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UNCOVERING the original message of the Arabic Qur'an by using Lexicons compiled more than 1,000 years ago.

ISOLATING Fact from Fiction.

RECOVERING Hope and regaining the perspective where Humanity is one, God's Message is one, and our Future CAN become one we all look forward to!


Image: 14th C. Qur'an, Mamluk origin, Library of Congress; Rights obtained.

A BREAKTHROUGH project which helps understand the Qur'an AS REVEALED -not just 'as explained.'


Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 123; Qur’an 12: 44-62, page 241 + 242

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Although late, I will try to put in what was missed due to travel.  I do hope that you were reading on!  We're together in this project, dear Readers. 
We ended our last Reading with news of Prophet Joseph, peace upon him, languishing in jail for a few more years, having been forgotten by his erstwhile comrade-in-prison. 

Despite Forgetfulness being the extent of ‘the Deviant/Satan’s’ influence over us, it still is a serious matter indeed.  Unfortunately, we ALL suffer from it: How often do we aim for our higher potential, and then find our efforts undermined by our own negativity or someone else’s?  It is either that we got distracted and lost focus, or someone else impeded our efforts, having themselves lost sight of what is most important in the life of social beings:
That we all boost one another towards self-fulfillment.

Yusuf Ali’s Translation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of this Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.

PAGE 241 Arabic Qur’an.
1.  In our last Reading, the King was disturbed by a dream/vision, and sought its interpretation from his council.  The response he got (Verse 44) was that his dreams seemed like a cluttered ‘medley of visions’ (adgaath -[i]), a confused ‘cluster,’ which they lacked the knowledge to interpret.
That was when the former prison-comrade finally remembered Joseph, peace upon him (Verse 45) after ‘a lengthy period of time,’ an ‘ummah’[ii].

2.  Verses 46- 47- 48- 49 describe the former prison-comrade’s conversation with Joseph, his question about the dream and Joseph’s response.  We notice his wisdom as he translates the dream into application, providing the king with measures to contain impending disaster, projecting that all will be well… 15 years ahead!

3.  Joseph’s story so far has been full of life’s lessons:  Parental favoritism and Sibling-rivalry, Sexual temptation and Forbearance, Strength of character, Loyalty, Wisdom, Forgiveness, and now: Economic well-being. 
How ironic it is to us in OUR economic strains, to find that we have learnt nothing from Biblical and Qur’anic lessons (not to mention common sense), and that our generation has been doing the opposite of what would have guaranteed our wellbeing! 
Joseph’s 15-year ‘economic strategy’ came at a time of abundance, prior to seven years of plenty.  It was the community’s ‘saving,’ not ‘spending’ which was encouraged. 
Muslim writers have written about this [iii], drawing comparisons between this important story and what brought on today’s Economic Crisis.  Christian writers have also drawn comparison with the Biblical story, some suggesting ‘Why Joseph should be in charge of the Economy.’  But we’d all be naïve to expect authority to change its self-serving ways.  It is up to us, the People, to make our wishes known to our authorities, even as we follow through with our own behavior, and the values we instill in our children.

I would ignore both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad’s Biblically-related connections to time and place, shown in their commentary on these verses.  As we already know, in order to discover Qur’anic intent, we should maintain its independence from everything except its own Language and Context.

4.  In Verses 50- 51- 52 Joseph sets his condition for re-entering society:  Exoneration!  Summoned by the king himself, the women dismiss the allegations against Joseph, and the wife of the Aziz places full blame upon herself, in that she was the one who pursued him.  She also says that she would like him to know that she is telling the truth so as not to ‘betray him in his absence -gheyb’ and that God does not guide Betrayers. 
What a shift of position!  Is it related to their heartfelt repentance and humility in face of his dedication to his Lord and his morals, or to their knowledge of the high office offered to him by the king?  Perhaps a mixture of both.  Let us see what the next verse indicates.

PAGE 242 Arabic Qur’an.
5.   In Verse 53, someone speaks in the first person ‘I.’ Because of its humble attitude and wisdom, some commentators have taken the speaker to be Joseph.  Others see it as the continuation of Verse 52, where Joseph's erstwhile ‘seductress’ says that she will not absolve herself of blame, asking God, her Lord, for forgiveness and mercy.
In the center of the verse is the beautiful statement:

“…the (human) Self does indeed prod towards wrongdoing, except that which has received my Lord’s Mercy…”

Verses 54-55 -56 tell us of Prophet Joseph’s appointment, peace upon him, overseeing the entire kingdom’s economy. 
Verse 57 stands alone, a statement to the reward of the Hereafter being ‘better’ for those who attain Faith and are Aware.  In HQ 16:41 we are told that the reward of the Hereafter is ‘greater.’

