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Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:02 pm
by sum
Can anyone tell me if the Koran says that context must be used in order to understand its message and what is applicable only at the time of Muhammad?

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:27 pm
by sum
I can only presume that the lack of response, especially by the muslims, indicates that there is no instruction in the Koran to use context to understand the guidance. Does this therefore mean that the Koran has to be taken in a literal sense and at face value?

It appears to me that the muslims dragged up the context theme to extricate Islam and the Koran from being seen as openly aggressive and unacceptable to the rest of mankind. They play the game two ways - the literal way for themselves and the context way for the non-muslims. To me, context equals taqqiya.

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:12 pm
by pr126

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:25 pm
by sum
Hello pr126

Many thanks.

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:48 pm
by KufirbintKufr
Quran does not have any context as it is not organised in a chronological way plus even in surahs, stories are mixed together, there are repetitions so on...

If someone mentions context in the Quran I know that:
1. He has never read the Quran- did not even see it.
2. He is lying for the sake of islam.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:52 pm
by Bob
Thanks too from me pr126 for referencing the exellent article by K Fariel.

SUM 's question is about the modes of interpretation of the koran. Here, contextualization can mean one of three things.

1) The material and historical context of a koranic 'revelation'. If this is what is meant by context then, as Fariel eloquently expresses it, the koran becomes from an islamic point of view self-contradictory for, far from being a transcendent work valid for all human beings and for all time, it only has a geographically circumscribed and historically determined relevance.

2) Context can also mean the immediate context (surrounding aya) in the koran itelf without references to a material or historical context.

3) Context could also mean the treatment of one theme in different sura.

Whether we choose 1), 2) or 3) to define context the koran itself does not state that the 'real' meaning of its 'revelations' can be determined in this way although Muslims use all three meanings of context to determinine koranic meaning.

The only time the koran itself speaks about the mode of interpretation of its own statemennts is in 3;7


"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental of established meaning (ayatun muhkamatun) ; they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical (mutashabihatun). But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.



So 'Allah' states that in the koran, there are Ayat that are Muhkamat, entirely clear and plain, and these are the foundations of the Book which are plain for everyone. And there are Ayat in the Koran that are Mutashabihat which are not clear except for Allah.

This is one of the koran's most fascinating verses. It states that there are parts of the Koran that are clear but others (allegorical) that are not. Allegories to be understood need to be interpreted but the Koran warns against interpretive readings of its OWN statements. Have Muslims fully realised the implications of what the koran is saying here?

Furthermore, 'Allah' provides NO criteria by which Muhkammat ayat (clear verses) are to be distinguished from the Mutashabihat (unclear, allegorical ones). Just as with the 'numerical miracles' we find that Muslims simply read into the Koran what they want to find there. Stars used as missiles to throw at the jinns? Why it's figurative language of course! Ants and birds using human language and constructing complete sentences? Why it's metaphorical of course! Allah and his 'two hands'? It's simply an 'image' that expresses Allah's power of course! Et cetera, et cetera.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:27 am
by sum
Following on from Bob`s post, I would claim that surah 9 should be interpreted in a literal sense as it does not say that it relates solely for that time. Surah 9 is very clear and does not need to be explained away by allegory. If we accept the muslim claim that the Koran is Allah`s final guidance for all mankind then Allah made a real dog`s dinner out of it, making it very clear that it could not have been from a perfect god. The final message throughout the Koran should be very clear in its meaning and not subject in any way to different interpretations. Does the Koran do this? No. Allah failed exactly as a fallible man would fail. Now, is that a surprise? No. Muhammad was the fallible man.

Koran 3;7
"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental of established meaning (ayatun muhkamatun) ; they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical (mutashabihatun). But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.


Surah 9 stands for all time and muslims are following the literal interpretation. One has only to look at all the worlds events concerning muslim activity, no matter how big or small, to see that they are following the literal interpretation which requires no context. The non-muslim world is facing the context-free literal interpretation of surah 9, the final guidance which abrogates all previous tolerant "revelations".

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:48 pm
by Bob
Indeed if the koran is a clear book of guidance (according to its own self-description) then how can it contain verses that are allegorical and which only Allah can understand - all the more so as 'Allah' does not say which verses are allegorical and which are not?

The koran is a rancid pot pourri of self-contradictions which no amount of abrogations can possibly clarify.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:58 am
by Muhammad bin Lyin
Bob wrote:The koran is a rancid pot pourri of self-contradictions which no amount of abrogations can possibly clarify.


