Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

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KhaliL
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Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by KhaliL »

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Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

KhaliL FarieL

There is always the plight of context argument with Islam’s holy text Quran. The apologetic version is “Quran cannot be interpreted and understood except with its context.” This paraphrasing is constantly adduced by Islamic apologists whenever any argument against the violent verses within the text is raised.

But the way Islam justifies the divine origin of Quran automatically exclude it from the use of historical method of exegesis. There is this dilemma for Muslims to face. The text in fact is contextual as understood by Muslim explanation of its historical formation. But it is not a version of facts Muslims want to subscribe when they are fomented to believe in the interminable status of the text. Quran is meant for the whole of humanity is the undisputed Muslim belief. The belief proceeds on as the book is pertinent to the end of times.

Is not it implausible to believe in the infinite relevance of Quran and at the same time rise objections to critiques by embarking a context smoke screen? Should not Muslims give up the context excuse if they want to use Quran as a text which’s relevance is distended to the end of times?

There is only an affirmative answer to these questions. Let us see why context argument is logically fallacious and defective for obvious reasons:

If the argument is Quran being contextual:

1. It encompasses the whole of Quran thus effectively spoiling any assay of extracting certain verse or verses from the text and arguing the extracted are excused from context. If Quran is contextual, the entire constituents of the text will be dumped to a certain backdrop or call it context.

2. It constricts the whole of Quran to a certain bound. And within this limit Quran cannot conserve timeless bearing. For example, the “Codex of Aeschines” (c.390-c.322 BCE) or “Codex of Hammurabi” are only understood in their historic context. Consequently they do not have any applicability in the existing time. Similarly, Quran will be locked up in the milieu of history without having any gravity other than a history book.

3. It is incongruous to impose such a notion on Quran owing to the collective Muslim credence; the text is meant for the whole of humanity. Muslims believe, Quran though revealed to their prophet in a specific seventh century context, is meant for the whole of humanity to the end of times. Such a book cannot be confined in the necropolis of history. Mankind did not cease to exist with prophet, and there are more to come. Quran should influence the survived, enduring and forthcoming generations.

From the three obvious flaws of context argument, it can be pondered Quran cannot be tied on a context if the Muslim objective is to thumb it as a book for the whole of mankind not considering of time. As we say; context argument dictates reclining to history which will be deadly for Quran for the reason history does not stand up to the evolving time, or the entire humanity. The exact historical context of Quran is the life history of a man lived in the seventh century Arabian Desert. Or it is the last 23 or years of Muhammad that formed a Quran.

This way of explaining Quran will not help Muslims to reach to the conclusion, text is meant for eternity. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam is considered by Muslims as the final messenger of Allah so; his words and deeds have unceasing bearing. Quran being the sum total of his words (or to concord with Muslims’ belief the summation of words god revealed to Muhammad) can not be a mere historical book by any chance.

This will be more pronounced after knowing the theological context of the text. Since Quran can not be subtracted from Islam, both have to be considered synonymous. If there is Islam, there should be Quran too. If Islam is the reflection of Prophet Muhammad’s life and his teachings, Quran too is the same.

This theological context is more underpinning the contention Quran is not bound to any context but it is relevant to all times to all people. In fact if to accord to Muslims’ belief, we are all living in the context of Quran. Let us see how:

Quran is the words of God. There is not even single word in this text that doesn’t belong to God- Allah. Mostly Allah spoke as the first person, sometimes as second person, and infrequently as third person too. But let the style vary, it is always Allah who is speaking.

And Muslim belief is: Allah is omnipresent. He cannot be constricted to any limit. Allah is eternal so is human beings because when Allah created Adam the first man and sent him to earth as his delegate, he bestowed a convoluted feature of this omnipresence to the creation. That is death is not the end of human beings. They have to resurrect one day to prepare for an eternal life. Be it in paradise, or in eternal hell, the life is there and it is eternal. So, human beings are eternal according to the Islamic credo.

When facts about the god of Islam remains thus, it should be considered any message this god sends to this delegate should necessarily have the above said characteristic of being eternal, because it is Allah who communicates, and he messages his delegate. These messages are everlasting, because they emanate from an everlasting source and at the receiving end there is his delegate who is also an eternal being.

