Chapter 85 has a lot of different names: the constellations, the stars, the zodiac ... Ye Olde Arabic doesn't seem to have very clear words for whatever Mo is calling to the witness stand this time, but there's one translation I like. When you get away from the city lights and look up at the Milky Way and its companions, doesn't "Mansions of the Stars" just seem to ...work?
The rest of the chapter sucks, starts out by telling us that the men who sat around the trench full of fire, witnessing what they had done to the believers, are accursed. Well, OK, but ... who are these men? What'd they do? What trench? Answer—nobody knows. Depending on who you ask, they were some guys in the Bible, or some other ones, or maybe it means the Battle of the Ditch, which seems like a good bet since its a famous muslim battle. Zoom in on 7th Century Arabia again.
Trouble is, we're here in the early Mecca period, way before the big move in the year 622, and the Battle of the Ditch was a seige of Medinah in 627. Ahhh, here's an explanation: it's a prophetical reference to events in the future. And a pig just flew out of my butt and is rooting through all these garbled up verses, just like the clowns who did it in the first place. The ditch massacre comes up later, with gruesome details, so I'll deal with it then; if it means something else god should have said. So let's be like the CIA and redact this section.
85 Signs of the ZodiacThe next ten verses just keep alternating like those last two: god will kick you ass, he loves you, he'll kick your ass, he loves you...more boilerplate abusive personality-speak. Once all the petals are off that dandelion—it ends with a 'kick your ass' one, natch —it ends with an interesting note.
1. I call to witness the sky (bespangled) with the signs of the Zodiac,
2. And the promised day,
3. And the witness and the witnessed,
4 That accursed are the men of the trench
5. Full of fire fed by faggots,
6. As they sat around it
7. Witnessing what they had done to the believers!
8. They had no other reason for hating them except that they believed in God the mighty, worthy of praise,
9. Whose kingdom spreads over the heavens and the earth. God is witness over everything.
10. Surely for those who persecute believers, men and women, and do not repent afterwards, is the punishment of Hell, and the punishment of burning.
11. Surely for those who believe and do the right are gardens with rivers running by. That is the greatest success.
12. The grip of your Lord is severe indeed!
21. This is indeed the glorious Qur'anNow this may seem a little unclear, since the quran hadn't been written yet, but they have a cute save. See, up in heaven god has a GREAT BIG BOOK, with everything in it that ever has happened or will happen. The Koran's in there, the Torah, Doonesbury, the Bible, Big Naturals IV, everything. That's why the koran is all perfect, y'unnerstand, it's a copy of god's own diary. No matter how bad we screw it up down here on earth, the original's still be up there in heaven on stone tablets, protected by Level Nine angels with Infinity-Plus-One AK47s and shit. And we know it's up there, because Mohammad said so.
22. Preserved on the guarded tablet.