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.
In our last Reading, we were presented with the stories of previous Prophets/ Messengers:
In today’s Reading, we see how TRUTH differentiates between ‘poets,’ which is part of an important Conclusion to this chapter (‘the Poets’) as it highlights several important characteristics of THIS Revelation, its Messenger, and its willing and unwilling Recipients:
PAGE 375 Arabic Qur’an.
1. This Conclusion begins by stating that: This Revelation is:
· FROM/ OF The Lord of the Worlds.
· Brought down BY the Trustworthy Spirit (الروح الأمين [i]).
· UPON the ‘heart/ mind of the Messenger, so that he would be of the Warners.
· IN an articulate, ‘clearly coherent’ tongue (Arabiعربي- )[ii].
· AS MENTIONED in erstwhile oral/ written texts (‘zuburزبر- [iii]’).
· MANIFESTED by the fact that it (this Revelation) is recognized by Those of Knowledge among Bani-Israeel.
These verses (192- 197) seem like a shortlist of important facts! Regular Readers might not need to refer back to previous Posts, but I do urge new Readers to do so, and grasp what these verses indicate.
2. Verse 198 mentions the ‘A’jameenأعجمين-’ who, as we know (if we read Posting of June 28th mentioned above), are ‘those who are inarticulate or incoherent.’ This could also refer to people WE cannot understand, meaning that they speak a different language, which is why translators have called them ‘non-Arabs.’
Verses 200- 207 mention the ‘mujrims’ the Evil-earners (who had cut out for themselves the rights of others). They shall not believe in this Revelation until they see (experience) the sudden, painful suffering which they were promised, when none of life’s pleasures will provide them with relief.
PAGE 376 Arabic Qur’an.
3. Verses 210- 212 seem to refute allegations of Qureish (that Muhammad is ‘possessed’) by stating that it was NOT the ‘Shayaateen’ Deviants who delivered this Revelation.
Verse 213 is one of the many verses where the ‘Voice of God' is easily identifiable as His direction and warning to His Messenger is dutifully received, and then transmitted to the world!
Put ‘voice of God’ in ‘Search this Site.’
Verses 213- 220 speak directly to the ‘as yet inexperienced’ Messenger, giving him his M. O. (modus operandi- method of operating), indicating that he should:
· Call on none other than God.
· Warn those of closest interaction/ relationship to him.
· Lower his wing (of tenderness) to those who follow him among the Faithful.
· State his Responsibility-limits regarding those who disobey.
· Depend on The Invulnerable/ Invincibleالعزيز-, the Unceasingly Compassionate الرحيم-, Who sees him in all his states, for He is the All-Hearing, The All-Knowing.
And then, Verses 221- 226 inform listeners as to whom the Deviants actually DO descend upon: They descend upon every Hindering Liar, among whom are those who pretend to listen, and certain ‘poets’ who (being Deniers and not performing good deeds) proclaim what they do not practice.
(Verse 227) This does not include ‘poets’ who believe and perform good deeds and often remember God, and triumph after being wronged..)
This Chapter ends with a note of WARNING to those who wrong others!
PAGE 377 Arabic Qur’an.
From the Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“This Surah is cognate in subject to the one preceding it and the two following it. Its chronological place is also in the same group of four, in the middle Makkan period.
Here there is much mystic symbolism. Wonders in the physical world are types of greater wonders in the spiritual world. The Fire, the White Hand, and the Rod, in the story of Moses; the speech of birds, the crowds of Jinns and men pitted against a humble ant, and the Hoopoe and the Queen of Sheba, in Solomon's story; the defeat of the plot of the nine wicked men in the story of Salih; and the crime of sin with open eyes in the story of Lut-lead up to the lessons of true and false worship and the miracles of God’s grace and revelation.”
From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
“THE PROPHET and most of his close Companions used to refer to this surah as Ta-Sin (the letter-symbols which precede its first verse). In later times, however, it came to be known as An-Naml after a word occurring in verse 18, which, because of its association with Solomonic legends, caught and held the imagination of countless Muslims who listened to or read the Qur'an. As pointed out in my note 77 on 21:82, the Qur'an often employs such legends as a vehicle for allegories expressing certain universal ethical truths; and it employs them for the simple reason that even before theadvent of Islam they had become so firmly embedded in the poetic memories of the Arabs - the people in whose language the Qur'an was expressed and to whom it was addressed in the first instance - that most of these legends had acquired, as it were, a cultural reality of their own, which made a denial or a confirmation of their mythical origin utterly irrelevant. Within the context of the Qur'an, the only thing that is relevant in this respect is the spiritual truth underlying each one of these legends: a many-sided, many-layered truth which the Qur'an invariably brings out, sometimes explicitly, sometimes elliptically, often allegorically, but always with a definite bearing on some of the hidden depths and conflicts within our own, human psyche.
