Wednesday, 29 June 2016

I Read The Quran So You Don't Have To

I Read The Quran So You Don't Have To
This article is based on Quran in English: Modern English Translation. Clear and Easy to Understand, translated by Talal Itani, which is thoughtfully available online for free here.

A SEMI-PREWARNING: Please be smart and take this writing as it is. It's not my intention to offend or insult anyone, but I do understand this is a sensitive subject which could, at points, be misconstrued into something it is not. Which is why I state first and foremost: this is my point of view, and regardless of any inaccuracies or potential upset, at very least I made the effort to learn about something so many other people haven chosen to avoid. That's got to count for something right? Right!

If you're anything like me, there is only so much you can take until your mind reaches a frothing point of frustration and then figuratively explodes. After every news outlet and asshole with an opinion with an asshole has informed you for the last decade over how you should feel about Islam, you may find yourself sticking your middle fingers into your ears and refusing to listen anymore, which was my experience exactly. There appeared to be far too many ulterior motives involved, and where was the neutral ground in between all of this? Either Muslims were a misunderstood collection of peaceful worshipers who had been unfairly generalised by the actions of a very select few; or the entire religion was motivated by hate and worked together as one breeding ground for extremist behaviour. And with all of these countless contradictory accusations blasting from both sides, what was an ordinary citizen supposed to think? What were we to do? Well, I'll tell you what I did. I started at the root of it all. I read the Quran.

Which swiftly brings us onto the million Rupiah question: which side of the fence is this belief system actually on? What does the Quran ultimately teach its students within the pages upon pages of lengthy instructions and spiritual threats? Do you think I have the answer? Because I don't. However, what I do have is my own final conclusions, which are... (drumroll please) ...the Quran tells you whatever it is you want it to tell you. Yup. That's right. Just like so many other religions based on a book written thousands of years ago, it is a minefield of varying ideas, so disjointedly put together and open to interpretation that you truly can read in to it whatever you intend to read in to it.

Approach this with hate in your heart, and believe me, it's there. Some of the content is gut-wrenchingly violent, complete with full permission to murder non-believers in the most horrific of ways, and this naturally terrified the shit out of me. On the other side of this, however, there is much space for those who are looking for excuses not to cause any conflict, with a multitude of examples where God encourages forgiveness and open communication, often preaching peace, non-aggression, and relevant morals. Which once again proves that any acts made in the name of Allah are down to those individuals. We simply cannot fault the Quran nor its religion as a whole for anything whatsoever, because humans are merely harnessing certain texts as scapegoats for their own vicious intentions. There are even those followers who debate that the more savage of verses must be digested in context of the times they were written, arguing that while they seem a bit severe by modern standards, these messages were in fact an attempt of reeling the commonplace brutality into a more controlled amount, moving inwards by means of manageable backwards baby steps, with (almost) every example ambiguous enough to be considered a technique of defence rather than one of attack, anyway. But then again, there are those who use those very same texts to bomb infidels, so...?

But even with these hot-topics up for debate, there are various aspects which I could not easily swallow no matter how much I chewed. Firstly, even if I have read some rather convincing defences from Muslim feminists, there is no denying that this book was 100% written for men, and regardless of the age it was recorded, does not sit comfortably in our current day strive for gender equality, forever addressing and favouring the male readers above the female counterparts. Secondly, I found the descriptions of paradise to be a touch too materialistic, which is not the healthiest incentive for being a good person, in my opinion. And finally, the main overall message I take from almost all scripture, is that God is a complete and utter dick. For an omnipresent all-knowing being, he sure spends a lot of time trying to convince us of his worth, using death and eternal suffering to strike fear for his presence, which is a point so fiercely focused upon that it overshadows absolutely everything else on offer here. Honestly, I feel so deeply sorry for the people who lived back in these ancient days, as they must have sat in perpetual terror over the wrath of Allah/God, a power who seemed to want nothing more but for us to bow down to his name without question. I mean, they talk so much of proof, but where is it? How much more proof does one book have than the other? How are we expected to make any educated decisions here? You hear me, God? Answer me!

However, it is definitely not all bad—not in the slightest. Amongst his endless condescending preachiness, Allah is ultimately a forgiving Lord to his followers, and the Quran does provide many easy-to-follow oft reasonable instructions to aid the repentance process, if you believe in that sort of thing. There is also loads of attention focused upon the importance of charity, granting compassion to those less fortunate than oneself, which is a highly admirable direction no matter which path you've chosen to follow. Furthermore, I interpreted multiple verses to be quite chill with all other "God fearing" religions, a general acceptance that they were pretty much worshiping the same larger energy anyway, and it regularly emphasised how this was the most important stance above all. And finally, perhaps the most enjoyable factor of reading this specific book, is that there is something undeniably special about Islam: a beautiful unity between its followers, stuck together by a bond which appears much stronger to me than other doctrines I've researched, as surely one of the strongest faiths on the planet, no matter what that may mean to you.

Ok, so that's all fine and candy, but how about the actual writing itself? How does the whole thing read, especially considering the vast amount of time that has passed since its initial manifestation? Well, once again, there are two sides to this story. The first is that it was actually a very decent experience all in all, not as difficult as you'd imagine, at many points highly poetic and impressively advanced considering its age. Along those lines, and as I've already mentioned, there is a certain power to the Quran which held my attention forward, in full knowledge of how many lives have fought for its words, and how many lives have been unnecessarily lost as a result. However, in the same breath of saying this, it is still what you'd expect in many other ways. It's so repetitive that it could have been a quarter of the length and still got everything said. It's confusing for multiple reasons, for example: who is actually talking here, if not God or Man? (Side note: Angel Gabriel speaking through Muhammad is one popular theory, which is fun.) Likewise, to make matters even more muddled, the chapter titles are often completely irrelevant, each of their contents almost indecipherable from one another, which is slightly tiring. I mean, for the word of God, it's suspiciously rambly, and much of the subject matter simply does not apply to our modern times whatsoever (which makes sense, I guess). Even the scripture seems to gradually lose interest in its own delivery, the chapters getting significantly shorter and shorter as it goes on, indicating the author just wanted to get it over with by the end. However, I do appreciate much of these complaints could be down to translations as well as my own ignorant perception, but even if I got bits wrong, I must pause to give much praise to this version of the book, as it did a fantastic job of making the journey a relatively easy to understand one for someone as uneducated as me.

Subplot #1: While we're on the topic of understanding, there were a lot of supposed beliefs about Islam that I eagerly awaited confirmation of, but disappointedly never received. Like, where does it say we can't draw Muhammad? There may have been a verse or two about avoiding intoxication, but I did not read a single piece explicitly forbidding the indulgence—on the contrary, some portions came across like the whole act of drinking was a non-issue really. Suicide bombing was another one, because while perhaps you could exaggerate the "prepared to die for the Lord" idea into whatever you want, I hardly think that's what was intended. And now that we mention it, the "virgins in Heaven" promise? That doesn't seem like a given whatsoever either. But anyway...

Subplot #2: I have a theory about all of this actually, everything all of the time, if you have a moment. Perhaps... every detail from this book is 100% true. Perhaps God spoke to Moses and he helped build Judaism. And then God was like "hmm, no these guys haven't quite got it right" so he sent down Jesus to rectify everything, and it was like Judaism: the Sequel, some sort of progression where the more adventurous/naive jumped on board whilst many others were stuck in their traditional ways. But then God was like "no, actually I have more to say" and then sent the teachings of the Quran, and it essentially became a trilogy, very similar from one another and each based upon the previous installments, which is exactly what they are. Naturally, by this point there was much confusion because all of these texts were claiming to be The Truth and no one knew who was actually in the right, but it didn't really matter, because shortly afterwards either God lost interest or we killed him, because there are so many unfulfilled oaths of smiting within these scriptures (as well as a severe lack of believable messengers running about these days) that he couldn't possibly be involved anymore. You see the sin in the world today? You see people with faith suffering in poverty and war? You see the rich Atheists living long and prosperous lives? These texts unquestionably told us this would never happen! Where's the lightening and the plagues and the stuff? The devil won after all!

Ok, so enough of that, let's wrap things up (finally, I'm sure). I think the most important thing here, is to appreciate that this religion has evolved, and so we can't take the Quran (and all of its translations) to be exactly where the belief is at right now. We must also understand there is a lot of intense debate about certain interpretations, most of which I did not delve in to, because it gets well confusing well quickly and I'm just a little boy. However, I do wholeheartedly encourage everyone to read this book themselves. Even if you are an Islamophobe, you should still give it a go, if not to educate yourself on what it is you hate, but perhaps because it may potentially save your life one day (horrible thought, but there have been incidents where the ability to recite a Quran verse has granted people release from terrorist hostage situations, so educate?). On the flip side of this, I also have a sneaking suspicion that many Muslims I know have not fully read these words either, as you lot may have a difficult time defending some of the more outdated and disturbing opinions stated in here, and it's probably best you learn what it is you are devoting your soul to (if you haven't already done so). But no matter who you are, or even if you have no inclination to read these pages, the general rule should always remain the same: live your life and let other people worship however they see fit, because if you don't, then you are a wanker. Personally, I love every Muslim I have ever met in real life, they have never struck me with any peculiar vibe or suspicious intentions, and if anything, I only feel so sorry for them that their beliefs are treated in such atrociously hostile manners due to the mischief of a few broken minds. There is no justification for this intolerance ever, and I, for one, am proud that I have taken the time to get to know the ins and outs of their core belief system, as I now feel closer to the Islamic faith and even further away from them silly racists, which is seriously important to me. And no one can take that away.

Finally, as a special treat for those who ultimately can't be assed to read this holy book, I have kindly picked out my favourite pieces and laid them out for you below, complete with my own useless commentary on each one. As a result, maybe some of these choices aren't the best representatives of the overall theme and may lose a bit of their meaning without context, but at least they made me excited.

2. al-Baqarah (The Heifer)

2:74 - Then after that your hearts hardened. They were as rocks, or even harder. For there are some rocks from which rivers gush out, and others that splinter and water comes out from them, and others that sink in awe of God. God is not unaware of what you do.

Beautifully poetic.

2:75 - Do you hope that they will believe in you, when some of them used to hear the Word of God, and then deliberately distort it, even after understanding it?

Distorting the word of God for your gain, and is something I think a lot of people are guilty of.

2:111 - And they say, "None will enter Heaven unless he is a Jew or a Christian." These are their wishes. Say, "Produce your proof, if you are truthful."
2:112 - In fact, whoever submits himself to God, and is a doer of good, will have his reward with his Lord—they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve."
2:113 - The Jews say, "The Christians are not based on anything;" and the Christians say, "The Jews are not based on anything." Yet they both read the Scripture. Similarly, the ignorant said the same thing. God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection regarding their differences.

Anyone who submits to God will be fine.

2:136 - Say, "We believe in God; and in what was revealed to us; and in what was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus; and in what was given to the prophets—from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we surrender."

Recognises Jesus as a prophet.

2:174 - Those who conceal what God revealed in the Book, and exchange it for a small price—those swallow nothing but fire into their bellies. And God will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they will have a painful punishment.

"Swallow nothing but fire into their bellies" is a powerful image.

2:178 - O you who believe! Retaliation for the murdered is ordained upon you: the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female. But if he is forgiven by his kin, then grant any reasonable demand, and pay with good will. This is a concession from your Lord, and a mercy. But whoever commits aggression after that, a painful torment awaits him.

Retaliation is ordered, but not if he is forgiven, and don't be aggressive, or something.

2:190 - And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love the aggressors.
2:191 - And kill them wherever you overtake them, and expel them from where they had expelled you. Oppression is more serious than murder. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque, unless they fight you there. If they fight you, then kill them. Such is the retribution of the disbelievers.
2:192 - But if they cease, then God is Forgiving and Merciful.
2:193 - And fight them until there is no oppression, and worship becomes devoted to God alone. But if they cease, then let there be no hostility except against the oppressors.

Don't be aggressive, but kill anyone who fights or oppresses you, which could be where some of the troubled reputation of Islam comes from.

2:213 - Humanity used to be one community; then God sent the prophets, bringing good news and giving warnings. And He sent down with them the Scripture, with the truth, to judge between people regarding their differences. But none differed over it except those who were given it—after the proofs had come to them—out of mutual envy between them. Then God guided those who believed to the truth they had disputed, in accordance with His will. God guides whom He wills to a straight path.

Basically, we used to be one community, but God ruined it for everyone.

2:216 - Fighting is ordained for you, even though you dislike it. But it may be that you dislike something while it is good for you, and it may be that you like something while it is bad for you. God knows, and you do not know.

You must fight even if you don't like it because God said so :/

2:222 - And they ask you about menstruation: say, "It is harmful, so keep away from women during menstruation. And do not approach them until they have become pure. Once they have become pure, approach them in the way God has directed you." God loves the repentant, and He loves those who keep clean."
2:223 - Your women are cultivation for you; so approach your cultivation whenever you like, and send ahead for yourselves. And fear God, and know that you will meet Him. And give good news to the believers.

Pretty self explanatory.

2:227 - And if they resolve to divorce—God is Hearing and Knowing.
2:228 - Divorced women shall wait by themselves for three periods. And it is not lawful for them to conceal what God has created in their wombs, if they believe in God and the Last Day. Meanwhile, their husbands have the better right to take them back, if they desire reconciliation. And women have rights similar to their obligations, according to what is fair. But men have a degree over them. God is Mighty and Wise.
2:229 - Divorce is allowed twice. Then, either honorable retention, or setting free kindly. It is not lawful for you to take back anything you have given them, unless they fear that they cannot maintain God's limits. If you fear that they cannot maintain God's limits, then there is no blame on them if she sacrifices something for her release. These are God's limits, so do not transgress them. Those who transgress God's limits are the unjust.
2:230 - If he divorces her, she shall not be lawful for him again until she has married another husband. If the latter divorces her, then there is no blame on them for reuniting, provided they think they can maintain God's limits. These are God's limits; He makes them clear to people who know.
2:231 - When you divorce women, and they have reached their term, either retain them amicably, or release them amicably. But do not retain them to hurt them and commit aggression. Whoever does that has wronged himself. And do not take God's revelations for a joke. And remember God's favor to you, and that He revealed to you the Scripture and Wisdom to teach you. And fear God, and know that God is aware of everything.
2:232 - When you divorce women, and they have reached their term, do not prevent them from marrying their husbands, provided they agree on fair terms. Thereby is advised whoever among you believes in God and the Last Day. That is better and more decent for you. God knows, and you do not know.

Divorce is ok! Fairly progressive, although still definitely written to favour the man.

2:253 - These messengers: We gave some advantage over others. To some of them God spoke directly, and some He raised in rank. We gave Jesus son of Mary the clear miracles, and We strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. Had God willed, those who succeeded them would not have fought one another, after the clear signs had come to them; but they disputed; some of them believed, and some of them disbelieved. Had God willed, they would not have fought one another; but God does whatever He desires.

God could have made peace, but God does what he wants! Lol.

2:271 - If you give charity openly, that is good. But if you keep it secret, and give it to the needy in private, that is better for you. It will atone for some of your misdeeds. God is cognizant of what you do.

Giving in private is even better, I like that.

3. Ali’Imran (Family of Imran)

3:78 - And among them are those who twist the Scripture with their tongues, that you may think it from the Scripture, when it is not from the Scripture. And they say, "It is from God," when it is not from God. They tell lies and attribute them to God, knowingly.

This verse could save your life if you find yourself under an extremist attack.

3:106 - On the Day when some faces will be whitened, and some faces will be blackened. As for those whose faces are blackened: "Did you disbelieve after your belief?" Then taste the punishment for having disbelieved.

Poetic. Imaginative.

3:117 - The parable of what they spend in this worldly life is that of a frosty wind that strikes the harvest of a people who have wronged their souls, and destroys it. God did not wrong them, but they wronged their own selves.

Again, awesomely poetic.

3:119 - There you are, you love them, but they do not love you, and you believe in the entire scripture. And when they meet you, they say, "We believe;" but when they are alone, they bite their fingers in rage at you. Say, "Die in your rage; God knows what is within the hearts."

More poetic hardcoreness.

3:144 - Muhammad is no more than a messenger. Messengers have passed on before him. If he dies or gets killed, will you turn on your heels? He who turns on his heels will not harm God in any way. And God will reward the appreciative.

Enter Muhummad! First mention! And weirdly, he is almost completely absent from the rest of the Quaran, while this verse doesn't exactly praise him like you'd think.

3:178 - Those who disbelieve should not assume that We respite them for their own good. In fact, We only respite them so that they may increase in sinfulness. A humiliating torment awaits them.

God isn't being nice, basically.

