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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.'


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 42; HQ4: 27-37, pages 83+84

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Thank you for your patience.  This Reading was so much tougher than I had anticipated.
1.  Our reading continues with what the Qur’an highlights as God’s intent in verses 27-28:

2.  Verse 29 begins by addressing those who have attained Faith, and along with verse 30 forbids the dishonest consumption of other people’s rightful earnings or assets

3.  Verse 31 gives us a general rule:  Some matters have broader implication and effect on society than others.  If we avoid committing the ‘kaba-er,’ ‘the most heinous of the things we are forbidden to do/the great sins’ (Yusuf Ali/ Muhammad Asad), our misdeeds will be covered,  AND we shall be ‘admitted to a Gate of great honor/enter an abode of glory’ (Y.Ali /M.Asad).

There are misdeeds that carry greater implications than others, these are the  كبائر (‘kaba-er’ plural of ‘kabeera’  كبيرة).

4.  Verses 32 tells the Faithful not to wish for what God has bountifully granted some people above others, since ‘those who are in stride’/رجال men are entitled to the shares they earn and ‘those who follow’/ نساء women are entitled to the shares they earn, so seek of God’s bounty for indeed God has full knowledge of everything (see ‘rijaal’ on sidebar, ‘nisaa’ Jan 24th). 
Some historian-commentators on this have said that this may be one reason why women went to battle during the Prophet’s time, peace upon him, so that they could  gain larger earnings in the booty of war.  Whether that was their intention is NOT for us to say, but the fact that this was even mentioned puts the term ‘rijaal’ into practice as it was understood during those times.  (Nusaiba Bint Ka’b, Um ‘Amara, for example, was the Khazrajite woman who during the battle of Uhud, defended Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him as he was surrounded by the enemy, and was wounded 13 times.  Her mother was on the battle-field too, bandaging her daughter each time she went down.  It is reported that one of her wounds took a year to heal.  Such women are ‘rijaal’ indeed!’  (See definition on sidebar.  I have added a few more words under ‘Did you know’.)

5.  Verse 33 is related to the inheritance, that each person has ‘mawaali’ close relations/followers,  and those to whom you have pledged your troth عقدت أيمانكم explained by Muhammad Asad as ‘spouses.’  Yusuf Ali (note 544) relates this verse to the time of its revelation when, after the Prophet’s emigration to Yethrib, peace upon him, he established links of brotherhood between the ‘Emigrants’ and the ‘Helpers’ seeing that the blood-relatives they had left behind Mecca were now their enemies.  The bond was formalized by sharing each other’s inheritance.  Later after the community in Medina had been solidly established and relations with Meccans were resumed, blood-ties were re-established and formalized with the return of inheritance.

6.  Verse 34 is another of those oft-misunderstood verses.  If readers do not mind a small headache, just put 3 words (wife- beat -Qur’an) in Google and see what you get!  What a tragedy it is that so many of us Cognizant Humans make so little use of our cognizance!

“Al Rijaal are ‘qawwaamoon’  over Al Nisaa with what God has bestowed some of them above others and with what they spend of their means..”

Before we start, let us define the crucial word ‘qawwaamoon’ .قوّامون The word (see below) means those who stand fast, erect, and determined.  Its variations denote standing in service as well.
Here we find a consensus among famous contemporary Islamic scholars such as Ahmad Kubeisi and Mutwalli Al Sha’rawi’s (see the latter’s explanation in footnote).  They say this word not only means ‘providers’ but also ‘caretakers who are standing in service of women.’ 
We know that the Prophet, peace upon him, helped with housework, milked his goat, mended his clothes and sandals, and did whatever he had to do outside the house too.  As for how he treated a wife, we know about that as well, and many of us remember one wife’s father who rebuked his daughter because, when he approached to visit, he heard her voice through the walls while her husband’s voice, the Prophet’s voice, was too soft to be heard.  The Qur’an praises him directly in HQ68:4:  “You are indeed of an exalted standard of character.”  Also in HQ21:107: “We have sent you but as a mercy to the Worlds (Peoples) ‘alameen’ (Feb 10th). 
Back to our verse:  Sha’rawi explains that when the verse says, “..with what God has bestowed some of them ( above others ( and with what they ( spend of their means...” it does NOT specify gender (masculine plural applies to a group of both genders), which makes it quite clear that this ‘qiwama’ قوامة or ‘being in service’ (whether physical, financial etc..) is interchangeable and can apply either way. So, ‘Men are caretakers in service of women,’ but the verse shows the interchangeability of that.  We might tend to agree, for our service to each other is indeed interchangeable, and we serve each other all the time in different ways.  Men and women, husbands and wives, parents and children, serve each other interchangeably, and we all depend on one another in ways that change throughout our lives.  Even the most able-bodied of men could be incapacitated, and lie in waiting for a mouthful to be spoon-fed to him by his wife.  Who has the ‘qiwama’ قوامة then?  It is interchangeable.  Feminists love this explanation, and who would blame them after more than a thousand years of disrespect?  

HOWEVER, the wording (original Arabic only) makes it very clear that this part of the verse is a statement, NOT a recommendation or a command.  So, let us set our preconceptions aside for one minute, display ALL the meanings we know in service of this verse, and see how it works (see definition of ‘rijaal’ in ‘Did you know..” on sidebar, and definition of ‘nisaa’ in posting of Jan 29th).

الرجال men/active persons قوّامون stand fast, oversee  النساءwomen/those who follow with what God has bestowed some of them above others and with what they spend of their means...”

If we left the narrower meaning related to gender, and took the broader meaning we will find that this statement of fact has worked since time immemorial, even in societies where women ruled because: 
Active persons, industrious persons, persons who use their means, their intellect, their knowledge, will stand fast, will oversee those who are tailing them.  And the world will always have both: those who are Leaders overseeing the rest, and those who follow.  And the roles will be reversed when the active become inactive, and gradually lag behind.  It is role reversal, governed by the use of what God has bestowed and what is spent of one’s means.  Is that a valid explanation?  Let me know what you think.

Hopefully when we have time someday I’ll tell you about the beauty of the Arabic language and how the Qur’an can reflect at each period of time what suits its generation.  This has been proven with every scientific discovery.  What we know today helps us understand what the Qur’an said almost 1,500 years ago.   

Now let us ask: Who is this verse addressed to?
We just read in verse 29: ‘O you who have attained to Faith,’ so it is addressed to the community of the faithful.  To a faithful SOCIETY of responsible men and women, most of whom are guardians and PARENTS, not husbands.  Had the verse even mentioned the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ one might conclude it was addressing husbands, but all it gave us is masculine and feminine plural nouns. 
Let us now continue with the linguistic, literal interpretation, word by word:

·   ‘Saalihaat’ صالحات: (females) principled, fit or competent (as in 21:90).

·   ‘Qaanitaat’ قانتات: (females) compliant in their Faith and Accountability to God, also upright (see Lexicon below).  The Qur’an shows us that everything on earth is ‘Qaanit’ only to God.  We have an example in Mary in HQ3:43.  Put the word قنت in Tanzil –copy, click top image & paste.)

·   ‘Nushooz’ نشوز is to stand out, rise, which as we see from these two verses (HQ58:11; 2:259) is simply an action, and not something negative. However, in the verse we are discussing ‘nushooz’ definitely is a fault, so it might be translated as ‘obtrusive, out-of-the-norm, or deviating (see Lexicon below).  I think we should also understand it to mean the opposite of being principled and compliant to God, and especially since Mary, may God be pleased with her, was of the first category, her opposite would be of the ‘nushooz’ category.  If we fear her becoming ‘Naashiz’ it means that her general behavior seems headed towards deviance or defiant self-destruction .