6.  In Verses 58- 59- 60 Joseph recognizes his brothers, and is generous to them (they hadn’t recognized him).  He tells them that, if they indeed desire future business with him, they are to make sure to bring back their youngest brother with them. 

7.  Verse 61 shows us how attached Jacob must have been to the son they were discussing.  In Verse 62, Joseph commands his servants to put back in his brothers’ caravan all the supplies they had already given him as barter.  This generosity – to be discovered only when they unpacked at home- was intended as an added incentive by which they would return to him -with his brother!

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 12: 63-78.
Peace unto all!

[i] (ضغث) يدلُّ على التباسِ الشَّيءِ بعضه ببعض. يقال للحالم: أَضْغَثْتَ الرُّؤيا. والأضغاث: الأحلام الملتبِسة.
والضِّغْث: قُبضة من قُضْبان أو حشيش، قال الخليل: أصلٌ واحدٌ.
الراغب الأصفهاني: - الضغث: قبضة ريحان، أو حشيش أو قضبان، وجمعه: أضغاث. قال تعالى: }وخذ بيدك ضغثا{ [ص/44]، وبه شبه الأحلام المختلطة التي لا يتبين حقائقها، }قالوا أضغاث أحلام{ [يوسف/44] : حزم أخلاط من الأحلام.

The word ‘digth’ -its plural here, ‘adgaath ضغث/ أضغاث’ appears in another verse (HQ 38:44) where, although the word has been correctly interpreted, the entire verse has not.

[ii] This word-‘Ummahأمّة- is explained by Zamakhshari as a long period of time, and he gives other valid readings of the word as ‘amah’ –أمه- or forgetfulness, and ‘immah’—إمّة which denotes ‘ease,’  in which case this person’s forgetfulness relates to the life of ease he had been leading.
الزمخشري:{ بَعْدَ أُمَّةٍ } بعد مدّة طويلة،
«بعد إمّة» بكسر الهمزة، والإمّة النعمة.

[iii]  "لقد رسم يوسف خطة اقتصادية محكمة أنقذ فيها البلاد والعباد من مرارة أصعب الظروف وأحلك الأيام، فهو أول من أصل مفهوم الدورة الاقتصادية في مرحلتيها الرواج والكساد، النمو والانحسار، آلية الطلب والعرض، والتوازن بين الاستهلاك والإنتاج، وقدم نماذج من الإجراءات الاستباقية لتحصين الاقتصاد من سلبيات وتداعيات الانكماش والتضخم، بالحد من النزعة الاستهلاكية والعادات الاتكالية وتعزيز النزعة الادخارية وتطوير الأنماط الاستثمارية وتنويع مصادر الدخل وتعظيم عوائد الإيرادات.
لقد أسس الصديق مبادئ التوظيف الأمثل للإمكانات، لجني العوائد بأقل التكاليف ورفع كفاءة الأداء وتفعيل دينامكية الأسواق وأدوات السياسات النقدية والمالية."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 122; Qur’an 12: 31-43, page 239 + 240

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Please note that I’ve added important comments to yesterday’s Reading (in comment 5) and a footnote.

Yusuf Ali’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.

PAGE 239 Arabic Qur’an.
1.    As Verse 31 shows, Prophet Joseph’s seductress was no ordinary woman, but then again, he was no ordinary young man.  His virtue was incomparable; his handsomeness was such that the town-women couldn’t help but slice through their hands as they ate, referring their distraction to him not seeming to be mortal; he was ‘divine!’
Their cunning hostess responds in Verse 32, proving her point.  She also announces that she will continue to pursue him, despite his reluctance and choice of remaining chaste.  She also threatens him with prison.

2.     In Verse 33, Joseph calls upon his Lord to save him from these women’s guile (now they are ALL after him!) and announces his preference to prison than to fall prey to these lusting women.  He also acknowledges his weakness, in that he does not expect to be able to withhold himself from their advances.
In Verse 34 his Lord answers his prayer, but after a short while they decide to put him in prison (Verse 35).

