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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.'


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 188; Qur’an 27:15-58, Page 378 - 380

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Today’s Reading was tough because of all the investigation it required.  I have presented much of the definitions for the benefit of Researchers, but don’t let the details and footnotes put you off.
Let me know if they do, and I’ll try to minimize next time.
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.

PAGE 378 Arabic Qur’an.

1. This Chapter requires that we put aside all preconception –which is NOT easy- as we try to understand the Qur’anic story of Prophet Solomon- without the influence of common legend!
First, we are introduced to him and his father, Prophet David, peace upon them both, as they show gratitude to God (Verse 15) for having granted them what He had not granted to many of His Faithful Worshippers. 
Verse 16 tells us that Solomon ‘inherited’ David, and we hear him announce to his people God’s ‘manifest Grace’ in that ‘…we were ‘taught/ enabled to distinguish’ the (commonly indistinguishable ‘language/ realm[i] -"ما لا نفهمه نحن"- (منطق) of al Tteyr. الطير…and we were given of everything..’

But what is al Tteyr?
As we can see in our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon, the root-verb ‘Ttayaraطير[ii]- ’ denotes swift, weightless and effortless, transmission or diffusion, as we can see below. 
It could therefore describe someone rushing to accomplish something, or one’s quick-temper, or one’s deeds.  It could describe ANYTHING quick in its dispersal, such as morning light and birds.  Although presently used only as a noun which means ‘Birds,’ its historic usage (as seen in the Lissaan al Arab Lexicon below) also denoted the Brain, as well as demeanor which is ‘flighty’ as opposed to ‘serene.’ 
Everything SWIFT is ‘Tta’irطائر- -’ and a swift horse is ‘muttaar.’
Put entire sequence طير -اطير -طيروا in Tanzil, and then put طائر…to see its occurrences in the Qur’an.

So this verse might be indicating that Prophets David and Solomon could discern ‘Bird-language,’ or even more:
Perhaps they were able to discern the Communication of living creatures by way of ‘brain-activity’ and body language.  Only God knows!

2.  New Readers should refer to our Post of July 30th before continuing (so as to grasp the meaning of ‘Jinn,’ and its distinction from Jaan), and also to read what Asad said about the legendary understanding of Solomon’s story.

Verse 17 mentions Solomon’s ‘Supporters/ Legions/ Hosts[iii]جنود’ which were brought together for him.
Based on what we know of the Arabic language we can safely say that they were comprised of three categories:
Covert Operatorsجن- , Overt Operatorsإنس- , and Mobile Troopsطير-. 

THAT broad definition, I believe, is accurate.  As to who or what they were in reality… that is ‘gheyb’ (the Unseen) and any elaboration without evidence… is Deviance… and I do not wish to deviate!

We see Solomon enter the ‘Valley of Naml[iv]’ in Verses 18- 19, where one of its inhabitants communicates her fear, to which he smiles.  He thanks God for His Bounty, offering Him a beautiful supplication.

‘Namala,’ as we see in our Lexicon, is related to a gathering of something light and small, which is why the tips of our fingers are called ‘anaamelأنامل- ’ in HQ 3:119.

Although ‘naml’ could refer to larger ants (and is the word we use today), when these verses were revealed, these tiny creatures were commonly known as ‘tharrالذر- ’ the singular of which is ‘tharrahذرّة ’.   BUT WHAT I FIND INCREDIBLE is that, throughout the ages, we have ignored all the SUBTLE things this word could refer to (as in a 'sore قرحة' on the side of on'es body, a crack in a horse's hoof), and that 'Naml' also denotes 'slandering and defaming,' and a 'Namla' literally means Slander/ Defamation نميمة (see definition below). 

