/ May 30, 2015
The Quran tries to bluff anyone who doubts that it is the verbal word of God: “If you doubt what We have revealed to you, ask those who have read the Scriptures before you.” (Surah 10:94) If this were an honest statement, why is the distribution of the Bible banned in the following countries according to Gideons International? -- Afghanistan, Algeria, China (People's Republic), Comoros, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. All but two of those countries are Muslim-majority.
But let’s get back to Muhammad’s Magical Cow. The second and longest Surah in the Quran is called “Al-Baqarah” (The Cow). Most Muslims would be hard-pressed to explain the significance of this cow, but it had magical properties, according to the Quran. The sacrifice of a cow was decreed in Mosaic Law to absolve the community of guilt in the event of an unsolved murder. “Forgive us and do not hold us responsible for the murder of an innocent man.” (See Deuteronomy 21:1 – 9.)
When Muhammad composed the Quran, however, there was no room for forgiveness. He decreed: “Believers, retaliation is decreed for you in bloodshed: a free man for a free man; a slave for a slave; and a female for a female.” (Surah 2:178) So Muhammad or his companions had to concoct a fable in order to revise this sacrifice of forgiveness into a rite of retaliation. Here is that fable from Tafsir Ibn Kathir – the most authoritative commentary on the Quran:
There was a man from among the Children of Israel who was impotent. He had substantial wealth, and only a nephew who would inherit from him. So his nephew killed him and moved his body at night, placing it at the doorstep of a certain man. The next morning, the nephew cried out for revenge, and the people took up their weapons and almost fought each other. The wise men among them said, “Why would you kill each other, while the Messenger of Allah is still among you?” So they went to Musa [Moses] and mentioned the matter to him and Musa said, “Verily, Allah commands you that you slaughter a cow.” They said, “Do you make fun of us?” He said, “I take Allah’s refuge from being among al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish).” (Surah 2:67) Had they not disputed, it would have been sufficient for them to slaughter any cow. However, they disputed, and the matter was made more difficult for them, until they ended up looking for the specific cow that they were later ordered to slaughter. The found the designated cow with a man, only who owned that cow. He said, “By Allah! I will only sell it for its skin’s fill of gold.” [Note: a heifer weighs about 700 pounds, so at today’s value of gold of $17,354 a pound, a skin’s fill of gold would be worth approximately $12,145,000 -- a ridiculous figure in this fable.] So they paid the cow’s fill of its skin in gold, slaughtered it and touched the dead man with part of it. He stood up, and they asked him, “Who killed you?” He said, “That man,” and pointed to his nephew. He died again, and his nephew was not allowed to inherit [from] him. Thereafter, whoever committed murder for the purpose of gaining inheritance was not allowed to inherit. [This story is also reflected in Tafsir Al-Jalalayn.]
The Quran concludes, “Thus Allah restores the dead to life and shows you His signs, that you may grow in understanding.” (Surah 2:74)
So, in summary, a cow is bought for the equivalent of $12 million; then it is killed. A piece of the cow is used to hit a human corpse, bringing the dead man to life, but only long enough to name his murderer. This magical cow becomes the name for the longest Surah in the Quran. Of course, there is no mention of this story anywhere in the Bible. And Muslims believe this stuff!
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