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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, August 25, 2010

Day 180; Qur’an HQ 24:62-64, 25:1, page 359

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s Translation of our new Chapter.
Their commentaries can only be read in verse by verse view.

Today[i], dear Reader, we discuss the most important ‘grammatical’ distinction of the word ‘Furqaan.’
PAGE 359 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  Today we arrive at the final verses of the Chapter of Light.  This chapter, besides other important topics, helped raise our standards of behavior on both the social and intimate levels.  Civility is required in everything we do!

Despite that, today’s verses 62- 63 are not addressed to us; they are addressed directly to the Messenger (62), and to his community of Believers (63), peace upon him.  Read both verses and note how much of an honor AND a responsibility it must have been, to be WITH him (معه), where a person’s every action impacted the delivery of the Message. 

Important Note:
Regular Readers would recognize that the Qur’an speaks to the community here, reminding them of their duty towards Muhammad as Messenger (not as ‘Prophet,’ which is a distinction we already mentioned in our important Comment 7 of Feb 4th).  Our verse today, HQ 24:63, commands the Faithful not to render the Messenger’s SUMMONS دعاء [ii] among them, comparable in any way to their own summons each to the other (his calls upon them are to be heeded, as he calls upon them in his capacity as Messenger of God). 
Actually, it is enlightening to compare this verse with HQ 49:2, where we notice the Qur’an’s command to the Faithful NOT to raise their voices above the voice of the ‘Prophet.’  This is a general, all-encompassing command, demanding they show respect in their daily lives, as they converse with him, even in the smallest of matters which might be unrelated to the Message!

Asad’s interpretation broadens this responsibility to include every one of us, vis-à-vis his leader: … ‘the personal pronoun ‘with him’ relates to the Apostle and by analogy to every legitimate leader (imam) of the Muslim community…’
Although I do concur that people should heed the summons of someone they have appointed as their legitimate leader, I see this verse as specific to this Message and its Messenger.

As we see, God left it entirely to His Messenger to grant leave to any Believers who had to run personal errands, while seeking God’s forgiveness for them.  Obtaining the Messenger’s permission seems to have been the factor which differentiated between true and false ‘Believers.’  This is because, within this community there were a few hypocrites; persons who were professing their ‘Faith’ even as their hearts were full of Denial.  God Alone knew their intentions as they slunk away from the call of duty, and it is He who warns them of painful suffering.

2.  Verse 64 ends this beautiful chapter with a powerful Declaration of God’s ‘Ownership’ and ‘Knowledge, where we also read the statement:

He knows what you are intent upon…. and He will tell them the truth of what they did.. (Ali).
He knows where you stand and at what you aim… and then He will make them understand all that they were doing..’ (Asad).

The following was added thanks to a Reader's Comment:

Note that the 'you' in the above verse is PLURAL (antum أنتم), indicating that it is addressed to US ALL, warning us that God knows perfectly where each of us stands and what we aim for!

This powerful verse brings to a conclusion the Chapter of Light, which taught us how to raise our standards of behavior to the most 'civilized' levels:

Revolving around its magnificent Verse 35, it is all about the Light of Awareness.
Starting with our Thoughts, it taught us not to voice anything which could smear reputations unless we had irrefutable Evidence. 
From within the intimate thresholds of our private quarters and all the way to to the public highway, our attire and manner of behavior should be guided by- and aimed towards: AWARENESS.  
To protect this Awareness, Believing men and women are shown how to minimize Distraction,  with an added responsibility upon the shoulders of Believing Men, who are cautioned on what they, as males, might collectively 'contrive/ devise' يصنعون. 

And so, this Chapter has taken us from The SOURCE of our Awareness, God, upto the LAST DAY when He brings us back to tell us 'the Truth of what we did...'!

سورة الفرقان
The Criterion

From the Commentary of Yusuf Ali:

"This Surah further develops the contrast between Light and Darkness, as symbolical of knowledge and ignorance, righteousness and sin, spiritual progress and degradation. It closes with a definition of the deeds by which the righteous are known in the environment of this world.
It is mainly an early Makkan Surah, but its date has no significance."

