This is the 16th part of this series, reading The Qur’an; A New Translation by Abdel Haleem. We’ll occasionally compare that to other translations and with tafsirs for clarification. We’re also reading each “chapter” [surah] in order of revelation rather than the order in which they are typically printed. If you missed some of this series, you can see:
my 2nd post on surahs 96, 68 & 73.
my 3rd post on surahs 74, 111 & 81.
my 4th post on surahs 87, 92, 89, 93, 94 & 103.
my 5th post jumping to surah 18.
my 6th post on surahs 100, 108, 102, 107, 109 & 105
my 7th post was on surahs 113, 114, 112 & 53.
my 8th post on surahs 80, 97, 91, 85, 95 & 106.
my 9th post on surahs 101, 75, 104 & 77.
my 1oth post on surahs 50, 90 & 86.
my 11th post on surah 54,
my 12th post on surah 38,
my 13th post on surah 7,
my 14th post on sura 72,
and my 15th post on sura 36.
Sūrah 25 (Al-Furqãn) “The Differentiator”
1Exalted is He who has sent the Differentiator down to His servant so that it may be a warning to all people.
Translator Abdel Haleem says “the differentiator” (Al-Furqãn) is another word for “al-Qur’an”, meaning “that which differentiates right from wrong”. However, ClearQuran and Quran.com both say “the criterion” while Masjidtucson says “the Statute book”. Each of these other translations say that God is “blessed” [enchanted]. Haleem says that his translation uses the word “exalted” instead in accordance with Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, a renowned authority on the Qur’an. I have to agree with this translation, not because Razi’s opinion is so revered but because it would be silly to say that God is blessed, because who could have blessed him?
2It is He who has control over the heavens and earth and has no offspring––no one shares control with Him––and who created all things and made them to an exact measure. 3Yet the disbelievers take as their gods things beneath Him that create nothing, and are themselves created, that can neither harm nor help themselves, and have no control over death, life, or resurrection.
This is the Islamic version of the Christian claim that materialists worship the creature (creation) over the creator. But to be fair, science actually does and always has had practical application in the real world where gods evidently can’t do anything at all. There is no rational reason to believe that anything was ever “created”, at least not “ex-nihilo”, out of nothing. Creationists believe that but atheists do NOT, despite what many religious propagandists insist.
4The disbelievers say, ‘This can only be a lie he has forged with the help of others’––they themselves have done great wrong and told lies––5 and they say, ‘It is just ancient fables, which he has had written down: they are dictated to him morning and evening.’
YOU [God/Muhammad/whoever wrote this] are accusing the unbelievers of telling lies?! A lie is misinformation or information misrepresented with a deliberate intend to deceive. That is what all the holy books are. It is dishonest to assert baseless speculation as if it were a matter of fact, yet that’s what all religions do. It is not a lie to say that the Qur’an and the Bible it is based on are all “ancient fables”; it is a FACT that they are. The unbelievers ARE unbelievers because we do NOT lie! We’re the ones who think the truth matters more than whatever we might rather believe.
The Jewish Torah, the Christian gospels, the Qur’an of Islam, the Kitabi-Aqdas of Bahá’u’lláh, the Hindu Vedas, the Avestas of Zarathustra, the Adi Granth of the Sikhs, the Mahabarata’s Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, and the Urantia Book are all declared by some of their devotees to be the “absolute truth” and the “revealed word” of the “one true god,” and believers of each say the others are deceived. The only logical probability is that they are all deceived, at least to some degree. Everyone who believes in these books still admits that they were written by mere fallible men, and they are asserting alleged “truths” that are not evidently or even possibly true. So the unbelievers are not the ones telling lies here. Quit projecting your own faults onto those who will not share them.
6Say, ‘It was sent down by Him who knows the secrets of the heavens and earth. He is all forgiving, all merciful.’ 7They also say, ‘What sort of messenger is this? He eats food and walks about in the marketplaces! Why has no angel been sent down to help him with his warnings? 8Why has he not been given treasure or a garden to supply his food?’ and the evildoers say, ‘The man you follow is simply under a spell.’ 9See what they think you are like! They have gone astray and cannot find the right way.
We found the right way. We can’t find YOUR way because you prophets and the gods you pretend to speak for can never show the truth of your claims. There is no way to test to see if they’re true nor falsify them if they are not. So the “right way” would be not to blindly believe the empty assertions of those who don’t and can’t know what they’re talking about.