It's rancid poo pourri because it's crappy, which is why many Muslims wear diapers on their head. The more they adhere to Islam, the more need to have a diaper on their head.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:16 am
by The Cat
Bob wrote:Indeed if the koran is a clear book of guidance (according to its own self-description) then how can it contain verses that are allegorical and which only Allah can understand - all the more so as 'Allah' does not say which verses are allegorical and which are not?

Bonjour, mon cher Bob.

In my understanding 3.7 means that a Muslim should follow what is clear -to him- yet must avoid whatever interpretation when in doubt about -any passage- unclear to him. This ayat is stating that -whenever- a Muslim doubt he should rest on it, leaving the matter to Allah, instead of following whomever given explanation as diversion (fitnah), so to remain faithful.

It is thus a key ayat allowing Muslims to refrain from -any- clerical intrusion into his faith, if he sincerely doubts (like a context).

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:46 pm
by sum
Hello The Cat

Quote -
none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.

I suppose that this quote means that only men of learning will understand the Koran`s message despite the Koran saying that it is clear. If it means what I suggest that it could be one of the reasons why regular congregational worship is required - ie, to be taught by the men of understanding. However, this also denies the clarity of the Koran.

I feel that the Koran itself does not demand context. Allah, in his undoubted wisdom and in his final guidance for all mankind, should not and would not have left such an important point unclear. It is another suggestion that Muhammad wrote the Koran and not some god with infinite wisdom.

The only sensible way to read the Koran is in a literal sense and using what might be interpreted as historical events as examples for future action.

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:43 pm
by The Cat
sum wrote:I suppose that this quote means that only men of learning will understand the Koran`s message despite the Koran saying that it is clear. If it means what I suggest that it could be one of the reasons why regular congregational worship is required - ie, to be taught by the men of understanding. However, this also denies the clarity of the Koran.

There's a world of difference, especially when referring to God, between learned men (scholastic, ritual, beliefs, creeds) and men of true
understanding (to comprehend in discernment, without interference, directly from the source, i.e. to have faith). You can learn a skill but
to understand requires qualities from the heart (to stand under). The Koran makes it clear: it was written for the 'ummi' people (common
folks), not for the learned ones. One cannot be 'learned' on God. Those who pretend so are white sepulchers as stated in Matthew 23, or
9.56: And they swear by Allah that they are in truth of you, when they are not of you, but they are folk who are afraid.

I feel that the Koran itself does not demand context. Allah, in his undoubted wisdom and in his final guidance for all mankind, should not and would not have left such an important point unclear. It is another suggestion that Muhammad wrote the Koran and not some god with infinite wisdom.

The heart of the Koran is the Tawhid (oneness) of Allah, everything contrary being shirk, blasphemous. So Muhammad as a partner to God,
as in the Shahadah, is such shirk and to give man-made explanations to the Word of God is yet another. As such even the tafsirs are shirk.
63.2: They make their faith a pretext so that they may turn (men) from the way of Allah. Verily evil is that which they are wont to do...

The only sensible way to read the Koran is in a literal sense and using what might be interpreted as historical events as examples for future action.

You picked up the wrong surah to illustrate your point of view since Al-Imran has a definitive historical context: The Treaty of Najran (631)
between Muhammad and a Christian delegation, where they both agreed to disagree on some details yet ratified a treaty of cooperation,
where Christians became allied and protected under -mutual -conditions aligned with the Medina's Constitution (622). It was to be respected
by Abu Bakr and should act as a binding jurisprudence between them. For one thing on Sunday the Orthodox delegation was allowed to pray
facing East, in the main Medina mosque, proving wrong the actual Saudi Arabia policy from the examples set forth by Muhammad himself!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Medina
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_ ... _of_Najran
http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/foreign_policy/9.htm

This context is clear throughout surah al-Imran (3.3-8; 3.64-67; etc). In the process of transforming the Muslims into Muhammadans,
mainly from the Abbasid dynasty (whom invented most of the Mecca fantasy), and onward, all this has been changed away unto shirk.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:19 pm
by sum
Hello The Cat

I feel that we are drifting away from the subject of this thread in which I asked if the Koran said that context was required to understand its message and guidance. One obvious example would be surah 9 - the last to be revealed and which abrogates all earlier tolerant verses. If this is understood to be taken in its literal sense, then Allah, in this surah, has demanded war against all non-muslims for all time. If context is thrown into the discussion we are faced with the muslim counter argument(taqiyya) that the context means that the onslaught was only for that time and in that particular situation.

