Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
What a challenge the last Posting was, with so many important concepts to deal with! Although many of you voted for the linguistics, do tell me when they get too heavy. Voice your opinions to see the changes you need.
With today being our 'one month' mark, committed readers among us have begun to feel great positivity in themselves. By understanding the Qur’an -and logging on daily…even briefly- we’ve been able to cultivate a better understanding of Faith, of Life, and of our responsibility towards each other. It is up to us, the educated, to BE the change we desire in this world.
1. Verses 23-25:
‘Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who have been given a portion of the Book.. /Art thou not aware of those who have been granted their share of revelation (aforetime)…(Yusuf Ali & Muhammad Asad respectively*)…
The Qur’an addresses Prophet Muhammad here, peace upon him, with regard to Followers of earlier Messages, stating that, what those people received back then was, in fact, a portion of the ‘Kitaab,’ or Compilation, and that although they were called upon to consider it Arbitrator between them, some of them turned away in refusal.
This is somewhat similar to HQ4:44 which says:
‘Did you not perceive/‘see in unto’ those who were given a portion of the Compilation, how they are purchasing (their own) Loss, and aspiring that you (too) lose the Way?
Some readers would have noticed that, just as God Is One, His Standard of Accountability (‘Deen’) is one, and His Compilation (‘Kitaab’) is also one! Although He sent down His Compilation in stages, it was nevertheless one divine Unit, ‘updated’ according to Humanity’s advancement, and completed almost 1500 years ago. It is interesting to note that despite the fact that the Qur’an mentions many Messengers prior to Muhammad, peace upon them all, and tells us of the Messages they brought, it considers all their Messages part of one Compilation, ‘Kitaab.’ We already read something of that in HQ2:213.
A grave warning is issued in verse 25 to Followers of earlier Revelations who took the Hereafter lightly and refused their own Message.
2. Verses 26-27 are most beautiful supplications and praise unto God. Yusuf Ali’s note 369 is worth reading, and ends with the words: “All is, will be, must be, right in the end.”
Although verse 26 is about God’s Power and Dominion, very few commentators noted that the Arabic ‘yad’ is a word which originally denoted power, ability, aid (see Jan. 24 for Arabic definition in footnote). Because it has also come to denote the extremities of our upper limbs (our hands) they have applied that translation to God. In Arabic we say ‘yad,’ and the word is accurate no matter how we understand it. In English however, it is more appropriate that we declare to God: ‘In Your Power is all Good,’ rather than: ‘In Your Hand is all Good.’
3. Verse 28 issues a grave warning to Believers, that God is the One to be Aware of when, even in a measure to ward off the Deniers’ harm, they procure the support of Deniers rather than other Believers.
4. The following verses 29-30 tell us that God knows the deepest intentions even as He knows all that is in the heavens and on earth- and He has Power over all… and His shall be the reckoning, on the Day when every Self shall be confronted with its Deeds…! Read on.
This picture is perhaps most intimidating for those of us who are clever at avoiding confrontation and quick to brush off blame. On that day our skills cannot help us, and no matter how hard we sought to, we would NOT be able to put any amount of distance between ourselves and our Deeds…
5. In Verses 31-32 the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, is told to show Humanity the power of LOVE, and the steps they should take, so as to fully partake in God’s Love and Forgiveness.
6. In Verses 33-37 we find the reason behind the naming of this Chapter, as well as the beginning of historical narration of previous Messengers, Jesus, Zachariah and John, peace upon them all.
The narration starts with an expectant mother making a beautiful supplication to God and dedicating her unborn child to Him. Then she gives birth to a daughter and names her Mary. She is the grandmother of Jesus!
An interpolation catches our attention: '..and not alike is the male to the female...' What is the meaning of this part (HQ: 3:36)?
Since we know that male and female are not alike, we tend to imagine that this indicates that the male is better, or inherently superior. What comes as a surprise to many is that, in this case, the opposite is true. Grammatically speaking* (and perhaps because Mary was to become the Mother of Jesus peace upon him), the way this statement is formulated indicates female advantage over male. At the very moment when Mary was born, Mary's mother is assured that a female is not akin to a male, in the same way as we might exclaim that silver is not akin to gold. Yet generations upon generations of us understood it backwards!
7. Mary’s mother prays to God to protect her infant daughter, as well as her daughter’s offspring, from the Banished Deviant. God accepts the child who grows up in Goodness, with unmatched faith and devotion to God. Mary never ceases to astound Zachariah, in whose care she was placed.
Verse 37 must be read several times to grasp the power of this young girl’s response to her guardian upon being asked where she was getting her sustenance from, and to understand his reaction to this (verse 38).
But that is for tomorrow!
Tomorrow’s reading is from HQ 3:38-52.
· I prefer Y. Ali’s translation of verse 23 to M. Asad’s because the former is closer to the original. When M. Asad uses the word ‘aware’ for the Arabic (yara) which means ‘look,’ and then specifies ‘their share’ when it says ‘a share’ (naseeban), we get sidetracked from Qur’anic intent.
· الأنثى هي "المُفَضَّل" والذكر هو "المُفَضَّل عليه."