From the Commentary of Muhammad Asad:

“There is little doubt that this surah belongs to the middle group of Meccan revelations... The title by which it has always been known - Al-Furqan - pithily circumscribes the main theme of this surah namely the statement that it is the innermost purport of every divine revelation to provide man with a stable criterion of true and false or right and wrong and, thus with a standard of moral valuation binding on the individual and on the society. Consequent upon this proposition is the stress on the humanness of every apostle sent by God to man (verse 20), in rebuttal of the false argument that the Quran could not have been God-inspired inasmuch as Muhammad was but a mortal human being who shared the physical needs of all other mortals and took part in all normal human activities (verses 7-8).”

This Chapter ‘al Furqaan,’ translated as ‘the Criterion[iii],’ is REMARKABLE for many reasons, but I shall only highlight a few, some of which may have been missed by commentators.

3.  The very first verse in this chapter starts with the declaration ‘Tabaaraka,’ from ‘baraka’ which we explained earlier as ‘of abiding benefit.’ 

If we put "فتبارك الله" with quotes in Tanzil, we notice that this expression appears twice in the Qur’an (HQ 23:14, 40:64), related to God as ‘Best of Creatorsأحسن الخالقين- ’ and as ‘Lord/ Sustainer of the Worldsرب العالمين- ’ -  Furthermore, if we put it (without the letter ف-)- as "تبارك الله" we find only one verse (HQ 7:54) which states that “..indeed to Him is all Creation and all Command, so Tabaaraka Allahu, Lord/ Sustainer of the Worlds!”

This indicates that this expression ‘Tabaaraka’ is expressing the ‘baraka’ or ‘abiding benefit’ which God bestows upon His Creation and All in His Command (which is why Ali’s ‘Blessed’ seems more accurate than Asad’s ‘Hallowed’).

4.  Note that ‘Abiding Benefit’ is mentioned in this verse, in relation to the ‘descentتنزيل-’- of ‘al Furqaan,’ onto God’s worshipper (Muhammad).  It is therefore VERY important for us to find out exactly what al Furqaan is (Asad gives us one interpretation, but as Researchers, we are not convinced).

Our Research:

After keeping in mind the fact that no one word is synonymous to another, we look in Tanzil at all 6 instances of al Furqaanالفرقان- , and notice the following:

Indeed, Al Furqaan is not synonymous with Qur’an, as we can see quite clearly in Arabic, at the beginning of HQ 2:185[iv] which I interpret as follows:

‘The month of Ramadan, wherein was sent down the Qur’an, Guidance to Cognizant Humans and clear manifestations OF the Guidance and the Furqaan…’

So, Quraan and Furqaan are distinctive in that: 
The Qur’an is sent as Guidance and clear manifestation بينات OF - من-the guidance AND the Furqaan. 

5.  The Arabic definition in our 1000 year old Lexicon says that the verb ‘faraqa’ denotes ‘a distinctive divide between two entities,’ but then it also says that the word ‘furqaan’ is used to indicate ‘the Kitaab/ Compilation of God,’ and also ‘Morning, which separates night from day’ (see footnote). 
As Researchers we certainly do NOT agree that Furqaan is synonymous to Kitaab!

Even if some might consider the word ‘Furqaan’ to be ‘synonymous’ with Qur’an, or with what they term ‘the Compilation of God كتاب الله-’- … (actually, to them all three words are synonymous!) anyone who has recognized and studied the distinction between ‘kitaab’ and ‘quraan,’ will find that:

Furqaan’ is neither synonymous with Qur’an, nor does it denote any compilation, but rather, it is something which was delivered in conjunction with the Compilation to Moses (HQ 2:53), in conjunction with Illumination to both Moses and Aaron (HQ 21:48), in conjunction with this (Muhammad’s), as well as previous Compilation (HQ 3:1-4),  peace upon all God’s Messengers.

6.  Furthermore, the noun ‘Furqaan’ is grammatically distinctive from the noun ‘kitaab.’
As a part of speech, this noun is in accord with ‘Fa’laan’ (على وزن فعلان)- a part of speech which, as Arabic grammar books explain, ‘denotes someone/ something whose action/ verb is both superlative[v] and incidental.’  See detailed explanation in footnote[vi].

Furqaan therefore, is something which BEST differentiates and distinguishes (superlative), when its feature ‘differentiation’ is ‘activated’ (incidental). 

Actually, ANY entity referred to by a name in accordance with ‘fa’laanفعلان- ’ has superlative features that are current and active.

A QUESTION Regular Readers will be asking right about now… is:

Q. Does that also apply to the word ‘Qur’aanقرآن- ’?  We already know that its root-verb (qara’a قرأ ) has 6 features/ components, that have to be activated by a ‘qari’ or ‘Reader,’ for it to become ‘Qur’an.’

