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 183: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
1. Today’s Reading starts with two VERY IMPORTANT verses that call unto the Faithful:
They hold 5 commands to be heeded by those of us who wish to succeed as a community, to be respected, and to have God WITH us.
Unfortunately, our history provides ample example of the dire consequences suffered for having disobeyed these commands:
“O you who have attained Faith: If you meet a (hostile) faction stand firm, and remember God consistently so that you may succeed.
And obey God and His Messenger and do not contend against one another, thereby weakening (in strength and courage [i]), and causing the departure of your advantage [ii] over them, and patiently persevere, indeed God Is with those who patiently persevere!”
This is not just in battle! This command is for successful navigation through ANY threatening circumstance, and then EMERGING ON TOP: with steadfastness, remembrance of God, obedience to Him and His Messenger, togetherness, and perseverance.
Two recipes; the recipe for success and the recipe for failure. We make the choice!
2. The next two verses describe the tribe of Qureish, and the way in which the Deviant/Sheytaan embellishes people’s deeds, then leaves such persons to face God alone, while he disassociates himself from them. It is interesting to hear his argument, in that he knows what they don’t know, and that he fears God who is severe in meting out retribution! Read it in both Ali and Asad’s explanations.
3. Verse 49 responds to what two groups are saying: The first group is the Hypocrites, and the second group is ‘Those in whose hearts/minds is a Disease,’ which refers to those who are ‘Associating with –or ascribing partners to- God,’ the ‘Mushrikeen.’ Well-explained by both Ali and Asad.
4. Verses 50-51 give us a horrifying peek into the end of life as it will be for those who Denied; they struggle against the Angels of Death who tell them to taste the deeds they had sent forth (see Posting of March 26th)
Verses 52 and 54 are about the People of Pharaoh, and those prior to them; how they denied God’s Signs and had to suffer the consequence.
PAGE 184: Click for Arabic Qur’an.
5. Verse 53, is a statement of FACT, positioned in between the narrative of the People of Pharaoh and those prior to them.
This verse shows us something very important:
It shows us the Cognizant Human’s DEFAULT state (as explained by Asad):
“This, because God would never change the blessings with which He has graced a people unless they change their inner selves: and [know] that God is all-hearing, all-knowing.”
Lit., “that which is in themselves.” This statement has both a positive and a negative connotation: i.e., God does not withdraw His blessings from men unless their inner selves become depraved (cf. 8:53), just as He does not bestow His blessings upon willful sinners until they change their inner disposition and become worthy of His grace. In its wider sense, this is an illustration of the divine law of cause and effect (sunnat Allāh) which dominates the lives of both individuals and communities, and makes the rise and fall of civilizations dependent on people’s moral qualities and the changes in “their inner selves.”
Our default state, the state in which we were created and would revert to- if not for any bad choices we make- is a STATE OF BLESSING.
Human Innocence PLUS Blessings from God are the default of our existence!
This is a very important distinction that we should make, especially in response to people who, whether out of ignorance or spite, go out of their way to spread lies about this faith, first by giving us our own ‘god,’ and then by alleging that ‘the God of Islam’ is a god who hates.
The onus is upon us to prove them wrong on both counts.
6. Verses 55-59 are address to Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, and relate to the Idolatrous tribe of Qureish and their breaking of covenants, as explained by Asad.
7. Verses 60-61 add one final command to our ‘Recipe for Success’ (verses 45-46), namely maintaining a DETERRENCE to ever becoming oppressed by others. Being ‘battle-prepared’ at all times happens to be the best way to achieve a just peace! (Explained below by Asad):
“Hence, make ready against them whatever force and war mounts you are able to muster, so that you might deter thereby the enemies of God, who are your enemies as well, and others besides them of whom you may be unaware, [but] of whom God is aware; and whatever you may expend in God’s cause shall be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.
But if they incline to peace, incline thou to it as well, and place thy trust in God: verily, He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing!”
Have a Blessed Weekend, and do try to catch up with us!
Our next Reading is from HQ 8: 62-75.
Peace unto all!
[i] (نزع) يدلُّ على قَلْع شيء. ونَزَعْت الشيءَ من مكانِه نَزْعاً. ومَنْزَعة الرّجل: رأيُه. ونازَعَت النَّفْسُ إلى الأمرِ نِزاعاً، ونَزَعَت إليه، إذا اشتَهتْه. ونَزَع إلى أبيه في الشَّبَه. ونَزَع عن الأمر نُزُوعاً، إذا تركَه.
[ii] لسان العرب: الفَشِل: الرجل الضعيف الجبان، والجمع أَفشال. ابن سيده: فَشِل الرجل فَشَلاً، فهو فَشِل: كَسِلَ وضعُف وتراخَى وجَبُن. الفَشَل: الفزعُ والجُبْن والضَّعْف؛ وفي التنزيل العزيز: ولا تنازعوا فتَفْشَلوا وتذهب ريحكُم؛ قال الزجاج: أَي تَجْبُنوا عن عدوّكم إِذا اختلفتم، أَخبر أَن اختلافهم يضعفهم وأَن الأُلْفة تزيد في قوّتهم.