In the consensus of most of the authorities, An-Naml belongs to the middle Mecca period, having been revealed shortly after the preceding surah”.
This Chapter also begins with ‘letters’ which, as we know, are actually ‘sounds.’ When we encounter such letters, we usually expect mention of the ‘Quraan’ or the ‘Kitaab/ Compilation.’ Here however, we find both in conjunction (separated by the word ‘and’ (waو- ), which clearly shows that each is distinct.
Nevertheless, it is easy to see how Muslims throughout the years have believed these two words to be synonymous; they have done so because:
Most Commentators bypass the distinction (see footnote[iv])!
4. Bearing that distinction in mind, we can now take a good look at the first SIX verses:
(Remember: the final verses of the preceding chapter -The Poets- were ALSO about this Revelation.)
Verses 1- 6 offer us a description of the ‘Quraan,’ help us define the word, and show us the distinction between ‘Quraan and Kitaab’ (regular Readers know how important that is, and how much a part of the ‘dynamic of Iqra’ it is to realize this distinction).
These verses also help us define the basics of who a ‘Mu’minمؤمن- ’- (a Believer or Faithful person) is:
· Someone who has found Guidance in the Signs of the Qur’an and Glad Tidings in its explicatory Compilation.
· Someone who establishes and maintains ‘Salaat,’ Relationship, especially with God, as in Prayer.
· Someone who extends Zakaat, which literally denotes cultivating something pure and helping it grow, as we recalled on August 9th.
Commonly, the word ‘zakaat’ is understood as giving ‘charity’ or ‘Poor-dues,’ but since it is unspecified, I see it as covering ALL of our deeds!
· Someone who is certain of the Hereafter.
Then, Verses 4- 5 offer Dissuasion, as they tell us (according to human nature which God created) that the deeds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter become embellished for them, and they are thus distracted.
This concept is frequently mentioned in the Qur’an[v].
Verse 6 underlines the ‘dynamic’ characteristic of the Qur’an:
“And indeed you (O Muhammad) are (continually[vi] تُلَقّى) receiving THE QUR’AN from (the ‘presence’ of) the All-Wise, the All-Knowing.”
Q. Why have I hyperlinked Pickthall’s explanation -rather than Ali’s or Asad’s?
A. Firstly, to direct Readers to more than one explanation BECAUSE no single explanation is completely accurate (not even ours here at iqrathechallenge). Commentators might try to provide Readings as close to accuracy as they can, but will remain children of their times, and will also work within the boundaries of their own knowledge and perception. It is up to Readers to judge for themselves using the 6 components of Iqra.
Researchers can click HERE, then click on ‘Translations’ (Pink Tab, upper Right) and COMPARE 10 translations!
Secondly, because BOTH Ali and Asad see the ‘you’ as addressed to all Believers, whereas it is addressed to its First Recipient, Muhammad, peace upon him. It is only Muhammad upon whom God IMPRESSED the Qur’an (HQ 28:86: ‘faradha aleyka’ إن الذي فرض عليك القرآن لرادك إلى معاد.......).
Regular Readers know, that while Believers might have the Compilation/ Kitaab in hand, they do not automatically ‘receive’ the Qur’an, nor is it continually ‘sent down’ to them.’
To understand the difference, put ‘static’ in “Search this Site,’ or ‘kitaab quraan.’
5. Verse 7 begins another narrative of Moses’ story, peace upon him. Here we see him travelling at night with his family, and feeling ‘comforted by perceiving -aanasaآنس-’ a fire from afar, expecting to find company there, with news to share or kindling to spare.
Regular Readers will remember that ‘anasa,’ a verb denoting perceiving comfort and companionship and homogeneity, is the root-verb of ‘Insaan.’
