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Urban Legends

A Verse from the Koran

The Legend

Submitted in May of 2005

The following is a verse from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible)

Koran (9:11) -- For it is written that a son of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle, and the Eagle would fly on high and speak of the son of Arabia's abominable Works of Mad Desire. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced, for though the Works of Mad Desire were found not, the son of Arabia was driven from his hole of shame. Truly the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah of this particular scourge and there was, briefly, peace.

(variant)

Collected in 18th century America

In the Koran it says:

Koran (17:76) -- Truly it is written, from the sons of the Lion shall arise an Eagle, and the Eagle shall hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by almighty Allah with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, kings are sent to rule among men, deriving their just powers from the blessings of Allah and the word of their brothers.


Behind the Legend

We don't like to spend a lot of time discussing whether particular religious texts are historically accurate or not, largely because when we do so we always end up saying that they aren't and our server ends up crashing due to the massive influx of hate mail and death threats (long-time readers will recall the "Is the Bible correct when it implies that dinosaurs were vegetarians" fiasco). Fortunately, in this case, we don't have to go there.

We had not read the Koran, so we called on the expertise of a scholar of Islam at the University of Southern College Polytechnic, West Campus, in California. We asked her to look up the two citations listed above, but even before she located them we knew that these were not legitimate. It turns out that the Koran is written in this sort of squiggle language, and although we can't for the life of us read it, we're bright enough to know that it looks nothing like the text we were sent.

So the bottom line is, this stuff isn't in the Koran, so we don't have to say whether or not it is true. Whew!

One of the people who submitted this item asked us to discuss the parallels between these (false) citations and recorded history. Honestly, we can't think of any. The first one might be about a subscription to Mad magazine or something. It's really hard to tell with this obscure poetic stuff.


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