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brainout

Ayahs: Studied Ambiguity like Oracle of Delphi?

http://www.uwf.edu/english/lanier/Sophcls.html is a web link orienting you to the famous problem of the Oracle of Delphi. This was your direct line to the gods in ancient Greek times. You travelled to a temple and then asked for a favor, and the gods would answer through a medium known as a "Pythia" (dedicated priestess of the god, via whom the god 'spoke'). Then you paid big money, made sacrifices, and waited for an "oracle", the god's official answer to you. There were many of these temples and priestesses, but among them, the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the most famous.

The Oracle at Delphi (among others) was famous for giving true answers, but well -- they were often true AGAINST you, rather than for you. Depended on how you read the text.

In my copy of Herodutus History (1928, Dial Press), one of these famous studied-ambiguous answers went like this to a guy named Croesus, who wanted to cross the Halys River (he was on one side of it) in order to destroy the Persians (who were on the other side):

Quote:
"He who crosses the Halys River, will destroy a great empire."


Think about that wording. Croesus asked for the oracle, paid huge sums of money to get it, and of course thinks the wording favors him destroying the Persians. Ahh, but what happened was he destroyed his own empire. You can read the full story in the first book of Herodotus.

Here's another example, in our day:
What Muslims mean, when they cry that "Islam is a peaceful religion." Yeah, when we kaffir are all in pieces, then there will be peace.

Again, Satan talks like that a lot, in the Delphic and other Greek oracles of yesteryear: "studied ambiguity", it's called (rhetorical term).

'Like that Twilight episode starring Lloyd Bochner which is titled, "To serve Man". If you didn't see the episode, it went like this.
    Aliens come to Earth, showing this book "To Serve Man" but you couldn't read the text.
    They help out mankind a lot, and increase food production so that people can all eat.
    Then they seek volunteers to take people back to their home world, and of course the impressed people, are all too willing.
    But Bochner is suspicious, and tries to translate the book.
    Finally he succeeds, but at that point the aliens force him aboard.
    For "To Serve Man" -- was a cookbook.


So here's the topic: Don't the Koranic verses often at least seem to have the same ambiguity? So might be telling against the believer in them, rather than for him?

For here's a Koranic verse from Pickthall's translation of the Qu'ran, just to get convey the problem of ambiguity in English:

Quote:
"The Opening", I. "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds."
Question: WHO is this person?
Quote:
I.2-3 "The Beneficient, the Merciful, the Owner of the Day of Judgement"

Owner in what sense? Owner because giving out judgement -- or owner, because receiving Judgement himself, sometime in the future? See, worshipping "Allah" who will receive judgment might not be such a good idea.

Obviously, if you believe in the Koran you'd say Allah gives judgement, so you'd better believe in him.

But if you don't believe in the Koran, you can equally say it's someone who claims to be "Allah" who will himself receive a "painful doom" for impersonating God -- as will you if you worship this "Allah".

The Koran opens with those three verses, and they are the most quoted verses in the Koran, prayed at least five times per day by every devout Muslim.

So think: all the subsequent Koranic ayahs (lit. "signs", verses) promising a "painful doom" (hell, Pickthall's translation), might apply to those who worship "Allah", depending on who "Allah" really is -- an impersonator, or the real God.

Worse, notice this next verse, from Sura II.39, which in my hardbook copy of Pickthall's translation of the Koran (which my Muslim friends in real life said I should buy):

Quote:
II.39 "But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein."


In Arabic, the bolded "rightful owners of the fire" is as habu al nnari. Arabic "habu" comes from the verb to love (same in Hebrew), so comes to mean lover or beloved, really. However, if you go to openburhan.net and see the literal translation of II.39 (posted subsequently below this post), you get "owner" -- but I can't find any support for that translation. By contrast, in Arabic the word in 1.3 translated "Owner" is malik, meaning king, master. Bible Hebrew is melek, same essential meaning.

