A Rationalist Look at Islam

Husain Ahmed (Pakistan)

I have often wondered if, for a Muslim, I was brought up in a deeply religious family. I was born into a Shia family, and my earliest memories are of going to my native town from Delhi with my mother and siblings for the Muharram (observed by the Shila in commemoration of the martyrdom of al-Husayn, son of Ali and Fatima, the Prophet's daughter)-my father joined us later-but they were ten days spent in enjoyable and high excitement. The children certainly looked forward to it every year as a social occasion.

My father only started to pray regularly later in life, but he used to fast and in the month of Ramadan would also pray. Shia men often pray at home and so did he. My mother not only prayed and fasted but also, later in life, said the optional prayer of the tahajjud in the small hours of the morning.

My sister was taught to read the Koran but my three brothers were not. When I was four years old I was sent to a Koranic school. I was singled out for this treatment because of the very special nature of the school, which had only recently moved into our neighborhood. The mullah (religious scholar) who owned it was, I think, a brilliant educator. He jealously guarded his method of instruction by insisting that on admission the child must not be above the age of four-otherwise, he may well remember later in life how he was taught. I remember being quizzed about it by some relatives but not being able to explain. He taught us in class-I cannot remember how many children there were-and the doors were bolted from inside. We all sat on the floor and I vaguely remember him introducing the alphabet in a way that we found entertaining. He associated every letter with an assuming remark or rhyme, which were to recall every time he wrote a letter on the blackboard. I now know that this method is called mnemonics and is highly effective in enhancing memory.

He kept several canes by his side, but I do not think he ever used any of them. He did, however, distribute sweets at the end of each day. There were other strategems he employed to encourage the children, which I can vaguely remember, but none of them went to heart of his system, which at the end of just three months resulted in the child being able to haltingly but correctly read any part of the Koran. He rightly asserted that since the child did not understand the meaning, why did it matter whether he was reading the last or the first verse?

At the end of three months we were taught by another mullah who simply made us fluent in reading. Six months later we were examined by some eminent mullahs, who then gave us our certificates as part of the graduation ceremony!

With most Muslim children, if they are going to receive any education at all, it will start with learning to read the Koran. The irony of supposedly the most difficult and profound book being taught to the most immature minds is completely lost on the majority of Muslims. To add to the irony, reading literally means reading. There is no attempt at teaching even the rudiments of the Arabic language. The child learns to read without understanding a single word. The contrast with secular education, where the reading material is made as inviting and interesting as possible, could not be more striking.

Most children are taught to be able to read on sight, but a few commit the whole book to memory. They are given the appellation Hafiz (preserver, protector, guardian), which they write before their names and which gives them an elevated status in society. In adulthood they usually earn a living by becoming teachers of the Koran. Some of them go on to specialize in the techniques chanting the Koran and are called Qari (reader). There are various schools of chanting and numerous treatises are devoted to the subject.'

Because blind boys are often encouraged to train as Hafiz, a blind man is often automatically addressed as Hafizji (Mr. Hafiz), even though in fact he may not have memorized the entire Koran.

Most public gatherings commence with a recitation from the Koran. In his autobiography the eminent British philosopher A. J. Ayer recounts attending a conference in Pakistan that opened with just such a recitation. If Ayer (who was well-known humanist) chose to read a paper on some aspect of moral philosophy it may well have been preceded by a Hafiz or a Qari reciting verses from the Koran containing the most blood curdling threats to nonbelievers or promising torture in hell to any transgressers of its moral codes, such as homosexuals! Of course, almost none of the believers would have had any clue as to the meaning of what had just been recited. Those very few suffciently familiar with Koranic Arabic, who may have understood, would not have possessed the mindset to appreciate the irony.

Since to this day most children are taught traditionally, which can mean at least two to three years of drudgery, I have great affection for my first Koranic teacher, whose innovative mind I admire. But what a sad and shameful waste of talent! If only he had had proper training as a secular educator and pursued a career in that field. Much later my mother used to remark that he charged a bigger fee than what my brother was paying at his college!

I am sure that there are some ulama (religious scholars) who are as clever as any other scholars, and one wishes that instead of devoting their lives to harming humankind they had pursued careers that promote its welfare. In most Islamic countries there is even a ministry of religious affairs employing a large and welleducated (often abroad) workforce.

