Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Qur’an Surah 88: The Overwhelming Event

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 is yet another Meccan surah which contrasts the fates of the believers and unbelievers on the Day of Resurrection (or, as it’s called here, the Overwhelming Event).  By now, you should be well aware of these ideas.  What I find most interesting here are the last five verses, which state that the prophet (and, by extension, all Muslims) may not compel/force unbelievers to believe. 

“So [Prophet] remind them: your only task is to remind, you are not there to control them.  As for those who turn away and disbelieve, God will inflict the greatest torment upon them.  It is to Us (God) they will return, and then it is for Us to call them to account.”

Thus, believers are told to simply give their message, and then leave the responsibility to God.  This is a highly significant message, reiterating a fundamental message of the Qur’an, which may be news to western, non-Muslims: There is to be no compulsion in matters of religious faith.  Ultimately, that’s between each individual and God.  Those who compel belief are violating a central tenet of the Qur’an.

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