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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.'


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 140; Qur’an 16:53-72, page 273 + 274

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
By the end of our Reading we’d know why this Chapter is called ‘The Bees.’

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 273 Arabic Qur’an.
1.  We ended our last Reading where we received the direct question, “…would you then be Aware of any other than God?” 
Remember, dear Reader that the Qur’an is interactive, and every question gets its answer, even in silence.

As we continue, Verses 53- 54- 55 tell us about Human Nature: 
All favor/bounty is from God.  When afflicted, we call out loudly to Him, and after He lifts the affliction, we take things for granted (and some of us even resort to revering others besides Him).
This description of Humanity counters the description of the rest of Creation (Verses 48-49):
THEY are all ‘humble before God,’ whereas WE have our own minds!
These minds cause some of us to imagine that they owe others a share of the sustenance God has given them.  Against such persons is the vow at the end of Verse 56: ‘Tal-Lah’: ‘By God!”

 “….By God, you shall be questioned /held to account for the falsehoods you invented!”

2. Then, in Verse 57 we are told that they ascribe ‘daughters’ to God, despite the fact that they prefer sons for themselves (see footnote [i] and Asad’s comments). 
In Verses 58- 59 we are taken into a typical Arab household of the time, where the wife is giving birth, and the husband receives GLAD tidings of a newborn female.  But his face darkens in suppressed disapproval, and he hides from his peers because of the unpleasantness of such news, asking himself whether he should keep IT despite the dishonor, or bury IT in the dust?  Indeed, defective/ bad is their judgment!

(Notice the capitalized words.  In its choice of words, the Qur’an gives us several clues which help us understand that the birth of a child (male or female) is in truth a GLAD tiding, whether or not the parents think so.  And then we notice that, to this displeased father, the child is an ‘it,’ and he does not care to acknowledge her.  (In Arabic, everything is either masculine or feminine, much like French or Spanish.  By using ‘he’ for an obvious ‘she,’ the pronoun is referring to her as a thing, not as a person.)

3. Verses 60- 61- 62- 63- 64 are well-explained by Asad, except that I’d use the word ‘Messenger’ instead of ‘Apostle,’ ‘The Deviant/ Sheytaan’ instead of ‘Satan,’ and ‘Compilation’ instead of ‘divine Writ.’  
Read Asad’s comments. 
I don’t agree with Yusuf Ali’s use of the word ‘punish’ in verse 61; we already showed in our last Reading that there is no such concept in the Qur’an!

Note the important announcement in Verse 64! 
The Compilation was only bestowed to the Messenger for two reasons: 
·  So he could clarify the queries and disputes of previous communities (as mentioned in Verse 63).
· As Guidance and Mercy to people who attain Faith.

This is why we should put the Compilation and its explanation in the hands of anyone who would care to know what’s in it, AND within reach of all, especially People of (earlier) Compilation:  It is for their benefit as much as it is for ours!

(Generations of travelers are familiar with the Bibles ‘placed by the Gideons in hotel-rooms in 190 countries worldwide, printed in over 80 languages and distributed free since …. 1908!)
PAGE 274 Arabic Qur’an.

4. Verses 65- 66- 67:  This Chapter, which is full of God’s Bounties, mentions the rain which brings the dead earth back to life, and cattle from which we drink pure, delectable milk, (considered a ‘Scientific Marvel’ in its details) and the fruit of the date palms and grape-vines from which people extract ‘what confuses them,’ meaning intoxicants, as well as advantageous provision (read Asad’s comments on intoxicants).

Upon reading Verse 68- 69 we remember that the verb 'awha' "أوحى" means 'to convey exclusive information to another so that they become knowledgeable of it, and here the recipient of this ‘information’ is the Bee!  
The benefits of honey are too many to be numbered, but it is a well-known anti-oxidant, has antimicrobial and hygroscopic capacities- and as the Qur’an tells us:

‘….in it is Healing for Cognizant Humans, indeed in this is a Sign for People who Reflect!’
This verse is considered a ‘Scientific Marvel’ in its details.

