Interview with the writer of Surah Fa Qaaf.

Surah Fa Qaaf

We wanted to interview the author of the surah to get a better understanding of your inspirations/motivations.

Why did you write this surah?

Many years ago now, I was talking to a friend over the internet about the challenge the Qur’an makes and we thought we’d have a go. He had some ideas he’d seen posted on another forum and so we just started putting stuff together. It was meant as a light-hearted parody & not something we put serious effort in. A humorous caricature emulating the tone of the Qur’an for comic effect. It wasn’t intended to be published.

What do you think of the Quran challenge?

I think it is meaningless because no one can produce something exactly like the original writing of another — regardless of whether it is good or bad — especially when it belongs to a time period one and a half thousand years ago when the language, context, mentality and personality of the writer is beyond reach today. Of course the fact that someone cannot bring something like another’s work doesn’t mean God must have written it. If we are to regard the challenge to be simply about producing something better in meaning or artistically then there are countless works I consider better than the Qur’an. It is a completely subjective challenge. Especially as faith derails any chance of objectivity.

How many people were involved?

Two

How long did it take you?

I don’t remember precisely but no more than an hour in total

Why did you make it funny?

Because it was meant to be funny. It was a humorous parody.

Were you drinking whiskey or otherwise influenced by satan in any way?

No

Why did you write it anonymously

We never meant it to be published. It was just something we did for our own curiosity & amusement. If I critique Islam I try to avoid being flippant or confrontational. So this was never meant to be put to Muslims. When it did leak out we obviously no longer had control but we wanted to remain anonymous as it is simply not my style of critiquing Islam.

Even after it’s reached so many people, why don’t you want to take credit for it?

Sadly there are a minority of Muslims who react violently to this sort of thing and so once it leaked out I can’t deny that I felt a little concerned. I have already seen one comment on Ali Dawah’s video that says “This is why Allah makes it lawful for us to kill the Murtadeen!” I know most Muslims don’t behave like that but it only takes one lunatic.

What was the motivation to use the style of the Quran (ie knock a knocking…). Some may argue that this is plagiarism. What do you think?

We used the words, phrases & style of the Qur’an to parody it. If we didn’t then we’d be accused of not bringing something like it. Yet when we do, we’re accused of plagiarism. It’s a no-win situation. No matter what anyone does faith always has a way of finding reasons to reject it. That’s the power of faith. The Qur’an is so engraved in our consciousness and it’s words, phrases and sentences are so ingrained and familiar, that bringing anything new is always going to jar with those familiar with the original.

Tafseer of Surah al-Chicken by Ibn Himar

What is the significance of God swearing by the Chicken?
I would say it is a miraculous prophecy. It alludes to a future scenario. Namely that chickens would become the most popular meat and account for the largest number of farmed animals on planet Earth. Not to mention many of these are delicious Halal fried Chicken shops — Allah be Praised.

If you were to say how is it that boiled eggs are a miracle of God?
I would say because boiled eggs were sent down to Jesus & his disciples on the table spread at the last supper. It is also one of the wonders of Allah that boiled eggs come in a convenient package that can be carried by hand, pocket or handbag. It is protected in a cover that can be easily removed and is a very good source of protein, vitamins, selenium and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

It is related from Ibn Haziqa who heard it from Umm Hubbard who heard it from her friend’s uncle, who heard it from the guy who lives next door to the candle-stick maker who heard it from the fishmonger’s errand boy that Jesus gave a boiled egg to each disciple and told them to add cumin and salt. It is for this reason that Muhammad (pbh) said: “He who does not add cumin & salt to his boiled egg, is not one of us.” (This hadith is considered Sahih by Albanani)

If you were to say why does it say: “We sent thunder” when thunder is caused by lightning?
I would say you have misunderstood the verse. Lightning is the object of the verb “We sent” which is why the word; “lightning” is in the accusative. While what is sent with it, has been brought forward. It’s similar to the pre-Islamic poet Khantaf ibn Shantaf when he recited:

“I sent, with the message, a boy — to the tent of my beloved”

In other words, the verse is saying: “We sent lightning with thunder.” This is in fact a scientific miracle revealed in the Qur’an long before science discovered it, Subhanuhu Wa Ta’ala.

What is the point of hanging someone then choking him?
I would say that it shows the punishments of Hell are repeated in many different ways. Each time they are about to die they are made whole again. So their skins are roasted off, then put back so they can be torn off by hooked rods of iron, eyes poked out, brains boiled, faces melted, heads hammered, skulls drilled, necks wrung, arms twisted, hair pulled, finger-nails peeled & bottoms fried to a crisp. Each time one form of torture is inflicted they are made ready for another. Glory be to God Most Merciful of the Merciful.

Why is the knocking on the harlots door emphasised?

I would say the scholars differ. Ibn Fateer relates that such places of immorality were most busy at night with much wine and song. Therefore it was necessary to knock loudly & repeatedly to be heard. While Haziqa Abu Baziqa related that it’s an allusion to the frantic passions that consume such reprobates that they have no self-control and are inflamed with desire. May God preserve us!!

What is the meaning of dancers without Khimar when dancers don’t wear the Khimar?

I would say this is amongst the amazing wonders and sublime subtleties of divine eloquence that man & Jinn cannot hope to achieve. The word Khimar — which is a complete covering — alludes to the fact that these dancers will be fully clothed and covered to begin with as a way to arouse eagerness & longing. Then little by little they strip away each layer to stir the desires and excite the passions of Ahlul Jannah and to increase their pleasure much more than if they were wearing very little. Blessed be He who has prepared for his faithful such delights!

And that’s all!

Coming up, a more detailed response with Abdullah Gondal where the Quran borrows from pre-islamic poetry. Where the Quran actually changes a word in order to make it rhyme. Basically all the complaints about Surah Fa Qaaf are found in the Holy Quran itself!

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Husband, dad to five, tech enthusiast. Former Conservative Muslim. www.abdullahsameer.com