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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 71; HQ6:100- 107 page 141

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Today's Reading is about 'Shirk,' quite a topic!
1.  Verse 100 tells us about what people tend to revere besides/instead of God (‘partners’ شركاء), in this instance, the ‘Jinn’ الجن--. 
From Yusuf Ali’s note 929:

“The root meaning of junna, yujannu, is "to be covered or hidden", and janna yajunnu, in the active voice, "to cover or hide", as in Surah 6:76. Some people say that Jinn therefore means the hidden qualities or capacities in man; others that it means wild or jungle folk hidden in the hills or forests. I do not wish to be dogmatic, but I think, from a collation and study of the Quranic passages, that the meaning is simply "a spirit," or an invisible or hidden force.”

Muhammad Asad also relates the word to its origin and refers us to two pages he wrote on the subject (Appendix III) in which he says:
“In the usage of the Quran, which is certainly different from the usage of primitive folklore, the term jinn has several distinct meanings. The most commonly encountered is that of spiritual forces or beings which, precisely because they have no corporeal existence, are beyond the perception of our corporeal senses a connotation 'which includes "satans" and "satanic forces" (shayateen - see note 16 on 15:17) as well as "angels" and "angelic forces," since all of them are "concealed from our senses" (Jawhari, Raghib).

We have already discussed ‘jinn,’ the hidden, or imperceptible, (see Feb 21st), and know that a lush garden enclosed -or hidden by its own foliage- is a ‘jannah,’ an unborn child is a ‘janeen,’ the heart is the ‘janaan,’ and we also know that germs, bacteria, micro-organisms, etc.. are ‘jinn’ because they are unseen.  As for the spiritual, these matters are ‘gheyb,’ so we can never prove them one way or the other, although the damage which superstition wreaks upon our lives is unfortunately quite real.

I have attached in the footnote[i] what Asad referred to in Appendix III, from the lexicon ‘Mufradaat alfaathul Qur’aan’ by Al-Raghib Al-Asfhaani, who died in 503 A.H./1109 A.D.  I have translated here the most interesting part of this lengthy explanation:

“Jinns, they say, are two kinds; the spiritual entities which are completely hidden from all human senses and perception, in which case this will include the Angels and the Deviants.  Therefore all Angels are Jinn, but not all Jinns are Angels…” 

This alternative definition is more than 900 years old.  It seems supported by the fact that, although the Qur’an often mentions the creation of humans (from earth matter plus ‘spirit’) and of jinns (from energy/fire), nowhere does the Qur’an specifically mention the creation of Angels.
This also helps answer certain questions and explain certain Qur’anic verses, such as today’s Reading, HQ 6:100, where the Qur’an criticizes those who have ‘associated’ Jinns with God, making out of them ‘sons and daughters’ of God.  In other verses we understand that they were referring to angels (HQ17:40; 37:150; 43:19.), as Asad says in his note 87:

“[Lit., "they have invented for Him (or "falsely attributed to Him") sons and daughters without having any knowledge": a reference to the beliefs of the pre-Islamic Arabs who regarded the angels as "God's daughters" (a designation which they also applied to certain of their goddesses), as well as to the Christian view of Jesus as "the son of God."

2.  Verse 101-103 gives us a few of God’s beautiful attributes, ‘Originator of the heavens and the earth بديع السموات والأرض’ (Asad), ‘Above all Comprehension yet Acquainted with all things اللطيف الخبير- ’ (Ali).  Both translations are beautiful to read, but the Arabic even more so!

3.   Verse 104 is general, an address to people from their Lord; Ali translates ‘basa’er- بصائر’ as ‘proofs,’ while Asad as ‘means of insight.’

4.  Verses 105-107 are addressed to the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, and they begin by telling him that thus, in different ways, does God convey His Signs. Read from either Ali or Asad.  There is a command to follow what was revealed to him from His Lord, and to turn away from the ‘Associat-ers’ the ‘Mushriks,’ who ascribe divinity to other than God.  In verse 107 is the reminder that, had God willed, they would not have associated.  The verse ends by limiting the Messenger’s responsibility to the delivery of the Message.