Click on link below picture to read amazing facts about honey, and the Honey-Bee… its “remarkable capacity to learn and remember things,” as well as its ability to “make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.”
Whenever we consume a single teaspoon of honey, we should remember that this is one bee’s ENTIRE LIFE ACHIEVEMENT, and that a distance of 3 orbits around the earth should be made before we can enjoy 1kg (2.2lb) of honey!

5. Verse 70 tells us indirectly WHAT THE MOST IMPORTANT OF GOD’S BLESSINGS is, as it describes the 2 stages of our lives:

· Being created by God, then, at length (thummaثم- ):
· Being returned to God in full, while some, before that, get reduced to the most degrading of ages (arthalأرذل- [ii]) so that, after Knowledge, we know nothing at all!

I understand from this account, that the second stage is a FULL return to God in Death (the word wafaatوفاة- is mentioned), unless a ‘partial’ return takes place first (the word mawtموت- is not mentioned, but I feel something similar to it is inferred from the context here, as well as other verses such as HQ 35:19-22.).  Remember Posting of March 22nd when we discussed HQ 6:36 and said that:

“In verses 36-37 we understand that people are two kinds:  Those who respond to the Message, indicating that they have listened to it, and those who are, in fact, dead (of heart/mind) - ‘mawtaa  موتى-’ -having neither listened nor responded!”

So this 'death-like' state could be the shut-down of Awareness: 
Some of us shut down our Awareness on our own, refusing to allow it to evolve or acknowledge what it receives.  (Check out our discussion on Intoxicants –see side-bar.) Others might get it shut down for them by Brain Dysfunction (Head Trauma, or Disease, such as Alzheimer’s). 
In the first case, we are responsible for shutting it down, and for every misdeed committed after that. 
In the second case, we are past the stage of responsibility.

“…so that after Knowledge they know nothing at all!”….

The last part of the verse tells us that God is All-Knowing, All-Powerful.

Our Awareness, Consciousness, our power to differentiate, analyze, and then MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES is not only the most valuable asset we have, to be protected at all costs:  It is our ‘complete’ existence and the most important of all God’s Bounties.  And if we are reading these words, we already know that!
How blessed we indeed are..  and all we can say is:

“..…this is of my Lord’s bounty (by which) He tries me, whether I will be productive/work in gratitude, or whether I will deny.  Whosoever works in gratitude, profits his own Self (literally: is productive for himself), and whosoever denies, indeed my Lord is Self-Sufficient, All-Generous.” HQ 27:40
قالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ ۚ فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ قَالَ هَـٰذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي لِيَبْلُوَنِي أَأَشْكُرُ أَمْ أَكْفُرُ ۖ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشْكُرُ لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّي غَنِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ ﴿٤٠﴾

(P.S.  I heard that honey might help prevent premature senility, but I have not found research on that.  Since this verse follows the one about ‘Honey’s Healing Capacity’ I wonder… Let me know, dear Reader, as that would add another dimension to Context.)
6. Back to our Chapter, where God’s Bounties continue:

Verse 71 begins by telling us that certain provisions are given to some of us above others.  This does not mean that some of us are ‘preferred’ above others, or that any category of persons is better or higher than the other:  All it means is that we are all endowed with different levels of provisions, talents, capabilities, so that whatever we lack, we can find in someone else, and vice versa.  We are social beings who need each other to live, produce, and evolve, and we all work FOR each other in different ways.  Who is of more SERVICE to the other, the employer or the employee? 
The Doctor or the Patient? 
The teacher or the student?

They are all equal, provided the earnings and the expenditure are fair and balanced.
Anyway, God will balance them out in the end, as each of us - FROM GOD- will get our reward according to EFFORT.