·   ‘Hajara’ هجر means to leave, to send away, to pull something tightly together, to speak to someone in a severe way. See Lexicon in footnote:

·   ‘Madhaaji’ مضاحع means resting place, as in HQ3:154.

·   ‘Dharaba’ ضرب can only mean to hit/strike in the figurative sense.  As for literal hitting, ‘dharaba’ would be an unusual word to use in Classical Arabic, because the richness of the language gives each place one hits, a verb of its very own (similar to saying ‘slap’ in English, which means ‘hit the face’). 
So ‘dharaba’ is mostly used figuratively as in to ‘hit the road,’ ضرب في الأرض to ‘strike- or go on strike,’ ضرب- أضرب AND to form something, or actually re-form metal into coins or jewelry ضرب المعدن-النقود!  See Lexicon in footnote below..

In the Qur’an, ‘dharaba’ is unrelated to physical ‘beating:’ Copy-paste ضرب in Tanzil and you’ll get 54 verses, 24 of which are to ‘strike an example’ ضرب مثلا ; 5 verses relate to Moses, peace upon him, as he ‘strikes out’ on a path or to the sea (HQ20:77) among others.

So back to our linguistic translation, which starts out with a statement of fact, and then gives us the best picture of Active and Faithful Womanhood.  Then, it advises society on how to deal with them when they show clear signs of deviance or self-destruction. 
After I had already prepared this Posting I came across scholars’ notes that had me start all over again (the more you read the more you understand).  Anyway, it seems that the ‘and’ in between the three methods mentioned does NOT denote sequence ترتيب but only conjunction.  The sequence is understood from context.  Therefore, one way to deal with them would be to advise them, another would be to remove the influence of wayward friends which is why they might be grounded but only in a place where they are comfortable (the resting-place as a condition for grounding), and the ‘hajara’ here perhaps denoting ‘the silent treatment’ (although more than one scholar have posited for the word ‘hajara* “harsh or severe rebuke”), and a third method would be to reform them using any positive means.  I found that one connotation of the word ‘dharaba’ is to move quickly!  (We actually have a LIVE example on how wayward Believers were reformed by showing them what they could lose, in the story of the three Believers who ‘stayed behind.’  الثلاثة الذين خلفوا) see footnote.)  It is important to note that in today’s verse, with regard to these girls/women, we should have seen signs that make us ‘fear’ for them.  They have not ‘deviated’ yet, but are in danger of doing so.  So this is not a punishment (we cannot penalize deeds not yet done), but a recourse -probably escalating - to help them and help ourselves before it is too late.

“Men/active persons -stand fast/oversee –women/those who follow- with what God has bestowed some of them above others and with what they spend of their means, so the principled (f.)* are upright (in accountability to God) safeguarding that which is concealed (gheyb غيب) by what God has safeguarded, and as for those (f. pl.) whose deviance you (pl.) fear, then caution them (1), and send them to be alone (ground them)/rebuke them severely/in the place of rest (2), and REFORM them/at home/without delay, then, if they ( comply to you (pl.), then do not unduly pursue (pl.) against them any course, for God is indeed High, Great (above you all).”

Early Believers must have understood the many facets of how this verse can be explained, NONE of which involve beating.  Hitting any person was not allowed by the Prophet, peace upon him, and he is known to have said that the atonement for slapping one’s bond-servant is to set that servant free. 
It is a well-known fact that many of the erroneous explanations that became attached to the explanation of Qur’anic verses were traced back to unscrupulous borrowings from Previous Compilations, and Muslims were warned against believing them, and they were compiled under the title of ‘Al-Isra’eeliyyat- الإسرائيليات  There are still many flawed explanations in our books.  Qur’anic explanation should be free of all influence. At any rate, to be properly understood, verses 29-35 must be read together, bearing in mind all the connotations we have discussed. What was presented today is by no means final.  Let each of us continue to use our resources.

