Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Eye for an Eye

This news article intrigued me the other day.

About how the Koran says, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and a soul for a soul".
Suggesting that these Muslims are merely following a biblical precept to the letter.

An article that suggests that we, as products of Darwin's enlightenment- should hold such barbarism in contempt.
Pretty easy to say... from a distance.

Yet, this precept is far from biblical.  Far from the letter of the Mosaic law.  And far from the letter of Christianity.

But what puzzled me- was where the Islamic "scholar" of this news article included "soul for a soul".
Which is not an accepted translation of this verse in the Koran.  Since this verse should be translated "life for life"- and not the "soul for soul" appended by that scholar.

Yet, that scholar's "soul for soul" concept is found elsewhere in the Koran.  Thirteen verses earlier.  In the eleventh and thirteenth words. 
Here we are told that the concept "soul" is to be taken in a genitive sense with the thirteenth word.  And in the accusative sense with the eleventh word of this verse.
Note the differences between the thirteenth

and the eleventh
Not exactly an identical substitution of a "soul for a soul".  Where the one "soul" is to be accused- while the other "soul" remains accursed.  Obviously some categorical distinctive that is being overlooked by the "scholar" of that news article. 
A categorical distinctive that should also applied to the "eye for an eye" etc.
A distinctive that suggests some form of equivalence- yet not exact equivalence.
A distinctive that is recognized by followers of the Mosaic law.  The law that Mohammad  alludes to.

Now what I found fascinating in my research, was not merely that Islamic justice appears overwhelmingly retaliative rather than restorative - but also that Islam appears to hold contempt for any interpretation of this particular verse that might suggest a genitive "savior" .
Holds contempt for any interpretation that might suggest a soul-ish savior.  Indeed, contempt for the interpretation of this verse by Arab scholar Bijan Moeinian:

"Based upon this incidence, I decreed to the children of Israel (and such passages are missing in the existing bibles except a few verses in Thalmud) that: “Whoever kills a human being (unless the latter being guilty of murder or spreading corruption on earth) should be looked upon as though he has killed the entire humanity and whoever saves a life should be considered as the savior of whole mankind.” However, in spite of many Prophets which came to them with undeniable miracles, the majority of them chose to disregard the Divine laws".

Contempt for the mere suggestion of a "savior".
And Bijan didn't even go all the way- by properly saying "soul savior" either!

Yes, contempt for a savior.  Contempt of a proper "soul for a soul".
Contempt which will land them... in a land of contempt.