I think my parents took great pride in my being able to read the Koran at such a tender age (and so did I!) but there was no coercion on their part to recite it regularly afterward. Similarly, although I was taught to pray I was never forced to pray regularly. I did pray for a brief period but it was only because the local Sunni community were opposing the building of a Shia mosque. My attendance at the prayers was more a political gesture than an act of piety!

All my siblings had a special day made of their first fast. Many friends and relatives were invited to mark the occasion. When I came of age for fasting to commence, the Partition of India, in 1947] took place and everything was so dislocated and disorganized that I never had a ceremony arranged for me-the result being that I have never fasted! Although my parents were committed to religion in their own lives, they seemed unwilling to impose it on us and I remember appreciating that as a youngster.

Looking back, I think I also had exposure to the views of some relatives who were unusual for a Muslim community. I had an uncle who, although not irreligious, was of Sufi persuasion. He used to attack traditional religious practices, and one of his remarks sticks in my mind because of its clever wordplay. He was fond of saying that it was wrong to call Muhammad, the Prophet, rahmatul `alaman, "blessing for the world"; it was nearer the mark to call him zahmatul `dlamin, "trouble of the world." (In Urdu, the only change needed to pass from one meaning to the other is a single dot, whereby an r becomes a z.) His argument ran as follows: Since the vast proportion of humanity from its inception has not received the message of his prophethood or has not believed in it, it will land in hell. How can he then be anything but a curse for the world at large?

I noticed that my father did not object to or resent this clearly blasphemous statement, which was later repeated in front of other people. I thought it such a clever remark that I often used to tell it, until one day I mentioned it to a Muslim sociologist who was studying at the London School of Economics. She was completely taken aback and muttered something to the effect that she did not find it amusing. She was clearly affronted. I now only tell it to known atheists or people I know to be broad-minded.

My relatives fall along a continuum from atheism to unquestioning commitment to religion. One obviously avoids discussing religious issues with those who are religious or are known to take umbrage, but most are happy to participate in discussions in spite of their views. Anything less than this I would find very uncongenial. Most family occasions turn into political or religious debates! Some distant relatives live in India as they were members or supporters of the Congress Party. Most of them are atheists, and some female relatives are married to Hindus.

Knowing from an early age that people can be atheists and perfectly respectable, or can make clever remarks even at the expense of Muhammad without meeting explosive wrath, gave me some encouragement in thinking critically. I think I had my earliest doubts at about the age of fifteen. They stemmed from what I saw as injustices imposed by, or at least allowed by, Allah. I regarded the imposition of purdah (veil) on women in the former category. Why were women enjoined to endure the humiliation and hardship of concealing themselves from head to toe when they were clearly the victims of men's lascivious behavior? Men were not to blame entirely, either, because that is the way they were created.

Why were men allowed four wives and not women four husbands? Why did Muhammad marry so many times? How could he marry a nine-year-old? At that time I was unaware of other discriminatory teachings against women, for example, that a woman is allowed only half the inheritnace and her evidence in court is only counted as half. I think the verse "Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient" (IV.34) leaves one in no doubt about women's status. Why, if he is just, does he prefer some of his creatures to others?

For some time the answer that those were the mores of Muhammad's time satisfied me. Later I realized the weakness of this argument. Since Islam is intended to provide guidance for all times, its injunctions cannot be time bound. What it teaches should be valid for all times. If polygamy can be allowed then why not female infanticide, which was also practiced by the seventh-century Arabs? Similarly, Muhammad is supposed to be the perfect man for all times. His conduct should meet the criterion of perfection for all times and in all cultures. It would be a different story if the Muslim claim was simply that Muhammad was perfect for his time and Islam an ideal ideology for seventh-century Arabia.

My other preoccupation with injustice was in the form of poverty, which I saw everywhere around me. How could Allah be at the same time just and responsible for allowing poverty to exist? He is omnipotent and so could eliminate it if he so wished. I was told a parable concerning Moses, who apparently had asked God just that question. God, presumably, made no reply. However, that very night there was a violent storm and Moses' thatched roof was blown over and damaged. Moses was unable to repair it and became depressed. Just then God chose to speak to Moses to deliver a homily. He told Moses to go and find a thatcher but to remember that thatchers existed only because some people were poor enough to do menial jobs. Poverty was inevitable because otherwise everyone would be equal and why would anyone work for anyone else?