In Verses 8 -12 he gets to the Fire, where God speaks to him, introducing Himself and directing him to fulfill his mission with regard to Pharaoh.
It is interesting to note that, when Moses did as God commanded, throwing his staff, he saw it shake like a ‘Jaan.’
‘Jaan’ is a word related to the imperceptible, and also understood as ‘serpent.’
Put ‘jaan’ in ‘Search this Site;’ note that its root-verb ‘janna’ is also the root-verb of ‘jinn,’ and other words such as ‘jaan,’ ‘janeen’ and ‘jannah,’ and is the origin of the English word ‘genie.’
CONTRARY to what is imperceptible, something which denotes perception, comfort, AND companionship is: Ins/ Insaan… the human.
6. Verses 13- 14 tell us that Pharaoh’s wrongdoing ظلم and his arrogance علوا- along with his people took place DESPITE their having fully understood the value of God's Message and ascertained it. They deliberately discredited it. (That is the meaning of the verb 'jaHhada- جحد'). The verse then alludes to their dire outcome.
Our next Reading is from HQ 27:15-58.
Peace unto all!
[i] The term ‘Rooh’ in the Qur’an, ALWAYS denotes the Divinely-sent Emissary who delivered the Message to Muhammad (believed to be Gabriel). We should not confuse this with what we call in English ‘the human soul/spirit,’ as the Qur’an never refers to our ‘soul/spirit’ as ‘rooh,’ but rather calls it NAFS, which literally means ‘Self.’ See Posting of July 6th.
To find ALL relevant occurrences in the Qur’an, put the following phrase altogether in Tanzil: روح -جروح -نفخ -ريحان -يأس
[ii] ‘Arabi’ means ‘coherent/ articulate.’ It is the opposite of ‘ajami,’ which means ‘incoherent/ inarticulate.’ Read Posting of June 28th.
When something/ someone is ‘Arabi’ they are ‘eloquently self-expressive.’ Put ‘Arabi’ in ‘Search this Site.’
[iii] زبر: أصلان: أحدهما يدلُّ على إحكام الشيء وتوثيقه، والآخَر يدلُّ على قراءةٍ وكتابةٍ وما أشبه ذلك.
فالأوّل قولهم زَبَرْت البِئر، إِذا طويتَها بالحجارة. ومنه زُبْرة الحديدِ، وهي القطعة منه، والجمع زُبَر. ومن الباب الزُّبْرة: الصّدر. وسُمّي بذلك لأنه كالبئر المزبورة، أي المطويّة بالحجارة.
ومن الباب: ما لِفلاَنٍ زَبْرٌ، أي ما لـه عقلٌ ولا تماسُك.
والأصل الآخر: زَبَرْتُ الكتابَ، إذا كتبتَه. ومنه الزبور. وربَّما قالوا: زبَرتَه، إذا قرأتَهُ.
[iv] Take a look at the following examples:
Ali: “Tā. Sīn. These are verses of the Qur’an, -a book that makes (things) clear.”
Asad: “Tā. Sīn. These are the Messages of the Qur’ān – a divine writ clear in itself and clearly showing the truth.”
Arberry: “Ta Sin. Those are the signs of the Koran and a Manifest Book.”
Pickthall: “Ta. Sin. These are revelations of the Qur’an and a Scripture that maketh plain.”
Both Ali and Asad have omitted the word ‘AND,’ which makes it seem that ‘Qur’an’ and ‘Kitaab’ are one and the same.
On the other hand, both Arberry and Pickthall have left the conjunction ‘and,’ intact!
[v] To read 13 instances where this appears, put this entire sequence زين عمل -نجزي –زينة in Tanzil (you get 7 verses), and then put this زين أعمال –بخس (you get another 6 verses), all mentioning this concept. Regular Readers might know that the Deviant/ Sheytaan is identified five times as the ‘one who embellished’ their misdeeds. Put زين شيطان to read about this, noting that we are discussing human nature here, and how Deniers of the Hereafter can irresponsibly justify both their past and future wrongdoings!
[vi] The root-verb is ‘laqiaلقي- ’ which denotes meeting/ encountering/ receiving, but here the form ‘yulaqqaaيُلَقّى-’ (rather than ‘yalqaaيَلْقى-’) denotes recurrence.
الفعل على وزن "فَعَّلَ" يفيد التكثير.