Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
We continue on the subject of the Battle of Uhud. Read about it.
1. Our Reading starts with a statement regarding death, and then a beautiful description of the Prophet’s leniency, peace upon him, and his relationship with his companions:
“It is by the Mercy of God that you were lenient (لِنتَ) with them, for had you been stern and harsh-hearted (literally: thick-headed/obstinate) غليظ القلب* they would have broken away from you, so pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter, then when you have made your decision, put your trust in God for God loves those who put their trust in him”.
The Qur’an tells us of Prophet Muhammad’s character, peace upon him, and of how he dealt with his followers; that he was lenient with them, and accepted their counsel, and that they would not have followed him had he been otherwise.
It seems apparent however, that they were indeed worthy of counsel, which is why God tells him to consult with them. And since None can support us except God, it is Him that the Faithful should trust, and upon Him they should depend.
As to the Prophet’s leniency, Yusuf Ali’s note 471 reminds us beautifully of the verse which says (HQ21:107): “We have sent you but as a mercy to the Worlds (Peoples) ‘alameen’. Muhammad Asad’s note 121 tells us that the Prophet did not even reproach those who had deserted their posts at Uhud!
Interestingly, the word ‘lenient’ and the Arabic ‘linta’ are alike in meaning and very similar phonetically; the English term derived from Latin: leniens- first appeared in the early 1600’s related to Medicine*. As usual, Etymology ignores its Arabic origins despite the fact that the word entered the language through medicine at a time when the most esteemed Medical books being taught at universities were written by Arab/Muslim physicians such as Abul Qasim al-Zahrawi (11th C.) whom Europeans named ‘Albucacis,’ and the Andalusian physician Ibn al-Khatib of 14th C. Granada*.
2. Verses 161-163 tell us that no prophet “could be false to his trust/it is inconceivable that a prophet would deceive” (Ali/Asad). Muhammad Asad relates the deception to false pretenses; no prophet would say he was receiving revelation from God when he wasn’t. Yusuf Ali speaks of ‘unworthy motives’ in his note 472.
3. Verse 164 stands alone, a testimony to the Great Favor God had bestowed on the Faithful by raising amongst them a Messenger. His Message would bring them much benefit, and they would grow in Purity (يزكيهم "yuzakkeehim" from the root verb 'zaka').
4. Faith alone does not bring about victory; (see Asad’s note 127). There are other considerations such as obeying command! Other preparations are power and arms, as mentioned in HQ8:60:
“Hence, make ready against them whatever force and war mounts you are able to muster, so that you might deter thereby the enemies of God, who are your enemies as well, and others besides them of whom you may be unaware, [but] of whom God is aware; and whatever you may expend in God's cause shall be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged. (60) But if they incline to peace, incline thou to it as well, and place thy trust in God: verily, He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing! (61)”
5. Verses 167-168 mention the 300 ‘fighters,’ the Hypocrites, who had deserted the battle before it had even begun (see Asad’s note 129).
6. The next beautiful verses are among the most quoted when one is referring to ‘martyrs, ’ or those who are slain in God’s cause. They are not dead, but indeed alive, being sustained in the presence of their Lord.
7. Verses172-173 mention the suffering that the Faithful went through, the injury that afflicted them. Most commentators take this to refer to another expedition they had to go on despite their exhaustion. Muhammad Asad explains in note 130, Ali in note 479.
Tomorrow’s Reading is from HQ 3:174-186.
‘Qalb’ in the Qur’an is the organ of comprehension and refers to the Mind (although commonly misinterpreted as ‘heart’). That is very clear in the following verse, HQ7:179, in which it says ‘…those who have minds by which they comprehend not, and have eyes by which they see not, and have ears by which they hear not, such are alike to cattle or even further astray, such are the heedless.’