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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.

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


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 21; HQ 2: 249-256; pages 41+42

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
What a verse!  Aayatul Kursi…(2:255 (آية الكرسي- the 'Verse of Knowledge*' please take time to listen to it (Audio on right added today), read it in your own language, and find out what Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad, and any commentator of your choosing says about it.


1.      In our previous Reading we were introduced to a historical narrative (HQ 2:246) which continues in today’s reading, about a post-Moses generation of the Children of Israel who asked for a king, after which they were split in their compliance to their king’s command.  Well-explained by both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad, this is the story of Saul (Taloot طالوت) and his people, and the defeat of Goliath (Jaloot جالوت ) at the hands of Prophet David, peace upon him.  However, there was one major difference between Ali’s and Asad’s explanation:  ‘Taboot’ (تابوت) was translated by Yusuf Ali (and other commentators drawing upon Talmudic legend) as the ‘Arc of the Covenant’ whereas Muhammad Asad (who was himself an authority on the Talmud) simply called it ‘bosom, or heart.’ He cited ‘Baydaawi’s’ explanation as well as one interpretation of ‘Zamakhshari’s’ and says it indicates the Israelites’ ‘change of heart’ (notes 239-250).
2.      Anyway, stories teach us important lessons through the experience of others, so what matters to us, is the lesson we can learn from this story.  Yusuf Ali says in his note 286, that while the Old Testament tells us all the details, the Qur’an tells the parable.
And so, the parable continues in today’s Reading, verses 249-251. Muhammad Asad’s explains the latter part of verse 251 in his note 242: Lit., “were it not that God repels some people by means of others: an elliptic reference to God’s enabling people to defend themselves against aggression or oppression…”  
3.      And God informs His Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, of such stories for he is, indeed, but one of those Messengers (see verse 252).  
Each of these Messengers was chosen for a mission (see verse 253); some favored over others in what they were given, notable among them was Jesus the son of Mary, peace upon him, who was presented with clear signs and aided* by the Holy Spirit (Asad calls it the ‘Spirit of Holiness’ as he did earlier in verse 2:87 (note 71).
4.      In his comment 245 on the last part of Verse 253, he says that the Qur’an alludes to the inevitability of Dissension among human beings; it is the will of God that their way to the Truth should be marked by conflicts, and trial by error.  How true.
5.      Verse 254 is a call to the Faithful to spend freely of God’s bounties (not restricted to wealth; so whatever we have of his bounties we must spend to help others.  Verse 245 spoke of that being a ‘loan’ which we get back on Judgment day, multiplied manifold.
6.      Verse 255 “Aayatul Kursi’ (آية الكرسي) is perhaps the best known and most memorized verse in the entire Qur’an, second to the Opener ‘Al Faatihah. ‘Kursi’ is explained as Dominion, Sovereignty, and according to Ibn Abbas it means ‘Knowledge*.’  
“God- there is no deity save Him,
the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All Being. 
Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep. 
His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth……
(the Layers of; the insurmountable Mass of)
His Knowledge overspreads the heavens and the earth
and the upholding of both wearies Him not. 
And He alone is truly Exalted, Magnificent.”
Beautiful... Listen to it (right side-bar), and read both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad’s explanations, and their notes (Ali:296; Asad:247,248).  I feel that this verse is in itself ‘THE Fount’ which describes the relationship between God and Creation, and especially us humans; it is a relationship based on Life, and the purpose of sending His Messenger with THIS Message is to give us Knowledge by which we are ‘enlivened -  as another verse states (HQ 8:23):
O you who have attained to faith! Respond to the call of God and the Messenger whenever he calls you unto that which will give you life; and know that God intervenes between man and [the desires of] his heart, and that unto Him you shall be gathered. (24)
"يا أيها الذين آمنوا استجيبوا لله وللرسول إذا دعاكم لما يحييكم واعلموا أن الله يحول بين المر وقلبه وأنه إليه تحشرون"
7.      Today’s Reading has so many important verses to discuss! Verse 2: 256 is one of the most-quoted verses by Muslims today when they allude to the manner in which Islam has traditionally dealt with people of other faiths; not forcing them to convert.  Indeed, faith cannot be enforced, which is why: ‘There shall be no coercion in matters of Faith.’  Read Asad’s explanation (note 249) of ‘deen’ as ‘the contents of and the compliance with a morally binding law…’ and that the meaning depends on context, which could be ‘religion,’ however in the widest sense of the word. 
The context in which Muslims have traditionally understood this verse is very important, and, as Asad says, it “disposes of the widespread fallacy that Islam places before unbelievers the alternative of ‘conversion’ or the sword.”

Enough said!

Tomorrow’s reading is from verse 257-264.

Peace unto all!

* ‘aid’and (أيد) are indeed the same word! In Arabic, it means (to have and offer) strength and security, from which the Arabic word 'yad,' or 'hand' is derived.  'To lend a hand' means to 'aid'!

أيد: القوة والحِفْظ. يقال أيّدَه الله أي قوّاه الله. قال تعالى: {والسَّماءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ} [الذاريات 47]. فهذا معنى القوّة. وأمّا الحفظ فالإياد كلُّ حاجزٍ الشيءَ يَحفَظه

‘Aid’ is one of those words that has its roots in Arabic, despite accepted ‘etymology’ (which habitually disregards Arabic influence):  Etymology: Middle English eyden, from Anglo-French aider, from Latin adjutare..”   
Scholars should look into this:  What is the Middle English ‘eyden’ if not (أيدٍ) with ‘tanween,’ the diacritic mark?   
As we continue our Qur’anic Readings we will come across many other such words, CLEARLY of Arabic origin, when Arabic was, similar to English today, the Lingua Franca (the vehicular language that traversed the boundaries of its original community, to transfer information to other communities).

* 'kursi" according to our Arabic lexicon, is from 'karasa' to stack or pile; to AMASS.  A thick stack of papers is called 'kurrasah.'
 .كرس:  تلبُّدِ شيءٍ فوقَ شيء وتجمُّعه. فالكِرْس: ما تلبَّدَ... واشتقت الكُرَّاسَة من هذا، لأنَّها ورقٌ بعضُه فوقَ بعض

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