So in II.39, "companions/lovers of the Fire" seems like a better translation. This particular phrase is a refrain in the Koran, and if you go to openburhan.net's search engine you can search in transliteration on "as habu al nnari" and see how many times that phrase comes up.

So we've got two things to sort out here: 1) the English translation being made by Muslims, is of Delphic Oracle nature, so is it being misrepresented or misread; and 2) the Arabic, how is it Delphic Oracle in nature, if at all?

Koran promises to be a clear book. Clear doesn't mean simple, and shouldn't mean simple, since God obviously would not be simple. Words from God would have to be sophisticated, too.

Hence you have to take into account that it constantly references the Bible, since it claims to be an update on the Bible, and tells you by allusion, direct and indirect quotes, Bible writers it praises, how it defines what IS Bible. You also have to take into account that it is written in literary style, so some things in it are meant figuratively, some literally, and context will tell you which is which. (A metaphor, for example, is a literary device to communicate some characteristic in terms of another thing which it does not literally denote.)

That being said, whether the Koran is a Divine book would be testable based on the content of what it says, given that any book will reflect the character of the author. So the task in this thread, is to determine whether the Koran is merely being sophisticated -- or, perhaps duplicitious, like the Delphic Oracle was, telling you the truth but it means something quite different from what is said. I'm not sure which is the right answer, just yet, that's why I posted the topic here. In English, it looks duplicitious. But maybe the Arabic, is not. I really don't know, yet; it's the APPEARANCE of duplicitiousness which makes it look satanic. But that idea has to be proven out, not merely hypothesized. Who knows, it may turn out the Koran is indeed an update on Bible, the claim ought to be tested as the Koran enjoins.

Discuss? Both sides?
All_Brains

In all honesty brainout, owner here means the one that controls JD in terms of timing and its agenda. I don't see a hint from the "impersonator" here that Allah will be a subject himself.
brainout

All_Brains wrote:
In all honesty brainout, owner here means the one that controls JD in terms of timing and its agenda. I don't see a hint from the "impersonator" here that Allah will be a subject himself.


From the Arabic? Ok, then I'll edit the post and pick a better example. In English, you "own" something from either perspective. "Ownership" is not restricted to the sense of control over, but to being to blame and reaping the results. In which case one comes to own a penalty and suffer for it.

I went away from the computer, seeking a better example than the one above. While reading the Cow sura in Pickthall's translation, I found this:

Quote:
II.39 "But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein."
Does "Owners" there in Arabic mean they have control over hellfire? Or does the Arabic have the same dual meaning as English, of 'owning' a punishment which 'belongs' to you due to being bad?

You know the Arabic, I don't, and that's the problem I keep facing here. In the English, many a Koranic verse lends itself to a Delphic duality of meaning. That's why I posted the topic. If it's the translation which is to blame, then a pious Muslim can come in here and defend it. If however the Arabic is deliberately Delphic in nature, one must ask who "Allah" really is, since it's the same kind of behavior as pertained in Greece for centuries.

And if the same behavior, then you as a psychologist can come in and explain "well, this is mental illness or epilepsy operating, which a lot of people historically believed was from the gods." I'm sure you and others know the Pythia went into fits. In Haitian religion, their holy people go into trances and fits. Well, really every culture at some point in its history had its holy people behave in similar manner.

It's hard to simply dismiss clever statements like the Delphic Oracle as a clever human giving answers. Not to say there aren't clever humans and stupid adherents of them, but you can't explain all the cleverness quite so easily. Look how many still pour over even Nostradamus' writings. There, no claim of divine origin is made.

Or, the cleverness can be explained as demonic, for certainly the same behavior and ambiguity of 'prediction' is in every culture, deemed to be "from the gods" since time immemorial.
All_Brains

brainout wrote:
All_Brains wrote:
In all honesty brainout, owner here means the one that controls JD in terms of timing and its agenda. I don't see a hint from the "impersonator" here that Allah will be a subject himself.


