God, the U.S., and the U.S.S.R, Quran 18:83-108
As I read the scriptural narrative of Dhul-Qarnayn (a name which literally translates as two horns or two spikes) it conjures up thoughts of another story; a story when two spikes in power gave rise to two horns leading the charge in the rivalry between the “socialist world” (ruled by socialist states and Communist parties) and the “western world” (countries with market economies) culminating in the Cold War between the Eastern Bloc and the “Free World”, in the fall of the Soviet Union, and in America as the Worlds’ only superpower.
83. They ask you concerning Dhul-Qarnayn (This name literally translates as two horns or two spikes) say, “I will rehearse to you something of his story (I see this story as reminiscent of the story of the United States’ rise to superpower).”
84. Indeed We established his (America’s) power on earth, and We allowed him means to an end.
85. He (first) went in one direction,
86. Until he reached the setting of the Sun (the first spike in America’s rise to power was striking westward into Native American and Mexican land, resulting in the sovereignty of the U.S. extended to its present borders. Ironically, the second spike for the U.S. was the first spike for the U.S.S.R. when it too expanded westward after defending itself from Nazi Germany and its allies, and with a brief alliance with the U.S., both the Soviet Union and the U.S. emerged victorious as the world’s two superpowers), he found it set in a spring of murky water (the American’s met the Native Americans and Mexicans with mixed emotions when they found the western frontier abundant, pristine, and full of natural resources, while they also felt the land was underutilized). Near it he found a people and We said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either challenge them, or treat them with kindness.”
87. He said, “Whoever does wrong, we will punish him, then will he be sent back to his Lord, and He will punish him with a punishment unheard-of (these words go for both sides of the conflict).
88. “But whoever believes and works righteousness, he will have an excellent reward, and easy will be his task as We order it by our command (these words also go for both sides of the conflict).”
89. Then he went in another direction,
90. Until he came to the rising of the Sun (the Far-East), he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the Sun.
91. He left them as they were (there was no significant engagement between the U.S., the U.S.S.R, and the Far-East prior to the World Wars). We completely understood what was before him (but as mentioned throughout this post, there would soon be historical engagement, most notably with China and Japan).
92. Then he went in another direction,
93. Until he reached a valley between two mountains (the countries lying between the Alps, known as the Eastern Bloc), he found between them a people who hardly understood a word (they were extremely uncompromising in diplomatic talks, which tragically lead to their involvement in two world wars).
94. They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, the Gog and Magog do wrong on earth. Shall we then pay you in order that you might erect a barrier between them and us?
95. He said, “That which my Lord offers me is better. Just help me with strength. I will erect a strong barrier between you and them (the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas with their own international economic and military alliances).
96. “Bring me blocks of iron.” Then, when he had filled up the space between the two steep mountainsides he said, “Blow!” Then, when he had made it as fire he said, “Bring me to pour over it, molten metal (the Berlin wall, initiated by the Soviets, came to symbolize the Iron Curtain, and although it was constructed by the Communist Bloc, it was in response to the Allied agenda lead by the U.S).”
97. From this they were made powerless to scale it, or to dig through it.
98. He said, “This is a mercy from my Lord, but when the promise of my Lord comes to pass, He will make it into dust, and the promise of my Lord is true.”
99. On that day We will leave them to surge like waves on one another. The trumpet will be blown, and We will gather them all together.
100. And We will present hell that day for unbelievers to see.
101. Those whose eyes had been under a veil from remembrance of Me (the second spike for the Soviets was the inverted spike which occurred after instituting State Atheism, and after becoming the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion and its replacement with atheism), and who even had been unable to hear.
102. Do the unbelievers think that they can take My servants as protectors besides Me? Indeed We have prepared hell for the unbelievers as a destination.
103. Say, “Shall we tell you of those who lose most in respect to their deeds?
104. “Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works?”
105. They are those who deny the signs of their Lord, and the fact of their having to meet Him. Vain will be their works, nor will We on the Day of Accountability, give them any consideration.
106. That is their reward, hell. Because they rejected faith, and took My signs and Mymessengers, and ridiculed them.
107. As to those who believe and do righteous deeds, they have for their destination the gardens of paradise,
108. Wherein they will dwell forever. No defection will they seek.
Although the steps to power taken by the United States’s was not necessarily better than those taken by the Soviet Union, it was our faith in God, reflected in our National motto “In God We Trust”, which will forever set us apart.