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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 19, 2010

Day 17; HQ 2: 211-219; pages 33+34

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Our daily reading is certainly taking us places: Yesterday we ‘went’ to Hajj, prayed for a ‘hasanah’ both in Life and in the Afterlife, dodged those who dazzle us with idle talk, turned our back on the Deviant and his footsteps, and entered wholeheartedly and thoroughly into Peace.  What a wonderful journey!  And now we continue:


1.      This Life in proximity* الحياة الدنيا" is embellished for the Deniers (who deny God and the Hereafter).  It is actually over-rated by them, seeing that IT is all they believe in.  In HQ 11:15 we are told that they shall be given their rightful earnings, ultimately getting -IN LIFE- all that they worked for.  However, since they rejected Faith in God and did NOT believe in- or send any good deeds towards- the Hereafter, they will find nothing good awaiting them when they arrive there, in a simple equation of reaping what you sow:

AS FOR THOSE who care for [no more than] the life of this world and its bounties -We shall repay them in full for all that they did in this [life], and they, shall not be deprived of their just due therein: (15) [yet] it is they who, in the life to come, shall have nothing but the fire -for in vain shall be all that they wrought in this [world], and worthless all that they ever did! (16)

2.      Verse 213 is well-explained by Muhammad Asad; note 197.  The verse ends by saying what could be understood in two different ways, depending on whether the implied pronoun ‘(he) wills,’ is taken to relate to God or to the person himself;  M. Asad seems inclined to refer the pronoun to the person, as in: “God guides onto a straight way him that wills (to be guided)”, rather than: “God guides onto a straight way whom He wills (to guide).”  He does offer both translations however; they are both valid.

3.      This is the 3rd time ‘Siraat Mustaqeem’ is mentioned in the Qur’an (HQ 1:6; 2:142).  It is interesting to know the full meaning of the word ‘siraat*.’ See Q&A section, lower right of page.

4.      Verse 214 is directly addressed to its First Recipients, P. Muhammad and his companions, peace upon him, but its lessons apply to all Believers in times of severe hardship: Persevere, for Victory is near.  It is in times of suffering and adversity that people differentiate themselves, for only then do we recognize true sincerity as only a few of us remain on course at any expense.

5.      The latter part of Verse 216 is often partially quoted, “ may be well that you hate a thing while it is good for you..” (..عسى أن تكرهوا شيئاً وهو خير لكم..).  People tend to forget the rest of the verse, that we also might like a thing while it is bad for us, and very few among us realize that this statement indicates that the Believers in fact DISLIKED going to battle (as opposed to the negative propaganda about early Muslims being bloodthirsty etc..).

6.      Verses 217 and 218 continue along the same vein, ending on a note of promise to those who have Believed, and others who have forsaken (their homes) striving hard in God’s cause. 

M. Asad’s translation regarding the word ‘haajaru’ (هاجروا) is broad; he says it is “they who have forsaken the domain of evil.”  Are they the only ones who ‘emigrated?’  We know about the great accomplishments of the early Muslims, and feel inadequate in comparison… or we might not even dare compare ourselves to them.  But many Believers today DO forsake THEIR ‘homes,’ their safe comfort-zones, again and again, to do the right thing; we should not belittle anyone’s struggle for self-improvement.  Haven’t we all performed some kind of a ‘Hijra’ (emigration) to be where we are in our Faith today?

7.      In Verse 219 we read ‘They ask you…’ for the 4th time (HQ 2:189; 2:215; 2:217).  The companions’ question here is related to Intoxicants and Gambling, also mentioned in HQ 5:90:

O YOU who have attained to faith! Intoxicants, and games of chance, and idolatrous practices, and the divining of the future are but a loathsome evil of Satan's doing:' shun it, then, so that you might attain to a happy state! (90) By means of intoxicants and games of chance Satan seeks only to sow enmity and hatred among you, and to turn you away from the remembrance of God and from prayer. Will you not, then, desist?' (91) Hence, pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle, and be ever on your guard [against evil]; and if you turn away, then know that Our Apostle's only duty is a clear delivery of the message [entrusted to him]. (92)

Verses with regard to Intoxicants are commonly understood to be in a progressive sequence (HQ 4:43, then 2:19, and finally 5:90) which culminates in outright prohibition.  Muhammad Asad explains that well, in HQ 5:90-91 and their corresponding notes. 
Despite that, some people today (mostly those who would not mind a drink or two), compare the verses here with the verses on pork and say that, whereas the latter indeed is clearly prohibited with the use of the words ‘Hurrima aleykum’ حُرِّمَ عليكم- HQ:2:173; 5:3; 16:115), intoxicants do not have these words of prohibition linked to them, but rather have the words (اجتنبوه)  ijtanibubuh, which means ‘shun, evade, avoid, step away from.. (HQ 5:90).  
To seek a response from the Qur'an itself, we must first get our definitions straight, and our correlation of Qur’anic text.  We must list what we know from Qur'an, together with what our lexicon says about ‘khamr’ and ‘ithm.’ In brief:
The Qur’an says in 2:219  that in ‘khamr’ there IS indeed great ‘ithm.’

· ‘Khamr’ is that which covers and unnoticeably intermingles* (in this instance, probably relating to our awareness, judgment, inhibition, behavior, dependence and addiction).
· ‘Ithm’ is that which hinders, delays, impedes (in this instance, probably relates to physical/psychological health, negative influence on relationships, and the emotional and socio-economic ramifications of dependency/addiction).

But then we find the Qur’an in 7:33  saying that ‘ithm’ IS indeed ‘muharram!’

Say: "Verily, my Lord has PROHIBITED (harrama) shameful deeds, be they open or secret, and ITHM, and unjustified envy, and the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him - since He has never bestowed any warrant from on high- and the attributing unto God of aught of which you have no knowledge." (33)

Therefore there is great ‘ithm’ in ‘khamr’- and ‘ithm’ IS, in fact, ‘muharram’.  We should thank God for this fact, for had He said outright that ‘khamr’ is ‘Hurrima aleykum’ حُرِّمَ عليكم-like Pork- we, as Believers, would neither have been able to use ‘khamr’ in the medicines or pain-killers we take NOR (more importantly) as anesthesia!  Imagine surgery without anesthesia, which is quite a potent ‘khamr.’ 
A Believer would therefore obey the instruction, steering clear of Khamr at all times, perhaps seeing it this way:  What is 'muharram' in fact, is the Addictive Potential of Khamr, THE HARM in khamr, THE EFFECTS of khamr, and we should steer clear of Khamr because even one, single shot IS often a step of no return... on the road to extensive harm.  This is especially important for our youth, who do not realize the deteriorating effects Khamr has on their developing brains (click 'Youth-on-motorbike' image on right).  Wait:  Isn't deterioration also 'Ithm'?  (Do we now realize why Arabic is the language of Qur'an?)
There is still a lot to be said on this subject, including the other instances of ‘ijtanibuh’- ‘steer clear of it,’ which discuss idol-worship and underline the seriousness of this command. 
With Awareness as THE goal, we understand the need to steer clear of Khamr.  
There also is a very interesting parallel to be drawn between what God tells us in HQ 5:90 about ‘khamr’ and gambling being ‘loathsome evil’ of Satan’s doing, and the story of Adam, with the single, forbidden tree, in the entire Garden.

Enough said!

Tomorrow’s reading is from verse 220-230.

Peace unto all!

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