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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.'


Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 170; Qur’an 22:73-78, page 341

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.
In our last Reading we encountered Verse 71 which says (as explained by Asad):
And yet, they
[who claim to believe in Him often] worship [other beings or forces] beside God – something for which He has never bestowed any warrant from on high, and [of the reality] whereof they cannot have any knowledge: and such evildoers shall have none to succour them [on Judgment Day].
After that, the final six verses conclude this chapter with TWO ADDRESSES, the first to Humanity in general, and the second, to the Faithful, as we shall see.
PAGE 341 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  Verses (73- 76) most eloquently highlight the disparity between God and His creatures (mentioned above) some of whom are worshipped by Humans- and these verses begin with:

O you Cognizant Humans!  An example is struck (ضرب) therefore listen to it: Those whom you call upon, other (lesser) than God shall never create a fly even if they were to unite for this purpose…’

Brought together are the following arguments:

·   God, The Creator:  The housefly offers a fine example of His Creation of Life, and also of our inability to salvage any part of what it robs us of!
·   God, The All-Powerful, the Almighty… Whom we underestimate!
·   God, The All-Hearing All-Seeing Who chooses His Messengers from both Angels and Humans.
·   God, Whose Knowledge encompasses everything and to Whom all returns.

2.  After these arguments, Verses 77- 78 address themselves to the Faithful:

O you who have Attained Faith:
·  Bow down and
·  prostrate yourselves and
·  worship your Lord and
·  work good deeds so that you may succeed. 
·  And exert yourselves unto God as is rightfully due.
It is He Who has elected you, and He has not rendered upon you, in The (Standard of) Accountability (الدين), any pressure/tightness;
The Creed of your Father Abraham: It is he who had named you ‘The Purely Reverent’ (Muslimeen) earlier, and in this, so that the Messenger can be Witness of/ against you and you could be Witnesses of/ against Humanity, therefore:
· Establish Regular Prayer and
· be forthcoming in Zakaat/ Charity[i] and
· find refuge in/ hold fast unto  (عصم)God

He Is Your Protector,
hence, the Best Protector and the Best Support!
3.  What an ending, dear Readers!  The verses are presented as a list so that we could go through them easily and understand them better, hopefully fulfilling the requirements which would put us on the same path as Prophet Abraham, peace upon him.
Did you notice what the verses said about the title ‘Muslimeen?’ 

It was given to Believers by their father, Abraham, as a ‘legacy/ a bequeathal’ as explained by Ali/ Asad in HQ 2:132 (put ابراهيم مسلم in Tanzil).

It is therefore not at all surprising that we find in HQ 3:52, 2:136 the announcement that the Messenger Muhammad and his companions ‘…believe in God, and what was revealed to them, and what was revealed to Abraham.. and then these two verses list six other Prophets, concluding with Jesus, peace upon all.  Also, we notice in HQ 3:84 the declaration of Jesus’ disciples, announcing they are ‘Muslimoon.’

Asad’s description of Prophet Abraham is interesting; he considers him “the ‘prototype’ (and thus the ‘spiritual forefather’) of all who consciously surrender themselves to God.”

Is that what ‘Muslimoon/ Muslimeen’ is about?

Asad’s explanation of the word ‘Muslims’ (as those who consciously surrender to God) follows a concept well-known today which, I believe, must have gained prevalence centuries after Prophet Muhammad’s time.  Although ‘surrendering,’ or ‘submitting’ to God is not a wrong concept, the Qur’an shows us that this is incomplete.  What is missing (from our understanding of the Arabic word (NOT from the word itself) is the original connotation of the root verb ‘salama’ which is ‘Pureness from fault or defect.  Therefore ‘Muslims’ are those whose faith in God is ‘Pure in its Reverence (and Accountability) to Him.  Our Lexicon [ii] gives us that connotation.  Surrendering to God is a secondary derivation from the original.

Let us look at further evidence.  Words which migrate early[iii] into other languages often preserve original meanings (such as the Arabic word ‘kafarكفر- ’ which literally means ‘cover,’ or  ‘conceal, deny, put one thing over another to hide it,’ a meaning which is retained in Latin languages and lost in our current usage of Arabic.  Similarly, Islam, which literally means 'Pureness' (from fault or defect), although it had evolved in our understanding, the original meaning is retained in another language:

The Chinese, being the earliest recipients of Islam in 674 AD, only 47 years after Hijra, retain the original meaning:

Islam in Chinese is “Yisilan Jiao” or “Pure true Religion.”

