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The Qur’an

The Qur’an is the last of the sequence of holy books.  It was received by Muhammed over a period of about 23 years; it was spoken to him through the angel, Gabriel and is meant to depict God’s words to Mohammed.  The word “Qur’an” means “the recitation” because it was first only spoken; it was later written down after the death of Mohammed, in order that the ideas be preserved.  It was first written in Arabic, then translated into Persian and other languages.  It was meant to be the final book and therefore the final ideas and commandments of God’s will.  In The Qur’an, there is a big influence on gardens and feasts.  This is because God wishes to reveal that, if you follow his rules and are good, you will have good things return to you, such as gardens and happiness.  The feasts represent laws and rules that God gives–about what people can and cannot eat, how to eat the food, etc.–but the deeper meaning seems to be to again threaten followers that, if they do not follow rules and be good, that there will be bad consequences.  Essentially, “God has the power to do all things” (5. The Feast, page 9).  Essentially, those who do good, and follow God’s rules, and do good deeds, will be spared and forgiven.  He uses the ideas of the rules of the food (the feast) as an example of how to earn justice and mercy.  He keeps going back to the idea of being just and merciful to those who follow his rules and, by contrast, that those who do not follow his rules will be hurt in the end.  The retelling of the Joseph story is another example of God showing us right from wrong.  Joseph’s brothers were jealous and tried to get rid of Joseph and they were ultimately punished for doing this.  By contrast, because Joseph was a good man, no matter what terible events happened to him, he was able to overcome, succeed and in the end was saved, adored, revered and worshipped.  This shows us that people who do bad things or act on bad ideas, like jealousy, will only get hurt, whereas people who follow God’s law will ultimately be saved.

The Ramayana

The Ramayana and Odyssey have several similarities and differences. Both stories have a protagonist who is a hero: Rama and Odysseus. The main similarities between Rama and Odysseus is that they both get separated from their wives and take a long journey to get back home. The difference between both of their situation is that Odysseus leaves his wife and home for the war and Rama gets separated from his wife and home by a force. It makes the story slightly different from each other towards to the end. Rama gets back to his wife who was stolen by Ravana while Odysseus just gets back home to his wife. In the Ramayana, relationship plays a big role. When Rama’s wife Sita was with Ravana, she tries to commit suicide because she gets depressed after hearing Ravana’s words. She realizes that she can hang herself with her long hair on a tree, but she begins thinking about if it is right to do as a wife of Rama and a daughter of the city ruler, King Janak. It shows the strong relationship between Rama and Sita; Sita changes her mind not to commit suicide and Rama comes to rescue Sita. In the Ramayana, each character deals with individual conflicts. Rama says, “Tell me what I must do. I will obey my father even if he wishes me to drink poison and die.” It shows that he is very loyalty to his father. Rama conflicts with himself because of his loyalty to family, “My heart knows that Sita is pure. Yest my subjects force me to renounce my devoted wife for a second time.” It shows that loyalty plays in a role within himself. For Sita, she has a conflict with people from outside. She is fooled and naive.

Love in Plato’s Symposium and Aristophanes’s Lysistrata

The main theme of the dialogue Symposium by Plato and Aristophanes’s Lysistrata is love. Love is interpreted in many different aspects and beliefs in both stories. In Symposium, most people in the speech believe that love is a god and something good thing, “Love is a great god, wonderful in many ways to gods and men, and most marvelous of all is the way he came into being” (872, Plato). Pausanias brings a point that love has two types: Common and Heavenly love. Common love is the satisfaction of sexual desire and Heavenly love is the connection of souls by praising. Common love could be immoral because it leads to the strong desire of sexual attraction instead of soul. In Aristophanes’s Lysistrata, the protagonist Lysistrata uses the sexual desire to achieve her goal which is to bring a peace. She and her followers refuse to have sex until their husbands end the war. It indicates that Lysistrata uses “common love” to increase men’s desire of sexual attraction which lead men to do what women want. It shows that how people love each other involves in sexual desire, not the soul. Diotima in Symposium supports the idea of common love because the purpose of love is reproduction. She believes physical contact is necessary in love. In final, Socrates argues that love is neither beautiful nor ugliness; neither moral nor immoral. According to him, love cannot be beautiful because it leads to the desire of keeping what is beautiful.