God Can Take Care Of Himself – In The Qur’an and The Bible – Sura 68 Part 4


 

[68:44] Therefore, let Me deal with those who reject this Hadith; we will lead them on whence they never perceive.

Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 These are statements from the Qur’an, The Torah (1st 5 books of the Old Testament) and The Injil (The Gospels from the New Testament).  Each is representative of how God deals with unbelievers in each of these three books.

Sura 68 – The Pen

Order of Revelation – 2
Traditional order in Qur’an – 68

Sura 68 addresses the following:

1.  The sense from the Prophet that his first revelation was actually from an evil spirit. This appears to be confirming what his wife told him – that Muhammad was not crazy / hallucinating / etc.
2.  Confirms that God can see what people are doing.
3.  Compares the revelations to the Prophet to what others are told by their idols (gods).
4.  Says that God can take care of Himself.
5.  Tells Muhammad not to be like Jonah.

Part 1 was covered in introduction to Sura 68.

Part 2 was covered in God can see what people do.

Part 3 was covered in Idols in the Qur’an and the Bible.

4. Compare what God says about how He can / will take care of Himself in the three books

In the Qur’an, we read –

[68:42] The day will come when they will be exposed, and they will be required to fall prostrate, but they will be unable to.
[68:43] With their eyes subdued, humiliation will cover them. They were invited to fall prostrate when they were whole and able.
[68:44] Therefore, let Me deal with those who reject this Hadith; we will lead them on whence they never perceive.
[68:45] I will give them enough rope; My scheming is formidable.

The beginning of 68:44 is pretty straightforward –

[68:44] Therefore, let Me deal with those who reject this Hadith;

God will take care of the transgressors.

From the Official Islam Glossary for Introduction to Religion, the definition of Hadith is –

The stories about and sayings of Mohammed. After his death, these were tested for accuracy and collected into an organized body of material. They provide examples of proper behavior and instances of Mohammed’s understanding of his role.


Who are the ones “who reject this Hadith“?

The answer to this question may surprise you.  It wasn’t what I was expecting.

At this time, Islam was just getting started, and there were those who weren’t at all happy with it. To start with, it was more of a problem with the Arabs. They had many gods (polytheism) and Muhammad was telling them this was wrong – that there was only one. Those who made money off the various gods also were most unhappy about what he was doing. We see this from islamawareness.net (It’s a long page – search for the word weary  –

For three weary long years, the Prophet labored very quietly to deliver his people from the worship of idols. Polytheism was deeply rooted among the people. It offered attractions, which the new faith in its purity did not possess. The Quraish ((The Quraish was the most powerful tribe in Mecca at the time)) had personal material interests in the old worship, and their prestige was dependent upon its maintenance. The Prophet had to contend with the idolatrous worship of its followers and to oppose the ruling oligarchy, which governed its destinies.

After three years of constant but quiet struggle, only thirty followers were secured. An important change now occurred in the relations of the Prophet with the citizens of Mecca. His compatriots had begun to doubt his sanity, thinking him crazy or possessed by an evil spirit. Hitherto he preached quietly and unobtrusively. He now decided to appeal publicly to the Meccans, requesting them to abandon their idolatry. For this he arranged a gathering on a neighboring hill and there spoke to them of their folly in the sight of Allah in worshiping pieces of stone which they called their gods. He invited them to abandon their old impious worship and adopt the faith of love, truth and purity. He warned them of the fate that had overtaken past races who had not heeded the preaching of former prophets. But the gathering departed without listening to the warning given them by the Prophet.

Having thus failed to induce his fellow citizens to listen to him, he turned his attention to the strangers arriving in the city on commerce or pilgrimage. But the Quraish made attempts to frustrate his efforts. They hastened themselves to meet the strangers first on different routes, to warn them against holding any communication with the Prophet, whom they represented as a dangerous magician. When the pilgrims or traders returned to their homes, they carried with them the news of the advent of the bold preacher who was inviting the Arabs loudly – at the risk of his own life – to abandon the worship of their dear idols.

