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 265 Arabic Qur’an.
1. Today’s Reading begins as the Qur’an asks Prophet Muhammad to recount to his people the story of the ‘visitors’ of Prophet Abraham’s peace upon both God’s Messengers (Verse 51). We soon realize that these ‘visitors’ were angels, sent to bring him glad-tidings of a son, a Prophet to carry his mission forward to the next generation, as shown by their description of him as, ‘a knowledgeable boy’ (Verses 52- 53- 54). There are more details in Posting of May 23rd.
2. In Verses 55- 56 we listen to a beautiful exchange between the angels and Abraham, where we learn from him that guided persons never despair of God’s Mercy- an inner certainty in some of us, which those who deny God will never understand.
Then, in Verses 57- 58- 59- 60, they tell him of their mission to Prophet Lot’s People, and the next verses take us there, where we witness the exchange between Prophet Lot, peace upon him, and the angels (61- 62- 63- 64- 65- 66). Prophet Lot tries to fend his people off, but his pleas fall on deaf ears; (67- 68- 69- 70- 71).
For details of this story, as well as information on their ‘violating one of the Inviolables of the Straight Path,’ see Posting of April 12th.
PAGE 266 Arabic Qur’an.
3. Verse 72 tells us that their obsession has blinded them to the immorality of their assault, so their own end is brought about by their own doing (73- 74), in which are Signs for the Discerning, and for the Faithful (75- 76- 77).
It is interesting to note that Verse 76 seems to indicate that the ruins of their townships still exist on a road which is still in use.
4. In Verses 78- 79 we find quick reference to another narrative, that of the tribe of Madyan, which we discussed earlier (put ‘Madyan Shu’ayb’ in ‘Search this site).
Then, Verses 80- 81- 82- 83- 84 also refer quickly to the tribe of Thamud (put ‘Thamud Saleh’ in ‘Search this site). Here however, they are called the Companions of al ‘Hijr,’ from which this Chapter derives its Title.
5. After Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, was told to recount to his people all these narratives, we find the final verses in today’s Reading, specifically addressed to him.
Verse 85 seems to put the Truth of his Message (compared to his people’s reluctance to believe in him), added to the experiences of all the previous Messengers with their reluctant people, all together into the framework of Creation and the Final Hour. But here we find him receiving a VERY important command:
In the face of everything his people have done to him and to the Believers, he is asked to graciously overlook their failings; he is asked for THE Exemplary Disregard [i] (not ‘an exemplary disregard). The word (صفح)’safh’ does not mean ‘forgiveness,’ since, as we can see, it is mentioned together with ‘forgiveness’ 4 times (see Qur’an 2:109; 5:13).
We are already familiar with the term (jameel (جميل- ‘Exemplary,’ but when we read it earlier it was coupled with ‘Forbearance,’ as portrayed by Prophet Jacob (see May 28th). Now, before we think that ‘Exemplary Forbearance’ as a trait was Prophet Jacob’s alone, we’ll put (صبر جميل) in Tanzil, where we find that Prophet Muhammad was asked to show his people the same (70:5), peace upon both God’s Messengers. Perhaps all these parallels help us better understand why the Qur’an mentions the experiences of previous Messengers so often.
Verse 86 speaks of ‘Your Lord the Master-Creator.’
6. Verse 87 mentions the ‘seven folds’ or ‘oft-repeated’ parts of Revelation (both meanings apply to the verb ‘thana-ثنى.’)
“And We have bestowed upon thee the Seven Folds/ Oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur’an.”
Opinions differ as to the meaning of السبع المثاني. Some say this term refers to the Opening chapter of the Qur’an, while others say it refers to the first seven Chapters (the longest), while yet others say they are the ‘disjointed letters’ at the beginning of certain chapters (Zamakhshari). In other words, no one is certain what unit of ‘seven’ this refers to.
I don’t think we can find a full explanation today, but we can begin to research this issue, and perhaps return to it later with a better understanding, so here goes:
Remember our definition of ‘Compilation’ and ‘Qur’an?’
The term ‘mathaani’ in this verse is already mentioned IN CONJUNCTION WITH ‘the Qur’an’ (‘X’ AND ‘Y’) so they can only be TWO distinct entities. Furthermore, we cross-reference with HQ 39:23 where it says, in part:
“God has sent down the best of Hadeeth,
an allegorical Compilation Mathaani….”
Here we notice that the term ‘mathaani’ describes the Compilation specifically.
Furthermore, since ‘mathaani’ does not describe the Qur’an, it might not be related to the six components of IQRA (information processing: learning and dissemination). In other words, ‘mathaani’ could simply be the ‘repetitive utterances of the static’ Compilation that are not necessarily related to something we can understand.
Now, if we searched for a pattern of ‘Seven’ related to ‘repetitive utterances,’ or even ‘folds,’ the first thing we will find are the disjointed letters (sounds) that form seven patterns of stand-alone introductory verses after which their corresponding Chapters unfold (see footnote[ii]). There are other combinations, but they do not stand alone.
So, it is quite likely that these are the Seven ‘mathaani,’ but God knows best... and we’ll leave it at that for now.
7. The final verses in today’s Reading (88- 89) continue to address Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him.
One of the most beautiful commands he is given in the Qur’an, is this:
“….and lower your wing to the Faithful.”
We see a similar command in HQ 26:215.
Readers who wish to understand this expression of utter tenderness as well as the Prophet’s leniency and compassion, can refer to the subject in the paragraph discussing our treatment of elderly parents, in ‘The Marriage Union.’
Our next Reading is from HQ 15:90-99; 16:1-14:.
Peace unto all!
[i] (صفح) يدلُّ على عَرْض وعِرَض. من ذلك صُفْح الشَّيء: عُرْضُهُ. ويقال رأس مُصْفَحٌ: عريض. والصفيحة: كلُّ سيفٍ عريض. وصَفْحَتا السَّيف: وَجْهاه. وكلُّ حجرٍ عريضٍ صفيحةٌ، والجمع صَفائِح.
ومن الباب: المُصافحةُ باليد، كأنَّه ألصقَ يدَه بصَفحةِ يدِ ذاك. والصَّفْح: الجنْب. وصَفحا كلِّ شيء: جانباه. فأمَّا قولهم: صَفَح عنه، وذلك إِعْراضُهُ عن ذنْبِهِ، فهو من البابِ؛ لأنَّه إِذا أعرضَ عنه فكأنَّه قد ولاَّه صَفْحتَه وصُفحه، أي عُرضه وجانِبَه، وهو مَثَلٌ.
· 2:1, 3:1, 29:1, 30:1, 31:1, 32:1 ( الم-A. L. M.)
· 7:1 (- المصA. L. M. Ss.)
· 19:1 (- كهيعصK.H.Y.3.Ss)
· 20:1 (- طهTt.H)
· 26:1, 28:1 (- طسمTt.S.M.)
· 36:1 (- يسY.S.)
· 40:1, 41:1, 42:1, 43:1, 44:1, 45:1, 46:1 (- حمHh.M.)
Note that there are 11 different sounds.