Surah 53: Abrogations

Chapter 53, the Star, ought to be called The Can of Worms, because it brings up at least four things muslim'd rather not talk about. Whoo—let's dive in! Our luck held for 17 chapters but this is a long one with 62 verses; the first 18 rather poetically protesting again that Mo's not crazy and god really really talks to him, and they sound like the previous moon goddish stuff. He brings up the pagan moon goddesses, and channels Satan; then halfway through he tries to quote the Bible and morphs into a Southern Baptist tent revivalist ranting how god will kick your ass. Nice start, poor finish.

Abrogations come into play on v3-4, claiming this is revelation from god. Remember grade school, where you'd win a game and they'd say “That doesn't count!”? You'd expect God to be a little more mature than that, but in the koran he just uses bigger words; he says “That's abrogated!” Here are the money quotes:

[2:106] None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar:
[16:101] When We substitute one revelation for another, ... most of them understand not.
No shit we don't understand why God would come around to set us straight on shit and then lie to us so he nullifies his own message. But its pretty easy to see why con artists would change their story from time to time, like when they wanted some new pussy. After all they are, not to belabor a point, only human.

The book makes it clear that Mo is taking things back, but there are all sorts of opinions over what abrogates what.

      1. Koran only abrogates koran
      2. Koran abrogates everything
      3. Hadith only abrogate hadith
      4. Hadith don't abrogate nutthin
      5. Hadith abrogate God's immutable word in the Koran
      6. What I say abrogates whatever you say, so fuck you, loser.

Well I made up the last one, but you get the idea. This chapter comes into it because people that argue the koran abrogates everything cite these lines for their proof,

[53:3] Nor does he speak out of his own desire.
[53:4] It is nothing but pure revelation revealed by God.

so see, that settles it: it's not Mo talkin', it's God revealin'. The whole damn book keeps insisting, garbledly, that it is God's revelation, so why they pick those two lines out of the whole 6000 is a mystery, but whatever. Seems more important to know which verses Big Daddy abrogated. Are we surprised to learn there are all kinds of written records on this, and that they all contradict each other? No we are not. There are somewhere between zero and 700 abrogated verses. Pick a number. No one knows. Bottom line is, some of the complete, clear, and perfect words of God don't count, but we don't know which ones.

So I can kick back in heaven if I
kill infidels wherever I find them (9:5),
or else that verse is abrogated and my skin will burn off in hell for not
showing them kindness (60:8).
Fifty-fifty, dude—take yer chances.

Some say certain people were more more reliable witnesses than others, but you'd have to know who wrote what, and we don't. Others claim that later verses abrogate earlier ones, which sounds sensible, but you'd have to know what order they came in, and no one knows.

This chapter, 53, supposedly happened before 22, so that god could abrogate what he hadn't said yet, but chapter 22 should go between verses 22 & 23 of this chapter, but wasn't put in here because colorless green ideas sleep unicorns. Or something. In linguistics we refer to the words that come before and after something by the term 'context'. If you don't have the linguistic context, analysis is pointless.

I call bullshit on the whole thing. For the whole 23 years Mo hung around preaching, it never occurred to anybody to ask? Dude, people that stupid do not conquer independent living, let alone the Known World. If it was a choice between
doesn't it seem like you would fucking ASK? Everybody teaches themselves the traffic regulations, and liquor laws, and Windows, but somehow they were never curious enough to find out if they would be tortured forever? If anything was going to convince me this whole thing was patched together after the fact, this would do it.

Bottom line is, for each verse, we don't know: who wrote it or why; in what order; whether it goes in the koran or hadith, or even if it has been abrogated by something else and shouldn't be there at all. The oldest existing copies are from 100 years after Muhammed's death, and we do know that the people who put it together belonged to different political groups actively fighting for control, like in modern day Iraq, and they were perfectly willing to murder each other, let alone fudge the truth about some line of poetry. We can't trust our own politicians, and they don't even assassinate each other.
Anyway, unless its abrogated, Mo spends 18 lines insisting he talks to god: after this it gets better ...

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