The Quran is a parable.
As I say, I first encountered the mind of Islam from the tongue of Louis Farrakhan at the Million Man March in 1996. I was the only white person besides the Park Police on the Mall between 3rd Street NW and 7th Street NW. I watched his address on one of the JumboTrons set up along the Mall.
I had come to hear Farrakhan in person because I didn’t trust the white media to overcome its universal racism to provide an honest and accurate report. Of course, I was right.
I agreed with the general theme of Farrakhan’s speech, which was that American racism is a mental illness. The Tea Party’s frothing for Obama’s impeachment is just one manifestation of its native white supremacist impulse. The Conservative movement that come to town with Reagan tacitly held white supremacy as an organizing principle and re-introduced a virulent racial polarization into the culture of the District by just showing up.
At the same time, I was intrigued by Farrakhan’s employment of the number 19 as a rhetorical device in his oratory. He would establish the vamp of his narrative by pointing out how 19 fits into the architecture surrounding the mall and then soar into his theme, like a Miles Davis solo. It was fascinating.
At the same time, I had no idea what the significance of 19 was. It became clear to me that the mind of Islam, as defined by the Quran, was shaped by the number 8 in the same way the dreams of the Pharaohs was shaped by 8, but the number 19 is not particularly prominent in either Jewish or Christian as a figure of speech. Those traditions, which are shaped by the number 9, tend to employ 7, 13 and 40 symbolically and the number 13 is more often associated with America. z
As a result, I worked my way through the Quran a little bit, but there was no spark, per se, from what continue to strike me as fairly pedestrian scripture. I took it on faith that the verses need to be read in Arabic to received the full impact of its spiritual weight, but, in fact, I was discouraged by the Holy Spirit from dwelling in that particular genre at that time. It had another task for me, which was to establish Cornelius the centurion in Acts 10 as the author of the Gospel of Jesus Messiah, Son of God, according to Mark. So, after a brief inquiry, I turned away from the mind of Islam, even though the question of 19 remained present, which had the serendipitous result of revealing Psalm 19 as the manifesto of the Hebrew bible, and remained obedient to the Holy Spirit.
Sixty years ago this summer. I was killed at Glen Echo swimming pool. They had installed a playground slide at the north end of the pool, and when I went down it sitting up, it flipped me on my back and I got a rabbit punch by the end of the slide that killed me. I remember the coppery-electric taste you get with an injury like that and then I died and slipped into the darkness.
Presently, I was pulled out of the dark by a light so brilliant that I cast no shadow, for it shown through me. I was light and then, as my vision cleared, I found myself standing at the throne of The One as described in Revelation 4.2. He judged me and gently rebuked me for arriving far too early at His Judgment Seat and then ordered me to return to my family but to tell no one of this encounter until the fullness of time.
When His mind withdrew from mine, I turned and looked through a window unto my corpse floating face up in the pool, A bald man jumped into the water next to me and had to walk around me before he could swim away. I guess he thought I was playing dead as part of some kid game.
Then, my left hand began to flutter and then to paddle and when it hit the side of the pool, I woke up and climbed out of the pool and went to our family’s blanket spread out under the shade at the end of the pool closest to the Potomac and went to sleep.
From then, I grew and prepared to be a soldier like my father and, when the time came, I was as honorable a soldier as I was an honest rugby player for those how knew me back in the day. But a military career was not my destiny and, very early in my tour in Vietnam, I was confronted with the vanity of my aspirations by an existential dilemma which required me to choose between continuing to believe in myself or the US Army, There was no choice: I quit believing in myself and I offered a silent prayer “What do I do now, Lord?”
And, clear as a temple bell, the thought arose in my consciousness: Leave.
Leave? How could I leave? I had my entire future invested in this path. I would loose it all, like the rich young man who Jesus invited to take his cross and Follow Me. So, when the opportunity arose, there at the end of the Vietnam War and the Army was tossing people out as fast as the draft brought them in, I left.
I set out on a different path, pursuing my hearts desire by trying to assemble a dowry for the woman I loved and to marry her and live happily ever after. Those who knew me back in the day will remember the Russian air plane deal, which took me out of rugby and, in the end, came to a time when it seemed everything was going to work, that same work arose in my consciousness “Leave” and I left.
