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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, July 27, 2010

Day 162; Qur’an 21: 1-24, page 322 + 323

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!     
In our last Reading we were given the Balm to Distress… and we found… that it works!

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

سورة الأنبياء
The Prophets
From Yusuf Ali’s Introduction:
“This Surah begins with the external obstacles placed by Evil against such purification (purification of the soul with prayer and praise), and gives the assurance of God’s power to defend men, illustrating this with reference:
- to Abraham's fight against idolatry,
- Lut's fight against injustice and failure to proclaim God’s glory by making full use of man's God-given faculties and powers,
- that of Job against impatience and want of self-confidence,
- that of Ismail, Idris, and Dhu al Kifl against want of steady perseverance,
- that of Dhu al Nun against hasty anger,
- that of Zakariya against spiritual isolation, and
- that of Mary against the lusts of this world.
In each allusion there is a special point about the soul's purification. The common point is that the Prophets were not, as the vulgar suppose, just irresistible men. They had to win their ground inch by inch against all kinds of resistance from evil.
The chronology of this Surah has no significance. It probably dates from the middle of the Makkan period of inspiration.”
From Muhammad Asad’s Introduction:
The main theme of this surah- which according to the Itqan belongs to the last group of the Meccan revelations - is the stress on the oneness, uniqueness and transcendence of God and on the fact that this truth has always been the core of all prophetic revelation, “the essence of all that you ought to bear in mind” (verse 10), and which man only too often forgets: for “the deaf [of heart] will not hearken to this call, however often they are warned” (verse 45), and “but listen to it with playful amusement, their hearts set on passing delights” (verses 2 -3).
The repeated allusions to some of the prophets of old, all of whom preached the same fundamental truth,
provide the title of this surah. The stories of those prophets are meant to illustrate the continuity and intrinsic unity of all divine revelation and of man’s religious experience: hence, addressing all who believe in Him. God says, “Verily, this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all” (verse 92), thus postulating the brotherhood of all true believers, whatever their outward designation, as a logical corollary of their belief in Him - the belief that “your God is the One and Only God” (verse 108).

PAGE 322 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  Verses 1- 2- 3- 4- 5- 6 are well-explained by both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad.

As we see in Verse 2, this message is alluded to as ‘a renewed’ Thikr (مُحدَث-‘muhdath,’ from root-verb ‘hadatha’); a renewed Remembrance/Reminder to Cognizant Humans from 'their Lord.' The verse indicates that this 'Thikr' is one of several, and that people are generally inclined to hear such reminders while they are preoccupied elsewhere, and their hearts/minds are totally distracted.  Furthermore, when they do discuss it, they would generally do so only to trivialize... and dismiss it!

Unfortunately, just as most followers of Moses trivialized Jesus and his Message, most followers of both Moses and Jesus trivialize Muhammad and his Message, peace upon all God’s Messengers. 
Before some of us ‘Muslims’ self-righteously say to ourselves that we are unlike them, let’s THINK:

Most Muslims trivialize every call to a RENEWAL of our acquaintance with the Qur’an, as if what has been said about it, is all ever to be said…. and what has been thought and explained about Faith in God, is all that can ever be thought and explained.

When we realize the difference between ‘kitaab’ (in a static sheet في قرطاس) and ‘Qur’an,’ we would have in fact, renewed our approach and begun to regain the bounties offered by God.  Every generation should enact a Renewal, with ‘new’ minds at work and new tools at hand to uncover the single characteristic that makes this Compilation unique:  the fact that it can become ‘Qur’an’ once again:  A LIVE Reading (قرآن), FOR those who are alive at any given time (أحياء) , FROM their Ever-Living, Self-Subsisting Creator (الحي القيوم)!    
(For more on this put ‘static’ or ‘kitaab qur’an’ in ‘Search this Site.’)

Remember that we have already discussed the term ‘hadeeth’ (February 23rd) and said:

“Although we mostly relate the word ‘Hadeeth’ to Prophet Muhammad’s Sayings, peace upon him, the word means something ‘that was not there before [i]’ and is the opposite of ‘old’ or قديم ‘qadeem.’  It also means something that is being announced in real time "خبر" In this context it refers to the Qur’an as being the latest communication from God.  In that context we can take the Prophet’s Hadeeth to be his communication.
See the verses which mention the Qur’an as the ‘best’ of Hadeeth (HQ39:23) أحسن الحديث, or ‘this Hadeeth هذا الحديث (HQ18:6; 53:59; 56:81; 68:44).”

It is interesting to see how they translated the last part of Verse 3, which describes Qureish’s allegations, that people who listen to Qur’an become spell-bound by its ‘sihr’:

 “….Will ye go to witchcraft with your eyes open?" / “…Will you, then, yield to [his] spellbinding eloquence with your eyes open?" (Ali/ Asad).

2.  It is also interesting to note the three accusations which Deniers had leveled at the Messenger and his Message:
· Figments of imagination/ dreams/ hallucinations.
· Intentional Lies (assumed mostly to be for political gain).
· Poetry/ an exercise in eloquence.

