Welcome, Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
This project was started in 2010, and is still ongoing two years later: Qur'anic research never ends! Regular Readers know that I sometimes do go back and add or revise the explanation of certain words in my old posts as new details arise, having initially relayed these words as commonly understood, WITHOUT LOOKING UP THEIR 1,000 YEAR OLD DEFINITIONS. As Arabs, we take it for granted that the words we've used all our lives have always meant what everyone today thinks they mean... and feel surprised when we discover that our ancestors understood these words differently. Knowing what the Qur'anic words meant to the early Recipients of the Message is crucial for us to understand original intent, and there is only one way to do that:
Linguistic Research of its Arabic words with the help of Lexicons compiled more than 1,000 years ago, keeping within Qur'anic Context, and cross-reference verification.
To our New Readers: Welcome!
As I add these words, it is the beginning of 2012. For the benefit of our Regular Readers who have already gone through these posts, I'll be using 'GREEN" for new additions (original posts are in BLUE).
And how could I not post the Opener/ 'Faatihah' as I understand it?
to the Qur’anic Compilation
By the exalting attribute of God,
The Unique Creator of all,
The Unique Creator of all,
The Unceasingly Compassionate:
All Praise be to God
Sustainer of the diverse worlds.
The Unique Creator of all,
The Unceasingly Compassionate.
Sovereign of the momentous (term of)
You Alone do we worship,
and You Alone do we seek for support.
Guide us to the Path set straight.
The Path of those upon whom
You have bestowed Your Favor,
(those who) have neither earned severity
nor gone astray.
We’re at our first day of Qur’an reading and the first day of 2010.
I have never blogged before, so please bear with me.
There is so much to say and I don’t know what sort of comments YOU would be most interested in, so do tell me what you think!
I must mention before we go any further that I do not endorse any website we might visit, and am certainly not responsible for its contents in any way.
We are doing research here, and I am only offering you the links I found most helpful for that specific query. If you find more suitable links please do point them out.
Did you find what you need at the ‘Tanzil’ link?
The beauty is that this site offers translation in so many languages. For more information however, you’d need the footnotes of Yusuf Ali or Muhammad Asad. Asad’s valuable commentary may be found at http://www.islamicity.com/QuranSearch/. Check the boxes you require and click ‘GO.
And here I GO, commenting as I promised.
Qur’an Pages 1 and 2 were read today: Chapter 1, The Opener to the Compilation, and the first 5 verses of Chapter 2.
1. Besides being The Opener to the Qur’anic Compilation, this chapter is distinguished from all others in a Muslim’s practice.
The Opener is also a pillar ‘rukn’ of EACH of the 17 units of a Muslim’s 5 daily prayers, which means that without it the prayer would be incomplete. Therefore, practicing Muslims recite it at least 17 times every day!
It is also the chapter which Muslims first teach their children, the chapter which accompanies life’s weighty decisions of business and matrimony, and the chapter to be read to loved ones as they are laid in their final resting places. It is with us in all of life’s landmarks!
It is a beautiful invocation, a prayer to God, seeking Him alone for support and guidance, all the while bearing testimony that it is Him alone Who is worthy of being worshipped. Where is ‘the straight path’ we seek? Take a look: (HQ 6: 151-153)
2. GOD: It seems that most people on earth DO believe in Him.
Even half of the world’s 16% who profess being agnostics, atheists, secular humanists etc., state that they do believe in God without religious affiliation (1). Some of us believe in the creative force of ‘Nature,’ others in ‘Intelligent Design,’ Scriptural narratives, or legends transmitted generation after generation. No matter which word is used to describe The Creator, the fact remains that the vast majority of us does believe in such a force. But each of us has our own manner of belief, one that might -or might not- accept the accounts offered by ‘organized religion.’ This is quite natural. There is nothing on the entire earth as personal as one’s exclusive relationship with one’s creator. How can anyone outside of Myself and my Creator define it? And had I chosen to void, ignore, or simply downplay this relationship, it will still exist, independent of what I believe.
