This week is the last reading from Sura 2, it also a section that is not in my hard copy of the Koran as such I hope I can do it justice. As in the last reading this reading deals with economic issues and so lets delve further into economics according to the Koran.
Verse 282 is a very interesting as it deals with lending money, this immediately should ring an alarm bell as the Koran has previously stated that lending money to someone is something that should not be done. Verse 282 is also a long an intensive verse which needs to be broken down into digestible chunks.The first part of verse 282 deal with contracts and says the following.
"O you who have faith! When you contract a loan for a specified term,
write it down. Let a writer write between you with honesty, and let not
the writer refuse to write as Allah has taught him. So let him write,
and let the one who incurs the debt dictate, and let him be wary of
Allah, his Lord, and not diminish anything from it. But if the debtor be
feeble-minded, or weak, or incapable of dictating himself, then let his
guardian dictate with honesty,"
So basically, when you lend money should always write a contract. This makes perfect sense, and is great advice. I also like the idea that you should get a third person to be there as a witness to what the loan is about. Naturally, Allah will make sure that loans and debt are fulfilled, so you never have to worry about being done over when lending money as Allah will make sure everything works out smoothly. Of course the last part about divine intervention is not based in reality, but the general idea presented is a very good one.
"and take as witness two witnesses from your men, and if there are not two
men, then a man and two women —from those whom you approve as
witnesses— so that if one of the two defaults the other will remind her."
So beside the third person writing the contract it also a good idea to have witnesses. Again a great idea, but what astounds me is the blatant sexism that occur here within the Koran when it unabashedly states that womens logic and testimony is only half as valid as men.
"The witnesses must not refuse when they are called, and do not consider
it wearisome to write it down, whether it be a big or a small sum, [as
being lent] until its term. That is more just with Allah and more
upright in respect to testimony, and the likeliest way to avoid doubt,
unless it is an on the spot deal you transact between yourselves, in
which case there is no sin upon you not to write it. Take witnesses when
you make a deal, and let no harm be done to writer or witness, and if
you did that, it would be sinful of you. Be wary of Allah and Allah
shall teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things"
Again very logical, i.e. always write down debts even if you think a small amount is getting loaned the amount is not worthy of contracts and witnesses. Although, that said if it is a small deal you can also not write it down, so in this verse the Koran contradicts itself yet again. All in all verse 282 is a very logical, however we should not let this logic slide by without realizing the contradictions and sexism that is present. The next verse 283 deals with much the same that has been dealt with in verse 282, and so we will jump straight to the next section which deals with Muslims and the final victory that they will attain.
As stated, verse 284 to 286 deal with the victory that Allah will have over good and bad deeds. As such any bad thing that is done will be dealt with by Allah in a good way. However, Allah also can choose whether he wants to punish someone, as such all the verses in Sura 2 become irrelevant as pre-destination exists in Islam.
"To Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the
earth; and whether you disclose what is in your hearts or hide it, Allah
will bring you to account for it. Then He will forgive whomever He
wishes and punish whomever He wishes, and Allah has power over all
Seriously, how can anyone trust and decide to do what is written in the Koran when it states that Allah can pretty much decide what to do with your eternal soul. I mean even if verse 286 says we should do what is right according to Allah and the prophet,
"Allah does not task any soul beyond its capacity. Whatever [good] it
earns is to its benefit, and whatever [evil] it incurs is to its harm."
How are we in anyway meant to feel safe with this knowledge when two verses before the ambiguity surrounding good deeds and eternal peace or torment is laid bare.
Sura 2 is an important chapter in the Koran as it shows us that Allah has a mind of his own and can decide what is right and what is wrong according to the mood that strikes him. It teaches us that women are cattle and half a man. It teaches us important things about another Abrahamic religion that was developed in the stone ages and is not applicable to life now. Need less to say, the Koran was not applicable to the time either, well unless we consider that non-believers and women are just objects and not life.
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