I am noticing in these initial sections is that they seem to be attempting to smooth and reconilethe disparities, between Judaic and Christian traditions and Islam. Chapter 148 explains that all people as individuals have a certain goal, and that as societies we also have these goals. After this, it restates the message of the Qiblah.
After this the Qur’an states that the Apostle had been sent to led the people. One interesting thing of note is the fact that this is apostle is sent by the royal “We”. This plural form is also found in the Judaic texts, as well. Reconciling monotheism, within this language seems peculiar.
Section 19 has a lot more in it. Chapter 154 explains that those believers, who die for the tradition, are not really dead, “though ye perceive (it) not”.
Chapter 155 declares that the royal “We” shall being testing people, through the various things which bring trouble into our life, like hunger, loss, toil. The advice in dealing with these things is to “patiently preserve”. There seems to be some sort of relief laid out in chapter 157. There it is acknowledged that some will receive blessings, mercy, and guidance from God. One can assume that this person will be searching the Qur’an.
I thought chapter 158 was interesting. It goes:
Behold! Safa and Marwa
Are among the Symbols
of God. So if those who visit
the House in the Season
or at other times,
should compass them round,
it is no sin in them.
A foot note explains that Ishmael’s mother Hajar, praying for water, wandered around the two hills, and to her surprise, she discovered some water. This was somewhat of a confusing issue for Muslims, as the hills were the place of worship of some local Arab pagans. The footnote explains that much like the Ka’ba “the most sacred things may be turned to the basest uses”. I see this as another example of the attempt to reconcile question followers of Islam may have, about how their beliefs fit within a bigger picture.
Chapter 159 explains that things of been made clear to the People of the Book, and that their disbelief has brought a curse on them.
Chapter 160 explains the only answer is for those people to repent and turn towards the Truth.
Section twenty ends in this way…