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UNCOVERING the original message of the Arabic Qur'an by using Lexicons compiled more than 1,000 years ago.

ISOLATING Fact from Fiction.

RECOVERING Hope and regaining the perspective where Humanity is one, God's Message is one, and our Future CAN become one we all look forward to!


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A BREAKTHROUGH project which helps understand the Qur'an AS REVEALED -not just 'as explained.'


Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 88; Qur’an 7:171-186, pages 173+174

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

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 173: Click for Arabic Qur’an.

1.  Verse 171 concludes this chapter’s historical narrative of Bani Isra-eel, by mentioning the circumstances in which God obtained their pledge.  This incident was mentioned earlier (HQ 2:63; 2:93; 4:154), where I gave a similar opinion (Jan 7th -March 2nd) on the word ‘toor’ طور – which Muhammad Asad translated as Sinai.  He did the same here, with the word ‘jabal’- جبل-:
The mountain is not specified here, but is mentioned simply as ‘the mountain.’  Ali’s translation is truer to the original, since as readers will note, Asad has influenced the reading by putting in his own subjective understanding; he added the word ‘Sinai’ to the body of his translation.  But his commentary 138 is interesting:

“This is the end, so far as this sūrah is concerned, of the story of the children of Israel. In accordance with the method of the Qur’ān, their story is made an object-lesson for all believers in God, of whatever community or time: and, therefore, the next passage speaks of the “children of Adam,” that is, of the whole human race.”

2.   After that conclusion, Verses 172-174 are addressed to Prophet Muhammad in particular, peace upon him, and to us all in general. 
These verses (with 175-178) are perhaps the most important verses of ‘Gheyb’ in the Qur’an because they tell us of the first, the basic, the original COVENANT between Cognizant Humans, and their Creator -and the consequence of stripping ourselves from it:

“And (recount, O Muhammad) that your Lord took from the Children of Adam, from those prevalent [i] -
ظهورهم -, their offspring, and made them bear witness as opposed to على themselves: Am I not your Lord?
They said, “Yes. We do bear witness!”
Lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We had been of this unknowing.’ (172)

Or lest you say, ‘Indeed, our forefathers associated before that, and we were (only) descendants after them. Will You then destroy us because of what the falsifiers did?’ (173)
Thus do We clearly explain the Signs perchance they may return. (174)

This verse seems to refer to the primordial exchange between our Consciousness and Our Lord; an exchange between our complex human selves/souls and their Divine Source before being embodied into our transitory earthly bodies.  At that primordial stage of our existence, each human consciousness acknowledged its Lord Creator and testified to His Uniqueness.
See both Yusuf Ali’s and Muhammad Asad’s explanations.

Excerpted from “The Marriage Union:”
“Muslim scholars have postulated that humanity’s yearning for spiritual meaning to life is actually the soul’s innate quest for its Divine Source.  The Human Soul remembers at a subconscious level its own primordial testimony to seek and worship God alone. The above verse refers to that first and foremost ‘solemn covenant’ undertaken by the human soul as it prepared to embark upon its journey commencing from, gliding away, and returning back, to its Creator.

An interesting fact should be mentioned here. Jungian psychology has put forward the theory of the ‘collective unconscious’ to explain certain inexplicable psychological phenomena, shared by humanity, but unrelated to individual knowledge or experience. Jung believed that humans share with each other what has been imprinted upon their psyches from the experience of all their collective ancestors.
If we were to take Jung’s concept of shared ancestral knowledge all the way back to primordial existence, it might provide one of the best explanations of this verse, to date.”
Carl Jung (1875-1961): ‘The Collective Unconscious’ is his most mystical, most controversial and, as some believe, his most important concept.

3.  Verses 175-176 continue to address Prophet Muhammad in particular, and everyone else in general, telling him to relate a contrasting picture:
And relate to them the report of He who, having received Our Signs, then stripped himself of them (like skin would be stripped from flesh [ii] انسلخ--).  The Deviant/Sheytan ‘followed him/caught up with him’ (Ali/Asad) and he became one of those who strayed (into darkness and devastation [iii]غوي-).
Here we note that this person was not followed by Sheytan until after he had skinned himself from his soul/consciousness; until after he had chosen to separate himself from his NATURAL, INBORN ties with God and His Signs!  IF God had not granted us free will, His Signs would have lifted us by force:
 “Had We willed, we would have lifted him by them, but he stuck fast to the ground –خلد [iv] - and followed his desires (هوى), so in similitude, he is in the likeness of a dog, if you threaten him he will loll out his tongue and pant, and if you let him be, he will also loll out his tongue and pant.  That is the similitude of those who belie Our Signs, so do relate these stories, perchance they will reflect.”
And we DID reflect (let me know, dear Readers, if you have any other ideas about this parable): 
To understand it, we should correlate the similitude of a cognizant human skinning himself, to the similitude of a dog with tongue lolling. 
What is the significance? 
Dogs pant, and their tongues loll out because they need to cool themselves... it is necessary for them to do that, not having the wonderful skin we have[v]!
If we were to literally skin ourselves –shed our own human ‘shields’ we’d be similar, yet inferior to, animals.  This is a purely physical image from nature, showing us the importance of the largest of our organs, drawn to us as a parable, so that we’d understand the spiritual reality behind it. 
As Cognizant humans, our protective and receptive shield is our Consciousness, with which we are ready to understand, accept, and follow God’s Signs.  If we disregard it, we would not only have disregarded what differentiates us from all other creatures, we would also have discarded and broken the solemn pledge made by our ingrained Consciousness to God!
The parable seems to end with two warning statements in 177, 178…
PAGE 174: Click for Arabic Qur’an.

