In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful...
The Bismillah, the opening invocation to every chapter of the Qu'ran.
is a holy text
of the Islamic faith
, the first and smallest text in the Islamic trilogy with the Siranote
and the Hadithsnote
being the other eighty four percent of it. The Qur'an differs from the Jewish and Christian Bible, in that the work is not a collection of various other works, but rather a collection of sayings in verse attributed to Allah/God given to The Prophet Muhammad
via the Archangel Gabriel
. Think of it as God: The Collected Poems
, or perhaps as the Psalms of Islam.
The sections of the Qur'an are ordered by (mainly) lengthnote
, not by theme (as in the Christian Bible) or chronologically (as in the Tanakh).
- A God Am I: If humans or djinns do this, then s/he's a very bad person. Examples include the Fir'aun* of Egypt during Prophet Musa's* era, it's explicitly for this sin that he was punished severely. And then Allah made sure his dead body remains to this day, to serve as a warning and a proof of historicity.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Averted. Satan was given a choice to obey or disobey Allah, and he chose to disobey, thus ensuring his fate. This doesn't apply to his race the djinns, who are as capable of being good or evil as the humans, and thus can enter Paradise if they do good.
- Always Lawful Good: Angels. They are more akin to software, and thus this trope simply because they are incapable of disobeying that which defines 'Lawful' and 'Good'; in Islam, Satan is not a Fallen Angel, but a Djinn, who can be as morally varied as any human being.
- Anachronic Order: Since the surat are organized by length, not when they were revealed (which took place over a couple of decades).
- Ancient Egypt: Some part of Prophet Musa's story. It seems that the more interesting parts happen when he's outside Egyptian territory, such as marriage, meeting with Allah, and looking for a land for his people.
- Ancient Rome: There is a whole surah (chapter) titled Rome, foretelling the victory of the monotheistic Romans against the polytheistic Sassanid Empire of Persia. It should be noted that the Sassanids did not consider themselves polytheists; despite recognizing several figures worthy of worship they only recognized one of them as God. Still, this "ascribing of false partners" was unacceptable to Muhammad.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of people cast down to Hell(s). You burn for eternity, drink boiling hot water, and eat horrible fruit ('demon head'). Once your entire skin is burned up, Allah wills that another layer be grown so you can burn again. Verse 87:13 says succinctly: "Therein he does not die, neither does he live."
- Archangel Gabriel: Believed to have revealed the Qur'an to the prophet Muhammad, by Muslims.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Go there and back again, actually. Muhammad was called to an audience with Allah, received the order for salah (daily prayers, said five times a day), and then returned to the world so he could bring the order to the Muslims. On his way he met prophets of ancient times such as Musa. Musa actually told Muhammad to renegotiate the order, because 50 times a day would be too difficult.
- Reminiscent of an old Jewish joke, in which Moses tells his people "There's good news and bad news. The good news is that I convinced Him to drop seven of the Seventeen Commandments. The bad news is that He wouldn't budge on the one about adultery."
- Badass Army: Defied! The Army of Muslims attributed their victories (and defeats) in war to the will of Allah, never due to their own might. The one time they believed that victory is assured, archers on a strategic hill went for loot instead of manning their post, resulting in the enemy countering by attacking the hill and killing the few archers left, and reversing the course of the battle, resulting in the prophet being seriously injured.
- Big Bad: Subverted. Sure, there is a Satan and he's unable to be defeated until the Day of Judgment, but ultimately he can't do anything Allah doesn't permit him to do. The majority of the bad people in the stories do bad things due to their own vices, not due to some kind of invisible capital-E evil.
- Big Good: Allah is stated to be this. Also Muhammad, by proxy, since everything he does is the will of Allah.
- Bury Your Gays: Unlike the Bible, homosexuality is clearly stated as the reason why Sodom was doomed. Lesbianism, group sex of any kind and bisexuality from any gender are all equally condemned as very serious sins.
- Condescending Compassion: The usual treatment reserved to non-Muslims. While the Qu'ran strongly advises tolerance and fairness towards non-Muslims, non-Muslims are still unsurpisingly considered untrustworthy, ignorant and delusional lost souls (much like The Bible sees non-Christians). Hence, the Qu'ran clearly discourages Muslims from forming strong bonds with them.
