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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!


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A BREAKTHROUGH project which helps understand the Qur'an AS REVEALED -not just 'as explained.'


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 179; Qur’an HQ 24:53-61, page 357 + 358

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.

Today we begin to wrap-up the Chapter of ‘Light’ and find that we’ve been holding a beacon in our hands all along… without even noticing it. 
This beacon is: The ‘Formula for Success!'

PAGE 357 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  Our Reading today continues to discuss those ‘in whose hearts is a disease,’ which we’ve identified from previous verses as ‘the disease’ of Hypocrisy.  In Verse 53 their empty words are countered with the request that they shouldn’t pledge anything, and the assurance/warning that God is Well-acquainted with what they are doing.

Both what Yusuf Ali tells us of hypocrites’ ‘hyperbolic assurances,’ and Muhammad Asad’s description of the ‘self-deceiving enthusiasms of the half-hearted’ are so true!

Verse 54 commands them to obey God and to obey His Messenger, advising them to obey him so as to obtain guidance.  It also reminds them that each person is accountable for his/her own responsibility, and his responsibility is limited to his clear delivery (of the Message).

2.  And now we arrive at Verse 55, which I call ‘The Formula for Success.’  It is so straightforward and so exact, that entire books could be written about it.  Take a look at it now.  We will study it at the end of this Reading.

The next two verses seem to follow on the commands of Verse 54. 
Verse 56 calls for the establishment of regular prayer and the performance of self-purifying deeds of expenditure (in time, energy, finances), with the goal of being granted Mercy لعلكم ترحمون.
Verse 57 indicates that appearances are misleading:  the Deniers may seem to be doing well on this earth, but theirs is a sorry destination, as their abode is the Fire.

3.  The next section (Verses 58- 61) takes us back to the issues of privacy and codes of conduct mentioned in Verses 29-31.  These codes of CIVILIZED conduct within the family/social arena are part of other broader CIVIC directives and responsibilities which form a system.

Remember:  This system was established to benefit the Community of the Faithful, newly-founded in the town of Yethrib.  The higher standards of civic responsibility are publicized by this town’s new name: ‘Al Medina.’ 

Regular Readers might recall the meaning of ‘Medina’ mentioned on January 29th:

“'Medina' means 'she to whom all are liable and accountable.'  It is a striking fact that no sooner had Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, settled in 'Yethrib' that he changed the historic name of this town to one which indicates the new level of civic and moral accountability which would henceforth bind its citizens together and spread around the world! 
Civilization is 'medeniyyeh,' for there can be no civilization without accountability, in fact, the more advanced a civilization the higher the accountability of its governing and non-governing citizens to each other and to their laws.”  

Dear Reader,
All these verses teach civilized conduct to those who might not realize that a growth in spiritual awareness requires higher standards of behavior. 
Today, in our second ‘age of Ignorance,’ it seems that we have forgotten this important fact, and it is only to be expected that our lack of growth in spiritual awareness is mirrored by our standards of behavior!

At the time of Revelation, the Bedouin-Arabs (A’raab أعراب) had their own crude way of doing things, and sometimes their behavior –even their manner of addressing the Prophet, peace upon him - was unacceptable.  We have already seen reference to this in the Qur’an, and will deal with it later in HQ 33:53, 49:1-5.

As we mentioned earlier, Verse 58 is the third (and last) time that the call, “O you who have attained Faith….!” appears in this Chapter of Light.  Here it is quite specific as it takes us deep inside the home, all the way to our private quarters where we’re instructed on training our children and dependents to respect our privacy and not to intrude during three intervals of every single day and night, each of which is called a time of awra’عورة- [i] ‘susceptibility; vulnerability’ (when one is off guard.  We would be too ‘self-conscious’ to expose that side of us to everyone):
· Before dawn prayer.
· At noon, when we undress.
· After night prayer.

Outside these times we can allow them to come and go freely.  If they are past puberty, they should announce themselves and gain permission, as Verse 59 makes quite clear.

PAGE 358 Arabic Qur’an.

Put the Arabic word (عور) ‘awar’ in Tanzil; note that this concept appears three times in the Qur’an (HQ 24:31, 58; 33:13) to denote ‘vulnerabilities.’
Interestingly, as seen in our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon, the word could describe a person who has only one eye; such a person has defective eyesight, which is one reason why the word ‘awra’ has come to describe ‘defect.’  Also, in Arabic, a road of ‘awra’ is a road which is unsafe to travel, where a traveler is ‘vulnerable’ because of muggers. 

