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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!


Image: 14th C. Qur'an, Mamluk origin, Library of Congress; Rights obtained.

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


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 139; Qur’an 16:35-52, page 271 + 272

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Wasn’t our last Reading interesting?  If you thought so: Buckle-up for today!

We discussed the baseless ‘constructs’ which people who are in denial, create for themselves in Life, and how these constructs inevitably cave in, at the most CRITICAL point in their existence, the point of ‘Certitude’ (يقين- Death).  We also saw the aftermath, when people eventually meet the consequences to their actions, whether in Awareness and Good Deeds or in Arrogance and Denial. 

Dear Reader:
‘Punishment’ is an ugly word, even in original connotation.  As you can see below, it means: ‘rough handling!’ There is no such concept in the Qur’an!

Late 13c., from Anglo-Fr. punisement (13c.), O.Fr. punissement, from punir (see punish).  Meaning “rough handling” is from 1811.

As our regular Readers know, the Qur’an tells us that we are only liable for our own misdeeds, which means that it does NOT uphold the concept of ‘Original Sin’ which, according to Christian doctrine, is passed down to us all from Adam and Eve.  Not only that, but the Qur’an does NOT uphold the concept of ‘punishment’ at all! 

What it DOES uphold, are concepts related to Consequence, Recompense, and Return.  All three are Products of one’s own doing and could therefore be positive or negative:

·  CONSEQUENCE to one’s actions, called ‘aaqibah/ iqaabعاقبة/عقاب - (literally: following ‘on one’s heel’).

 “Eventually, the Consequence for those who committed harmful deeds was Harm (itself), in that they belied God’s Signs and were making ridicule of them.” 30:10

However, ‘al-aaqibah’ (with definite article 'al') is usually positive, and indicates THE Conclusion ultimately belonging to the Aware, as in HQ 7:128; 11:49.

·  RECOMPENSE for one’s actions, called ‘jazaa’ جزاء which could be either negative or positive, depending on the action itself (literally: ‘compensation.’  Also see May 25th ).

“Could the recompense for Good, be anything but Good?” 55:60

See also HQ 9:67; 10:27; 42: 40.
For a verse speaking of both positive and negative Recompense, see HQ 53:31.

·  RETURNS for an action ‘thawaabثواب- [i].

Positive returns for positive action: HQ 3:148
Negative return for negative action: HQ 83:36

It is important for us to differentiate, remembering these important details whenever we encounter the word ‘punishment’ in English explanations of the Qur’an!
For Readers who do not know any Arabic, I suggest learning the Arabic letters so that you can tell which is which, by comparing with the original (both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad’s explanations, in hard-copy, have Arabic and English side-by-side).
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 271 Arabic Qur’an.
1. Verses 35-36 present us with the ancient argument of those who associated partners with God throughout history.  As they attempt to escape blame, they say that, had God ‘permitted’ it, they would not have worshipped with Him any other, or made certain things ‘inviolable’ etc... 
Regardless of their belief or disbelief, Messengers have only to deliver God’s Messages- a statement absolving Muhammad, peace upon him, of their grievous shortcomings.  Each community, in its time, was sent a Messenger to direct them to worship God and shun Transgression, and of these populations were those whom God guided while upon others Misguidance was brought into effect.  The last part tells listeners to travel the earth and observe the consequence عاقبة of those who Belie (these Truths).  

Verse 37 illustrates two important points:  Firstly, the Messenger’s strong desire to guide his people.  Secondly, the fact that God does NOT guide anyone who has made a conscious choice, preferring Error over Guidance. 
Notice, that it is people such as ourselves, those who are seeking, or beginning their path to Guidance, who pray to God, asking Him at least17 times every day (reciting the Openerالفاتحة- ) ‘Guide us to the Straight Path.’

What this indicates, is that God’s Guidance is only for those who desire it, and is required every step along the path of Life itself.        

2. In Verses 38-39 we hear the continuation of the argument of those who Associate partners with God, in that God does not resurrect the dead, to which the Qur’an responds emphatically, ‘Balaa! (بلى), "But yes, indeed!" and then informs them of the main outcome of such resurrection.

3. Verse 40 is very important, as it illustrates the relationship between anything that comes into being, and God’s Will:  He wills it, and it is. 
It is important here to realize the difference between ‘God’s Will’ God’s ‘Plan,’ and ‘God’s Leave’:

·  God’s Will: When He Wills something to come into being, it IS. 
In that case, His Will for it to BE, is manifested by its existence: ‘Araada’ أراد.

Example:  Here, as well as HQ 3:59, and HQ 19: 34-35, where this concept is best illustrated in the beautiful story of Jesus, peace upon him.