- Continuity Nod: So, so many, toward Injil* and Taurat* . In fact, it's stated in The Qur'an itself that one of its purposes is to give Continuity Nod to the aforementioned books, so as to give good news to the faithfuls.
- Also mentioned—although rarely referenced—is the Zabur (the Psalms).
- Deal with the Devil: You can make a deal with djinns to cast a spell upon your enemies, but it's a very grave sin. It doesn't help that the aforementioned djinns tend to have god-complexs, which is yet another offense to Allah.
- Decisive Battle: Several, leading to the re-capture of Makkah by the Muslim army. Entering Makkah itself was an anti-climax, though.
- Domestic Abuse: A man is allowed to beat his disobediant wife. (IV, 38)
- Double Standard:
- There is no denying the text - much like The Bible - contains examples of this, especially when Al-hadits that further explained these rules are not included into the equation.
- One Double Standard - the one about polygamy - actually has a reason behind it: it's believed the original reason for allowing men to take additional wives was that in an age of constant tribal warfare, men were often killed and their widows left without a means of support. Polygamy was a way of addressing this gender imbalance in towns that had been ravaged by war.
- It still has a reason to help women that can't find work, live in poor conditions, and have no one in their family that can help them.
- In one verse, a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man.
- 2:228: "Women who are divorced shall wait, keeping themselves apart, three (monthly) courses. And it is not lawful for them that they should conceal that which Allah hath created in their wombs if they are believers in Allah and the Last Day. And their husbands would do better to take them back in that case if they desire a reconciliation. And they (women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in kindness, and men are a degree [of responsibility] above them. Allah is Mighty, Wise. "
- The rules for woman in general are very strict, where the only skin that they can show in public are their faces (some even consider that only their eyes can be shown) and their hands. They are justified (for Muslims) to ensure the woman's safety while enhancing their elegance.
- Men having a higher degree than women actually means that men have higher degree of responsibility than women. An Nisa:34 explained that since men have a higher degree than women, they are required to look for a job and ensure the income of their family AND parents, unlike women who don't have those responsibilities. This's also used to justify why men get twice the amount of inheritance.
- Men can marry any woman from any other Abrahamic religion (Jews or Christians), women are strictly forbidden to marry a man who isn't a Muslim.
- Eldritch Abomination: Consider this: it's stated that if humankind craft every trees in the world into pens and use so much ink that the volume can fill the ocean, it still won't be enough to write down the knowledge that Allah possesses.
- The Federation: During the Madinah * era. Muhammad was the leader of the people of Madinah, which also included Jews. The details of the Battle of the Trench showed cracks in the Federation, though prior to it, the Medina Constitution showed ideals of federation and mutual respect, even though it eventually failed in reality.
- Freak Out!: Muhammad, the first time Jibril visited him. An entire surah were descended to assure him that things are going to be okay.
- Friend to All Living Things: Muhammad. Also Allah. Anyone who kills a sparrow or anything bigger unjustly will be held accountable.
- In some interpretation, anyone who kill anything unjustly, will be held accountable, period.
- Hell: There are 7 layers of them.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Lot already got some in the New Testament compared to the Old, being described as a well meaning victim of circumstance but he gets even more heroic treatment here by vocally denouncing the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- In general prophets are more virtuous than they are in the Bible. David's adultary isn't mentioned nor is Noah getting drunk. It explicitely states that Solomon did not worship other gods and Aaron did not make the golden calf.
- Humans Are Special: The angels and the Jinns where ordered to bow down to us. One of the Jinn, ʾIblīs, refused to bow down and was banished for this.
- The very last surah is titled An-Nās, or The People.
- Invisible to Normals: Angels and Jinns.
- Made a Slave / Indentured Servitude / Happiness in Slavery: Vanquished unbelievers are to be killed (men especially), converted or enslaved. While it's possible to become a dhimmi when you're Jewish or a Christian, for all the others, slavery is their ultimate fate. However, being a slave is usually just a transitional state before becomeing a Muslim through exhortation of one's master. If that fails, masters of slaves must treat their slaves fairly and make sure they don't resent their servitude, even though slavery in and of itself is not forbidden at all. If an infidel doesn't convert but wishes to be free, exile is the only alternative.