3:181 - God has heard the statement of those who said, "God is poor, and we are rich." We will write down what they said, and their wrongful killing of the prophets; and We will say, "Taste the torment of the burning."

Adore that last line.

4. an-Nisa’ (Women)

4:3 - If you fear you cannot act fairly towards the orphans—then marry the women you like—two, or three, or four. But if you fear you will not be fair, then one, or what you already have. That makes it more likely that you avoid bias.

Marry multiple women, if you can handle it.

4:11 - God instructs you regarding your children: The male receives the equivalent of the share of two females. If they are daughters, more than two, they get two-thirds of what he leaves. If there is only one, she gets one-half. As for the parents, each gets one-sixth of what he leaves, if he had children. If he had no children, and his parents inherit from him, his mother gets one-third. If he has siblings, his mother gets one-sixth. After fulfilling any bequest and paying off debts. Your parents and your children—you do not know which are closer to you in welfare. This is God's Law. God is Knowing and Judicious.

Instruction on how to split wealth, naturally favouring the man.

4:15 - Those of your women who commit lewdness, you must have four witnesses against them, from among you. If they testify, confine them to the homes until death claims them, or God makes a way for them.
4:16 - If two men among you commit it, punish them both. But if they repent and reform, leave them alone. God is Redeemer, Full of Mercy.

Once again, heavily favouring the man. Send women to die in their homes, while dudes can just repent.

4:43 - O you who believe! Do not approach the prayer while you are drunk, so that you know what you say; nor after sexual orgasm—unless you are travelling—until you have bathed. If you are sick, or traveling, or one of you comes from the toilet, or you have had intercourse with women, and cannot find water, find clean sand and wipe your faces and your hands with it. God is Pardoning and Forgiving.

Weirdly talks about getting drunk quite casually? Don’t pray when you're drunk, or if you've just had sex, or just used toilet. I also found it was interesting that you can wash yourself in sand if you have no water.

4:47 - O you who were given the Book! Believe in what We sent down, confirming what you have, before We obliterate faces and turn them inside out, or curse them as We cursed the Sabbath-breakers. The command of God is always done.

Turn faces inside out? Violently poetic!

4:56 - Those who reject Our revelations—We will scorch them in a Fire. Every time their skins are cooked, We will replace them with other skins, so they will experience the suffering. God is Most Powerful, Most Wise.

One again, so violent yet poetic that it's almost beautiful.

4:79 - Whatever good happens to you is from God, and whatever bad happens to you is from your own self. We sent you to humanity as a messenger, and God is Witness enough.

How convenient!

4:89 - They would love to see you disbelieve, just as they disbelieve, so you would become equal. So do not befriend any of them, unless they emigrate in the way of God. If they turn away, seize them and execute them wherever you may find them; and do not take from among them allies or supporters.
4:90 - Except those who join people with whom you have a treaty, or those who come to you reluctant to fight you or fight their own people. Had God willed, He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. If they withdraw from you, and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God assigns no excuse for you against them.
4:91 - You will find others who want security from you, and security from their own people. But whenever they are tempted into civil discord, they plunge into it. So if they do not withdraw from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands, seize them and execute them wherever you find them. Against these, We have given you clear authorization.
4:92 - Never should a believer kill another believer, unless by error. Anyone who kills a believer by error must set free a believing slave, and pay compensation to the victim's family, unless they remit it as charity. If the victim belonged to a people who are hostile to you, but is a believer, then the compensation is to free a believing slave. If he belonged to a people with whom you have a treaty, then compensation should be handed over to his family, and a believing slave set free. Anyone who lacks the means must fast for two consecutive months, by way of repentance to God. God is All-Knowing, Most Wise.

All about murder again, kinda worrying. However, it states right there in 4:90 that by offering peace, you should not be killed, so remember that just in case.

4:160 - Due to wrongdoing on the part of the Jews, We forbade them good things that used to be lawful for them; and for deterring many from God's path.

Anti-Semitic much?

4:176 - They ask you for a ruling. Say, "God gives you a ruling concerning the person who has neither parents nor children." If a man dies, and leaves no children, and he had a sister, she receives one-half of what he leaves. And he inherits from her if she leaves no children. But if there are two sisters, they receive two-thirds of what he leaves. If the siblings are men and women, the male receives the share of two females." God makes things clear for you, lest you err. God is Aware of everything.

Rules of inheritance, favouring the man, as per usual.

5. al-Ma’idah (The Table)

5:160 - Prohibited for you are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, and animals dedicated to other than God; also the flesh of animals strangled, killed violently, killed by a fall, gored to death, mangled by wild animals—except what you rescue, and animals sacrificed on altars; and the practice of drawing lots. For it is immoral. Today, those who disbelieve have despaired of your religion, so do not fear them, but fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My favor upon you, and have approved Islam as a religion for you. But whoever is compelled by hunger, with no intent of wrongdoing—God is Forgiving and Merciful.

Don’t eat animals that have suffered (erm, all animals?), don't eat any pigs, but if you're starving then it's cool (which I think is fair).

5:14 - And from those who say, "We are Christians," We received their pledge, but they neglected some of what they were reminded of. So We provoked enmity and hatred among them until the Day of Resurrection; God will then inform them of what they used to craft.

Christians are also on God's shitlist after all.

5:18 - The Jews and the Christians say, "We are the children of God, and His beloved." Say, "Why then does He punish you for your sins?" In fact, you are humans from among those He created. He forgives whom He wills, and He punishes whom He wills. To God belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and what lies between them, and to Him is the return.

Christians and Jews again, God does what he likes.

5:31 - Then God sent a raven digging the ground, to show him how to cover his brother's corpse. He said, "Woe to me! I was unable to be like this raven, and bury my brother's corpse." So he became full of regrets.
5:32 - Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel: that whoever kills a person—unless it is for murder or corruption on earth—it is as if he killed the whole of mankind; and whoever saves it, it is as if he saved the whole of mankind. Our messengers came to them with clarifications, but even after that, many of them continue to commit excesses in the land.

I dig the raven bit. Also saying we shouldn't kill now.

5:33 - The punishment for those who fight God and His Messenger, and strive to spread corruption on earth, is that they be killed, or crucified, or have their hands and feet cut off on opposite sides, or be banished from the land. That is to disgrace them in this life; and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible punishment.


5:38 - As for the thief, whether male or female, cut their hands as a penalty for what they have reaped—a deterrent from God. God is Mighty and Wise.

Cut them thieves hands (off?).

5:45 - And We wrote for them in it: a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and an equal wound for a wound; but whoever forgoes it in charity, it will serve as atonement for him. Those who do not rule according to what God revealed are the evildoers.

Standard eye for an eye thing.

5:48 - And We revealed to you the Book, with truth, confirming the Scripture that preceded it, and superseding it. So judge between them according to what God revealed, and do not follow their desires if they differ from the truth that has come to you. For each of you We have assigned a law and a method. Had God willed, He could have made you a single nation, but He tests you through what He has given you. So compete in righteousness. To God is your return, all of you; then He will inform you of what you had disputed.

God could have made us all get along, but He tests us instead, like some sick game.

5:69 - Those who believe, and the Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians—whoever believes in God and the Last Day, and does what is right—they have nothing to fear, nor shall they grieve.

Once again, all religions are cool as long as you believe?

5:82 - You will find that the people most hostile towards the believers are the Jews and the polytheists. And you will find that the nearest in affection towards the believers are those who say, "We are Christians." That is because among them are priests and monks, and they are not arrogant.

Christians are cool. Jews are not. LOL.

5:90 - O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, idolatry, and divination are abominations of Satan's doing. Avoid them, so that you may prosper.

There's the non-drinking verse.

5:95 - O you who believe! do not kill game while you are in pilgrim sanctity. Whoever of you kills any intentionally, its penalty shall be a domestic animal comparable to what he killed, as determined by two honest persons among you—an offering delivered to the Kaabah. Or he may atone by feeding the needy, or its equivalent in fasting, so that he may taste the consequences of his conduct. God forgives what is past. But whoever repeats, God will take revenge on him. God is Almighty, Avenger.

Guide to killing animals (don’t?), how the judgment process should work, how to repent etc.

6. al-An’am (Livestock)

6:6 - Have they not considered how many generations We destroyed before them? We had established them on earth more firmly than We established you, and We sent the clouds pouring down abundant rain on them, and We made rivers flow beneath them. But We destroyed them for their sins, and established other civilizations after them.

Reminded me of that Matrix speech to Neo from the Architect: "But, rest assured, this will be the sixth time we have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at it."

6:9 - Had We made him an angel, We would have made him a man, and confused them when they are already confused.

This makes sense to me. People wouldn't accept an angel sighting anyway.

6:70 - So leave alone those who take their religion for play and pastime, and whom the worldly life has deceived. But remind with it, lest a soul becomes damned on account of what it has earned. It has no helper or intercessor besides God. Even if it offers every equivalent, none will be accepted from it. These are the ones who are delivered to perdition by their actions. They will have a drink of scalding water, and a painful punishment, because they used to disbelieve.

"They will have a drink of scalding water" pretty hardcore.

6:101 - Originator of the heavens and the earth—how can He have a son when He never had a companion? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things.

I'm not sure, but I think this is saying that God never had sex so Jesus was not His son?

6:101 - Whomever God desires to guide, He spreads open his heart to Islam; and whomever He desires to misguide, He makes his heart narrow, constricted, as though he were climbing up the sky. God thus lays defilement upon those who do not believe.

Basically, don't worry if you don't believe, it's not your fault, God made you this way.

6:139 - And they say, "What lies in the wombs of these animals is exclusively for our males, and prohibited to our wives." But if it is stillborn, they can share in it. He will surely punish them for their allegations. He is Wise and Knowing.

Something about killing children, and how we shouldn't do it?

6:160 - Whoever comes up with a good deed will have ten times its like; and whoever comes up with an evil deed will be repaid only with its equivalent-they will not be wronged.

It pays to be good!

7. al-A’raf (The Elevations)

7:11 - We created you, then We shaped you, then We said to the angels, "Bow down before Adam;" so they bowed down, except for Satan; he was not of those who bowed down.
7:12 - He said, "What prevented you from bowing down when I have commanded you?" He said, "I am better than he; You created me from fire, and You created him from mud."
7:13 - He said, "Get down from it! It is not for you to act arrogantly in it. Get out! You are one of the lowly!"
7:14 - He said, "Give me respite, until the Day they are resurrected."
7:15 - He said, "You are of those given respite."
7:16 - He said, "Because you have lured me, I will waylay them on Your straight path.
7:17 - Then I will come at them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left; and you will not find most of them appreciative."
7:18 - He said, "Get out of it, despised and vanquished. Whoever among them follows you—I will fill up Hell with you all.

Satan being his bad self. It continues on a bit from here too, all about the temptation of Adam and Eve, worth checking out.

7:31 - O Children of Adam! Dress properly at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but do not be excessive. He does not love the excessive.

Do they mean alcohol? Is drinking ok? Because "just don’t be excessive" is good advice really.

7:78 - Whereupon the quake overtook them, and they became lifeless bodies in their homes.

Good image.

7:103 - Then, after them, We sent Moses with Our miracles to Pharaoh and his establishment, but they denounced them. So consider the end of the evildoers.
7:104 - Moses said, "O Pharaoh, I am a messenger from the Lord of the Worlds."
7:105 - "It is only proper that I should not say about God anything other than the truth. I have come to you with clear evidence from your Lord, so let the Children of Israel go with me."
7:106 - He said, "If you brought a miracle, then present it, if you are truthful."
7:107 - So he threw his staff, and it was an apparent serpent.
7:108 - And He pulled out his hand, and it was white to the onlookers.
7:109 - The notables among Pharaoh's people said, "This is really a skilled magician."

Moses was one skilled magician. It goes on into a magician competition after this, and Moses wins.

7:176 - Had We willed, We could have elevated him through them; but he clung to the ground, and followed his desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you chase it, it pants; and if you leave it alone, it pants. Such is the metaphor of the people who deny Our signs. So tell the tale, so that they may ponder.

Decent metaphor actually.

8. al-Anfal (The Spoils)

8:12 - Your Lord inspired the angels: "I am with you, so support those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So strike above the necks, and strike off every fingertip of theirs."

Vicious God.

8:17 - It was not you who killed them, but it was God who killed them. And it was not you who launched when you launched, but it was God who launched. That He may bestow upon the believers an excellent reward. God is Hearing and Knowing.

Don’t worry, you didn't kill anyone. God did it through you.

9. at-Tawbah (Repentance)

9:5 - When the Sacred Months have passed, kill the polytheists wherever you find them. And capture them, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayers, and pay the alms, then let them go their way. God is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Kill! Capture! Besiege! Ambush! But forgive them if they do your things. Not into this.

9:84 - You are never to pray over anyone of them who dies, nor are you to stand at his graveside. They rejected God and His Messenger, and died while they were sinners.

Don’t mourn non believers, which is a heavy thing to ask. What if you were friends?

10. Yunus (Jonah)

10:37 - This Quran could not have been produced by anyone other than God. In fact, it is a confirmation of what preceded it, and an elaboration of the Book. There is no doubt about it—it is from the Lord of the Universe.

Bold statement. I do have some doubts, actually.

11. Hud (Hud)

11:25 - We sent Noah to his people, "I am to you a clear warner."
11:26 - "That you shall worship none but God. I fear for you the agony of a painful Day."
11:27 - The notables who disbelieved among his people said, "We see in you nothing but a man like us, and we see that only the worst among us have followed you, those of immature judgment. And we see that you have no advantage over us. In fact, we think you are liars."

It goes on for a while here just telling the Noah story again. Worth a read but similar to what you already know, I imagine.

10:91 - They said, "O Shuaib, we do not understand much of what you say, and we see that you are weak among us. Were it not for your tribe, we would have stoned you. You are of no value to us."

Hahaha. Fair.

12. Yusuf (Joseph)

This whole chapter is great, one of my favourites, because it is an actual narrative telling a followable story all about the prophet Joseph. I was actually legit entertained here.

14. Ibrahim (Abraham)

14:10 - Their messengers said, "Is there any doubt about God, Maker of the heavens and the earth? He calls you to forgive you your sins, and to defer you until a stated term." They said, "You are only humans like us; you want to turn us away from what our ancestors worshiped; so bring us a clear proof."
14:11 - Their messengers said to them, "We are only humans like you, but God favors whomever He wills from among His servants. We cannot possibly show you any proof, except by leave of God. In God let the faithful put their trust."
14:12 - "And why should we not trust in God, when He has guided us in our ways? We will persevere in the face of your persecution. And upon God the reliant should rely."
14:13 - Those who disbelieved said to their messengers, "We will expel you from our land, unless you return to our religion." And their Lord inspired them: "We will destroy the wrongdoers."
14:14 - "And We will settle you in the land after them. That is for him who fears My Majesty, and fears My threats."
14:15 - And they prayed for victory, and every stubborn tyrant came to disappointment.
14:16 - Beyond him lies Hell, and he will be given to drink putrid water.
14:17 - He will guzzle it, but he will not swallow it. Death will come at him from every direction, but he will not die. And beyond this is relentless suffering.

This is pretty harsh. People just wanted proof rather than just follow some new idea blindly. I think that's understandable.

15. al-Hijr (The Rock)

15:47 - And We will remove all ill-feelings from their hearts—brothers and sisters, on couches facing one another.

Beautiful image.

16. an-Nahl (The Bee)

16:4 - He created the human being from a drop of fluid, yet he becomes an open adversary.

I like this.

16:58 - And when one of them is given news of a female infant, his face darkens, and he chokes with grief.
16:59 - He hides from the people because of the bad news given to him. Shall he keep it in humiliation, or bury it in the dust? Evil is the decision they make.

I guess people didn't really want daughters back then.

16:66 - And there is a lesson for you in cattle: We give you a drink from their bellies, from between waste and blood, pure milk, refreshing to the drinkers.

Yeah, that's pretty gross.

16:82 - But if they turn away, your only duty is clear communication.

A better solution than murder, this one. Another good verse against the terrorists using the Quran for their evil.

16:93 - Had God willed, He would have made you one congregation, but He leaves astray whom He wills, and He guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.

Once again, God is playing a game here. He makes you do whatever he pleases, and then asks you why you did that.

16:115 - He has forbidden you carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and anything consecrated to other than God. But if anyone is compelled by necessity, without being deliberate or malicious, then God is Forgiving and Merciful.

Don't eat pigs and such, but if you are desperate, it's ok. Which I reckon is fair.

17. al-Isra’ (The Night Journey)

17:23 - Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him, and that you be good to your parents. If either of them or both of them reach old age with you, do not say to them a word of disrespect, nor scold them, but say to them kind words.