·  God’s Plan: What He has planned in general, which we could either make use of, or not: also ‘Araada’ أراد.
Well-illustrated in HQ 4:26-27, and explained by Yusuf Ali as ‘God does wish’:

“God does wish to make clear to you and to show you the ordinances of those before you and He does wish to turn to you (in Mercy) and God is All-Knowing, Wise.” (4:26)

·  God’s Leave:  It is by His Leave that one thing might prevail instead of another.
Possibilities become realities by His Leave (we usually translate that as, ‘when He permits’): ‘Sha’a’شاء .  

Example:  HQ18:23-24, which is why we always say, ‘Insha-Allah!- God-permitting!’

4. Verses 41-42 mention the ‘rightful award’ ‘ajr (أجر) of those who, due to injustice, had to depart in God’s way (forsaking their homes and livelihoods/ emigrating.  ‘Ajr’ is always positive).  Those persons are described as having been Forbearing and Relying on God.  Asad sees it as a spiritual departure from ‘the domain of evil.’  

PAGE 272 Arabic Qur’an.

5.  Verse 43 mentions previous Messengers in general, as ‘rijaal’ or ‘active persons’ who received revelation, (for meaning of word put ‘rijaal’ in ‘Search this Site’).  This verse may seem similar to HQ 12:109; 21:7, except that here, the CONTEXT [ii] is different, and we must continue without stopping, to Verse 44.  These verses bring all Revelations together, and in fact, tell the Messenger Muhammad that God has sent down the ‘Reminder’ to him to enable him to clarify to Cognizant Humans what had already been sent to them, so that they may reflect. 

Dear Readers:  This is a call to interact with believers in previous Revelations- offering them a chance to reconnect directly with God by what the Qur’an clarifies of their own Messages!  In fact, it is by understanding the Arabic Qur’an that we all can reconnect directly with God, freeing our minds of all the built up static and clutter of time… back to DEFAULT!  

6. Underneath the possibility of dire endings mentioned in Verses 45- 46- 47, lies the question that any who deny God and devise harm to others should ask themselves: “Are we really secure from suffering the consequence?”  
Read both Ali and Asad’s notes.  Notice that the first two verses end by describing their helplessness, while the last verse ends by describing God’s Compassion.  This may be because in this verse, He brings about their ending gradually, giving them a chance to mend.  Furthermore, God is not referred to here as THEIR Lord, but rather “…YOUR Lord is indeed 'Ra'oof' and Unceasingly Compassionate,” where His Compassion is for the benefit of Listeners, IF they wished to receive it!
(I am still searching for meaning to رؤوف).

7. Verses 48- 49- 50 are beautiful, asking the Deniers to note that everything God created on earth and in the heavens prostrates to God without arrogance, as Asad says in his comment, “ virtue of their nature..” (see HQ 7:206; 13:15)

In the final verses in today’s Reading (51- 52) we find God’s command against taking two deities:
· He Is One God: Him Alone should we hold in awe. 
· His is everything in the Heavens and on Earth. 
· All Accountability (Deen-الدين ) is owed To Him Alone. 
· Whom -other than God- should we be aware of?

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 16:53-72.

Peace unto all!

[i] (ثوب) أصلٍ واحد، وهو العَوْدُ والرُّجوع. يقال ثاب يثُوب إذا رَجَع. والمَثَابةُ: المكان يَثُوب إليه النّاس. قال الله تعالى: {وَإذْ جَعَلْنَا البَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَأَمْناً} [البقرة 125]. قال أهل التفسير: مثابة: يثُوبون إليه لا يَقْضُون منه وَطَراً أبداً.
والثوب الملبوس محتملٌ أن يكون من هذا القياس؛ لأنّه يُلْبَس ثم يُلبَس ويثاب إليه. وربَّما عبَّروا عن النفس بالثَّوب، فيقال هو طاهر الثِّياب.

[ii] Notice that before the ‘verse-end-marker- نجمة(۞) and above the last word, we can see is a miniature ‘la-لا’ meaning ‘No’ which indicates that we have to continue reading in the same breath, without stopping.’ Only after we’ve continued to Verse 44, as indicated, do we get the full meaning of verse 43. 
These ‘nujoom,’ or ‘underpinning marks’ between verses, are what Qur’anic CONTEXT is all about:
Zamakhshary (467-538 A.H):  “God sent down the Signs/Verses as per (people’s) benefit, separately marked.

 وقد نزّل الله الآيات بحسب المصالح منجمة (الزمخشري 467 -538 للهجرة) والنجم لغةً يدل على طلوع وظهورلهذا تسمى مطالع الآيات -حيث العلامات التي تظهرها وتفرقها- "نجوماً". يقال: نَجَمَ السن أو القرن، ويقال "ليس لهذا الحديث نجم" أي أصل ومطلع. والنجم من النبات ما طلع من الأرض ما لم يكن له ساق.

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