There now becomes a world of difference in what the muslims are to abide by. It is either non-aggression with non-muslims as the situation requiring aggression nolomger exists because of context, or, perpetual war and aggression against non-muslims if taken literally without context. This is why I asked if the Koran clearly stated that context was, or was not, required to understand its message.

To the best of my knowledge the Koran is silent on this matter of massive importance. Not only is this an oversight by a perfect Allah but an indication that this oversight could not be from a perfect god but from a fallible man - Muhammad. If Allah felt that context was required, surely he would have said so but this would lead to more problems. Who provides the context - men? Which men - muslims? Will the muslims have a biased and predjudiced angle on events - yes? This is why in the final guidance for mankind that Allah is most remiss in not clarifying this matter. If Allah wanted context to be taken into consideration he would certainly have made it very clear indeed that he did. But he did not.

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:18 pm
by yeezevee
Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

Well I have to say that Quran indeed Must be understood with respect to its time and context., There are numbers of verses which use the word "Parables"
for e.g.
013.017: ... thus does Allah set forth parables. ..
014.024:....and Allah sets forth parables for men that they may be mindful....
014.045
YUSUFALI: ...and We put forth (many) parables in your behoof!"

Also uses the word "Context" in some verses. Every religious book uses these Parables/stories., That means That is an indirect admission, that these books are NOT from Alla/God and are NOT permanent but telling the believers silly stories to enforce belief in respected followers. Same thing goes to Cults, except in the case of cults the leader uses these parables and his followers for his selfish needs..

with best
yeezevee

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:13 am
by The Cat
sum wrote:I feel that we are drifting away from the subject of this thread in which I asked if the Koran said that context was required to understand its message and guidance. One obvious example would be surah 9 - the last to be revealed and which abrogates all earlier tolerant verses. If this is understood to be taken in its literal sense, then Allah, in this surah, has demanded war against all non-muslims for all time. If context is thrown into the discussion we are faced with the muslim counter argument(taqiyya) that the context means that the onslaught was only for that time and in that particular situation.

There now becomes a world of difference in what the muslims are to abide by. It is either non-aggression with non-muslims as the situation requiring aggression nolomger exists because of context, or, perpetual war and aggression against non-muslims if taken literally without context. This is why I asked if the Koran clearly stated that context was, or was not, required to understand its message.

The historical context of Surah 9 is the Battle of Tabouk, not the battle itself (which didn't happen) but rather to the situation that
Muhammad found in Medina upon his return: the Medina Constitution has been trampled by all kinds of misbehavings which he had to
correct. It's noteworthy that his journey to Tabouk resulted in another treaty of cooperation with people of the area, so it can't refers
to an endless war with them, thus surah 9 refers to correcting an -internal- situation (9.11; 9.47; 9.54). In this trouble-makers had four
months to come into term, leave or face harsh consequences, which is a definite -intern- situation. That is why this surah is called
Repentance (Tawbah) or Disavowal (Bara'ah), hardly indicating any external threat! It's the only sura without lecturing the Bismillah !
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tabouk

To the best of my knowledge the Koran is silent on this matter of massive importance. Not only is this an oversight by a perfect Allah but an indication that this oversight could not be from a perfect god but from a fallible man - Muhammad. If Allah felt that context was required, surely he would have said so but this would lead to more problems. Who provides the context - men? Which men - muslims? Will the muslims have a biased and predjudiced angle on events - yes? This is why in the final guidance for mankind that Allah is most remiss in not clarifying this matter. If Allah wanted context to be taken into consideration he would certainly have made it very clear indeed that he did. But he did not.

Whatever is historical has a context. But some concepts are admittedly 'similitudes' like Hell and Heaven (2.24-26; 47.15).

9.123-125: O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah
is with those who keep their duty (unto Him). ---And whenever a surah is revealed there are some of them who say: Which one of you hath
thus increased in faith ? As for those who believe, it hath increased them in faith and they rejoice (therefor). ---But as for those in whose
hearts is disease, it only addeth wickedness to their wickedness, and they die while they are disbelievers.


This is -again- stressing that the fight is internal, within Islam and its own hypocrites (underlined throughout surah 9, like 9.66-107).
So if Muhammad had to harshly redress Islam in Medina, so Muslims are commanded to reform their own faith hijacked by corrupters!