Many of us find much to criticize in ‘organized religion,’ often someone else’s, and sometimes our parents’ or our own. Upon looking closer we will find that our disapproval -or disappointment- is neither in the ‘religion’ itself nor in its messenger, but rather in how the followers of that ‘religion’ presented their faith to the world.
This is quite obvious in the transcript of Deepak Chopra’s CNN interview with Larry King: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0005/17/lkl.00.html
A faithful person combines belief and application; the belief that there is no God but God, The Unique, The Incomparable, the Worthy of trust and reverence, the One To Whom we are accountable.
3. Allah is NOT an uncommon word for “God.”
People call The Creator by different names, usually related to the languages they speak. Many of us realize that the English word ‘God’ corresponds to the German ‘Got,’ the French ‘Dieu,’ and the Spanish ‘Dios.’ However, many of us might not realize that the corresponding word in Arabic is ‘Allah,’ and that any Jew, Christian, or Muslim whose language is Arabic would be using this word to stand for ‘God’. In fact, the Arabic Bible is all about ‘Allah’- in both its Old and New Testaments(2). God has always been referred to as Elah, Eloah, Allah, in Aramaic, Hebrew(3), and Arabic languages.
‘Allah’ also is a common term in many parts of the world where people do not speak Arabic. Most of these countries have Muslim majorities(4). Visitors to other countries, such as Malta (5), a Roman-Catholic Apostolic republic, often feel amazed upon discovering that the Maltese worship ‘Alla’ and fast ‘Randan. ’ Having embraced their heritage, ‘Randan’(6) is the Maltese word for the Christian season of Lent (7)!
4. ‘Rahmaan’ and ‘Raheem’ are not similar attributes of God, as commonly believed.
Lengthy research in the Qur’an and in Arabic language AND grammar have shown that ‘Rahmaan’ is The Unique Creator. The term ‘Rahmaan’ in the Qur’an does NOT occupy the place of an attribute comparative to ‘Raheem’, as most commentators have said, but rather carries the same weight as the word ‘Allah (H.Q.: 17:110). Check it out (8). I can give Arabic research to those interested.
While God has many beautiful attributes, these two words (Allah & Rahmaan) are proper nouns, not attributes.
Rahmaan is therefore another name for Allah, it is unique to Him and relates to creation, as the entire 55th chapter called ‘Suratul Rahmaan’ indicates:
5. This compilation certainly IS guidance for the mindful ‘al Mutaqeen’!
Heedful, or Mindful is the chosen translation, but we glean further understanding of the meaning of ‘taqwa’ (Heedfulness) from the Qur’an, since it does give us its antonym TWICE.
An old Arabic saying goes, “By their opposites are all things known (9),” which is true. This specific issue is so drastically important today because there are those who see themselves as ‘Heedful’, ‘Mindful’, and ‘God-conscious’ while their actions in fact display the exact opposite: the antonym for ‘taqwa’ is ‘udwaan,’ which means ‘aggression’ (10)… ! Enough said for today.
The only way to understand any message and arrive at its intent is to apply the intellect in an unbiased reading of its entire original content. Translations or explanations are inevitably influenced by the knowledge/background/leanings of interpreters (this blog included).
Peace unto all!
- searching the Arabic Bible website (http://www.enjeel.com/search), I found that ‘Allah’ (الله) was mentioned 974 times in the Arabic Old Testament. As for the New Testament, after 1000 entries were displayed, I was asked to narrow the search since ‘Allah’ occurs too often in the New Testament.
- The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is elohim, a plural form of a more basic root-Hebrew word for God, (eloh).
- More than half of the 48 Muslim majority countries are NOT Arab.
- The 3-island Republic just south of Sicily.
- From Ramadan, the Arabic name of the Islamic holy month of fasting.
- From 870 CE to 1091 CE, the islands were almost exclusively Muslim in religion and Arabic of language.
- ASAD: “Say: Invoke Allah or invoke Al Rahmaan, by whichever you invoke Him, His are the attributes of perfection. And be not too loud in thy prayer nor speak it in too low a voice, but follow a way in between.”
- بأضدادها تعرف الأشياء
- Mentioned twice in the Qur’an: in chapter 5:2 and 58:9 http://tanzil.info/