4.   But it does NOT end; there is more: 
Verse 179 takes us to the Hereafter, to Hell, which is full of ‘Jinn’ and ‘Ins,’ whose description is that:
By not making use of their faculties, they are like livestock, like their own domesticated animals…. No… that is unfair to the animals.  Such persons are further than animals in loss.  Such persons are the Heedless!
This, I think, is where the Parable ends. 
Give us your thoughts, dear Reader.

5.  Verse 180, according to Muhammad Asad:
AND GOD’S [alone] are the attributes of perfection; invoke Him, then, by these, and stand aloof from all who distort the meaning of His attributes: they shall be requited for all that they were wont to do!
See Asad’s Commentary.

6.  Verses 181-183 show us two kinds of communities, those who guide others and those who deny/belie God’s signs.  We notice that when God gives the latter more time, it is NOT to their benefit!

7.  Verse 184, speaks to the idolatrous Meccans, reminding them of all the good things they knew about their erstwhile companion, now the Messenger of God, Muhammad.  According to Asad:

Has it, then, never occurred to them that there is no madness whatever in [this] their fellow-man? He is only a plain warner.
Notice the word ‘jinnah- جنّة- which denotes a hidden affliction.  See Asad’s commentary number 150.
Verse 185 shows that a genuine contemplation of the dominion of heavens and earth and all that God had created would prove that- like all things- their term is nearing completion, then asks:…. in what ‘hadeeth- حديث ’ Communication after this will they believe?
We already mentioned that ‘hadeeth’ is ‘live,’ or ‘new’ communication, from the root-verb حدث – see Posting of  February 23rd note 6. 
I disagree with translation of ‘Hadeeth’ as ‘Message’ by Ali, and ‘tiding’ by Asad. 
The Qur’an is called Hadeeth often, and the ‘best of Hadeeth’ put حديث in Tanzil.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 7: 187-206

Peace unto all!

[i](ظهر) يدلُّ على قوّةٍ وبروز.
من ذلك ظَهَرَ الشيءُ يظهرُ ظهوراً فهو ظاهر، إذا انكشفَ وبرزَ. ولذلك سمِّيَ وقت الظُّهرِ والظَّهيرة، وهو أظهر أوقات النّهار وأَضْوَؤُها. والأصل فيه كلّه ظهر الإنسان، وهو خلافُ بطنه، وهو يجمع البُروزَ والقوّة. والظَّهيرِ: المُعين، كأنَّه أسندَ ظَهْرَه إلى ظهرك. والظُّهور: الغَلبة. قال الله تعالى: {فَأَصْبَحُوا ظَاهِرِين} [الصف 14].
والظِّهريُّ: كلُّ شيءٍ تجعله بظَهْرٍ ، أي تنساه، كأَنَّكَ قد جعلتَه خلف ظهرِكَ ، إِعراضاً عنه وتركاً لـه. قال الله سبحانه: {وَاتّخَذْتُمُوهُ وَرَاءَكُمْ ظِهْرِيّاً} [هود 92].

[ii] (سلخ) السين واللام والخاء أصلٌ واحد، وهو إخراج الشيء عن جلده. ثم يُحْمَل عليه. والأصل سلخْتُ جلدةَ الشاةِ سلخاً. والسِّلْخ: جلد الحية تنسلخ.
[iii] (غوي) أصلانِ: أحدهما يدلُّ على خِلاف الرُّشد وإظلام الأَمْر، والآخرُ على فسادٍ في شيء.
·          فالأوَّل الغَيّ، وهو خلاف الرُّشد، والجَهلُ بالأمر، والانهماكُ في الباطل. يقال غَوى يَغْوي غَيَّاً . وذلك عندنا مشتقٌّ من الغَيَاية، وهي الغُبْرة والظلمةُ تَغشيان، كأنَّ ذا الغَيِّ قد غَشِيه ما لا يرى معه سبيلَ حقّ.
فأمَّا الغَايَة فهي الرَّاية، وسمِّيت بذلك لأنّها تُظِلُّ مَن تحتَها. ثم سميِّت نهايةُ الشَّيء غايةً. وهذا من المحمول على غيرِه، إِنِّما سميت غايةً بغاية الحرب، وهي الرّاية، لأنَّه يُنْتَهَى إليها كما يَرجِع القومُ إلى رايَتِهم في الحرب.
·          والأصل الآخر: قولهم: غَوِيَ الفَصيلُ، إذا أكثر من شُربِ اللّبَن ففَسَد جوفُه. والمصدر الغَوَى.

[iv]   (خلد)   يدلُّ على الثبات والملازمَة، فيقال: خَلَدَ: أقام، وأخلَدَ أيضاً. ومنه جَنَّةُ الخُلْدِ. ويقال أخْلَدَ إلى الأرض إذا لَصِق بها. قال الله تعالى: {وَلَكِنَّهُ أخْلَدَ إلَى الأَرْضِ} [الأعراف 176].

[v] The only few sweat glands that they have are on the pads of their feet, so instead of sweating to cool themselves, dogs cool themselves by panting.  Other animals are similar, but cool themselves differently.  Cats cool themselves by grooming; the saliva on their fur cools them down!

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