9.126-129 (closing words of the Koran): See they not that they are tested once or twice in every year? Still they turn not in repentance,
neither pay they heed. ---And whenever a surah is revealed, they look one at another (as who should say): Doth anybody see you? Then
they turn away. Allah turneth away their hearts because they are a folk who understand not. ---There hath come unto you a messenger,
(one) of yourselves, unto whom aught that ye are overburdened is grievous, full of concern for you, for the believers full of pity, merciful.
---Now, if they turn away (O Muhammad) say: Allah sufficeth me. There is no God save Him. In Him have I put my trust....


If we are going with the abrogation principle, this is -the final- binding for all Muslims, abrogating ALL preceding verses!

Muslims are to be full of pity & merciful.
Scarry... but for the hypocrites Mullahs!
Image

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 8:51 pm
by sum
Hello The Cat

I am aware of most of what you have written about the historical context of surah 9 but that is not the matter under discussion. The matter under discussion is whether or not the Koran clearly says that context is required to understand its message. I claim that the Koran does not insist or imply context and, bearing in mind that it says that the message is clear, it should therefore be taken at its literal word. This means that Islam is at permanent war with the non-muslim world as per surah 9. Present day world events support this.

Please bear in mind the letters sent out by Muhammad and the caliphs inviting neighbouring countries to embrace Islam and accept Muhammad as a prophet otherwise force would be used to establish Islamic rule. OBL invited the USA to embrace Islam knowing full well that this invitation would be ignored therefore giving OBL the Islamic excuse to wage war against the USA. This line of action certainly supports the literal reading and understanding of the Koran, surahs 9, 5 and others, and its relevance to the present day, not just at the time of Muhammad. I also claim that Muhammad and the caliphs had the true and original understanding of Islam.

sum

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:47 pm
by Muhammad bin Lyin
sum wrote:Hello The Cat

I am aware of most of what you have written about the historical context of surah 9 but that is not the matter under discussion. The matter under discussion is whether or not the Koran clearly says that context is required to understand its message.


What good is historical context when we are talking about a book that is supposed to be instruction for all times?? Historical context should have nothing to do with it's instructions because they were not supposed to be instructions for a specific time, but rather for all time. Notice how it's only the bad parts that Muslims try to apply the historical context to, rather than saying is has no time context as they would say with the non problematic verses. So when Muslims need it, there is an historical context, and when they don't, there isn't. Just more of the same of their "self fulfilling prophecy".

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:38 pm
by The Cat
sum wrote:The matter under discussion is whether or not the Koran clearly says that context is required to understand its message.
The context is required since we're dealing with chronological revelations which are contextuals.

17:36 Follow not that whereof thou hast no knowledge. Lo! the hearing and the sight and the heart - of each of these it will be asked.

13.38: For everything there is a time prescribed (for every given context, there is a different prescription).

29:43 As for these similitudes, We coin them for mankind, but none will grasp their meaning save the wise.

I claim that the Koran does not insist or imply context and, bearing in mind that it says that the message is clear, it should therefore be taken at its literal word. This means that Islam is at permanent war with the non-muslim world as per surah 9. Present day world events support this.

If the Quran is wholefully literal then surah 9 is strickly of internal affairs. It's only by unmentioned 'similitudes' that surah 9 could be
extended like you do. Then again, this 'similitude' would first imply that Muslim should clean up Islam of their own hypocrites (all those
disbelievers masquerading as believers) and I believe that Mullahs wouldn't like it. So they rather redirect and deceit, transforming
Muslims into Muhammadans, like in Ibn Kathir's interpretation of 9.5 meant for all time in his tafsirs.

The most renowned Islamic scholar, Al-Ghazali, wrote (*) that ''The number of the clear verses is 500."! Since the Koran has more than
6,200 verses about 92% of them aren't clear, more so since many ayats are declared similitudes. (*) Suyuti, 'Itqan Fii 'Ulum Al-Qur'an,
Al-Hai'ah Al-Misriyah Al-'Aamah Lil-Kitab, 1975, Part II, Section 65: Al-'Ulum Al-Mustanbata Men Al-Qur'an.