Be good to your parents.

17:31 - And do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them, and for you. Killing them is a grave sin.
17:32 - And do not come near adultery. It is immoral, and an evil way.
17:33 - And do not kill the soul which God has made sacred, except in the course of justice. If someone is killed unjustly, We have given his next of kin certain authority. But he should not be excessive in killing, for he will be supported.
17:34 - And do not go near the orphan's property, except with the best of intentions, until he has reached his maturity. And honor your pledge, because the pledge involves responsibility.
17:35 - And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with accurate scales. That is fair, and the best determination.
17:36 - And do not occupy yourself with what you have no knowledge of. The hearing, and the sight, and the brains—all these will be questioned.
17:37 - And do not walk proudly on earth. You can neither pierce the earth, nor can you match the mountains in height.
17:38 - The evil of all these is disliked by your Lord.

A good run of rules which I mostly agree with, although the whole special rules for people who have had loved ones murdered is a bit weird.

18. al-Kahf (The Cave)

18:29 - And say, "The truth is from your Lord. Whoever wills—let him believe. And whoever wills—let him disbelieve". We have prepared for the unjust a Fire, whose curtains will hem them in. And when they cry for relief, they will be relieved with water like molten brass, which scalds the faces. What a miserable drink, and what a terrible place.

Pretty hardcore, hey.

18:37 - His friend said to him, as he conversed with him, "Are you being ungrateful to Him who created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then evolved you into a man?

Dust and a sperm-drop, I like that.

18:50 - We said to the angels, "Bow down to Adam." So they bowed down, except for Satan. He was of the jinn, and he defied the command of his Lord. Will you take him and his offspring as lords instead of Me, when they are an enemy to you? Evil is the exchange for the wrongdoers.

Satan being his bad self again.

18:65 - Then they came upon a servant of Ours, whom We had blessed with mercy from Us, and had taught him knowledge from Our Own.
18:66 - Moses said to him, "May I follow you, so that you may teach me some of the guidance you were taught?"
18:67 - He said, "You will not be able to endure with me.
18:68 - And how will you endure what you have no knowledge of?"
18:69 - He said, "You will find me, God willing, patient; and I will not disobey you in any order of yours."
18:70 - He said, "If you follow me, do not ask me about anything, until I myself make mention of it to you."
18:71 - So they set out. Until, when they had boarded the boat, he holed it. He said, "Did you hole it, to drown its passengers? You have done something awful."
18:72 - He said, "Did I not tell you that you will not be able to endure with me?"
18:73 - He said, "Do not rebuke me for forgetting, and do not make my course difficult for me."
18:74 - Then they set out. Until, when they encountered a boy, he killed him. He said, "Did you kill a pure soul, who killed no one? You have done something terrible."
18:75 - He said, "Did I not tell you that you will not be able to endure with me?"
18:76 - He said, "If I ask you about anything after this, then do not keep company with me. You have received excuses from me."
18:77 - So they set out. Until, when they reached the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. There they found a wall about to collapse, and he repaired it. He said, "If you wanted, you could have obtained a payment for it."
18:78 - He said, "This is the parting between you and me. I will tell you the interpretation of what you were unable to endure.
18:79 - As for the boat, it belonged to paupers working at sea. I wanted to damage it because there was a king coming after them seizing every boat by force.
18:80 - As for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared he would overwhelm them with oppression and disbelief.
18:81 - So we wanted their Lord to replace him with someone better in purity, and closer to mercy.
18:82 - And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphaned boys in the town. Beneath it was a treasure that belonged to them. Their father was a righteous man. Your Lord wanted them to reach their maturity, and then extract their treasure—as a mercy from your Lord. I did not do it of my own accord. This is the interpretation of what you were unable to endure."

Long but semi-easy to follow narrative. I found it fucking weird. The holy dude killed a boy, and was like "no, it's fine" and it was. Is this acceptable behaviour?

19. Maryam (Mary)

This is a cool chapter as a whole because it focuses a lot on Jesus' mommy, I enjoyed it.

19:7 - "O Zechariah, We give you good news of a son, whose name is John, a name We have never given before."

First use of the name John ever? That's a pretty big deal!

19:10 - He said, "My Lord, give me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights straight."

That's the worst sign I've ever heard of in my life. How is that even a sign?

19:46 - He said, "Are you renouncing my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will stone you. So leave me alone for a while."

Leave me alone for a while or I'll stone you. I've said this to someone before.

19:86 - And herd the sinners into hell, like animals to water.
19:87 - They will have no power of intercession, except for someone who has an agreement with the Most Merciful.
19:88 - And they say, "The Most Merciful has begotten a son."
19:89 - You have come up with something monstrous.
19:90 - At which the heavens almost rupture, and the earth splits, and the mountains fall and crumble.


20. Ta-Ha (Ta-Ha)

This was another cool chapter which worked as a whole, much easier to follow than most, focusing on the existence of God through Moses and Abraham.

21. al-Anbiya (The Prophets)

21:15 - This continued to be their cry, until We made them silent ashes.


21:30 - Do the disbelievers not see that the heavens and the earth were one mass, and We tore them apart? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not believe?

Why did you tear it apart, though? Also, how exactly do we see that?

21:47 - We will set up the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so that no soul will suffer the least injustice. And even if it be the weight of a mustard-seed, We will bring it up. Sufficient are We as Reckoners.

I dig the weight of a mustard-seed thing.

21:52 - When he said to his father and his people, "What are these statues to which you are devoted?"
21:53 - They said, "We found our parents worshiping them."
21:54 - He said, "You and your parents are in evident error."
21:55 - They said, "Are you telling us the truth, or are you just playing?"

"Are you telling us the truth, or are you just playing?" hahaha, I love that, sounds like playground talk.

22. al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage)

22:2 - On the Day when you will see it: every nursing mother will discard her infant, and every pregnant woman will abort her load, and you will see the people drunk, even though they are not drunk—but the punishment of God is severe.
22:3 - Among the people is he who argues about God without knowledge, and follows every defiant devil.
22:4 - It was decreed for him, that whoever follows him—he will misguide him, and lead him to the torment of the Blaze.

Well hectic.

22:19 - Here are two adversaries feuding regarding their Lord. As for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be tailored for them, and scalding water will be poured over their heads.
22:20 - Melting their insides and their skins.
22:21 - And they will have maces of iron.
22:22 - Whenever they try to escape the gloom, they will be driven back to it: "Taste the suffering of burning."

God is quite an imaginative torturer when he wants to be.

22:65 - Do you not see that God made everything on earth subservient to you? How the ships sail at sea by His command? That He holds up the sky lest it falls on earth-except by His permission? God is Gracious towards the people, Most Merciful.

Everything is subservient to us, apparently, which is kinda true. I also dig the way God holds up the ships and the sky for us, very nice of him.

22:70 - Do you not know that God knows everything in the heavens and the earth? This is in a book. That is easy for God.

Which book? This book? I want that book.

23. al-Mu'minun (The Believers)

23:25 - He is nothing but a man possessed. Just ignore him for a while."


24. an-Nur (The Light)

24:2 - The adulteress and the adulterer—whip each one of them a hundred lashes, and let no pity towards them overcome you regarding God's Law, if you believe in God and the Last Day. And let a group of believers witness their punishment.
24:3 - The adulterer shall marry none but an adulteress or an idolatress; and the adulteress shall marry none but an adulterer or an idolater. That has been prohibited for the believers.
24:4 - Those who accuse chaste women, then cannot bring four witnesses, whip them eighty lashes, and do not ever accept their testimony. For these are the immoral.

Straight forward instructions right there.

24:6 - As for those who accuse their own spouses, but have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them is equivalent to four testimonies, if he swears by God that he is truthful.

I'm sorry, but what a bunch of rubbish! A very easy rule to exploit right here! Way favouring the man again too, ugh.

24:31 - And tell the believing women to restrain their looks, and to guard their privates, and not display their beauty except what is apparent thereof, and to draw their coverings over their breasts, and not expose their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, their brothers' sons, their sisters' sons, their women, what their right hands possess, their male attendants who have no sexual desires, or children who are not yet aware of the nakedness of women. And they should not strike their feet to draw attention to their hidden beauty. And repent to God, all of you believers, so that you may succeed.

Here's where the burka stylie comes in.

24:43 - Have you not seen how God propels the clouds, then brings them together, then piles them into a heap, and you see rain drops emerging from its midst? How He brings down loads of hail from the sky, striking with it whomever He wills, and diverting it from whomever He wills? The flash of its lightening almost snatches the sight away.

True, true.

24:58 - O you who believe! Permission must be requested by your servants and those of you who have not reached puberty. On three occasions: before the Dawn Prayer, and at noon when you change your clothes, and after the Evening Prayer. These are three occasions of privacy for you. At other times, it is not wrong for you or them to intermingle with one another. God thus clarifies the revelations for you. God is Knowledgeable and Wise.
24:59 - When the children among you reach puberty, they must ask permission, as those before them asked permission. God thus clarifies His revelations for you. God is Knowledgeable and Wise.
24:60 - Women past the age of childbearing, who have no desire for marriage, commit no wrong by taking off their outer clothing, provided they do not flaunt their finery. But to maintain modesty is better for them. God is Hearing and Knowing.

Am I reading this right? Is it ok to fuck little children? As long as they agree? Hmmm. Well, at least old women can take off their burkas, although still probably shouldn't. Verses like this are weird.

26. ash-Shu'ara' (The Poets)

26:4 - If We will, We can send down upon them a sign from heaven, at which their necks will stay bent in humility.

I like this image.

26:63 - We inspired Moses: "Strike the sea with your staff." Whereupon it parted, and each part was like a huge hill.

Classic story.

27. an-Naml (The Ant)

26:4 - As for those who do not believe in the Hereafter: We made their deeds appear good to them, so they wander aimlessly.


27:18 - Until, when they came upon the Valley of Ants, an ant said, "O ants! Go into your nests, lest Solomon and his troops crush you without noticing."

A talking ant!

27:23 - I found a woman ruling over them, and she was given of everything, and she has a magnificent throne.
27:24 - I found her and her people worshiping the sun, instead of God. Satan made their conduct appear good to them, and diverted them from the path, so they are not guided.

A ruling woman, quite a rare occurrence in these stories. Also historically accurate with the whole sun worship aspect.

27:48 - In the city was a gang of nine who made mischief in the land and did no good.
27:49 - They said, "Swear by God to one another that we will attack him and his family by night, and then tell his guardian, 'We did not witness the murder of his family, and we are being truthful.'"
27:50 - They planned a plan, and We planned a plan, but they did not notice.
27:51 - So note the outcome of their planning; We destroyed them and their people, altogether.

27:50 is awesome. God always wins.

27:55 - Do you lust after men instead of women? You are truly ignorant people."

God hates fags!

27:57 - So We saved him and his family, except for his wife, whom We destined to be among the laggards.

Why didn't you save the wife though?

28. al-Qasas (History)

28:15 - Once he entered the city, unnoticed by its people. He found in it two men fighting—one of his own sect, and one from his enemies. The one of his sect solicited his assistance against the one from his enemies; so Moses punched him, and put an end to him. He said, "This is of Satan's doing; he is an enemy that openly misleads."
28:16 - He said, "My Lord, I have wronged myself, so forgive me." So He forgave him. He is the Forgiver, the Merciful.
28:17 - He said, "My Lord, in as much as you have favored me, I will never be a supporter of the criminals."
28:18 - The next morning, he went about in the city, fearful and vigilant, when the man who had sought his assistance the day before was shouting out to him. Moses said to him, "You are clearly a troublemaker."
28:19 - As he was about to strike the one who was their enemy, he said, "O Moses, do you intend to kill me, as you killed someone yesterday? You only want to be a bully in the land, and do not want to be a peacemaker."
28:20 - And a man came from the farthest part of the city running. He said, "O Moses, the authorities are considering killing you, so leave; I am giving you good advice."
28:21 - So he left, fearful and vigilant. He said, "My Lord, deliver me from the wrongdoing people."
28:22 - As he headed towards Median, he said, "Perhaps my Lord will guide me to the right way."
28:23 - And when he arrived at the waters of Median, he found there a crowd of people drawing water, and he noticed two women waiting on the side. He said, "What is the matter with you?" They said, "We cannot draw water until the shepherds depart, and our father is a very old man."
28:24 - So he drew water for them, and then withdrew to the shade, and said, "My Lord, I am in dire need of whatever good you might send down to me."
28:25 - Then, one of the two women approached him, walking bashfully. She said, "My father is calling you, to reward you for drawing water for us." And when he came to him, and told him the story, he said, "Do not fear, you have escaped from the wrongdoing people."
28:26 - One of the two women said, "Father, hire him; the best employee for you is the strong and trustworthy."
28:27 - He said, "I want to marry you to one of these two daughters of mine, provided you work for me for eight years. But if you complete ten, that is up to you. I do not intend to impose any hardship on you. You will find me, God willing, one of the righteous."

Moses was more hardcore than people give him credit for. Also dig the way he got a wife and a job in one move, dude has mad game.

28:50 - But if they fail to respond to you, know that they follow their fancies. And who is more lost than him who follows his fancy without guidance from God? God does not guide the unjust people.

Don't just follow your fancy like that.

28:59 - Your Lord never destroys cities without first sending a messenger in their midst, reciting to them Our revelations. And We never destroy the cities, unless their people are wrongdoers.

That is good to know.

28:76 - Quaroon belonged to the clan of Moses, but he oppressed them. We had given him treasures, the keys of which would weigh down a group of strong men. His people said to him, "Do not exult; God does not love the exultant.
28:77 - But seek, with what God has given you, the Home of the Hereafter, and do not neglect your share of this world. And be charitable, as God has been charitable to you. And do not seek corruption in the land. God does not like the seekers of corruption."
28:78 - He said, "I was given all this on account of knowledge I possess." Did he not know that God destroyed many generations before him, who were stronger than he, and possessed greater riches? But the guilty will not be asked about their sins.
28:79 - And he went out before his people in his splendor. Those who desired the worldly life said, "If only we possessed the likes of what Quaroon was given. He is indeed very fortunate."
28:80 - But those who were given knowledge said, "Woe to you! The reward of God is better for those who believe and do righteous deeds." Yet none attains it except the steadfast.
28:81 - So We caused the earth to cave in on him and his mansion. He had no company to save him from God, and he could not defend himself.

Don't get cocky about your blessings, basically.

29. al-'Ankabut (The Spider)

29:8 - We have advised the human being to be good to his parents. But if they urge you to associate with Me something you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. To Me is your return; and I will inform you of what you used to do.

Respect your parents, unless they don't follow the Quran, of course.

29:40 - Each We seized by his sin. Against some We sent a sandstorm. Some were struck by the Blast. Some We caused the ground to cave in beneath them. And some We drowned. It was not God who wronged them, but it was they who wronged their own selves.

Different methods of God's massacring.

29:58 - Those who believe and work righteousness—We will settle them in Paradise, in mansions under which rivers flow, dwelling therein forever. Excellent is the compensation for the workers.

Sounds quite nice, I could get on board with that.

30. ar-Rum (The Romans)

30:21 - And of His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them; and He planted love and compassion between you. In this are signs for people who reflect.

That's quite sweet.

30:25 - And of His signs is that the heaven and the earth stand at His disposal. And then, when He calls you out of the earth, you will emerge at once.

Raise the dead instantaneously.

30:54 - God is He Who created you weak, then after weakness gave you strength, then after strength gave you weakness and gray hair. He creates whatever He wills. He is the Omniscient, the Omnipotent.

Weak baby human to strong young human to weak old human again. Oh life.

31. Luqman (Luqman)

31:6 - Among the people is he who trades in distracting tales; intending, without knowledge, to lead away from God's way, and to make a mockery of it. These will have a humiliating punishment.
31:7 - And when Our Verses are recited to him, he turns away in pride, as though he did not hear them, as though there is deafness in his ears. So inform him of a painful punishment.

Just inform though, please.

31:10 - He created the heavens without pillars that you can see, and placed stabilizers on earth lest it shifts with you, and scattered throughout it all kinds of creatures. And from the sky We sent down water, and caused to grow therein of every noble pair.

I just like these ideas.

31:17 - O my son, observe the prayer, advocate righteousness, forbid evil, and be patient over what has befallen you. These are of the most honorable traits.
31:18 - And do not treat people with arrogance, nor walk proudly on earth. God does not love the arrogant showoffs.
31:19 - And moderate your stride, and lower your voice. The most repulsive of voices is the donkey's voice."

Easy to follow instructions. I talk really loud though, hope that's not a problem. Do I sound like a donkey?