Read the following verse in Asad’s explanation (HQ 43:32):

“But is it they who distribute thy Sustainer’s grace?
[Nay, as] it is We who distribute their means of livelihood among them in the life of this world, and raise some of them by degrees above others, to the end that they might avail themselves of one another’s help – [so, too, it is We who bestow gifts of the spirit upon whomever We will]: and this thy Sustainer’s grace is better than all [the worldly wealth] that they may amass.”

Verse 71 continues, describing how people who have provision are unlikely to treat it like a discard, giving it to those who work for them, thereby making their portion equal to theirs. 
Ali and Asad have different viewpoints on what this signifies.  Both are interesting, but perhaps Ali’s explanation here is more fitting to context?  Let me know what you think.

7.  The final verses in today’s Reading take us to a wonderful Blessing, unfortunately misunderstood by us all:  Marriage.
Verse 72 mentions the obvious products of marriage, which is children and grandchildren ‘hafadaحفدة- ’.  Literally: nimble helpers/ attendants coming together (iii). 

Indeed, what is it that gives most joy to a middle-aged /elderly person?
Spending time with 'Hafada,' one's own committed 'Attendants' who actually WANT to tend to their grandparent, listening to their every word; loving and learning at the same time.  It is no secret that grandparents, who now have more time and patience, get a second, much easier opportunity at 'parenting' with grandchildren!
Dear Reader:
Remember this verse when your parents get old; your children are your parents’ designated ‘helpers/ attendants!’  What this also indicates, is that our parents are either with us, or close enough that we and our children can be of service to them.  Please read ‘The Marriage Union’ for important insight into this issue, and its explanation of HQ 17:23.

The Selfish, Myopic view of the world today has blocked us from visualizing what our better Selves could be.  Although we are blessed with the readiness of information and the closeness of distances, yet past generations had so much that we now do not, or cannot, have.  Families are the building blocks –not of society alone- but of Spiritual well-being and Happiness.  Their presence is a Blessing- which follows us to Heaven (HQ 52: 21).

Those of us who might not be blessed with family, probably have other blessings and the time to maintain and nourish our connections, notable among them is Brotherhood/Sisterhood (HQ 3:103), especially in devotion (HQ 49:10), which is another type of Family.  Those persons dear to our hearts also join us in Heaven (HQ 43:67-73), and I believe that the term ‘azwaaj’ here does not necessarily denote ‘marriage-partners/ spouses’ but rather ‘companions’ and ‘mates.’

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 16:73-87.

Peace unto all!

[i]  I do not wish to discuss the topic of ‘Jinn’ again, as we already said enough (put ‘Jinn’ in ‘Search this Site’), but an important point should be mentioned here.  These so-called ‘daughters’ of God were considered by Qureish to be his Angels in this verse (HQ 43:19), and the Unseen Beings (Jinn) in this verse (HQ 6:100), which explains March 28th footnote where our 1,000 year-old Lexicon told us that ‘all Angels are Jinn, but not all Jinn are Angels”  also see March 30th .

والجن يقال على وجهين: أحدهما للروحانيين المستترة عن الحواس كلها بإزاء الإنس، فعلى هذا تدخل فيه الملائكة والشياطين، فكل ملائكة جن، وليس كل جن ملائكة.....

[ii] (رذل)  الدُّون مِن كلِّ شيء، وكذلك الرُّذَال.‏
[iii) (حفد) يدلُّ على الخِفَّة في العمل، والتجمُّع. فالحفَدة: الأعوان؛ لأنّه يجتمع فيهم التجمّع والتخفُّف، واحدُهم حافد. والسُّرْعة إلى الطاعة حَفْدٌ، ولذلك يقال في دعاء القنوت: "إليك نسعى ونَحْفِدُ".
 ويقال في قولـه تعالى: {وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَزْواجِكُمْ بَنِينَ وَحَفَدَةً} [النحل 72]، إنّهم الأعوان-وهو الصحيح- ويقال الأَختَانُ، ويقال الحَفدةُ ولدُ الوَلدَ. ويقال في باب السرعة والخفّة سيفٌ محتفِد، أي سريع القطع. والحفَدانُ: تدارُك السَّير.

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