In today’s Verse 58, Ali translated ‘awraat’ as ‘undress’ and Asad as ‘nakedness,’ while earlier, in Verse 31, Ali translated it as ‘no sense of the shame of sex’ while Asad also as ‘nakedness.’
As for HQ 33:13 (when the Hypocrites gave their excuse for not going to battle by saying that their houses were ‘awra)’ they translated it -in its singular form- as ‘bare’ and ‘exposed.’

I prefer to explain it as ‘vulnerable/ vulnerabilities,’ or ‘whatever we would seek to keep privately to ourselves’.  The issue, dear Reader, is broader than mere nakedness!  Many people perceive the contents of their medicine cabinets as ‘awra.’  I know that my grandma’s dentures soaking in a glass were ‘awra!’

Anyway, our translations and explanations reflect our mindset; many have explained ‘awra’ to mean ‘shame,’ particularly related to women… and some have projected that shame on womanhood so that a woman, in herself, has become ‘Awra.’  It is detrimental to our societies in general and to womanhood in particular, when the word ‘awrah’ in some languages has become the only word to mean ‘woman’ (as in Urdu -عورت’). 
This seems to lend a shadow of a reason…. to the unreasonable:
‘Awras’ –women- sequestered at home and denied access to everything, including learning!

Don’t you agree, dear Reader, that it has become IMPERATIVE for Muslims to understand the language of the Qur’an?  

4.   Take a look at Verse 60, which commentators have found somewhat difficult to explain when they took it out of context.  This verse allows certain women to ‘take off their clothes,’ not just their ‘outer garments’ as so many have explained it.  CONTEXT indicates that we are still speaking of the codes of conduct within our homes.

‘And (as for) those of the women who are invalids (lit: firmly-seated) and who are not anticipating marriage, there is no blame on them if they take off their clothes without putting out any adornments, but if they withhold (from taking off their clothes) it is better for them, and God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’
Isn’t it reassuring for women to know that, when they lose mobility and their options become limited, their comfort supersedes all?  Yet, when they have a choice, choosing to be properly dressed is better for them.

I can’t help thinking of the fire at a girls’ school in Mecca, in 2002, where girls who ran out without their ‘abayas’ were forced back into the burning building, and 15 of them were burnt to death. 
Isn’t clothing, in such a case, totally irrelevant!

5.  Verse 61 allows the community to partake of each other’s generosity, and is well explained by both Ali and Asad.
According to Zamakhshari, it seems that at the time of Revelation, when able-bodied persons set out for battle they’d let the infirm make use of the sustenance available in their homes.  Many such ‘guests’ feared to fully avail themselves of their hosts’ generosity, thinking that such an act might fall under the directive ‘..Devour not one another’s possessions wrongfully…’ (HQ 2:188; 4:29).  This verse was revealed to put their hearts at rest.

Perhaps this verse is a much-needed ‘pantry-opener’ to Brotherhood and Kinship, that, once you’ve set foot in a hospitable relative or friend’s home, after offering salutations of Peace, you can eat of whatever is available.  Also, note that this verse mentions key-holders.  It is with this in mind, dear Reader, that those who work for us IN our homes (especially those entrusted to take care of us or our children) should feel welcome to eat of what is available.
How beautiful are these codes of civilized conduct!

And now to the Beacon of Light, presented in the Chapter of Light… a beacon SO FEW OF US TAKE NOTICE OF. 
Isn’t it mind-boggling that we usually skim over this verse?


The Qur'an contains, among its many gems, this clear-cut formula for success.  Believe it or not:  Studying this single verse will show us where we went wrong and why success has so far eluded us.

As Readers can tell, the following is all one single verse, but I have divided and punctuated for clarity:

((God has promised those of you who believe and work righteousness that:

He will, of a certainty, make them Successors on earth as He did those before them;
He will, of a certainty, firmly establish for them their Standard of Accountability (Deen) which He had approved for them;
And He will, of a certainty, replace their erstwhile state of Fear with Security
(While) they worship Me (alone) and do not associate anything with Me. If any rejected/denied after that, it is they who have breached faith/ extracted themselves)).