Now the Prophet and his followers became subject to some persecution and indignity. The hostile Quraish prevented the Prophet from offering his prayers at the Sacred House of the Ka’ba; they pursued him wherever he went; they covered him and his disciples with dirt and filth when engaged in their devotions; they scattered thorns in the places which he frequented for devotion and meditation. Amidst all these trials the Prophet did not waver. He was full of confidence in his mission, even when on several occasions he was put in imminent danger of losing his life.

 

So – at this point in time, there are a couple important things to notice –

  • God will take care of Himself – where the Qur’an says – let Me deal with those who reject this Hadith.
    • This is an important point.  Like Judaism and Christianity – this shows an all powerful God.  A God who is perfectly capable of taking care of Himself.  A God who even tells His followers that He can and will do this – so the assumption would be that they don’t have to.  In fact – it indicates to me that they should not try to do something to take care of God.
    • The main Qur’an commentary ((The Message of The Qur’an, by Muhammad Asad)) that I’m using says of this verse – The implication being that God alone has the right to decide whether or how to chastise them.
    • We will lead them on whence they never perceive.  One has to assume that “we” is God and some other Heavenly beings.  Partly, this is due to the usage of “we” as opposed to “you”.  However, the primary reason is the next verse.
    • [68:45] I will give them enough rope; My scheming is formidable. This appears to be saying that what God has planned is something that humans won’t understand.  Note – this is also in line with the beliefs of both the Torah and the Injil.  Indeed, looking at the commentary again, we read – … God’s unfathomable plan of creation of which man can only glimpse isolated fragments and never the totality: a plan in which every thing and happening has a definite function, and nothing is accidental.  Again, what we read here matches both the Torah and the Injil.
  • There are no issues with either Jews or Christians. The problems / persecution was coming not from them, but from the very people that Muhammad was trying to convert – his fellow Arabs that were polytheists.
    • This was fascinating.  I think many (most?) people today would have assumed that these verses would have been addressing problems between Muslims and Jews / Christians.  Certainly not between Muslims and other Arabs.  It’s amazing the versions of “history” that get taught in different places and times.

Qur’anic conclusion

God doesn’t need anyone to take care of Him –
He’s perfectly capable of taking care of Himself.


 Old Testament views

The Bible has much more to say of the omnipotence of God.
For instance, in Isaiah 40:12-26 – we read –

Isa 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Isa 40:13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counselor?
Isa 40:14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path of understanding?

Isa 40:15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
Isa 40:16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
Isa 40:17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

Isa 40:18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
What image will you compare him to?
Isa 40:19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
Isa 40:20 A man too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot.
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not topple.

Isa 40:21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
Isa 40:22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
Isa 40:23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
Isa 40:24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

Isa 40:25 “To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Isa 40:26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Surely, this is the description of a God who can take care of Himself.

He can mark off the heavens with His hand –
The nations are like a piece of dust to Him –
He knows each of the stars in the sky –
He can take the greatest ruler in the world and make him into nothing.

Surely – He can take care of Himself.

He doesn’t need any of us to defend Him.

He can deal with unbelievers and transgressors Himself.

I think it’s important to note again – at this time, followers of Muhammad were still encouraged and expected to be familiar with the Old Testament (especially the Torah and Psalms) and the New Testament (especially the Injil).  Given the small number of followers at this time, it’s not unreasonable to expect all of them to be aware of these verses from Isaiah.  We’ll see more of this in upcoming articles, but there are many times in the Qur’an where there are references to the Bible, with an expectation the the reader of the Qur’an is already familiar with the corresponding Bible verses.


At the very beginning, I chose the verse below from Genesis 12 –

Ge 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”

The reason for this verse is that it was part of God’s promise to Abraham (Abram in the Torah).  It was God’s first promise regarding the offspring of Abraham.  And – it revealed a “method” behind the seemingly incomprehensible plan of God for choosing who to bless and who to curse.  