31:21 - And when it is said to them, "Follow what God has revealed," they say, "Rather, we follow what we found our parents devoted to." Even if Satan is calling them to the suffering of the Blaze?

Good question, but it's difficult to (a) expect people to turn against what they were raised; and (b) know which way Satan is actually calling us, right?

32. Prostration (as-Sajdah)

32:13 - Had We willed, We could have given every soul its guidance, but the declaration from Me will come true: "I will fill Hell with jinn and humans, altogether."

Why though?

32:20 - But as for those who transgressed, their shelter is the Fire. Every time they try to get out of it, they will be brought back into it, and it will be said to them, "Taste the suffering of the Fire which you used to deny."
32:21 - We will make them taste the lesser torment, prior to the greater torment, so that they may return.

That's proper evil.

32:28 - And they say, "When is this victory, if you are truthful?"
32:29 - Say, "On the day of victory, the faith of those who disbelieved will be of no avail to them, and they will not be granted respite."
32:30 - So turn away from them, and wait. They too are waiting.

That last line is a bit ominous.

33. The Confederates (al-Ahzab)

33:19 - Being stingy towards you. And when fear approaches, you see them staring at you—their eyes rolling—like someone fainting at death. Then, when panic is over, they whip you with sharp tongues. They resent you any good. These have never believed, so God has nullified their works; a matter easy for God.

Quite poetic.

33:40 - Muhammad is not the father of any of your men; but he is the Messenger of God, and the seal of the prophets. God is Cognizant of everything.

Second mention of Muhammad!

33:49 - O you who believe! When you marry believing women, but then divorce them before you have touched them, there is no waiting period for you to observe in respect to them; but compensate them, and release them in a graceful manner.

Seems fair enough, if you haven't fucked her, then move on at your own pace.

33:51 - You may defer any of them you wish, and receive any of them you wish. Should you desire any of those you had deferred, there is no blame on you. This is more proper, so that they will be comforted, and not be grieved, and be content with what you have given each one of them. God knows what is within your hearts. God is Omniscient and Clement.
33:52 - Beyond that, no other women are permissible for you, nor can you exchange them for other wives, even if you admire their beauty, except those you already have. God is Watchful over all things.

More sexist rules. As many wives as you want sounds nice though. How do girls feel about this stuff?

33:53 - O you who believe! Do not enter the homes of the Prophet, unless you are given permission to come for a meal; and do not wait for its preparation. And when you are invited, go in. And when you have eaten, disperse, without lingering for conversation. This irritates the Prophet, and he shies away from you, but God does not shy away from the truth. And when you ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a screen; that is purer for your hearts and their hearts. You must never offend the Messenger of God, nor must you ever marry his wives after him, for that would be an enormity with God.

More easy to follow rules, quite interesting these ones.

33:59 - O Prophet! Tell your wives, and your daughters, and the women of the believers, to lengthen their garments. That is more proper, so they will be recognized and not harassed. God is Forgiving and Merciful.

Once again, hide your body, ladies. Although this kind of indicates that it's the men who need the women to be hidden otherwise we won't be able to control our harassment. Damn those unmanageable male instincts!

33:60 - If the hypocrites, and those with sickness in their hearts, and the rumormongers in the City, do not desist, We will incite you against them; then they will not be your neighbors there except for a short while.
33:61 - They are cursed; wherever they are found, they should be captured and killed outright.

You see, this is the problem right here.

34. Saba' (Sheba)

34:14 - Then, when We decreed death for him, nothing indicated his death to them except an earthworm eating at his staff. Then, when he fell down, it became clear to the sprites that, had they known the unseen, they would not have remained in the demeaning torment.
34:15 - In Sheba's homeland there used to be a wonder: two gardens, on the right, and on the left. "Eat of your Lord's provision, and give thanks to Him." A good land, and a forgiving Lord.
34:16 - But they turned away, so We unleashed against them the flood of the dam; and We substituted their two gardens with two gardens of bitter fruits, thorny shrubs, and meager harvest.

God's imaginative punishment again.

34:33 - And those who were oppressed will say to those who were arrogant, "It was your scheming by night and day; as you instructed us to reject God, and to set up rivals to Him." They will hide their remorse when they see the retribution. We will put yokes around the necks of those who disbelieved. Will they be repaid for anything other than what they used to do?

At first I thought they meant egg yoke, which was quite comical, but they probably meant that bit which attaches to a cart if I think about it.

34:39 - Say, "My Lord extends the provision to whomever He wills of His servants, or withholds it. Anything you spend, He will replace it. He is the Best of providers."

Spend like crazy then!

35. Fatir (Originator)

35:9 - God is He who sends the winds, which agitate clouds, which We drive to a dead land, and thereby revive the ground after it had died. Likewise is the Resurrection.

Winds agitate the clouds, I love that.

35:11 - God created you from dust, then from a small drop; then He made you pairs. No female conceives, or delivers, except with His knowledge. No living thing advances in years, or its life is shortened, except it be in a Record. That is surely easy for God.

God is well involved.

35:33 - The Gardens of Eden, which they will enter. They will be adorned therein with gold bracelets and pearls, and their garments therein will be of silk.

Quite materialistic, to be fair.

36. Ya-Seen (Ya-Seen)

36:8 - We placed shackles around their necks, up to their chins, so they are stiff-necked.
36:9 - And We placed a barrier in front of them, and a barrier behind them, and We have enshrouded them, so they cannot see.

Hard life for non-believers.

36:29 - It was just one Cry, and they were stilled.

I like that. Just one cry.

36:37 - Another sign for them is the night: We strip the day out of it—and they are in darkness.
36:38 - And the sun runs towards its destination. Such is the design of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
36:39 - And the moon: We have disposed it in phases, until it returns like the old twig.
36:40 - The sun is not to overtake the moon, nor is the night to outpace the day. Each floats in an orbit.

Cool poetic perception on the day/night system, lots of great phrases here.

36:48 - And they say, "When will this promise be, if you are truthful?"
36:49 - All they can expect is a single blast, which will seize them while they feud.
36:50 - They will not be able to make a will, nor will they return to their families.
36:51 - The Trumpet will be blown, then behold, they will rush from the tombs to their Lord.

Looks like death is gonna be quite sudden, you guys.

36:55 - The inhabitants of Paradise, on that Day, will be happily busy.
36:56 - They and their spouses, in shades, reclining on couches.
36:57 - They will have therein fruits. They will have whatever they call for.

Haha, "in shades, reclining on couches", this all sounds great! Count me in!

36:63 - This is Hellfire, which you were promised.
36:64 - Roast in it today, because you persistently disbelieved.
36:65 - On this Day, We will seal their mouths, and their hands will speak to Us, and their feet will testify to everything they had done.
36:66 - If We will, We can blind their eyes as they rush towards the path—but how will they see?
36:67 - And if We will, We can cripple them in their place; so they can neither move forward, nor go back.


37. as-Saffat (The Aligners)

I really enjoyed this whole chapter, loads of well known stories, worth a read.

37:6 - We have adorned the lower heaven with the beauty of the planets.
37:7 - And guarded it against every defiant devil.
37:8 - They cannot eavesdrop on the Supernal Elite, for they get bombarded from every side.
37:9 - Repelled—they will have a lingering torment.
37:10 - Except for him who snatches a fragment—he gets pursued by a piercing projectile.

I love all of this.

37:39 - And you will be repaid only for what you used to do.
37:40 - Except for God's sincere servants.
37:41 - For them is a known provision.
37:42 - Fruits; and they will be honored.
37:43 - In the Gardens of Bliss.
37:44 - On furnishings, facing one another.
37:45 - They will be offered a cup of pure drink.
37:46 - White; a delight to those who drink.
37:47 - Never polluted, and never intoxicating.
37:48 - With them will be bashful women with lovely eyes.
37:49 - As if they were closely guarded pearls.

So this is what paradise is like, huh? Sounds nice, but totally achievable on Earth. I like the "bashful women with lovely eyes" though.

37:62 - Is this a better hospitality, or the Tree of Bitterness?
37:63 - We made it an ordeal for the unjust.
37:64 - It is a tree that grows from the bottom of Hell.
37:65 - Its fruits are like the devils' heads.
37:66 - They will eat from it, and fill their bellies with it.
37:67 - Then, on top of it, they will have a brew of boiling liquid.
37:68 - Then their return will be to the Blaze.

And that's what Hell is like. At least we eating.

37:101 - So We gave him good news of a clement boy.
37:102 - Then, when he was old enough to accompany him, he said, "O My son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you; see what you think." He said, "O my Father, do as you are commanded; you will find me, God willing, one of the steadfast."
37:103 - Then, when they had submitted, and he put his forehead down.
37:104 - We called out to him, "O Abraham!
37:105 - You have fulfilled the vision." Thus We reward the doers of good.
37:106 - This was certainly an evident test.
37:107 - And We redeemed him with a great sacrifice.
37:108 - And We left with him for later generations.
37:109 - Peace be upon Abraham.

Classic Abraham tale, remember this one. Also, how weird is God?

37:134 - We saved him and his family, all of them.
37:135 - Except for an old woman who lagged behind.
37:136 - Then We annihilated the others.
37:137 - You pass by them in the morning.
37:138 - And at night. Do you not understand?

Poor old woman! Why did you do that? And what do you mean we pass them? I do not understand!

37:139 - And Jonah was one of the messengers.
37:140 - When he fled to the laden boat.
37:141 - He gambled and lost.
37:142 - Then the fish swallowed him, and he was to blame.
37:143 - Had he not been one of those who praised.
37:144 - He would have stayed in its belly until the Day they are raised.
37:145 - Then We threw him into the wilderness, and he was sick.
37:146 - And We made a gourd tree grow over him.

Another classic, story of Jonah. Never knew a tree grew over him, that's pretty cool.

37:149 - Ask them, "Are the daughters for your Lord, while for them the sons?"
37:150 - Or did We create the angels females, as they witnessed?"
37:151 - No indeed! It is one of their lies when they say.
37:152 - "God has begotten." They are indeed lying.
37:153 - So He preferred girls over boys?
37:154 - What is the matter with you? How do you judge?

Bit confusing, but seems like an uncharacteristically pro-female verse here.

38. Saad (Saad)

38:4 - And they marveled that a warner has come to them from among them. The disbelievers said, "This is a lying magician."
38:5 - "Did he turn all the gods into one God? This is something strange."

That is quite some magic trick.

38:34 - We tested Solomon, and placed a body on his throne; then he repented.
38:35 - He said, "My Lord, forgive me, and grant me a kingdom never to be attained by anyone after me. You are the Giver."
38:36 - So We placed the wind at his service, blowing gently by his command, wherever he directed.

Ask and ye shall receive, wow.

39. az-Zumar (Throngs)

39:20 - But those who fear their Lord will have mansions upon mansions, built high, with streams flowing beneath them. The promise of God; and God never breaks a promise.

Once again, how important is this really?

39:30 - You will die, and they will die.

That's a given.

39:67 - They have not esteemed God as He ought to be esteemed. The entire earth will be in His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right. Immaculate is He, and Transcendent He is beyond the associations they make.
39:68 - And the Trumpet will be sounded, whereupon everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned, except whomever God wills. Then it will be sounded another time, whereupon they will rise up, looking on.
39:69 - And the earth will shine with the Light of its Lord; and the Book will be put in place; and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought in; and Judgment will be passed among them equitably, and they will not be wronged.
39:70 - And every soul will be fully compensated for what it had done. He is well aware of what they do.
39:71 - Those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, "Did not messengers from among you come to you, reciting to you the revelations of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say, "Yes, but the verdict of punishment is justified against the disbelievers."
39:72 - It will be said, "Enter the gates of Hell, to abide therein eternally." How wretched is the destination of the arrogant.
39:73 - And those who feared their Lord will be led to Paradise in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, "Peace be upon you, you have been good, so enter it, to abide therein eternally."
39:74 - And they will say, "Praise be to God, who has fulfilled His promise to us, and made us inherit the land, enjoying Paradise as we please." How excellent is the reward of the workers.
39:75 - And you will see the angels hovering around the Throne, glorifying their Lord with praise. And it will be judged between them equitably, and it will be said, "Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds."

Nice little summary of what happens when we die. Beware that trumpet!

41. Fussilat (Detailed)

41:12 - So He completed them as seven universes in two days, and He assigned to each universe its laws. And We decorated the lower universe with lamps, and for protection. That is the design of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.

I found this very interesting. Two days to make seven universes? Only to decorate one with lamps?

41:29 - Those who disbelieved will say, "Our Lord, show us those who led us astray—among jinn and humans—and we will trample them under our feet, so they become of the lowest."

That is a good way to make someone the lowest.

41:34 - Good and evil are not equal. Repel evil with good, and the person who was your enemy becomes like an intimate friend.

Beautiful advice.

41:47 - To Him is referred the knowledge of the Hour. No fruit emerges from its sheath, and no female conceives or delivers, except with His knowledge. And on the Day when He calls out to them, "Where are My associates?" They will say, "We admit to you, none of us is a witness."

God sees all.

41:51 - When We provide comfort for the human being, he withdraws and distances himself; but when adversity befalls him, he starts lengthy prayers.

We all know this to be true.

42. ash-Shura (Consultation)

42:6 - As for those who take masters other than Him: God is in charge of them, and you are not responsible for them.

Once again, instruction to leave the non-believers alone.

42:48 - But if they turn away—We did not send you as a guardian over them. Your only duty is communication. Whenever We let man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices in it; but when misfortune befalls them, as a consequence of what their hands have perpetrated, man turns blasphemous.

And again, talk. Don't do anything weird.

43. az-Zukhruf (Decorations)

43:16 - Or has He chosen for Himself daughters from what He creates, and favored you with sons?
43:17 - Yet when one of them is given news of what he attributes to the Most Gracious, his face darkens, and he suppresses grief.
43:18 - "Someone brought up to be beautiful, and unable to help in a fight?"
43:19 - And they appoint the angels, who are servants to the Most Gracious, as females. Have they witnessed their creation? Their claim will be recorded, and they will be questioned.

This is good, I think. Love your daughters too, which was probably an important instruction back in the day. Also, angels aren't necessarily females either people, duh!

43:51 - Pharaoh proclaimed among his people, saying, "O my people, do I not own the Kingdom of Egypt, and these rivers flow beneath me? Do you not see?
43:52 - Am I not better than this miserable wretch, who can barely express himself?
43:53 - "Someone brought up to be beautiful, and unable to help in a fight?"
43:54 - Why are bracelets of gold not dropped on him, or they angels came with him in procession?"
43:55 - Thus he fooled his people, and they obeyed him. They were wicked people.
43:56 - And when they provoked Our wrath, We took retribution from them, and We drowned them all.

Pharaoh all up in Moses' grill, dissing him, until Moses brought his homeboy God to the party, and then Pharaoh be like dead yo!

43:59 - He was just a servant whom We blessed, and We made him an example for the Children of Israel.

Talking about Jesus, not as the messiah or the Son of God, but just a nice prophet man.

44. az-Zukhruf (Smoke)

44:10 - So watch out for the Day when the sky produces a visible smoke.
44:11 - Enveloping mankind; this is a painful punishment.

Good to know.

44:43 - The Tree of Bitterness.
44:44 - The food of the sinner.
44:45 - Like molten lead; boiling inside the bellies.
44:46 - Like the boiling of seething water.
44:47 - Seize him and drag him into the midst of Hell!
44:48 - Then pour over his head the suffering of the Inferno!
44:49 - Taste! You who were powerful and noble.
44:50 - This is what you used to doubt.

Hell sounds pretty bad.

44:51 - As for the righteous, they will be in a secure place.
44:52 - Amidst gardens and springs.
44:53 - Dressed in silk and brocade, facing one another.
44:54 - So it is, and We will wed them to lovely companions.
44:55 - They will call therein for every kind of fruit, in peace and security.
44:56 - Therein they will not taste death, beyond the first death; and He will protect them from the torment of Hell.
44:57 - A favor from your Lord. That is the supreme salvation.
44:58 - We made it easy in your language, so that they may remember.
44:59 - So wait and watch. They too are waiting and watching.

That sounds much nicer, to be fair.

45. al-Jathiyah (Kneeling)

45:13 - And He placed at your service whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth—all is from Him. In that are signs for a people who think.

I find that interesting. "Signs for a people who think" when religion in general is very much based on faith and decidedly avoiding all rational thought, I thought.

45:24 - And they say, "There is nothing but this our present life; we die and we live, and nothing destroys us except time." But they have no knowledge of that; they are only guessing.

This pretty much sums up my entire spiritual opinion. We are all only guessing.

47. Muhammad (Muhammad)

I was super excited about this chapter, like, "Finally! Let's hear the story of Muhammad!" but as per usually, his presence was sadly minimal.

