I’m at a friend’s cabin for the weekend. The same cabin I was at the day I made my very first post way back in July. Nostalgic! Everyone else is out running errands, but I opted to stay behind and blog by the warmth of the fireplace. Not because my calves are killing me from the punishment I inflicted upon myself at the gym yesterday. No, sir. I stayed because I care. About the Quran. And writing about it. Yup. Nothing to do with my inability to walk. It’s Quran time.
Chapter 16 is called The Bees. Why? Because of the following verses:
(68) Your Lord predisposed the bees to make their hives in mountains, trees and trellices,
(69) And suck from all fruits and flit about the unrestricted paths of their Lord. A drink of various hues comes out of their bellies which contains medicine for men. In this is a sign for those who reflect.
Bees and honey are a sign of God’s existence. Honey — like urine — contains medicine, so don’t go to the doctor or anything. Just drink some pee mixed with honey and all your various ailments will melt away! Huzzah! You can find it at the supermarket, right next to the snake oil.
If honey’s not enough to convince you of God’s awesomeness, check out the next line:
(70) It is God who creates you, then makes you die; and some reach the age of dotage when they forget what they had known before. God is indeed all-knowing and all-powerful.
Somewhere in between creating you and killing you, God makes you senile. And that is what makes him all-knowing and all-powerful. Oh, sure. That makes perfect sense. Alzheimer’s disease is a sign of God.
But I’m getting too far ahead of myself. Lets start at the beginning.
(1) THE DECREE of GOD will surely come; so do not try to hasten it: Too glorious and high is He for what they associate with Him.
Oh. Em. Gee. Conceited much? I noticed something this past week while talking to a couple of friends at work. The people who talk about sex the most are getting laid the least. Pretty sure the same principles apply to God’s glory talk.
(2) He sends the angels with revelation by His command, to any of His creatures as He please, (saying): “Warn that there is no god but I, so fear Me.”
Ding ding ding ding! Contradiction alert! Read that verse again. God says he sends down angels with revelation — ie the Quran — to warn people that he’s the one and only. Got that? Now check out these verses from the last chapter, and be prepared to gloat:
(6) And yet they say: “You, to whom this Exposition has been sent are surely possessed of the Devil.
(7) If you are a man of truth, why can’t you bring the angels to us?”
(8) But then We never send the angels down save with the purpose (of enforcing their doom), after which they will not be given more respite.
Ha! Ha, I say, ha! When the people asked Mohammed why he can’t bring some angels to back up his stories, God conveniently reveals that he never — I repeat, never — sends down angels unless it’s for destruction. Busted! You’d think with all-knowing, all-powerful business he shoves down our throats every other verse, he’d realize that you never say never. Not unless you want to contradict yourself and look like a total fucking asshole. Which, if you’ve been reading along, God does a lot. Case in point:
(4) Man He created from a drop of semen; and still he becomes an open contender.
You sick of this one yet? I am. So much so that it makes me want to claw out my fucking eyeballs each time I have to read a “man was created from x” verse. Which, you know, is a lot. This book is hella repetitive, remember? I won’t even bother discussing it. I’ll just post a link to the Skeptic’s Annotated Quran’s convenient chart. You can keep your eyeballs, too.
Verses 5 through 8 talk about horses, mules & cows — how God created them just so we could benefit from them.
(5) He created the cattle from whom you get warm clothing and (other) advantages, and some you eat.
(6) There is life and cheer for you as you drive them home in the evening, and lead them out in the morning to graze.
OK, whatever. I’m a total city girl, so I can’t say I find much life or cheer in cattle. I do enjoy leather goods and a big, juicy steak now and then. So, I guess, thanks for that God. Although technically I should be thanking the cows. Or apologizing to them — I’m not really sure which they’d prefer. Anyway, God is really, really proud of the cows because he can’t shut the fuck up about them, already:
(7) They carry your burdens to lands so distant you could not have reached without much hardship. Indeed your Lord is compassionate and kind.
(8) He created horses, mules and donkeys for riding and for splendour. He created other things too which you do not know.
Notice how trains, cars and planes are missing from that list? Notice, dammit! Now, an apologist might say something like, “It’s all mentioned in that last sentence about “other things too which you do not know,” blah blah blah, I’m a fucking idiot.” OK. Still not buying it.
Look. I know that there are many things that exist that I do not know about. I realize that every time I watch a nature documentary or visit a different country. I am surprised by new things all the damn time. So the only thing that sentence says to me is that Mohammed admits there are things out there that he does not know about. He doesn’t go into details about these things because — duh! — he doesn’t fucking know. Apologists will be all, “Wooo wooooo! Mysterious! Cryptic! It could mean anything.” Well, yeah. And?
End rant. Moving right along.
This next verse sounds all scientific and stuff. It will blow your mind:
(15) He placed stablisers in the earth so that while it revolves you live undisturbed, and rivers and tracks so that you may find your way;
(16) As well as many other signs, as by the stars (you) find direction.
OK, fine. It won’t really blow your mind. I just wanted to get you all greased up for the footnote. See, in my copy of the Quran, there’s a little asterisk next to “stabilisers in the earth.” If you follow that footnote to the bottom of the page, it says this:
* See note on page 239.
Well, shit. That’s anticlimactic. Ahmed Ali’s a tease. Here’s what the footnote on page 239 says:
Stabilisers, rawasi, are actually mountains in the interior of the earth made evident by modern geophysicists who mapped the earth’s interior. At some places they are 6 miles high and 6000 miles wide with a valley as deep and wide, situated between the liquid core and the crust of the earth. Their function is to stabilise the crust and rotation of the earth. (Reader’s Digest, May 1987).
What. The. Hell? My brain just exploded. The Quran — the word of God, himself — uses the Reader’s Digest* as a source?! And not just Reader’s Digest, but Reader’s Digest from 19-fucking-87? Are you kidding me? No wonder Ahmed Ali tried to bury that at the end of the chapter where it might be ignored. He’s pulled over some pretty dumb tricks before, but this one wins. Hands down. He just shat out the last of his credibility and flushed it all down the craphole.
By the way, other Quran translations don’t even mention “stabilisers” or the earth’s rotation:
A. J. Arberry
(15) And He cast on the earth firm mountains, lest it shake with you, and rivers and ways; so haply you will be guided;Pickthall
(15) And He hath cast into the earth firm hills that it quake not with you, and streams and roads that ye may find a way.Yusuf Ali
(15) And He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you; and rivers and roads; that ye may guide yourselves;
Mountains and hills. What do they do? They keep the earth from moving when you jump up and down. …you can’t make this shit up. You just can’t. Wipe the tears from your eyes, babies, because it just keeps on going. We’ve got 98 more chapters chock-fucking-full of wisdom like this! Whoo! Brace yourselves!
You godless heathen types will find the next verse interesting:
(22) Your God is one God. But the hearts of those who believe not in the life to come are filled with denial, and they are puffed up with pride.
Uhhh, really? I’ve always kind of seen it the other way. The people I know who don’t believe are filled with awe at the very idea that they exist and have one shot at rocking life. They’re open to the idea that they’re wrong, but go with evidence over stupidity. And the ones who believe tend to be full of foolish pride and live in denial, even in the face of evidence. *Coughcreationistscough* Just sayin’.
Lets see where he’s going with this:
(23) Surely God knows what they hide and what they disclose. He certainly does not love the proud.
(24) For when they are asked: “What has your Lord sent down?” they say: “Tales of long ago.”
Ohhh, where to start.
- God doesn’t love the proud? Well, he must really fucking hate himself then. Ain’t nobody more proud of himself than God, what with all the patting-himself-on-the-back and greasing-up-his-own-dick that goes on in the Quran.
- No. We do not say “Tales of long ago,” when asked what God sent down. That would be a history book. Here’s what we would say: “God sent down fiction.” And then we’d add, “Because he is fiction.” And perhaps we might toss up a couple of middle fingers and make a farty noise with our mouths. By we, of course, I mostly just mean me. I realize there are atheists out there who are nicer than I am.
Anyway, we’re all going to hell, blahblahblah (damn our insufferable pride). Hell has gates and we will dwell there forever (16:29). The asskissers who say “God sent down the best,” (16:30) will go to heaven. And — big fucking surprise here — heaven has gardens and streams of water (16:31). Eyeballs. I’m gouging ‘em out. Did I mention this book is really, really repetitive?
(35) The idolaters say: “If God had willed we would not have worshipped anything apart from Him, nor would our fathers have done, nor would we have forbidden any thing without His (leave).” So had the people done before them. Therefore it is binding on the prophets to convey the message in clearest terms.
Yeeeeah. Anyone else think the prophets have done a piss poor job at conveying the message in clearest terms? Anyone?? I know it’s not just me and the idolaters. If the prophets existed — and I’m gonna go ahead and throw out that I don’t think most did — they seriously sucked at their jobs. But I guess you can’t blame them all that much. Look at the material they’re working with here:
(63) By God, We sent apostles to many a people before you, but Satan made their acts seem attractive to them, and he is their friend this day, and a painful torment awaits them.
God just swore by himself. Seriously. Read that again. Double you. Tee. Eff. That’s what the prophets were given to work with. It’d be hilarious if so many people didn’t actually believe this bullshit. Wait, no — it’s still hilarious. But more in a sad-clown-painting kind of way. Know what I mean?
Stay tuned for part 2 of chapter 16, coming up after I’ve had a few cups of espresso and some snuggle time with KafirDog. Whoo! Blogathon!
* No offense to Reader’s Digest. I do remember getting a good chuckle out of a Humor in Uniform story in a doctor’s office once. I’m sure it’s a fine publication.
Wow. I got an email from a reader named Ray (hi, Ray!) saying he’d nominated me for a 2009 LadyBlogger awards at Culture 11, which is run by religious conservative Bill Bennett. Yup. I’m repping the atheists in the Best Religion Blog category. I’d never heard of LadyBlogger or Culture 11 or Bill Bennett until just now, but it’s still pretty cool. If you feel like voting for me, you can do it here. If you don’t feel like doing it, that’s cool too, you lazy summabitch. No wait. It isn’t. Vote for me.
