Let Me Rephrase That!


Putting Words in God's Mouth

I am not sure if revelation 56:40 abrogating revelation 56:14 was the inspiration for the title, but it could have been for it neatly encapsulate what this book is all about in Allah revising His estimate of the number of "latecomers" He will allow into Paradise, from a few i.e. "a small band" to a multitude i.e. "a throng".

56:14 And a small band of the latecomers.

56:40 And a throng of the latecomers.

The revelation about the latecomers is part of a group of revealed truths about the variety and abundance of sex god-fearing men can expect in Paradise.

56:13 A throng of the ancients,

56:12 In the Gardens of Bliss;

56:13 A throng of the ancients,

56:14 And a small band of the latecomers.

56:15 Upon beds interwoven with gold;

56:16 Reclining upon them, facing each other.

56:17 While immortal youths go around them,

56:18 With goblets, pitchers and a cup of limpid drink.


56:35 We have formed them originally;

56:36 And made them pure virgins,

56:37 Tender and unageing,

56:38 For the Companions of the Right,

56:39 A throng of the ancients,

56:40 And a throng of the latecomers.

But this may not be all Allah's doing. The revealed truth which precedes revelation 56:14 is also abrogated by a verse which would be identical if it was not for words added by scholars.

56:13 A throng of the ancients.

56:39 A (goodly) throng of the ancients, (the (goodly) was added by scholars).

It may be that Allah was not as much into rephrasing what he revealed as were the scholars who tried to bring order to what British historian Thomas Carlyle described as “a confused, jumble, crude, incondite, endless iteration …” and Edward Gibbon as “toilsome a reading as I ever undertook; a wearisome confused jumble.”

Having spent only slightly more than a decade reading and re-reading and writing about the Koran, unlike those who have spent a lifetime studying Islamic scriptures in an attempt to explain what, to the unschooled in revealed truths appears to so much nonsense, I must admit I may not be qualified to answer, even if the answer for the layperson may be obvious.