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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!


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


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 11; HQ 2: 135-145; pages 21+22.

Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!

In yesterday’s reading there was a compelling question (verse 130):

Who, unless weak of mind, would want to abandon Abrahams’ creed?

Our study helps us identify the rightful followers of Abraham, peace upon him. By accepting the Messenger whom Abraham had asked God to send them, these followers in fact become the honored recipients of Abraham’s entire prayer as he stood, asking his Lord to show them their rituals, to accept their repentance, to send them their own Messenger bearing the Compilation and imparting wisdom, and to help them grow in purity (Verses 128-129). Indeed, the rightful followers of Abraham are those who accepted Muhammad (S), were guided by his Message, and grew in purity through that Message. That final part is both the litmus test of Faith, and its earthly goal. And as we know, many of us who call ourselves ‘faithful’ have missed this crucial point.

Growing in Purity is a process that entails the management of Time, making a partner out of what is, in reality, our most formidable opponent. If we, as Cognizant Humans, remain as we are without growing, Time will steadily cause a drop in our original status as the finest of all God’s creatures ‘ahsani taqweem’ … until we are plummeted to the lowest of the low (‘HQ: 95). It is in daily growth (reflected in faith and good deeds) that we first regain, and then maintain that status, the foundation from which we can soar towards the potential God has ingrained in each of us.

Today’s reading continues with even more ‘food for thought’:


1. Yesterday’s reading ended with Verse 134, stating quite clearly that each of us will be judged on the strength of what we did. That is because each of us has our own potential which God has ingrained in us. It is this potential, displayed in Adam’s knowledge that awed the angels. It is this potential, displayed in Abraham’s clarity of vision that convinced others of the Truth of his message. It is this potential, displayed in Muhammad’s character and demeanor (‘khuluq’-HQ 68:4) that enabled him to complete his mission and see it bear fruit. It is our daily growth towards that potential -whilst gaining knowledge, clarity of vision and character - that makes us true followers of both Abraham and Muhammad, peace upon them.

2. Verses 135, 136 offer an argument: Whichever name one goes by is not important, as long as one is well- guided. Guidance is obtained by following the creed of Abraham the ‘Haneef’ who had never associated any deity with God.

3. This is the first time we hear the word ‘haneef’ which describes Abraham. Asad translated it as ‘who turned away from all that is false,’ while Yusuf Ali simply said ‘the True.’ It is notable that the occurrence of this word is mostly related to Abraham: HQ 3:67; 3:95; 4:125; 6:161; 16:120; 16:123) *. Not only that, but it was Abraham who first gave himself that description, after stating that neither the waning moon nor the setting sun were worthy of adoration, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him (HQ 6: 74-79). As Muslims, we carry these beautiful words of Abraham into each of our daily prayers seeing that they constitute what we call ‘Du’aa el Tawajjuh,’ which is the supplication we give as we initiate prayer, directing ourselves towards God.

So, if ‘haneef’ is so important, what exactly does it mean?

‘Haneef’ is from the root verb ‘ha na fa,’ which originally referred to a person’s manner of walking; that person having an inwardly-curved foot.* The term Haneef has always had monotheistic connotations, usually explained as a person who seeks the best path, ‘curving toward Righteousness,’ what Asad calls, ‘to incline towards a right state or tendency’ (note 110).
What this means is that anyone who makes a conscious effort to keep curving towards Righteousness is Haneef; there is no room for rigidity or threat of stagnation in such a person's life.  This underscores the process of growth and purification we spoke of above. By definition, persons who keep 'curving' towards righteousness at every juncture can only do so if they are aware AND supple.  To maintain direction towards God, they have to lean towards Him whilst dealing with the ever-changing demands of their times, maintaining focus while adapting new strategies in an existence where everything is circular, including our interactions and relationships etc, in the circle of Creation.  We are God’s, and unto Him we shall return.  Our journey is indeed, full circle, and Abraham's story, from beginning to end, sets us the perfect example.

4. Verse 141 is a repetition of verse 134: Indeed, to each his own…

5. Verses 142, 144-145 mention the change of ‘Qibla’ prayer-direction from Jerusalem to the Ka’ba (lit. Cube). The People of the Book may know the Truth but, in the final analysis, they will not follow your direction of prayer, nor even each other’s. See Asad’s note 116, and Yusuf Ali’s note 147.

6. The first Recipients of the Qur’an (companions of Prophet Muhammad peace upon him) were told that God had rendered them a central and balanced community, ‘Ummatan Wasatan’ so as to bear witness before all mankind. Furthermore, the Messenger would be witness over them. This verse indicates that they were indeed 'Hunafaa' (plural of Haneef).   What an honor AND a responsibility!   

How closely, if at all, does the description of ‘central and balanced community’ fit us today, as seen by the eyes of the world?  The tools are ours to use, the position ours to fill. 

Enough said!

Our reading for tomorrow is from verse 146-163.

Peace unto all!


* In two other verses, the word Haneef appears in a command unto Prophet Muhammad (S), and humans in general, to direct ourselves towards accountability in a ‘Haneef’ manner (HQ: 10:105; 30:30). And then again it appears twice in plural ‘hunafaa’ as instruction to Believers performing Pilgrimage (HQ: 22:31), and to the ‘People of the Book’ (HQ: 98:5).

حنف: هو المَيَل. يقال للذي يمشي على ظُهور قدمَيه أحْنَفُ. وقال قومٌ- وأراه الأصحَّ- إنّ الحَنَفَ اعوجاجٌ في الرجل إلى داخل. ورجل حنف، أي مائل الرِّجْلين ....والأصل هذا، تم يُتَّسع في تفسيره فيقال الحنيف النّاسك....ويقال هو المستقيم الطريقة. ويقال هو يتحنَّف، أي يتحرَّى أقومَ الطرِيق.‏

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