Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!!
1. Today’s Reading starts with Verse 9 which holds a Promise "wa'ad" -وعد- made to the Faithful who do good deeds, that they shall indeed obtain Forgiveness and a great reward, and then a warning in Verse 10 to those who Deny and belie God’s Signs that they shall indeed be the companions of the Inferno!
2. Verse 11 holds 3 commands: It calls those who have attained Faith, telling them to remember God’s Favor upon them when (they were weak, and) a (hostile) People attempted to extend its reach to them (extend its abilities/powers/control over them أيديهم-- Most commentators miss the fact that the Arabic ‘yad’ is a word which originally denoted power, ability, aid -see Jan. 24 for Arabic definition in footnote), and God gripped –كف- their powers so they could not gain any control over the Faithful.
The last part of this verse tells the Faithful to be aware of God, and upon God should the Faithful be reliant. We rely on Him for all matters beyond our capacity, and we rely on Him to guide us to, and help us succeed in, matters within our capacity. In yesterday’s Reading we learnt that we should not let fantasies of ‘predestination’ define our actions or influence our future. We help bring about, or make things happen, within all the possibilities God has compiled for us. And we should rely on Him as we do so. Remember, what we read in HQ3:159? That verse was addressed to Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, and ended by saying that he should consult with the Faithful, but once he has taken a decision he should (thereafter) rely on God, for indeed God loves those who rely on Him.
Readers who would like to know whom ‘God loves’ can copy + paste the following "الله يحب" (with quotation marks) into the Tanzil website (topmost image). It is not surprising to find that persons who are Aware and those who are Fair are most-mentioned!
3. Verse 12 discusses the ‘covenant/ solemn pledge’ (Ali/Asad) God took from Bani Isra-eel, that God will be with them, will overlook their trespasses and reward them with Gardens beneath which rivers flow if, If, IF they did the following:
· Established Regular Prayer.
· Practiced Regular Charity.
· Believed in God’s Messengers.
· Assisted God’s Messengers.
· Offered to God a beautiful loan (of good deeds to be returned to them manifold on Judgment Day).
4. As Readers will note in Verse 13, they ‘breached their covenant/ broke their solemn pledge’ (Ali/Asad) with God, deserving His rejection and incurring a hardening of their hearts/minds. Read the full verse. It is interesting to note that God asks Muhammad, peace upon him, to overlook and forgive them, for indeed God loves the ‘Muhsins,’ those who do deeds of goodness disregarding mitigating factors (in themselves or others. Did you notice in the Tanzil exercise above that the Qur’an twice mentions ‘…God loves the Muhsins?’)
There is an Arabic saying: “Restraint is better than legal retribution, and Forgiveness is best.”
"الصبر أحسن من القصاص والعفو أحسن"
5. Verse 14 is about those who announced that they are the ‘Nasaaraa.’ The Followers of Jesus, peace upon him, are not called ‘Christians’ in the Qur’an but rather, they are called the ‘Nasaaraa,’ the ‘Helpers/Supporters,’ probably in reference to Jesus’ inquiry as to who would be his helpers towards God, and the disciples’ response that it is they who would be God’s ‘Ansaar’ (HQ3:52; 61:14).
This verse addresses them, making it clear that although they may have upheld their pledge in part, yet they forgot a good part of what they were told to bear in mind, which is the main reason for their estrangement from each other (Ali) and “the enmity and hatred which has so often set the Christian nations against one another and led to unceasing wars and mutual persecution” (M. Asad’s note 27).
6. Verses 15-16 addresses the People of (earlier) Compilation, telling them that God’s Messenger (Muhammad) has indeed come to them, exposing much of what they had kept hidden and overlooking much. From God has come to them Illumination and an explicit Compilation, by which God guides whomever seeks His ‘good Pleasure/Acceptance’ to Paths of Salvation, taking them, by His ‘will/grace’ out of the Darkness-es (pl) into the Light, guiding them to a Straight Path.
7. Verse 17 speaks of those who say that ‘God IS the Messiah, Son of Mary,’ accusing them of ‘denying,’ or committing an act of denial. The verse then tells Muhammad, peace upon him, to ask them: “Who has the least power against God if He should will to destroy the Messiah Son of Mary, together with his mother, and everyone else on the earth? For to God belong the Dominions of Heaven and Earth and all in between, HE CREATES WHAT HE WILLS, and He is of all things Capable (referring to Jesus’ creation by God).
Our next Reading is from HQ5: 18-31