33 years ago in 1981, after several more false starts, I began what has become something of an imposed jihad. That was the year that the Reagan people came to town and hit the switch that sent racial polarization in the District off the charts. Those who remember me from back in the day as a club disc jockey were not aware that the Reagan administration had put me on a black list for being a Vietnam veteran “loser” and for doing business with the Soviets and couldn’t find another job. I continues to try to interest the Reagan people in a community development process that would underwrite Reagan’s New Federalism while completing Nixon’s transformation of the Military-Industrial Complex to an Aerospace-Entrepreneurial Matrix, to no avail,
I got married and my wife volunteered us to be Sunday School teachers at Saint Alban’s parish with Rev. Caroline Pyle as superintendent. It was at this point I realized that I needed to ground my instruction to these young adults in something more substantial than my undergraduate courses in the literature of the Bible and I began to work my way through William Barclay’s commentaries on the Gospels.
24 years ago, I began the inquiry to establish Cornelius as the author of Mark. In reading Barclay’s commentary and historical context, the probability just seems obvious to me, especially given the Roman content of all four gospels The Rev. Dr. Francis Wade recalled for me a remark of one of his seminary professors that the Gospels can shed a great deal of light on the commentaries, and that reality is borne out by the evidence of style and structure in the text of Mark, itself, that pretty blatantly announces Cornelius as its author.
Now, I mention the passing years, 60. 33 and 24, to illustrate my acquaintance with numerology, generally, and how it is playing out in my life, especially as it applies to the Holy Spirit in the narrative arc of my life and 19, as it reveals the Quran as a parable, My freshman year in college, the graduate student teaching Finite Math noticed I was a bit dyslexic and introduced me to the processes of numerology as strategy to offset the effects. I am not particularly visual and have a tendency to transpose numbers, adding a number like 369 as 396 to a number like 174. My dad was a bookkeeper for the family business growing up and could give you the sum of a column of numbers at a glance and I can’t. This was the source of considerable frustration for both of us doing homework and neither one of us were aware of dyslexia, much considered it as a factor in my performance,
The numerology helped. It didn’t stop the dysfunction, but it reduced its incidence and helped me identify where it had occurred. As an English major, number is an important figure of speech and employed in many various ways.
After I left the Army, I began to study it for its own sake. I became friends with a clairvoyant, Wray Parks Pearman, who taught me to read cards and I can do a similar reading using numerology, As an ESTP on the Myers Briggs Type Inventory, I am far more intuitive, functionally, than most iNtuitives, I dabbled a bit in the Kabala, but its system depends upon the Hebrew alphabet, a highly evolved numerology called Gematria and, in the final analysis, an ability to read and understand spoken Hebrew.
None of which is necessary to discern the divine in the scriptures Numerology occurs throughout the texture of the Bible like the precious stones in the sculptured windows of Louis Comfort Tiffany. And, when you consider that the numbering for the chapters and verse was not completely integrated into the printed Bible until 1551, the divine nature of the scripture becomes undeniable.
For example, Peter’s confession of faith before Cornelius and his household occurs in Acts 10 between verse 34 and 43. Now, in the method of numerology, you reduce these numbers to a single digit, which is 7 in both cases and you are presented with what amounts to divine quotation marks. 7, in Jewish numerology, represents perfection and however this particular offset occurred, it wasn’t either at the hand of man nor of coincidentce. It is the action of the Holy Spirit in the machinations of man. This sort of thing happens throughout the Bible in a sort of casual distribution that always makes me think the Holy Spirit is just showing off.
And number is one of the ways the Holy Spirit communicates with me. For example, 60 years ago, a process was constructed by my death and 33 years ago, this process was activated by the Fascism of the Reagan people and 24 years ago, this process was amplified by my sense of stewardship to my Sunday School students. In each case, these years can be reduce to a single digit: 6,6,6. I wasn’t aware of this combination until I conceived of this topic, The Quran as a parable, but, having thunk it, I began to wonder “Why now?” and the answer is that, 666 reduces to 9 and it so happens that my personal year in 2014 is 9 and, well, there you have it: the Holy Spirit has informed me that this is the fullness of time The One ordered me to anticipate.
Let me tell you something about my experience with the Holy Spirit. There is a Warner Brothers cartoon about a construction worker who is demolishing a building and discovers a bullfrog in strong box in the cornerstone that has a big baritone voice and sings vaudeville, especially “Hello, My Honey” with straw hat and cane. With the commercial possibilities clearly in mind, the worker tucks the box under his arm and steals off to make his fortune.
