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 221 Arabic Qur’an.
1. Our Reading today begins with Verse 107, where we notice God’s Forgiveness and Compassion; adversity and prosperity are not delivered to us equally! God only ‘touches’ us with a little of adversity -ضر (see March 21st) whereas what He ‘intends’ for us, is prosperity خير. Furthermore, most of our misfortune is man-made, ie, a consequence of human error and misdeed (HQ 30:41).
Regular Readers will remember that ‘ibaad’ means ‘worshippers,’ NOT servants.
In Verse 108 Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, is told to announce to people that Truth has come to them from their Lord, and that it is up to them to choose either guidance FOR themselves, or misguidance AGAINST themselves; also that he was not a guardian over them.
The last verse in this Chapter, Verse 109, encourages Prophet Muhammad, and assures him.
2. Asad says of this Meccan Chapter:
“REVEALED very shortly after the tenth surah (Yunus) - that is, during the last year of the Prophet's sojourn in Mecca - Hud bears a great resemblance to the former, both in method and subject-matter. As in Yunus, the main theme is the revelation of God's will through His prophets and the manifestation of prophethood as such. Some of the stories of earlier prophets mentioned in Yunus are developed in the present surah in greater detail, and are illuminated from various angles, with a particular stress on just dealings between man and man. Paramount in this connection is verse 117, which states that "never would thy Sustainer destroy a community for wrong [beliefs alone] so long as its people behave righteously [towards one another]."
Verse 1 of the Chapter of Hud also begins with the ‘disjointed letters (A-L-R), similar to the previous Chapter of Jonah. We had already discussed such beginnings on April 6th, where we indicated that such letters usually introduce the ‘Compilation -كتاب’ – and I mentioned that they are in reality ‘sounds’ not letters, as you see below:
“Alif-Laam-Raa; A Compilation,
the Signs/Verses of which were established (altogether)
and thereafter (singly) identified/distinguished,
by One Who Is All-Wise, Fully-Acquainted (with everything).”
This IS a difficult verse to understand because it discusses a matter that took place out of our sphere of perception. We will be discussing this in detail later, but for now:
All we can do is offer our best explanation of the words and concepts as we see them, and say that the Signs/Verses of the Compilation were ‘established in entirety’ in God’s knowledge before they were made distinct, IN ELOQUENT ARABIC*, and revealed separately to the Messenger, depending on the necessities of his mission. So ‘fussilat’ describes the verses being made distinguishable and identifiable- in eloquent Arabic- to people who know HQ 41:1-3:
تَنزِيلٌ مِّنَ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ ﴿٢﴾
كِتَابٌ فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣﴾
3. Following mention of the Compilation, which actually was a challenge to Qureish who prided themselves on their eloquence, Verses 2- 3- 4 invite Qureish and warn them that they should worship God Alone and seek forgiveness of their Lord Alone. With both persuasion and dissuasion, the Messenger tells them that God would grant them enjoyment in life until their term is up and they return to Him, and assures them that he fears for them the suffering of a Great Day.
Verse 5 describes how the Deniers ‘wrap themselves up,’ denoting their desire to hide themselves from Revelation, but God knows all (see also Ali’s explanation).
PAGE 222 Arabic Qur’an.
4. Verses 6-7 are well-explained, the first by Ali (although I would translate the word ‘Kitaab-كتاب’ as ‘Compilation’) and the second by Asad (although I would translate the word ‘Archعرش -’ as ‘Arch’ (see discussion of April 9th from which comes the following excerpt):
“We should bear in mind that the word in Arabic expresses BUILDING, complete with raising and fortifying what is built. The 'arch' which the Qur'an ALWAYS mentions with regard to God's Creation, is directly related to the form and function of this universe, as the receptacle of LIFE. Verse HQ 2:255 tells us about God, that "..no slumber nor sleep overcomes Him..." The concept of the 'Arch' seems to have been well-understood by early Muslims who manifested it into their architecture; see 'The Arch Which Never Sleeps' in sidebar.”
5. After ‘Those who Denied’ were promised Resurrection, they made the accusation that this Message was ‘nothing but obvious sorcery.’ Then the next three verses 8- 9- 10 (all starting with the word ‘la’inn-لئن’ IF) counter their allegations with examples: What they would do IF their suffering is deferred; How human nature would react to adversity IF it touches them after prosperity, and vice versa.
6. Then we arrive at Verse 11 where a clear picture begins to emerge regarding Human Nature, where an important point should be made:
Whenever the Qur’an gives us a negative statement about Human Nature, it does NOT intend human nature AS CREATED by God, but rather, AS IT DETERIORATES when we corrupt it by our own action or inaction.
As a ‘prototype,’ the Cognizant Humanإنسان- ’ –‘insaan,’ is created to the BEST of God’s ‘specifications’ with the unique capacity for growth and evolution to fulfill higher degrees of potential than we could ever imagine.
Indeed, the Qur’an tells us quite clearly that WE are His ‘Masterpiece’- as long as we uphold ourselves by Faith and Good deeds. When we don’t, we run the risk of debasing ourselves until we arrive at degrees lower than the low:
See HQ 95:4-6:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ ﴿٤﴾
ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ ﴿٥﴾
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ ﴿٦﴾
Also see HQ 103:1-3:
إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ ﴿٢﴾
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ ﴿٣﴾
BUT… we have to WORK in order to maintain our unique mental and spiritual identities and enhance them. Enhancement is what is expected of us, but we will be discussing this later, God-willing, as we progress through the Qur’an.
Our next Reading is from HQ 11:12-28