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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, July 21, 2010

Day 159; Qur’an 20:47-76, page 314 + 315 + 316

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!       
In our last Reading we noticed that in TWO verses (24, 43) God commanded His Messenger/s to set out towards Pharaoh- who had indeed transgressed all bounds.

What do WE learn from that statement?
We learn that transgressing all bounds is grounds for destruction.  Oppressors become Ripe for Ruin once they reach a point where they see no higher power than themselves.  As fallible humans, we sow our own seeds of destruction with every wrongdoing, digging ourselves deeper holes with every act of oppression.. BUT we always have a chance to make amends as long as we acknowledge the Higher Power.  Once we lose sight of this, ALL is lost.

Dear Reader:  Isn’t it now easier to understand the value of what some have called ‘repetitions’ in the Qur’an, wondering why the same story is retold from different angles?  Every story offers us a lifetime of lessons that are as Timeless as the Qur’an itself.  A story such as this, serves as a warning to every oppressor since Pharaoh. 
As God Is their Witness:
Oppressors are forewarned that their destruction is nigh!

Our Reading ended last time with Moses and Aaron’s show of alarm, as they anticipated the worst from Pharaoh in response to their invitation to him, asking him to believe in a higher power than himself.  That was when God told both Messengers, peace upon them, not to fear, for He is indeed with them, hearing all and seeing all.

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 314 Arabic Qur’an.

1.     In Verse 47 Moses and Aaron are told how to address Pharaoh, and we notice that their address begins with them introducing themselves as Messengers sent to him from HIS Lord, after which comes their command and plea on behalf of Bani Isra-eel, and then they conclude with a greeting of ‘Peace’ to ‘him who follows Guidance,’ –offering notice of dire suffering to anyone who belies and turns away (from God’s Signs, in Verse 48).

Verses 49- 50- 51- 52 recount the exchange between Moses and Pharaoh, after which we find Verses 53- 54- 55 enumerating God’s Bounties upon humanity.

2.    Verse 50 offers an eloquent, concise response to Pharaoh’s question, as they inform him that their Lord is:
‘… He Who gives unto everything (that exists) its true nature and form, and thereupon guides it (towards its fulfillment)’ (Asad)
We should remember this verse whenever we feel amazed by the wonders of nature:  Every thing in existence is programmed towards fulfilling its role… everything is GUIDED.
The difference between us and the Creation we see around us, is in our Intellect, which either hinders or enhances our guidance.  See Posting of July 12th which explains our ‘jadal,’ our Dialectic nature and the effect of ‘deviance’ upon our reasoning.

PAGE 315 Arabic Qur’an.

3.    Verse 54 tells us that: In the stories of bygone generations, and in all the bounties offered to us in Life, are Signs for ‘Those with ‘Nuhaa.’
 ‘Nuha’ is plural of ‘Nahyah,’ which is explained by our 1,000 year-old dictionary [i] as the Self-Restraining Mind. 

Who are Those of ‘Nuha?’
The Qur’an tells us the characteristics of such persons in HQ 79:40-41:

“As for someone who stood in fear of his Lord’s Presence, and restrained/deterred the Self from (base) Desire (40) Indeed, the Garden is the Abode! (41)”

Notice, dear Reader, the importance of Self- restraint and self-deterrence (‘nahaa’ the Self from its base desires -hawaa نهى النفس عن الهوى).  This feat is rooted in fearing ‘our Lord’s Presence,’ therefore, the more Aware we are of our Lord’s Presence, the less difficult it becomes for us to restrain our Selves.
We find such persons again mentioned in HQ 20:128.
Verse 55 indicates our relationship to this earth, from which we were created, where we temporarily return, and from which we rise once again.

The word ‘Nuhaa,’ its ‘u’ pronounced like the ‘oo’ in ‘look,’ is of such beautiful meaning and resonance, that it is a popular name for Arab girls!  Another popular name is ‘Najwaa نجوى-’ which appears at the end of verse 62, and denotes ‘intimate conversation.’

4.    Verses 56- 64 narrate the exchanges which took place between Moses and Pharaoh, and the secretive exchange (Najwaa) between Pharaoh and his court/sorcerers, in preparation for the final confrontation… ending with a dare!
It is interesting to note the allegation of Pharaoh and his court/sorcerers: 
They alleged that the intention of Moses and Aaron was to يذهبا بطريقتكم المثلى   do away with your exemplary way’ of life.  Exemplary.. for whom?  We know well that Bani Isra-eel were leading a far-less-than-exemplary life under Pharaoh.  These individuals in power were talking about their own lives, from their perspective as autocratic rulers, oppressors, ‘lords’ of the land and its people.
In this is another lesson for us:  Every Oppressive Ruler is a Pharaoh whose ‘way of life’ is exemplary… whose sole desire is to maintain the status quo. 