I also want to point out again – if you haven’t read the earlier articles – this blessing follows through to all of Abraham’s children.  That means Isaac and Ishmael.  It also says “all the people on earth” – which means literally everyone.  There is no restriction here.  It’s not only Jewish people.  It’s not only Christians.  It’s not only Muslims.  It’s literally everyone – and how they (we) treat Abraham and his offspring.

Does that make you think a little bit?  Hopefully a lot?

Old Testament conclusion

God doesn’t need anyone to take care of Him –
He’s perfectly capable of taking care of Himself.
And we see that His blessings and curses will be given through the offspring of Abraham.


 New Testament Views

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 This verse is based on the teachings of Isa.  

This gets a bit tricky, because it introduces a controversial concept – that Isa (Jesus) is the Son of God.  I will get into this more in another article, but let me propose something here for the Muslim readers.  At this point in time – the Prophet did not have any issues with Jews or Christians, as we’ve seen.  We’ve also seen that there is every reason to believe the Muhammad and his followers were very much aware of both the Jewish and Christians religions and their Holy Books.  Otherwise – how could he possible refer to them with any certainty that they would give the desired message?

So – on that basis – I’d like to hold off on discussing the topic of Jesus as the Son of God until it actually gets raised as an issue in the Qur’an.  At the time of the revelation of Sura 68 – it was not a problem.  Do let’s stay with that line of reasoning – and not make it a problem either.

Having said that, I did want to being in this verse to show that people do things that lead to their condemnation – and that God will be responsible for dealing with that.  


 

Conclusion

As the Qur’an says – we humans cannot clearly see or understand God’s ways.  They are what they are.  In the Old Testament, we learn that the paths taken through life – and the way we treat the offspring of Abraham have something to do with whether we are blessed – or cursed.  And from Isa we are reminded that it is our actions that lead to our own condemnation or blessing.

We only need to “take care of” ourselves.  God can – and will – take care of Himself.  All three Abrahamic religions believe in a final time of God’s justice – God’s vengeance – coming to earth.  We don’t know when that will happen.  We don’t know the details of anyone’s path through life.   We don’t know whether God is leading them astray – or leading them to Him, by what some would call “the scenic route”. Maybe there’s something for us to learn first.

All three religions believe in a merciful and forgiving God.  Even when we choose to go stray, if we return, He is most merciful and forgiving, and will welcome us back.

One really big question

Here’s one really big question then: 

If everything above is what’s taught in these religions – 
if everything above is what you believe about whichever of these three religions you follow –

is your view of your religion the way that religion is actually being practiced?

and if not –

Why Not?

At different times throughout history – all three have failed to live up to the standards of their core beliefs.  

The questions are – for each of us as individuals – at this point in time –

  • is what we believe about our religion of choice actually the way that religion is being practiced today
  • is what we believe about our religion of choice actually backed up by what the Holy Books of that religion say
  • is what we believe about our religion of choice actually backed up by the way Holy Books of that religion are currently interpreted
  • and where the answers to these questions are either “No” or “Not by everyone” – there’s some serious soul searching required.

If you’re a Muslim –

I really urge you to pray about this –

Why?

If you sincerely pray to God –
the God that promised to make Ishmael a great nation –
the God that protected him in the desert –
the God of Abram / Abraham –
for an answer to the question –
He will answer.

If you’re a Christian, I also urge you to pray about this. It will help you to understand some of the issues that exist between Muslims and Jews and Christians. We are so many years past the time of Muhammad. People have preconceptions, many of which may be wrong – on all sides of this issue. God is the one with the answers – the real, true answers. Ask Him for guidance.

If you’re neither one, it is still a different take on an important world issue. Nothing like what you’ll find in the news reports – where seemingly neither the Bible or the Qur’an are actually being read or understood.

Hope to see you in Sura 68, part 5.

 

 

 

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