From the Arabic? Ok, then I'll edit the post and pick a better example. In English, you "own" something from either perspective. "Ownership" is not restricted to the sense of control over, but to being to blame and reaping the results. In which case one comes to own a penalty and suffer for it.


The Arabic context in the verse surely means the "owner" to emphasis authority.
brainout

Is it the same word for "owner" in II.39?
All_Brains

brainout wrote:
Is it the same word for "owner" in II.39?


I looked up 2:39 and there was no owner there! Do you have the actual word?
brainout

All-Brains, I changed the first (topic-setting) post in the forum to make the issue clearer. Here's more on my reply to you about II.39.

This was Pickthall's translation, as posted above:
Quote:
II.39 "But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein."


Not all translations labelled "Pickthall" are the same, lol. I'll go to open burhan and see if I can tell what Arabic word is translated as "owner". There are several different options in Hebrew, and Hebrew is a lot like Arabic -- but I'm not sanguine I'll find the right word. Any help you'd choose to provide is much appreciated.

The word translated "owner" appears to be "habu". But notice below, the LITERAL translation cites "owner" first. I couldn't prove that valid, but open burhan is a devout Muslim site, recommended to me by a Koran-only Muslim in real life (friend of mine). Here's a paste from open burhan, between the green ='s. Hope the Arabic works.


=======================================================


1.
[2:39] Waallatheena kafaroo wakaththaboobi-ayatina ola-ika as-habualnnari hum feeha khalidoona والذين كفروا وكذبوا باياتنا اولئك اصحاب النار هم فيها خالدون
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرواْ وَكَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا أُولَـئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
Tahir ul Qadri اور جو لوگ کفر کریں گے اور ہماری آیتوں کو جھٹلائیں گے تو وہی دوزخی ہوں گی، وہ اس میں ہمیشہ رہیں گے

Yousuf Ali "But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein."
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ahmed Ali اور جو انکار کریں گے اور ہماری آیتوں کو جھٹلائیں گے وہی دوزخی ہو ں گے جو اس میں ہمیشہ رہی گے
Ahmed Raza Khan اور وہ جو کفر کریں گے اور میری آیتیں جھٹلائیں گے وہ دوزخ والے ہیں، ان کو ہمیشہ اس میں رہنا -
Shabbir Ahmed اور جو (اس ہدایت کو) قبول کرنے سے انکار کریں گے اور جھٹلائیں گے ہماری آیات کو وہی لوگ دوزخی ہیں، وہ اس میں ہمیشہ رہیں گے۔

Literal And those who disbelieved and denied with Our verses/evidences , those are the fire's owners/company, they (are) in it immortally/eternally .
Yusuf Ali "But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire; they shall abide therein."
Pickthal But they who disbelieve, and deny Our revelations, such are rightful Peoples of the Fire. They will abide therein.
Arberry As for the unbelievers who cry lies to Our signs, those shall be the inhabitants of the Fire, therein dwelling forever.'
Shakir And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject My communications, they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.
Sarwar But those who would deny the Truth and reject Our revelations would be the companions of the Fire in which they would live forever.
H/K/Saheeh And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally."
Malik But those who reject and defy Our revelations will be inmates of Hellfire, wherein they shall live forever."[39]
Maulana Ali** And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject Our messages, they are the companions of the Fire; in it they will abide.
Free Minds And those who disbelieve and deny Our revelations, they are the dwellers of Hell, in it they will abide.
Qaribullah But those who disbelieve and belie Our verses shall be the companions of the Fire, and there they shall live for ever. '
George Sale but they who shall be unbelievers, and accuse our signs of falsehood, they shall be the companions of hell fire, therein shall they remain for ever.
JM Rodwell But they who shall not believe, and treat our signs as false-hoods, these shall be inmates of the fire; in it shall they remain for ever."
Asad but those who are bent on denying the truth and giving the lie to Our messages - they are destined for the fire, and therein shall they abide.
Khalifa** "As for those who disbelieve and reject our revelations, they will be dwellers of Hell, wherein they abide forever."
Hilali/Khan** But those who disbelieve and belie Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) such are the dwellers of the Fire, they shall abide therein forever.
QXP Shabbir Ahemd** But those who reject Our Messages, such will be the rightful companions of the Fire. They will abide therein."

