What are the fundamental beliefs of Islam as revealed in Surat 2 verses 255 through 260?
How does the writing style and messages of Surat 2:255-260 compare to one of Jesus's parables in the Bible and one of Chuang Tzu's pieces?
In chapter 2 of the Surat, verses 255 through 260 essentially describe Allah's characteristics, such as His almighty power and his infinite knowledge. Verse 255 states that Allah is the only god in existence and that everything both on earth and in the heavens belongs to Him. Plus, verse 255 claims that nothing can be accomplished in the world without His permission. Verse 255 also speaks of his all-knowing characteristic in that it says that everything will happen He already knows about, plus nothing happens without his will.
Verse 256 speaks specifically about Tahgut, meaning idolatry, or the worship of anything other than Allah, even of yourself. Specifically, the verse states that those who believe in Allah and reject idolatry accept what is true and follow the most "trustworthy" course in all they do because Allah is "Hearing and Knowing." Verse 257 continues in the same vein, saying that Allah will bring those who believe in Him "out of darkness and into the light," while those who are idolatrous will be brought "out of the light into darkness." The metaphor of "light" can refer to both knowledge and salvation, while "darkness" can refer to ignorance and condemnation. The concept of condemnation for rejecting Allah continues when the verse states that those who choose idolatry over Allah will be "companions of the Fire," which is also a clear metaphor referring to condemnation.
Three different parables can be seen in verses 258 through 260. Parables are allegorical stories used to "teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson" (Random House Dictionary). The first parable in 258 is aimed at describing Allah's power and what it means to disbelieve in Allah's existence. The parable uses Abraham as a character who argues with a disbeliever, asserting, "My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death." The disbeliever argues in reply, " I give life and cause death," meaning that he, even a human being, can create life through appropriation or even cause death through killing anything living. Abraham's retort is then to say, "Indeed, Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west." In other words, Abraham is asking the disbeliever to do something contrary to what naturally occurs in order to prove the disbeliever has the same powers as Allah, which of course cannot be done. By the end of the parable, the disbeliever is "astonished" into silence because his abilities were proven insignificant in comparison with Allah's abilities. The parables in verses 259 and 260 are aimed at describing Allah's power and might through his ability to raise the dead. Specifically, in verse 260, Abraham asks Allah to bring to life something that is dead, and Allah instructs him to slaughter four birds and put one each on a different hill, then to call the birds, saying that the birds "will come [flying] to you in haste." In verse 259, Allah argues that his ability to raise the dead serves as a "sign for the people" so that the people could see that Allah is "all things competent," meaning powerful.
Hence, some of the fundamental beliefs of Islam that we learn through these verses are that Allah is almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing and that those who choose to believe in him will have knowledge and salvation, while those who choose to be idolatrous, even preferring their own powers over Allah's will have ignorance and condemnation.