Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Celebrations are in order: we just passed the 100 page marker, finishing 5 of 30 segments of the entire Qur’an! Way to go!
1. Our topic continues in Verse 141 with Hypocrites playing both camps, waiting to see how the tide turns so they can ask whoever prevails, “Were we not with you?” The verse ends with a promise that God will not let the Deniers triumph over the Believers.
2. Verses 142-143 eloquently describe the Hypocrites, how they play ‘clever’ with God even as they deceive themselves, standing reluctantly in prayer with the sole intention of being seen, hardly ever mentioning God - wavering between these actions, neither belonging to one group nor the other.
3. Verse 144 calls upon the Faithful NOT to take the Deniers as allies, overlooking the (other) Faithful, and warns that if they did, it would be evidence they present to God against themselves!
4. Verses 145-146 tell us that the Hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire, with none to help them… unless they repent, and make amends, and hold fast onto God, and last but not least, purify their Accountability to God Alone. Only then, can they join the ranks of the Faithful, and God will indeed grant the Faithful a magnificent reward.
Verse 147 asks a question: Why would God cause you to suffer if you are productive and have faith, for God enhances your productivity and your rewards, and knows all. (Remember what we said on Jan 13th- that the word ‘shukr’ in Arabic does not denote simple gratitude or thanks, but rather ‘Shukr’ means accepting what is little and making the most of it until it achieves abundance. Unfortunately, later generations understood ‘shukr’ to mean showing gratitude- by word of mouth.)
5. Verse 148 sets a standard for the Faithful, on what we may publicize about others. We should never speak out negatively unless we have been wronged, in which case we can divulge whatever we need to, against the wrong-doer.
Verse 149 tells us that whether we divulge good deeds or conceal them, or overlook (pardon) bad deeds committed against us, (however we decide to take our grievances) God Is indeed Absolver عفو (of our misdeeds) Capable قدير (of requital). We notice in this verse that there is only one option for us and that is to forgive- which is what God Himself THE CAPABLE does!
The gist is that WE are not always capable of taking the wrong-doer to justice, while HE Is, yet He pardons. As for us, when WE overlook or pardon, it is for our own benefit, for our own well-being, really. There is a saying: Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” SO true!
Yusuf Ali’s note 655 well-explains the word ‘Qadeer.’
6. After giving us the characteristics of the Hypocrites, Verses 150-151 give us the characteristics of the true Deniers, those who deny God and His Messengers, and make a distinction between believing in God and believing in His Messengers, and who believe in some while rejecting others, attempting to pursue a course in between. These are the true Deniers for whom is prepared humiliating suffering.
And then, in Verse 152, we get the contrasting vision of those who, in fact, Believed in God and His Messengers and made no distinction between them, they will get their reward for God is The Oft-Forgiver, the Unceasingly Compassionate.
7. The last two verses in today’s Reading are about the People of (earlier) Compilation, namely here, the followers of Moses. It seems that they had asked Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, to cause a Divine Compilation to descend upon them from Heaven, and God reminds them that their predecessors had indeed demanded of Moses something even greater than that: They had asked Moses to show them God, openly, and in plain sight! The verse then describes their punishment/consequence for their actions- they were struck by lightning for their wrongdoing, after which they resorted to worshipping the calf despite the evidence of Truth they had received. Even so, God overlooked and pardoned, giving Moses manifest evidence of authority (so as to be obeyed by them). God then raised above them the ’Mount ‘Toor’ طور in witness of their solemn pledge (I don’t agree with Y. Ali and M.Asad- both call it Sinai. Incidentally, the Arabic word 'Toor' is the origin of the English word 'tower,' meaning 'high structure.' Spanish: 'torre'- also note its Etymology.) Then, another command of entering the gate prostrate, and another command of not transgressing the Sabbath (all of which were not respected as other verses will show us in time). And God took of them a Solemn Pledge, of which we will learn more tomorrow- God-willing!
Our next Reading is from HQ4:155-170.