Even today, one of these three allegations pervades wherever there is a debate against him and his Message.  We find ‘kinder’ views asserting that “Muhammad was a most eloquent poet,” while others accuse him of “hallucination” in that he “truly did believe that he was a messenger of God, and there was no malicious intent on his part to mislead anyone…” while yet others accuse him of “intentional lying to seek political gain,” alleging that he, at first, “complied with Judeo/Christian beliefs” in Mecca, until he had gained strength, only to “turn around and dethrone them, so as to reign as ‘true believer’ in God.”

Interestingly, what ALL today’s attacks have in common, is their revocation of ‘Traditionalist Islam,’ even as they ultimately quote their references from (believe it or not)… the bedrocks of ‘Traditionalist Islam,’ which include ‘Seerah,’ (the life of the Prophet), Hadeeth (his reported sayings), and Qur’anic explanation (Tafseer). 
They revoke Traditionalists, yet embrace their very sources and quote extensively from them to support their allegations.  How illogical is that?
Only if you believe something to be true can you present it as evidence, especially when attempting to defame the character of a personality held in highest honor by almost one-fourth of the world population. 
Attackers of Islamic Tradition quote their ‘evidence’ “on authority of so-and so, and, as narrated by so and so”… just as the most fundamental of Islamic Traditionalists would do.

Isn’t it ABSURD to disbelieve in a Discipline (to the degree of despising it and denouncing everything and everyone related to it)… and then use that same Discipline in an attempt to prove your point?

3.  Verses 6- 7- 8 discuss Qureish’s Denial of the Message, and (in response to their desire for an ‘angelic’ Messenger) states the fact that Messengers before Muhammad, peace upon all, were (like him) active, two-footed persons (Rijaal), to whom information was conveyed (wahiوحي- ).  They were not angels whom God had rendered in ‘physical form/ Jasad جسد- [ii]’ who never required food, nor were they immortal.

4.  Verses 9- 10 conclude the reference to previous townships -to whom God had only sent human Messengers and fulfilled His Promise- and emphasize that in this case (Qureish):

“We have sent YOU a Compilation which contains YOUR Thikr.  Will you then not secure knowledge of it?”  

(Remember 20:113:  The Qur’an is Arabi: It is Eloquently Self-Expressive, wherein God has forewarned in detail so that people could be Aware, and so that Remembrance –Thikr- could take place.)

PAGE 323 Arabic Qur’an.

5.  Verses 11- 12- 13- 14- 15 tell of generations replacing each other, of scenes of panic, and the agonizing Regret of chances lost; well-explained by both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad.

6.  Verses 16- 17 ascertain that God’s Creation of Heaven (Sky) and Earth were for a purpose, while Verse 18 describes how Truth inevitably stamps out Falsehood, to the detriment of those who denied it (‘…for them is The Wail-الويل)!

Verses 19- 20 describe those who are ‘in His Presence’ and are not too arrogant to worship Him; they neither tire nor pause in their ‘tasbeeh.’ We understand that this verse refers to the Angels.  (We already discussed meaning of ‘sabaha-سبح’ on June 7th, when we said that 'Tasbeeh' relates to MOTION, and is what ALL of creation is doing, at all times, and on all levels of its existence in 'celebration of God's Praise).

7.  Verses 21- 22- 23- 24 address the issue of Polytheism (the worship of several ‘gods’), showing the illogic of such a belief.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 21:25-47.

Peace unto all!

[i] (حدث) معجم المقاييس: كونُ الشيء لم يكُنْ. يقال حدثَ أمرٌ بَعْد أن لم يكُن. والرجُل الحَدَثُ: الطريُّ السّن. والحديثُ مِنْ هذا؛ لأنّه كلامٌ يحْدُثُ منه الشيءُ بعدَ الشيء.
لسان العرب:  الحَدِيثُ: نقيضُ القديم. والحُدُوث: نقيضُ القُدْمةِ. حَدَثَ الشيءُ يَحْدُثُ حُدُوثاً وحَداثةً،وأَحْدَثه هو، فهو مُحْدَثٌ وحَديث، وكذلك اسْتَحدثه. والحديثُ: الجديدُ من الأَشياء. والحديث: الخَبَرُ يأْتي على القليل والكثير، والجمع: أَحاديثُ.

[ii] Put the Arabic word below in Tanzil- note that ‘jasad’ appears 4 times in the Qur’an, twice related to the physical -form of a calf fashioned, and then worshipped by Bani Isra-eel during Moses’ absence.
(جسد) يدلُّ على تجمُّع الشيء أيضاً واشتدادِه. من ذلك جَسَدُ الإنسان. والمِجْسَد: الذي يلي الجَسَد من الثِّياب. والجَسَدُ والجَسِد من الدم: ما يَبِسَ، فهو جَسَدٌ وجاسد. وقال قوم: الجسَد الدّمُ نفسُه، والجَسِد اليابس.‏

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