Of my three brothers, two had no great interest in religious matters. The one just above me in sibship had always been religiously inclined. My mother's half serious explanation for it was that she was fasting when he was conceived. At an early age he abandoned the conventional Shf t doctrine under the influence of Jama`at-i-Islami. A few years later he converted to Tulu-i Islam (the dawn of Islam) and has remained faithful to it.

I came across the Tulu-i Islam literature, which I avidly read, and for a short period I accepted it. What appealed to me about it was that its founder, Ghulam Ahmad Parvez, completely rejected the hadith, which he regarded as totally unreliable. He claimed to base his theology on the Koran alone, which he interpreted in a very unique way. He claimed that the Koran advocated an economic system that was socialistic and against private ownership of land. This meant the elimination of feudalism and the doing away of poverty. Into the bargain he also threw in progressive policies about women and criticized the institution of slavery and the death sentence for apostasy, which he alleged were un-Koranic. Like every other group of Islamicists, he insisted that his was the only true and valid interpretation of the Koran. In claiming this he ferociously attacked mullahs and conventional Islam, which made his "message" the more attractive to the likes of me.

The spell of Tulu-i Islam, however, lasted for only a short time. I came to England at the age of nineteen and soon after, perhaps in 1958-59, came across copies of Bertrand Russell's Mysticism and Logic and Sceptical Essays in a secondhand bookshop, and went back to being an atheist. I had just become aware of his existence and his stature (it may have been partly because of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) and read these two books eagerly. They may have provided the spark that rekindled what I think is my natural bent of mind. I cannot remember waking up one morning and saying to myself that I had again rejected religion. The process was gradual, but I did become aware of describing myself and thinking of myself as an agnostic, which was a term I had picked up from Russell.

I think I crossed the Rubicon when my fellow students set me a litmus test. They challenged me to eat pork if I really did not believe in the Koranic injunctions. I hesitated a few times and explained it in terms of the revulsion I felt, which was instilled in me from an early childhood. I then thought about it and began to eat it. The brainwashing done in the name of religion is truly on a mindboggling scale that cannot be matched by any other institution.

Soon after a baby is born in a Muslim family the azan (the call to public prayers recited by the muezzin, the crier, five times a day from the minaret of a mosque) is said in his or her right ear. As soon as a child is old enough to say a few words, he or she is taught to memorize the kalimah (the creed of the Muslim, "There is no deity but God, Muhammad is the Apostle of God"). At an early age boys and girls begin to fast. Both are called to prayers five times a day. The Koran is recited by the congregation of friends and relatives when anyone dies. It is a sign of piety and not at all unusual for both Muslim men and women to recite the Koran for long periods every day. Most children learn to recite the Koran before secular education starts, which seems odd-the supposedly most difficult book is the first to be taught, and in a foreign language! In the month of Ramadan it is recited for hours in congregations every night.

I am astonished that even in secular societies like the United Kingdom, for instance, on BBC Radio 4, a religious program called "Thought for the Day" is broadcast every weekday. Would any political party dare to broadcast its propaganda this often? How would the "free world"-led by America-have reacted to the communists carrying out similar magnitude of propaganda?

I had started reading the New Statesman at this stage and in its back pages came across atheist and humanistic organisations. I came across an advertisement for the Humanist (not the New Humanist yet) and sent off for a sample copy, and probably briefly subscribed to it. I started my degree course in 1960 and remember asking a friend at Manchester to also write for a copy. I stopped subscribing while at Manchester, for lack of money. Knowing that very eminent thinkers shared one's views and that there were societies that promoted them was an extremely comforting and liberating experience.

When I came back to London in 1963 I got in touch with whatever body H. J. Blackham headed and probably subscribed to it. In 1967 (I remember the year because I had just passed the driving test and drove to South Kensington) Blackham's organization ran a course for volunteers to act as marriage guidance counselors for humanists. Blackham was very encouraging and asked me to be a trainer. I was at that stage working in the learning disability field and did not myself have the right experience. I did, however, agree to participate as a volunteer. There were about thirty volunteers who were divided into two groups for training puropses. The group I was in was taken by a social worker, and the other group by a clinical psychologist called Elkan. I only went to one training day, as they were held on Saturdays or Sundays and I was living in Surrey. I wrote to Blackham and excused myself and had a nice reply from him. After that I think my association with that organization ceased.