By the way, check out the criteria for nomination:
Someone thinks I have professional-level grammar and style? The fuck? Seriously??
HolyDude emailed me this comic and — oh em eff gee — I had to share it with you guys:
Whathefa? Seriously? Seriously?? Mo actually ordered people to drink camel piss? News to me! I looked up the verse to verify that this is actually what it says, and guess what? The full hadith is waaaaay more fucked up than just a little urophagia.
Narrated Abu Qilaba:
Anas said, “Some people of ‘Ukl or ‘Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them. So the Prophet ordered them to go to the herd of (Milch) camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine).
Mohammed ordered a tribe to drink a camel milk-n-pee smoothie to cure their aversion to dryness? OK. I get that. According to Wikipedia, urine therapy was a form of alternative medicine in several ancient cultures. See? Alternative medicine was just as silly and kooky then as it is now. People are advised against drinking urine because it might — besides just being plain old gross — give them a rash. Or, as in the case of the ‘Ukl / ‘Uraina tribe, it might cause….urine madness.
So they went as directed and after they became healthy, they killed the shepherd of the Prophet and drove away all the camels.
The pee-drinkers turned into pee-zombies and killed a guy. Then they chased away the camels, which is dumb considering that’s where their “medication” is coming from.
How did the good prophet react to all of this? With vengeance, of course!
The news reached the Prophet early in the morning and he sent (men) in their pursuit and they were captured and brought at noon. He then ordered to cut their hands and feet (and it was done), and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron, They were put in ‘Al-Harra’ and when they asked for water, no water was given to them.”
Did you catch all of that? One more time, in bulleted form:
- Mo had the tribe captured.
- He had their hands and feet cut off.
- He branded their eyes with hot iron.
- He dumped them in Al-Harrah (a large volcanic field near the Jordanian border)…
- …with no water. So they can’t even make more piss to drink.
Wow. Just wow. And in case you’re thinking maybe Mo wasn’t such a nice guy after all, the hadith ends with some good old fashioned enabling:
Abu Qilaba said, “Those people committed theft and murder, became infidels after embracing Islam and fought against Allah and His Apostle.”
It’s never Mo’s fault when he has to torture and murder someone. It’s their fault. It’s always their fault. He’s great, you’re crap!
Anyway, here’s what seems more likely to me. Mo tells the tribe to drink the “medicine” and they believe him. They believe in him enough to drink warm camel milk (desert, remember?) mixed with warm camel pee (pee’s warm). This does nothing for their climate woes, and they realize just how full of shit Mo was. They got pissed (no pun intended), killed the shepherd and chased away the camels in revenge. And you know the rest.
And with that, I’m off to make a pee-milkshake to cure my aching buttcheeks. I had one of those killer workouts yesterday that left everything from the waist down in agony. Hurts. So. Good! Have a lovely Saturday and I’ll be back soon with more desert fun. Stay tuned!
Felicia Gilljam, who happens to be a beekeeper(!), tagged me for this meme that I filled out over my morning coffee. I have to take a second here to complain about how horrible the coffee at work is. Worst. Coffee. Ever. I’ve had to sacrifice my morning coffee time at home so I can hit the gym and get all buff. So I wait till I get to work to have my first awful cup. The good news is that I’m saving a fortune by drinking free coffee at work. And, because the work-coffee tastes like shoe, I tend to drink less of it. The bad news is I think endorphins might be my new coffee. Sweet lawsie mercy, I can’t wait till tomorrow when I can have a cup at home.
Anyway, meme time.
Here are the rules:
- Link to the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random arbitrary things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
- Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
- I keep my shoes in clear plastic shoe boxes I got from the Container Store. I have 20 boxes, and my rule is to never have more shoes than I can fit in the boxes. I stuff 3 pairs of flats into 1 box and pat myself on the back for finding a loophole.
- I got my cat from Craigslist. A hippie was moving to Alaska to live in a tent and grow organic food for himself. At the very last minute, he realized a tent was no place for a cat. He was 6 at the time. The cat, not the hippie.
- I am an awesome baker. Cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, damn near anything. From scratch. But…
- …I don’t eat sugar. I just really enjoy the process of baking. You’d think KafirBoy would weigh 300 lbs the way I shove cookies down his gullet.
- I collect urban vinyl toys. This is my favorite little lady:
Gag! Cute overload.
- I live in NYC. Yup. I’m outing myself. I still feel anonymous, though, since there are a bajillion brown folk in the city. Booyah!
I’m going to go all rebellious middle child on ya’ll and break the last 3 rules. I’m not tagging specific people. I’m tagging everyone. Share 6 random things about yourself. Gimmie something to read when I get bored and antsy at 3:00. It’s Friday, after all. Annnnnd go!
I’ve re-read chapter 16, but haven’t really had the time to write anything about it. Alas, I’ll just have to update you on how life is going.
I followed through with my new year’s resolution to join a gym. I’ve gone every day this week for a 30 minute morning workout. Still getting used to the whole being-naked-in-front-of-strangers / locker room thing. I would be the worst stripper ever. Seriously, if you ever needed to be reminded of how puritanical Americans are, the locker room’s the place to do it. A friend of mine shared her experiences in a Paris gym lock room — naked women hanging out, having conversations, showing one another dance moves they’d picked up in class. Yeeeeeeah. I need to be woman enough to do that.
Speaking of ye olde flesh, I’ve got the itch again. No, not that kind of itch. Gross. I’ve got the itch to get another tattoo. And I’ve already come up with the idea for it.
A couple of years ago, my mother and I were watching some nature show. They did a segment on peacocks mating — the males all feathered up and strutting, colors everywhere. My mom watched in awe and then sighed, “God truly does favor the men, doesn’t he?” In case you didn’t know, peahens don’t have the colors or the tail. Everybody’s always oohing and aahing about peacocks, and I doubt most people even know what a peahen looks like.
Anyway, what my mom said got under my skin. It pissed me off and made me sad at the same time. It’s one of those things that bothered me — probably a lot more than it should have, but whaddyagonnado? I argued with my mom for a while and finally convinced her that the stupid tail makes the peacock stick out and thus more likely to be killed and eaten.* Screw those guys. Viva la peahen.
For whatever reason, when I think feminism, I think peahens. (Don’t ask me — I’m not sure how my brain works either.) And it kinda bothers me a little when I see girls with peacock tattoos (pretty common, Google that shit). I’m not sure what keyword triggered this, but Google gave me this yesterday: Female Peacocks Not Impressed by Male Feathers. Pssh. Go, girls!
That got the old noggin whirring, and a decision was made: for my next double-middle-finger to the “good” lord, I’m getting a peahen inked on me. I told a friend about my plan and she had this to say: “It’s like telling society, ‘up your nose with a rubber hose.’” My friends are weird.
Anyway, chapter 16 will be up just as soon as I get around to writing about it. Stay tuned. And stay warm…it sucks out there.
* I don’t really know if that’s true, but those fuckers are just asking for it.
Like I said in the last post, there isn’t much excitement in chapter 15. It’s mostly just a regurgitation of the same boring old bullshit. The story I’ll break down in this post has come up a few times already. I thought it was worth examining in detail, because — come on! — it’s about the devil.
He may well be the only interesting character in the Quran. And, as I learned in this chapter, he may not be such a bad guy after all. If he actually existed, I might feel kinda sorry for the guy. Shit, I might even invite him over for a beer & ice cream pity party. We probably have a lot in common; hating God and all.
Let’s get a little back story on what’s going on:
(26) Man We fashioned from fermented clay dried tingling hard,
(27) As We fashioned jinns before from intense radiated heat.
OK, so God created jinns from intense radiated heat. Sounds fancy! A little too fancy if you ask me. Turns out it’s just Ahmed Ali’s clever spin on what the other translations say:
A. J. Arberry
(27) and the jinn created We before of fire flaming.Pickthall
(27) And the jinn did We create aforetime of essential fire.Yusuf Ali
(27) And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind.
Yup. Fire. Not nearly as cool as intense radiating heat, right? Ahmed Ali’s kind of a shithead like that.
Anyway, jinns are made from fire. And man is made from dry, tingling fermented clay. Sorta. Check out the following verses to see contradicting accounts of what man is made out of:
- 96:1 & 2
Yeah. Check all of those verses out. Or be lazy and read the post I wrote back in July ‘08 about scientific miracles in the Quran. Or be even lazier and check out the nifty little chart of contradicting verses at Skeptic’s Annotated Quran.
Or, shit, if you’re as lazy as I am today, I’ll just go ahead and list it out for you: water, clay, blood, dust, semen, and nothingness. You’re welcome. At one point or another, God says man was created from one of those. Dude is all over the damn place. In this chapter, though, he’s all about that hard, dry, tingly clay.
(28) But when your Lord said to the angels: “I am verily going to create a human being from fermented clay dried tingling hard;
(29) And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, bow before him in homage;”
(30) The angels bowed in homage in a body
See how God’s just talking to angels there? K, keep that in mind when you read the next verse:
(31) Except Iblis. He refused to bow with the adorers.
All the angels bow down to Adam. Except Iblis. One more time? All the angels with the exception of Iblis. So Iblis is an angel. Right? Right?? Well no, not quite. That would be too easy.
See, in Christianity, the devil is a fallen angel. In Islam, angels don’t have free will. They’re mindless drones who do whatever God says. Bitches, if you will. So Iblis, by default, can’t really be an angel. He chooses not to bow down to Adam. The way apologists get around this shit is by saying that Iblis was God’s favorite jinn, so he elevated him to angel status. Convenient!
(32) “How is it, O Iblis,” said (the Lord), “you did not join those who bowed in homage?”
(33) “How could I bow,” said he, “before a mortal whom You created from fermented clay dried tingling hard?”
