The expression that Rashad Khalifa translated as “OUR MINDS ARE MADE UP” occurs only twice in the Quran in 2:88 and 4:155 and both times in the context of the covenant God made with the Children of Israel.
The Arabic for the expression “Our minds are made up” is:
The word غُلفٌ has the trilateral root غ ل ف and its only occurrence in the Quran is in these two verses (2:88 and 4:155). The meaning of this word/root is: “to furnish with a covering; covered, wrapped, and UNCIRCUMCISED” It is interesting that this word that also means uncircumcised is used in both occurrences in context to the people who broke their covenant with God.
[2:83] WE MADE A COVENANT WITH THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL: “You shall not worship except GOD. You shall honor your parents and regard the relatives, the orphans, and the poor. You shall treat the people amicably. You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat).” But you turned away, except a few of you, and you became averse. [2:84] WE MADE A COVENANT WITH YOU, that you shall not shed your blood, nor shall you evict each other from your homes. You agreed and bore witness. [2:85] Yet, here you are killing each other, and evicting some of you from their homes, banding against them sinfully and maliciously. Even when they surrendered, you demanded ransom from them. Evicting them was prohibited for you in the first place. DO YOU BELIEVE IN PART OF THE SCRIPTURE AND DISBELIEVE IN PART? What should be the retribution for those among you who do this, except humiliation in this life, and a far worse retribution on the Day of Resurrection? GOD is never unaware of anything you do. [2:86] It is they who bought this lowly life at the expense of the Hereafter. Consequently, the retribution is never commuted for them, nor can they be helped.
[2:87] We gave Moses the scripture, and subsequent to him we sent other messengers, and we gave Jesus, son of Mary, profound miracles and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Is it not a fact that every time a messenger went to you with anything you disliked, your ego caused you to be arrogant? Some of them you rejected, and some of them you killed.
[2:88] Some would say, “OUR MINDS ARE MADE UP!” Instead, it is a curse from GOD, as a consequence of their disbelief, that keeps them from believing, except for a few of them.
[4:155] (They incurred condemnation) FOR VIOLATING THEIR COVENANT, REJECTING GOD’S REVELATIONS, killing the prophets unjustly, and for saying, “OUR MINDS ARE MADE UP!” In fact, GOD is the One who sealed their minds, due to their disbelief, and this is why they fail to believe, except rarely.
The literal translation of these two words from 4:155 and 2:88 would be the following:
قُلوبُنا = our hearts / minds
غُلفٌ = (are) covered / wrapped / uncircumcised
It is worth noting that the Arabic word قُلوبُنا can be translated as both “our hearts” or “our minds” (e.g. 2:74 & 3:8)
[2:74] Despite this, your HEARTS hardened like rocks, or even harder…
[3:8] “Our Lord, let not our HEARTS waver, now that You have guided us. Shower us with Your mercy; You are the Grantor.
This expression of an “uncircumcised heart” is also a common expression in the Bible to people who are not upholding God’s covenant despite bearing the physical mark of the covenant of circumcision.
[Jeremiah 9:25 – 26] “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are CIRCUMCISED ONLY IN THE FLESH—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel ARE UNCIRCUMCISED IN HEART.”
[Deuteronomy 10:16] CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.
[Deuteronomy 30:6] The Lord your God will CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS AND THE HEARTS OF YOUR DESCENDANTS, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
[Leviticus 26:41] which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when THEIR UNCIRCUMCISED HEARTS are humbled and they pay for their sin,
[Jeremiah 4:4] Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, CIRCUMCISE YOUR HEARTS, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it.
God could of utilized any number of alternative words to articulate someone whose mind is made up, but in these two instances He selected this word. The significance of this to me is that this shows that the Children of Israel who are called out in these two verses, that despite them being physically circumcised as part of their covenant with God, their hearts were not fulfilling their part of the agreement and therefore it is as if they are spiritually uncircumcised when they proclaim that their minds are made up.
