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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.'


Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 34; HQ 3:133-148; pages 67+68

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
We must bear in mind that many of these verses continue to relate to the Battle of Uhud, which we spoke of in our last reading.  For readers who desire to read about this period of history, an excellent book, perhaps the best written in English is:

Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources’ by Martin Lings.


1.     Our Reading begins with highly motivational words, similar to what we might feel today if someone urges us on saying: “Go-GO-GO!”
Continuing to address those who attained to Faith (having begun in HQ3:130), the Qur’an says:

“AND HASTEN/advance towards forgiveness from your Lord and a garden, the vastness thereof is (as) the Heavens and the Earth, prepared for the Aware!”

This calls upon us to ‘hurry,’ to ‘rush forward,’ advancing together, towards all good deeds, as if there is no tomorrow!  (We read something similar a few days earlier, in HQ3:115, describing some amongst People of the (earlier) Compilation who were doing just that.)

The Arabic word ‘saari’oo (سارعوا) calls upon those who have attained Faith in the third command given them here.  This concept of advancing quickly as a group, also appears as a race in the words ‘saabiqoo’ (سابقوا), to ‘race each other’ forward (HQ57:21).  The result of such a race is ‘outrunning’ everyone else, making headway till we arrive at our prized destination, explained in the beautiful verses of HQ23:61 (which, God-willing, we’ll be doing together later).
Some commentators have explained this verse as, “and a garden the display thereof is (as) the Heavens and the Earth, taking (‘ard)- (عرض) to mean ‘display,’ as in (2:31).  Yusuf Ali says ‘…a garden whose width…’ Muhammad Asad says “…and to a paradise as vast..”

2.     After telling us that Paradise is readied for ‘the Aware’ (Y. Ali: the Righteous/M. Asad: the God-Conscious) the next three verses 3:134-136 provide their characteristics and confirm their ‘status’:

·        In their unfailing generosity.
·        In their restraint of anger.
·        In their forgiveness others.
·        In their promptness to self-reproach, self-correct, and seek forgiveness.

The bounteous reward they are granted is for having been ‘those who work (and strive)’ (Yusuf Ali); ‘those who labor’ (Muhammad Asad).
When we read their characteristics we realize that it is indeed laborious to keep up that level of self-control and awareness.  They were indeed ‘Strivers’ in life, but after arriving at their destination (once they are done striving) perhaps we should call them: ‘Achievers.’
Beautiful verses!

3.      Verse 137: “Many were the ways of life that have passed away before you: travel the earth and see what was the end of those who rejected Truth” (Y. Ali).  We are often told to travel the earth in observation, and especially to see the consequence of rejecting Truth; ‘kath-thaba’ means to belie, or contradict a truth (HQ6:11; 16:36).  Read M. Asad’s note 98 explaining ‘sunna’- way of life.
Verse 138 states emphatically that THIS IS…(meaning the Qur’an) a clear lesson unto Mankind, and an admonition to the Aware. 
I prefer Asad’s translation.  It is closer to the original to call the Aware ‘God-conscious’ than those ‘who fear God.’  For the sake of accuracy however, we should note that both have added the word ‘God’ where the word in Arabic does not exist.  There are other verses which DO say ‘conscious of God’ as in (تقوى الله) so we should differentiate to show the distinction.

4.     I prefer Yusuf Ali’s translation of Verse 139.  M. Asad simply says ‘you are bound to rise high,’ while the Qur’an say ‘the Highest.’
What a promise given by God, what a goal to live up to: Being uppermost, prevailing over all obstacles and whatever might seek to put one down... but there is a catch: IF:

“So lose not heart nor fall into despair:
For you must gain mastery if you are true in Faith.”

