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 275 Arabic Qur’an.
1. After mentioning many of God’s beautiful bounties in our last Reading, Verses 73-74 deride those who worship, instead of God, things that DO NOT –and cannot- provide them with sustenance, neither from the Heavens nor the earth. The similitudes such persons offer for revering others than God… are all refused.
· The first illustrates the importance of the God-given Bounties of Freedom and Wealth, extended to others by virtue of Generous Spending.
· The second illustrates the importance of the God-given gift of Guidance (being on the Straight Path), extended to others by virtue of sound Judgment.
In fact, Freedom, Wealth, Guidance, and Sound Judgment are too valuable not to be shared with others. When we do not employ them in the service of our society, they cease to be ‘Blessings’ or Bounties. They transform into Burdens of Accountability for which we must answer soon enough, in what seems to be ‘the blink of an eye or even sooner!’ (Verse 77)
The (final) ‘Hour’ mentioned here, is called الساعة in Arabic. When we copy + paste the word in Tanzil we find out more about:
· Its ‘Timing’ (HQ 20:15, 33:64, 42:17).
· ‘Knowledge of it’ (HQ 31:34, 41:47, 43:85).
· Its ‘Suddenness’ (HQ 6:31, 12:107, 43:66, 47:18).
· The ‘Awe’ it will inflict (HQ 22:1, 54:1).
3. After speaking of our gifts and responsibilities in adult life, Verse 78 takes us back to the point in time when we started this journey upon being delivered into this life by our mothers. That was when we began, ‘knowing nothing,’ but thanks to the faculties which God had rendered for us, mainly: Hearing, Sight, and Cognitive Response “af’idah أفئدة-” we are given the capacity to be productive. “…so that you may be productive لعلكم تشكرون” (see definition of ‘shukr’).
(Regular Readers will note that I (may have finally) found an English term for the Arabic ‘fou’aad,’ discussed on March 29th. Let me know what you think!)
4. After having mentioned the power of perception, learning, and producing Verses 79- 80- 81 direct attention to the skies, asking whether they (Deniers) observe the birds which are upheld there by God’s natural laws, in which, indeed, are Signs for People who have Faith/believe.
PAGE 276 Arabic Qur’an.
5. Next, Verses 80- 81 bring our sights down to our immediate lives: Our homes as places of ‘tranquil settlement’ – and the lightweight ‘carry-on’ homes made of ‘animal-skin’ which accompany us in times of travel or residence (might our baggage fit into this description today?), the furnishings and other temporary benefits we derive from animal wool, fur, and hair. And the protection we get beneath the shadow of what God has created, and in mountains, and in the clothing which protects us from heat, or provides armor against our aggression (of each other). The verse ends by telling us that this is how God completes his favor upon us so that we might ‘have Pure Reverence’ (to Him).
‘Sakan’ سكن as seen in our 1,000 year-old Lexicon[i] denotes stillness/ tranquility. When related to homes or spouses (see the Marriage Union) it denotes ‘tranquil settlement’ ‘snuggling’ or being comfortable with something or someone you love.
6. Verse 82 speaks directly to the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him (and to listeners in general) indicating the limit of his responsibility, which is the clear Delivery- or the Conveyance- of the Message.
Verse 83 announces that although people might actually be familiar with God’s Favor, yet most of them are Deniers who end up (in time: thumma ثم) rejecting it.
(I like how Ali distinguished between ‘arafa-عرف and ‘alima -علم –which many people consider alike, and understand as ‘to know.’ Regular Readers will remember that we’ve already discussed ‘arafa’ On Jan 22nd and April 8th.)
7. Verses 84- 85- 86- 87 tells of the Hereafter when, out of each community, a Witness will be raised; these verses show the futility of offering any excuses for one’s shortcomings in life. Well-explained by both Ali and Asad.
Here we note the word ‘shaheed’ which means ‘witness.’ This word in the Qur’an does NOT refer to ‘martyrs.’
When we copy + paste شهيد in Tanzil we’ll find out that (in more than 18 verses), the Witness is God, or sometimes a Messenger, or a person bearing LIVE witness. Our Lexicon [ii] tells us that the word ‘shaheed’ is only related to being in attendance (in an event), knowing of it, and conveying knowledge of it.
There actually is no single word in the Qur’an which refers to our concept of what a ‘martyr’ is. The Qur’an calls anyone who is slain in God’s Cause - ‘sabeel’ (literally: in His Way), exactly that: ‘Someone slain in God’s Cause/Way.’ Put قتل في سبيل الله in Tanzil.
The most beautiful verses discussing ‘martyrs’ and their being ‘alive and sustained’ by their Lord are in HQ3:169-17 (we passed through them without discussion on February 10th).
P.S. It is important for Readers to know that nowhere in the Qur’an is there mention of ‘Martyrdom and the 72 virgins’ which are rampant in western media today! This narrative seems to have been introduced in a mistranslated report aired by CBS's 60 Minutes, two weeks before 9/11.
If you’d like to read all about it, ask Google!
Our next Reading is from HQ 16: 88-102.
Peace unto all!
[i] (سكن) يدلُّ على خلاف الاضطراب والحركة. يقال سَكَن الشّيءُ يسكُن سكوناً فهو ساكن. والسَّكْن: الأهل الذين يسكُنون الدّار. والسَّكَن: كلُّ ما سكنتَ إليه من محبوب. والسِّكِّين معروف، قال بعضُ أهل اللغة: هو فِعِّيل لأنّه يسكّن حركةَ المذبوح به. ومن الباب السّكينة، وهو الوقار، وسُكان السفينة سمِّي لأنَّه يُسكّنها عن الاضطراب.
[ii] (شهد) يدلُّ على حضور وعلم وإعلام، لا يخرُج شيءٌ من فروعه عن الذي ذكرناه. من ذلك الشَّهادة، يجمع الأصولَ التي ذكرناها من الحضور، والعلم، والإعلام. يقال شَهد يشهد شهادةً. والمَشهد: محضر النّاس.