5.     But what is ‘Association’ or ‘Shirk’?

‘Associating partners with God,’ or Shirk, as scholars agree, is the opposite of ‘Tawheed,’ which is worshipping God Alone (copy + paste شرك in Tanzil).
Shirk is of two kinds: the Greater Shirk which is ‘association in God-hood- شرك الألوهية’ when someone takes another to worship or supplicate to rather than, or besides, God.  The Lesser Shirk, which is ‘association in Lord-ship-شرك الربوبية,’ when one obeys, seeks to please, or follows another, such as peers, society, and one’s own desire/weakness..etc instead of God.

Obedience to Desire/Weakness (from 'hawa' which literally means 'to plummet down-to fall rapidly') is perhaps the most subtle ‘Shirk’ of all.

6.   Desire/Weakness covers the entire spectrum of choices in Life that might cause us to plummet down, to degrade ourselves as Cognizant Humans, all of which deserve Awareness.  When unaware, anyone can fall to desire or weakness, becoming a ‘Follower,’ and later perhaps attracting others, becoming ‘Followed’ (HQ2:166-167).
Desire/Weakness is a strong Deity (copy + paste هواه in Tanzil-topmost image).  Desire/Weakness has the power to close one’s mind despite (the person's) knowledge ‘ilm’ على علم, which is one way of understanding the verse, by referring knowledge to the persons themselves.  (Some commentators refer the knowledge to God- 'as explained by both Ali and Asad.  Copy + paste "على علم"; you'll find the term refers to God at times, and to people at others.)
This is considered the worst kind of waywardness ضلال (by commentators mentioned in footnote-2-): 
Straying, and getting irretrievably lost DESPITE KNOWING BETTER! 
We can all relate to that.

“Have you (sing.) observed the person who took his Desire as his Deity, and whom God [thereupon] let stray despite (his) knowledge, and sealed-over his hearing and heart/mind and rendered upon his sight a veil?  Who then can guide him, (of all who are) lesser than God? Will you not (pl.) then, think back and bring to mind? (HQ 45:23)

Enough said-for now!
Our next Reading is from HQ6:108-116
Peace unto all!

[i]من معجم مفردات ألفاظ القرآن للراغب الأصفهاني:


- أصل الجن: ستر الشيء عن الحاسة يقال: جنة الليل وأجنة وجن عليه، فجنه: ستره، وأجنه جعل له ما يجنه، والجنان: القلب، لكونه مستورا عن الحاسة، والمجن والمجنة: ….
والجنة: كل بستان ذي شجر يستر بأشجاره الأرض، قال عز وجل: }لقد كان لسبإ في مسكنهم آية جنتان عن يمين وشمال{ [سبأ/15]، }وبدلناهم بجنتيهم جنتين{ [سبأ/16]، }ولولا إذ دخلت جنتك{ [الكهف/39]، قيل: وقد تسمى الأشجار الساترة جنة، وسميت الجنة إما تشبيها بالجنة في الأرض - وإن كان بينهما بون - ؛ وإما لستره نعمها عنا المشار إليها بقوله تعالى: }فلا تعلم نفس ما أخفي لهم من قرة أعين{ [السجدة/17]. ….
والجنين: الولد ما دام في بطن أمه، وجمعه: أجنة. قال تعالى: }وإذ أنتم أجنة في بطون أمهاتكم{ [النجم/32]، وذلك فعيل في معنى مفعول….
والجن يقال على وجهين: أحدهما للروحانيين المستترة عن الحواس كلها بإزاء الإنس، فعلى هذا تدخل فيه الملائكة والشياطين، فكل ملائكة جن، وليس كل جن ملائكة.....

(2) هكذا قال ابن كثير. ومن صفوة التفاسير للصابوني:
"أي وأضلَّ الله ذلك الشقي في حال كونه عالماً بالحق غير جاهل به، فهو أشدُّ قبحاً وشناعةً ممن يضل عن جهل."

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