Let us come back to the Quran. Allah spoke to a seventh century Arab in the latter’s language. And all what he said to this prophet is recorded to fructify a Quran. To sum it up, Allah sent his last message to this same prophet then stopped speaking downright. Because god sent his last message and promised to preserve it forever, he will not speak any more until the day of resurrection. He will not send any prophet, since sending a prophet will stir him up again. This is the end. God sent his final messenger, and even though he did not favor immortality to the messenger, he blessed the message with immortality.

So, Quran, Islam’s holy text is not a pushover. It is the ultimate message of god. There is nothing to add or subtract in it. All of its components are divine, equally divine. All are applied to all and all.

In conclusion, if there is a command in Quran, there is no need to look for its historical context since humanity from the formation of Quran to the end of times are living in the context of the text. It is the Muslim belief. God, Gabriel, Muhammad, three key figures formed Quran have infinite relevance, so the making (Quran) too necessarily possess the quality of being interminably relevant. If this is the common Muslim belief pertaining to Quran, there is no room for a context excuse in its case.

Thus, the context excuse in the case of Quran is flawed in its fundamentals.
______________________________________________________________________________

KF

FinallyFree
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by FinallyFree »

Once again nice work and strong arguments!

It's funny how this "contextual approach" is a recent addition and rarely props it's head up in the islamic world-only really when Muslims have to justify the barbaric and absurd content (roughly 95%) of the quran.

ANyway it's time for you to prepare yourself for the verbal abuse from AB and BoT

ukavinda
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by ukavinda »

These arguments about Context does not apply to 98% of Muslims if they come to know the particular Quranic verses which are very clear and damaging and th Hadiths which shows how they were put into actions. They are about, sex , murder, violence etc. which are very clear. Just five or Six articles such as Dr.Ali Sina's Chalnge will do the necessay to undo any Muslim. Why we should waste time to find hair splitting arguments about other things which can be coufused.
These confusions and diversions are brought by Muslim Scholars in order to divert attention form clear damaging things.

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ishraqiyun
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by ishraqiyun »

1. You say that the commands of the Quran do not need to be understood in context and then make a jump from that to "NONE of the Quran needs to be understood in context".


2. If the context is that "x" lead to "y" thus Allah commanded that Muslims take action "z" then you would have to see if a simmilar context was taking place now in order to demand the re/action "Z". Z would always be the proper response if simmilar circumstances take place but knowledge of the historical context in which the revelation was revealed can be helpful in deducing what exactly is required to demand that "z" be implemented.


3. Would you go so far as to say that a single verse doesn't have to be understood in context with the other verses (even the surrounding verses!) ?

4. These are merely "logical" assumptions on your part and are not given by the Prophet himself. He said nothing to the effect that studying the context in which certain statements were revealed to the Muslim community is improper or that it can not shed light on the topic.
"When they see affliction, there are few who adhere to their religion" Imam Hussein

Pragmatist
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by Pragmatist »

ishraqiyun wrote:1. You say that the commands of the Quran do not need to be understood in context and then make a jump from that to "NONE of the Quran needs to be understood in context".


2. If the context is that "x" lead to "y" thus Allah commanded that Muslims take action "z" then you would have to see if a simmilar context was taking place now in order to demand the re/action "Z". Z would always be the proper response if simmilar circumstances take place but knowledge of the historical context in which the revelation was revealed can be helpful in deducing what exactly is required to demand that "z" be implemented.


3. Would you go so far as to say that a single verse doesn't have to be understood in context with the other verses (even the surrounding verses!) ?

4. These are merely "logical" assumptions on your part and are not given by the Prophet himself. He said nothing to the effect that studying the context in which certain statements were revealed to the Muslim community is improper or that it can not shed light on the topic.

You have to do two things:-

1) Make up your mind if the Krap Kran is a history book to be read in the context of the time that it is written or that it is what IT ITSELF says it is for" all men for all time". That being so the silly 'context' argument does not come in to play at all and the Krap Kran can be read just as it is written with all its mistakes and stupidity.

2) You STILL have to tell us where you get your list of 'literal' and 'allegorical' verses from because it CANNOT be up to a mere man like you or any other man for that fact to presume what a so called god means by deciding which of HIS verses are which .
Does a God create you simply to punish you in Hellfire well PREDESTINATING evil, illogical, sadistic allah DOES.

