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Featured Quran Criticism - God's word or manmade?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by danieldemol, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Hi,

    Ultimately us who don't believe in the Quran don't need to provide a reason for why of course, but for as long as we are free to do so some of us will openly object to submission to the Quran due to various reasons.

    If that describes you, by special request from one of our RF members who shall not be named this is the thread for you.

    This is your one stop shop for Quran criticism, doesn't matter if it's content criticism, scientific criticism, or any other criticism under the sun.

    Since I'm the writer of the OP I get the privelege of picking the lowest hanging fruit for first go.

    Firstly though I'd like to tell you about my approach. My approach is that as time goes on and new information comes to light, I believe people will inevitably endeavour to post hoc rationalise the Quran and other texts held as sacred in order to try and make the interpretation of the sacred book sound more appealing to a more modern/more informed audience. But if a text obviously referred to some scientific or other fact it should have been obvious to the earlier interpreters of the book who were faithful and devoted students of it who did not have that hindsight. Therefore ideally one would have the interpretation of the book within the lifetime of it's earliest sources, but failing that, the earlier the translation/interpretation the less post-hoc rationalisation will be expected in my opinion.

    Hence the reason I pretty much stick to the Yusuf Ali translation, because it is possibly the earliest scholarly translation we have to English by a faithful widely respected scholar of Islam, therefore I would expect it to have less post-hoc rationalisation than later translations (although I'm inclined to think that even it is likely to have some inevitable degree of post-hoc rationalisation given that it is fairly modern).

    So here is the opening criticism, I like it because unlike highly technical criticisms which are less accesible to the common folk this one just requires some basic empathy for women;

    From Surah 2. Al-Baqara Translation by Yusuf Ali | Islamic Reference | Alim
    Verse 282

    'O ye who believe! when ye deal with each other in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties...
    .....And get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men then a man and two women such as ye choose for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her.'

    Even if only interpreted as being a reference to financial transactions, in my opinion this unnecessarily incoveniences women by requiring double the number of women for testimony in the place of one man. One could easily see how a fallible patriarchal human could author such an error, but an omniscient God should know that two women are as suitable for testimony as two men, or that one man and one woman is as suitable for testimony as two men.

    Now it is your turn to criticise the Quran if you wish to do so :)
     
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  2. mikkel_the_dane

    mikkel_the_dane Shadow Wolf's Aspie sibling

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    So here is the OP header:
    Quran Criticism - God's word or manmade?

    Well, if I am to critique I have to start by explaining that there are apparently 2 ways of doing criticism. By assuming there is always a positive correct answer or by assuming that there maybe in some cases no positive correct answer.
    So back to the OP header:
    There are at least 3 possible answer.
    From God.
    From man.
    I don't know one way or the other.

    So I am going to critique the Quran based on the 3rd option, which is the methodology of suspending judgement if possible and avoid the judgement of true and false.

    So what is it that I assume? I assume that the world is fair in the following minimal sense. That the computer screen in front of me is there independent of me as it appears to me. That is epistemological and not ontological. I know nothing of the ontological status for the computer screen in itself and I don't have to. How?
    Well, it is simple. Take 2 humans that both claim knowledge as per ontology as to whether the world is X and not Y versus not X and Y. One of them don't know, if you accept the law of non-contradiction, but they are both in the world and are both parts of the world. So I figured out, that I don't have to know the ontological status of the world. And apparently it works, because I am still here.

    Then what about the Quran? Well, it is in the end a belief system that works, because some humans use it. But it is not the only one, because other humans use other belief systems.
    So to me the Quran is neither true or false. It is a different belief system than the one I use and that is not particular of the Quran.
    In practice I accept all belief systems as that. They are beliefs that in some sense work. They can have different consequences, but I have no way of telling if they are objectively true or false for the moral/value evaluation effect or for their ontological status. All I can do, is to note that I can do it differently. Or so it appears. :D

    Regards from a hardcore skeptic.
    Mikkel
     
    #2 mikkel_the_dane, Mar 19, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
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  3. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    So it's not for me. I think it's trite to criticise an old book. I look at what those, who value it, make from it, their interpretation, the actions it directs them to. In short, my critique is with Islam, not the Qur'an.
     
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  4. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    When you say the actions "it" directs you to, are you meaning it as the Quran or it as Islam?
     
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  5. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Mihi Quaestio Factus Sum

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    This is somewhat begging the question.

    If I were a Muslim and this was an argument presented to me against the inspiration of the Qur'an I would not be moved in the slightest. You don't like a specific injunction given in the Qur'an because you deem it sexist. Okay, and therefore?
     
  6. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I did not say it was sexist, I said an omniscient God should know that the testimony of one woman is as suitable as the testimony of one man. In my opinion well informed humans know this, so why would we expect a well informed human to be better informed than an omniscient God?
     
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  7. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    To be fair, just because a book is mysoginistic, doesn't mean that it isn't from God. God could enjoy seeing women being degrade and humiliated for all we know. Why are you assuming that God has to follow our definition of Good?

    That is why I use another method: Is there anything exceptional in the Quran that should make us consider that it is from God and not just man made?
     
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  8. Gargovic Malkav

    Gargovic Malkav Active Member

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    That may be true, but a culture that has been raised with very different standards for generations may find such an egalitarian view so foreign, that they would never take such a God and/or messenger seriously.
    I believe that when a prophet passes down Laws on God's behalf, cultural standards that already existed for that specific people are taken into account, so that things won't be too hard and strange for them.
     
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  9. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    It is based on the assumptions that a) the God is presented as being good, as I do not hear any Muslims saying come worship our bad evil God, and b)That if God is not good then God is not worth following.