Good question, Iblis! How could Iblis bow before a mortal? Isn’t that idolatry? Isn’t that totally against Islam? So if Iblis obeys God and bows down to someone other than him, he’s actually disobeying God. Catch fucking 22.
You’d think God would — I dunno — reward him for figuring that one out. But no. This is the Quran. Thinking only leads to punishment:
(34) “Go hence, execrable,” (said the Lord), “from this place,
(35) Condemned till the day of Doom!”
Then, of course, Iblis grovels for God’s forgiveness. Why wouldn’t he? He’s pretty much the perfect follower:
(36) “O my Lord,” said he, “give me respite till the day the dead are raised.”
And then God snaps his fingers and *poof* Iblis goes straight to hell, where he is tortured for all eternity. God don’t take no lip from nobody!
….wait, he kinda does:
(37) “You are among the reprieved,” (said the Lord),
(38) “Till the predetermined time.”
Yup! God totally kowtows to Iblis! He talks big game and has zero follow-through. To his credit, though, God puts a time limit on the get-out-of-jail-free pass. To his discredit, he basically flushes all credibility down the pooper by going back on his own word. Major blow to his reputation, know what I mean?
(39) “O my Lord,” he said, “since You have led me into error I’ll beguile them with the pleasures of the world and lead them astray,
(40) Except the chosen ones among Your creatures.”
Oooh. Iblis accuses God of leading him astray. Dude. Them’s fighting words! God is so totally going to annihilate Iblis.
(41) (To which God) said: “This way is right by Me.
(42) No power shall you have over (all) My creatures except those who fall into error and follow you,
(43) For whom the ordained place is surely Hell,
(44) Which has several gates, and each gate is marked for every section of them.”
Uhhh. OK, wait. What just happened here? God doesn’t deny leading Iblis astray. And he doesn’t annihilate Iblis’s ass either. He just sort of lets Iblis off the hook. Again. Because God is completely full of shit. Or at least he would be if he wasn’t so busy not existing.
Arright, that’s all I’ve got for chapter 15. Next up, chapter 16: The Bees. Stay tuned!
…OK, fine I’m not really dying. But I do feel like shit. I have the flu. I got it when I was telling a sick co-worker of mine to feel better, and she coughed in my face mid-sentence. No joke. I had my mouth open and everything, and she coughed in my fucking face. She didn’t cover her mouth. She didn’t turn her head. She looked me in the eye and went *A-HACK!* Ugh. I’m getting all queasy just thinking about it. I’m taking a couple of sick days and using them to blog from my couch. Whoo!
Something to not Whoo! about: apparently I’ve already read chapters 15 – 18. I read them way back before my work life took over my life life. I made a ton of notes in the margins and everything. The sad part is that I don’t remember any of this, and I have to sit through those same fucking chapters all over again. Boo! Hiss! I guess that’s what I get for procrastinating. …still. Boo! Hiss!!
Lets get chapter 15 over and done with so we never have to think about it ever again. OK? OK! Jump on in.
Chapter 15 is titled Al-Hijr and it translates to The Rock. No, not the pro-wrestler turned shitty actor — although I did giggle a little when I thought, “Caaaaan yoooou smellllllll? What Al-Hijr is cooking?!”
This chapter is loosely based around that rock city. No, not Detroit — sorry, Kiss fans. I’m talking about the place in present-day Saudi Arabia where the buildings were carved into big boulders. It came up a few times in earlier chapters, remember? God killed everyone to teach them a lesson…which doesn’t make a lot of sense since, you know, they’re dead.
Anyway, I’m going to ruin the ending by throwing this out there: this chapter isn’t very good. It’s basically just a reprise of all the same old shit we’ve already seen in chapters 1 – 14. Check it out:
- God calls the Quran a book, even though it wasn’t put into book form until way later (15:1). Fail!
- There’s a warning for non-Muslims that boils down to “Neener neener neener! You’ll be sorry!” (15:2) Nothing new there.
- 15:8 sounds like it’s new, but it really isn’t. “But then We never send the angels down save with the purpose of enforcing their doom, after which they will not be given more respite.” God says he sent down angels to destroy those 7 civilizations he constantly brags about destroying. He’s all-powerful yet he has minions do the dirty work for him. Which makes zero sense.
Look. He’s God, right? He’s the all-powerful kung fu master of the universe? Isn’t it way more efficient to just *poof* do that shit himself from up in heaven or that throne in the middle of the ocean or wherever the hell else he hangs out these days. Know what I’m saying? Why bring angels into it?
- Mo’s persecution complex crops up yet again in 15:11 where he boo hoos about how people have always scoffed at apostles. People have always thought apostles are crazy people. (Wah! Wah! Widdle baby want some bweast milk? Cry me a fucking river, Mo.)
- In 15:12, God admits again that he purposely leads some people astray which makes him neither merciful nor benevolent. It does make him an asshole, but I’ve been saying that all along.
- Verse 53 retells the story about Abraham’s wife getting knocked up post-menopause. And 71 is my favorite story in the Quran: the one where pious old Lot offers up his daughters to be gang-raped by a mob. The Quran always leaves out the incest part that comes later, and I’ll give Mo a teeny bit of credit for knowing when to shut up.
- No chapter in the Quran is complete without some hell talk! 15:43 describes hell as a place with many gates — one for each section of people. So now I’m picturing hell as a baseball stadium. Nice!
- And 45 – 48 describe heaven in detail:
(45) Verily those who keep away from evil and follow the straight path shall be in the midst of gardens and springs of water.
(46) “Enter in peace and tranquility,” (they will be told).
(47) We shall cast out any grudge they may have in their hearts. (There) they will sit on couches face to face like brothers together.
(48) No weariness will come upon them, nor will they be sent away from there
Gardens? Springs of water? Snore.
Peace and tranquility? A spa!
That last little bit — the part with couches and brothers — that’s the part that made me snort so hard that I actually snotted up my keyboard. Don’t judge me, jerks. I’m sick.
So, in heaven, you have to sit around on couches and face one another? And be brothers? A) That seems like awkward furniture arrangement, and B) what about the sisters? Are there no women in heaven? Do women in heaven not get couches? Does everyone turn into a man upon reaching heaven?
Before anyone jumps on my case about how I’m a simpleton who just doesn’t “get” the poetic writing of the Quran, check out the first verse in chapter 15:
(1) ALIF LAM RA. These are the verses of the Book and the perspicuous oration.
Perspicuous oration. I had to look that up in a dictionary because I really am a simpleton. It means — get this shit — “plain reading.” Seriously, Ahmed Ali, what were you thinking? Jesus Fucking Christ, someone explain irony to this man.
Regardless, God says the Quran is a plain reading. Clear. Obvious. Understandable. I should be able to take the words at face value. So my question is valid: why does heaven sounds like a sausage-fest? And where the ladies at?
The only really interesting story that appears in this chapter is the one about Iblis. We’ve seen this one before, too, but God goes into detail this time…and he kind of makes himself look like an asshole. That’s coming up in part 2 of chapter 15 which I swear I’ll post in just another couple of hours. It’s a sick day blogathon — stay tuned!
P.S. It’s good to be back.
P.P.S. Battlestar Galactica, season 4, sitting in my mailbox right now. Jealous??
Hey check it out. It’s a real update! It’s late and I should be asleep, but my schedule’s been pretty out-of-whack since New Years’ Eve. I actually went out for a change, and I went a little overboard with the drinking. OK fine. I went WAY overboard with the drinking. KafirBoy and I have a shared BFF who was visiting from Minnesota and he knows how to bring out that wild side that goes dormant when you’ve been in a long-term relationship for a while. You know what I’m talking about? That side of you that want so chug rum till you black out? I did not have a pretty January 1st. I’m pretty sure a part of my liver died.
I don’t usually do the whole new years’ resolution thing, but it seemed like a good idea this time around. I’ve got three:
1. Join the gym so I don’t feel like a total lump from sitting in front of the computer at work 12 hours a day.
2. Stop being a shoe-aholic. Seriously. It’s a problem. I don’t want to be the cutest girl in the poor house.
3. Blog. More frequently. And, you know, try not to vanish for a month and a half without warning. I still feel bad about it, ya’ll. I’ll try to make time and be more regular with the writing. It may not all be about the Quran, because that book is fucking depressing and boring.
I was planning on blogging over Thanksgiving, but I didn’t really get a chance. The part I failed to mention was that my sister got married that week, too. I ended up being her servant and running errands the whole time.
To top things off, my grandmother noticed my tattoos for the first time. You remember my grandmother? The one who thinks the devil owns your left hand? Yup, that one. She made a big fuss about the whole thing because — get this — God will no longer listen to my prayers.
Crazy Grandma went into some story about how one of her housekeepers back in Pakistan had a tattoo. She asked the guy how he could do such a thing to himself because it meant God would no longer listen to his prayers. The guy felt so ashamed that he went and removed his tattoo. By himself. Using a knife he held over the kitchen stove till it got red hot.
The guy felt so guilty about being a “bad Muslim” that he burned off his own skin. Ouch, dude. And Crazy Grandma said this like he was some noble person. Like she actually condoned that kind of thing. Luckily for me, an aunt stepped in and fought for my honor. “Where exactly in the Quran does it say that about tattoos?” And Crazy Grandma was left bumbling around because, seriously, I don’t think she’s actually read the thing in a language other than Arabic. Good times with the fam.
In a separate incident, I came out of the atheist closet to a couple of cousins who just didn’t get it. They got kind of angry and defensive and demanded to know how I couldn’t believe in God. “No evidence.” One of them replied back, “Oh, so you need evidence for everything, huh?” All sneery and sarcastic like. This, by the way, is the same cousin who believes love comes from the heart. Not the poetic heart, but the actual heart. The muscle. You cannot make that shit up.
And, finally, I came out as an atheist to my mother. Kinda. Here’s how it went down. My mother made some comment about how if she ever goes totally senile, she gives us permission to dump her in a nursing home. Cheerful! That led to a long conversation about assisted suicide. I’m a strong supporter and my mother, big fucking duh, is strongly opposed to it.
