The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, May 16, 2005

A disposal problem

Last weekend, I wore out one of my two translations of the Qur'an.

This was the Ahmed Ali version published in the 1990s. It is a poetic rendition with few footnotes. It was also the first Qur'an I ever read, back in college while I was also reading Burton's "1001 Nights". It had been with me for a decade.

The cause of its demise was the binding. It was paperback and could not handle the heavy use to which my research has put it. It fell asunder, right down the sura of Maryam (#19).

I do hope no-one suspects foul play. I posted last year that surat al-Anfal was best inscribed on pork parchment and hung around Saddam's stretched-out neck. I see no reason to change my opinion on that particular sura. As for sura 19, I'm of the opinion that it was a forgery, postdating 'Abd al-Malik's accession in the 680s CE; I would link to the page that had my reasoning for this, but I felt the need to take it down.

But I swear to you that this "desecration" was an accident. Sura 19 does not offend me. In fact it is one of my favourite chapters in the book, with kind words toward, e.g. the virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. That's probably why the binding broke in that particular spot.

The trick now is how I am supposed to dispose of the two halves. Flushing it is obviously out of the question. I don't want to burn it; it'd make me feel like those yokels torching the American flag and besides, I quite like some of it. Throwing it out with the credit card offers, beer cans, and microwave dinner boxes seems disrespectful too. And there's no point in keeping it in a geniza; as holy books go it's not like it's up there with the Torah or the Silmarillion.

Maybe I'll sneak it onto a bus terminal in the middle of the night.

posted by Zimri on 21:45 | link | 0 comments

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