dispatches to and from

nathan f. elmore

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

Ramadan Renderings/Day 19

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.

 

Inside the Health Science Library of University College, Dublin, Ireland [Photo by Ai-Gie via Flickr]

 

Day 19 || Reading: Qur'an 25:21 - 27:55

 

Rendering from Qur'an 25:43-44

http://quran.com/25/43-44

 

The Biblical prophet Isaiah famously compared humankind to sheep who wander astray. In this Qur'anic text, when it comes to our penchant for heading in that rambling direction, cattle get the honor of the simile. It is said, in particular, that those who make desire/passion their god have a quality of straying that is reminiscent of cattle. J.R.R. Tolkien gave us the forever gem: "Not all those who wander are lost." Indeed. On the other hand, there are some of us who know all too well how to make like a cow.