Metaphors, Interpretation, and God
It seems that anytime we speak of religion and the texts, it inevitably goes into the land of metaphors and interpretation. In general, people tend to view the parts of religion they do not like as metaphors or ones that require an alternate interpretation. Other parts that they approve of are dealt with as literal.
This is very much the case with Islam. Islam today is still a very rule based religion. Muslims are required to live their life as stated in the Koran and follow the way of the prophet Mohamed. So you will such laws like not eating pork, abstaining for alcohol, wearing the hijab, growing a beard. forbidden interest, and so on and so forth.
Then you get into controversial versus and suddenly people's internal morality kicks in and they do not agree with what is plainly written. And so it must be a metaphor or it requires a different interpretation.
One can spend an eternity of debate arguing about the text, the meaning, the hadith, the history, the context... and ultimately it all misses one giant point.
Why Can't God Speak Clearly?If the Koran is supposed to be the final revelation to mankind and it is a huge text that was created by God, one wonders why it needs interpretation in the first place. Why can't God speak clearly?
Today, we even see Muslims thinking the creation story of Adam and Eve is more of a metaphor.
It really is not that difficult.
Hey humans, worship me. You came from apes but change with each generation. Also it is mandatory to pray 5 times a day in the manner of the prophet. Also slavery is banned as each human has rights and freedoms. Pork and alcohol are also forbidden, because I want obedience and you need a clear mind. Also don't have sex slaves or concubines because women are your equals. Take care of the poor. Don't steal or murder or violate another person or their property. Christians and Jews are close to the truth, but they corrupted their holy books. Other religions are further from the truth, but you should let them practice in peace... Do all these and you will have heaven with all its pleasures. Disobey them and you risk hellfire. But it is not actual hellfire. It is just a distance from me as your awesome god. I am not cruel and evil to torture a person eternally.
Was that so hard? Yet, you won't find such clarity in the Koran or Hadith that modern Muslims are comfortable with. It is clear that in the Koran when God wants to be clear and precise and detailed, God is perfectly capable of it. Never is this more the case than in inheritance law.
Koran 4:11:So the question is, if God can take the time to be so precise on these matters, why not take the words to actually say slavery is forbidden in Islam? To many Muslims, it is context. They will say, but slavery was with them. But so are theft and murder, yet those are still condemned.
"Allah enjoins you about [the share of inheritance of] your children: A male's share shall equal that of two females -- in case there are only daughters, more than two shall have two-thirds of what has been left behind. And if there be only one daughter, her share shall be half -- and if the deceased has children, the parents shall inherit a sixth each, and if he has no children and the parents are his heirs then his mother shall receive a third, and if he has brothers and sisters then the mother's share is the same one-sixth. [These shares shall be distributed] after carrying out any will made by the deceased or payment of any debt owed by him (the deceased). You know not who among your children and your parents are nearest to you in benefit. This is the law of Allah. Indeed Allah is wise, all knowing."
Instead what the Koran is simply value or not agreeable to the values and ideas held by Muslims on many issues; be it slavery, concubines, war, violence, treatment of women...
And here I am diverging from the main point. It is a good perspective to keep in mind before engaging in pointless discussions of what a particular verse means in context.
Why can't God speak clearly? It is not that difficult. Human writers have been doing it for ages. Why can't God?