Well, the story develops where the guy rents a hall and sells out the house by advertising a singing frog. On opening night, the frog is belting out the tunes before show time, but as soon as curtain up, it reveals a frog squatting on a piano crocking “Ribbit”. The guy can’t get the frog to perform and has to give all the money back and the story continues a downward spiral as he continues to try to monetize the frog’s talents, but can never get the frog to perform in public, Finally, the guy takes the strong box to a construction sight and slips the frog into the corner stone of a new building and sneaks away.
And that is pretty much my experience with the Holy Spirit. I can’t conjure him up to demonstrate his reality, but he has been a constant companion most of my life. The sum of the years of my life is the closest I can come to demonstrate his reality, but, within the context of 19 within the context of the Quran, it may break something loose usefully.
Just for the record, for those of you who recognize 666 as the mark of the beast from Revelation 13, signifying something untoward if not evil, this is yet another indication of the design of the Holy Spirit. As Paula Gooder reflects, Revelation is less a book and more of an art gallery and Revelation 13 is something of a cubist portrait of the centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion of Jesus, who I contend is Cornelius. The centurion class was a combination of the modern NCO and warrant officer, which gave them the powers of arrest. In this context, the number 666 is literally the serial number of the warrant which authorized the crucifixion of Jesus (there is some evidence that this number is 616, while those who embrace 666 posit that it represents the numerological value of the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’s death. I happen to like 666 because, with the Arab numbers, the digits represent an ideogram of the three bent nails which impaled Jesus on the green wood of the cross. At the same time, 616 would be perfectly consistent with the Risen Lord as an ideogram for a butterfly).
Revelation 13 is important for another reason: it points to Matthew 13, which contains the Parable of the Sower. Among other things, the verse structure of the first 18 lines is identical with the 9th verse in both being nearly identical. The seed that falls on the fertile soil is a reference to the Gospel of Jesus as it was proliferated throughout the Roman empire, generally, and the Roman legions, by the soldiers who were in the Praetorium with Jesus, including Cornelius, in particular. The seed that falls among the briars is a reflects the career of to Mohammad, who became seduced by the power of revelation to produce personal wealth, politically congenial outcomes and prestige. This latter thought has only come to me this summer, but the relation of Revelation 13, Matthew 13 and the Roman legions as a media of proliferation has been apparent to me since reading Barclay’s commentary on Revelation.
There is one more number in my life that is significant: I was introduced to numerology in 1965 and it has been 49 years this summer since then. 49 reduces, for me, immediately to 13 and 13 I tend to associate with the Finger of God. As an ideogram, the 1 is a lightening bolt held over the head of the crown of the Trinity 13 reduces to 4, which, in my numerology, relates to the Material and, after the lightening strike, the physical effects can be characterized a 4.
And this essay is the result in my life. The subject is likely to rub a number of very intense individuals the wrong way, so the Finger of God could be in my future. So it goes.
There has never been any urgency in my Cornelius inquiry: it is more like a hobby that I have pursued as the spirit moved me, so to speak. But in 2012, my brother gave me a laptop while I was recovering from hip surgery and, recently, it occurred to me to google the connection between 19 and Islam.
What came back was the reference to Sura 74 ayat (verse) 30,
Over it are nineteen
And reference to the research of Dr. Rashad Khalifa, an Egyptian-American biochemist who had subjected the Quran to analysis of any patterns which result from employing the number 19 as a common denominator. The result of this research is called, variously, God’s Miracle of 19 in the Quran or The Mathematical Miracle of 19. There is a copious volume of web pages and YouTube videos you can consider for yourself, all of which claim that this research establishes the divine origin of the Quran. It also tends to validate the so-called Bible Codes, at least in terms of method, as a similar physical proof of the divine origin of the Torah. I have already made clear my opinion of the similar results of numerology with the elements of chapter and verse added after 1551.
Let me stipulate unequivocally that I agree: Sura 74:30 establishes to my satisfaction the core veracity of Mohammad’s claim of divine revelation in the manner he describes and that the Quran is a miracle.
What is at variance are the claims of Islamic academia and clerics that Sura 74:30 supports Mohammad’s claim that the Quran and Islam supercedes Judaism and Christianity as the ultimate expression of The One as described in Revelation 4:2. What it does reveal is that the Quran is a parable given to Mohammad to help him bring the Children of Ishmael out of the age ignorance and superstition of Jahiliyyah and to bring them fully into the Covenant of Abraham through the intercession of Jesus, Son of God.