I remember being a child on a playground and hearing some other kid say that he could do some clever stunt if he wanted. It was the same as covering up some embarrassing mistake the excuse that “I meant to do that”. It’s the same with these self-appointed prophets. The reason people have to go around doing their gods’ work is because none of their gods can actually do anything themselves, being only imaginary.
11It is actually the coming of the Hour that they reject: We have prepared a blazing fire for those who reject the Hour. 12When it sees them from a distance, they will hear it raging and roaring, 13and when they are hurled into a narrow part of it, chained together, they will cry out for death. 14‘Do not cry out this day for one death, but for many.’
Here again is the empty threat constantly repeated. Blah blah blah, yakety shmackety.
15Say, ‘Which is better, this or the lasting Garden that those who are mindful of God have been promised as their reward and journey’s end?’
They’re both empty promises. Neither one is real.
16There they will find everything they wish for, and there they will stay. [Prophet], this is a binding promise from your Lord. 17On the Day He gathers them all together with those they worship beside Him, He will say, ‘Was it you [false gods] who led these creatures of Mine astray, or did they stray from the path by themselves?’ 18They will say, ‘May You be exalted! We ourselves would never take masters other than You! But You granted them and their forefathers pleasures in this life, until they forgot Your Reminder and were ruined.’
None of this will happen as there is no Heaven, no Hell, no gods or angels or supernatural spirits. They are all but the lies of men.
19[God will say], ‘Now your gods have denounced what you say as lies: you cannot avoid the punishment; you will not get any help.’ If any of you commits such evil, We shall make him taste agonizing torment.
No, you won’t, and I don’t have any gods. I denounce any claim of “truth” that is not evidently true. Thus I must dismiss the whole of the Qur’an.
20No messenger have We sent before you [Muhammad] who did not eat food and walk about in the marketplace.
Because all the prophets were just deluded men making up impossible nonsense and calling it truth, claiming it to be revealed by whatever cultural god they grew up with. The same thing happens today with some people claiming to commune with dead relatives, remember past lives or receive telepathic transmissions from extraterrestrials.
But We have made some of you a means of testing others– will you stand fast? Your Lord is always watching. 21Those who do not fear to meet Us say, ‘Why are the angels not sent down to us?’ or ‘Why can we not see our Lord?’ They are too proud of themselves and too insolent. 22There will be no good news for the guilty on the Day they see the angels. The angels will say, ‘You cannot cross the forbidden barrier,’ 23and We shall turn to the deeds they have done and scatter them like dust. 24But the companions in the Garden will have a better home on that Day, and a fairer place to rest. 25On the Day when the sky and its clouds are split apart and the angels sent down in streams, 26on that Day, true authority belongs to the Lord of Mercy. It will be a grievous Day for the disbelievers. 27On that Day the evildoer will bite his own hand and say, ‘If only I had taken the same path as the Messenger. 28Woe is me! If only I had not taken so and so as a friend– 29he led me away from the Revelation after it reached me. Satan has always betrayed mankind.’
This was prophesied fourteen centuries ago with no expiration date because that day will never come. What will happen instead is that when Islam eventually does become the dominant religion in the world, it will be about the only one left, and it will be greatly diminished. Everyone else will have grown out of their gods. Muslims will too until Allah figuratively dies a quiet and unobserved death.
30The Messenger has said, ‘Lord, my people treat this Qur’an as something to be shunned,’ 31but We have always appointed adversaries from the wicked, for every prophet: Your Lord is sufficient guide and helper. 32The disbelievers also say, ‘Why was the Qur’an not sent down to him all at once?’ We sent it in this way to strengthen your heart [Prophet]; We gave it to you in gradual revelation. 33They cannot put any argument to you without Our bringing you the truth and the best explanation. 34It is those driven [falling], on their faces, to Hell who will be in the worst place– they are the furthest from the right path.
Speak for yourself. You’re trying to reverse everything because all your explanations are obviously only excuses.
35We gave Moses the Book and appointed his brother Aaron to help him.
1) Moses never existed.
2) Even in the sacred fables, Moses wasn’t given the Qur’an, but commandments for how to be Jewish and obey the Jewish version of God.
3) Those commandments (hundreds of them) were based on earlier laws and traditions of men, and some of them were lifted Hammurabi’s Stele of Law, which predates even the earliest estimates for Moses. And The Stele Law Code is on display at the Louvre, where the ark of the covenant only exists in movies.
36We said, ‘Go, both of you, to the people who have rejected Our signs.’ Later We destroyed those people utterly. 37The people of Noah, too: when they rejected their messengers, We drowned them and made them an example to all people.
