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Monday, January 21, 2008

 
Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 12, "Joseph"

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

This sura retells the Biblical story of Joseph, the son of Jacob whose sentence to slavery would eventually bring him to great power in Egypt. The Koran adds its own embellishment, of course, including this spin on the tale of Joseph's dealings with Potiphar's wife:

The wife [of Aziz/Potiphar] then holds a banquet for the women of the city, who are so awed by Joseph's good looks that they begin cutting their hands (v. 31). Ibn Kathir explains: "They thought highly of him and were astonished at what they saw. They started cutting their hands in amazement at his beauty, while thinking that they were cutting the citron with their knives." The ruler's wife felt exonerated: "When they felt the pain, they started screaming and she said to them, ‘You did all this from one look at him, so how can I be blamed?'"

If they ever do a movie, they can get James Wan to direct.

This sura gives Potiphar the Arabic Aziz, for reasons unknown. Aziz, one of the 99 names of Allah, means "might," "strength," "power." Potiphar means something very different: "he whom Ra gave" - Ra is the Egyptian sun god.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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