What we can be certain of, is that the 'namla' is a resident of the Valley of Naml who knew Solomon by name.  She also advised her community to enter their 'masaaken,' plural of a 'sakan سكن'-  This indicates that she is more like a Cognizant Human than an insect because:
  • The Qur'an calls the dwelling of a spider  a mere dwelling (HQ 29:42): a 'beyt بيت,' as are the dwellings of bees 'buyoot بيوت,' (HQ16: 68).
  • However, when the Qur'an lists God's bounties for humans, it tells us that our dwellings 'byoot بيوت' were made into 'sakan سكن,' or places of 'sakeena,' which are not mere 'dwellings' but more lasting 'homes' containing 'sakeena,' peace, quiet and contentment.
UNLESS, of course, from the Ants' point of view, their houses are such homes!

So, honestly, it is anyone’s guess who/ what these verses really refer to, and if you need even more to think about, click on the picture!

Q.  What do I think?
A.  I think it is unfortunate that legend, in general, has completely taken over our thinking, so I prefer to keep an open mind without committing to ANY explanation since what really happened has no impact upon me or my faith.

In Verses 20- 21 Solomon inspects the Mobile Troops, and then inquires as to the whereabouts of the ‘Hud-hud,’ threatening him either with slaughter or suffering if he does not bring him a powerful excuse for his absence. 
No one can be sure who/ what the Hud-hud really is.  Some think he was a hoopoe bird.  Others think he was one of Solomon’s spies, and the Bible does mention Solomon having a rival called Hadad.
He might have been apprehensive of Solomon, because when he finally arrived he stayed at a short distance.  He also seemed indignant, as he told him, ‘I have encompassed what YOU did not encompass, and I have returned from Sheba with definite information (Verse 22).
PAGE 379 Arabic Qur’an.

3. Verses 23- 24 recount the Hud-hud’s most eloquent description of the Queen of Sheba and her people, describing their worship and their deviance from the Path.
The exclamation in Verses 25- 26 is so magnificent, that many commentators consider it a Qur’anic interpolation, since they cannot attribute it to a mere bird.

4. Solomon responds to the Hud-hud in Verses 27- 28, and sends him with a message to the Queen of Sheba (Verse 30), who receives Solomon’s short but eloquent message with great wisdom and grace, which is demonstrated in everything she says and does (Verses 29- 35).

PAGE 380 Arabic Qur’an.

5. Verses 36- 37 indicate Solomon’s disinterest in material gifts and his inclination to fight them.  Meanwhile, he inquires of the leaders الملأ in his community whether any of them could bring him her ‘Arch,’ or her ‘Seat of power’ before they (the Queen and her people) come to him in submission and pure reverence (Muslimeen).

In Verse 39, we find one of the ‘Covert Operators, الجن’ taking up this challenge, indicating his ability to deliver it to Solomon before the latter rises from his station.  The former is described as ‘Ifreet[v]عفريت- ’ which indicates (as we can see in our 1,000 year old Lexicon) either someone unscrupulous, as in a ‘rascal’ (رجل عِفْرٌ بيِّنُ العَفارة، يوصَف بالشَّيطنة، ويقال: شَيطانٌ عِفْرِيَة وعفريت), or someone clever and witty (ويقال إنّه الكَيِّس الظَّريف).  Anyway, in both cases, I find it incredible that the word describes a PERSON- while most Muslims have believed it to indicate a ‘chieftain among Genies’!

Then, in Verse 40, someone else (‘he who has knowledge of the Compilation’) takes up the challenge.  He asserts that he can do so before Solomon’s ‘Ttarfطرف- [vi]reverts to him.  ‘Ttarf’ is explained as ‘gaze,’ here, as in HQ 14:43.
As we see below in our Lexicon, 'Ttarf' comes from the root-verb ‘Tarafa’ which indicates a ‘fringe/ side/ edge,’ and also denotes blinking one's eyes.  Lissaan al Arab tells us that 'Ttarafa' could also refer to someone who patrols (or fights) at the periphery of his people's land, or one of the 'Ashraaf' or noblemen, which is why some have explained this verse as indicating: .. ‘before your Envoy returns to you’...
I feel certain our dear Readers will wonder:

Q.What should we make of all this? 
Is Prophet Solomon’s story full of ‘supernatural’ incidents or not?

