Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Qur’an Surah 87: The Most High

The following is from a work-in-progress called The Qur'an: a Book Report, in which I read each surah of the Qur'an and write about what I learn.

This Meccan surah contrasts the fleeting nature of this temporal life with the everlasting nature of the life to come.  This (earthly) life is compared to a green pasture, which eventually withers away into “dark debris.”  Believers are told to prefer the Hereafter, which is “better and more lasting.”  Interestingly, this surah claims that this message (regarding the afterlife) “is in the earlier scriptures, the scriptures of Abraham and Moses,” i.e. the Jewish Scriptures (the Torah).  This is interesting because the Torah is terribly vague and unclear about the afterlife, even suggesting in some places that there is no afterlife.  The Jewish (and later Christian) concept of the afterlife (heaven and hell) was a relatively late development, which some scholars argue was influenced by Greek and Zoroastrian thought.

This is the symbol of Zoroastrianism, a Persian religion that greatly influenced different religious ideas about the afterlife.

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