The verse 211 is a warning to the Jews that they have been shown that Allah is the one true God, and they should behave or else Allah will be severe in his punishment.
"Ask the Children of Israel how many a manifest sign We had given them. And whoever changes Allah’s blessing after it has come to him, indeed Allah is severe in retribution."
The remarkable thing about these signs is that the commentary (see the link below if interested) and Koranic scholars are very vague about what these signs are.In fact the only mention that I found about signs for the Jews are the same signs that are found in the Torah regarding Moses in Egypt. These signs are the plagues brought against the Egyptians so as to allow the Jews to return to their promised land. Now naturally this raises a concern, as why should these signs be considered proof of Allah as a God when they already exist in the Torah. Naturally, I could be completely wrong about this but surely this information should be easy to find?
Verse 212 is a typical religious verse that can be used by people in power to make sure that those around them are subject and do not try and right wrongs against them.
"Worldly life has been glamorized for the faithless, and they ridicule the faithful. But those who are Godwary shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah provides for whomever He wishes without any reckoning."
The power of religion has always been the promise of something better after a terrible life on Earth, so the Koran also gets in on this game with this verse. The natura;l conclusion is that we can be assured that the faithless who live a great life will not go to heaven. This thinking is rather absurd really, as 1) why would you want people to go to hell and 2) it stops you correcting wrongs in this life as what is happening to you is just a test by Allah in a sense. This is naturally not to say that all faithless people go around wronging others, it merely means that when an injustice is done it should be corrected for a society to function. If we do not do this, we cannot progress...... perhaps that is why so many Muslim countries still adhere to stone age laws as they look at secular laws in the evil West and just see faithless rules and not rules which bring about change for the downtrodden. The other (and more likely) reason they follow stone age laws is that fear is an easy way to keep a government in power.
When looking at verse 213 it is best to break it up into two chunks. First we see that all men were one community,. So then Allah decided to send his message to teach the rules of how to respond to one another in issues of dispute etc.
"Mankind were a single community; then Allah sent the prophets as bearers of good news and as warners, and He sent down with them the Book with the truth, that it1 may judge between the people concerning that about which they differed"
I gather this book must be the Torah and the New Testament (or earlier book) as when the Koran came about all the people were not living in a single community. Naturally even with the Torah and the Bible people were already not living in one community, its almost as if Muhammad did not understand exactly how far people had spread and what different religions were being taught. Or this shows that the Koran and all holy books are just copies of copies of legends and myths.
"and none differed in it except those who had been given it, after the manifest proofs had come to them, out of envy among themselves. Then Allah guided those who had faith to the truth of what they differed in, by His will, and Allah guides whomever He wishes to a straight path."
Unfortunately the original message that Allah sent, the Bible?, was greatly abused as teachers interpreted it differently. As such Allah sent a new book, the Koran, which contained the real truth, and all those that follow Koranic laws will get to heaven as they follow the correct (straight) path. Naturally this would imply then that Islam only has one interpretation of the Koran, and well we know that is not true. So in essence the Koran is showing that it is as infallible as other religions.
As most of our readings of the Koran the next two verses are the good verses, as they inform us that a good person will inherit paradise. The cool thing is it also tells a good person what they should do. I like this as it shows that individual Muslims should (and largely do) care for their neighbors, needy, family etc.
"They ask you as to what they should spend. Say, ‘Whatever wealth you spend, let it be for parents, relatives, orphans, the needy, and the traveller.’ And whatever good that you may do, Allah indeed knows it"
Naturally as I have shown in previous readings this care is not always so great.
Lastly verse 216...........
"Warfare has been prescribed for you, though it is repulsive to you. Yet it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you love something while it is bad for you, and Allah knows and you do not know."
Ok, so this verse is saying Muslims can kill even though it may repulse them. From the commentary I have been following, this warfare is meant to refer to the initial wars where outside groups were trying to destroy the Muslims, and as such this command to kill is in meant to be interpreted as self defense killing. The thing I do not understand is that why would you kill if it repulsed you? and why would self defense repulse you? The only conclusion I can come to is that the commentary is bollocks, and that in fact its okay for Muslims to kill, although it should repulse them.
As I said in the beginning this reading is a trial and tribulation.
See you next week, I need to take a Tylenol.
The version of the Koran I am reading is the John Meadows Rodwell translation. An online version can be found at the al-quran.info website
Additionally, for commentary I am utilizing the commentary of Maulana Muhammad Ali which is available at muslim.org/english-quran/quran.htm