3.     In prison, Joseph meets two slaves/servants who ask him about their dreams (Verse 36), to which he responds in Verse 37 by saying that his Lord had taught him how to read present events, and to project, or predict, what would ensue from them.  Then, he makes use of the occasion, as we see in the next verses, to guide them to faith in One God, and in the Hereafter.

PAGE 240 Arabic Qur’an.
4.      In Verse 38 he tells them of his heritage, as a Prophet following the ‘millahملّة- ’ or ‘ways/creed’ (Ali/Asad) of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Yusuf Ali also tells us of his modesty.
5.     In Verses 39- 40 Prophet Joseph continues, introducing his cell-mates to the Standard of Accountability which is upright/straight, and free of fault   الدين القيّم(for more info see April 5th).  Ali and Asad translate this term as ‘right religion/ ever-true faith.’

It is important for us to learn from this story how to address people:  Notice the humbleness, the kindness, the endearing words such as ‘My Companions in Prison,’ the posing of questions to draw out listeners and get their response, even in silence!
6.     In Verse 41 he tells them in a few brief words what their dreams mean, while in Verse 42 he asks the cell-mate who is to be freed to mention him to his lord (meaning his king or master;  Ali’s comments say ‘pharaoh’ but there is no indication of that at all).  The freed person forgets, and only remembers a few years later when the king has a foreboding dream and seeks its interpretation.

It is interesting to note that our ‘forgetting of something important’ is attributed to ‘the Deviant/Sheytaan’ (HQ 6:68; 18:63; 58:19, which shows us quite clearly the mental limits of his ‘influence’ over us.  It also gives us one reason for seeking refuge in God:  Forgetfulness not only diminishes what we have- but could indeed cause us to lose everything!  
7.  In Verse 43 we learn the details of the king’s foreboding dream, and his urgency at having it interpreted.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 12: 44-63.
Have a great Weekend.
Peace unto all!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.

PAGE 237 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  As the brothers put their plot to action and cast Joseph into the darkness of the well (Verse 15), God consoles the young lad, conveying to him that there will come a time when he will confront his brothers with their deed.
2.  In Verses 16- 17- 18 the brothers do their best to convince their father of their sincerity, but Jacob, peace upon him, does not believe them.  Trusting in God, he resigns himself to ‘exemplary forbearance’ (صبر جميل), so named in relation to the beautiful nature of his patience in adversity, a mental/spiritual/physical state he undertakes as he relies on Him.

It is important for us, as Believers, to train ourselves in the great virtue of Forbearance, or ‘sabr,’ which would help us interact with fellow humans in an exemplary manner.  We have already encountered this word 11 times since we began our Qur’anic studies, and we still remember the beautiful verses HQ 2:155 and 3: 142! (Copy + paste صابر in Tanzil.)

A HUGE incentive for us, to try harder to be among the Forbearing and Aware, is that these are the ONLY people whom the Qur’an actually says that ‘God IS WITH!’ 
When we put "إن الله مع" (with quotations) in Tanzil, we find mention of God being WITH the Aware 4 times, and WITH the Forbearing, twice.  And when we remember that ‘Taqwa’ or ‘Awareness’ IS, after all, the opposite of 'Udwaan' العدوان, or Aggression (Jan 1st) , we realize THAT AWARENESS AND FORBEARANCE ARE INSEPERABLE, and one cannot exist without the other, just as in the story of the two sons of Adam (March 10th).

Dear Reader:  Let us take it upon ourselves, as a self-challenge, to raise our level of Awareness and Forbearance, biting our tongues before we speak against people, or strike back at them.  Believers are people of virtue, and as such, we should attempt to behave in an exemplary manner!  Reread the story of the two sons of Adam mentioned above; remember how much we learnt from both the brother who was Aware, as well as the Aggressor.  It always helps to repeat the beautiful words of Prophet Jacob, peace upon him:

".......فصبر جميل والله المستعان على ما تصفون"

In Arberry’s explanation:
 “…….But come, sweet patience!
And God’s succour is ever there to seek, against that you describe.”

