Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Our last Reading ended with such enlightening verses, showing us that, although we do not control the frame of existence, nor is the canvas of our own setting, but our destinies ARE painted by our choice of colors, using the brushes WE hold in our own hands!
We continue today, learning more about our place in Creation, and about our Creator.
Verse 13 mentions THUNDER, this Chapter’s Title.
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 251Arabic Qur’an.
1. Our Reading today continues, giving us an awe-inspiring perspective of Creation and The Creator:
Initially, Verse 12 begins to describe the Forces of Nature: We are shown the Lightning, which instills both fear and hope: The most deadly natural phenomena known to us is also our herald of glad-tidings, a precursor to thirst-quenching rain! The heavy laden thunder-clouds bring us either relief or distress.
As the Thunder rolls in Verse 13, its activity is evidence to His Praise, and the Angels follow suit, constant in motion, and in awe and apprehension of what descends upon us from the stormy heavens… thunderbolts that hit some of us.. as others are arguing about God, Who is Supreme in His Design.
2. The word ‘sabaha [i]سبح-’ is very important, because our understanding of many verses depend on this one concept. According to our 1,000 year-old Lexicon, this word is related to MOTION, most similar to ‘swimming in water.’ Arabs have traditionally used this word to describe the fluidity of camels upon the mirage of desert sands, the galloping of horses, the churning of ships through the waves, and people going about their different chores.
The Qur’an tells us in HQ 21:33:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ ﴿٣٣﴾
Remember when we explained Noah’s ‘fulk’ to be a circular ‘arc?’ The word ‘falak’ is of the same root-verb, denoting a circular shape or direction, so the above verse would translate as follows:
‘It is He Who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon each moving round in its orbit.’
Indeed, as we understand from the Qur’an, ‘Tasbeeh’ is what ALL of creation is doing, at all times, and on all levels of its existence.
It is interesting to note, that when the Qur’an mentions ‘tasbeeh’ in the context of Thunder, we find it coupled with mention of the forces of Nature, electric charges, spin and motion. Science tells us that this ‘tasbeeh’ pertains to both the smallest, most elementary particle of matter, as well as the largest spinning motion of the planets.
Everything is in a state of ‘Tasbeeh’– in constant motion towards its end, as designed by The Creator.
3. After discussing the ‘Tasbeeh’ of Creation, we find Verses 14- 15 showing us TO Whom Rightful Praise is due: Everything in the heavens and on earth bow to God’s Will, functioning according to His Design. As Humans, we might do so willingly, by conscious acts that seek to enhance our gifts and mend our wrongs, HOWEVER: Even when we refuse, the general Program will still be carried forth, as every particle in our being bows to God, in spite of us!
After the above verses, we find the ‘interactive’ questions in Verse 16 tugging at our heart-strings: ‘..Who is Lord of the Heavens and Earth?..’ We notice that Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, is told to supply the answer to the first question: ‘..It is God..’ But then 4 questions follow, each demanding a response… until he is told to respond at the end of the verse: ‘…God is Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Supreme!’
5. Verse 17 speaks about Truth versus Falsehood, where Falsehood is likened to the scum that accumulates on the surface of liquids, such as water or molten metal, and then disappears, leaving behind everything of benefit.
A relevant note (especially after the latest environmental disaster):
Nature, its Ecosystem, its biological organisms… everything works at its best, according to His Design. It is Humanity who interferes in this process, when the environment becomes unable to recover fast enough to counter the damage we are causing!
Then, Verse 18 illustrates the FUTILITY of all our earnings… IF we fail to respond to our Lord!
PAGE 252 Arabic Qur’an.
6. In Verse 19 a crucial QUESTION is asked of anyone who is witness to this Revelation. After the question comes the statement: ‘…..certainly it is Those with Insight, who bring to mind (that this Revelation is the Truth!).’