I told her that if someday I have a horrible fatal disease and I’m suffering, I’d rather just put myself down. And she went on this huge thing about how it’s against Islam and I’d go to hell if I did such a thing. And then it slipped out: “Ohhhh whatever, I don’t believe in any of that. And if you don’t stop talking about hell, seriously, I’ll fly out to Switzerland right now and sign myself up.”
Guess what? She stopped talking about it. Booya! Life is good. Even when I don’t have much of it outside of work. And with that, I’m off to bed. I’m packing my Quran and a pen in my purse for tomorrow’s commute. See resolution #3. I’m sticking to it!
Heeeey kafir friends. I’m so sorry for worrying everyone. I wasn’t honor killed or anything. I’ve just had a really shiteous couple of months that didn’t leave much time for anything fun. Here’s what’s been going on in my life lately:
1. They fired some more people at work and put me on even more projects. I’ve been working late every night for who-knows-how-long.
2. I got a sweet new MacBook…
3. …the same day I found out I owe $3k in taxes. So I had to take on a stupid, time-consuming freelance project to make ends meet. Suuuuuuucks.
4. My landlord just raised our rent.
Pretty much all of my free time was spent eating or sleeping, and occasionally doing laundry. Ever want to really depress yourself? Take your salary and figure out how much you’re actually getting paid by the hour when you’re working crazy overtime. Not. Nice.
I’m on vacation this week and I’ve been sleeping till noon and harassing KafirBoy. I wish it could last forever, but guess what? It’s back to the grind next week. Boo! Hiss!
I haven’t touched the Quran since things have been outta control. I’ll pick it up eventually, but I feel like I have too much bullshit to deal with in my day-to-day right now. The good book was bringing me down, man. I needed a break. I promise I’ll be be back at it soon. And I promise I’ll check in so you guys know I haven’t been beaten up or anything.
Hang tight! And if you can, please fix the economy so my life can go back to being fun again. K, thnx. I’ll be back.
Work has, again, become too insane for me to keep up with the Quran. We’re talking 16 hours a day plus weekends. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel: I have a week off starting Tuesday. Whoo. Whooooo. I would have put exclamation points at the end of those, but I’m too tired to be excited about anything right now. I’m spending the week with my parents and I plan on doing nothin but blogging all week long. You’ll have me back soon, babies. I promise. For now, it’s sleep time.
I patted my husband on the butt and sent him out so I could have the house all to myself. Oh, alone time. What would I do without you? Probably go door to door, punching people on the noses for being dumbasses. Tonight, it’s just me, my ice-cold bottle of beer and my Quran. And my laptop. And also my Moleskine book that I take notes in. …technicalities.
Speaking of which, it’s been a while since I’ve updated you on my status with the book. As of today, I’ve officially read 40% of the Quran! Looking ahead, the chapters are a lot shorter, and will probably only require a post or two each. Whoo! Slowly but surely, we’re finally getting somewhere. And, on that positive note, lets jump right in and ruin everything with the Quran’s hellspeak!
Chapter 14 is titled Abraham, but old Abe doesn’t make much of an appearance in it. I want to meet the person who titled the chapters in the Quran. See above about punching people on the noses.
The first two verses of the chapter have some pretty awful sentence structure.
(1) ALIF LAM RA.
A Book We have sent down to you that you may lead men out of darkness into light, by their Lord’s command, to the path of the mighty, the worthy of praise.
(2) God, to whom belongs all there is in the heavens and the earth. Woe to the unbelievers for the terrible punishment (that awaits).
See what I mean? It looks like Ahmed Ali was getting as weary as I am about reading the Quran. When it all sounds the same, I guess you have to be creative where you can.
Anyway, the basic gist of those verses is that the Quran was sent down to guide men into the light. But not women, because, you know — 1/2 a man and all. Verse 1 refers to the Quran as a book, which is stupid since the verses weren’t put into book form until after Mo’s death.
And verse 2 hints at the terrible punishment that awaits those who doesn’t believe in the book (that wasn’t a book quite yet). Lets fast forward to those verses, shall we? There are actually some new details in chapter 14 about the doom and gloom you, as a kafir, can expect after death. Check it out:
(16) Before him is Hell, and he will get putrid liquid to drink.
(17) He will sip it, yet will not be able to gulp it down. Death will crowd in upon him from every side, but die he will not. A terrible torment trails him.
Mmmmkay. So in hell, you’ll get a smelly drink that you’ll have to sip instead of gulp. And death will be all around you, only you won’t die. You’ll just sit there, sipping your smelly drink. It won’t be nice. The only thing is, I’ve experienced the whole putrid liquid thing before. I had access to nothing but instant coffee for an entire week, remember? It doesn’t even smell like real coffee. And you have to take little sips of it to keep from gagging on the shame of drinking instant. *Le sigh* I’m still a little bitter, I guess.
(49) You will see the wicked on that day bound together in chains.
(50) Of molten pitch shall be their garments, their faces covered with flames,
(51) That God may reward each soul for its deeds. Indeed God is swift at reckoning!
In hell, you’ll be chained together with other wicked people, and your clothes will be made out of molten pitch. Google tells me that pitch means a hot, sticky substance like sap or tar. Or honey. So let me get this straight: you’ll be handcuffed to a bunch of people and covered in hot, sticky honey. Holy shit. That is so kinky. Hell is an orgy!
One itty bitty little setback thought. Your face will be on fire. Don’t worry, though — only your face will be on fire. The Quran doesn’t say anything about the rest of you. Since technically your sexy bits aren’t on fire, I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Hell is an orgy, ya’ll!!
Just for shits and giggles, lets compare chapter 14’s description of hell with its description of heaven:
(23) Those who believed and did the right, will be admitted to gardens with rivers flowing by, where they will abide by the leave of their Lord, with ‘Peace’ as their salutation.
Yes, yes, gardens with rivers, ho hum…ooh look! A new detail! People will say “peace” in heaven! Hmm. I’ll take hell, thanks! Moving right along.
Remember that whole abrogation thing? How God can just cancel out his old commands with new & improved ones? Even though he’s all-knowing and should probably just released the best ones right away? Well, that works on people too:
(19) Do you not see that God has created the heavens and the earth with ultimate reason? If He so wills He could take you away from the earth and raise a new creation (in your place).
In other words, STFU or God will replace you with a newer, better you. And when that newer, better you fucks up, God will replace her with a newer, better her. And on and on for all eternity since God is a stubborn jackass who never learns from his mistakes.
And finally — I saved the best for last — Satan speaks up:
(22) When the reckoning is over Satan will say: “The promise that was made to you by God was indeed a true promise; but I went back on the promise I had made, for I had no power over you except to call you; and you responded to my call. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. Neither can I help you nor can you give me help. I disavow your having associated me earlier (with God). The punishment for those who are wicked is painful indeed.”
OK, lemme break it down:
- After the day of judgment is over and done with, Satan will get on stage and speak. And God won’t zap him into oblivion. He’ll just let his nemesis talk away. Weird right?
- Satan says, “God made a bunch of promises, and he kept them. I made promises and did not keep them.” The fuck? This doesn’t sound like the debbil I know!
- Satan admits he has no power to do anything except call out for people.
- So it’s not his fault if you go astray. It’s your own fault. Even though, technically, it’s God’s fault that you go astray. He admits repeatedly in the Quran that he makes people go astray. The debbil doesn’t say anything about that, probably because he’s trying to get on the big guy’s good side.
- So who gets fucked by it all in the end? That right. You and me. All of us. God sets up a lose-lose system and screws us all. If that’s not kind and merciful and benevolent, I dunno what is!
Here’s some other interesting stuff from Chapter 14:
Verses 5 - 12 are all about Moses. They start out with “Remember when…” and it’s the same story we’ve heard over and over again about how Moses’ people sucked. My favorite part was when God says this:
(7) Remember, your Lord proclaimed: “I shall give you more if you are grateful; but if you are thankless then surely My punishment is very great.”
OK, so if you kiss God’s ass, he’ll give you stuff. If you don’t kiss his ass though, he won’t just refrain from giving you stuff. He’ll actually punish you. Not surprising at all, but it does show you how petty the old guy is.
Verses 35 - 41 are all about Abraham.This time it’s mostly just Abe praying to save his own ass, his parents’ asses, his kids’ asses, his kids’ kids’ asses, his kids’ kids’ kids’ asses, and then just for good measure, his own ass again. Not really sure what that point of all of this is, but there ya go.
Wanna see God open up his mouth and stick his dick in it? Read on:
(34) He gave you whatsoever you asked. If you try to count the favours of God you will not be able to calculate. Man is most unjust indeed, full of ingratitude.
And finally there’s this verse:
(18) Like ashes are the deeds of those who deny their Lord, which the wind blows away on a windy day.
Dude. That is sooooo deeeeeeep.
I completely forgot to post photos of that naughty Buddha statue I got in Pakistan for my husband. A couple of people expressed interest in seeing it, so I’m sharing. I wouldn’t recommend clicking the jump if you’re at work. Or if you’re a prude.
Here’s the big guy, sitting pretty on my kitchen counter:
Check out what he’s sitting on:
Them’s my typin’ fingers. Yep. I’m real.
This next one’s kind of blurry, but it’s the best I could do with such glossy subject matter and no natural sunlight. Close up:
See that? The guy on the right is sucking on the lady’s (Stretch Armstrong-ish) boob while fingering her. And she’s looking at you and smiling. No shit. KafirBoy shat his pants and dissolved into a fit of giggles when I gave it to him. Success!
Chapter 13 has not been a fun read. Compared to chapter 12’s Joseph story, 13 is a total snore. And the sad thing is, it’s not an exception to the good book (and I use the word good in complete and total sarcasm). 13 is just like all the other chapters that preceded it. Back to the same ol’ same ol’. The God is greats and God is mercifuls, Mohammed’s persecution complex, gardens of heaven and fires of hell, blahblahblah. All that’s banal and annoying about religion in general can be found in in chapter 13.