47:4 - When you encounter those who disbelieve, strike at their necks. Then, when you have routed them, bind them firmly. Then, either release them by grace, or by ransom, until war lays down its burdens. Had God willed, He could have defeated them Himself, but He thus tests some of you by means of others. As for those who are killed in the way of God, He will not let their deeds go to waste.

Another very scary bit.

47:15 - The likeness of the Garden promised to the righteous: in it are rivers of pure water, and rivers of milk forever fresh, and rivers of wine delightful to the drinkers, and rivers of strained honey. And therein they will have of every fruit, and forgiveness from their Lord. Like one abiding in the Fire forever, and are given to drink boiling water, that cuts-up their bowels?

Rivers of milk! Rivers of honey! Rivers of wine! But wait, why don't Islamic people drink again? Also: check out Hell, that boiling water is going to cut up our assholes! :(

47:20 - Those who believe say, "If only a chapter is sent down." Yet when a decisive chapter is sent down, and fighting is mentioned in it, you see those in whose hearts is sickness looking at you with the look of someone fainting at death. So woe to them!

Also quite weird. We should want to fight? Is that what that's saying?

47:35 - So do not waver and call for peace while you have the upper hand. God is with you, and He will not waste your efforts.
47:36 - The life of this world is nothing but play and pastime. But if you have faith and lead a righteous life, He will grant you your rewards, and He will not ask you for your possessions.
47:37 - Were He to ask you for it, and press you, you would become tightfisted, and He would expose your unwillingness.
47:38 - Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you.

Each line here is very interesting. Don't call for peace? I agree with life being play and pastime. God doesn't ask for our material possessions because he knows there is no way we'd give it to him? Also, that last line is awesome.

48. al-Fath (Victory)

48:29 - Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Those with him are stern against the disbelievers, yet compassionate amongst themselves. You see them kneeling, prostrating, seeking blessings from God and approval. Their marks are on their faces from the effects of prostration. Such is their description in the Torah, and their description in the Gospel: like a plant that sprouts, becomes strong, grows thick, and rests on its stem, impressing the farmers. Through them He enrages the disbelievers. God has promised those among them who believe and do good deeds forgiveness and a great reward.

A pretty important summary of a lot of what Islam is about.

49. al-Hujurat (The Chambers)

49:2 - O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loudly to him, as you speak loudly to one another, lest your works be in vain without you realizing.
49:3 - Those who lower their voices before God's Messenger—those are they whose hearts God has tested for piety. They will have forgiveness and a great reward.


49:6 - O you who believe! If a troublemaker brings you any news, investigate, lest you harm people out of ignorance, and you become regretful for what you have done.

Massively important advice. Do your research!

49:9 - If two groups of believers fight each other, reconcile between them. But if one group aggresses against the other, fight the aggressing group until it complies with God's command. Once it has complied, reconcile between them with justice, and be equitable. God loves the equitable.

Not too comfortable with this advice, I'm more of a "stay out of it" type of guy myself.

49:11 - O you who believe! No people shall ridicule other people, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you slander one another, nor shall you insult one another with names. Evil is the return to wickedness after having attained faith. Whoever does not repent—these are the wrongdoers.
49:12 - O you who believe! Avoid most suspicion—some suspicion is sinful. And do not spy on one another, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would detest it. So remain mindful of God. God is Most Relenting, Most Merciful.

All very decent advice which everyone could benefit from.

50. Qaf (Qaf)

50:6 - Have they not observed the sky above them, how We constructed it, and decorated it, and it has no cracks?

I didn't realise cracks were even a potential problem.

50:16 - We created the human being, and We know what his soul whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.

That is beautiful. I'm surprised people don't say this all the time.

50:38 - We created the heavens and the earth and what is between them in six days, and no fatigue touched Us.

Show off.

51. adh-Dhariyat (The Spreaders)

51:43 - And in Thamood. They were told, "Enjoy yourselves for a while."
51:44 - But they defied the command of their Lord, so the lightning struck them as they looked on.
51:45 - They could not rise up, nor could they find help.

Probably misinterpreting, but damn. Enjoy yourself or die!

51:56 - I did not create the jinn and the humans except to worship Me.

This is kind of what bothers me about all religions. How sad?

52. at-Tur (The Mount)

52:9 - On the Day when the heaven sways in agitation.
52:10 - And the mountains go into motion.


52:21 - Those who believed, and their offspring followed them in faith—We will unite them with their offspring, and We will not deprive them of any of their works. Every person is hostage to what he has earned.

"Every person is hostage to what he has earned" is a great line.

53. an-Najm (The Star)

53:27 - Those who do not believe in the Hereafter give the angels the names of females.
53:28 - They have no knowledge of that. They only follow assumptions, and assumptions are no substitute for the truth.

Really nailing the point that angels are not necessarily females. Also agreed with the assumptions thing.

53:52 - And the people of Noah before that; for they were most unjust and most oppressive.
53:53 - And He toppled the ruined cities.
53:54 - And covered them with whatever covered them.

"And covered them with whatever covered them" bit of a cop-out line, lol.

53:57 - The inevitable is imminent.

Obvious quote is obvious.

54. al-Qamar (The Moon)

54:6 - So turn away from them. On the Day when the Caller calls to something terrible.
54:7 - Their eyes humiliated, they will emerge from the graves, as if they were swarming locusts.
54:8 - Scrambling towards the Caller, the disbelievers will say, "This is a difficult Day."

Difficult day indeed!

54:19 - We unleashed upon them a screaming wind, on a day of unrelenting misery.
54:20 - Plucking the people away, as though they were trunks of uprooted palm-trees.


55. ar-Rahman (The Compassionate)

55:37 - When the sky splits apart, and becomes rose, like paint.

Another thing to look out for.

55:56 - In them are maidens restraining their glances, untouched before by any man or jinn.

Pretty sure this is about those virgins in heaven for you bit again.

56. al-Waqi'ah (The Inevitable)

56:25 - Therein they will hear no nonsense, and no accusations.
56:26 - But only the greeting: "Peace, peace.".

A decent defence towards Islam being a peaceful religion.

56:35 - We have created them of special creation.
56:36 - And made them virgins.
56:37 - Tender and un-aging.

Some people attribute this to the whole "virgins in heaven" theory, but in context, it actually sounded more like you'd get your own virginity back, but what do I know?

56:58 - Have you seen what you ejaculate?
56:59 - Is it you who create it, or are We the Creator?

Damn, I never really thought about it. Things are going to be a bit different now.

57. al-Hadid` (Iron)

57:20 - Know that the worldly life is only play, and distraction, and glitter, and boasting among you, and rivalry in wealth and children. It is like a rainfall that produces plants, and delights the disbelievers. But then it withers, and you see it yellowing, and then it becomes debris. While in the Hereafter there is severe agony, and forgiveness from God, and acceptance. The life of this world is nothing but enjoyment of vanity.

I adore this.

57:26 - We sent Noah and Abraham, and established in their line Prophethood and the Scripture. Some of them are guided, but many of them are sinners.
57:27 - Then We sent in their wake Our messengers, and followed up with Jesus son of Mary, and We gave him the Gospel, and instilled in the hearts of those who followed him compassion and mercy. But as for the monasticism which they invented—We did not ordain it for them—only to seek God's approval. But they did not observe it with its due observance. So We gave those of them who believed their reward, but many of them are sinful.

I just find it fascinating how it agrees with the previous religions.

58. al-Mujadilah (The Argument)

58:3 - Those who estrange their wives by equating them with their mothers, then go back on what they said, must set free a slave before they may touch one another. To this you are exhorted, and God is well aware of what you do.
58:4 - But whoever cannot find the means must fast for two consecutive months before they may touch one another. And if he is unable, then the feeding of sixty needy people. This, in order that you affirm your faith in God and His Messenger. These are the ordinances of God. The unbelievers will have a painful punishment.

Honestly, one of the biggest parts which proved to me that the Quran is trying to make the world a better place.

59. al-Hashr (The Mobilization)

59:2 - It is He who evicted those who disbelieved among the People of the Book from their homes at the first mobilization. You did not think they would leave, and they thought their fortresses would protect them from God. But God came at them from where they never expected, and threw terror into their hearts. They wrecked their homes with their own hands, and by the hands of the believers. Therefore, take a lesson, O you who have insight.

That's an awesome move.

63. al-Munafiqun (The Hypocrites)

63:4 - When you see them, their appearance impresses you. And when they speak, you listen to what they say. They are like propped-up timber. They think every shout is aimed at them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. God condemns them; how deluded they are!

So descriptive, I know exactly what they mean.

64. at-Taghabun (Gathering)

64:14 - O you who believe! Among your wives and your children are enemies to you, so beware of them. But if you pardon, and overlook, and forgive—God is Forgiver and Merciful.

Does not help my paranoia one bit.

65. at-Talaq (Divorce)

65:1 - O Prophet! If any of you divorce women, divorce them during their period of purity, and calculate their term. And be pious before God, your Lord. And do not evict them from their homes, nor shall they leave, unless they have committed a proven adultery. These are the limits of God—whoever oversteps God's limits has wronged his own soul. You never know; God may afterwards bring about a new situation.
65:2 - Once they have reached their term, either retain them honorably, or separate from them honorably. And call to witness two just people from among you, and give upright testimony for God. By that is exhorted whoever believes in God and the Last Day. And whoever fears God—He will make a way out for him.

Women's rights! Nice.

65:14 - As for those of your women who have reached menopause, if you have any doubts, their term shall be three months—and also for those who have not menstruated. As for those who are pregnant, their term shall be until they have delivered. Whoever fears God—He will make things easy for him.

Once again a hint towards marrying underage girls. At least the preggers ladies get some extra leeway.

66. at-Tahrim (Prohibition)

66:5 - Perhaps, if he divorces you, his Lord will give him in exchange wives better than you: submissive, believing, obedient, penitent, devout, fasting—previously married, or virgins.

Way to rub it in, God.

67. al-Mulk (Sovereignty)

67:3 - He who created seven heavens in layers. You see no discrepancy in the creation of the Compassionate. Look again. Can you see any cracks?
67:4 - Then look again, and again, and your sight will return to you dazzled and exhausted.
67:5 - We have adorned the lower heaven with lanterns, and made them missiles against the devils; and We have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.

Look! Look again! I love that, it's like a magic trick. Also, God has missiles ready for the devils, so that's kinda cool, I guess.

67:16 - Are you confident that the One in heaven will not cause the earth to collapse beneath you as it spins?


68. al-Qalam (The Pen)

68:8 - So do not obey the deniers.
68:9 - They would like you to compromise, so they would compromise.
68:10 - And do not obey any vile swearer.
68:11 - Backbiter, spreader of slander.
68:12 - Preventer of good, transgressor, sinner.
68:13 - Rude and fake besides.
68:14 - Just because he has money and children.

Almost sounds like a rap.

68:51 - Those who disbelieve almost stab you with their glances when they hear the message, and say, "He is crazy!"


69. al-Haqqah (The Reality)

69:6 - And as for Aad; they were annihilated by a furious, roaring wind.
69:7 - He unleashed it upon them for seven nights and eight days, in succession. You could see the people tossed around, as though they were stumps of hollow palm-trees.


69:44 - Had he falsely attributed some statements to Us.
69:45 - We would have seized him by the right arm.
69:46 - Then slashed his lifeline.

Pretty hectic, I like it.

70. al-Ma'arij (Ways of Ascent)

70:42 - So leave them to blunder and play, until they meet their Day which they are promised.
70:43 - The Day when they will emerge from the tombs in a rush, as though they were hurrying towards a target.
70:44 - Their eyes cast down; overwhelmed by humiliation. This is the Day which they were promised.

Well written again.

71. Nuh (Noah)

71:16 - And He set the moon in their midst for light, and He made the sun a lamp.

That's one helluva lamp, bro.

72. al-Jinn (The Jinn)

72:10 - We do not know whether ill is intended for those on earth, or if their Lord intends goodness for them.

A little more security would be nice.

72:15 - But as for the compromisers—they will be firewood for Hell.'"

Firewood for Hell, I like that, I think.

73. al-Muzzammil (The Enwrapped)

73:1 - O you Enwrapped one.
73:2 - Stay up the night, except a little.
73:3 - For half of it, or reduce it a little.
73:4 - Or add to it; and chant the Quran rhythmically.
73:5 - We are about to give you a heavy message.
73:6 - The vigil of night is more effective, and better suited for recitation.
73:7 - In the daytime, you have lengthy work to do.

This makes some sense.

73:17 - So how will you, if you persist in unbelief, save yourself from a Day which will turn the children gray-haired?

That's a weird threat.

76. al-Insan (Man)

76:9 - "We only feed you for the sake of God. We want from you neither compensation, nor gratitude.
76:10 - We dread from our Lord a frowning grim Day."
76:11 - So God will protect them from the ills of that Day, and will grant them radiance and joy.
76:12 - And will reward them for their patience with a Garden and silk.
76:13 - Reclining therein on the thrones; experiencing therein neither sun, nor frost.
76:14 - Its shade hovering over them, and its fruit brought low within reach.
76:15 - Passing around them are vessels of silver, and cups of crystal.
76:16 - Crystal of silver—they measured them exactly.
76:17 - They will be served therein with a cup whose flavor is Zanjabeel.
76:18 - A spring therein named Salsabeel.
76:19 - Passing among them are eternalized youths. If you see them, you would think them sprinkled pearls.
76:20 - Wherever you look, you see bliss, and a vast kingdom.
76:21 - Upon them are garments of green silk, and satin. And they will be adorned with bracelets of silver. And their Lord will offer them a pure drink.
76:22 - "This is a reward for you. Your efforts are well appreciated."

Another long insight into paradise. I bet some people use 76:19 as evidence towards that whole "Virgins in Heaven" theory.

77. al-Mursalat (The Unleashed)

77:1 - By those unleashed in succession.
77:2 - Storming turbulently.
77:3 - Scattering far and wide.
77:4 - Separating decisively.
77:5 - Delivering a message.
77:6 - Excusing or warning.

I like the way this flows.

77:20 - Did We not create you from an insignificant fluid?
77:21 - Then lodged it in a secure place?
77:22 - For a known term?
77:23 - We measured precisely. We are the best to measure.

An interesting and simplistic way to summarise the impregnation/childbirth process.

77:28 - Woe on that Day to the deniers.
77:29 - "Proceed to what you used to deny."
77:30 - "Proceed to a shadow of three different masses."
77:31 - Offering no shade, and unavailing against the flames.
77:32 - It shoots sparks as castles.
77:33 - As if they were yellow camels.

Shadows with different masses? Shooting sparks? As castles? As yellow camels? Don't understand a word, but I like it.

79. an-Nazi'at (The Snatchers)

79:1 - By those who snatch violently.
79:2 - And those who remove gently.
79:3 - And those who glide smoothly.
79:4 - And those who race swiftly.
79:5 - And those who regulate events.
79:6 - On the Day when the Quake quakes.
79:7 - And is followed by the Successor.
79:8 - Hearts on that Day will be pounding.

Just sounds nice, well written.

80. 'Abasa (He Frowned)

80:1 - He frowned and turned away.
80:2 - When the blind man approached him.
80:3 - But how do you know? Perhaps he was seeking to purify himself.
80:4 - Or be reminded, and the message would benefit him.
80:5 - But as for him who was indifferent.
80:6 - You gave him your attention.
80:7 - Though you are not liable if he does not purify himself.
80:8 - But as for him who came to you seeking.
80:9 - In awe.
80:10 - To him you were inattentive.
80:11 - Do not. This is a Lesson.

Goes on for a bit afterwards, but you get the idea: don't turn away from those in need. It's a good lesson.

81. at-Takwir (The Rolling)

Like much of what has been said before, this chapter describes the end of times again, but it's a short one and pretty easy to follow, so I recommend you check it out in full if you're interested. Also worth mentioning that it kind of continues into 82. al-Infitar (The Shattering).

83. al-Mutaffifin (The Defrauders)

83:7 - Not at all. The record of the wicked is in Sijjeen.
83:8 - But how can you know what Sijjeen is?
83:3 - A numerical book.

Sijjeen is a record of bad deeds, apparently.

83:18 - No indeed; the record of the righteous is in Elliyyeen.
83:19 - But how can you know what Elliyyoon is?
83:20 - A numerical book.

Conversely, Elliyyeen is a record of good deeds.

83:22 - Indeed, the righteous will be amid bliss.
83:23 - On thrones, looking on.
83:24 - You will recognize on their faces the radiance of bliss.
83:25 - They will be given to drink a sealed wine.
83:26 - Whose seal is musk—this is what competitors should compete for.

Once again, wine is a desirable drink?

