Friday, January 31, 2014

The Tale of the Cow

Ever read "The Cow", second and longest book (sura) of the Qur'an?

This book is called "The Cow" because it begins with an extended account of when Moses gave to the children of Israel, the law concerning sacrifice of the Red Heifer--from the first 19 verses of Numbers, chapter 19 in the Jewish Torah. Only trouble is, as always with the Qur'an, it's a complete distortion of what is textually to be found in that Book of Moses.

It's actually rather brilliant in its own way, as it demonstrates the incredible legerdemain of the Muslim "Prophet", in the way he makes use of the Jews' own scriptures against them. All you find in Numbers is exposition of the law, how the sacrifice is to be performed, what's to be done with the ashes in preparing and preserving them with herbally treated, ritually blessed water to be used in a cleansing ceremony for any Hebrew who had been exposed to 'uncleanness'.

As the Qur'an presents its totally bowdlerized version of those passages, the Muslim "Prophet" by what he calls a "similitude" (parable) symbolically, but clearly casts himself in the role of Moses being resisted by the Jews in the giving of this law. They question every aspect of it, like "Whose cow must it be? How old? What color?" As to the latter, the "Prophet" also gets that wrong: in the Koran, it's a yellow cow. He has "Moses" demanding of the Jews, "What? Are you trying to make a fool of me? What do you mean, 'what color, how old?'

Following upon this comes many verses meant to establish that Moses, called an "apostle of Allah," was sent to the Jews in vain: they ridiculed him, contested everything he got from God; they had no understanding of what was being commanded: in short, they didn't deserve having Moses sent to them in the first place.

Mohammad creates this fictional Moses to portray his own actual experience of being rejected by the Jews of Medina--whose community he, with his band of caravan robbers and slave merchants from Mecca, had invaded.

That's the truth of the matter, but the fiction runs all the further to this: Here, the latest, greatest and last of all "apostles" of Allah, Mohammad is providing himself all the excuses he will now need for genocide to be wreaked upon those Jews, during course of robbing from them their homes, wives, girl children, wells, flocks, camels and date plantations. But really? How may one know that? Because the next thing to follow upon the Tale of the Cow, in this book of the Koran, is a retelling (also bowdlerized) of how Adam and Eve came to be chased out of the Garden.


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