In this task, Mohammad was partly successful in that he succeeded in creating a unified Arabic religious polity under Islam, but the 19 code also reveals the extent to which Mohammad became disobedient after the Hirja and resorted to the apostasy of Jihad for the personal aggrandizement of wealth, prestige and political expedience, As a result, the House of Islam remains outside the Covenant of Abraham.
As Jesus demonstrates, a parable is a short narrative designed to capture the imagination of the listener and to require him or her to consider the elements of the story to determine its meaning. A parable is not designed to give a clear answer. As Jesus says in Mark 4:11 – 12, in his explanation of the Parable of the Sower:
To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that they may indeed see but not perceive; and may, indeed, hear but not understand lest they should turn again and be forgiven (Matthew 13 says the same thing but takes longer to say it).
Mohammad was outside everything when he first encountered Gabriel and had to be reassured by his wife Khadija, and her Christian cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, that the revelation was, in fact, divine. The fact that he denies that Jesus died on the cross reveals that he remained outside of everything throughout his career, while is dependence upon the sword to create his empire reflects that his understanding of the Messiah as a conqueror reflects the expectations of Judaism to this day. Sura 74:30 is the divine evidence that he never understood his task or was willfully disobedient, take your pick.
Let me be clear about this: as long a Khadija was alive, Mohammad trod a path of righteousness, but, with the death of her and Waraqah ibn Nawfal and his stoning in Ta’if in 619, was ripe for fellowship with Satan. He had flirted with apostasy as early as 615 with the episode of the “Satanic Verses” that would earn Salmon Rusdie a fatwa and I don’t think he ever forgot the delicious response he got at that recitation of Sura 53. So, once his position became untenable at Mecca and his small congregation of followers migrated to Yathrib in 622, Satan offers him the same deal he offered Jesus, that is, all the kingdoms of the world and of their glory if he, Mohammad, “would fall down and worship me”. Having done it once after delivering Sura 53, it came naturally to Mohammad. A result is that he renamed Yathrib “Medina” which it remains to this day. To his credit, he had himself buried in “The Splendid City”, thereby not profaning Mecca with a monument.
There are three suras that the Holy Spirit has led me to consider within this context: sura 9, sura 19 and sura 12.
Sura 9 is the only chapter that lacks the Basmala as the opening verse. The Basmala (or Basmillah) is the blessing that is most familiar to non-Muslims and is used to open virtually any activity. It is often translated as:
"In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”
and reads like this in Arabic:
which captures the essence of the Quran, if not all religions.
I have included this particular calligraphy because those unfamiliar with Arabic, like me, can still discern the 19 letters of the blessing, which figures prominently in Dr. Rashad Khalifa’s computer analysis.
Now, it is my contention that Gabriel omitted this blessing from Sura 9 as a deliberate, and severe, rebuke for the apostasy of Jihad, generally, and the “Sword” verse, in particular, which justifies killing people who will not submit to Islam, such as is occurring with the ISIS army in Iraq. To put it as plainly as possible, Gabriel refused to allow the Bismillah to be profaned by Mohammad’s mechanism of ambition, the Jihad. In addition, Dr. Khalifa points out that ayat 128 and 129 were added to deify Mohammad when the official version of the Quran was compiled 19 years after his death and the result, the adherence to the hadith and sunnah, have corrupted Islam beyond recognition. This, of course, is what got Dr. Khalifa assassinated by a very intense person who got rubbed the wrong way.
Sura 19, the Maryam, is the Pearl of Great Price of the Quran. It is the gift of the Magi that the Children of Ishmael come to lay at the manger of the Baby Jesus, Son of God. Among other things, it validates Luke’s version of the Nativity, including the pregnancy of Elizabeth and Maryam’s pure son. In addition, it offers at least one sign post to the Gospels that was not available to Mohammad: Sura 19:19 would lead the honest seeker of truth naturally to John 19:19, which establishes the historicity of the crucifixion of Jesus. The angel mentioned in sura 1919 is Gabriel.
Sura 19:33 presents Jesus talking about himself. 33 in the number of the martyr. According to John, Jesus was 33 when He was crucified, Mohammad Atta was 33 when he flew that Boeing jetliner into the WorldTradeCenter and 33 was the winning number of the die for Jesus’s robe at the base of the cross. ‘
The travails of Maryam during the delivery of Jesus reflects the status of women as virtual live stock under Sharia law, but the fig God provides Maryam sanctifies the process above all other human activities, including religion. Maryam is the Patron Saint of Muslim women and, as the Mirror of Justice, promises the emancipation from Sharia law for both men and women, which is a lingering artifact of Jahiliyyah and one of the compromises Mohammad made in the name of the 360 stone gods for political expedience.