- Magic Is Evil: Magic exists, and it's invariably a bad thing. The Qur'an also explicitly states that Prophet Sulaiman* did not use magic: he indeed had djinn servants, but his mastery over them was granted by Allah, not because he knew spells that bind them to servitude.
- Could be an avert trope as interpretations of the Qur'an define working with magic as a form of trickery and deceit, which makes it forbidden, but it has no effect in reality.
- Mandatory Motherhood: Refusing to be a mother is heavily frowned upon by Muslim culture and in the Qu'ran. Any woman who is born barren or who becomes so is considered a pariah and is usually forced into celibacy until she dies.
- Well, not entirely forced, but celibacy is better option than being humiliated constantly.
- Messianic Archetype: A´ssa Also known as Jesus Christ.
- Moral Event Horizon: Shirk or idolatry is the only sin that God won't forgive the Last Day if the person didn't ask forgiveness during his lifetime.
- Multinational Team: The Muslims of Muhammad's time included people such as Salman al-Farisi who came from Persia, as well as Bilal, a liberated black slave. The only measure of a person in Allah's eyes is that person's faith, not nationality or ethnicity.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: 2:98 "Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibril and Mikailnote ... "
- Mystical Pregnancy: A´ssa (Jesus) is recognized as being born from a virgin, Maryam (Mary). He's also identified as the Messiah (Mahdi) who will come back to defeat Dajjal (Antichrist) at End Ofthe Worldas We Know It.
- Never Learned to Read: Muhammad was illiterate. This comes as an inversion to Chekhov's Skill: Muhammad's proponents were unable to deny his prophethood because he knew the lore of the monotheists. Keep in mind that this was in the ~600 C.E., where such knowledge was restricted to and heavily controlled by the clergy.
- Omniscient Morality License: God forgives who he wants to and punishes who he wants to though he forbade injustice for humans as for himself.
- Our Angels Are Different: The angels of The Qur'an are definitely of the Eldritch Abomination variety. They are described as having anywhere from two wings to thousands, and they do not eat or drink. They are also huge. It would take 700 years to go the distance between the ear-lobes and shoulders of the angel who carries Allah's throne, and the Archangel Gabriel has 600 wings which span from the Eastern to the Western horizon. They're invisible to humans but animals can see them.
Angels are the messengers of Allah. It is literally impossible for an angel, no matter how powerful, to disobey Allah, because they have no free will. This means there are no evil or Fallen Angels, and that every thing they do is commanded by Allah. They carry out Allah's will by doing things like praising and worshiping him, cursing women who will not have sex with their husbands, testing people by giving them wealth or healing their illnesses, and throwing the wicked into hell and mercilessly tormenting them for all of eternity. Belief in them is considered one of the five Articles of Faith in Islam, and Gabriel is said to have revealed The Qur'an to Muhammad.
- Our Jinns Are Different: Well, they were made from smokeless fire for one thing. Like humans and unlike angels, they have free will, which means they can be good or evil, follow different religions, marry, etc... They are usually invisible to humans. The Qur'an's stance on them is essentially Leave 'em Alone, You Idiot!
- Our Godhead is different- The Christian Trinity and the status of Jesus as divine are specifically denied. The Jewish concept of God's covenant with Israel and its status as "the Chosen People" is ignored in light of a more universal message to humanity, rather than to Israel.
- The false trinity when it is actually described in the Qu'ran Allah/Isa/Marium is not the same one modern Christians believe in Father(origin)/Son(doer)/Spirit(omnipresence). It is true trinity is never explicitly described in the gospels, just something people interpreted from them but Christians are not "ascribing partners to Allah", just trying to help people understand God better.
- Persona Non Grata: Non-muslims are barred from entering Meccah, the holy city that holds the Black Stone.
- Apostasy is punishable by death in the Qur'an, specifically if the apostate remains among other Muslims. Muslims who wish to leave Islam can only do so if they also leave their country and Start A New Life elsewhere. Not a case of You Can't Go Home Again since it's still possible to embrace Islam again if you sincerely wish to do so.