=========================================================

In open burhan, ** means the translation is suspect. We have the same problem in Bible translations, often people do slipshod work and the translation is politically correct or something else which trashes its usefulness.

Gotta run, and thanks for your gracious help!
brainout

Ahmed's movie in his "you have been warned" thread is a fabulous example of studied ambiguity in the Qu'ran, though surely he didn't mean it to be.

As you watch the movie, pretend for the sake of argument that anyone believing in Allah was actually believing in Satan, see what you make of the verses illustrated in the movie.  Notice how easily they could be said to Muslims.

When Croesus heard the Pythia say "he who crosses the Halys river shall destroy a mighty kingdom", he thought it meant he would win.  But it meant he destroyed his own.  I submit that the ayahs quoted in Ahmed's video, are against Muslims.  Test the claim, see for yourself if they don't lend themselves to that same duality of import.
brainout

More instances of studied ambiguity, especially in the Arabic.  I say "studied ambiguity" because you can read the verses TWO OPPOSITE WAYS.  They are:

Sura 37.83-113, is it really Ishmael in the passage?  Text doesn't say that, and you can easily and grammatically read it as Isaac.  In which case, Qu'ran is burlesquing the Ka'aba and hajj ideas, en toto.

Sura 4.171 -- is it saying Christ is God?  I can see it going both ways.

Sura 48.28 -- same.  Two words translated don't fit the Arabic, you decide what they are, I don't want to sway your interpretation on this one.

Sura 43.81 -- and "in kana" means WHICH, true or untrue?  Of course, there's the problem of it being "walad" instead of "ibn".  Again, just posing the issue.  I really don't know what to make of this ayah yet, because it's so dual-entendre of opposite meaning.

Oh, and then there's all the "believe in Allah AND His Messenger" refrains.  Um, isn't that shirk by Islamic standards?  The grammar sure would be.  Christ was executed for saying Father AND Him, read John Chapters 6-10.

Again, the point here is that a phrase or ayah can be taken in two OPPOSING ways, which is the hallmark characteristic of the Delphic Oracle in ancient times.

So now you have a larger sample of what I mean by Delphic Oracle.  I'll keep adding to the list as I've time.
Pazuzu bin Hanbi

Haleem’s Explanation:

brainout wrote:
there's the problem of it being "walad" instead of "ibn".

The erudite and well–spoken Egyptian Islamic scholar Muhammad Abdel Haleem has this to say on the problem you noted:

“An example of how the semantic spread of a certain key term has changed: walad in classical (Qur’anic) Arabic means the non–gender–specific ‘child’ or ‘children’, while in modern Arabic it can only mean ‘boy’ or ‘son’.”

Corroboration comes from the fact that the pagan ‘Arabs believed in angels as the daughters of Allah, and yet the Qur’an still uses the term walad in some of these instances.
brainout

whoa, Pazuzu.  I'm talking to ex-jinni at FFI about 43.81's usage of walad and he's got more to say on that very issue.  What a coincidence.

This is exactly the point:  if the spread is so deft, could a human compose it so well?  How do you know semantic spread so well such that a MUSLIM can read the text as fitting what he thinks it means, but a Christian can see the opposite meaning, and the words themselves (in Arabic) are the same?

Hebrew walad has the same meaning.
Pazuzu bin Hanbi

5:56

“Whoso taketh as patrons Allah and His apostles and those who believe — verily, God’s Party, they are victorious!”

So whoever believes in god and his apostles (prophets?) will achieve victory? Now, link this to the situation in Palestine and tell me who keeps ‘achieving victory’ there???

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