The fable of Noah’s ark never happened either. We know this for certain.
We have prepared a painful torment for the evildoers, 38as We did for the people of Ad, Thamud, and al-Rass, and many generations in between. 39To each of them We gave warnings, and each of them We destroyed completely.
40These disbelievers must have passed by the town that was destroyed by the terrible rain ––did they not see it?
This refers to a story in sura 15, which we haven’t gotten to yet, because we’re reading in order of revelation. Which means the sequence is wrong. Anyway, “the terrible rain” is another example of fire and brimstone falling from the sky, from a nearby volcano that was later attributed to (or confused with) God.
Yet they do not expect to be raised from the dead. 41Whenever they see you [Prophet] they ridicule you: ‘Is this the one God has sent as a messenger? 42He might almost have led us astray from our gods if we had not stood so firmly by them.’ When they see the punishment, they will know who is furthest from the path.
And when that day never comes, then we’ll know what we already know, that we are ON the right path and would be wise not to believe any of the insane ravings from religious fanatics.
43Think [Prophet] of the man who has taken his own passion as a god: are you to be his guardian?
Other translations replace “passion” with “desire” or “ego”. But how could they be gods? I understand a god to be a magical anthropomorphic immortal, because that’s what every god ever described is. So how could desire, passion or ego be gods?
44Do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are just like cattle– no, they are further from the path. 45Do you not see how your Lord lengthens the shade? If He had willed, He could have made it stand still– We made the sun its indicator– 46but We gradually draw it towards Us, little by little. 47It is He who made the night a garment for you, and sleep a rest, and made the day like a resurrection.
No. The sun is not an “indicator” of day and night. It is the one and only source of daylight. And it doesn’t draw nigh to you. Quran.com says God briefly holds the sun in his hand, but that doesn’t happen either. The sun doesn’t go anywhere relative to the earth. Our world is a spherical orb that spins on it’s axis as it orbits around the sun, and that’s why there is day and night. God doesn’t indicate or grasp or have anything to do with that.
I was going to add that darkness is not a garment, but then I remembered what my closet looks like.
48It is He who sends the winds as heralds of good news before His Mercy.
No, it isn’t. Winds are generated by temperature variance as some places get more intense exposure to the sun than others do.
We send down pure water from the sky, 49so that We can revive a dead land with it, and We give it as a drink to many animals and people We have created.
No, you don’t. Rain is one aspect of the hydrologic cycle of evaporation, condensation and precipitation. Desert nomads might not have understood that in the 7th century, but God would have known that, if he were real. So any and every holy book would have reflected this wisdom or they could not be “his word”. The Qur’an doesn’t, and thus isn’t.
50Many times We have repeated this to people so that they might take heed, but most persist in their ingratitude. 51If it had been Our will, We would have sent a warner to every town, 52so do not give in to the disbelievers: strive hard against them with this Qur’an.
Every town has someone claiming that God speaks to them, and that they are the only ones privy to “revealed truth”. So which one or ones of these crazy nut-jobs are we to believe?
53It is He who released the two bodies of flowing water, one sweet and fresh and the other salty and bitter, and put an insurmountable barrier between them.
Rain isn’t always pure water. It often has trapped CO2 and is thus slightly acidic, eroding the rocks on land into ions of sodium and chloride, the two chemical components of salt, which then run off and accumulate in the oceans.
I don’t know how a god would explain this to Medieval Arabs, but he shouldn’t mislead them by talking about false dichotomies of either 100% pure or 100% salty water. Nor should be bring up impenetrable barriers that don’t exist.
54It is He who creates human beings from fluid, then makes them kin by blood and marriage: your Lord is all powerful!
No and no again. Humans are not created by magic, and we don’t just come from fluid either, though the Qur’an keeps repeating that mistake over and over again. Any god would know that even mammalian females produce eggs, and that semen and egg contribute equal amounts of DNA, which is what determines genetic kinship. Muhammad wouldn’t have known that back in the year, 609, because the human egg is microscopic. The very first microscope didn’t exist until a thousand years later, in 1609. They needed to be much improved before mammalian eggs were discovered until 1827.
The mere fallible men who wrote the sacred fables couldn’t have known about any of this, and that’s why the Qur’an has all these errors in it.
55Yet instead of God they worship things that can neither benefit nor harm them:
We [the unbelievers] don’t worship anything. But science is of great benefit and the absolute best any god can do is only a placebo effect.
the disbeliever has always turned his back on his Lord. 56We sent you only to give good news and warning.