A.  I think we must keep an open mind, and try not to be affected by empty superstition HOWEVER we cannot discount what seems to be 'supernatural,' especially since we do know that other Prophets/ Messengers were aided by ‘miracles.’ 

Anyway, if you are like me, you’d simply enjoy the Research, which broadens our minds and gives us explanations which are often more accurate. 

6. Verses 41-44 continue Solomon’s story with the Queen of Sheba (who is unnamed in the Qur'an), as Yusuf Ali says:

“Bilqis stands the test.  She knows it was her throne, yet not exactly the same, for it was now much better. And she is proud of her good fortune, and acknowledges, for herself and her people, with gratitude, the light which was given to them by God, by which they recognised God’s prophet in Solomon, and received the true Religion with all their will and heart and soul.”

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 27:45- 93

Peace unto all!

[i]نطق:  أصلانِ صحيحان: أحدهما كلام أو ما أشبهه، والآخَر جنسٌ من اللِّباس.
الأوَّل المَنْطِق، ونَطَق يَنطِق نُطْقَاً. ويكون هذا لما لا نفهمه نحن. قال الله تعالى في قِصّة سليمان: {عُلِّمْنَا مَنْطِقَ الطَّيْر} [النمل 16].
والآخَر النِّطاق: إزارٌ فيه تِكَّة. وتسمَّى الخاصرة: الناطقة، لأنَّها بموضع النِّطاق. والمِنْطَق: كلُّ ما شَدَدتَ به وَسَطك. والمِنْطَقة: اسمٌ لشيء بعينه.
وجاء فلانٌ منتطِقاً فرسَه، إذا جانَبَه ولم يركبْه، كأنَّه عِندَ النِّطاق منه، إذْ كان بجَنْبه.

[ii]طير: يدلُّ على خِفّة الشَّيءِ في الهواءِ. ثمَّ يستعار ذلك في غيرِهِ وفي كلِّ سُرعة.
من ذلك الطَّير: جمع طائر، سمِّيَ ذلك لما قُلناه. يقال طارَ يَطير طَيَراناً. ثمَّ يقال لكلِّ مَنْ خفَّ: قد طار. قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم: "خيرُ النَّاسِ رجلٌ مُمْسِكٌ بِعِنان فرسِهِ في سبيل الله، كلَّما سمِعَ هَيْعَةً طار إليها".
ويقال مِنْ هذا: تَطَايَرَ الشَّيءُ : تفرَّق. واستطار الفجر: انتشر. وكذلك كلُّ منتشِر. قال الله تعالى: {يَخَافُونَ يَوْمَاً كانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيراً} [الدهر 7].
فأمَّا قولهم: تطيَّر من الشيء، فاشتقاقه من الطَّيرِ كالغراب وما أشبهه. ومن الباب: طائر الإنسانِ، وهو عمَلُهُ.
ومن الباب : الطَّيْرة: الغضَب، وسمِّي كذا لأنَّه يُستطَار له الإنسان. ومن الباب قولهم: خذ ما تطَايَرَ من شعر رأسك، أي طال.

