Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
In our last Reading we encountered the topic of ‘magic,’ and realized its Qur’anic definition as ‘terror/awe AND visual deception,’ and also looked up the word in our 1,000 year old Lexicon.
Wasn’t this helpful, dear Readers, in showing us the importance of AWARENESS (both awareness of deception AND awareness of the Arabic meaning of words)?
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of this Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.
PAGE 165: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
1. Verses 117-120 (page 164) quite briefly describe Moses’ actions and their results upon Pharaoh and his chieftains, and the surprising reaction of the Magicians.
We learn in a few words that Moses threw his staff and it swallowed up their ‘falsehoods/deceptions’ (Ali/Asad); that truth was ‘confirmed/established,’ and vain were their deeds; and that they were utterly vanquished and demeaned.
Then in only three, highly expressive words, we are told that the Magicians threw themselves to the ground, prostrating وألقي السحرة ساجدين –(79:24
And they said: “We believe in the Lord of the Worlds. The Lord of Moses and Aaron!” (Verses 120-121, page 165.)
The Magicians immediately realized, as Asad says in note 89, that “the act of Moses was a genuine miracle, whereas that of the sorcerers was a feat of make-believe.”
2. Verses 123-126 narrate the exchange that subsequently took place between Pharaoh and the Magicians: Pharaoh’s vow of dire consequences is met with a resigned and stoic attitude. They announce that their return is to their Lord (meaning God, in defiance of Pharaoh’s assertion that HE was their Highest Lord, as in HQ 79:24). Then they inform Pharaoh of his reasons for such harsh revenge -in public during the festivities, so as to be heard by everyone. And they make a most beautiful supplication to their Lord, in anticipation of the suffering and death to come. (Their supplication is worth memorizing: ربنا أفرغ علينما صبراً وتوفنا مسلمين)
"Our Lord! pour upon us patient Forbearance, and deliver us unto You as Muslims (pure in reverence)!
3. Verses 127-128 holds Pharaoh’s voiced plans against Moses and Bani Isra-eel, and Moses’ response as he encouraged his people to be patient and forbearing, informing them that the consequence/outcome عاقبة is always FOR the Aware.
Remember the distinction of the preposition ‘li’(ل) or ‘for,’ in front of the word, as discussed on March 21st note 3? It indicates something in someone’s favor- not against them. Put عاقبة in Tanzil- notice the contrary cases when there is no ‘li’/for! Then put the following together العاقبة ل in Tanzil to find out for whom else, besides the Aware, the outcome will be. You will notice that it is: for no one else! The outcome always is- only is- for the Aware (3 times) and for Awareness (once)!
4. Verse 129 holds his people’s response, which Asad describes in note 93 as the “first hint of their inconstancy and weakness of faith..” to which Moses again ends his statement by prodding them, saying that God will observe how they are performing/working.
Verse 130 mentions one scourge sent upon Pharaoh and his people: drought, and its aftermath.
PAGE 166: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
5. Verses 131-132 relay the conversations of Pharaoh and his people, and their superstitious thoughts against Moses.
Verse 133 lists 5 scourges sent against them, as part of nine Signs.
In Verses 134-135, they tell Moses to ask HIS Lord (!) to lift the scourges after which they would have faith in him AND send Bani Isra-eel with him as well. But when Moses did just that, and the scourges were lifted, they went back on their word!
6. Verse 136 describes their drowning, citing two reasons for such an end: Belying/denying God’s Signs AND remaining Heedless of them!
7. Verse 137 shows us how those who were downtrodden inherited the far reaches of the blessed land (blessed, or mubaarak is that in which there is abiding benefit
ثابت الخير، ثبوت الماء في البركة.
And God’s word was fulfilled upon Bani Isra-eel for their patient forbearance. As for Pharaoh and his people, all that he had contrived/fabricated/constructed (صنع)[i] was destroyed together with all the buildings he and his people had raised (see Arabic definition يعرشون ).
Note: In order to keep to Contextual and linguistic definitions and understand the Qur’an with an open mind- we must not be influenced by any preconception or Biblical narratives. This is why we should not ‘spice up’ a Qur’anic narrative by what we have read elsewhere. When we do so, it can no longer be considered Qur’anic!
Our next Reading is from HQ 7:138-147
[i] (صنع) وهو عملُ الشيء صُنْعَاً. وامرأة صَنَاعٌ ورجلٌ صَنَعٌ، إِذا كانا حاذقَين فيما يصنعانه. والصَّنِيعة: ما اصطنعتَه مِنْ خير. والتصنُّع: حُسن السَّمْت. وفرسٌ صَنِيعٌ: صَنَعَه أهلُه بحُسْن القِيام عليه. والمَصانع: ما يُصنَعُ من بئرٍ وغيْرِها للسَّقي. ومن الباب: المُصانَعة، وهي كالرِّشْوة.