88. al-Ghashiyah (The Overwhelming)

88:1 - Has there come to you the news of the overwhelming?
88:2 - Faces on that Day will be shamed.
88:3 - Laboring and exhausted.
88:4 - Roasting in a scorching Fire.
88:5 - Given to drink from a flaming spring.
88:6 - They will have no food except thorns.
88:2 - That neither nourishes, nor satisfies hunger.

That is what I imagine eating thorns to be like. Pretty bleak.

91. ash-Shams (The Sun)

91:13 - The messenger of God said to them, "This is the she-camel of God, so let her drink."
91:14 - But they called him a liar, and hamstrung her. So their Lord crushed them for their sin, and leveled it.
91:15 - And He does not fear its sequel.

I still don't fully understand the she-camel event, mentioned plenty throughout. Regardless, not fearing the sequel is a pretty confident statement.

99. az-Zalzalah (The Quake)

99:7 - Whoever has done an atom's weight of good will see it.
99:8 - And whoever has done an atom's weight of evil will see it.

Worth repeating, I dig how pedantic God is.

101. al-Qari'ah (The Shocker)

101:1 - The Shocker.
101:2 - What is the Shocker?
101:3 - What will explain to you what the Shocker is?
101:4 - The Day when the people will be like scattered moths.
101:5 - And the mountains will be like tufted wool.
101:6 - As for he whose scales are heavy.
101:7 - He will be in a pleasant life.
101:8 - But as for he whose scales are light.
101:9 - His home is the Abyss.
101:10 - Do you know what it is?
101:11 - A Raging Fire.

Unfortunately, these days "The Shocker" is the name for a sex act. But it's a good chapter.

105. al-Fil (The Elephant)

105:1 - Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant?
105:2 - Did He not make their plan go wrong?
105:3 - He sent against them swarms of birds.
105:4 - Throwing at them rocks of baked clay.
105:5 - Leaving them like chewed-up leaves.

Is this a stab at Hinduism? Regardless, also a nice little chapter.

108. al-Kawthar (Plenty)

108:3 - He who hates you is the loser.


114. an-Nas (Mankind)

114:1 - Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind.
114:2 - The King of mankind.
114:3 - The God of mankind.
114:4 - From the evil of the sneaky whisperer.
114:5 - Who whispers into the hearts of people.
114:6 - From among jinn and among people."

Nothing amazingly special, but these are the final words of the Quran.

As-salāmu ʿalaykum :)

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Antacid Soda Pop

by Jared Woods

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 1 - With his nose a bottle cap’s distance from the bathroom mirror, Nathan didn’t even notice how his hyperventilation steamed the reflective glass into a distorted blur of obscurity.


With his nose a bottle cap’s distance from the bathroom mirror, Nathan didn’t even notice how his hyperventilation steamed the reflective glass into a distorted blur of obscurity. Rather, Nathan was absorbed by doubt as to what his own vision was reporting back to him. His usual shimmering skin plagued by an unfortunate dose of puberty’s army of acne, now appeared as smooth as laminated marble no matter how often he adjusted his thick-rimmed glasses. His complexion’s pasty colour had deepened into a healthy hazelnut-brown, and his features radiated in their new surroundings, even while his golf ball eyes betrayed their frozen awe.

His brain scrambled together the absurd details of the night before, yet no matter what order he strung them in, his strict belief system would not allow the memories to be anything other than that of another surreal dream.

There he was lying in bed, and like every other night, his intrusive thoughts taunted his sleep into hopelessness. As per usual, these thoughts were exclusively and irrationally concentrated on Fia. It was not uncharacteristic of Nathan to cry out in frustration on a nightly basis, as this pre-slumber torture did appear to grow stauncher per each bedtime passing, but this particular struggle did differ, mostly in the words that escaped through his own teeth, entirely without his permission. They went like this:


Whoever was listening, according to his skeptical memory, revealed themselves in his curtain, which blew so high into the air that they brushed the ceiling, indifferent to the windows which were closed behind them. And then there stood a small figure, no taller than two feet and with limbs as brittle as a malnourished tree. It had two tiny egg-shaped horns protruding from its forehead and a cliché set of horse hooves poking from the bottom of a coffee coloured robe, proudly swaying in the centre of the boy's room. If this was indeed a hallucination, then Nathan knew he must have a fever worthy of killing a man, and wasted no time in opening his mouth to scream any which phrase found the desire to burst out. But before his throat had even revved its chords, the being raised one twiggy finger to its exposed fangs, signalling a silence, and Nathan no longer felt the yearning to squeal anymore.

After this, a conversation took place, one which was so fresh in Nathan’s memory pouch that the dreamlike ridiculousness of the scenario was tainted by a quality so vivid that it was difficult to disregard. And, as the creature spoke, its ever-changing eyes and snapping jaw seemed nothing but amused, dominating the discussion with a cockiness of a reporter who already knew more than its subject.

The predominant theme of this casual interrogation was the query over how serious Nathan had been about his offer. Would he, a teenaged misfit male, be willing to surrender his soul for one moment of mutual love between himself and Fia, a female he knew only from a distance at his high school, regarded by many as the most attractive and popular girl the establishment had to offer. Naturally, Nathan had never considered this proposal as a reality, but he did not need any time to think his answer though.

Fia was the water within his breath that kept his brain alive, yet drowned his stomach in self-pity. The countless daydreams where she had simply registered his presence usually ended with his dick in his hand, making Nathan hate himself even more than usual. He kept a small cardboard box underneath his cupboard, filled with the dead hair he’d secretly plucked off of her chair after classes, and he frequently sprayed said box with the perfume she liked the most, cherishing the item as the closest he had ever come to her. If he could trade his soul, his worthless, pathetic little soul, for the possibility of Fia knowing his name, intentionally touching his loser hand, actually feeling love for his non-existent existence ... then he would sign every agreement presented to him.

Which, as any storybook will tell you, is exactly what it took. This creature produced a multipage document with a font so tiny that it was almost illegible, and requested Nathan’s signature on the dotted line with an antique feather pen “if you’d be so kind”. Nathan did so without even touching the binding text and with that, the little monster-being thanked his cooperation, gave a miniature bow, and turned towards the curtain to exit.

“Wait!” Nathan remembers calling out. “Are you the Devil?”
To that, the creature laughed, and responded, “The Devil is far too busy for jobs like this one,” an instant before the boy fell into the deepest slumber of his whole life.

And now, here he stood, admiring his face and skin and hair in the mirror, wearing a smile so wide it exposed the full width of his braces, yet slightly concerned as to how much older he suddenly appeared. A tiny bit of stubble had developed on his usually prepubescent texture, and his whole jawline seemed squarer without the previous distractions of blemishes erupting white dots throughout his cheeks. Hell, even his frame appeared sturdier as if, overnight, puberty had evicted all the bad parts and he’d been dropped off on the other side, ready to join the physical age group so many of his more mature high school participants were already envied members of.

Certainly, the pesky flashing images from last night’s dream disturbed the welcome change, but Nathan was a committed follower of science and did not believe in such worlds where souls and demons and trade-offs existed. No, that whole ordeal was surely nothing more than a coincidental nightmare, probably an onset of the hormones that undoubtedly flooded his system the night before. His grandma had always told him how he was probably a late bloomer, and here he was, fully bloomed. Maybe this is what happened to all boys, anyway? How would he know?

The only thing he did know was that he looked more handsome than he ever had, and felt absolutely revitalised as a human being.
“Maybe,” he thought. “Maybe things will finally be different now.” And for the first time in his life, he found himself eager to go to school.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 2 - He sat with his head resting dopely in his hand, spinning a pencil absentmindedly in the other, listening meditatively to her beautiful words.


But, of course, nothing changed. Nathan became all too sorely aware of this in chemistry class, the only daily lesson where he experienced the blissful suffering of sitting within earshot distance from his love, his life, Fia. He sat with his head resting dopely in his hand, spinning a pencil absentmindedly in the other, listening meditatively to her beautiful words aimed towards her lab partner, Drew. Who also happened to be the biggest wanker jock in the school. And who also happened to be Fia’s macho boyfriend.

Nathan always writhed internally as he analysed their conversation like a wildlife narrator. Fia, with her insights and opinions and troubles; and Drew, with his disinterest in anything that wasn’t football or keeping up the popularity façade with his trophy lady by his side. Nathan knew that they didn’t belong together. It was as though they simply tolerated one another to remain the poster couple of Sourbean High. And he was always so disappointed by this. She was better than that.

Today was no different to any other. Nathan lovingly eavesdropped whilst Fia spoke her mind and Drew nodded without any response in his eyes.

“It’s called the Bechdel Test,” she was explaining. “It’s how feminists judge whether a piece of film or literature falls within the boundaries of equality, an easy way to measure sexism in ... hey, are you listening to me?”
“Uh-huh,” Drew answered unresponsively.
“Ok, well, how it works is like this: there are three rules. The first is that the story has to have at least two female characters in the plotline. The second is that they have to actually talk to each other. And the final rule is that their conversation has to be about something other than a man. Any article of media which...”

“Fia!” a voice struck through the air so fierce that even Nathan snapped out of his snooping slumber, shoving his pupils out towards the front of the class where Mrs Dobsin tapped her desk in fury. “Did you hear what I just said?”

“Uhm, no Miss, I’m sorry...” Fia began in embarrassed submission, so feeble that Nathan felt his love guts ascending into an automatic stance of defence for the girl of his everything, even though he would never dare rise himself. Instead, he breathed rapidly through his nose as the teacher continued her assault.

“I was saying, that the next assignment you are required to submit must explore reaction speeds and is due in two weeks. This will count towards fifteen percent of your final grade, and everyone needs to decide on his or her lab partners by the end of play today. Do you have a lab partner for this project, Fia?”

“Uhm, well me and Drew always...” Fia began before she was abruptly cut off by Mrs Dobsin’s barbed tongue once again.

“You and Drew? Ha, I don’t think so! You two experiment with enough chemistry after hours, I imagine,” the teacher returned with an aggressive prod, and the class laughed at the blood tinting Fia’s cheeks. This, once again, hurt Nathan by proxy. Who the hell did this lady think she was anyway? She had only recently been transferred to this building from Budstop Preschool, and she had not yet earned the right to talk to Fia in that way, as far as Nathan was concerned. I mean, she had taught little kids! What did she know about the complexities of teenagehood? Nevertheless, his fury remained sealed as Mrs Dobsin marched her authority forward.

"Let's see..." she pondered, scanning the class. "Ok, Drew, how about we put you with Edwice Jordan at the back there..."

"Aw, Miss! Edwice? That narc? Can't we just..."

"Drew, you're on thin ice as it is, my friend. I wouldn't play a game you can't win, if I was you. Pack your stuff, not another word. And as for you Fia, let's see... I think we'll put you together with Nathan over there, that sounds like a good move."

Nathan’s entire upper body collapsed within itself. Did she just say my name? Did she just partner Fia up with me? His palms burst with instant puddles as his sockets stretched outwards. He searched the room frantically for confirmation or perhaps a quick death, but all he could see was Fia. She had turned her head ever so slightly towards him to offer a one-eyed look of dismay with the undeniable scent of annoyance, and then turned away just as quickly in defeat, the first indication that she even knew who he was.

In a panic, Nathan looked straight ahead towards Mrs Dobsin again, hoping for an escape, but instead swore that he saw her throw him a sly little wink.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 3 - Here we see Nathan sitting in the cafeteria, stroking patterns into his hard mashed potato with a water-stained fork.


Two bells later, and here we see Nathan sitting in the cafeteria, stroking patterns into his hard mashed potato with a water-stained fork. His energy had introverted deeper than ever, but the three individuals he shared his table with did not notice his unusually distracted presence or his newly clear-faced appearance.

In a school of exaggerated cliques, their group was affectionately dubbed ‘the loners’. This was not only because they were such community rejects that they were forced to share their lunch space out of necessity, but also because they were so awkward that they could hardly even bear the company of one another, spending their food time in silence and never associating beyond the wooden surface holding their lukewarm lunches.

Like some routine teenage movie, Nathan always thought, the stereotypes of high school became the most obvious during this break time. The nerds sat in close proximity to the loners, not only in the context of this designated eating area, but also on the social ladder, perhaps a rung or two above Nathan and his counterparts. At least they got good grades, participated in intense games of afterschool chess, and had their own superstars in some relative manner. In the midsection, we had the giggling stoners, the smelly fish-breeds, the gothic emos, and the enthusiastic Christians, who may have been closed niche groups, but still had the numbers and unique characteristics which earned them some level of respect from all sides. And then, of course, we had the kings at the top of the hypothetical pyramid. The wannabe rockstars. The theatre primadonnas. The football heroes. And the cheerleaders who piggybacked to the social apex using their looks alone. Which was where Fia was seated right now, laughing at something, not thinking of Nathan.

That's because nobody thought about the loners. They were the dust beneath the ladder. The soot scraped onto the floor after the rest of the participants had climbed above them and nested into their spots. The bullies didn't even pick on them, they were far too insignificant and invisible to even notice, for which a part of Nathan was grateful. He wouldn't know what to do if anyone spoke to him. He wouldn't know which words to use.

Nathan analysed this tired segregation often, and this was usually the point of the contemplation where he cursed the hell out of adolescence and considered the most painless ways of simply vanishing out of the world once and for all. But today, he did not get that far, for his stream of negativity was broken by a thundering choking sound followed quickly by a mass commotion of frenzied voices.

Chairs scattered in all directions as students jumped to their feet in a panic, everyone bouncing around a certain boy who was producing more clamour than anyone else. It took a few moments for Nathan to figure out what the cause of this upset was, but soon it became apparent that one of the stoner kids was choking on something, waving his hands as if he was drowning while his face turned as red as his eyes. “Somebody help!”, “He’s choking!”, “Oh my God, he’s going to die!” were some of the phrases bouncing around the room without a single person actually doing a goddamn thing.

Nathan couldn’t tell you what happened next, but I can. He casually stood up, strolled over to the frothing stoner victim, embraced him in a bear hug from behind, placed two thumbs beneath the vibrating ribcage, and jabbed this hands as hard as he could into the poor bastard’s guts. One shot, and a chicken bone blasted out of his throat like a pistol, full speed into a nearby overturned chair, and ricocheting at such a high speed that it knocked a hole into the ceiling. When Nathan’s consciousness returned, he was surrounded by applause without any idea of what had just happened.

“Dude, you saved my life!” the stoner gasped.
“What?” responded Nathan, eloquently.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 4 - But somewhere between his chest and his stomach, he knew it to be true. This was her sound. It harmonised with the face.


For the first time since Nathan could recall, he felt more depressed going home than staying at school. After he understood what he'd done during that lunchtime, the remainder of his day sped along, his face continually greeted by a stream of smiles as the feeling of heroism elated his demeanour. Normally, his bedroom was his sanctuary and his mom was his only companion. However, during the course of his championed day, he had started to realise how small his room seemed; that there was a slight damp stench to his house; and how emotionally cold his mother felt, especially when she refused to inform him who his dad was over yet another burnt dinner.

Which is why his mood sank deeper with each step into his house, the proud aura of his unusual day dampened into obsoleteness, and by the time he passed by his mother he was in such a state that he didn’t even greet her, instead ducking off up the stairs. She didn't seem to notice. He slammed his bedroom door behind himself in an anger he couldn't quite establish the midpoint of, and turned to hurl his skinny body onto his mattress. But then he hesitated. There, neatly folded and stacked upon his bed, were a pile of clothes he had never seen before. He cautiously approached the garments, and found a note placed on top of them that simply read ‘Wear These’. The smell of newness wafted into his nostrils, and he struggled to comprehend where such a gift had come from. He never got new clothes. They couldn't afford them, as he had been reminded of time and time again.

"Mom!" Nathan called down the stairs to question, but his shouts were disrupted by the sound of their house phone ringing. This was an unusual event, sure, but not unheard of, as pesky call centres or money scammers had their ways of calling everyone's number now and again.

He heard the muffled sound of his mother's timid voice answering suspiciously, and he turned to retreat back into his bedroom to patiently await his chance to query the new additions to his wardrobe. And that's when he heard his confused mom squeak out to him in all her feeble glory. "Nathan!" she quivered. "Nathan, the phone is for you."

A phone call for Nathan? The idea was so far beyond foreign that both his mom and himself would have had a hard time remembering if it’d ever happened before. As if today hadn't been weird enough, who would be calling him? Who even had his name and number paired together as one?

He descended the creaky stairs slowly in apprehension, but by the last step he had substantially upped his pace, suddenly overwhelmed with excitement as to who had something so important to tell him that they had called his house at this late afternoon hour. He skipped up to his equally perplexed mother and hastily grabbed the receiver from her hand, slapping the contraption to the side of his face and blurting out "hello??" a little too eagerly.