Its poetic style (copying the Psalms) makes it literally impossible to be literal! The only literal Koran would be the one kept in heaven.
First of all a Muslim is to follow his conscience, untroubled by man-made allegations. This make all the tafsirs and the hadiths non
authoritative. Ayat 3.7 emphasizes freedom of conscience over any sectarian creed. A true Muslim, a Mu'min, shouldn't adhere to
-anything- that pretends to be an intermediate between he and Allah! (30.30-32, 6.115-116). Thus Muhammadans aren't Muslims... !

Please bear in mind the letters sent out by Muhammad and the caliphs inviting neighbouring countries to embrace Islam and accept Muhammad as a prophet otherwise force would be used to establish Islamic rule.

The letter to Heraclius is demonstratively false since he only went to Jerusalem in March 630, while Abu Sufyan reportedly met him
there in 628 (Bukhari 1.1.6). Then, in 630, Abu Sufyan was a Muslim, contrary to Bukhari assertion. His wording of 'Byzantines' is
also anachronistic. This expression only came into use from 1557 and only in Western Europe. Arabs knew them as Rums (Romans).
Same thing with the letter to the Egyptian governor 'Muqawqis', whom is absolutely unknown. That's another blur from Ibn Ishaq or,
I'd rather say, Ibn Hisham written... 150 years after Muhammad.

OBL invited the USA to embrace Islam knowing full well that this invitation would be ignored therefore giving OBL the Islamic excuse to wage war against the USA. This line of action certainly supports the literal reading and understanding of the Koran, surahs 9, 5 and others, and its relevance to the present day, not just at the time of Muhammad. I also claim that Muhammad and the caliphs had the true and original understanding of Islam.

Did OBL have THE authority to represents Islam and the Koran as to cast such a global war?

So, WHO has this authority? And WHO has the authority in Islam to state that the Koran in its globality is to be understood literally or
allegorically when such a scholar as Al-Ghazali stated that most of it was subject to interrogations. Extremists will understand literally
be they Christians (sola scriptura), Jews (ultra-orthodox) or Muslims (Muhammadans).

In the end, the very notion of G-d is but anthropomorphic allegories better described by myths (similitudes) and poetry than dogmatic prose.
So Jews define four layers of biblical understanding: Pshat (literal); Remez (allegorical); Derasha (depth questioning); Sod (inner, mystical).

30.27: His is the Sublime Similitude in the heavens and the earth.
30.28: He coineth for you a similitude of yourselves..... We display the revelations for people who have sense.
14.25: Allah coineth the similitudes for mankind in order that they may reflect.
10.94: And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. (i.e. ask The People of the Book).

4.150: Lo! those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers, and seek to make distinction between Allah and His messengers, and say:
We believe in some and disbelieve in others, and seek to choose a way in between; 4.151: Such are disbelievers in truth.....

In truth then Muhammadans are disbelievers!

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 9:42 pm
by Bob
Bonsoir tout le monde,

I think the important issue is not whether such or such a verse can or cannot be understood without supplying the non-koranic context of its 'revelation'. The job of early commentators was to supply such a context in order to make the koran comprehensible. The important question as sum states is : Does the koran itself stipulate that in order for it to be fully understood then some form of 'contextualization' is necessary? And the answer is NO! As has been pointed out, the only time the koran tries to supply a hermeneutic protocol is in 3:7 and this aya, instead of making comprehension easier, makes things more difficult as it raises more questions than it solves.

The very first Muslims had no tafsir, no codified fiqh, no sira al-rasool. They only had the koran and their memories of Mohammed. As pious Muslims they invaded, subdued, occupied and oppressed their non-Muslim neighbours from Iberia to Mesopotamia and beyond, without the slightest provokation and, in the process, introduced among other forms of social re-organization, the trans-Saharan slave trade.

Re: Does the Koran say that context is required to understand...

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:19 am
by Muhammad bin Lyin
Muhammad bin Lyin wrote:
sum wrote:Hello The Cat

I am aware of most of what you have written about the historical context of surah 9 but that is not the matter under discussion. The matter under discussion is whether or not the Koran clearly says that context is required to understand its message.


What good is historical context when we are talking about a book that is supposed to be instruction for all times?? Historical context should have nothing to do with it's instructions because they were not supposed to be instructions for a specific time, but rather for all time. Notice how it's only the bad parts that Muslims try to apply the historical context to, rather than saying is has no time context as they would say with the non problematic verses. So when Muslims need it, there is an historical context, and when they don't, there isn't. Just more of the same of their "self fulfilling prophecy".