The good news is that none of the holy books are true. The good news is there are no gods or devils and there is no Hell. The good news is that you don’t have to go down into Dan Barker’s basement.
57Say, ‘I am not asking for any reward for it, but anyone who wishes should take a path to his Lord.’ 58Put your trust in the Living [God] who never dies, and celebrate His praise. He knows the sins of His servants well enough: 59it is He who created the heavens and earth and what is between them in six Days, a and then established Himself on the throne–
Wrong again. The earth and this solar system is over four billion years old, in a universe that is nearly ten billion years older than that. Men made up Muhammad’s god just a few thousand years ago.
He is the Lord of Mercy;
Who created a merciless Hell to punish rational people for eternity without mercy. No, he is NOT a lord of mercy, nor could he be one of righteousness either. Fortunately, he is only imaginary.
He is the Best Informed.
Then why does he get everything wrong?
61Exalted is He who put constellations in the heavens, a radiant light, and an illuminating moon–
Constellations are only illusions, like imagining we see animal shapes in the clouds. Constellations are just stars. Natural forces are responsible for them, not the magic of any being in our image, or imagination.
60Yet when they are told, ‘Bow down before the Lord of Mercy,’ they say, ‘What is the Lord of Mercy? Should we bow down before anything you command?’ and they turn even further away.
Those old Arabs were smarter than I thought. It’s a wonder this religion caught on at all. If it weren’t imposed on the point of a sword, I don’t think it would have. If it wasn’t also enforced with barbaric cruelty, I’m sure it would have died out centuries ago.
62it is He who made the night and day follow each other– so anyone who wishes may be mindful or show gratitude.
…to the rotation of earth on its axis as it orbits the sun, none of which was “made” by anyone?
63The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on the earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply, ‘Peace’; 64those who spend the night bowed down or standing, worshipping their Lord, 65who plead, ‘Our Lord, turn away from us the suffering of Hell, for it is a dreadful torment to suffer! 66It is an evil home, a foul resting place!’ 67They are those who are neither wasteful nor niggardly when they spend, but keep to a just balance;
There’s a word I’ve never heard and didn’t trust. So I checked other translations, which say “neither extravagant (wasteful) nor stingy” or “not excessively or sparingly”. Not that it matters anyway, because there is no Hell.
68those who never invoke any other deity beside God, nor take a life, which God has made sacred, except in the pursuit of justice,
How about, don’t take a life when that would cause unnecessary harm or suffering, but take a life only when it minimizes unnecessary harm or suffering. Otherwise death in pursuit of justice is rarely if ever just.
nor commit adultery. (Whoever does these things will face the penalties:
The “penalty” of breaking an oath of fidelity between spouses should be determined either in how they will decide to get past that or how they divide their estate in divorce. It should not be a criminal matter for people nor their gods.
69their torment will be doubled on the Day of Resurrection, and they will remain in torment, disgraced, 70except those who repent, believe, and do good deeds: God will change the evil deeds of such people into good ones. He is most forgiving, most merciful.
Again we see that good and evil don’t matter, only that one believes. But God can’t be the most forgiving or merciful if I already exceed him in both of these things, while he will “double [an eternal] torment”.
71People who repent and do good deeds truly return to God.) 72[The servants of the Lord of Mercy are] those who do not give false testimony,
No, to my experience, the self-professed servants of God typically give false testimony, claiming facts that aren’t facts, pretending to know things no one even can know, and “witnessing” things they’ve never really seen. Religion is based on false testimony. That’s why it requires faith in lieu of evidence.
and who, when they see some frivolity, pass by with dignity;
That is demonstrably not true of Islam, nor Christianity nor Judaism either. Is that true of any religion?
73who, when reminded of their Lord’s signs, do not turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to them; 74those who pray, ‘Our Lord, give us joy in our spouses and offspring. Make us good examples to those who are aware of You’.
Those who talk to themselves to reinforce the delusion that there is an imaginary friend listening.
75These servants will be rewarded with the highest place in Paradise for their steadfastness. There they will be met with greetings and peace. 76There they will stay– a happy home and resting place!
Nope. None of that is true or real.
77[Prophet, tell the disbelievers], ‘What are you to my Lord without your supplication? But since you have written off the truth as lies, the inevitable will happen.’
What you call inevitable is actually impossible, and it isn’t going to happen. Otherwise, yes, I have indeed written off all your demonstrably false assertions as lies, because that is in fact what they are.