"Hello? Nathan?" a female's voice crackled into his ear.
"Yes?" Nathan responded, frantically trying to piece together a name that matched these vocal sounds. Was it a teacher? A relative?
"Hey! It's me. It's Fia."

A part of his mind presented the word 'impossible'. Another part laughed at someone's idea of a practical joke, good one. But somewhere between his chest and his stomach, he knew it to be true. This was her sound. It harmonised with the face. It was the voice he'd heard from a distance so many times before. And it had said his name.

Now, Nathan was never very assertive at the best of times, but on this occasion his vocal chords had imploded and blocked his windpipe, obstructing any air from entering his system, and there he stood for the longest time known to man, convinced he was about to faint on the spot.

"Hello?" Fia spoke again, louder and more awkward this time. "Are you still there?"
"Y... yurp. Here..." Nathan forced out whatever words he could from his lungs into a whisper, thankful as she resumed her speech.
"Hey! Uhm ... I hope this isn't a bad time or anything, uhm, I just, I got your number from the phone list at school and just thought, you know, we should talk about the chemistry project?"

The sudden purpose of the call relieved his nerves a bit. She wasn't here confessing her love, like he'd dreamed so many times before. She wasn't here to call him a freak who must stay away from her either, which was even more likely. No, this was merely a call to deal with a school agenda. They were lab partners now somehow, and it was only normal that lab partners spoke to one another.

"Yeah," he began slowly, gaining confidence. "Yeah, of course, hi Fia! The project, we need to discuss the project, of course that's what we must do."
"Great!" her enthusiasm returned which stiffened his bone marrow once more. "Well, stop me if you think is dumb, but I was thinking we could maybe look at how different particle sizes of reactants may change the speed of their chemical reactions, maybe? Or something like that? Do you think that’s a good idea? What do you think?"

He wanted to tell her that he thought she was the smartest girl in the world. He wanted to say that he'd always thought that and, for some unfair reason, she was also the prettiest girl in the world, and she was wasting all these precious offerings on a guy like Drew. He wanted to release all the things he'd held hidden for the past several years, but in the end, he did not have the guts. Which was probably for the best, I'm sure you'll agree.

"Yeah, that's a nice idea," he managed, and her voice opened from the encouragement.
"Great!" she said again. "Because, you know, I got an A on that antacid soda pop assignment last year and I feel like it's a topic I really understand. I think we could really impress Mrs Dobsin with that one," and then without waiting for a response, she trailed off and paused. And when she continued talking, her voice had lowered into a new subject. "You know, I saw you in the cafeteria today. That was really something. You saved his life, Nathan, you really did."

The memory of today's events re-exposed the hero seed only recently discovered, and his confidence shrub sprouted once again.

"Oh, that? Nah, anyone would have done it. And I'm sure he would have been fine anyway."
"Don't play your courage down, dude," she informally instructed. "You were the only one who didn't panic like the rest of us. You took initiative. That takes a lot."

The conversation went on for a bit longer and although it was brief, it ended with the plan to meet up after school the following day. Once he'd hung up the phone, Nathan felt his soul elevate onto a giant podium of love, as he once again truly contemplated the idea that maybe things would actually be different for him from now on.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 5 - Sticking its split tongue out of its frothy rabid mouth, as if politely greeting him.


This notion was short lived. For it didn’t matter that when Nathan awoke the following morning, his skeleton was slightly larger, he was an inch taller, his muscles had ever so noticeably tightened, and his vision had sharpened to 20/20, rendering his glasses useless. It didn’t matter that he now donned new expensive clothing, which drifted with the scent of potpourri freshness, and came complete with those brand labels you saw on the Orbit Street fashion screens. It didn’t even matter that when he walked down the halls of Sourbean High that morning, he was considered to be a hero and everyone suddenly knew his name.

No, what mattered was where he stood right now, face-to-face with Drew, who had one fist scrunching Nathan’s modern silk collar beneath his Adam’s apple, and the other fist hovering in the air like a wasp, ready to jab into Nathan’s face.

It’s such a pity, really, because that day had gone so well up until this very point, with Nathan placing some books into his locker, basking in the warmth of his new celebrity status and trying to plough through these welcoming distractions just to remember what class he had to attend next. And that’s when he heard his name blaring down the corridor like a foghorn: “NATHAN!”. The aggression of the sound straightened his spine, and the sight of Drew charging towards him like a tractor with knives in his eyes was enough to evaporate any personality he may have grown over the last 24 hours.

And then there they were, the still relatively scrawny Nathan pulled up onto his toes by the much bigger football superstar, Drew, with the threat of a punch still lingering in the air. As is the monkey nature of high school, a crowd of students had already swarmed the scene, a buzz of excitement as all phones were set to record, the suggestion of a fight filling the air with testosterone and hyper-electric murmurings.

“NATHAN!” Drew shouted for the third or fourth time, despite the fact that they were less than a cigarette’s distance apart. “What’s this story I heard about you chatting to Fia on the phone last night, huh? Oh Lord, when I heard this, I knew it surely couldn’t be true. You talking to my girl, no, not this fucking loser.”
“No, I...” Nathan stuttered. “I... we were... we have the chemistry...”
“N... n... no... w... w.. w...” Drew mimicked, encouraged by the approving laughter of his surrounding chums. “I bet it was the best moment you’ve ever had, wasn’t it, boy...” (it was) “...talking to the hottest girl in school—my girl! Bet you felt something real for the first time in your fucking life...” (he did) “...and I bet you luuuurve her...” (oh God yes, he did) “...I bet you want to fuck her...” (he’d had that terrifying thought before) “...isn’t that right, you little asswipe? Huh? You want to fuck her, don’t you? Answer me!”
The fist by his throat tightened its grip, and Nathan began to choke. “I... no, I...” he wasn’t even sure what the correct answer to such a loaded question would be. He was certain either one would end in a pummelling anyway. It was inevitable.

Once he came to that conclusion, Nathan surrendered to it. He closed his mouth and looked down, away from the murderous eye contact and the eager fist lingering like a brick ready to kiss his face. And that’s when he noticed a lower locker by his left ankle that had slowly started to creep open...

“Everyone! I want you all to take a long hard look at Nathan, this pathetic stuttering mess. I almost feel sorry for the guy...”

...and out slid a small egg coloured snake about the size of a chopstick, moving forward ever so cautiously. Nathan had no fear of snakes, but the sight of this one definitely sent a spark to his heart, which thudded loudly off beat just once, and then reset as the snake appeared to lift its head upwards and look directly into his eyes, sticking its split tongue out of its frothy rabid mouth, as if politely greeting him...

“...but we have to teach the nobodies in our school that they have no place talking to someone of such a high stature as Fia...”

...the crowd were getting antsy. Bloodthirsty people began to chant for Drew to deliver the deathblow, but Drew was having too much fun bathing in the attention to call the curtain just yet. All the while, nobody but Nathan noticed the snake. It looked back down, faced ahead, paused for a second, and then struck out like a dart, injecting its fangs into Drew’s foot in a move so sudden that by the time Drew even registered the prickly pain, the snake had already disappeared back into the locker like an extinguished candle.

“...there will be consequences and OUCH!” Drew felt the nip and instinctively lifted his foot up, shooting a concerned look down towards his right shoe where no mark betrayed an entry point and the offender was nowhere to be seen. The momentary lapse in his speech was saved as Drew quickly regained his composure like a professional stage act and concluded: “And so, Nathan, my friend. Please do not take this personally. But you have to learn... have to learn... you have to learn that... a a lesson... here...”

Nathan first noticed it in Drew’s eyes. The whites began to glaze over with a shaky beige, and it didn’t take long for his face to follow, the regular healthy pink flush of his cheeks had slipped down his features, turning his skin grey as if he was aging decades before this confused crowd. Nathan felt the grip on his collar weaken as the raised fist trembled slightly, the mere act of holding it up now a weight Drew could no longer bear. His expression showed more fear at each syllable he couldn’t pronounce, all of which came to a grand finale when someone shouted “Everybody, look! Drew’s pissing himself!”

The crowd’s head, and Nathan’s head, and Drew’s head, all bowed in unison to witness the wet patch blossoming in the crotch of Drew’s shorts, followed soon enough by streams tearing down his legs, producing a yellow puddle of urine below his trainers. Drew looked up at Nathan in shock, a gaze which almost begged for help, and they both stood there, sharing this moment, fumbling over speech, two mouths swallowing air and looking ridiculous as the laughter screamed into the heavens until no words could even be heard, only fingers which shot like swords towards Drew’s expanding liquid waste in hysterics.

Eventually, even football legend Drew Amberson knew when he had been beat. He felt like he was going to vomit, he had been left a sudden mute, and rather than stand here in his own musky bladder juice, he let go of Nathan and ran, pushing passed a naturally repulsed crowd who split as fast as they could in order to avoid any contamination from Drew’s pee, the words ‘euw’ and ‘gross’ vibrating in his ears as he made his comical escape.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 6 - Eventually they concluded that they were already far ahead of their schedule, and spent the following two hours exploring one another’s conversation.


Not even the absurd events of the previous day were enough to prioritise themselves over the pure euphoria of spending three hours in the presence of Fia that evening. They had met in the school library after the final ring and despite Nathan’s initial vocal crippling anxiety towards Fia’s every mouth movement, fairly soon he relaxed into the swing of normality, as surprising as that was to even him.

Within the first hour, they had managed to harvest more than enough information to pursue an already hefty topic, working in unison like two arms, an incredibly cooperative duo, each applauding their corresponding working style more than once over the duration of their exchanges. Eventually they concluded that they were already far ahead of their schedule, and spent the following two hours exploring one another’s conversation. A few days ago, the very notion of such a magical interaction would have spiralled Nathan into a panic, but in this moment he felt completely at ease, allowing his speech to flow almost better than he would have managed with an old friend—if he ever had any of those, of course.

If you gave him a chance, Nathan could probably recite the entire dialogue word for word, but the part that dominated his interest was when the topic turned to Drew himself.

“Ugh, I’m so sorry for that imbecile,” she started with an apology. “Sometimes he is the stereotypical jock, you know? So concerned with his reputation. It can turn him into a genuine ass at times.”
“So why are you with him?” Nathan inquired, exposing the question he’d fantasised about for so many years.
“I ask myself that often enough,” she sighed. “And I wish I had some articulate answer to that, I really do. Habit? Familiarity?” she laughed. “I have my doubts every day. I’m not entirely convinced we even belong together. Sometimes it’s like we simply tolerate one another to remain the power couple of Sourbean High. I am pretty sure he’s only with me to fuck me, if I’m honest.”

This response was unfathomably identical to what Nathan had always imagined, and his brain cogs whirred with a million more questions intended to break down any walls of affection Fia may have developed for this Neanderthal, but his thought train derailed when this angel mentioned the F-word. It didn't suit her, like a crack on a frame, but in that way was even more attractive. Worse still was the context, this idea of Drew and Fia trading bodily fluids drowned him with a tearful rage and he shifted painfully in his seat. Fia noticed his discomfort, and laughed.

“Haha, sorry, I know how that sounds, and don’t worry, we haven’t done ... that. We’ve done ... stuff, but not that. I haven’t done it with anyone.”

Nathan found this information hard to swallow, but knew she had no reason to be insincere. Having a sexless relationship was not exactly a badge of honour in this school. But the fact that this flawless creature was still untouched made her appear so pure that a light radiated from her head like a halo within his imagination, and before he contemplated any repercussions, he blurted out: “Me too! I’m a virgin too!”

He coiled backwards at the sound of his own voice. Of course he was, and of course Fia knew he was. But rather than laughing or swearing, she nodded as if deep in thought, taking it in.

“I think it’s for the best, you know,” she concluded. “My mom got knocked up real young when she had me. They never said so, but I’m pretty sure that’s the reason they got divorced in the end. Because of me.”
Nathan smiled at this, in a daydream. “Yeah, that’s crazy.”
“What’s crazy?” Fia’s tone turned sharp. “Are you even listening to me?”
“Yes, of course!” Nathan slammed back into reality. “It’s just ... crazy. My parents also had me really young, and my Dad left us shortly after, I never even met him. I just find it crazy how similar our stories are, that’s all.”
Fia’s temperature reset to default, and she smiled too.
“Yeah, I guess they are, huh? Both of us just pathetic virgins with a dysfunctional upbringing,” and at that, they laughed in unison.
“Oh, Nathan, if only I had a guy like you,” she said between giggles, and a sudden lump of disturbance choked Nathan’s laughter as needles shot down into his diaphragm and mutated into a hiccup. He had a fleeting urge to ask Fia all the questions he’d suffocated on for so many years, but she ripped the floor from right under his momentum with a sigh. “But instead I’m stuck with old jocky Drew himself.”

In hindsight, Nathan was glad he didn’t prematurely blow his love load onto their special conversation, and smoothed his poise relatively quickly by veering the topic elsewhere. “Is he ok? Drew, I mean. He seemed really sick earlier on, just before...”
“He peed himself?” Fia half laughed as she rolled her eyes. “He’ll live. He says he’s fine, he’s just really ego-bruised, which isn’t surprising. Hey, as long as he makes the Summer Dance next weekend, I don’t really care how he feels,” she laughed heartily to that, and then moved on to: “Are you going to the dance? Do you have a date?”
“Me? Oh, yeah, sure. I mean, no, but I’ll get one,” he lied.
“I’m sure you will, now that you’re the school hero!” Fia stated, ruffling his hair as she did so, which sparked electricity down every follicle and straight into his skull, turning all of his serotonin pockets upside down, pouring happy juices like honey through every crevice of his brain until the roof of his mouth tasted like peppermint ice cream.

“Say, that gives me an idea,” Fia continued. “There’s a massive party at Julie’s house this Saturday. You wanna come?”

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 7 - Nathan looked down to find a card facing upwards from his crotch area, and he picked it up to inspect it closer. There he found himself staring at an image of his own face.


The rest of the week felt uneventful for Nathan in comparison with that meet up, but for us average viewers, it still had its fair share of miraculous moments. For example: Nathan’s deep sleeping routine, awakening each morning a little more chiselled, a little more defined, and a little more handsome. Or that one daybreak he awoke to find metal in his mouth, and was taken aback to spit out tiny bits of wire until he realised his braces had literally slid off during the night, leaving behind perfectly straight, glistening white teeth.

Another even more interesting afternoon was when one of his newly acquired female admirers cut and styled his hair for him, serving to frame his already improved face even better, the whole favour ending with a quick kiss to send her home. Or the Thursday, when he found a significant amount of money had accidentally been transferred into his bank account, which he decided to keep quiet about for now.

People spoke to him and weren’t repulsed by his nervous speech and awkward mannerisms—on the contrary, they seemed to respond to it with a friendly endearment. The physical changes were alarming, as his muscles exaggerated outward to push their definitions to the skin, while his height stretched a few inches, and his whole body darkened without a pimple or rash in sight. Yes, it’s safe to say that Nathan had started to feel really blissful in recent days, but the miracle of these personal and social transformations were almost lost on him, as these improvements seemed trivial in comparison to the degree of longing he ached for Fia. The moments they had spent together and the smiles they exchanged during school hours drove him mentally unwell, his love amplifying to such volumes that they disintegrated all interest in anything else, his only focal point on the days left until Saturday.

Time is a mischievous concept, but no matter how much it toys with your emotions by slowing down when an exciting event approaches, it always ends up where you are going, and Saturday did arrive eventually. Nathan wore the most expensive button-up shirt from his new collection he could find, sprayed himself with Super Casserole’s Damp™ Cologne which he’d recently purchased, and left the house with a dance when the car finally pulled up to take him away from the hole he called home. However, when he climbed into the backseat, he wasn’t greeted with the happy faces he had expected.

“It’s a damn tragedy, Nathan,” Fia overstated as she nervously rode out of his driveway. “Julie’s booze connection fell through, and now the party has no alcohol whatsoever!”
“And what’s a party without alcohol?” the girl to Nathan’s left whined. He recognised her as another member from the cheerleading squad, and was pretty sure her name was Diane. Riding shotgun was Cleo, who Nathan knew very well by reputation as one of the bitchiest and sluttiest girls in the whole school. He had always secretly tagged Cleo as ‘evil’ and a ‘whore’ in his mind, but he had to admit that riding in this cardboard car with the highest quality of popular specimens, he suddenly didn’t think any of them were that bad anymore.