لسان العرب:
والطَّيرُ: معروف اسم لِجَماعةِ ما يَطِيرُ، مؤنث، والواحد طائِرٌ
... and in the following Classic poem, ‘Ttaa’ir’ refers to the BRAIN, being quick-witted:
هُمُ أَنْشَبُوا صُمَّ القَنا في نُحورِهمْ،
وبِيضاً تقِيضُ البَيْضَ من حيثُ طائرُ
فإِنه عَنى بالطائرِ الدِّماغَ
قال: وقد يجوزأَن يكون الطائرُ اسماً للجَمْع كالجامل والباقر، وجمعُ الطائر أَطْيارٌ…. فأَما الطُّيُورُ فقد تكون جمعَ طائر كساجِدِ وسُجُودٍ، وقد تكون جَمْعَ طَيْرٍ الذي هو اسمٌ للجَمع، وزعم قطرب أَن الطَّيْرَ يقَعُ للواحد؛ قال ابن سيده: ولا أَدري كيف ذلك إِلا أَن يَعْني به المصدرَ، وقرئ: فيكون طَيْراً بإِذْنِ الله، وقال ثعلب: الناسُ كلُّهم يقولون للواحد طائرٌ وأَبو عبيدة معَهم، ثم انْفَرد فأَجازَ أَن يقال طَيْر للواحد وجمعه على طُيُور... الجوهري: الطائرُ جمعُه طَيرٌ مثل صاحبٍ وصَحْبٍ وجمع الطَّيْر طُيُورٌ وأَطْيارٌ مثل فَرْخ وأَفْراخ.
قال: كلُّ حَرَكَةٍ من كلمة أَو جارٍ يَجْرِي، فهو طائرٌ مَجازاً-and everything swift
والاسْتِطارَةُ والتَّطايُرُ: التفرُّقُ والذهابُ.
وفلان ساكنُ الطائِر أَي أَنه وَقُورٌ لا حركة له من وَقارِه، حتى كأَنه لو وَقَعَ عليه طائرٌ لَسَكَنَ ذلك الطائرُ،
وفي صفة الصحابة، رضوان الله عليهم: كأَن على رؤوسهم الطَّيْرَ؛ وصَفَهم بالسُّكون والوقار وأَنهم لم يكن فيهم طَيْشٌ ولا خِفَّةٌ. وفي فلان طِيْرةٌ وطَيْرُورةٌ أَي خِفَّةٌ وطَيْشٌ
.The Companions were not ‘flighty’…
وقال الفراء: الطائرُ معناه عندهم العمَلُ، وطائرُ الإِنسانِ عَمَلُه الذي قُلِّدَه، وقيل رِزْقُه، والطائرُ الحَظُّ من الخير والشر. وكلَّ إِنْسانٍ أَلْزَمْناه طائرَه في عُنُقِه؛ قيل حَظُّه، وقيل عَمَلُه، وقال المفسرون: ما عَمِل من خير أَو شرّ أَلْزَمْناه عُنُقَه إِنْ خيراً فخيراً وإِن شرّاً فشرّاً. It is one’s ‘portion’ of fortune or performance/ deeds
ويقال للرجل الحَدِيد السريع الفَيْئَةِ: إِنه لَطَيُّورٌ فَيُّورٌ. وفرس مُطارٌ: حديدُ الفُؤاد ماضٍ.A swift person or horse
ويقال للرجل إِذا ثارَ غضبُه: ثارَ ثائِرُه وطارَ طائِرُه وفارَ فائِرُه.  Quick-tempered; angry
وطارُوا سِراعاً أَي ذهبوا. ومَطارِ ومُطارٌ، كلاهما: موضع.. والمَطارُ: موضع الطيَرانِ.

[iii] (جند) يدلُّ على التجمّع والنُّصرة. يقال هم جُنده، أي أعوانه ونُصّاره.
[iv] (نمل)  كلماتُه تدلُّ على تجمُّعٍ في شيء وصِغَرٍ وخِفَّة. منه النَّمل: جمع نَمْلة. وطعامٌ منمولٌ: أصابه النَّمل. وفرسٌ نَمِلُ القَوائِمِ: خفيفُها، كأنَّها شُبِّهَتْ بالنَّمْل. والنَّمْلة: قَرْحَةٌ تخرُج في الجَنْبِ، كأنَّها سمِّيَت بها لتفشِّيها وانتشارها، شبِّهت بالنَّملةِ ودَبِيبِها. والأَنْمُلَة: واحدة الأنامل، وهي أطراف الأصابع.
ويقولون وليس من هذا: إنَّ النَّمْلَة: شَقٌّ يكون في حافر الفرس من الأشْعَر إلى المَقَطّ.
ومما شذّ عن الباب النُّمْلة بالضم في النون والسكون في الميم هي النَّميمة. ويقال: نَمَل، إذا نَمَّ.