At the height of the Rushdie affair, a journalist from Pakistan wrote a very moving letter to the Observer about the plight of nonbelievers in that country, who cannot even share their views with their young children just in case, in their innocence, the children happen to betray their secret. Those who were not unfortunate enough (or fortunate, according to Muslims!) to be born Muslim can only imagine the terror apostates who publicly proclaim their apostasy must experience.

I began to think anew about my own reasons for not believing. The arguments I came up with, I am sure, are commonplace. but I have not come across them in writing, including Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian (which, as one would expect, is basically a philosophical treatise) and will record them here for what they are worth. They are not in order of the importance I attach to them or in order in which I became aware of them-which, anyway, I cannot now remember.

Why would Allah choose to send all his messengers to the same very small area of the world? The Muslim tradition says that there were 124,000 prophets, some more major than others. some of them came in twos or threes (also stated by the Old Testament), for example, Moses and Aaron, Abraham with Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Joseph. If humankind was being favored by so many prophets at one time, why then stop?

It cannot be that humanity is no longer in need of guidance. In fact, a contrary case can be made. Never before have human beings possessed the means of destroying the whole planet. If guidance was needed at any time it is needed now.

The Muslim explanation for why God sent Muhammad to Arabia when he did is that conditions there were so bad at that time that guidnace was needed. Among the evil practices mentioned are interminable tribal wars and female infanticide. But surely other societies at other times have had both. What about tribal and nationalistic warfare in other parts of the world, some occurring even at present? What about infanticide practiced by other societies, such as, sacrifices made to their gods by the Incas and the Aztecs? What about the young women burned alive in suttee by Hindus? Why were none of them sent any prophets?

I cannot help feeling that that tiny proportion of humankind whose dwelling happens to be Hijaz is, for some unknown reason, unduly favored by Allah. They first had a monopoly on his guidance and now have a near monopoly on his other great blessing-the oil!

Why could the sending of the guidance not go on indefinitely? But even if at some stage it had to come to an end, surely the time to send the last guidance would have been now, not only, as mentioned before, because we have unprecedented means of destruction but also because we possess means of communication we have never had before? Even if the last messenger had come to a very remote, preliterate society in recent times, the whole world would have become aware of his or her existence and the ideal state he or she might have created.

In fairness, the same arguments apply to the other two revelatory religions. Why did God choose to send his only son when he did? He should either have chosen to be more prolific and sent his sons (and a few daughters!) at different times to different parts of the world or sent his only son at an optimal time, which, for reasons mentioned above, appears to be now. However, someone in a distant future may take a different view of what may have been the optimal time. Only God can look into the future!

One consolation for not having prophets in our midst is that we are also spared the prospect of meeting the fate that Lot's or Noah's contemporaries did! Why were they singled out for punishment?

My agnosticism took me back to the Koran. I knew the saying that the best informed about religion are the irreligious. I considered it my duty to read the Koran in its entirety and form my own judgment. My reaction can be summed up in one word: disappointment.

I had hoped that at least in a few of the verses I would find food for thought. Although no classicist or philosopher, I had enough exposure to these disciplines to know that one acquires a different perspective on the human condition when one comes across a truly profound view or thought one had not been aware of before. The same applies to great literature. There are numerous couplets in Ghalib's poetry (Urdu and Persian poet, 1797-1869) that leave me stunned by what they reveal about the human condition. I think when I say this to my Muslim friends they think I am saying it to produce an effect, but in reality I only state it for what I consider to be a matter of fact.

It is only with some difficulty that I manage to restrain myself from challenging them to produce a verse in the style of the Koran that could rival the couplet by the great Persian poet Saadi (c. 1215-?1292):

Be aware of the status of Human Being

Humanity [i.e., the essence of civilization] consists in respecting other human beings.

Now I can see that in the translation the couplet has entirely lost the appeal it has in the word play on the words "human" and "humanity." It does not also sound as majestic as it does in the original. This is exactly the argument the apologists for the Koran give. They say that the Koran can be understood and appreciated only in the original.

