I Was Reading the Qur’an Today. . .

. . .in the Bathroom (and yes, some would criticize and even kill me for such “desecration”).

I freely and fearlessly read many things in my “meditation room,” and today I opened the Qur’an to Surah (chapter) 27, titled “The Ant.”

In the first lines I am told “these are revelations” and I am told that since I “believe not in the Hereafter” that “the worst of punishment” awaits me where I will be among “the greatest losers.”  Nice.  Thank you.

After this bit of happy news, I read that we Losers are very, very sad and bad (which makes Allah MAD) since we wouldn’t listen to Moses or David or Solomon.  Verses 16 and following caught my eye of attention:  “Solomon said, O mankind!  Lo!  We have been taught the language of birds. . .and there were gathered together unto Solomon his armies of the jinn (genies of the desert) and humankind, and of the birds (!). . .”  Now we get to the title and the anti-heroes of the story:  The Ants.  “When they reached the Valley of the Ants, an ant exclaimed, ‘O ants!  Enter your dwellings lest Solomon and his armies crush you.’ ”  Oh oh.  Wrong thing to say.  All creatures are supposed to be muslim and follow Solomon into the Battle for Faith.  “Solomon smiled, laughing at her speech” while marching on with a prayer for all “righteous slaves.”

Now hold on; follow the story. . .

The Ants may have run for the hills (literally, for their hills), refusing to be slaves, righteous or not.  But someone else was missing from the conscription.  “Solomon sought among the birds and said, ‘How is it that I see not the hoopoe (a crested bird with black and white wings and tail). . .?”  Solomon was about to punish the bird with “hard punishment” when the bird swooped in to bring news about the Queen of Sheba.  Ah, ha!  No punishment for this little winged messenger (damn the ants).

As with most of the Qur’an (and most “holy books”) we can guess the rest.  The Queen receives the message of faith from Solomon, arrives at Solomon’s palace and immediately sees the truth.  “My Lord!  Lo!  I have wronged myself, and I surrender with Solomon unto Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”  Conversion complete.  We can imagine all the armies, all the birds and maybe a few ant believers cheering the Queen.  Hooray!  Tweet, tweet!  Waving feelers!

The rest of the story. . .about believers and non-believers, good birds and bad ants, faith and no-faith, and, of course, the obligatory message from Muhammad to serve Allah, the One, True and Only God, or, gosh, we’re sorry that you will be “flung down on your faces into the Fire.”

So, folks, I was reading the Qur’an today. . .


About Chris Highland

Writer, teacher, freethinker, humanist celebrant, former minister and interfaith chaplain View all posts by Chris Highland

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