    But deferring to your method I do not know of anything in the Quran which proves divinity.
     
  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    OK. In that context I understand. It disproves their version of God.

    Neither do I.
     
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  11. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Ok so you don't seem to hold Muhammad's Quranic law as being valid to the end of time/ for all societies, but relative to the culture of a particular time and place, do you identify as a Muslim?
     
  12. Gargovic Malkav

    Gargovic Malkav Active Member

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    For those who still live that way, though I'm not sure they exist... But if they do, those same rules still apply to them until the end of time imo.
    I identify as a muslim in the literal sense of the word(someone who submits to God), if God thinks I'm not good enough, I'm an aspiring muslim.
    But in the cultural sense, I would say not, because I'm raised in a very different culture and have had bad experiences with trying too hard.
     
  13. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Quran Criticism - God's word or manmade?

    Nice to be invited to give my criticism:D. Probably RF Rule #8 still applies, even though invited, so I will stick to my good habit:cool::
    IMHO: (I added "Humble" to it, because I see Koran as a Gift Granted to us by God; only 'I' know what I imply with "God" here)

    To answer the question: Koran, is it God's word or is it manmade?
    For me there is no doubt that Divine inspiration caused the Koran to be written
    For me there is no doubt that Divine inspiration did not write the Koran ; humans did

    Knowing this discrepancy, I check whatever I read with my Godgiven faculties
     
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  14. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    I created a .pdf with 8 english translations below each other. Amazing so many differences there are. Then I have a word by word for when in doubt. I prefer RashadKalif, and I do have YusufAli also, but already in Koran 1:6 I see an important difference when compared to the others and when compared with word by word translation. But with other verses I sometimes prefer YusufAli translation. I also have Dutch translations (3), but those are even more off.

    So, I just use the english translation that feels best conform my own conscience. And when none feels good, I use word to word to solve it
     
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  15. Shakeel

    Shakeel Active Member

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    How does it cause inconvenience to women? Do you know women who have an urgent wish to be witnesses to such contracts?

    How do you know women are as good as men as witnesses? The western world thought of that only a couple of centuries ago. Before that women couldn't make a contract or bear witness, regardless of their number.

    This is all about the presumption that humans have supposedly become more intelligent and simply know better now even though they have no evidence different from those before.
     
  16. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    :cool::cool::cool:

    IMO:

    That is a huge blunder in the Koran. I believe that God told Muhammad that women have twice as many Divine qualities, hence they need 2 men for every 1 woman.

    But, like you said "patriarchal human" might have erred, and/or maybe men were not too happy with this verse, so it magically got twisted.

    And I also know from personal experience that some people suffer from a certain disease, that they only hear what they want to hear, which can be good if you only want to hear the best, but it can temporarely lead to errors as well.

    So, how I see it, Muhammad got it quite close, just twisted the numbers a bit. I do believe in karma, so, obviously men have still some good karma balance left, though it seems to me that it's getting slowly even now

    And if reincarnation is real, then we might have male/female incarnations, so all get both to experience anyway. If reincarnation is not true, then this particular issue might be less easy to digest. And if Advaita is true, then there are no worries whatsoever
     
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  17. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Rashad Khalifa appears to have had his translation printed in 1989?
    Yusuf Ali was printed in 1934, but looking into it i found that the earliest english translation was by Dr Mirza Abu Fazl in 1910, so perhaps I should peruse his Quran as well if I can find one.
     
    #17 danieldemol, Mar 19, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  18. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    Because where there is only a man and a woman to witness a contract a second woman will have to be found.
    Imagine you are a lady employed in the contracts department, it will generally be cheaper id imagine to hire two men than one man and two women, so you could potentially face discrimination in employment due to cost considerations.

    It is the same of men as it is of women, they are concerned with contracts which affect them.

    Personal experience working with efficient business women.

    Shows the progress of the western world, doesn't it?

    No, it is about the assumption that humanity collectively learns from experiences, and over time it will collectively advance in knowledge, no extra smartness required.

    We have plenty of evidence that bronze age men had more collective knowledge than stone age men, iron age men had more collective knowledge than bronze age men etc.

    Would you say it is a fair assessment that modern man who has reached the moon has more collective knowledge than those for whom air flight was a dream?
     
  19. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Aha, when I was just reading Rashad vs Yusuf I did notice that Rashad was way easier for me (new English reads easier for me)

    On the internet you can find many different English translations, as .pdf. So, then you can check which agrees best with you. There is huge difference sometimes, and I mean huge, that in one translation I disagree with the verse, and in the other translation I agree with the verse

    Here you have 7 translations below each other (and word by word too), in case you are interested and did not have the link
    The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Translation

    IF you like, I could send you the Koran .pdf's that I have. Oxford was advised to me on RF by a Hindu, and a Muslim advised me to use RashadKalif. And he told me that quite a few, well known, translations were funded by fundamentalist Islam groups, and exactly those translations have more verses I disagree with. But it's quite messy to get the verses right, would be nice if Allah came with a good update for the English versions (and Dutch too:D).
     
  20. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Not my feminist side that I said this. Sai Baba told us this 'fact'. Took me a while to process though:D

    And in Hinduism when they mention avatars/wives it usually goes like: Radha/Krishna + Sita/Rama
    So woman always first. Does make sense to me, and afterall these were Avatars, not mediums
    (Some Avatars are said to be incarnations of the Divine with those neat extras like Omniscience etc)
    (Mere mortals, humans, never have this Omniscience at their disposal; only Avatars have this)
     
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