2:97 – 2:123

This weeke we read from 2:97 – 2:123

[2:98] Anyone who opposes GOD, and His angels, and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael, should know that GOD opposes the disbelievers.

God talks a lot about Gabriel, but in this verse we also see Michael. Who is Michael?

According to Revelations 12:7-9 Michael was the angel who exiled Satan.

“…there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.”

Excerpt from Wikipedia:
After the conflict, Satan is thrown to earth along with the fallen angels, where he (“that ancient serpent called the devil”) still tries to “lead the whole world astray”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_%28archangel%29

Which other angels are mentioned in the Quran?

• Gabriel
• Michael
• The angel that will blow the horn on the Day of Judgment
• The Drivers of the Wind
• The Arrangers
• The angles that guard Hell

Witchcraft Condemned
[2:102] They pursued what the devils taught concerning Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon, however, was not a disbeliever, but the devils were disbelievers. They taught the people sorcery, and that which was sent down through the two angels of Babel, Haroot and Maroot. These two did not divulge such knowledge without pointing out: “This is a test. You shall not abuse such knowledge.” But the people used it in such evil schemes as the breaking up of marriages. They can never harm anyone against the will of GOD. They thus learn what hurts them, not what benefits them, and they know full well that whoever practices witchcraft will have no share in the Hereafter. Miserable indeed is what they sell their souls for, if they only knew.

Since witchcraft is condemned, why is it that the two angel of Babel had the information of sorcery if it is something that is not good?

Sorcery definition: magic done with the help of evil spirits

There is a lot of information that is given to the angels, but can be abused by the people. Knowledge reveals information for certain purposes and can be abused by the people when used inappropriately.

The devils taught sorcery, the devils used to work for Solomon.

The First Oil Field
[34:12] To Solomon we committed the wind at his disposal, traveling one month coming and one month going. And we caused a spring of oil to gush out for him. Also, the jinns worked for him, by his Lord’s leave. Any one of them who disregarded our commands, we subjected him to a severe retribution.
[34:13] They made for him anything he wanted – niches, statues, deep pools, and heavy cooking pots. O family of David, work (righteousness) to show your appreciation. Only a few of My servants are appreciative.

Is there any good that can come out of sorcery?

Example of jinns with castle of Sheba and the jinn who had knowledge of the book

Faster Than the Speed of Light
[27:38] He said, “O you elders, which of you can bring me her mansion, before they arrive here as submitters?”
[27:39] One afrit from the jinns said, “I can bring it to you before you stand up. I am powerful enough to do this.”
[27:40] The one who possessed knowledge from the book said, “I can bring it to you in the blink of your eye.” When he saw it settled in front of him, he said, “This is a blessing from my Lord, whereby He tests me, to show whether I am appreciative or unappreciative. Whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good, and if one turns unappreciative, then my Lord is in no need for him, Most Honorable.”

If people abuse the knowledge whose fault is it?

What would angels use sorcery for?

God gives the human being knowledge, and we can use this knowledge for good or for evil. The choice is ours. If we abuse the knowledge it is to our own detriment.

[16:67] And from the fruits of date palms and grapes you produce intoxicants, as well as good provisions. This should be (sufficient) proof for people who understand.

[20:96] He said, “I saw what they could not see. I grabbed a fistful (of dust) from the place where the messenger stood, and used it (to mix into the golden calf). This is what my mind inspired me to do.”

Modern day example of people using knowledge for detrimental activity is when people lie with statistics or when financial wizards swindle millions of people through schemes that give them all the upside and none of the downside.

Angels were not using sorcery, they just had knowledge, but the people used if for evil work and sorcery.

Do people still use witchcraft?

[72:6] ” `Human beings used to seek power through jinn beings, but they only afflicted them with a lot of adversity.

Voodoo uses jinns for power and is one of the prevailing religions in places like Haiti and Senegal. The number one sport in Senegal is voodoo wrestling.