Additionally the covenant from Genesis 17 that God made with Abraham sounds very similar to what God discusses in 2:124 of the Quran.
[2:124] Recall that ABRAHAM WAS PUT TO THE TEST BY HIS LORD, AND HE FULFILLED THEM. (God) said, “I am appointing you an imam for the people.” He said, “And also my descendants?” He said, “My covenant does not include the transgressors.” [2:125] We have rendered the shrine (the Ka’aba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.” [2:126] Abraham prayed: “My Lord, make this a peaceful land, and provide its people with fruits. Provide for those who believe in GOD and the Last Day.” (God) said, “I will also provide for those who disbelieve. I will let them enjoy, temporarily, then commit them to the retribution of Hell, and a miserable destiny.”
We can deduce that this “test” was not the dream as that was not instituted by God. The only time that God tests us directly is with His commandments. When God gives us an order it is a test to see if we fulfill it or not. For instance, God commanded Muhammad to marry Zeid’s divorced wife (33:36 – 39). God commanded the believers to fight (9:86 & 47:20). Therefore, it makes sense that 2:124 was in regards to a direct commandment given to Abraham by God by which Abraham fulfilled that commandment and because of that God appointed him an imam for the people. The similarities between this and Genesis 17 are very striking as the circumcision covenant was a major part of the history of Abraham in the Old Testament.
Also, in regards to Genesis 17, my understanding is that the commandment was only for the males of that generation and for any new born male baby for generations after. Therefore, I do not think it applies to future generations of adults who come to God’s religion if they were not circumcised at birth.
Genesis 17: 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 YOU ARE TO UNDERGO CIRCUMCISION, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised,
The Quran addresses the Children of Israel more than any other group. If the purpose of the Quran is to confirm and supersede what they have then it would make sense that if circumcision was a satanic practice that God would have corrected this. We are talking about a religious practice that has been around for thousands of years and universally accepted by all of the abrahamic religions. This is not some fringe practice that people are not aware of or wishy washy about – until recently.
Rashad informed us that the vast majority of the Bible is divine truth. He informed us that the contradictions and unacceptable information are easily identifiable.
As an example, in the March 1985 issue of the Muslim Perspective, Rashad proved that someone altered the name of Abraham’s son in Genesis 22:2 from Ishmael to Isaac. It is interesting that in this article Rashad cites Genesis 16, 21, and 22 and even the birth of Isaac and says nothing about Genesis 17 and the circumcision covenant with Abraham let alone any of the numerous occurrences of circumcision in these verses. Yet, Rashad calls this single name change as:
“ONE OF THE MOST FLAGRANT INTERFERENCES IN THE WORD OF GOD”
If we are to believe that circumcision is a satanic practice that was never authorized by God, then this seems like something widely more serious than a name change. If that was the case, then certainly God would have sent a messenger to correct such a supposed fabrication. Or is it more plausible that the practice did originate form God and was a commandment to Abraham as stated in the Bible?
Historically, the only people who have been calling for the abolishment of circumcision have been from the ardent atheist community, but now we have submitters joining the band wagon calling it a satanic practice. They are basing this new understanding on atheist propaganda. They fail to provide any proof from God’s scripture that this specific practice was never authorized by God.
Yet we do not have a single instance of any of God’s messengers ever correcting or altering this ritual in any sort. On the contrary, circumcision is discussed in the Old Testament in over 50 instances and in 12 separate books (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah; Joshua).
Rashad Khalifa – In Defense of the Bible
March 1985 Muslim Perspective
It is worth understanding why circumcision has culturally become a significant topic (beyond the submitter community). The recent push against circumcision originated from the atheist community. This has been part of their agenda for a number of years as their business is to oppose anything having to do with God and religion. It has been heavily propagated by the most vile and vocal atheist as part of their narrative against God and religion e.g. Hitchens, PZ Meyers, Dawkins etc. For those who are unaware of these individuals just spend two minutes to look up the title of their books as I don’t wish to repeat their blasphemies. They even attempted to pass legislation to prohibit the practice which they are still working on.