Monday, November 12, 2007

Convert or Die

“They will have no choice, but to die or embrace Islam”

Here is the latest in my Blogging the Qur'an series at Hot Air: Sura 9, "Repentance," verses 1-5 (links in the original):

Sura 9, “Repentance,” is the only one of the Qur’an’s 114 chapters that does not begin with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim – “In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the merciful.” Explanations for this vary. The caliph ‘Uthman (and others, including Zamakhshari) explains that it was because some believed that sura 8 and sura 9 were actually one sura, and that “the holy prophet passed away without informing us whether Surah Bara’ah [sura 9] was part of Surah Anfal [sura 8] or not.” Ibn Kathir says that the omission is simply “because the Companions did not write it in the complete copy of the Qur’an (Mushaf) they collected.” Maududi asserts that the correct explanation was given by Imam Razi, who says that the Bismillah was left off because Muhammad himself didn’t recite it at the beginning of this sura. Al-Hakim says that Muhammad not only didn’t recite the Bismillah himself, but commanded that it not be recited at the beginning of this sura.

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