Notice that this promise is not related to the Hereafter, but to the here and now, to our lives on earth.
God's address is to those of us who believe and work righteousness (CLUE), as long as we worship Him alone and do not associate anything with Him (CLUE), where He promises to:

1. Make us Successors on earth.
2. Firmly establish our Standard of Accountability for us.  Which Standard is it? It is that which He had approved –(CLUE).
3. Replace our Fear with Security.
Now, we know that God's Word is Reality HQ 6:73- Qawluhul Haq-قوله الحق' and numerous verses speak of His Promise that will, OF A CERTAINTY come to pass, so why hasn't it?

Why are we 'defeated' on earth, with our (Deen), our Standard of Accountability 'losing footing,' and with our Fear becoming heightened year after year, rather than the other way around?

Plainly, we do not fit the criteria, perhaps neither in belief nor behavior!

If we pinpoint the wrongful beliefs and behaviors, and work towards changing them, the FORMULA OF SUCCESS WILL BEGIN TO WORK FOR US.

The way I see it, one of these clues is the most important.

“He will, of a certainty, firmly establish for them their Standard of Accountability (Deen), THAT WHICH HE HAD APPROVED FOR THEM.”

So, the way I understand this is that we should make a new list of requirements from our end, like this:

The Promise will become a reality if we:

1. Follow the Standard (Deen) which He had approved for us.  Any other will never get firmly established anyway.
2. Believe accordingly.
3. Work righteousness accordingly.
4. Worship Him Alone without associating anything else with Him.

I will leave this CRUCIAL ISSUE for you to ponder, dear Reader.  Send in your comments, and we’ll discuss this ‘Formula for Success’ which we have ignored for too long.
Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 24:62-64; 25:1-20; a New Chapter!
Peace unto all!

[i] عور: أصلانِ: أحدهما يدلُّ على تداوُلِ الشّيء، والآخر يدلُّ على مرضٍ في إحدى عيني الإنسان وكلِّ ذي عينينِ. ومعناه الخلوُّ من النظر. ثم يُحمَل عليه ويشتقُّ منه.
-فالأوّل قولهم: تعاوَرَ القومُ فلاناً واعتورُوه ضرباً، إذا تعاوَنُوا، فكلّما كَفَّ واحدٌ ضَربَ آخر.
-والأصل الآخر العَوَر في العين. قال الخليل: يقال انظُروا إلى عينه العَوراء. ولا يقال لإحدى العينين عَمْياء. لأنّ العَوَر لا يكون إلاّ في إحدى العينين.
ومن الباب العَوْرة، واشتقاقُها من الذي قدّمْنا ذكره، وأنّه ممّا حُمِل على الأصل، كأنَّ العورةَ شيءٌ ينبغي مراقبتُه لخلوّه. وعلى ذلك فُسِّرَ قوله تعالى: {يَقُولُونَ إنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ ومَا هِيَ بِعَوْرَةٍ}  [الأحزاب 13]، قالوا: كأنَّها ليست بحَريزة. وجمع العَورةِ عَوْرات.
لسان العرب:
والإِعْوَار: الرِّيبةُ. ورجل مُعْوِرٌ: قبيح السريرة. ومكان مُعْوِر: مخوف. وهذا مكان مُعْوِر أَي يُخاف فيه القطع. وفي حديث أَبي بكر، رضي الله عنه: قال مسعود بن هُنَيْدة: رأَيته وقد طلَع في طريقٍ مُعْوِرة أَي ذات عَوْرة يُخاف فيها الضلال والانقطاع. وكلّ عَيْبٍ وخلل في شيء، فهو عَوْرة وشيء مُعْوِر وعَوِرٌ: لا حافظ له.
والعَوْراء: الكلمة القبيحة أَو الفَعْلة القَبيحة، وهو من هذا لأَن الكلمة أَو الفعلة كأَنها تَعُور العين فيمنعها ذلك من الطُّمْوحِ وحِدّةِ النظر، ثم حَوّلوها إِلى الكلمة والفعلةِ على المَثَل، وإِنما يريدون في الحقيقة صاحبها؛ إِنهم يقولون للرديء من كل شيء من الأُمور والأَخلاق أَعْوَر، وللمؤنث منه عَوْراء. والأَعْوَرُ: الضعيف الجبان البَلِيد الذي لا يَدُلّ ولا يَنْدَلّ ولا خير فيه.

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