7.  Verse 35 continues its address to society, saying that if you ( feared a breach between them (both), taken to mean the married couple, you should send an arbiter from either side to discuss an understanding, and if both partners truly desired reconciliation, God will help them to it.  This tells us that when it doesn’t work, it means that one of them has cold feet and is half-hearted about it. 
Does this verse indicate that the female in verse 34 is, indeed a wife?  Possibly so, but verse 34 did not specify, which leaves the matter open so that each case can be dealt with separately by the persons most likely to bring about a positive result. 

In today’s terminology, doesn’t this whole issue sound like an ‘Intervention?’ 
Sure!  It is an Intervention by those who care most for a person's wellbeing.  We saw the Divine Intervention which took place with the three men who lagged behind.  But if someone asks: “This is not fair.  Why did the Qur'an here mention the female, and not also the male?”  We’ll just have to say, “Biology my friend, biology is not 'fair.'  It’s the female alone who holds the most unseen and precious of treasures, and in helping her safe-guard her treasure we safe-guard Life.”

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ4:36-51.

Peace unto all!
قال فضيلة الشيخ محمد متولى الشعراوي عن قوله تعالى : (الرجال قوامون على النساء بما فضل الله بعضهم على بعض وبما أنفقوا من أموالهم..." "اذا قيل ان فلانا قائم على امر فلان ، فما معنى ذلك ؟ هذا يوحي بان هناك شخصا جالس ، والآخر قائم فمعنى قوامون على النساء .... انهم مكلفون برعايتهن والسعي من اجلهن وخدمتهن ، الى كل ماتفرض القوامة من تكليفات ،اذا فالقوامة تكليف للرجل .ومعنى : (بما فضل الله بعضهم على بعض ) ، ليس تفضيلا من الله عز وجل للرجل على المرأة كما يعتقد الناس ، ولو اراد الله هذا لقال : بما فضل الله الرجال على النساء، ولكنه قال : بما فضل الله بعضهم على بعض ) فأتى ببعض مبهمة هنا وهناك."

(قوم)  معجم المقاييس: أصلانِ، يدلُّ أحدهما على جماعةِ ناسٍ،. والآخَر على انتصابٍ أو عَزْم. وأمّا الآخر فقولُهم: قامَ قياماً، والقَوْمة المَرَّةُ الواحدة، إذا انتصب. ويكون قامَ بمعنى العَزيمة، كما يقال: قامَ بهذا الأمر، إذا اعتنَقَه. وهم يقولون في الأوَّل: قيامٌ حتم، وفي الآخر: قيامٌ عَزْم..
لسان العرب: القيامُ: نقيض الجلوس.  وقَوْمٌ: هو اسم للجمع. ونساء قُيَّمٌ. وقد يجيء القيام بمعنى المحافظة والإصلاح؛ ومنه قوله تعالى: الرجال قوّامون على النساء، وقوله تعالى: إلا ما دمت عليه قائماً؛ أي ملازماً محافظاً. ويجيء القيام بمعنى الوقوف والثبات. يقال للماشي: قف لي أي تحبَّس مكانَك حتى آتيك، وكذلك قُم لي بمعنى قف لي، وعليه فسروا قوله سبحانه: وإذا أظلم عليهم قاموا؛ قال أهل اللغة والتفسير: قاموا هنا بمعنى وقَفُوا وثبتوا في مكانهم غير متقدّمين ولا متأَخرين، ومنه التَّوَقُّف في الأَمر وهو الوقُوف عنده من غير مُجاوَزة له؛

