam given by Allah to the angels? Before creation of Adam as Chapter 15 says? Or after creation of Adam as Chapter 2 says?


    January 11, 2009 at 5:42 am

  25. Dunno if you do memes, but I’d be interested in your response, so: Tag!

    Felicia Gilljam

    January 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm

  26. I remember learning about the Islamic apocalypse in college, but all I really recall is that Isa/Jesus is supposed to kill somebody with a spear, which doesn’t sound too Christ-like to me.


    January 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

  27. Michael, thanks for the tidbit there, it makes sense in a religious-bullshit way. As for Isa coming back and going gung-ho with a spear, well if i were crucified, i’d be pissed too. Moreso in islam, where he doesn’t get to rule forever.
    What was the point of the jinn bowing to Adam anyway?


    January 11, 2009 at 11:01 pm

  28. Priest, try this for starters:


    Scroll down to the ‘Isa (Jesus) in the Hadith section. I remember reading somewhere that if you compare the Islamic (Quran/Hadith) end-times with the Bible’s end-times, they are opposites — all of the good guys in Islam are the bad guys in the Bible and vice-versa. I’m sure Muslims would just say that’s because the Bible has been corrupted. Still a bit interesting. I’ve been meaning to read more about the end-times for both, but frankly, it numbs my brain, so I haven’t yet.

    I think the point of making the jinn (or angels, I’m confused on this point right now) bow to Adam is it set Iblis (and us) up for failure. Allah wanted someone to lead us into sin and hellfire. That’s just how he rolls.


    January 12, 2009 at 12:38 am

  29. Here’s fun narrative of Jesus’ return to earth: http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/367/


    January 12, 2009 at 12:40 am

  30. I think the point of making the jinn (or angels, I’m confused on this point right now) bow to Adam is it set Iblis (and us) up for failure. Allah wanted someone to lead us into sin and hellfire. That’s just how he rolls.

    But remember at the time he was asked to bow there seems to already be, death, hell and a planned judgment day. Looks like we were fucked from the start.

    Also in the answering-islam link note the clay birds reference. This is also a popular story outside of the bible but not in it.



    January 12, 2009 at 2:40 am

  31. So, please correct me if I’m not reading this right, but what I’m getting is this. Iblis will have no power over people unless they fall into error and follow Iblis, which could only happen if Iblis has some power over them. So, Iblis can have power only over people over whom he has power. The only ones not in this closed tautological circle are those God has already chosen for some undisclosed reason. Free will is dead.

    That’s some plain reading indeed right there. Good to have you back posting Kafirgirl. But do get better.


    January 12, 2009 at 3:17 pm

  32. Ahem..I just realized that my last comment could be taken in a way not intended. Your writing is already great. I meant I hope your health gets better. :)


    January 12, 2009 at 5:26 pm

  33. Doesn’t God’s being omniscient pretty much mean free will is impossible anyway?


    January 12, 2009 at 8:27 pm

  34. Bahahaha, hilarious, liquidthinker. I totally didn’t read it that way until your second comment =) Also, your free will thing made my head hurt. Free will us not has?

    Nathan, bingo! That’s the part I can’t get around. He says we have free will, but then he also says that he controls everything and is omniscient. Uhh…how, exactly?


    January 13, 2009 at 8:49 am

  35. Free will cannot exist if there is already a predetermined plan, which in turn renders prayer useless.


    January 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

  36. What are you talking about Priest? I’ve been praying for KG to recover from the flu and also for the economy to improve. As far as I can tell, Mission Accomplished on issue_1. Now working on issue_2.


    January 13, 2009 at 5:32 pm

  37. Hi all,

    I came across this terrific animation clip on YouTube. Thought you folks would enjoy it too. It might even reflect some of your life experiences.


    January 13, 2009 at 9:04 pm

  38. HolyDude– Thats an awesome video!


    January 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  39. Holydude, that was fantastic. Thanks for sharing that!


    January 14, 2009 at 2:03 pm

  40. Touche, Rahul.
    i prayed that Senator Frankenstien and Governor AvonLady would get beat by Obama, and i prayed for intelligent discourse, leading to KG posting again!

    Crystal, GAD, Michael – Thanks for the references!


    January 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

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