3.  Verses 19- 20 tell us how travelers who were passing by, found Joseph in the well…captured him, and sold him for a paltry price.
Verse 21 tells us of the nobleman who purchased Joseph, saying: “…..he may well benefit us, or we may take him as son….” which is similar to what the wife of Pharaoh had said when she found baby Moses in the river, as we can see in HQ 28:9! 
This nobleman treated Joseph well, helping him lead a life of stability.  In the meantime, Joseph learnt how to draw correct reference, foretelling upcoming events from the occurrences presented to him.

The word ‘Ta’weel –تأويل as defined on April 9th, is from the root verb ‘awala’ which denotes both the first and the last; the beginning and end.  It is related to the culmination of things, in reference to their beginnings (the verb ‘aala, ya’oolu - آل- يؤول’ denotes returning to the first point of reference).

Verse 22 describes Joseph, peace upon him, as he grew into full manhood.

PAGE 238 Arabic Qur’an.
4.   Verses 23- 24 begin to describe the struggle between Temptation and Virtue.
Also, read Verse 24 in Yusuf Ali’s explanation.  
The woman’s primary designation being simply ‘she in whose house he was’ -as well as his reciprocal attraction towards her, and his resolve to be faithful to her husband and not to her, and the impersonal reference to her simply as ‘she’ in verse 26- ALL seem to imply that she was NOT the woman who had raised him as a child, but perhaps, a later wife of the man who, in fact, had raised him.

5.  Verses 25- 26- 27 are self-explanatory, and clearly illustrate her fierce advances versus his retreat, so that his shirt (qamees- قميص- ) was ripped from behind.  See footnote for Arabic Etymology.  (Interestingly, cut in Arabic is 'qad قد' which denotes a tall, vertical cut.  What a rich language!)

6.  In Verse 28 her husband makes the comment that indeed women’s ‘guile is great.’
In our next Reading we’ll see this comment corroborated by Prophet Joseph himself, after other women in his community ALSO use their guile and wile to entice him!

7.  In Verse 29 her husband advises both Joseph and his own wife, and seems to let the matter go at that, but things begin to get complicated (Verse 30) when the towns-women hear of the failed seduction!

Enough said! 
Our next Reading is from HQ 12: 31-43.

Peace unto all!

‘Qameesقميص- ’ is the origin for the Spanish ‘camisa,’ and French ‘chemise,’ although there are those who say that this is not so, postulating that Arabs ‘did not wear shirts in Spain.’ But the word, which referred to an upper-body tunic IS in the Qur’an, which they would have to admit, IS a historic ‘document’ which dates back almost 1500 years!
Notice what it says on the Online Etymology Dictionary:
“late O.E., cemes "shirt," from O.Fr. chemise "shirt, undertunic, shift," from L.L. camisia "shirt, tunic" (c.400 C.E.; cf. It. camicia, Sp. camisa); originally a soldier's word, probably via Gaulish, from P.Gmc. *khamithjan (cf. Ger. hemd "shirt"), from PIE base *kem- "to cover, cloak" (cf. heaven). The French form took over after c.1200. Related: Chemisette.”
Notice what it says on Wiktionary:
Originally from Late Latin camisa, later reinforced or reborrowed from Anglo-Norman chemés, Middle French chemise, from the Latin.
Isn’t this incredulous?  Someone should get on this topic at once, and bring proper research (AND honesty) to the Etymology of European Languages- these people are losing integrity! 
Our Pakistani and Indian friends will be even more surprised to note that Wikepedia, after returning the word to Greek origins, incredulously states that the Urdu and Hindustani word ‘kameez’ was borrowed from Portuguese…!  What happened to the well-known FACT that both these languages are full of Arabic words, due to shared Islamic history!??
“For an alternative etymology from Persian via Arabic and ultimately Greek, rather than Latin roots, refer entry under Kameez.”
There can only be ONE reason for ‘scholars’ erasing all Arabic influence from world history- and that reason is NOT ignorance!
Now read the following, which IS scholarly, and even includes photographs:
"The shirt, kameez or qamiz, takes its name from the Arabic qamis. There are two main hypotheses regarding the origin of the Arabic word, namely:
1.that Arabic qamis is derived from the Latin camisia (shirt), which in its turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European kem (‘cloak’). [2]
2.that Mediaeval Latin camisia is a borrowing through Hellenistic Greek kamision from the Central Semitic root “qmṣ”, represented by Ugaritic qmṣ (‘garment’) and Arabic qamīṣ (‘shirt’).”
P.S: I will not get into the Etymology of 'cut'  from 'qad' at this point!

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