[v] (عفر) له معانٍ. فالأول لون من الألوان، والثاني نبت، والثالث شدّة وقُوّة، والرابع زَمان، والخامس شيءٌ من خَلْق الحيوان.
فالأول: العُفرة في الألوان، وهو أن يَضرِب إلى غُبْرَة في حمرة؛ ولذلك سمّي التراب العَفَر.
وأمّا الأصل الثاني فالعَفار، وهو شجرٌ كثير النّار تُتَّخذ منه الزِّناد، الواحدة عَفارة.
والأصل الثالث: الشِّدّة والقوّة. قال الخليل: رجل عِفْرٌ بيِّنُ العَفارة، يوصَف بالشَّيطنة، ويقال: شَيطانٌ عِفْرِيَة وعفريت، وهم العفاريَةُ والعفاريت. ويقال إنّه الكَيِّس الظَّريف. وإن شئتَ فعِفْرٌ وأعفارٌ، وهو المتمرّد. وإنِّما أُخِذ من الشّدّة والبَسالة.
قال أبو عُبيد: العِفريَة النفريَة: الخبيث المنكر. وهو مِثل العِفْر، يقال رجل عِفْرٌ، وامرأة عِفرة.
ويقال إنَّ عَفَار: اسم رجل، وإنَّه مشتق من هذا، وكان يُنسب إليه النِّصال.
والأصل الرَّابع من الزَّمان قولُهم: لقيته عن عُفْر: أي بعد شهر. ويقال للرّجُل إذا كان له شرف قديم: ما شرفُك عن عُفْر، أي هو قديم غير حديث.
وأمّا الخامس فيقولون: إنَّ العِفرِيَة والعِفْراة واحدة، وهي شَعَر وسط الرّأس.
قال أبو زيد: شعر القفا من الإنسان العِفرِيَة.

[vi] طرف: أصلان: فالأوَّل يدلُّ على حدِّ الشيء وحَرفهِ، والثاني يدلُّ على حركةٍ في بعض الأعضاء.
فالأوَّل طَرَفُ الشيء والثوب والحائط. وقولهم: عينٌ مطروفة، من هذا؛ وذلك أن يصيبَها طَرَف شيءٍ ثوبٍ أو غيره فتَغْرَوْرِقَ دمعاً. فأمَّا قولهم: جاء فلانٌ بطارفةِ عينٍ فهو من الذي ذكرناه في قولهم: طُرِفت العين، إذا أصابَها طَرَف شيءٍ فاغرورَقَتْ. ومن الباب قولُهم للشيء المستحدَث: طريف؛ وهو خلافُ التَّليد، ومن الباب الطِّرف: الفرس الكريم، كأنَّ صاحبَه قد اطّرَفه.
وأمَّا الأصل الآخر فالطَّرْف، وهو تَحريك الجفون في النَّظَر. هذا هو الأصل ثم يسمُّون العينَ الطَّرْف مجازاً. ولذلك يسمَّى نجمٌ من النُّجُوم الطَّرْفة، كأنَّه فيما أحسب طرْفُ الأسَد.

لسان العرب:
ويقال: طَرَّفَ الرجل حول العسكر وحول القوم... ابن سيده: وطرَّف حول القوم قاتَل على أَقصاهم وناحيتهم، وبه سمي الرجل مُطَرِّفاً. وتطرَّفَ عليهم: أَغار، وقيل: المُطَرِّف الذي يأْتي أَوائل الخيل
فيردُّها على آخرها، ويقال: هو الذي يُقاتِل أَطراف الناس؛
ابن سيده: وطَرَفُ كل شي مُنتهاه، والجمع كالجمع، والطائفة منه طَرَفٌ أَيضاً.
.قال الأَزهري: الأَطراف بمعنى الأَشراف جمع الطرَفِ أَيضاً.

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