Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
How do you feel, now that you've tried to fit this in with your daily activities?
Frankly, the responsibility of posting -on a daily basis- IS an intimidating challenge of its own, but I'm enjoying it so far, hoping and praying for the best.
I say, if Julie did it, then there's no reason why we can't. So, let's get cooking!
We continue to look upon these verses as a living lesson for us all, not simply an admonition to a bygone people. Yusuf Ali says in his footnote no.75, that the moral of these verses goes wider than the Children of Israel, applying to all nations, especially if they are stiff-necked.
In the past 2 days' readings, the Qur'an gave us an account of Moses' trial with his people, a trial which continues in today's reading. His people kept asking for more details regarding the cow they were supposed to sacrifice, while any cow would have done- HAD they not asked.
In Verse 73 there is great disparity between traditional explanations and Asad's, who thinks it unlikely that the murdered person rose from the dead to name his killer. Yusuf Ali, on the other hand, translates without commenting, but seems inclined toward the traditional explanation.I have no problems with either interpretation, especially since other verses DO mention people being brought back to life. Furthermore, this is 'gheyb,' part of the unseen past, and will not have any bearing on my faith or knowledge… however:
What I'd like to mention here, is Asad's analysis on the usage and application of the verb 'da ra ba' in the Arabic language, a verb we will be discussing when it appears in important verses in our future readings:
"..the verb daraba (lit.,"he struck") is very often used in a figurative or metonymic sense, as, for instance, in the expression daraba fi 'l-ard ("he journeyed on earth"), or daraba 'sh-shay' bi'sh-shay' ("he mixed one thing with another thing"), or daraba mathal ("he coined a similitude" or "propounded a parable" or "gave an illustration"), or `ala darb wahid ("similarly applied" or "in the same manner"), or duribat `alayhim adh-dhillah ("humiliation was imposed on them" or "applied to them"), and so forth."
Verse 74 tells us that hearts/minds can become harder than rocks, for even rocks do crack and allow water to flow through. But what is it that caused THESE people's hearts/minds to harden? Another verse (HQ:5:13) tells us it's their breaking of solemn pledges made to God, and his subsequent rejection of them:
"Then, for having broken their solemn pledge, We rejected them and caused their hearts to harden-[so that now] they distort the meaning of the [re-vealed] words, taking them out of their context; and they have forgotten much of what they had been told to bear in mind; and from all but a few of them thou wilt always experience treachery. But pardon them, and forbear: verily, God loves the doers of good. (13)
It is interesting to read what Asad says in his commentary on Verse 80 about Jewish belief, especially that which relates to their perception of themselves being the 'Chosen People' (footnote no. 64).
Verses 83+84 mention the Covenant God took from the Children of Israel, one similar to what we ALL are responsible for, as we shall see in HQ: 4:36.
Finally, there is a valid question we must ask ourselves upon reading this segment and applying it as a living lesson to ourselves:In what ways do WE complicate our own lives while blaming it on our faith?
If a law is given in general terms, one could either follow that law, or ask for (and generate) further details, making it incumbent upon oneself to comply with them all.
The Qur'an does tell the companions of Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, NOT to ask about issues until revelation is completed, for by then all will be made apparent to them (HQ:5:101).
Muhammad Asad believes that the importance of this issue is illustrated by the choice of "The Cow" as title for this chapter. Here is an excerpt from what he sees as the moral of the story (footnote no.55):
"It would appear that the moral of this story points to an important problem of all (and, therefore, also of Islamic) religious jurisprudence: namely, the inadvisability of trying to elicit additional details in respect of any religious law that had originally been given in general terms-for, the more numerous and multiform such details become, the more complicated and rigid becomes the law."
Our reading for tomorrow is from verse 84-93.
Peace unto all!