Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
In yesterday’s Reading, God’s Word was fulfilled upon Bani Isra-eel for their patient forbearance, while Pharaoh and his people, and everything he had fabricated and constructed, were destroyed.
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 167: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
1. Verses 138-140 see the deliverance of Bani Isra-eel across the ‘wide body of water’ the ‘bahr- بحر [i]’ – which as our 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us, refers to both sea and river.
(Arabs today use the word ‘buheyraبحيرة- ’ for lake -which literally means a small body of water- while ‘bahrah بحرة- ‘ is a fountain.)
Please note that placing these incidents in a Biblical or Traditional context leads us out of its Qur’anic context. In trying to understand the Qur’an AS IT WAS REVEALED, it is counterproductive to deviate from the Qur’anic information into what might be found in other sources! It is misleading to label or name what the Qur’an mentions without a name or label, as both Ali, Asad, and others have done at times.
These verses show us how, after crossing the water and arriving at a place where people were worshipping idols, they asked Moses to make a ‘god’ for them, similar to these ‘gods,’ for them to worship (!). As we said previously:
“In studying the effects of slavery one must note that persons who have never been free, will not only be lacking qualities of leadership, but they usually find difficulty in accepting any kind of change -even when for the better. This seems to be one of the main reasons behind the lack of positivity which Moses' followers were notorious for and …” (Read full posting of January 5th!)
He responded that they were people who knew nothing قوم تجهلون, and showed them the worthlessness of such deeds, and asked how he could even seek for them a deity other than God who had given [ii] them more of His Bounty than he had given all others (see Lexicon. To understand this verb as ‘prefer’ is wrong; this is a modern usage of Arabic. Bani Isra-eel are believed by some to be ‘the chosen people,’ which is neither true of them or of any other groups in the Qur’an; see HQ 3:73-74. God did not ‘choose’ any nation or race above others, although he did choose persons and their families for certain responsibilities, such as Mary, Abraham and his family, Imraan and his family –put the word اصطفى in Tanzil.)
As for our translators, I find Yusuf Ali’s closer to the Arabic because Asad’s choice of the word ‘favored’ sounds preferential:
Yusuf Ali: “.. endowed you with gifts above the nations..”
Muhammad Asad: “.. favored you above all other people (ie: by having raised so many prophets out of their midst).”
Verse 141 mentions the most recent of God’s bounties to them: Deliverance after bondage.
2. Verses 142-143 discuss Moses’ appointed time with his Lord, and how, after his Lord had spoken to him, Moses, peace upon him, couldn’t help asking to see Him. Commentators tell us that this was a natural consequence to having literally been spoken to by God; a bequest no other Messenger before -or since- Moses, had ever received! Verse 143 is the response to his request- to which Moses responded with repentance: See Yusuf Ali’s and Muhammad Asad’s explanations.
PAGE 168: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
3. Verse 144 quite clearly shows us that Moses was chosen by God اصفيتك above people to deliver God’s Messages AND to be spoken to… the verse is well-explained by both Ali and Asad, except for the ending كن من الشاكرين which they translated as: Ali: “..give thanks.”; Asad: “…grateful.”
Our Regular Readers would know (from our Posting of Jan. 13th) that:
“The word ‘shukr’ in Arabic does not denote simple gratitude or thanks, although that may be how the word is understood today. ‘Shukr’ means accepting what is little and making the most of it until it achieves abundance (as in the example of a 'shakoor' horse or tree in definition at bottom of page…”
5. Verses 146-147 give us two statements:
· The first is related to those who ‘behave arrogantly on earth in defiance of right;’ they suffer the consequences of their heedlessness in becoming blinded and deafened to the truth (see Ali and Asad).
· The second is related to those who belie God’s Signs or consider them false; they will be rewarded only with what they had done (since they desired only earthly rewards, and got them, in the hereafter they will get nothing and all their deeds would be in vain).
6. Verses 148-149 are related to Moses’ people making out of their jewelry a calf that was ‘jasad’ [iii] جسد a lifeless figure, and had ‘khawaar’ [iv] (commentators tell us that this figure was hollow, so that air passed through and it made a sound. That is their explanation of ‘khawaar’- a term which does refer to the lowing of cattle, and ALSO to ‘weakness’- see definition below).
They worshipped it, wronging their own Selves, but when they realized what they had done, they sought their Lord’s mercy and forgiveness.
Our next Reading is from HQ 7:150-159.
[i] (بحر) قال الخليل سمِّي البَحر بحراً لاستبحارِه وهو انبساطُه وسَعَتُه. واستبحر فلانٌ في العلم، وتبَحَّر الرّاعي في رِعْيٍ كثير. . ورجلٌ بَحْرٌ، إذا كان سخيّاً، سمَّوْه لفَيضِ كفِّه بالعطاءِ كما يَفيض البحر. قال العامريّ: أبحرَ القومُ إذا ركبوا البحر، وأبَرُّوا أخَذُوا في البَرّ. قال: والأنهار كلُّها بِحارٌ. ويقال هذه بَحْرَتُنا قال بعضهم: البَحْرة الفَجْوة من الأرض تتسع.
[ii] (فضل) يدلُّ على زيادةٍ في شيءمن ذلك الفَضْل: الزِّيادة والخير. والإفضال: الإحسان.
[iii] (جسد) تجمُّع الشيء أيضاً واشتدادِه. من ذلك جَسَدُ الإنسان. والمِجْسَد: الذي يلي الجَسَد من الثِّياب. والجَسَدُ والجَسِد من الدم: ما يَبِسَ، فهو جَسَدٌ وجاسد.
وقال قوم: الجسَد الدّمُ نفسُه، والجَسِد اليابس. ومما شذّ عن الباب الجَسَاد الزَّعفَران. فإذا قلت هذا المِجْسَد بكسر الميم فهو الثوب الذي يَلي الجَسَد. قال: وهذا عند الكوفيِّين. فأمَّا البصريُّون فلا يعرفون إلا مُجْسَداً، وهو المُشبَع صِبْغاً.
وقال بعضهم في قوله عجلاً جسداً، قال: أَحمر من ذهب؛ وقال أَبو إِسحق في تفسير الآية: الجسد هو الذي لا يعقل ولا يميز إِنما معنى الجسد معنى الجثة. فقط.
[iv] (خور) الخاء والواو والراء أصلان: أحدهما يدلُّ على صوت، والآخَر على ضَعْف.
فالأوّل قولُهم خار الثَّور يخور...
وأمّا الآخر فالخَوَّار: الضعيفُ مِن كلِّ شيء. يقال رُمْحٌ خوّارٌ، وأرضٌ خَوّارةٌ، وجمعه خُورٌ