I know it’s still early on in the game, but I’m going to go ahead and declare chapter 12 my favorite one in the Quran. If the book had a little more of that and a little less of, erm, everything else, I could probably understand why someone would find it an entertaining read. Now that I’ve talked it up so much, on with the show.
We left off with Zeus God claiming that he uses lightning to strike down whoever he wants. And that even shadows bow down to God twice a day. Keep that one in mind every time you bend down to tie your shoelaces or pick something up. You think you’re doing it because you want to, but it’s really just God making you pray to him without you knowing. Perforce is the word he uses in chapter 13. Yup. God is so not above shit like that.
(16) Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” (They will) say: “God.” Say: “Then why do you take protectors besides Him who have no power over their own gain or loss?”
You see that (They will) Ahmed Ali’s added in? It’s so Mo doesn’t look like a total schizo. We’ve seen it before with (Say:) and (Ask them:). Without those little cues in there, it’s just Mo talking to himself. Which, yaknow, is pretty much exactly what happened.
(17) He sends down water from the skies, which flows in channels according to their capacity, with the scum borne on the surface of the torrent, as rises the scum when metals are heated on the fire for making ornaments and household utensils. This is how God determines truth and falsehood. The scum disappears like the foam on the bank, and that which is useful to man remains on the earth. That is how God sets forth precepts of wisdom.
Double you. Tee. Eff.
That’s the note I made in the margins on my Quran next to this verse. Seriously. WTF did God just say? Did he just call us scum? I have to break this down to get it:
- God sends down water from the sky
- That water flows in streams
- There is turbulence in those streams which makes scum rise to the surface (so far, so good)
- Scum also rises to the surface of heated metal (my metalsmithing husband says, “Uh, I wouldn’t call it scum. That’s just weird.)
- The scum vanishes back into the water, and the good stuff is left on the banks
Aha. I get it!
- God throws a bunch of random bullshit at people
- The stuff that we remember is “wisdom”
- The stuff that we forget was useless anyway
- That’s how he rolls
Right? Right?? Did I get it? All of this leaves me with one big question: why? Why the fuck would this gameplan sound like a good idea to anyone? The shortest way from point A to point B is a straight line. We’re at point A — no knowledge. We need to get to point B — knowledge. Just give it to us straight. Instead, God takes a big ol’ shit on the map and expects us to somehow find the right way on our own. See? I can do confusing analogies too. Worship me.
Anyway, after this God rambles a bit about how wise people can see and unwise people are blind. And then he throws this in there:
(22) Who persevere in seeking the way of their Lord, who fulfil their devotional obligations, and spend of what We have given them, secretly or openly, who repel evil with good: For them is the recompense of Paradise
“And spend of what We have given them…” God wants you to spend money. This shows up quite a bit in the Quran, and I’m obviously unwise because I can’t see why the fuck that would be any of his business. Seriously. I earn it. I should be able to do whatever I want with it. Blow it all on shoes. Horde it in some savings account. Convert it all to pennies and stash it in a spare bedroom so I can swim in it, Scrooge McDuck style. Who fucking cares?
God does, apparently. He wants you to spend it. And I wonder what he wants you to spend it on? Lets look at it in the context of that verse: that particular sentiment is sandwiched smack dab in between “devotional obligations” and “repeal evil with good.” Golly gee, I wonder if God might possibly want us to spend our money on him? In which case, why doesn’t he just give money to Mohammed directly? Why make him ask people for it? Why make him kill people so he can take it from them? Why not throw money down from the sky? Why not send a shower of gold — a golden shower, if you will — all over Mohammed?
While we’re on the subject of fortune:
(26) God increases or decreases the fortunes of whosoever He will, and they rejoice in the life of this world. Yet the life of this world is nothing but a merchandise as compared to the life of the next.
So basically, there are bad people out there with wonderful lives. And those lives are wonderful because of God, not in spite of him. Meanwhile, there are plenty of pious believers out there who live their entire lives with empty pockets, who go to bed night after night with an empty stomach, who suffer until death wins. And God? God doesn’t give a shit. Not to worry, starving people — those bad, rich folks will get theirs in the end. Not that anyone can prove it or anything. You’ll have to take God’s word on it. Hellfire, gardens and all.
(27) The unbelievers say: “How is it that no miracle was sent down to him by his Lord?” Say: “God leads whosoever He wills astray, and guides whoever turns to Him in repentance.
(28) Those who believe and find peace in their hearts from the contemplation of God: Surely there is peace of heart in the contemplation of God!”
Why can’t Mohammed perform any miracles? Because God leads or abandons people all willy nilly. Also, you should think about God a lot because it puts your heart at ease. Yeah. That makes perfect sense. Yet again, God totally ignores the question and gives a lameass answer that doesn’t answer much of anything.
Also, since there probably isn’t a God, Mohammed most likely came up with verses 28 & 29 himself. It kind of makes them even more pathetic. Read them again. See what I mean?
(31) Had there been a Qur’an which could have made the mountains move, or the earth to cleave asunder, or the dead to speak, yet all authority belongs to God.
Uh, had the Quran been able to do any of that, it might have helped God’s case a little. But, like God himself, the Quran is totally impotent. Oh well.
Have the believers not learnt that if God had so willed He could have guided all mankind?
That second half made my eyes roll so far to the back of my head that they popped off. I abrogated them with a new set of eyes so I could see what I’m typing. Here’s my verdict: God is such a fucking asshole. But wait, there’s more.
As for unbelievers, they will be visited by misfortune endlessly for what they have done; or it would sit in their homes till the promised threat of God comes to pass. Surely God does not go back on His promise.
I know he says he wouldn’t go back a promise, but then he also says he’s always right about everything while simultaneously abrogating things he’s said. So you know what? I’m not buying it. Anyway, that’s not even the biggest pile of shit in that verse. God’s tactics make zero sense.
Lets pretend I’m trying to train my dog. I want to teach her that it’s not OK to piss all over my house. Here’s how I do it:
- I keep a very close eye on my dog.
- When she squats to pee, I clap my hands loudly and yell NO! which startles her and shows her I’m not pleased.
- I pick her up and take her outside.
- I cheer and give her a cookie when she squats to pee outside.
Not much imagination involved, since that’s how I actually taught my dog not to pee in the house. Worked like a charm. Now here’s God’s method, according to verse 31:
- Watch the dog, but don’t let the dog see you.
- When she squats to pee, do nothing. (If she was a believer, she wouldn’t squat in the first place.)
- Continue to do nothing as the dog pisses and shits all over your house for the duration of her life (approximately 12-15 years).
- When the dog dies, send her to hell.
Yeah. If God really gave a shit about any of us, he’d make the punishment instant. He’d clap his hands loudly and yell NO! but he doesn’t. No wonder we’re all going to hell. (Also, no wonder dogs are considered unclean in Islam.)
(32) Many an apostle have they mocked before you; but I allowed the unbelievers respite, then I seized them. How severe was My punishment then!
How severe was it??
…oh, my bad. I thought it was like the old joke.
It was so severe.
How severe was it??
It was so severe that [punchline].
But God’s got nothing. He just says it was severe and then moves on to the next thing:
(33) Who is it who stands (watch) over every soul for what it does? Yet they ascribe compeers to God. Say: “Then name them. Or are you announcing to God what He does not know on the earth? Or is it only empty talk? In fact, the unbelievers’ plots are made to look attractive to them, so that they are held back from the right path. Whosoever God allows to go astray has none to show him the way.
I bolded the important part of that verse. Whosoever God allows to go astray has none to show him the way. Here’s my question: why would God allow anyone to go astray knowing that nobody can help him after that? That’s not exactly most-merciful there, right? And check out this next verse:
(34) For them is punishment in this world; and the punishment of the world to come is far more severe. They will have no one to save them from God.
OK, that’s definitely not most-merciful. Most merciful would be “I know you fucked up, but I forgive you anyway because I’m most-merciful. Go play in heaven, you rascal, you.” It wouldn’t be such a big deal if God wasn’t most-mercifulling himself all over the damn Quran. If he’d said sorta-merciful or mostly-merciful, I’d cut him some slack. He went all out, so I’m going all out: God is a liar. He lies. He is lying every single time he says he is most-merciful. What else is he lying about? Is he lying about existing?? Don’t believe anything he says!
Ready for one more vivid, exhilarating description of what heaven will be like? Ready?? Here it is:
(35) The likeness of Paradise promised the pious and devout is (of a garden) with streams of rippling water, everlasting fruits and shade. This is the recompense of those who keep away from evil; but the recompense of those who deny the truth is Hell.
Anything new that would make us give a shit? Ex. (Still waiting on this one, God. Stiiiiiill waiting.)
Any Christians reading this blog? Anyone? Anyone? I know you guys scope out ex-Muslim blogs to get ammunition for your army of God / missionary crap. Pay close attention to this next verse. It has to do with you:
(36) Those to whom We have given the Scriptures rejoice in what We have sent down to you; but some of their factions reject some of it.
Uh oh. Are you a Christian who doesn’t believe in ALL Of the Bible? Do you cherry pick the “good” parts of the Bible and ignore the weird shit about slavery and rape and bashing childrens’ heads in? Yes? I thought so! (Pretty sure most Christians fall under that category.) Check this out:
Tell them: “I am commanded to worship only God, and not to associate compeers with Him. To Him I call you, and to Him is the destination.”
This is your wake up call! You should convert to Islam!
(37) That is how We have sent down this (Qur’an) as a code of clear judgement. But if you follow their caprices, now that you have been given knowledge, you will have no friend or protector against God.
That’s right. You have now been given the knowledge. And if you don’t convert, you’ll have no protection against God. If you don’t convert, there’s a really good chance that you’ll be sent to hell after you die. I think you should hedge your bets. It’s better to just fake the faith, just in case. Right? Right?? ibn Pascal’s Wager, anyone??