Maryam is the Guardian Angle of Malala Yousafzai, who is the Prophet of the True Jihad and The Way forward out of the corruption of the Quran and into Covenant with Abraham.
Of course, the numbering of the Quran was not available to Mohammad, in the same way the chapter and verse system of the Bible was not available until 1551. Dr. Khalifa is Mohammad’s Joshua and his research will lead the House of Islam across the Jordan.
As a parable, Sura 12 is probably the last best chance Mohammad was given to understand the meaning of the Quran beyond the mercenary possibilities he settled for in Medina. Sura 12 was a special gift from Allah after the Year of Sorrow and was given in the hope that Mohammad would recover his spiritual equilibrium after the death of his wife and his devotion to his task after he was stoned in Ta’if.
As I have said, like the Pharaoh, Mohammad’s mind was shaped by the number 8 and, like the Pharaoh, he needed a Joseph, whose mind was shaped by the number 9. to interpret the revelations he had received. In this respect, Mohammad was failed by Waraqah ibn Nawfal, Khadija’s Christian cousin, who was no Nathan when he was most required. Sura 12, which is the story of Joseph, was presented to Mohammad at that time because Joseph and Jesus were the only two blameless people in the Christian scriptures and Mohammad would have profited from this perspective. But Mohammad was angered by the Jews he approached, who refused to recognize him as a prophet, and, consequently could offer no interpretation of the Quran that Mohammad could hear.
If he had submitted himself to the knowledge of the Torah Sura 12 required of him, the Holy Spirit would have led him to the Gospel of Jesus according to Matthew. There is an active cottage industry in Islamic apologetics trying to establish the mention of Mohammad in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, when, all the time, the Gospel of Matthew was prepared especially to guide the Children of Ishmael into covenant with Abraham through the intervention of Jesus.
The conventional wisdom is that Matthew was written specifically to assure the Jews that Jesus actually represented an intensification of the Law of Moses and not a new religion. Well, as far as it goes, that is true, but the Jews continue to be content to wait for a Jewish Mohammad from the House of David to be the Messiah that will do for Israel what Mohammad did for Araby.and restore the empire. Their role is set in stone and that is God’s Will,
And the Holy Spirit understood that at the time, but he knew that God’s purpose included the Children of Ishmael at that time and Matthew’s version of the Nativity was composed to reflect Joseph’s sojourn into Egypt, the blamenessess of his nature and his rise in position and prestige as a result of that blamelessness.
It was the hope of Gabriel and the Holy Spirit that Mohammad would recognize the validity of that path and consider the structure of Matthew, which presents the elements of Jesus’s mission on 6 mountains, the Mount of Temptation, the Mount of the Beatitudes, the Mount of Healing, the Mount of the Transfiguration, the Mount of the Final Judgment and the Mount of the Great Commission. For these reasons. The Gospel of Matthew anticipates Mohammed and, together with Psalm 19, provides the spiritual path of emancipation for the House of Islam.
Unfortunately, Mohammad never got past the Mount of Temptation which he named Medina.
There are many other lessons that Mohammad missed, especially after he instituted his Doctrine of Abrogation which permitted him to invent revelation expedient to the moment. His moral authority was such that his word was literally law and to the extent that it advanced the consolidation of Araby into a cohesive political power, the verdict of history is still out.
There is one other thing about Sura 12 that the Holy Spirit led me to consider. Islamic academics and Quranic apologetics is purely Aristotelian in nature and, like Creationist apologetics, sterile self-referencing navel gazing and mental masturbation on a cosmic scale. Among other things, the mind of Islam continues to be shaped by the number 8 and, as Egypt of the Pharaoh’s demonstrated, base 8 numerology is an intellectual cul-de-sac. That’s the status of current Islamic academics.
Mohammad was born in 570 CE and 5+7=12, which is Kant’s formulation for demonstrating the synthetic a priori, an epistemological element totally absent from Islamic critical thought. The lesson of Sura 12 is that the problem of Islam is epistemological. Dr. Khalifa has exposed the key to the Quran in the number 19 and the meaning of 19 in a base 9 numerology is: God is Truth. And, if I is prime number, then 19 is the 9th prime number.
And that’s the truth.