I readily concede that the majesty of the language would be lost in the translation, but the sentiment or the philosophy should come through, as it does in Saadi's couplet. One can wholeheartedly respond to its message, whose significance one sees immediately and whose lofty ideal one can appreciate. What comes through in the translation is that the Koran's contents are terribly mundane and inextricably embedded in its milieu and are ephemeral.2

The Koran is particularly difficult to translate because of its alleged poetic language. which it obviously employed to its advantage in impressing contemporary Arabs. Allah should have known that by making use of the poetic language he was running a greater risk of ambiguity, which would result in his message being misinterpreted. He should have used the most prosaic language in order to avoid any risk of creating nuances and linguistic subtleties. If the language had not been so imprecise (or poetic) there would not have been numerous sects and so many radically divergent schools of thought. A very prosaic language would have been easier to translate.

Another striking aspect of the language of the Koran is the abrasiveness of the tone it employs. Instead of presenting a reasoned case for Islam with convincing arguments, the emphasis is on threats and coercion. I do not know how many verses are devoted to it, but the threat of punishment awaiting humankind in the form of hell is ever present. The other refrain is how Allah knows best and how everything is known to him.

Natural phenomena are mentioned with great monotony as self-evident arguments in support of the existence of God without any attempt at proof (e.g., XVII. 90; XXV.33; LXXXVIII.17).

The Koran is also very repetitive. Some bitterness comes through when it is claimed that Allah will guide whoever he wants to and will lead astray whoever he does not want to, or that some people do not accept the guidance because he has already sealed their hearts:

Would you guide those whom God has confounded? He whom God confounds you cannot guide. (IV.88)

The hypocrites seek to deceive God, but it is He who deceives them.... You cannot guide the man whom God has confounded. (IV. 143)3

If that is the case, how can a just God punish people for their inability to convert to the true faith if he is responsible?

It also does not seem just that he will forgive who he will and punish who he pleases (11.284; V. 18; V.40; IV.48) or that he sends devils down to incite unbelievers to do evil (XIX.83).

He labels unbelievers as senseless men (XXIX.63). Who created them senseless? There is a touch of Emperor's Clothes in XXIX.43. Why did he not create everyone wise?

Apologists, who in general have liberal views, tend to pretend that Islam has a record of tolerance. They try to make their case in two ways. First, they cite the examples of some Muslim rulers who were tolerant. They ignore the fact that usually those rulers tended not to be very religious. Secondly, they point to verse 11.256: "There is no compulsion in religion," ignoring the numerous verses that mention how unbelievers will be tortured in hell. How can there be choice if, by opting for unbelief, one guarantees eternal damnation for oneself? It is like a parent saying to a child that he has complete freedom to help himself to a cake, but to bear in mind that if he does eat the cake he will be severely punished.

An author of books on Islam who is popular in the West because of his liberal views made just such a claim for Islamic tolerance in one of his books. I wanted to write to him to challenge his claim, but had my doubts if he would reply. In order to make sure that the absence of reply could not have been because he had not received my letter, I confess to employing a ruse. I first wrote to him simply congratulating him on the excellence of the book he had written. He promptly wrote back thanking me and pointed out that another book was in the pipeline based on his forthcoming television series about Islam. Having established that he would receive my letter I wrote to him a second time, making the case against Islamic tolerance along the lines I have done above.

I also pointed out that Muhammad's own conduct did not show any tolerance. After the conquest of Mecca the first thing he did, accompanied by Ali, was to march to Ku`ha and destroy all the idols in it. What provision did he make for those who had not converted to Islam so they could continue with their practices of worship? Even if he had claimed the Ka'ba for the Muslims he could have told the unbelievers to move their idols to another place, where they could continue to worship them in safety. Is it any wonder that the Koran is replete with verses concerning the hypocrites-those who professed to embrace but in reality remained unbelievers?

I was not entirely surprised when he chose not to reply. I sent him a reminder, but with no more success.

The liberal press in the West is prone to publishing pro-Islam material. They cannot entirely ignore Islam, as it is increasingly in the news, and I think they are reluctant to publish anything against it for fear of promoting what the very active Islamist lobby has vociferously termed Islamophobia. At least that is how I explain it to myself when I get very frustrated at the newspapers for never publishing any letters I have sent putting across the alternative point of view in the most nonoffensive language possible. If I only could point out to these wellmeaning editors, who have succeeded in suppressing even the mildest criticism of Islam, that to give offense on religious grounds is to truly adhere to the Prophet's sunna (exemplary code of conduct)! Surely those who had not converted to Islam and who had for centuries worshipped those idols in the Ka`ha, which Muhammad considered his duty to destroy at the first opportunity, must have felt a little offended. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Traditions that Muhammad was offered all kinds of inducements: the leadership of his clan, all the wealth he desired, in return for giving up his criticism of the Meccan deities. That he chose to reject all these enticements in favor of proclaiming the truth (and giving offense to the Mec cans, including friends and relatives) is proudly reported by Muslims. It seems that it is the duty of every Muslim to uphold and wage the holy war (II. 216) in spreading their brand of the truth, but this right is denied to the apostates, who pay for speaking out by forfeiting their right to live. No one must give offense to Muslims, but it is a great virtue for Muslims to practice iconoclasm.