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Maersk
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by Maersk »

Muslims and passer by of FFI must be wondering the same too : Under what context must the sun should go under to prostrate to the throne before rising again the next morning when it was already in the internet age back then and on call 24/7?? :worthy:

sum
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by sum »

Context is a major problem for the theology of the Koran and hence Islam. The Koran is claimed to be the unaltered word of Allah giving his final guidance for all mankind for all time. This claim is probably the most important claim ever made but there is no reference in the Koran to say that context must be used in order to understand the text and guidance.

Muslims have introduced the concept of text to try and explain away the unacceptable verses and the nonsense. Who provides the context to underpin the Koran? Who has made the claim of context that now qualifies what Allah and his guidance say? So now we have a Koran, Allah`s words, that depends on the word of man!!!

Is context going to be true and unbiased when given by the muslims? Of course not. Can the muslims not see this or do they drift into a state of denial to avoid the "truth" about the Koran. Allah depends on man and so his final guidance is now destroyed by man`s influence. Allah need not have revealed his Koran and just left it to man, Muhammad, to dream up some social order.

Who is the context for? Context is part of the deception that muslims use to con the non-muslims. I do not believe for one second that true muslims accept context. If we have to accept context then it is either just history or an example of what to do in similar circumstances otherwise there is no point in having it in the Koran. We can dimiss the history aspect as Allah would not have wasted his breath with it in his book of final guidance unless it was an example to follow but which still makes the unacceptable verses unacceptable.

Were the unacceptable verses examples to follow or simply "padding" for the Koran? I believe that they were examples to follow. Tell us what you think, muslims.

If we accept the concept of context then it is man that gives final guidance and not Allah.

sum

Bob
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by Bob »

Well said sum!

The koran in a few passages gives indications about how it is to be interpreted. There's the famous aya about allegorical verses and 'other verses' that are supposed to be 'clear' but the koran provides no criteria that would enable a reader to distinguish between the two. As for 'context', this could mean:-

1) the 'material' extra-textual context of the 'revelation',
2) the immediate context of the aya (preceding and subsequent ayat), or,
3) a thematic context, i.e. how one particular aya is supposed to relate to another one perhaps far removed in the koran but that deals with the same topic.

In whatever way 'context' is defined, the koran itself mentions neither 1), 2) or 3) as 'divinely santioned' modes of interpretation. Muslims who go on about context are usually referring to 1) but

- the koran itelf does not allow this interpretation - it is therefore a form of bid'a:
- to place an aya within its 'material' context means relativising and restricting the validity of part of a book that is supposed to be eternal and which quotes from a transcendent timeless divine text, the umm-al kitab.

But how can Allah be the guardian and guarantor of an eternal text which contains verses that to be 'properly understood' must be subject to spatial, temporal or 'earthly' restrictions?

Con-text is just another way of saying con-trick. It is a pure invention which I suspect is principally manufactured for non-Muslims so that they can swallow the apologists' so-called 'reformed' Islam.

Pragmatist
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by Pragmatist »

Bob wrote:Well said sum!

The koran in a few passages gives indications about how it is to be interpreted. There's the famous aya about allegorical verses and 'other verses' that are supposed to be 'clear' but the koran provides no criteria that would enable a reader to distinguish between the two. As for 'context', this could mean:-

1) the 'material' extra-textual context of the 'revelation',
2) the immediate context of the aya (preceding and subsequent ayat), or,
3) a thematic context, i.e. how one particular aya is supposed to relate to another one perhaps far removed in the koran but that deals with the same topic.

In whatever way 'context' is defined, the koran itself mentions neither 1), 2) or 3) as 'divinely santioned' modes of interpretation. Muslims who go on about context are usually referring to 1) but

- the koran itelf does not allow this interpretation - it is therefore a form of bid'a:
- to place an aya within its 'material' context means relativising and restricting the validity of part of a book that is supposed to be eternal and which quotes from a transcendent timeless divine text, the umm-al kitab.

But how can Allah be the guardian and guarantor of an eternal text which contains verses that to be 'properly understood' must be subject to spatial, temporal or 'earthly' restrictions?