We know that paganism is condemned, and we shouldn’t participate in pagan activities. Some historians attribute birthday cakes and blowing out of candles as a pagan ritual. Therefore should we participate in birthday cakes and blowing out of candles?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_cake#Pagan_theory

There are many things in our day to day lives that are tied back to pagan roots i.e. names of the days of the week or the planets. My gauge is that if the idea has surpassed the origins such that most people will have no linkage between the action and the pagan roots then the paganism is void. Language is constantly changing and adapting and the words and actions that mean one thing before will be completing absolved of that meaning in the future. The opposite is also true as we see how people twist words in future generations to construe a bad meaning.

Twisting the Words of Supplication
[2:104] O you who believe, do not say, “Raa`ena”* (be our shepherd). Instead, you should say, “Unzurna” (watch over us), and listen. The disbelievers have incurred a painful retribution.

Footnote *2:104 The word “Raa`ena” was abused by some Hebrew-speaking people, and twisted to sound like a dirty word (see also 4:46).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_of_the_days_of_the_week

What about Christmas? Is it okay to celebrate Christmas today?

Christmas is heavily tied to paganism and is still heavily attributed to Christian false doctrines. This relationship is still heavily influenced. In addition if we were to celebrate Jesus’s birth and not all the prophets and messengers then we are making a distinction among God’s messengers and breaking God’s commandment.

You Shall Not Make Any Distinction Among God’s Messengers
[2:285] The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in GOD, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: “We make no distinction among any of His messengers.” They say, “We hear, and we obey.* Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny.”
Additionally Jesus was not born in December.

The Birth of Jesus
[19:22] When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place.
[19:23] The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten.”
[19:24] (The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, “Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.
[19:25] “If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.*

*19:25 Thus, Jesus was born in late September or early October. This is when dates ripen in the Middle East to the point of falling off the tree.

The longest night of the year is December 22nd. Three days after on December 25th is when the day starts becoming longer. This was heavily celebrated by the pagan world and mythology.

When Constantine took power he wanted to fuse the Christian’s with paganism and fused their holidays together and replaced the pagan god with Jesus around 336AD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

Another good source on the topic of Christmas and paganism is Herbert Armstrong:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_W._Armstrong

People light candles for religious observance like churches, the tomb’s of saints and Hanukah. What is the significance of the candle in religious ceremonies?

Where did the concept of a Christmas tree come from?

Jeremiah Chapter 10:
1. Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
2. Thus says the Lord, “Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them;
3. For the customs of the peoples are [a]delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.
4. “They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter.
5. “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.”
6. There is none like You, O Lord; You are great, and great is Your name in might.

Submission: The Only Religion
[2:112] Indeed, those who submit themselves absolutely to GOD alone, while leading a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord; they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.*

The importance of “alone” in 2:112 cannot be over emphasized. We have thousands of religions in the world. What causes so many religions to be created? Each religion claims to have a shortcut to God via some intermediary. If people accept there is no shortcut and it is just God and you then you will have one only religion.

When God says “Be” is this baked into the fabric of the universe from the moment of the Big Bang or does the event happen and go against the laws of physics?

[2:117] The Initiator of the heavens and the earth: to have anything done, He simply says to it, “Be,” and it is.

[3:47] She said, “My Lord, how can I have a son, when no man has touched me?” He said, “GOD thus creates whatever He wills. To have anything done, He simply says to it, `Be,’ and it is.

God is not limited and can either decide to bake it into the moment of the Big Bang or decide to break the laws of this world and insert whatever He wills.

Never Question God’s Wisdom
[21:23] He is never to be asked about anything He does, while all others are questioned.

Knowing God
[10:61] You do not get into any situation, nor do you recite any Quran, nor do you do anything, without us being witnesses thereof as you do it. Not even an atom’s weight is out of your Lord’s control, be it in the heavens or the earth. Nor is there anything smaller than an atom, or larger, that is not recorded in a profound record.

[2:115] To GOD belongs the east and the west; wherever you go there will be the presence of GOD. GOD is Omnipresent, Omniscient.

What are the different Omni characteristics of God?
• Omniscient: All Knowing
• Omnipotent: All Powerful
• Omnipresent: Everywhere

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