Remember way back when we discovered the abrogation law in the Quran? It’s back! You knew it’d be back. Everything in the Quran comes back over and over and over, until the person reading it decides it would be a far more productive use of her time to go jump off a bridge or stick her head in an oven or something. Thar she blows:
(39) God abrogates or confirms whatsoever He will, for He has with Him the Book of Books.
3 second refresher: if God changes his mind about something he said before, he can just cancel it out with something new. He’s got the official copy of the Quran with him up in heaven, see, and that means….wait. What does that mean? So what if he has the mother book in heaven? That didn’t stop him from making all kinds of stupid mistakes in the book we have down here.
Hang on. Does this mean God made the same mistakes twice? Once when he came up with the Book of Books for-fucking-ever ago, and then again when he revealed it to Mohammed as the Quran? He had all the time in the world — literally — to edit that shit down, and he didn’t? The fuck? Also, since he’s all-knowing, all-powerful, all-everything God, shouldn’t he just have gotten this shit right the first time? Just askin’.
That’s all I’ve got for chapter 13. Coming up next: chapter 14, Abraham. Abraham, Abraham…that sounds so familiar. I think maybe we may have read about him in the Quran already once or twice or 4,829,034 fucking times. I scanned through the pages and I did see something new: Satan speaketh. Oooooh! Aaaaah!
Hey, did you know that the sun revolves around a flat earth? Well it does. At least according to the Quran:
(2) It is God who raised the skies without support, as you can see, then assumed His throne, and enthralled the sun and the moon (so that) each runs to a predetermined course. He disposes all affairs, distinctly explaining every sign that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.
(3) It is He who stretched the earth and placed upon it stabilisers and rivers; and made two of a pair of every fruit; (and) He covers up the day with the night. In these are signs for those who reflect.
Oh I’m reflecting alright. I’m reflecting real hard.
These two verses smell funny. There are those suspicious sounding “skies without support” and “predetermined course” bits. Plus the word “stabilisers.” And the odd mention of fruit. I checked some other translations to see what’s up. Lookie lookie what I found. I bolded the good parts:
A. J. Arberry:
(2) God is He who raised up the heavens without pillars you can see, then He sat Himself upon the Throne. He subjected the sun and the moon, each one running to a term stated. He directs the affair; He distinguishes the signs; haply you will have faith in the encounter with your Lord.
(3) It is He who stretched out the earth and set therein firm mountains and rivers, and of every fruit He placed there two kinds, covering the day with the night. Surely in that are signs for a people who reflect.
Pillars. Pillars! PILLARS!! Oh, lawsie mercy, I’m reflecting so hard, I shit my pants. Holy flat earth, Batman. The sun also moves and the earth was stretched out. And those stabilisers Ahmed Ali was talking about? They’re mountains. I still have no idea what’s up with the fruit thing.
Here’s another translation:
(2) Allah it is Who raised up the heavens without visible supports, then mounted the Throne, and compelled the sun and the moon to be of service, each runneth unto an appointed term; He ordereth the course; He detaileth the revelations, that haply ye may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.
(3) And He it is Who spread out the earth and placed therein firm hills and flowing streams, and of all fruits He placed therein two spouses (male and female). He covereth the night with the day. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who take thought.
Visible supports? Nice verbal gymnastics, Pickthall! How far up your ass did you have to reach to pull that one out? (My guess is to the elbows, at least.) The sun runs an appointed term around an earth that was spread out. Spread out has been the most incriminating one so far. The stabilisers aren’t quite mountains in Pickthall’s world — they’re just firm hills. As opposed to what? Soft hills? Squishy hills? And, of course, there’s the fruit again. Still have nothing on that one.
(2) Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that ye can see; is firmly established on the throne (of authority); He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He doth regulate all affairs, explaining the signs in detail, that ye may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.
(3) And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draweth the night as a veil o’er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!
Yusuf Ali’s text puts me to sleep. Seriously. Who says “o’er” anyway?
- Pillars? Check.
- Revolving sun? Check.
- Earth was spread out? Check.
- Mountains and/or hills? Check.
- Fruit? Checkitty check.
So there you have it. Flat earth in the Quran, consistent in all the translations I looked up.
I love how all of this is supposed to serve as evidence of God. A “sign that you may be certain of the meeting with your Lord.” You know what? I’m not certain of what happens after we die. But one thing seems pretty blatantly obvious to me: this dude who thinks the sun revolves around the earth and uses this information to convince me of his existence? Pretty sure I won’t be meeting him because he’s a phony.
(4) On the earth are tracts adjoining one another, and vineyards, fields of corn and date-palm trees, some forked, some with single trunks, yet all irrigated by the self-same water, though We make some more excellent than the others in fruit. There are surely signs in them for those who understand.
OK, I get it. They lived in the desert, so you had to tell them about things they’d understand. Things like date-palm trees (which come in forked and unforked varieties). But I would have been way more impressed if God had described — I dunno — the coming of the internet. Or something that hasn’t been so fucking obvious since forever.
I mean, seriously? Water makes plants grow? How hard is that one to figure out? You come out of your little hut the day after it’s rained and see that the grass is taller and more lush. And that happens every time it rains. Ooh ooh ahh ahh, water make plant grow. It’s not exactly rocket science. Then again, we’re talking about people who believe in an invisible sky man and his invisible friends made out of fire and smoke, so you can’t expect too much.
(7) The unbelievers say: “Why no miracle was sent down to him by his Lord?” But you are only a bearer of warnings, and a guide for every nation.
(8) God is cognisant of what every female carries in her womb, or what the wombs want or exceed (of their disburdening time). With Him all things are in determined measure.
Did you catch how God totally dodges the question and answers it with something completely different? How come Mo can’t perform any miracles? Uhhh…he’s there to warn and guide you. Also, God knows what’s inside women’s uteruses. He know everything. Next question!
Ugh, I’m having flashbacks of the Vice Presidential debates…
The whole “what the wombs want” thing pissed me off when I read it. First off, a womb does not think. It does not want anything. And secondly, every woman wants to fill her womb up with a baby? Really? Lucky for me, nobody told my womb that before it shut the factory doors and went on a permanent vacation.
(12) It is He who makes the lightning flash for fear and hope, and raises massive clouds.
(13) The thunder sings His praises, and the angels too, for awe of Him. He sends thunder-bolts and strikes whosoever He will with them: Even then it is God they contend about! But mighty is He in (His) power.
Did anyone else get an image of God sitting on a cloud shooting lightning bolts at people’s asses? No? Just me then? Fair enough. In all seriousness, this verse is pretty much saying that God is Zeus. Man. If only we could figure out how and why thunder and lightning occur, we could toss aside this pathetic argument for God’s existence. …oh wait.
And finally, here’s my favorite verse so far:
(15) Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth bows to God in submission with a will or perforce, as do their shadows in the morning and evening.
Double you. Tee. Eff. Everyone — literally everyone — bows down to God twice a day, regardless of whether they’re doing it on purpose. Also, shadows bow down to God twice a day. Most likely when the people they’re attached to bow down to God twice a day. Since, you know…they’re just shadows. Yeah.
That’s all I’ve got for part 1. Part 2’s coming up, babies. Stay tuned!
I had a hard time sleeping last night, both from excitement and nervousness.
KafirBoy and I got up at 5am so we can be at the polls at 6 when they open. We live in a black / Latino / hipster / passionate liberal part of town, and it’s pretty notorious for long lines due to high voter turnout. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like this year. So we’re getting our civic duty out of the way early on. And yes, even though Starbucks coffee tastes like charred feet, I’ll be there getting my free cup after I vote. I fucking deserve it for getting up at the buttcrack of dawn.
Yesterday I saw some pictures of a 106 year old black woman waiting in line to vote for Obama. She was dressed to the nines — hat, gloves and all. It damn near made me cry, and I am not the boo hoo type. This election has really taken it out of me, and I am so ready to get it over with.
Anyway, if you’re in the States and you’re old enough to vote, do it. You know you want to, even if it’s just for the free coffee.
New post coming up sometime soon. I’ve had a hard time focusing on it what with the news and the blogs and the polls. …and chapter 13 kinda sucking it hardcore.
Another one from the travel log. Or tlog as I like to call it. I’m so fucking hip.
Know what a $5 cup of Costa coffee looks like? Just like a $2 cup of Costa coffee back in the States. And I would know — that’s what I just paid at the Dubai airport. And you know what? It was worth it. I chugged that shit down because I was told I wouldn’t be able to take it on the plane. Turns out the flight got delayed an hour and a half, and I burned up my taste buds for nothing. I was so sad that I went to Starbucks and paid $4 for a cup of green tea.
Yeah, I’m just throwing money around now. Whatevs. I spent a grand total of $160 during my week-long stay in Pakistan. And that includes a trip to the spa where I pampered myself with a facial, hot stone massage, wax job, manicure & pedicure. Plus a 50% tip for the lovely young ladies who took care of me. Anyone who has to touch feet for a living should be compensated well. Just sayin’.
They were really nice, these girls. They understood a little English, and they didn’t laugh too much at my pathetic attempts at making conversation in Urdu. I have the vocabulary of a 2nd grader, which incidentally is right around the time we moved to the States.
A lot of the visit to Pakistan was built around services. There was the guy who cooked all our meals. The woman who came in and made our beds every day, and the tailor who cloned my favorite pair of premium Levi’s. There was the guy who drove us all around town, even taking us the scenic route without us asking (”So you can see the ocean,” he said).
Everywhere we went, there was someone there to wait on us hand and foot. Someone poor. Someone who probably doesn’t make as much money in a month as I make in a day. Sometimes they were so young that if we were back in the States, I’d wonder why they weren’t in school. I’d wonder if I should call Child Protective Services. I’d wonder — but not in Pakistan.
The whole thing made me really, really uncomfortable to say the least. Especially when they call me “miss” or “madam.” I saw poverty in Pakistan the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere else. I see it every time I go there, and then I go back to my cushy ass life and forget all about it.