They pulled up onto El Diario Street and then turned left onto Orbit Street, reluctantly aiming their journey towards Julie’s dry home in sad silence, when Cleo shattered the air.
“Fukkit! Fukkit all to Hell!” she swore. “I knew I should have got that fake ID last summer, I just fucking knew it!”
“I know!” Fia echoed the sentiment. “If only my mom hadn’t have found mine in November, then we’d all be laughing!”

The conversation continued at those increasingly higher pitches that only girls can reach, while Nathan did not have the first clue how to contribute. He was out of his element. Fake IDs? Alcohol? What kind of criminal activity did these girls partake in after hours? He felt uneasy and tried to look busy by gazing out of the window, dreaming of his vintage second-hand toy car collection and softcore porn magazines under his bed.

They stopped at a red light without ceasing the fire of complaints, when a bicycle pulled up alongside Nathan’s door. He admired the wheels connecting to the silver frame until his eyes rose and met the rider’s, which were staring right back at his own. It was a man who looked far too old to be safely exerting himself by cycling in the busy Orbit Street traffic, but he had not even broken a sweat, rather his relaxed face was mouthing something calmly at Nathan himself.

The sight of this elderly gentleman granting Nathan attention offered him a sense of serenity, and his hand automatically wound down his window to greet the man with a smile. Instead, as soon as there was enough of an open gap between them, the bicycle rider threw a tiny object through the space, which landed perfectly onto Nathan’s lap, and then he rode away with a wink into non-existence. Nathan looked down to find a card facing upwards from his crotch area, and he picked it up to inspect it closer. There he found himself staring at an image of his own face.

It took a few clicks, but he quickly realised what it was at the exact same time his backseat partner did too.

“Oh my God!” Diane exclaimed as she snatched the card from his hands. “You have a fake ID! Holy shit, this looks so real! Why didn’t you say something, Nathan?”

The mood erupted into hysteria as the girls passed it around, all astonished by its condition, as well as chuckling at the fake ‘Jonas Standard’ name, which they all agreed suited Nathan perfectly.

“Where the hell did you get this?” Fia queried when it was her chance.
“I really can’t say,” Nathan responded in all honesty, and the girls oooh’d at his unintentional mystery.

A quick detour, one effortless bulk purchase of beer and vodka later, and the saviours of the party arrived to much cheer and celebration.
“I can’t believe you pulled it off, Fia! Thanks!” Julie praised as she helped carry a case inside.
“Don’t thank me,” Fia responded. “It was all Nathan. He even paid for it too!”
“That’s amazing, you’re a legend, Nathan!” Julie teased a blush into our protagonist's cheeks. “I guess Fia was right about you all along.”
“Shut up, Julie!” Fia shot at her friend, and then awkwardly turned to Nathan. “Ignore her, please!”
What did that mean? Nathan wondered. He wasn’t sure, but it felt good.

The party flared upon their entrance and, despite Nathan swearing to never drink (especially at some typical red-cup beer-pong downing-competition type of teenage pathetic scene party), he ended up right in the centre of it. He had only consumed three beers (which he hated the taste of) and a shot of something, but as it was his first meeting with alcohol, he definitely felt somewhat altered. And the deeper down the rabbit hole he slid, the looser he became, talking to everyone with full self assurance, most of whom knew him as ‘the hero’—the guy who saved lives, bought beer, and beat Drew in a fight—or so the rumours had intensified by this point. Naturally, our slightly intoxicated Nathan didn’t protest his reputation, and at times maybe even fuelling the flames with a few half-truths of his own.

What he didn’t count on, however, was when Drew turned up to the party, fashionably late and hearing these reports himself for the first time. “He fucking said what?” were the last words to come out of Drew’s mouth before he went on a mission to have a little talking to with Nathan. It didn’t take long, as Nathan was in the middle of the lounge, dancing like an 8-bit octopus which slammed on brakes and practically turned to stone when he noticed his archenemy approaching.

“I’m gonna fuck you up, you little prick!” the storming jock-tank spat as he tore down the carpet, leaving a streak of rage behind him. But he was quickly intercepted by a wall of defence.

“Leave him alone, Drew,” one student ordered.
“Haven’t you pissed yourself enough already?” mocked another guy Nathan didn’t recognise. More and more of these people came to the rescue, linking arms to hold Drew back while his face vibrated like a teapot, steam and all. It was in this instant that Nathan realised something. He was suddenly the most popular kid in school.

“Let me go!” Drew demanded. “This little shit has got it coming, I swear to fucking God, I’m going to kill him!” Drew struggled as saliva abandoned his mouth, and he didn’t stop viciously inching forward until once single voice shut him down completely.

“DREW! STOP!” It was Fia. She was blatantly beyond tipsy, and had her full-mode anger expression on. “You stop that right now, you hear me!?”

Drew was disarmed. “Fia? Don’t tell me you’re on this loser’s side too? This is bullshit! What the fuck is going on here? You’re my girlfriend, Fia!”

“Not anymore!” she barked, as the room fell silent. “I’m sick of you! I’m sick of your jocky-bullying! I’m sick of your football and your hair and your ... sweat glands! I can’t put up with this anymore! And I won’t. It’s over.”

Drew hesitated in disorientation, allowing this information to make home in his stomach, then snapped back into gear. “Oh really? Just like that?”
“Just like that, Drew. It’s over.”
Never one to display weakness, Drew just sneered. “Pfffft, well that’s fine by me. I was going to break up with you after summer, anyway. Good luck with the rest of your life, virgin,” and with that, he spun 180 and marched for the door, all the while shouting at everyone else along the way. “And good luck to the rest of you too, really! You’re all a fucking waste of my time!”
And that was it, out the door, Drew humiliated and evicted, Nathan all too aware that he had been spared a beating twice now by some miraculous intervention.

The relief stepped effortlessly into more celebration and by the eleventh hour Nathan was so drunk that he found himself hanging outside with various members of the stoner crew, giggling as they passed around a blunt which Nathan inhaled deeply like a professional, the only indication of his amateurism from the soggy lip mark he left behind on the smoking end. He fell beneath his own thoughts and was so engulfed by a conversation with the boy he had saved from choking, that he didn’t even register when someone yelled “Cops!” and by the time a giant spotlight had focused directly upon him with a marijuana cigarette drooping sadly from his mouth, it was far too late to run.

The remainder of the party hid and watched in horror as the cops reprimanded Nathan, loudly announcing that this kid had been found with an illegal substance in his possession and would be going straight to jail. They cuffed Nathan’s hands behind his back and assisted his wobbly legs towards the door, which was about the time his disabled brain managed to arrive into the weight of the situation, as he slowly reverted to his old self, pleading for freedom.

“Wait, no officer, please don’t...” he slurred as tears threatened to split his ducts, but his sentence was quickly severed by the cop to his left. “Listen, boy! You’re going down, you hear me! You’re going to do some hard time as an example to these other kids! Don’t make us arrest everyone here!” and then that same policeman shot Nathan a hurried wink.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 8 - Consisting exclusively of spectacularly ripe warm coloured flowers which spilled the air with the aroma of cinnamon.


When Nathan blasted through the doors of Sourbean High the following Monday morning, he was impervious to the whispers behind his every step. As far as the hallways were concerned, he had spent the weekend in jail so that no one else got busted, perhaps for selling weed, or robbing a liquor store, or even beating Drew to borderline death—when in reality, the cop car had simply dropped him off at his house without a word exchanged.

And now he walked with a furious purpose as the crowd peeled out of his way like a stripped orange, fearful yet intrigued by this boy who had swiftly risen to the very pinnacle of the foodchain in just over a week. But these meagre stirrings did not even fall upon his radar. Instead, he navigated each corner with his eyes biting forward and his hands hidden behind his back, until he reached his destination and found what he was looking for. Fia.

She was searching within the depths of her locker when she noticed him approaching.
“Hey, Nathan!” she cheerfully greeted, but he had no intention of formalities, rather producing a skilfully organised bouquet, consisting exclusively of spectacularly ripe warm coloured flowers which spilled the air with the aroma of cinnamon. The corridors slowed to a halt as the aura of suspense reached even the students who were nowhere near the locker area, and no one dared to speak until Nathan addressed the only person in the world.
“Fia, would you please do me the honour of going to the Summer Dance with me?”

Their roles had reversed. A tranquil confidence exuberated from his skin whilst her head had hit a dead end, her mouth stuck on one shape like the centre of a vinyl. Nathan waited patiently as she gradually gained her vowels one by one, and eventually connected the dots to fervently spurt out “Yes! Yes, of course, I’d love to!”

She threw her small arms around his neck and their lips met in a deep kiss, blessed by the clamouring sound of applause from an army of hands approving from all corners of the Universe.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 9 - And were in each other’s arms on the dancefloor before the first chorus had kicked in, still continuing the same conversation which had already lasted for days.


The sun set itself on the night of the Summer Dance, and Nathan’s driver picked up Fia in a pink limo he couldn’t quite explain. They drank litchi juice until they arrived at the school’s shabby red carpet, and between his cocaine-white suit and the yellow skin-tight dress he’d gifted her, it was safe to say that they were the hottest couple on the scene.

But neither curious eyes nor jealous cusses could penetrate the bubble that surrounded them. Nathan, now the personification of serenity, donning his new status like a second skin, head high in carefree awareness of his admirers. Fia, glued to this boy who strolled around his room, honoured to be the one on his arm, floating like the luckiest lady in all the world.

They had spoken and texted everyday since his proposal, and by now their rapport was so quick that any bystander would have had difficulty keeping up. They shared in-jokes at which they laughed to tears and had an array of pet names to suit any occasion. They spoke exclusively to one another without interest in anyone else, only offering polite greetings when they filled their cups with fruit punch.

The DJ’s selection slowed from danceable chart hits down to quiet classics to aid the adolescents into intimacy, much to the students' gratitude, and much to the teachers’ mistrust. Nathan and Fia required no further persuasion, and were in each other’s arms on the dancefloor before the first chorus had kicked in, still continuing the same conversation which had already lasted for days, extracting every detail from one another’s thoughts as fast as possible.

“So, tell me,” the girl took the lead. “When did you first notice me? When did you decide you had feelings for little old Fia?”
A fleeting glint of his old self fluttered into his throat and he was briefly at risk at uncovering his ancient desperation which had stalked the thought of this girl from the moment he saw her many years ago, but he swallowed it down fast enough, and gave the wheel back to his new composed character.

“Chemistry class. I noticed you once accidentally spill calcium carbonate onto your skirt and it was love at first sight.”
“Haha!” she erupted. “I remember that day! Haha, you weirdo!” She gave his arm a pinch.
“Ok, my turn,” he chuckled. “When did you notice I existed? The cafeteria, I suppose?”
“Hmmmm,” she squinted. “No, it was before that. I guess it was, like, two or three years ago? You made that science fair project of a model train which electrocuted everyone, didn’t you? I thought that was hilarious.”

This response naturally took Nathan by surprise. All this time, she had known who he was while he lived in certainty that no one in the school had any idea he was even alive, least of all her. He smiled at this recent information as his love pushed their roots even deeper into his already cluttered heart, and he responded the only way he knew how: by leaning in to give her a kiss of appreciation.

His lips smacked nothing but air, and when he opened his eyes in bewilderment, he was falling backwards from her arms, confused as to what was happening until his back collided into the floor. Dazed, he looked up from his new angle only to find Drew’s face towering above him, with a smirk pulling the corners of his mouth but hate distorting his face.

“Get up, you prick,” he demanded, and Nathan obeyed, disorientingly getting onto his feet whilst just enough kids circled the episode to obscure the view of any adult supervision, as Fia tried her best to intervene.
“Drew, enough is enough!” She cried, but was shushed by the severity of the football star’s stern voice.
“Enough is enough is correct! This has all gone on for far too long, and I’m sick of it, you hear? Sick. Of. It. I mean, look, I’m a reasonable guy, am I not? And I want to end this once and for all, just like we all do. It’ll only take one shot, okay Nathan? One fist to your little faggot jaw, and then the debt has been paid, and there will be no further issues from me, I promise. What you say, Nathan? You want to put this behind us? Just one punch. Do we have a deal?”

“Deal!” Nathan responded as he forced his own fist directly into the jock’s nose. A sound resembling the snapping of celery cracked louder than the music, as blood appeared instantaneously down Nathan’s wrist and Drew turned white before crumbling like a rickety wall, smashing into the dancefloor in time with the beat. The ooooh of the crowd echoed as Drew’s friends rushed to assist their fallen leader, while Nathan casually turned to finish that kiss with Fia, who could barely move her tongue as she was erased blank from the previous few seconds.

And as they stood there with the slow jams drifting around their ears; the bustle of people trying to drag Drew out of the building; the warm blood drying on Nathan’s cuff; and this very kiss of victory, our protagonist became profoundly aware that nothing supernatural had taken place here. The coincidences that had lead up to this point had been eerie, he could not deny that, but this punch had come from his true self—his soul. He knew he had officially crossed over now. The old him was dead and gone, and this new person he had transformed into was in utter control. Things were truly going to be just fine from here on out. He knew it.

“Alright, settle down,” the loud speaker commanded, drowning out the fading music and bringing Nathan back to the real moment. “Is everyone having a good party? Yeah? Wonderful! Well, the event we have all been waiting for is upon us, and it is time to announce the summer king and queen of Sourbean High! I have the winners right here in my hand, is everyone ready?”

Amongst the cheers to the principal's words, Nathan leant over to Fia’s ear.
“Do you think we’re going to win?” he asked.
“I don’t care,” was Fia’s reply. “I don’t even want to be here. I just want to be alone with you.”
“Me too,” Nathan agreed. “Should we just get out of here?"

Fia smiled and nodded, and they left the party without hearing that they had, in fact, won the crowns.

The Goat's Nest Short Stories Presents: Antacid Soda Pop, Chapter 10 - The smell of mustard drenched the night.


The netball benches were infamous for the unsavoury acts of underage affection they had so often witnessed, as the notorious hotspot for school kids hoping to snag a quick make-out session at school. Which was why it was so surprising to Fia that no one else was currently occupying this cold space, especially on this designated night of romance, but the solitude was absorbed by her gratitude. Already attached by the lips for the last few paces, the anticipation of each other stalled as Nathan lay Fia down on one of the wooden slats with his hand behind her head to cushion her skull from the hard surface. Legs and arms and faces rubbed up against one another, their expensive outfits irrelevant to the task at hand.

Fia briefly separated their tongues to confess that “my virginity doesn’t feel so important when I’m with you, Nathan,” and the kissing resumed even thirstier after this admission, both quick to register this as the perfect moment in the perfect space at the perfect time to offer themselves to each other. The scent of lustful impatience spurred Fia to move more quickly, but Nathan counteracted the urgency by delaying each movement, his fingers lingering around Fia’s wettest area without entering it, only gently massaging the softness with his fingertips, allowing his kiss to symbolise his own hunger. And there they lay on the solid wooden bench, the cool wind the moon provided caressing their skin, Nathan’s hand movements restricted by Fia’s underwear, their soft sighs expressing their intentions.

Fia soon understood that she would have to make the move to complete the trade, as Nathan was too cautious and taking far too long for her preference. She clumsily unbuttoned his trousers and reached down into his underwear to locate his penis, which wasn’t difficult to find, as it was already hard and responsive, ready to do her bidding. Her cold hands wrapped around the organ like it was the end of a pool cue, and she began a slow but repetitive movement that she hoped she got right. His breath shortened and his previously concentrated kissing wavered with distraction, and she knew that this was exactly what she had been dreaming about for so long. The connection she had been resisting, was now ready, to be let go.

“Hold up,” she instructed, as her left thumb found the elastic between her panties and thigh, and then after some shuffling, were swiftly pulled down over her ankles, discarded onto the sandy concrete to the side of their spot. “Now, come over here.”

He nervously lay on top of her, the first time in his young adult life that his dick was fully exposed in front of another person, and she guided their entry points together while their kisses disclosed more than either of us could ever imagine. He kept his body still as she rubbed his favourite body part against hers until there was no friction, only a warm sliding motion between the two, and then she whispered, “just push”. And he did.

His manhood penetrated into the depths of her innocence, and in that exact moment, his skin began to bubble with warts the size of footballs. He yelped into the air like a wolf cub, and she screamed in a fearful response. The smell of mustard drenched the night, and a mere second later, Nathan exploded. Bits of blood and guts and meat immediately burst all over her dress and up her vagina and all over the surrounding netball walls. A few days later, the cleaners would be unable to explain their report, stating how they had needed ladders to scrub bits of skin off of the ceiling, but for now, there was only this moment where Fia was coated head-to-toe in Nathan’s muck, stuck to the bench by fear and the weight of human syrup, sobbing as her arms held onto nothing, her love completely gone like a popped balloon while Hell sucked his spirit downwards to the bottom of eternal suffering.

I guess he should have read the contract.