Qīngzhēn (清真) is the Chinese term for certain Islamic institutions. Its literal meaning is ‘Pure Truth.’ ‘Halal food’ is called qīngzhēn cài (清真菜) or "pure truth food."
A mosque is called qīngzhēn sì (清真寺) or "pure truth temple," and Allah is referred by Chinese Muslims as "the True God Allah."

See for yourselves, dear Reader, the poem in the right side-bar, written by the first Ming Emperor in the 14th century; note that he called Islam ‘Religion Pure and True.’

Unless you are Chinese, it might seem strange to you, dear Reader, to know that Islam reached China before the rest of the world.  There is a lot more to learn from the Chinese about Islam, and we’ll get to that in time, God-willing.

5.   As ‘Faithful’ persons we should also know that there is NO TIGHTNESS [iv] in our ‘Deenدين- / Standard of Accountability– and that any ‘tightness’ is of our own doing!

Please reread today’s conclusion, dear Friends.. and prepare yourselves for the next Chapter, with which we begin Section 18/30 of the Qur’an!


6.     As mentioned earlier, the reason for fasting is to obtain Taqwa/Awareness.
The rewards of Taqwa are manifold and are felt immediately, continuing into the Hereafter.

‘O ye Who have attained Faith!
If you are aware of /heed God, ~
He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong)
Erase (all record of) your misdeeds, and forgive you,
For God is the Lord of grace unbounded.’
HQ 8:29

In another verse:
 ‘...And He will provide you a light by which ye shall walk...’
HQ 57:28

That is the most important characteristic we gain by fasting in Ramadan: A certain consciousness, a special awareness, and actions that mirror our feelings.

Heedfulness, by which we gain the ‘criterion,’ the perceptive knowledge of right and wrong, which leads us to righteousness. 
We will thus be amongst those who taste the boundless Grace of God:

As to the righteous (who were heedful in life)
They will be in the midst of gardens and springs
Taking joy in that which their Lord gives them
For, before that, they were doers of bounteous good deeds
They used to sleep but a small part of the night
Praying for forgiveness in the early dawn

And (forgetting not that) in their wealth was a right

(to be offered) to him who asked
And him who asked not though in need.”
HQ 51:15

But the first two verses are addressed to 'those Who have attained Faith.’  Does that mean that those who have not attained faith, are not invited to taste God's boundless Grace?  How could His Grace be boundless, and then be limited to a few?

‘O Mankind!
Worship your Lord
Who created you
And those before you
That ye may gain Awareness.’
HQ 2:21

This verse is an invitation to ALL of Mankind; an invitation to worship our Lord Creator, after which we may learn Heedfulness and gain Awareness, as those who worshipped Him before us must have done.  Once we've acknowledged our faith in God and our readiness to worship Him alone, having then become Believers, we are asked for deeds of worship.  Our levels of Heedfulness, or awareness, constantly rise with every good deed or sincere act.  
This awareness is the essence of true faith, and everyone is invited. 

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 23:1-27.

Peace unto all!

[i] The term ‘zaka’ زكا- زكي bears two connotations, Growth and Purity. 
To elaborate, the term ‘zaka*’ carries the connotation of ‘cultivating something which is by nature uncontaminated, and making it grow.  Its proceeds will also be pure, and will continue to provide new growth.’  For more detail and Arabic definition see Posting February 21st.

[ii] سلم: معظم بابه من الصّحّة والعافية؛ فالسّلامة: أن يسلم الإنسان من العاهة والأذَى. قال أهلُ العلم: الله جلَّ ثناؤُه هو السلام؛ لسلامته مما يلحق المخلوقين من العيب والنقص والفناء.
ومن الباب أيضاً الإسلام، وهو الانقياد؛ لأنَّه يَسْلم من الإباء والامتناع. والسِّلام: المسالمة. وممكن أن تكون الحجارة سمِّيت سِلاماً لأنّها أبعدُ شيء  في الأرض من الفَناء والذَّهابِ؛ لشدّتها وصلابتها.
ومن الباب الأول السَّلْم وهو الصُّلح، وقد يؤنَّث ويذكَّر.

[iii] The Arabic word ‘Kafar’ migrated twice, but only retained its original meaning the first time. The second time, when it migrated as a derogatory label, ‘kafir,’ it denoted ‘anyone who does not believe as 'the labeler' does. ie.. ‘Infidel,’ and then it became a racial slur related to different color (not faith!) in places such as Australia and South Africa.

[iv] (حرج) تجمُّع الشيء وضِيقُه. فمنه الحَرَج جمع حَرَجة، وهي مجتمع شجرٍ. ويقال في الجمع حَرَجات. ويقال حِراجٌ أيضاً.

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