Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
You may have noticed the new tools added to our project today. It's so much easier with tools at our fingertips. Muhammad Asad's complete translation with commentary is right here for reference or download.
And now we can simply open the virtual Arabic Qur'an to read any page we need, or just flip through, enjoying its audio-visual elements and appreciating the technology behind it!
At the lower right-hand corner we can find 'Your Question, My Answer,' which is actually the beginning of our Q&A project. I could not include the Arabic material for the sake of brevity, but I'll try to do so in the Q&A page so that the non-traditional definition of Al Rahmaan (which I made sure was endorsed by linguists) becomes quite clear.
And finally, who can resist 3 Cups of Tea?
I hope the pace is ok for you; I am trying not to put in too many comments, and probably should write less so you can read Qur'an more. Please let me know how you are doing.
In yesterday's reading, the Qur'an gave us an account of Moses' trial with his people; how, although he had freed them, they did NOT seem capable of freeing themselves from their concept of servitude, which had spanned generations. Their story is not unique in that sense, but serves as an example of the power perception holds over reason. During Moses' 40 days of absence, they turned to worshipping a calf instead of God, but God forgave them. As we understand, He was giving them a chance to grow and mature, to rise in faith, knowledge, and self-respect above their past. In verse 52, 'Yashkurun' is from the root verb 'sha-ka-ra' which means to increase, enhance, be productive which is THE TRUE PROOF OF GRATITUDE, because just feeling thankful, without producing anything, is not worth much.
In studying the effects of slavery one must note that persons who have never been free, will not only be lacking qualities of leadership, but they usually find difficulty in accepting any kind of change -even when for the better. This seems to be one of the main reasons behind the lack of positivity which Moses' followers were notorious for, and the Old Testament describes that in some detail. Perhaps we can now understand one reason why God made Moses' mother give him up. She had to do so in order for him to be adopted into a family with ultimate power, setting free his inborn strengths and gaining the qualities of leadership necessary to take his people out of servitude. Freedom is indeed worth cherishing.
In today's pages we have 5 instances of the Children of Israel's disobedience mentioned, and one mention of their 'killing Prophets with no right.' We also find them substituting the rightful words to say with other words, or preferring a larger variety of lower-grade foods than the few excellent staples God had provided for them, and even profaning the Sabbath. The Qur'an says that in their story and in their punishment is a lesson to all who are Aware. Sadly, throughout history, very few of us remained Aware, as proven by the state we are in today.
The word 'Misr' in Arabic means 'within limits,' as in land within boundaries, or shortage of provision. That was to be their portion (verse 61) after having asked for inferior sustenance and argued with Moses, so they were told to descend 'Misr,' the plural of which is 'amsaar' or lands. This was a descent in status, as evident from the rest of the line… "and ignominy and humiliation overshadowed them…" Most scholars however just say that the Children of Israel were told to descend to Egypt. The Arabic name for Egypt has been 'Misr' since Amr Ibnil Aas named it so, circa 641 AD. Its Greek name, relative to the Copts, was Aigýptios.
Asad explains eloquently, how Verse 62 lays down a fundamental doctrine of Islam, that salvation is ultimately conditional upon belief in God, in Judgment Day, and righteous action in life. This is quite clear in HQ:4: 48, 116, which indicates that other wrongful beliefs and misdeeds do stand a chance for forgiveness, depending on each person's reality known by God Alone.
This chapter's title (The Cow/The Heifer) is taken from verses 67-73, which describe a specific incident. Both Ali's and Asad's commentaries tell us that if a murder is committed and the murderer is unknown, the Mosaic law states that community-elders in surrounding areas should seek absolution or else be considered collectively responsible. This law is mentioned in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 21:1-9. "All the elders of that city which is nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer … and they shall declare: "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done." It seems that they were reluctant to do so, and complicated the issue so that, instead of getting 'any cow' to do the job, they needed a 'specific' cow.
Our reading for tomorrow is from verse 70-83.
Peace unto all!
المِصْر، وهو الحدُّ؛ "اشترى فلانٌ الدَّارَ بمُصورها"، أي حدودها
والتَّمَصُّر: القليل من كل شيء؛
والمِصْر: واحد الأَمْصار.