A. You have connected the dots, dear Reader, as we continue to uncover the full definition of ‘Qur’an’… God bless you!  Keep this finding in mind, as we shall get back to it. 

7.  Q. So what is the ‘Furqaan’ which is SUPERLATIVE in its differentiation (between ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’) and was delivered to Moses in conjunction with the Compilation, and to Muhammad in conjunction with the Qur’an, peace upon both?
A. I have no doubt that the ‘Furqaan’ was well-known and recognized by the First Recipients of the Qur’an.  As for us, we have to conduct research and find Qur’anic evidence to arrive at our information:

What we might discern today, is that they are the Inviolables of the Straight Path (HQ 6:151-153) discussed on April 5th, corresponding mostly to the Ten Commandments of Moses! 

I see no other than this ‘Furqaan,’ these Inviolables, which ALL Believers in God would be interacting with, in real time, during their lives (no matter what ‘faith’ they say they belong to)!
Study this, dear Reader, and let me know what you think.

Now read the first verse again, and notice its power: 

‘Tabaaraka/ Blessed’ is He Who sent down the Furqaan upon His Worshipper so that it would become, to all the Worlds, a Warner!
Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 25:2-11.
Peace unto all!

[i] Today is Sept 15th, but I have to post at an earlier date to keep this project running smoothly.  
[ii] دعو:  هو أن تميل الشَّيءَ إليك بصوتٍ وكلامٍ يكون منك. تقول: دعوت أدعُو دعاءً. وَالدَّعوة إلى الطَّعام بالفتح، والدِّعوة في النَّسب بالكسر.
قال الخليل: الادِّعاء أن تدَّعِيَ حقّاً لك أو لغيرك. تقول ادَّعَى حقّاً أو باطلاً.
وتداعَت الحِيطان، وذلك إذا سقط واحدٌ وآخَرُ بَعده، فكأنَّ الأوَّل دعا الثاني.
ومن الباب: ما بالدَّار دُعْوِيٌّ، أي ما بها أَحَدٌ، كأنّه ليس بها صائحٌ يدعُو بصِياحه.

[iii] Criterion: English dictionaries explain this word as a ‘standard or test by which to judge or decide.’  In Arabic: 
فرق: يدلُّ على تمييز وتزييلٍ بين شيئين. من ذلك الفَرْق: فرق الشعر. يقال: فرَقْتُه فَرَقاً. والفِرْق: القطيع من الغَنَم. والفِرق: الفِلْق من الشَّيء إذا انفَلَقَ، قال الله تعالى:{فَانْفَلَقَ فَكانَ كُلُّ فِرْقٍ كَالطّودِ العَظِيم} [الشعراء 63].
والفُرْقانُ: كتاب الله تعالى فَرَقَ به بين الحقِّ والباطل. والفُرْقان: الصُّبح، سمِّي بذلك لأنه به يُفْرق بين اللَّيل والنَّهار، ويقال لأنَّ الظُّلْمة تتفرَّق عنه. والفارق من الناس: الذي يَفرِق بين الأمور، يَفْصِلُها. وفَرَقُ الصُّبْحِ وفَلَقُه واحد.
[iv] In Asad’s interpretation we cannot see this.  We passed through this verse without commentary on Jan 15th.
[v] من كتاب "إعراب القرآن وبيانه": الرَّحْمنِ: في اللغة صيغة فعلان، وتدل على وصفٍ فعليٍّ فيه معنى المبالغة للصفات الطارئة"
وأن فعلان هي "وصفٍ فعليٍّ فيه معنى المبالغة للصفات الطارئة"، وأسمّيناها بلغتنا الدارجة: "صيغة تفاعلية"- Interactive. 

[vi] First, this grammatical form denotes the superlative, therefore:  Someone who (at this present time) is HUNGRY TO THE EXTREME, would be ‘jaw’aanجوعان- ’ (while someone who ‘hungers,’ or is simply ‘hungry’ would be جائع- ja’i).
Secondly, it means that any ‘noun’ in this grammatical form denotes a state or condition that has come about in the present.  Therefore, this person is hungry NOW, AS WE SPEAK.  His hunger is NOT one of his innate characteristics, but has just come about طارئ.

This is why I have used the term ‘active,’ and interactive, because this superlative feature is activated by a present condition.

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