Con-text is just another way of saying con-trick. It is a pure invention which I suspect is principally manufactured for non-Muslims so that they can swallow the apologists' so-called 'reformed' Islam.
Exactly I have asked Mohammedans many times to give us all a list of the 'literal' and 'allegorical' verses so we can argue on a level playing field but of course no such list exists and this 'literal/allegorical' argument is just one more deceit in the Mohammedan arsenal of deceits. THEY reserve to themselves the sole rights to declare which is which and to use the 'allegorical' argument whenever the going gets tough and the stupidity and illogicality of the Krap Kran is exposed. Completely ignoring the fact that this exposes them to be telling US what allah means by what right do they think they mere men can PRESUME to know what allah means.
Does a God create you simply to punish you in Hellfire well PREDESTINATING evil, illogical, sadistic allah DOES.

wigon
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Re: Quran: Nothing Contextual About It

Post by wigon »

sum wrote:Context is a major problem for the theology of the Koran and hence Islam. The Koran is claimed to be the unaltered word of Allah giving his final guidance for all mankind for all time. This claim is probably the most important claim ever made but there is no reference in the Koran to say that context must be used in order to understand the text and guidance.

Muslims have introduced the concept of text to try and explain away the unacceptable verses and the nonsense. Who provides the context to underpin the Koran? Who has made the claim of context that now qualifies what Allah and his guidance say? So now we have a Koran, Allah`s words, that depends on the word of man!!!

Is context going to be true and unbiased when given by the muslims? Of course not. Can the muslims not see this or do they drift into a state of denial to avoid the "truth" about the Koran. Allah depends on man and so his final guidance is now destroyed by man`s influence. Allah need not have revealed his Koran and just left it to man, Muhammad, to dream up some social order.

Who is the context for? Context is part of the deception that muslims use to con the non-muslims. I do not believe for one second that true muslims accept context. If we have to accept context then it is either just history or an example of what to do in similar circumstances otherwise there is no point in having it in the Koran. We can dimiss the history aspect as Allah would not have wasted his breath with it in his book of final guidance unless it was an example to follow but which still makes the unacceptable verses unacceptable.

Were the unacceptable verses examples to follow or simply "padding" for the Koran? I believe that they were examples to follow. Tell us what you think, muslims.

If we accept the concept of context then it is man that gives final guidance and not Allah.

sum
I'm not Muslim, but as someone involved in Peace and Conflict studies I very agree with the X, Y, &Z arguement made earlier. I also believe that you are looking at this the wrong way.
Context is not just for kafr. Context is to move Muslims away from a literalist interpretation of the Qur'an. Context makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in my humble opinion.
I've had many debates with Muslims over issues concerning context and generally most end up agreeing to its importance. Also not everything that Mohammed did is seen as things that ALL Muslims should do. Some Muslims may disagree, but such things as marrying and sleeping with a 9 yr old girls is generally seen as something only Mohammed did. Also context shows that during periods in which he had treaties with the kafr, there was often great discontent amongst his followers which may explain partly the massive expansion of the Islamic empire by the Caliphas after his death. So the notion of unlimited Jihad of the sword until Judgement Day may possibley be challenged with historical context. What the Caliphate did was not always Sunnah. They were not prophets. Keep in mind also that most of those narrating hadiths and involved in putting together the written Qur'an (Qur'ans actually as there was more then one version originally) were all part of the bloody political process that followed the death of Mohammed. So doubts can be put forward as to the bias of certain surahs and perhaps explain inconsistencies within the Qur'an.
My main point in this however is not to prove that Islam is a happy-go-lucky religon of peace. But rather to show that perhaps Islam can be moved to a much more moderate non-literalist form of religion built upon the best aspects of the religion rather then the worst and most violent aspects.

Educating Muslims about theological issues within the Qur'an is I think very good. However, constructively speaking, I believe that the way in which FaithFreedom goes about doing it ends up largely having the opposite effect as it is demeaning, insulting, and belittling towards Muslims.
I can not imagine many hardcore Salafi or Deobandi Muslims (the ones who are causing most of the problems) coming here and being able to get past all the insults without going into a rage and quickly leaving feeling more then ever justified in their beliefs about the kufr.

My suggestion is focusing on efforts to get through to those types. Before you say that you can't, I honestly beieve that, in the coarse of doing research as a cultural anthropologist, that I have on many occassions so I know it's possible. It just requires patience and the ability to understand their mindset, culture, and belief systems thoroughly... but patience and the usage of good psychology (and theology) goes a long way in getting them to open up their minds a bit.
Attack their religion with insults and you only end up with self-fullfilling prophecy and driving moderates into the arms of the radicals.

Wigon

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