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The Seventh Berth: Excerpt 7 from The Atheism Delusion by Ahmed Al Hasan

Gilgamesh and Joseph pbuh

In his first journey Gilgamesh was victorious, and killed the satan Humbaba. He then returned to Uruk and wore his crown for the second battle to begin, the one against the temporal life (the goddess Ishtar or Inanna):



Then did Gilgamesh put on his crown.

On the beauty of Gilgamesh Lady Ishtar looked with longing:

‘Come, Gilgamesh, be you my bridegroom!

Grant me your fruits, O grant me!

Be you my husband and I your wife!


Let me harness you a chariot of lapis lazuli and gold,

its wheels shall be gold and its horns shall be amber.

Driving lions in a team and mules of great size,

enter your house amid the sweet scents of cedar!


‘As you enter our house

doorway and footstool shall kiss your feet!

Kings, courtiers and nobles shall kneel before you…


[Gilgamesh] opened his mouth to speak,

[saying] to the Lady Ishtar . . .

. . . .

‘[Who is there] would take you in marriage?

[You, a frost that congeals no] ice

a louvre-door [that] stays [not] breeze nor draught,

a palace that massacres . . . warriors,


‘an elephant which . . . its hoods,

bitumen that [stains the hands] of its bearer,

a waterskin that [cuts the hands] of its bearer

limestone that [weakens] a wall of ashlar,


‘a battering ram that destroys [the walls of] the enemy,

a shoe that bites the foot of its owner!

What bridegroom of yours did endure for ever?

What brave warrior of yours went up [to the heavens?]…


The goddess Ishtar [heard] these words,

she [went up] to heaven in a furious rage.

[Weeping] she went to Anu, her father,

before Antu, her mother, her tears did flow:


‘O father, again and again does Gilgamesh scorn me,

telling a tale of foulest slander,

slander about me and insults too.’


Anu opened his mouth to speak,

saying to the Lady Ishtar:

Ah, but was it not you who provoked King Gilgamesh,

so he told a tale of foulest slander,

slander about you and insults too?


Ishtar opened her mouth to speak,

saying to her father, Anu:

‘Father, give me, please, the Bull of Heaven,

so in his dwelling I may slay Gilgamesh!


‘If you do not give me the Bull of Heaven,

I shall smash [the gates of the Netherworld, right down] to its dwelling,

to the world below I shall grant [manumission,]

I shall bring the dead to consume the living,

I shall make the dead outnumber the living.’


Anu opened his mouth to speak,

saying to the Lady Ishtar:

‘If you want from me the bull of Heaven,

let the widow of Uruk gather seven years’ chaff,

[and the farmer of Uruk] grow seven years’ hay.’


[Ishtar opened her mouth] to speak

[saying to] her father, Anu:

‘ . . . . . . . . .already I stored,

. . . . . . . . .already I grew,


‘The widow [of Uruk has] gathered [seven] years’ chaff

the farmer [of Uruk has grown seven years’] hay…’

(George 1999, 48-50).

The Quran says:

{And she, in whose house he was, sought to seduce him. She closed the doors and said, “Come, you.” He said, “I seek the refuge of God. Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. Indeed, wrongdoers will not succeed.”} Quran Chapter “Joseph” 12:23.