Today’s shorter passage chimes in to what I am seeing is a major theme in the Qur’an: the Hereafter.  You can’t go one or two surahs before you are reminded of impending judgment.  In a culture that is hyper-focused on the here-and-now, the Islamic attention to the Hereafter seems a bit odd.  At the same time it might be the reminder that people of faith need to live life with the end in mind, not simply for today. 

There is not much that is new here, just some interesting phraseology.

[Prophet], this is your community, one community, and I am your Lord, so serve Me.  They have torn their unity apart, but they will all return to Us. (21:92-93)

Humans are truly one community.  We are sons and daughters of One Father, creatures from One Creator.  We have done a great job of letting race, nationality, gender, religion, age, and socio-economics separate us, but in the end we will once again be “one community” (c.f., Revelation 7:9).

. . . when the peoples of Gog and Magog are let loose and swarm swiftly from every highland . . . (21:96)

Here we have another mention of Gog and Magog, a barbaric group of people who come at the end of time as an instrument of God’s punishment to bring “terror” and “woe” to those who don’t believe.  The name is most likely code, borrowed from the Bible, for a horrible people.  The point: things are going to get worse before they get better. 

You [disbelievers] and what you worship instead of God will be fuel for Hell: that is where you will go . . . you will all stay there. (21:98-99)

Hell is everlasting punishment.  This is not annihilationism

But those for whom We have decreed Paradise will be kept far from Hell — they will not hear a murmur from it. (21:101-102a)

Total separation of Good and Bad. 

. . . endlessly they will enjoy everything their souls desire. (21:102b)

Once again, I see Paradise is described in a human-centered manner, appealing to what we might want to be rewarded with.  As Onewilltry has pointed out in the comments on this post, Muslims do believe that the greatest reward one can receive is to be in the presence of Allah, so maybe that takes the edge off the human-centeredness we find here. 

On that Day, We [Allah] shall roll up the skies as a writer rolls up [his] scroll.  We shall reproduce creation just as We produced it the first time. (21:104)

What a wonderful way to describe the “re-creation” that Paradise truly will be.  There is another world to come and it isn’t “out there”, it will be “right here.”  The Qur’an does a very good job of making it clear that Paradise is really just a return to the original Garden, a view that I believe is very biblical as well. 

Say, “What is revealed to me is that God is one God — will you submit to Him?” (21:108)

The basic message of Islam.

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