Those with Insight are ‘ulul albaab’ (أولوا الأباب) We discussed them earlier, when we came across the term in the BEAUTIFUL verses HQ 3:191-194. [ii] We mentioned then, that ‘Lub’ means the core of something, and that Arabs used it to mean 'mind,' as in 'labeeb,' intelligent, or witty. But perhaps what is most important about this word is the following:
Derived from the root verb ‘labba’ it refers to being physically or emotionally settled and attached; committed. The ‘talbiyah’ of Pilgrimage (Hajj) comes from that root verb ('Labbeyk Allaahuma Labbeyk,' the words which announce a pilgrim's dedication and commitment to God).
Here we have no less than FIVE beautiful verses 20- 21- 22- 23- 24 describing the characteristics of Those of Insight- ‘Ulul Albaab.’
This is what we should seek, so please read them carefully.
From fulfilling our Covenant with God, to maintaining and strengthening our bonds with each other, to being always in-awe of God while fearing the final rendering of account, to practicing Forbearance as we seek His Direction, to establishing regular Prayer, to spreading His Bounty by spending on others -both discreetly and publicly- to repelling harm with our good deeds… to Those of Insight, who do all that.. are the most beautiful Rewards:
Fulfillment in the Hereafter, as they enter Eternal Gardens together with those who qualify of their forefathers, spouses, children… and the angels entering upon them from every gate: “Peace upon you in that you were Forbearing; how excellent is the Fulfillment of the Hereafter!”
May WE -and all those we love- be among them!
7. As we move from Persuasion to Dissuasion من ترغيب إلى ترهيب)), Verse 25 tells us of those whose characteristics are the opposite to those of Insight, and therefore deserve All Condemnation (al la’naاللعنة- ), as well as Banishment from God’s Favor.
Then, Verse 26 tells us how this immediate, lowly Life, delighted them, although it is nothing but fleeting pleasure compared to the Hereafter, while Verse 27 returns us to the Deniers of Qureish, who keep finding fault with Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him.
Our next Reading is from HQ 13: 28--43.
Peace unto all!
P.S. Let's start early Environmental education with the children we love- check out this coloring book!
[i] لسان العرب:
سبح: السَّبْحُ والسِّباحة: العَوْمُ. سَبَحَ بالنهر وفيه يَسْبَحُ سَبْحاًوسِباحةً….وأَما ابن الأَعرابي فجعل السُّبَحاء جَمْعَ سابح؛ وبه فسر قول الشاعر:
وماءٍ يَغْرَقُ السُّبَحاءُ فيه،
سَفِينتُه المُواشِكةُ الخَبُوبُ
قال: السُّبَحاءُ جمع سابِحٍ. ويعني بالماء هنا السَّرابَ.جعل الناقة مثل السفينة حين جعل السَّرابَ كالماء. وأَسْبَح الرجلَ في الماء: عَوَّمَه؛ وروى الأَزهري بإِسناده أَن ابن الكَوَّا سأَل عليّاً، رضوان الله تعالى عليه، عن سبحان الله، فقال: كلمة رضيها الله لنفسه فأَوصى بها.
(سبح) أصلان: أحدهما جنسٌ من العبادة، والآخر جنسٌ من السَّعي. ومن الباب التَّسبيح، وهو تنْزيهُ الله جلَّ ثناؤه من كلِّ سوء. والتَّنْزيه: التبعيد. والعرب تقول: سبحان مِن كذا، أي ما أبعدَه.
والأصل الآخر السَّبْح والسِّباحة: العَوم في الماء.
والسّابح من الخيل: الحَسَنُ مدِّ اليدين في الجَرْي.
[ii] لب) يدلُّ على لزومٍ وثبات، وعلى خلوص وجَوْدة.
فالأوَّل ألَبَّ بالمكان، إذا أقام به، يُلبُّ إلبابا. ورجلٌ لَبٌّ بهذا الأمر، إذا لازَمه وحكى الفرّاء: امرأةٌ لَبَّةٌ: مُحِبَّةٌ لزوجها، ومعناه أنَّها ثابتة على وُدِّه أبداً. ومن الباب التلبية، وهو قوله: لَبَّيْك. قالوا: معناه أنا مقيمٌ على طاعتك.