I sometimes notice that I have given offense to Muslims by not using what I think should be called "religionist" language-luckily not meriting a death sentence! Just as race and gender are used in racist and sexist language, religious expressions are employed in the religionist language. From an early age Muslim children pick up the habit of including in their speech expressions like "God willing" (Inshallah), when expressing their intention to do something, or "By the grace of God" (Mashallah), when admiring something or someone. I went through a phase when I decided that the religionist language was no more acceptable to me than the racist or the sexist. I deliberately stopped using these expressions and sometimes found that the person I was talking to would interject them in my sentence at the appropriate time. On these occasions I was made to feel that I had committed more than a faux pas.

Even if I were not a humanist, I think I would find it totally unacceptable that homosexuals (IV. 16; VII.8 1) or people who attempt suicide (IV.29) should in any way be punished. Should a merciful Allah punish a whole people because some of its members practiced homosexuality (VII.81; XXVI.160 ff)?

Muslims start their prayers (and the pious among them many other activities) with the following: "In the name of God, the compassionate and the merciful." You wonder what would God have done if he had not been merciful and compassionate! Tortures of hell aside (V.33), he is also responsible for any misfortune that befalls anyone (LXIV.10). This verse, incidentally, contradicts another, IV.79, which seems to allow some sort of free will.

It is just as well that my brothers and my son take no notice of IX.23. I wonder how I would feel if this threat were real for me. Would I have concealed my thoughts from them as I do from Muslims I cannot or do not know well enough to trust? Would I act like a munafiq (hypocrite)?

In writing this article I am also taking the risk of being disgraced in this life (XXII.9), but in view of the damage Islam has done and is doing to Muslims, I have come to the conclusion that it is worth taking!


1. In fairness to Islam, Christians have the Gregorian chants and the Latin Mass.

2. Here are some examples of what I call the Koran's ephemeral contents, with my comments in square brackets.

When you (Prophet) are with the faithful, let one party of them rise up to pray with you, armed with their weapons. After making their prostrations, let them withdraw to the rear and then another party who have not prayed come forward and pray with you; and let these also be on their guard, armed with their weapons. It would much please the unbelievers if you neglected your arms and your baggage, so that they could swoop upon you with one assualt. But it is no offence for you to lay aside your arms when overtaken by heavy rain or stricken with an illness, although you must be always on your guard. God has prepared a shameful punishment for the unbelievers. [These are evidently instructions given to the Prophet about how to pray in time of war, and are of no use to anyone else at any other time. What has the last verse got to do with the preceding verses?] (IV. 102)

Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends. [I take it that most Muslims regard this verse as anachronistic! If not, why do they not act on it, but, if yes, are there other verses in the same position?] (V.51)

Believers, remember God's goodness to you ... [This is very long, and to do with the Battle of Uhud and with no general message for mankind.] (XXXIII.9 f)

It was he who drove the unbelievers ... (LIX.2)

Further examples of ephemeral verses to do with Muhammd's life with no general "eternal" message for mankind:

Those who invented that slander ... (XXIV. I I)

Prophet, say to your wives, "If you seek this life and all its finery, come, I will make provisions for you...." (XXXIII.28)

Believers, make room in your assemblies when you are bidden so to do: God will make room.... (LVIII.II)

Yet no sooner do they see some commerce.... (LXII. I 1)

Prophet, why do you prohibit that which God has made lawful to you.... (LXVI.I)

(b) Embedded in its milieu.

Those of you who divorce their wives by declaring them to be their mothers ... (LVIII.2)

The evil-doers mock the faithful.... (LXXXIII.29)

3. See also V.42; VI.39; VI.125, XXX.29; LXXIV.30; LXXIV.55; XVI.93; XX.16; XLIL8; XVIII.17; XVIII.57; XVI.109; XVII.45; XXV.51; XXXIX.36).

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