Welcome, Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
How was your reading so far? Do tell!
I will know better which way to go when you tell me what you think.
It might sound simple to read 2 pages a day. One would think that the difficult part is studying the words and understanding their intent, but in reality, the difficult part is MAKING TIME…every single day. And we have only just begun!
Qur'an Pages 3 and 4 were read today, corresponding to verses 6-24 of Chapter 2, titled 'Al Baqara' (translated as 'The Heifer' by Y. Ali, or The Cow by M. Asad).
As we saw yesterday in verses 1-5, the Qur'an said that there was no doubt in it, as a compilation, being Guidance to the Mindful. Wasn't that precisely what Believers were asking for in the Opener? "Guide us to the straight course..." A prompt response to their prayer is only one verse away- and they can grasp it, IF they are mindful!
What Y. Ali calls 'the Unseen,' Asad describes as 'that which is beyond human perception.' I like that as an interpretation for 'Ghayb'.
We were given the characteristics of the 'Mindful Believers' in 2 verses, and the characteristics of the opposing group, 'allatheena Kafaru,' Those who Conceal or cover, in 2 verses as well. Both groups are clear-cut and obvious, so describing them is quite straightforward.
After that however, we find that it takes 15 verses no less, to describe the third group, a group that neither Believes nor Denies, but is conveniently one or the other depending on circumstance. Physically present with Believers, whilst spiritually absent. This group is that of The Hypocrites (verses 6-20). The Qur'anic description of their state brings their loss to life and, especially in Arabic, we see, hear, and feel their turmoil.
In verse 21 the Qur'an calls upon us as 'Naas,' or 'cognizant Humans' to worship Our Lord. 'Naas,' the plural of 'Insaan,' denotes a Being of Cognition; the human upon reaching the stage of communication and intelligence. Root verb: 'A-na-sa': to find companionship in, to see, to find 4:6; 20:10. It is quite important that this verse calls upon us as Cognizant Beings to worship Him, motivated by the desire to remain Mindful. Remind me dear Friends to tell you more about this, as Mindfulness is the birthright of cognizant beings, but it requires some effort on our part.
'Rabb' is translated as "Guardian-Lord' by Ali, and 'Sustainer' by Asad, and appears in old Lexicons and in Asad's valuable commentary link below as the following: The Arabic term RABB means much more than 'Lord'. It refers to someone who has a just claim to possession and authority over something, as well as the task of rearing, sustaining, fostering and bringing it together from inception to final completion! That is a presence to rely on indeed. Without a definite article 'the', any male head of a family is called rabb, such as in rabb ad-dār ("master of the house") because he has authority over and is responsible for its maintenance and well-being, and a female would be rabbat ad-dār ("mistress of the house"). With 'THE' however ('al' in Arabic), the designation 'Al Rabb' is exclusive to God as the sole fosterer and Sustainer of all. Asad commentary link: http://www.islamicity.com/QuranSearch/
The parts we read today, end with a challenge to confound the idolatrous Arabs of the 7th Century A.D. who had reached their peak in eloquence. It is oft-repeated in the Qur'an, and remains to this day, that if they were in doubt of what God had sent to His worshipper (meaning Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him), then they should 'produce a 'sura,' a 'supreme construct', such as this. If they do not- AND THEY ARE ASSURED THAT THEY SHALL NOT- then they should beware of the consequences.
As we go along we will realize how superior the Qur'anic construct actually is, so enough for today!
Peace unto all!