dispatches to and from

nathan f. elmore

Dispatches to and from faith, culture, and things in between

Ramadan Renderings/Day 17

I am a Christian pastor who works as a collegiate minister with the Virginia Baptists at Virginia Commonwealth University. One of my areas of vocational interest and spiritual work is Christian-Muslim relations, including text-centered dialogues or conversations. During Ramadan 2011, I read through the entire Qur'an, in English, via Tarif Khalidi's 2008 translation (Penguin Books). What follows is a personal, meditative rendering of the Qur'an portion of the day. This rendering is devotional in nature, not scholarly. And it comes in the form of textual observations, spiritual reflections, theological questions or poetic responses.

 

Reading on the job [Photo by zouhair ghazzal via Flickr]

 

Day 17 || Reading: Qur'an 21:1 - 22:78

 

Rendering from Qur'an 21:51-67

http://quran.com/21/51-67

 

I've provided a longer text above because this story of Abraham smashing the idols of his father's people to tiny bits is really quite fascinating. Also, it seems emblematic of the Qur'an's core message. Personally, I am strangely drawn to the rhetoric of prophets. And here Abraham brings it. In Khalidi's translation, Abraham asks his father's people: What are these idols that you keep ministering to? Do you indeed worship, apart from God, that which has no power to benefit you in anything, nor harm you? Will you not come to your senses? About the time I finish reading this rhetoric I realize that the questions are having their way with me, too. Abraham lingers like that.

 

Photo by Jim Stevenson via Flickr