I’m not saying I’m rich. Far from it, actually. We do well for ourselves, but we’re practically kids. We’re in our 20s. We’re just starting out. Hell, we’re not even lower middle class in the area we live in, and we’re constantly calling ourselves poor. “We’re too poor to go on vacation” or “we’re gonna be so poor after we pay rent.” Ugh.
I can’t even think about the word poor without the image of some 5 year old knocking on my car window, hand cupped, saying “For God’s sake, please, miss.” I will never say that again. …at least until I settle back into my cushy ass life and I forget again.
On a less depressing note, I went to the duty free liquor shop and scored 2 big ol’ bottles of top shelf liquor for $40. KafirBoy is going to love the shit out of me when I show up with those.
Also, I’ve rocked the most horrendous seating arrangements ever on this trip. From NYC to Dubai, I sat next to a woman who put her head in her husbands lap and her bare feet on mine. No joke. I had to tap her awake and ask her to get off me. Nicely. From Dubai to Karachi I sat alone, only not. I was surrounded by beardos and one particularly creepy non-beardo who stared at me while I slept. You know how you’re almost asleep and then you open your eyes because it feels like someone’s staring at you? Yeah. 2 hours of that was way fun.
From Karachi to Dubai, I sat next to a very smelly woman who threw her trash on the floor and yelled in Punjabi at the Korean flight attendant to fetch her some 7 Up and a toothpick. Then she yelled at me in Urdu to translate for her since the flight attendant was non-responsive. She also took out a shawl that reeked of moth balls and threw it dramatically over her shoulder, slapping me in the face as she did it. And then — yes it gets better — she picked her teeth and wiped the toothpick on the seat. For, like, 20 minutes. She also spit in the corner. If you don’t believe any of this ever happened, try taking a flight from Karachi to Dubai. I guarantee it’ll be the most horrible 2 hours of your life.
Anyway, for the last leg of my journey, I didn’t bother specifying what seat I wanted. I ended up in the bitch seat, aka the center. I’m hoping I’ll at least end up sammiched in between some hotties.
ETA: didn’t happen. I was sammiched between a really nice older gentleman and a really fat guy. The older guy and I had some good conversations until I took some sleeping pills and slept for, like, 7 hours straight. Through crying babies and all.
I’m home now, and busy doing a whole lot of nothing with my hubby. I slept through pretty much all of the flight home, so I didn’t make it very far into chapter 13. I’ll have it updated soon though. I’ve got a whole weekend ahead of me, remember? Did I mention how nice it is to be home? See ya’ll soon.
It’s my last night in Pakistan. I’m kind of geeked about leaving, so I’m having problems sleeping. It’s been a hell of a week.
Flying from Karachi to Dubai on Emirates is a harrowing journey. Not because it’s long or something — it’s only a 2 hour flight. Emirates calls this kind of short flight an Aerobus. I call it a BeardoBus. That’s all you’ll find on these flights.* Bearded Islamic scholars who don’t wear deodorant and recite the Quran in loud whispers through the entire journey. The really fun part about traveling with these guys is catching them ogling the flight attendants’ legs as they sashay up and down the aisles.
It’s been an interesting thing coming back to Pakistan after several years. The last time I was here, I would have freaked out a little at even the idea of getting groped in a market or something. It’s happened before. A lot. And my reaction was always to ignore it and walk away as fast as possible, my blood boiling. My dark brown face would be beet red if I was capable of blushing. Duck down and try not to be noticed. That was always my policy.
This time, though, I’m older. Bolder. There was no ducking down, no trying to blend in. I walked around in properly fitted t-shirt, ass-flattering jeans and flip flops. No baggy clothing. No scarf covering up my chest. And I carry around a bigass, sturdy handbag that I could easily beat the shit out of someone with. I walked about with a swagger, my head held high. Fuck anyone who thinks that’s not the way a woman should behave in public. I’ve been here a week and I haven’t been groped or messed with even once. Success.
I soaked in some culture I haven’t ever really experienced before. I went to a Shi’ite temple with my friend’s parents. They know I grew up Sunni (and assume that I still am), so they asked me if it was OK. Meh. Curiosity wins every time. Besides, the building was kind of pretty and I wanted to see the glasswork.
It was the only time during my trip that I had to put a scarf over my head, and it was a pretty lame attempt at doing so. All I had with me was a very sheer scarf. I half covered my hair and my shoulders, which were bare thanks to my sleeveless ensemble. It wasn’t doing much to hide anything. They let me in anyway. Formalities, I guess.
I went in and touched the flag pole like everyone else (no idea why they do that). I took my shoes off. I followed Friends Mom into the mosque-like building (through the separate ladies’ entrance, of course) and we walked up to a gated area. She touched the gate with both hands and peered inside, praying in whispers. I didn’t touch the gate but I peeked in. It was an above-ground tomb. Friend explained later that the guy was a very prominent figure in the Karachi Shi-ite community.
Then we went to a corner that houses what appears to be a miniature baby crib made out of metal. Friend’s Mom asked if I would reach over and rock the thing. I did. And when i saw her big toothy grin, I realized this was something that’s supposed to “help” me get pregnant. Good fucking luck with that one. My ovaries are non-functioning but I went ahead and got an IUD just to put my mind at ease. My odds of getting knocked up are about the same as those of God’s existence.
Anyway, spending time with Shi’tes was interesting. I don’t know a whole lot about Shi’ite culture and I learned quite a bit from Friend’s family. We also went to an Ahmedi lady’s house. She was one of the sweetest, most genuine women I’ve ever met. I didn’t even mind that she kept saying “God bless you,” because she kind of made me realize that not everyone is a total asshole. Color me jaded, but it’s been a long, long time since I’ve felt like that. It was refreshing.
I didn’t do much aside from spend time with my family and Friend. It was nice, but I’m ready to get back to my other family.
I’m bringing back a suitcase full of pashmina scarves for my friends…and for myself. KafirBoy’s getting a carved wooden statue of a fat Buddha looking all happy. The fun part is the underside of the statue. When you pick it up and flip it over, there are two figures hidden underneath. A man and a woman. They’re all wrapped up in one another’s arms, smiling. When you look closely, you realize that the man is actually sucking on the woman’s boob while giving her a handjob. No joke. I just had to get it for the only other person I know who would find that hilarious.
He’s also getting a handful of pirated DVDs and a ginormous bottle of spiced rum from ye olde duty free shoppes. The real present, though, is little old me showing up at 7 am on Saturday to wake him up with some serious snuggling followed by a week’s worth of dorky shenanigans. Whoo! Lucky man, that one!
My advice to anyone going to Karachi: bring your own coffee. Seriously. Bring a small coffee maker and some grounds. You’ll find nothing but instant here, unless you’re willing to seek out a decent coffee shop. And even that’s hit and miss. Order a coffee with cream and you’ll get a teeny drop of espresso underneath a mountain of whipped cream on top. Dunkin Donuts coffee here tastes like it was ground in someone’s butt. And fancy coffee places are a high pretentiousness zone. Meh.
* That and the occasional brown twenty-somethings traveling back to the states after spending a week with their families. You will know us by our giant backpacks and giant headphones. And our lack of beards. We sort of nod at one another and hope we get seats together on the next leg of the journey.
Here’s part 2, also written on a plane on my way to Karachi. Good times.
Still on the plane. Long ass flight. Getting massively annoyed with people. And not just the babies this time (although, wouldn’t you know it, they’re still going). No, even the adults are starting to wear me thin at this point.
I’m sitting next to a woman who alternates between reading her Quran — out loud, in a whisper — and crying while a Bollywood ripoff of Amelie. No joke. She’s got her elbows all over the damn place. And when she wants to get up to go to the bathroom, she doesn’t say “excuse me” or something. She just stares at me until I get up. It’s going to be a long 823940832043 hours.
This is the last of chapter 12. I promise. I know I delved into it a lot more than some other chapters, but cut me some slack. Do you remember how horrendous 10 and 11 were? Do you?? I don’t either. I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday let alone something I wrote weeks ago. I’m a sad, sad lady. On with the show:
(94) The caravan departed (from Egypt) and Jacob said (at home): “Say not that I am in my dotage, but I get the smell of Joseph.”
Joseph’s shirt, which is on a caravan leaving Egypt, smells so strong that Jacob can smell it all the way back at his house. Now I know some blind people have a heightened sense of smell, but damn, dude. That’s a bit excessive. Also, Joseph smells the same as he did when he was 6 or 12 or however the hell old he was when he got tossed down that well. I find that hard to believe.
(95) They said: “By God, you are still persisting in your old delusion.”
That’s what I’m saying. After that, Joseph’s caravan appeared and the old guy got to say one last “I told you so.”
(96) Then, as the harbinger of happy news arrived and put the garment over his face his eyesight was restored. He said: “Did I not tell you? I know from God what you do not know.”
After that, the half-brothers repented and begged for Jacob to pray for them. Which is kind of bullshit if you ask me, because they should be praying for themselves. Personal responsibility and all.
Anyway, Joseph invites his whole family to come hang out in Egypt with him. And suddenly it seems like he’s a lot more important than he was a few verses ago, because he now has a throne!
(99) When they went back to Joseph he gave his father and mother a place of honour, and said: “Enter Egypt in peace by the will of God.”
(100) He seated his parents by his side on the throne; and they fell down before him in homage. “O my father,” said Joseph, “this is the meaning of my earlier dream. My Lord has made it come true. He was gracious in getting me out of the prison, and bringing you out of the desert to me after the discord created by Satan between me and my brothers, for my Lord is gracious to whomsoever He please. He is indeed all-knowing and all-wise.
Oh, so that’s what the dream was all about. Sun, moon and planets. I get it. And to think, they could have avoided that whole prison / rape thing if God had just *poofed* everyone into the subservient roles he really wanted them to be in.
One last thought — Joseph’s brothers are literally on the ground, paying homage to him. I’m picturing this as on their knees with their foreheads and hands to the ground. Sort of like how Muslims pray. That’s sort of fucked up considering the only person you’re supposed to do that to is God. Pretty sure this is against God’s own rules, but hey, he makes this shit up as he goes along.