PAGE 316 Arabic Qur’an.

5.    Verse 65 takes us on-scene, to the Confrontation. 
Pharaoh’s magicians are invited to throw their sticks and ropes first, and even Moses is alarmed by their ‘sihr.’  ‘Magic’ is called ‘sihr’ in the Qur’an, and the verses which do mention magic, also state that it is a deception to one’s perception:

It’s a combination of ‘Rahba’ to shock or terrify, and ‘Sihr’ to deceive (see footnote ‘sihrسحر-  [ii]).  Please refer to April 13th for a DETAILED discussion on what we call ‘Magic.’

Also, from April 16th:  

“Interestingly, besides ‘awe/fear,’ a second connotation to the root-verb ‘rahab’-which we hadn’t known about- is delicateness (دقة) and agility (خفة) as you can see in the Arabic footnote from our 1,000 year old Lexicon!!
This completes the Qur’anic description of ‘magicin the narrative of Pharaoh’s Sorcerer’s:
Remember we had looked up the meaning of ‘sihr,’ and said that the Qur'anic definition was 'terror/awe AND visual deception..?
It seems that we can now add to that definition the SKILLS which would be necessary to perform a successful ‘magical’ act, and those are: Delicate handling and agility!
Just think how true this is, when Arabs today call card-games and other tricks: ‘Games of agility –ألعاب خفّة.
Qur’anic precision is awesome!”

6.    Verses 65- 69 describe the Confrontation, while verses 70-73 describe a most surprising ‘Turn-of-Events’:
Those who were Pharaoh’s Sorcerers are transformed in one instance into Prostrating Worshippers of God, then to Defenders of their Faith and Contenders to Pharaoh’s Ruthlessness, and finally to Martyrs in the Name of their One True Lord! 

The wisdom which comes out of these wise men’s lips is extraordinary.  Please read these verses in detail.

In Verse 72 we notice an important statement, and we obtain an enlightening indication on the definition of ‘qadaa’ .قضاء  

(This is not to be confused with ‘qadar' قدر-.  Revise what we said on April 1st regarding ‘qadar’ –or ‘God’s Decree,’ and the story of Umar ibn al-Khattab and Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah.  Also the meaning of ‘qadr’ discussed on July 2nd, which is the ‘projected end-result.’)

‘Qadaa’ is something we can cause to happen, to others or ourselves.  Whatever we perform or execute (or fail to perform or execute) is part of the qadaa-space in which we have an impact.  Here we notice that the ‘Sorcerers’ told Pharaoh to do his worst:  He may have the power of ‘qadaa,’ but it extends only as far as this Life [iii]- it is only here that he can make judgments and enforce them.

Verses 73- 74- 75- 76 are beautiful statements which also offer Dissuasion and Persuasion. 

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 20:77-114.

Peace unto all! 

[i] (نهي)  النون والهاء والياء أصلٌ صحيح يدلُّ على غايةٍ وبلوغ. ومنه أنهيت إليه الخَبر: * بلَّغته إياه. ونِهايةُ كلِّ شيءٍ: غايته. ومنه نَهَيته عنه، وذلك لأمرٍ يفعله. فإذا نَهَيته فانتهى عنك فتلك غايةُ ما كان وآخِره. وفلانٌ ناهِيكَ من رجلٍ وَنَهْيُك، كما يقال حسبك، وتأويله أنَّه بِجدِّه وغَنَائه ينهاك عن تطلُّبِ غيره. وناقة نَهِيَّةٌ: تناهَتْ سِمَناً. والنُّهْيَة: العقل، لأنَّه ينهَى عن قبيح الفِعل والجمع نهىً.

[ii] سحر: خَدْعٌ وشِبههُ، قال قوم: هو إخراج الباطل في صورة الحقِّ، ويقال هو الخديعة. واحتجُّوا بقول القائل:
فإِنْ تسألِينا فيمَ نحنُ فإننا *** عصافيرُ من هذا الأنام المسحَّرِ-كأنَّه أراد المخدوع، الذي خدعَتْه الدُّنيا وغرَّتْه

[iii] (قضي)  يدلُّ على إحكام أمرٍ وإتقانهِ وإنفاذه لجهته... والقضاء: الحُكم. قال الله سبحانه في ذكر من قال: {فَاقْضِ مَا أَنْتَ قَاضٍ} [طه 72] أي اصنَعْ واحكُمْ. ولذلك سمِّي القاضي قاضياً، لأنَّه يحكم الأحكامَ ويُنْفِذُها.

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