The header is by a lovely friend from Pakistan. She is such a darling I do not know what to do with myself.
There are certain crimes the Qur’an does not name. Slander attracts corporal punishment. Even insulting others without reason is forbidden. Barring entrance to the masjid attracts a condemnation to Hell.
There is a reason the text does not speak of certain crimes: Because the punishment cannot be described in words. The text is really asking for us to consider, If this leads to THIS, then the other crimes…
It doesn’t specify, because the magnitude cannot be described in words. It is described primarily as a violation of one’s own soul–zulm, grievous wrongdoing (the word means this in multiple languages: shared root). Ultimately you only destroy yourself because everyone else can be resurrected.
That is why the crimes of certain cities destroyed–see the people of Saleh and Lut–are not described in detail. There are references throughout the text to corruption and fasaad but it is left mercifully unclear. Much of the interpretation is interpolative, to the extent that a child does not understand the stories. I know I didn’t until several years later.
It is no surprise that the civilizations destroyed used to carve their stories into rock faces. The architecture is a standing reminder. This is Mada’in Saleh in the Hijaz region, where the Prophet lived. The ruins date back to the Nabatean period before his lifetime.
Why weren’t their crimes discussed intricately?
We don’t need to ask why. We already know.
And oh yes, I’m definitely doing short lyrical posts so you can’t tell I’m not actually writing exegesis. I’m sorry about that, but I’m taking a break. Verse references will come later, but I think everyone who’s ever read a chapter of the Qur’an should be familiar with the location above.
And oh, did I ever mention that there is some verse (Ch. 7) saying no sinner will enter Hell until a camel passes through the eye of a needle? I have never understood that, but I suspect it has something to do with gradations of sin and knotted ropes.
Someone once told me that Shaitaan was (is?) a fallen angel instead of a jinni. Or the story could be a parable (of which the text details many) meant to mirror the human condition. There is a long exegetical discussion behind this. Perhaps I will revisit it one day, but until then, here is a post in which I pretend to be a sophisticated writer.
I will be taking a break from publishing actual exegesis for a while. It is almost painfully nostalgic to stop, and I have troves of drafts lying around (on Bellekisse [yes I spell her name that way don’t ask] and King Solomon and magical animals and governance and family law and divorce and Sodom and oh Lord so many things), but those will have to wait. One must learn the virtue of waiting. Something tells me my writing has darkened and matured in the past year and it needs time to wrap ribbons around itself. It will come out prettier, I promise, like the winding calligraphy of artists on Tumblr.
Oh dear, I really ruined the poetry there.