I think I've found the perfect book to use as a guide for this series: The Meaning of The Holy Qur'an, by Hafiz Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Tenth Edition, reprinted in 2003. This book contains the entire Qur'an in Arabic, with an English translation alongside, and the best part: extensive commentary, and I mean extensive: over 6000 footnotes, most of them at least a paragraph long, and some of them pages long. Some minimal poking around on the internet gives me the impression that Mr. Ali was a well respected Muhammadanismist scholar. The book is still being updated and reprinted some 80 years after its first edition. I even found a Muhammadanismist website that complains about some of the changes that have been made in new editions over the years.
Given all this, I'll assume until someone tells me otherwise that the Wikipedia article about Mr. Ali is correct in saying that this book and the Pickthall translation of the Qur'an are the two most widely used English translations in the world. Therefore, for now, I'll draw from this book and the Pickthall translation with the assumption that the two are reliable enough to give us a reasonably accurate and detailed view of the Qur'an. If anyone out there has information to the contrary, please let me know, unless your information consists of the bullshit assertion that a translation is less reliable than the original. I've already, as my pal Claire put it, flushed that turd in my video "Islarme, Religion of Tears XI".
In this video I'll discuss the first few verses of the Sura known as "al-Qalam," or "The Pen," which is Sura 68. Nöldeke says that this is in fact the 18th revelation from Al to Mo, but the Cairo edition of the Qur'an says it's the 2nd. I flipped a coin to determine who to listen to this time, and Cairo won.
- Verse 1 begins with the word "Nun." I'll have to come back to this word, which is, as everything else in the Qur'an, loaded with multiple meanings in order to cause as much confusion and strife as possible. I'll have to make a separate video to discuss my favorite meaning, which is a whale or a large fish, relating to some of Mo's thoughts on cosmology and the nature of the earth. This is some excellent support for the truth of Mo's message: centuries before Copernicus, Mo correctly described the circumstances of the earth: it sits on the back of a whale, which is resting on the back of a bull, and, well, I'm sure that you remember the rest from primary school science class. I'll come back to this in a separate video.
- Verse 1 continues with, "By the Pen and by the record which men write." Surely Al just likes to mock Mo for his illiteracy. Or maybe Al was commanding Mo, in ornate, poetic language that he use some of his rich wife's wealth to hire someone to teach him to read. This is what happens when you use a language like Arabic in an illiterate culture that prizes spoken poetry.
- In Verse 2, Al assures Mo that Mo is neither insane nor possessed. Are you kidding me? A disembodied voice tells you that you're not insane? Do Mohammedanismists not see the hilarious irony here?
- In spite of the fact that Mo spends a lot of time bragging to people about how he won't accept any reward for all his labors, Al says in Verse 3 that there is a big, fat reward, an unfailing reward, awaiting Mo. This is something that has always confused me about religious people: a big fuss is made over the implication that virtue is its own reward, but they're expecting a gigantic return on their investment. Further, this so-called virtue seems especially to pertain to matters of greed and chastity, but then look at the content of the reward: Jesusianismists go to live in a place of orgiastic luxury, where even the streets are made of gold, and Mohammedanismists (the men, at least) get a harem of 72 women whose virginity restores itself after every copulation. As I've said before, there is a weird, backward pseudo-morality associated with these religions.
- In Verse 5 and 6, Al assures Mo that soon enough everyone will see who's insane and who's not. The tone of these verses is shocking to me. I can just hear the angry little kid, having been humiliated on the playground, shouting at his opponents, "I'll get you guys back, you'll see!" It reminds me of Sean Hannity's recently stated desire to see the U.S. go bankrupt just so he can be proved right. Is the Supreme Being of the universe really this childish?