Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
1. Verse 103 denounces the superstitions that were traditional to the idolatrous tribe of Qureish, where they would prohibit themselves from slaughtering some of their livestock, assigning 4 categories of prohibition; see Yusuf Ali’s note 809 and Muhammad Asad’s note 124. The verse ends by denouncing their ‘lying in God’s Name’ and says that most of them ‘lack wisdom/ never use their reason’ (Ali/Asad).
Verse 104 shows us the argument between them and the Faithful, who invite them to come together to God’s Revelation delivered by His Messenger, to which they say, that what they found their fathers doing is good enough for them (!). The Qur’an responds to that illogical attitude by asking: “…Why- even though their fathers know nothing and are not guided?”
· Note the interactive question here, which got its response, silent or otherwise!
· Also note that this question stands for all time, and is one which each of us responds to:
Am I following my parents’ beliefs because they simply seem good enough for me, or should I use my reason and measure everything against the standards of God’s final Revelation?
As a Muslim, I must admit that I used to respond mentally by saying: “This verse does not apply to me.” I used to leave it at that, until I realized that every word in the Qur’an applies to each of us in some way! The Qur’an is, after all, the Word of ‘The Living God’ to living people, and not a dry compilation revealed to people of olden times who have long departed this earth!
In other words, dear Reader:
Claim the Qur’an. It is yours today- YOU are the one it is intended for!
2. Verse 105 is a statement assigning AND limiting responsibility to each and every one of us who consider ourselves ‘Faithful.’ In the final analysis, whether or not others remain on God’s path or stray from it, we are only responsible for ourselves. Their straying would not discredit us IF -If -if WE maintain our Guidance. This verse helps us understand the verses that preceded it; the straying of others (parents-society) is of no account.
3. Verses 106-108 are about the importance of making out our after-death bequests, our ‘Last Will and Testament.’ The verses also illustrate the gravity of providing truthful witness to such wills, especially those made while traveling, when one has to solicit total strangers as witnesses. Well-explained by both Ali and Asad, these verses end with the statement:
“…be aware of God and listen, and God does not guide ‘pledge-breaking’ or ‘deserting’ people القوم الفاسقين*-. (This word is usually translated by Ali as ‘rebel’ and by Asad as ‘iniquitous.’ Although correct, I find them inapplicable in today’s understanding. If Readers find a better word for ‘faasiq,’ please let us know.)
4. Verse 109 leads up to the story behind the choice of title for this Chapter, the ‘Table-spread/ Repast’ (Ali/Asad).
Suddenly, we are transported to the Hereafter, where we get a glimpse into God’s gathering of all the Messengers where He asks them of the response they received. (Note the all-important issue of Response!)
They seem to answer in unison, peace upon them all, saying that they do not know what response they got, for indeed God Alone is Knower of all that is beyond their perception. This may apply to the fact that people’s intentions are unknown to observers, on one hand, and also that each Messenger might be able to vouch for only a few of his followers, and even then, not with certainty; he might not have accompanied them throughout their lives.
It also shows that, to be both honest and accurate, they can only offer this single answer!
5. Then, in Verse 110, God addresses Jesus by his identity as ‘son of Mary,’ reminding him of all His Favors to him and to his mother. These favors include aiding him (أيّد) with ‘the holy spirit/ holy inspiration’ (Ali/Asad) which enabled him to speak to people in the cradle and in his prime, and compelled him/taught him the Compilation, and Wisdom and the Torah, and the Evangel (for definition of ‘allama’ -علم-see Posting Feb.8th).
The verse then continues in its description of the unexplainable phenomena we call ‘miracles’ which Jesus peace upon him carried out, by God’s leave, such as curing the blind and the leper as well as ‘raising the dead,’ for which, those who denied among Bani Isra-eel, accused him of sorcery.
Our next Reading is from HQ5: 111-HQ6:7 (Yes, a new Chapter!)
(فسق) الفِسْق، وهو الخروج عن الطَّاعة. تقول العرب: فَسقَتِ الرُّطَبَةُ عن قِشْرها: إذا خرجَتْ، حكاه الفَرَّاء. ويقولون: إنَّ الفأرة فُوَيْسِقة،