5.     Verses 140-143 are a balm, a solace to Believers in distress.  All humans taste pain and affliction, and it is in the nature of earthly existence that fortune changes hands. 
Life is but a test so that God may mark out, or set apart, those who have faith.  
M. Asad’s interpretation of the verb ‘allama’ as ‘mark out’ is accurate (see علم  below.*) 
Many people have fretted over interpreting ‘liya’lama’ as ‘so that God would know,’ which of course is not correct since God’s Knowledge encompasses all.  Many do not realize that it is also linguistically inaccurate because the meaning of the word (’allama) is originally related to making a ‘mark.’  (Teachers in Arabic-speaking schools give the students their marks (grades) called ‘alaamah (s), ‘alaamaat (pl)علامة-علامات .)  The word “ya’lam”   يعلم has come to mean ‘to know’ because when we know something it becomes ‘marked’ or distinctive to us.  Realizing this is very important in our understanding of many verses in the Qur’an, prominent among them is chapter 96.  
For historical background of this verse, read Asad’s note 103.

6.     Verse 144 relates to the rumor that spread over the Uhud battle-ground that Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, had been killed.  The Believers are told that, even if that had been true, Muhammad is no  more than a Messenger preceded by the Messengers before him ( (خلت من قبله الرسل, and that they should not retreat.
Verse 145 is a statement regarding Death and Recompense.  In accurate linguistic translation it begins as follows:
“It is not for any ‘Self’ (nafs) to die except by God’s leave, a compilation (kitaab) in due course……..”

The word ‘Kitaab,’ as we know, means a ‘compilation.’  The word ‘ajal’ means ‘term,’ and its derivation ‘mu’ajjal’ means ‘in due course, eventually.*’
In this instance, the fact that Death is called a ‘kitaab mu’ajjal’ indicates a compiled set of circumstances that have to come together in due course for Death to occur.
Yusuf Ali’s ‘term as if fixed by writing’ and Asa’d ‘term pre-ordained’ may be common interpretations, but understanding the Qur’an in its original Arabic is so much more scientific!

The rest of the verse discusses recompense; we get the return for our deeds wherever we desire it, and God rewards the ‘shaakireen.’  
M. Asad translates it as ‘grateful,’ Y. Ali says ‘those that serve us with gratitude..’  Linguistically however, it is: those who are PRODUCTIVE… from Posting Jan 13th: “..those who make full use of His favors by working with, and multiplying, them. ‘Shukr’ means accepting what is little and making the most of it until it achieves abundance” (see full definition).

7.     Verses 146-148 report to the Prophet and his companions the trials and tribulations of previous Prophets and Devotees of God, peace upon them all, to strengthen their resolve, and then relays to them their beautiful prayer in the time of utmost danger and need. 
So God gave them all they had asked for, with a reward in the Present Life and the best of rewards in the Hereafter, for God loves those who do Good.
These are lessons for us today, and prayers for us to learn (in Arabic).  No prayer is more beautiful than a Qur’anic prayer in God’s own words!

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 3:149-157.

Peace unto all!

*أجل: فالأَجَل غاية الوقت في مَحَلِّ الدَّين وغيره. وقد صرّفه الخليلُ فقال أَجِل هذا الشّيءُ وهو يَأْجَلُ، والاسم الآجِل نقيض العاجل والأجيل المُرْجأ، أي المؤخَّر إلى وقتٍ.

*علم: يدلُّ على أثَرٍ بالشيء يتميَّزُ به عن غيره. من ذلك العَلامة، والعَلَم: الراية، والجمع أعلام. والعلم: الجَبَل،
وكلُّ شيءٍ يكون مَعْلَماً: خلاف المَجْهَل. والعِلْم: نقيض الجهل، وقياسه قياس العَلَم والعلامة، وتعلّمت الشَّيءَ، إذا أخذت علمَه.
ومن الباب العالَمُون، وذلك أنّ كلَّ جنسٍ من الخَلْق فهو في نفسه مَعْلَم وعَلَم. وقال قوم: العالَم سمِّي لاجتماعه.
 قال الله تعالى: {وَالْحَمْدُ للهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ، قالوا: الخلائق أجمعون… وذلك أنّهم يسمون العَيْلم، فيقال إنّه البحر.

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