(قنت)  طاعةٍ وخيرٍ في دين، لا يعدو هذا الباب. والأصل فيه الطَّاعة، يقال: قَنَتَ يَقْنُتُ قُنوتاً. ثمَّ سمِّي كلُّ استقامةٍ في طريقِ الدِّين قُنُوتاً، وقيل لطُولِ القِيام في الصَّلاةِ قُنُوت، وسمِّي السُّكوتُ في الصَّلاة والإقبالُ عليها قُنوتاً. قال الله تعالى: {وقُومُوا للهِ قَانِتِينَ} [البقرة 238].
(نشز)  يدلُّ على ارتفاعٍ وعُلوّ. والنّشَز: المكان العالي المرتفِع. والنّشْز والنُّشُوز: الارتفاع.
(هجر) أصلانِ يدلُّ أحدهما على قطيعةٍ وقَطْع، والآخر على شَدِّ شيءٍ ورَبْطِه. فالأوَّل الهَجْر: ضِدُّ الوصل. وكذلك الهِجْران. وهاجَرَ القومُ مِن دارٍ إلى دارٍ. يقال هَجَرَ الرّجلُ. والهُجْر: الإفحاش في المَنْطِق، يقال: أهْجَرَ الرّجُل في مَنْطِقه.
 (ضجع) يدلُّ على لُصوقٍ بالأرض على جنْب، ثم يُحمَل على ذلك. ويقال: اضطَجَع يضطجع اضطجاعاً. ويقال تضجَّع السحاب، إذا أرَبّ بالمكان. وهو في شعر هذيل. ويقال أكَمَة ضَجُوع، إذا كانت لاصقةً بالأرض. والضجوع: أكمة بعينها.
(ضرب) أصلٌ واحدٌ، ثم يُستعار ويحمل عليه. من ذلك ضَرَبت ضرباً ويشبَّه به الضَّرب في الأرض تجارةً وغيرها من السَّفر. ويقولونَ إِن الإسراع إلى السَّير أيضاً ضرب. والطَّير الضَّوارِب: الطَّوالِب للِرِّزق. ومن الباب: الضَّرْب: الصِّيغة. يقال هذا من ضَرْب فلان، أي صيغته؛ لأنَّه إِذا صاغَ شيئاً فقد ضربه .ويقال للسجِيَّة والطبيعة الضريبة، كأنَّ الإنسان قد ضُرِبَ عليها ضرباً وصيغ صِيغة. والضّريبة: ما يُضرَب على الإنسان من جزيةٍ وغيرها.. يُحكى عن أبي زيد، أنَّ العرب تقول: أَضْرَبَ الرَّجُل في بيته: أقامَ.
*عن ابن عمر قال: قال رسول الله (ص) "من لطم مملوكاً له أو ضربه فكفارته عتقه." صححه الألباني.
*The scholar is Ahmed Ibnil Muneer elIskandari al Malki, in his commentary on al Zamakhshari’s Kashaaf.

* ‘Hajara and ahjara;’ Abu Ja’far al Nahhas. deceased 338 A.H. in his book ‘I’raab al Qur’an vol 1, p.453.

*Three Believers were enjoying the weather and their harvest, and kept procrastinating about getting themselves ready for the Battle of Tabuk, until the Prophet, peace upon him, and the army had left.  There was no way for them to catch up, and finding themselves in town with the women, children, and hypocrites they felt ashamed of what they had done.  They were thinking of making up excuses, but couldn’t, and told the truth when they apologized to the Prophet upon his return.  The Prophet did not admonish them, but God did not allow him or the Believers to take them back into their folds until they had TASTED the loss of what they had taken so lightly.  The three men were treated as if they were invisible, the wives of the married men were told to leave them alone, and not a single person in the entire town spoke one word to them, even in response.  The two older men gradually stayed in their homes, while the younger one kept attending all the congregational prayers for fifty days, till the very last night.  Before dawn the next morning Qur’an was revealed HQ9:118 describing their pain and their repentance and declaring that God had indeed ‘forgiven them so that they might repent.’  The entire town rejoiced, a man on horseback was dispatched to give each of them the good news but someone had already climbed a hill and shouted out the good news, and therefore was able to reach them first.  HQ9:43-46; 90; 102-105; 106; 118 see M. Asad’s note 155 in Ch.9. 
We might be the ones asking for forgiveness, but when we do we must know… that God already has forgiven! 

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