Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
In our last reading we saw the importance of travel, and today, upon looking in our ‘Tanzil’ link, we find that the Qur’an says no less than 14 times ‘travel through the earth’ (copy & paste: سيروا في).
1. Some might find it amazing that the Qur’an –more than 14 centuries ago- was encouraging repressed persons to emigrate, but that is only natural: Nothing should block the path of human potential! And it is through travel that Islam spread, arriving in China only a few decades after the Prophet’s emigration, peace upon him, perhaps in response to his advice: “Seek knowledge even in China.” Islam spread all along the route there, and was in full flourish during the rule of the Ming Dynasty, which, as evidence seems to indicate, was Muslim*.
2. Our Reading today continues with ‘relaxation’ of obligations of prayer, here related specifically to the congregational Prayer of an army fearing sudden attack, which is why it is called, ‘Prayers during Fear’ or "صلاة الخوف".
Verse 102 details how to conduct a congregational prayer in such times of danger, maintaining readiness during its rituals, and safeguarding one’s arms and equipment. Muhammad Asad tells us in note 132 that the words ‘or if you suffer from affliction’- "أو كنتم مرضى" allows for a wide range of possible emergencies.
3. Verse 103 tells us to remember God at all times and to uphold prayer when safe. It also tells us that prayer is ‘a timed compilation,’ a ‘kitaab.’
Muhammad Asad translates this as “sacred duty linked to particular times of day,” while Yusuf Ali says it is “enjoined on Believers at stated times.”
Indeed, each of our prayers is a compilation that is set to a certain time of day or night, when all its parts come together at that point in time, to form one valid unit. The word ‘mawqoot’ موقوت or ‘timed’ indicates that, outside that time, the unit is invalid. This is why most scholars say that prayer is an act of worship that cannot be made up later. A study of these verses strengthens that argument, for had anyone been a candidate for the right to make up their prayers later, it would have been such an army. They would not have required a special ‘Prayer of Fear’ where they would exchange formation in bowing and prostrating just to uphold congregational prayer on time.
4. Verse 104 encourages the Believers to persevere, and shows the difference between what they seek from God- and will obtain- and what others neither seek nor will obtain.
5. Verse 105-107 addresses the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, telling him he should judge with the Compilation, and seek God’s forgiveness, and he should NOT to argue on behalf of those who are traitors (to their own Selves, as explained in the last verse). What a telling description of Hypocrites and half-hearted people!
Verse 108-109 warns that they can hide things from others but not from God Who Is with them, encompassing all, and will furthermore Be their Judge on Resurrection day.
6. Verses 110-112 begin with a beautiful promise to any who wrong their own Selves, that they will find God Most Forgiving and Unceasingly Compassionate… and end with a dire warning to any who commit a sin and then blame it on an innocent person.
7. Verse 113 addresses the Prophet, showing him God’s Grace and Mercy in keeping him above the influence of those who would seek to misguide him-and also in revealing to him the Compilation and Wisdom and imprinting upon him what he had no knowledge of (‘allama means to imprint, impress).
Our next Reading is from HQ4:114-127.
I was informed of that from personal Chinese Muslim friends. Naturally, there are many who say that the evidence is lacking.
Read: POEM in Praise of Prophet Muhammad (s) by First Chinese Ming Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang.
The poem, engraved in stone, is in the Mosque of Nanjing: