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Posted on Jul 02, 2007 at 05:50 AM

Blogging the Qur?an: Sura 2, ?The Cow,? verses 40-75posted at 9:00 am on June 17, 2007 by Robert Spencer Send to a Friend | printer-friendly Verse 40 of Sura 2 addresses the ?Children of Israel,? beginning an extended meditation on all that Allah did for the Jews, and the ingratitude with which they repaid him. Verse 41 warns them to ?part not with My revelations for a trifling price,? which the Islamic commentators generally interpret as an exhortation to put the service of Allah before the concerns of this world. Sayyid Abul A?la Maududi, a renowned twentieth-century Islamic intellectual and exponent of political Islam, says in his massive Towards Understanding the Qur?an that this verse ?refers to the worldly benefits for the sake of which [the Jews] were rejecting God?s directives.? However, many have speculated that this verse amounts to Muhammad?s rebuke of those who sold him material that they told him was divine revelation, but wasn?t ? people who are raked over the coals again in 2:79. Anyway, the Jews can get back into good graces with Allah by converting to Islam (v. 43). This might sail right by the English-speaking reader, since the translations exhort them to ?steadfast in prayer? and to ?practise regular charity? (as Abdullah Yusuf Ali has it), but in Arabic the word used here for prayer is salat (?????????) and for charity zakat (?????????); these refer specifically to Islamic prayer and almsgiving. Non-Muslims cannot pray salat or pay zakat. About the need for this conversion Ibn Kathir is forthright: ?Allah commanded the Children of Israel to embrace Islam and to follow Muhammad.? Sayyid Qutb says that here Allah ?invites the Israelites to join the Muslims in their religious practices, and to abandon their prejudices and ethnocentric tendencies.? Starting with verse 47, says Maududi, ?reference is made to the best-known episodes of Jewish history. As these episodes were known to every Jewish child, they are narrated briefly rather than in de...

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