- Polyamory: Well, polygamy. The Qur'an allows a limited polygamy, one of whose requirements is, essentially, that it be polyamorous as well (the man is required to treat all his wives equally in all respects). We should note that the Muslims originally frowned on polygamy—Muhammad himself was faithful to his first wife and did not marry again until after her death—and it was only allowed when war had created a lot of widows. Contemporary Muslims for the most part regard polygamy with as much or only slightly less disgust than contemporary...well...almost anyone, really.
- Some Muslims regard it as worse, actually—seeing the men who take advantage of the rule as sexually-incontinent dogs using religious law as a cover for having an affair under their first—and real—wife's nose. The great Muslim reformer Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) was more or less of this opinion and actually argued that requiring men to treat their wives equally was an intentionally impossible requirement, since unless the imbalance of the sexes is huge (allowing wealth to concentrate in fewer hands) it will be impossible for a man to do so.
- Pride: Iblis believes he's superior to humans because he was made from smokeless fire and humans were made from clay.
- Rejected Apology: The unbelievers apologies won't be accepted during the Last Day.
- Retcon: Called abrogation, which means latter verses that supposedly contradict earlier ones invalidate those before them. This is because the Qur'an was recorded under a twenty three year period and during that time Muhammad's instructions changed according to circumstance. Since the Qur'an is not listed in chronological order what exactly is abrogated is not clear without help from other text such as those in the Hadith. It is obvious the whole Qur'an abrogates the Old and New testaments however.
- Satan: He's a Jinn called Iblis or Shaytan.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Qur'an is written in a version of Arabic that is archaic even in Muhammad's time. A Crowning Moment of Funny happened when one of his proponents bashed him for using words that were hard to understand, just to have another proponent appeared and bashed him incorporating those very same words.
- Sex Is Evil: Averted. Celibacy and asceticism are strongly discouraged, even though it's not harām in and of itself. Sex is considered to be perfectly normal and men and women are permitted to do pretty much any kinky thing they want with each other (except anal sex and BDSM which remain gravely sinful in any capacity), but only within the confines of marriage.
- Spell My Name with an "S"
- Spell My Name with a "The": The name Allah is a contraction of al-illa meaning not just God, but the God (the one and only). You will find a lot of these contractions in Arabic texts, even before the Qu'ran and many of them relate to the god, such as Astaghfirullah, "I ask the God's forgiveness".
- That is not, technically speaking, a contraction. That's the way arabic word/sentence structure works. Astaghfirullah is an entire sentence. These things have nothing to do with Quran, modern arabic works like this too.
- Sublime Rhyme: Full of it, but especially obvious at the last juz. Sometimes a page-long paragraph rhymes. Traditions exist that bring reciting The Qur'an to a whole new level of art, as encouraged by Muhammad himself.
- Take That: Even though The Qur'an has a lot of Continuity Nods towards the Gospels and the Torah, no love is lost toward those who exploited or -Allah forbid!- altered the texts just to gain political power.
- Talking Animals/Speaks Fluent Animal: In Sunni and Shi'a accounts, Muhammad is said to have conversations with camels, birds, and other animals.
- Ungrateful Bastard: One of the stories in the Qur'an tell of the Bani Isra'il (children of Israel, the Jews) after they fled Egypt. Food were hard to come by in the desert, so Allah sent them salwa* and manna* . However, the Bani Isra'il wanted vegetables and other stuffs they had in Egypt, and some actually dared return there. Those who did got deeply humiliated for their efforts.
- To be grateful to what Allah gives to you is a recurring aesop. One whole surah descended just to remind the Quraysh, Muhammad's own tribe, that they should be grateful for their lofty position amongst the Arabs of the day.
- True Companions: The people who immediately believed when Muhammad told them that he just became a prophet. They didn't make that decision lightly: at that time, the Arabs were deeply polytheistic, tribal deity and all, and saying that there is only One True God would invite serious repercussions, even from your own tribe.
- Verbal Tic: It's customary to follow the name of a prophet with "Peace be upon him" as a show of respect. (The Other Wiki devotes a whole article to this.)
- Warrior Poet: The Arab men of the pre-Islamic age prided themselves on two things: fighting prowess, and skill at composing poetry. They were greatly shocked when the illiterate Muhammad start reciting the Qur'an, which is beautiful as it's lengthy.