The rest of the chapter is pretty ho-hum stuff. Mostly just God greasing up his own dick. To the point that I wonder how that thing hasn’t fallen off yet. Or, at the very least, it must be kind of sore.
The money verse is the one that ends the chapter. I had to choke back the laughter:
(111) Verily in their accounts is a lesson for men of wisdom. This is not a fictitious tale, but a verification of earlier Books, and a clear exposition of everything, and a guidance and grace for those who believe.
This isn’t fiction. Really, it’s not. It happened. Believe me! Believe me, damnit!
That’s it for chapter 12. Coming up next, chapter 13. Whoo! Blogathon! I haven’t been this excited since Crying Lady went to the bathroom and gave my elbows a 5 minute break!
Here’s the first in the series of posts I’ve been working on. It was done at the airport on the day I left. To all the Paki fundos who emailed asking if I’d like to meet up to discuss religion in person…no thanks! To everyone who wanted to make sure I wasn’t in the earthquake region, I’m not. I’m a-OK. Super homesick and pining away for the old ball-n-chain, but otherwise OK. Thanks for the well wishes. I’ll be back on a plane tomorrow night and should be back by Saturday morning. Expect a ton more posts.
You know what I hate the most about airports? Bad coffee. It’s always either Starbucks (which tastes like charred feet) or the gas station style DIY stuff (water with a little coffee flavor). And they have the audacity to charge $2.50 for the stuff. Traveling is a goodnfast way to remind myself how wonderful my home life really is. What with the shadegrown, organic, pays-workers-even-more-fairly-than-Fair-Trade java we spoil ourselves with. *Le sigh*
Anyway, where were we? Oh I know. I was taking my sweetass time getting through chapter 12, taking things line by line and really savoring the newness of it all. Two more segments, and I swear we’ll move on. Just let me enjoy this story while I can, plzkthnx.
So far we’ve watched poor Joseph get screwed over by his own brothers, accused of rape, and sent to prison, where he interpreted some dreams that eventually won him his freedom and landed him a cushy government job. And that’s when the story gets really interesting. Lets jump right in.
(58) The brothers of Joseph came (to Egypt) and visited him. He recognised them, though they did not recognise him.
(59) When he had supplied their provisions, he said to them: “Bring your (half) brother with you. Have you not seen that I have given full measure, and that I am the best of hosts?
OK, so Joseph is working for Mr. Egypt now (which must be pretty awkard for that wiley old vixen, Mrs. Egypt). His half brothers just arrived in town to business with him. Joseph, of course, recognizes them right away, but they don’t recognize him. This is the stuff movies are made of. Really, really bad movies.
Joseph goes on to tell his brothers that if they don’t bring their half brother to him, they won’t be able to do business together. Which, what the fuck, should be setting off some serious alarms for the half brothers. Here’s what would happen if I was a half brother and Joseph had just made the same demand:
A) How did you know we have a half brother?
B) Hang on a sec. Your name is Joseph?
C) OMFG you’re the guy we threw in a well all those years ago.
D) Run away! Run away!!
But no. That’s now how the brothers roll. Here’s what they say:
(61) They said: “We shall request his father, and will certainly do that.”
Not the brightest bunch, Jacob’s kids. Joseph is a pretty clever guy, though. Just to make sure they come back, he puts their money back in their packs. In other words, he pretends to be a generous guy to trick them into coming back. That’s the kind of shit a man of God would do!
Anyway, Joe’s bros go to their father and ask his permission to take thier other half brother back to Joseph. (Was that confusing enough for you?) Now, knowing what happened the last time these yo-yo’s took a kid somewhere, I’d probably say, “Fuck no, you’re not taking him anywhere!” But that’s not quite what daddy says:
(64) He replied: “Should I trust you with him as I did his brother? But God is the best of guardians, and most merciful of all.”
That’s right. God’ll take care of him. Just like he took care of the last one, you fucking moron. It’s like having sex with a hooker and not using a condom. “I could get genital warts, but what the hell. God’ll take care of me.” Newsflash for you religious types: There is no God. Take care of yourself.
(65) When they unpacked their goods they said: “O father, what more can we ask? Look, even our money has been returned. We shall go and bring a camel-load more of grain for our family, and take good care of our brother. That will be an easy measure.”
You know what? Maybe this is just because I’m a city girl, but this is some retardedly suspicious stuff. As in if you don’t find this suspicious, you must be retarded. The guy knows they have a half brother. He tells them to bring the half brother or else there will be no more grain for them. He gives them a camel-load of grain but he doesn’t charge them for it. What the fucking fuck? That’s the kind of shit the mafia does right before they pull out the Quick Mix cement and buckets. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably fucking is. Then again, a little common sense never gets in the way of religious stupidity. Joseph’s father shrugs it off, just so long as the boys will — get this bullshit — swear to God that they’ll bring their brother back.
(66) He said: “I will never send him with you until you swear by God that you will bring him back to me, unless all of you are overtaken (by misfortune).” When they had given their promise, he said: “God is witness to our conversation.”
Hell-oh? These are the same guys who threw a kid down a well, found some goat or camel blood to smear on his shirt and then lied about a wolf eating him. They’re liars. Swearing to God is good for two things: jack and shit.
Anyway, they go back to Joseph with their half-brother in tow. Joseph reveals his secret to his real brother, and then he does this:
(70) When he had given them their provisions he put his goblet in his brother’s saddle-bag. Then a crier announced: “O men of the caravan, you are thieves.”
He lies to them. He tricks them. He decieves them. He’s supposed to be a man of God, pious as fuck, flawless in every way. And he’s a liar. Here’s how it does down:
1. Joseph puts the goblet in his “real” brother’s bag.
2. His servants cry thief.
3. Everyone agrees that the owner of the bag which the goblet is is will be held in punishment.
4. They search for the goblet, starting with the half-brothers’ bags for dramatic effect.
5. They find the goblet in the real brother’s bag and keep him prisoner.
This is what God has to say about the whole thing:
(76) That is how We planned an excuse for Joseph, for under the law of the king he could not detain his brother unless God so willed. We raise the status of whom We please. Over every man of knowledge there is one more knowing.
That’s right: God condones lying! He’s a-OK with planting false evidence and accusing people of shit they didn’t commit (which, come to think of it, is how Joseph ended up in prison the first time around, right?).
I’m cutting in here to share what I hate most about airplanes: children. Babies. Toddlers. Pretty much anyone under the age of 16. Not a fan. Especially when they kick my seat and / or cry and / or make noises. Even more than the screaming, crying child thrashing about wildly, I hate parents who don’t do anything about it. They just sit there with a blank expression as their little asshole of a child makes everyone else’s life miserable for, I dunno, a 19 hour flight. I have vivid fantasies about sneaking some Benadryl in the baby bottle but I’m pretty sure there are laws against that sort of thing, even in airspace. Sad.
Anyway, back to the story. The half-brothers call the guy a thief and ditch his ass, although there is an attempt at trying to cover their asses somewhat.
(78) They said: “O Minister, he has an aged father, so keep one of us in his place. We see you are a virtuous man.”
Joseph doesn’t let them get away with that sort of thing. The “thief” doesn’t get off the hook for anything. The brothers have to go back to the father minus one more son. And he’s so pissed that he beats the shit out of them and throws them all down a well. OK, not really. This is what he says:
(83) “No,” said (the father). “You have made up the story; but patience is best; God may bring them back to me. He is all-knowing and all-wise.”
(84) He turned away from them and cried: “Alas for Joseph!” And his eyes turned white with grief which he bore in silence.
He does what good religious people are supposed to do: nothing. It’s the same impotent “God knows best” bullshit he’s been spouting all along. Also, he goes blind from the stress, which kind of reminded me of this episode of “Band of Brothers.” Apparently stress will do that to you, and it’s temporary. I’ll believe “Band of Brothers” over the Quran any day.
Check out how sensitive Joseph’s half-brothers are:
(85) “By God,” said they, “you will never stop thinking of Joseph till you are consumed or perish.”
Wow. What a bunch of assholes. I bet Joseph just died when they had to go back to him and beg for food:
(88) When they returned to him, they said (to Joseph): “O Minister, calamity has befallen us and our people. We have brought but a meagre sum, but give us full measure as alms bestowed. God surely rewards those who give alms.”
Aww sad. Nobody should have to beg. But, erm, quick question: what happened to all that money Joseph put back in their bags? Just sayin’. I wouldn’t put it past these guys to blow all that money on booze and lottery tickets on their way back to Joe’s. They have a reputation for lying, you know.
At this point in the story, Joseph finally (FINALLY!) reveals his true identity:
(89) He said: “Do you know what you did to Joseph and his brother in your ignorance?”
(90) They said: “Surely you are not Joseph!” “I am Joseph,” he said, “and this is my brother. God has been gracious to us; for God does not verily deprive those who fear Him and are patient of the recompense of those who are good.”
The fuck? Where has Joseph been this entire story? God’s graciousness has been pretty hit or miss so far. But that’s just like religious folks. If God bends you over and fucks you black and blue, you’re supposed to say “Thank you,” and hope for more. It’s Stockholm syndrome through and through. Not that they see it this way.
Anyway, the half-brothers finally realize that Joseph is not only their father’s favorite, but also God’s favorite.
(91) They said: “By God, God has favoured you above us, for we have indeed been sinners.”
(92) “There is no blame on you today,” he said, “May God forgive you. He is the most merciful of all.
We suck, Joseph, you rock. We get it, we get it. We’re not worthy. At least the little shit was halfway decent about the matter. If he was at all bitchy or snarky, I wouldn’t blame the bros for punching him in the nuts.
This next part caught me off guard because it’s exactly what happened in “Band of Brothers”:
(93) Take my shirt and put it on my father’s face; his eyesight will be restored; and bring your entire family to me.”
…ok, not really. The guy’s eyesight came back on its own once he rested up. No magic shirt necessary.
Coming up next: more Joseph. More brothers. Does this chapter ever end? Stay tuned to find out!