Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
1. As we have already noticed, this Chapter, ‘the Repast,’ addresses in most part the Followers of (earlier) Compilation, both directly and indirectly, reminding them of their OWN obligations and their responsibilitiy in upholding what had originally been Revealed to them. This is yet another indication that this Final Compilation was revealed for the benefit of all Humanity. In today’s Reading, Verses 65-66 the Qur’an starts out by addressing them indirectly, saying:
“Had the People of (earlier) Compilation been Faithful and Aware, We would have erased their misdeeds and brought them into Gardens of Bliss. Had they upheld the Torah and the Evangel, and what was revealed unto them from their Lord, they would have partaken (of the blessings extended to them) from above them and from beneath their feet; Among them is a community which pursues a median course, and (as to) many of them, dire are their deeds.
2. Then, the Messenger is addressed directly in Verses 67, and told to ‘proclaim/ announce’ what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and seems to warn him that if “… you did not (in fact) do so, you would, indeed, not have delivered His Message!...” Then the verse continues, as it directs him to proceed, telling him that God shields him (as Messenger) from people (who would obstruct his delivery), and that God does not guide those who are Deniers. Why such a warning? The Messenger knew his duty very well, and would not have shirked the responsibility he was given, but nevertheless, it might have felt unpleasant to be the bearer of God’s ultimatums to the People of (earlier) Compilation, as well as worrying in that he might not be allowed to deliver it!
A note here: Remember when we said that there are verses in the Qur'an where the 'voice' of God is easily identifiable- dutifully received by His Messenger and then transmitted to the world? These are such verses, where God warns, and His Messenger dutifully delivers despite being the object of such warning.
Verse 68 tells the Messenger to say: ‘..O People of the Compilation! You are (standing) on nothing, until you uphold the Torah and the Evangel and what was revealed to you from your Lord..” and then continues to inform him, that what was revealed to him from his Lord only increases them in tyranny and denial, and that he should not grieve over Denying People. Yusuf Ali directs us in note 778 to verse 29 in which Moses was told the same thing, while Muhammad Asad tells us in note 85 that this indicates the necessity that they uphold what was in their original Compilation, including the prophecies of the Old Testament that related to the advent of Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him.
3. Verse 69 is similar to HQ2:62, to which Muhamad Asad’s comment was that it laid down a fundamental doctrine of Islam, that salvation is ultimately conditional upon belief in God, in Judgment Day, and righteous action in life.
Verse 70 again mentions the ‘covenant/ solemn pledge’ (Ali/Asad) taken from Bani Isra’eel (as in HQ2:83; 2:84; 2:93- 3:187; 4:154; 4:155- 5:7; 5:12; 5:13), and that whenever they received Messengers whose instructions went against their desires, they either belied them (called them imposters), or killed them (as in HQ2:61; 3:21). And, thinking that ‘no harm would befall them/ that there would be no trial or punishment’ (Ali/Asad), they acted blind and deaf, then after God accepted their repentance, many of them acted blind and deaf, and God sees all that they do.
4. The next few verses are highly significant in their definition of the role of Jesus, peace upon him, as Messenger of God, and their refutation of the claim of his later followers that Jesus was God, or that God was in a Trinity.
Verse 72 begins, as did verse 17:
“Indeed, they have denied, those who said that God is Jesus son of Mary …”
The verse then goes on to state quite plainly that Jesus himself addressed Bani Isra’eel by name, telling them to “..worship God, my Lord and yours…” and then the verse asserts that whoever associates partners with God, unto him will God forbid the Garden, and his abode shall be the Fire, with none to help.
The next two verses (73-74) are just as powerful:
“Indeed, they have denied, those who said that God is the third of a Trinity, while there is no God except One God, and if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will indeed befall those who Denied among them a grievous suffering! (73)
Will they not turn to God in repentance and ask his forgiveness, when God is Oft-Forgiving, Unceasingly Compassionate?” (74)
5. Note: It is important here to remember two points which will reflect upon our understanding of Verse 91.
- the word ‘desist’ –‘yantahu’ ينتهوا)).
- the interrogation at the end.
6. Verse 75 is interesting in that it mentions the daily needs of Jesus and Mary, peace upon them, implying that they were not ‘Heavenly Beings,’ since such beings would not require sustenance (see HQ11:70 about the angels who came to Abraham):
“The Christ, son of Mary, was but a Messenger before whom had passed away other Messengers, and his mother a woman of Truth, they both used to eat food, behold how we make our signs clear to them, then behold how they are deluded.”
7. Our Reading today ends with God telling Prophet Muhammad peace upon him, in Verse 76 to do the following: “Say, ‘Do you worship other than God, what neither has power to harm or to benefit you, while God is the Hearer, The Knower?”
Enough said on MY part. I DO await YOUR comments!
Our next Reading is from HQ5: 77-89Peace unto all!