Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
We had so much to discuss in yesterday’s Reading. Was it too much? The idea is, that we read the Qur’an, find clarifications in reputable explanations such as Muhammad Asad & Yusuf Ali’s, and then use this forum to pace ourselves and discuss certain points, as discerning readers.
Please CLICK the ‘Reaction’ when you finish reading, and put your opinion in the Poll below; YOUR viewpoint is crucial.
1. Our general topic is about the Pilgrimage to Mecca, ‘Hajj.’ The journey could be embarked upon months earlier, but one must make sure to spend a part of the 9th day of the 12th Lunar month, Thul Hijjah, at Mount Arafaat (see Yusuf Ali’s note 217). Muhammad Asad calls this day at Arafaat ‘the climax of the Pilgrimage’ (see his note 184).
2. In these verses are guidelines related to one’s Physical presence in Hajj; there should be no obscenity or lewdness of speech, no harmful or immoral conduct, and no arguments or quarrelling. The last one is not easy!
In these verses are recommendations related to one’s Spiritual presence in Hajj; one should be aware of God, remember Him, ask His forgiveness, recognize the value of His Guidance and the gifts it brings, rising in Awareness so that by the end of Hajj, no matter how attached we are to our roots, God would be The One to Whom we relate.
3. See Yusuf Ali, note 223, about the idolaters of Qureish relating to their forefathers. Again, Ali’s translation of Taqwa as ‘fear’ ( -واتقوا اللهlast line, Verse 196) is not accurate, especially since we know that the only word which could be translated as fear is ‘khawf’خو ف (see Post January 14).
4. The Faithful are presented with a beautiful prayer to ask of God (Verse 200), to grant them a ‘hasanah’; a good return for their deeds, in this world and also in the next.
5. We should not fall under the influence of destructive people whose speech is attractive (Verse 204: I like Ali’s translation: dazzling). Such persons could be the “most contentious of adversaries in a dispute” (Asad: note 188). God does not like destructiveness/corruption (‘Fasaad’; Verse 205).
Such a person’s demeanor is characterized by a refusal to admit wrongdoing- and especially when asked to be aware of God, you will find him even the more arrogant in adherence to (and in defense of!) his crime (Verse 206).
Then there are others whose only aim is to gain God’s pleasure- and God is Most Compassionate to His worshippers. (I like Ali’s explanation of Ibaad here as Devotees. Asad’s ‘servants’ is inaccurate. See Jan. 15th Post regarding 'Abeed' (عبيد) and 'Ibaad' (عباد).
6. Another call to the Faithful in 208, to enter thoroughly into Peace, and to make sure they do not follow The Deviant’s ‘footsteps’ for he is to them an avowed enemy. The Deviant’s footsteps are mentioned 4 times in the Qur’an (2:168; 2:208; 6:142; 24:21), and explained as follows:
O You who have attained to faith! Follow not Satan’s footsteps: for he who follows Satan’s footsteps [will find that], behold, he enjoins but deeds of abomination and all that runs counter to reason. And were it not for God’s favor upon you and His grace, not one of you would ever have remained pure. For [thus it is:] God who causes whomever He wills to grow in purity: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing. (21)
Interestingly however, the Deviant (that which prods us to trespass against others or against what our mind/heart tells us is best for us) has no power over Humans except the power of suggestion. It is we who fall into trespass on our very own (HQ: 14:22; 15:42; 17:65; 50:27).
7. The final verse in today’s reading seems to tell people to stop setting up excuses for themselves. If they are waiting to see the Divine before they believe, they should know that when something of that magnitude DOES indeed take place, it would be the End, when all matters Return to God.
Tomorrow’s reading is from verse 211-219.