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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.'


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 196; Qur’an 30:1-27; Page 404- 406

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Sorry for the delay!
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.

سورة الروم
The Byzantines
From the Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“The Chronology of this Surah is significant. It was revealed about the 7th or 6th year before the Hijrah corresponding to 615-16 of the Christian era, when the tide of Persian conquest over the Roman Empire was running strong, as explained in Appendix VIII (to follow this Surah). The Christian Empire of Rome had lost Jerusalem to the Persians, and Christianity had been humbled in the dust.  At that time it seemed outside the bounds of human possibility, even to one intimately acquainted with the inner resources and conditions of the Persian and Roman armies and empires, that the tables would be turned and the position reserved within the space of eight or nine years.”

From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
“THIS SURAH, revealed about six or seven years before the hijrah, takes its designation from the prophetic reference to the Byzantines in the opening verses.  (For the historical background of this prophecy, see notes 2 and 3 below.)  From this unequivocal prediction of events which at the time of its revelation were still shrouded in the mists of the future, the surah proceeds rapidly to its central theme: the wonder of God's creation of all that exists, His constant "bringing forth the living out of that which is dead", and thus His ability, and promise, to resurrect the dead at the end of time.  But this, the Qur'an says, most people are "determined not to know" (verse 56), because "they know but the outer surface of this world's life, whereas of the ultimate things they are utterly unaware" (verse 7); and because of their oblivion of those ultimate things, "corruption has appeared on land and in the sea as an outcome of what men's hands have wrought" (verse 41): a most incisive prediction of what is happening in the world of our days.”

Much has been said about the first few verses of this Chapter, as Commentators have attempted to historically frame its reference to the Byzantines, to their ‘defeat,’ and their ‘victory.’

In fact, what these verses bear, are ‘Glad Tidings’ to the Faithful.

Whether the glad tidings referred to the impending victory OF the Byzantines (over the Persians), or the future victory OVER the Byzantines (by the Believers) is something our generation might not be certain of;  these verses served their immediate purpose to the generation that received them. 

(As Readers who look at both Ali and Asad’s comments will note, the first is the commonly accepted explanation.  Although the second is less common, it is plausible when applying another valid Reading of the same words, where different diacritic marks appear on the same letters: غُلِبت versus غَلَبَت and سيَغلِبون versus سيُغلَبون- both illustrated in early interpretations such as Tabari, d. 310 A.H.; Zamakhshari, d.538 A.H. 

In the alternative Reading, the Faithful are given glad tidings of THEIR own future victory over the Byzantines, perhaps pointing to what many consider the most decisive victory in Muslim History: the Battle of Yarmouk under the leadership of Khaled Ibnil Waleed (15 A.H; 636 A.D.).  It is interesting that the Byzantine victory is said to have taken place nine years after these verses were revealed, and the Battle of Yarmouk nine years after that… both in a general area considered the ‘lowest’ elevation on the earth’s surface, literally 'the lowest of the earth/ adnaa al ardh,' in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, the surface of which is marked at 422 m. below sea-level, and into which the Yarmouk River flows. ('Adnaa'أدنى is the superlative of 'dunya.')  
Precise timing seems significant to some, who have cited the word بضع- to refer to a number between 3-10, and proponents of both interpretations have seen these occurrences taking place 9 years apart.

Anyway, God’s Victory relates to what the early Believers –who were still being persecuted when these verses were revealed- were promised and in fact, DID witness not long afterwards.)

Now, what I find VERY interesting with regard to the Traditional explanation of these particular verses, is that it offers a ‘vision of rapport and goodwill’ between Early Believers and followers of the Christian faith!  I would be interested to know how ‘zealots’ can traditionally explain this verse, after rendering ‘null and void’ many other verses (showing kind treatment to those of different ‘faiths’)!?

I think that, as people who profess our faith in God, we should all take a good look at ourselves and realize what we have done, versus what we could do, to generate goodwill (if not fellowship) amongst us. 

PAGE 404 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  The six Chapters/ Surahs which begin with the letters/ sounds A.L.M. are Chapters 2, 3, 29, 30, 31, 32. 
Today, similar to our previous chapter, these letters are unlike the norm, in that they neither introduce the Compilation nor the Qur’an.  Whereas the ALM in Chapter 29 introduced the Faithful being ‘marked out,’ in today’s chapter these letters introduce a matter which the Faithful would celebrate in time:  God’s Victory (see Verses 1-5).

PAGE 405  Arabic Qur’an.

2.  Verses 6- 9 assure us of God’s Promise which never fails, describing how most Humans recognize the obvious while remaining unaware of the Hereafter; how most do not reflect upon their own creation and are in denial as to their meeting with God; how most do not walk the earth with open eyes, learning from the experiences of their predecessors; how most are unaware of the Evidence their Messengers have brought to them, and of the fact that God would never wrong them, but it is they who wrong their own Selves.

3.  Verses 10- 13 speak of Creation ‘begun’ and Creation ‘redone,’ and the return to God; of the Hour when ‘Evil-earners’ /Mujrims are in utter despair (بلس) and there is none to intercede on their behalf amongst those whom they had considered ‘partners,’ and whom they now deny.

4.  Verse 14 concludes, with description of the consequence for Those who had attained Faith and performed goodness in Verse 15, and for the Deniers who had belied God’s Signs and their Final Meeting in Verse 16.
PAGE 406 Arabic Qur’an.

5.  Verse 17 glorifies God at both ends of our day (which indicates our recognition of our part within the ‘motion’ or ‘tasbeeh’ of the skies and the earth as per His Design).
Verse 18   announces complete exaltation to God in the Heavens and on Earth, as well as (from our perspective) at night and when we rise to our livelihoods.
Verse 19 mentions the Life and Death of the Earth as well as our own, and how each begets the other.

6.  Verse 20 begins a series of six verses which list God’s Signs: ‘And of His Signs is ….’
Put "ومن آياته" (with quotes) in Tanzil. 
The uniqueness of this sequence tugs at our heart-strings.  (Verse 46 is the seventh such verse in this particular Chapter.)  We already mentioned how interesting it was to note the Qur’anic patterns; how each Chapter has distinctive words, sometimes rhyme, always rhythm, which come together to form a unique unit.  This is something which Readers of Arabic can recognize and appreciate; this gives the Reading, not just beauty or eloquence, but also Power; the power and precision of Qur’anic words and concepts which further prove its eminence.

Among His Signs:
· His creating us of this earth (20);

· His creating mates for us to find comfort with (21;
“And of His signs that He has created for you from yourselves mates so that you would settle beside them in tranquility, and He has made between you love and compassion, indeed in that are signs for people who reflect.”
See ‘the Marriage Union: Sanctity and Fulfillment’ where this beautiful verse is explained.

· His creating the heavens and earth as well as our different tongues/ manners of speech and appearance/ character [i] (22)- not just ‘languages’ or ‘colors’ (see Arabic definition, where the word 'colored' denotes someone undergoing a change in character!).
· Our sleep by night and pursuit of His Bounty by day (23);

· The lightning we fear yet hope for, and the reviving rain (24);

· The sky and earth fulfilling His Command, and His call to us upon which we shall issue forth- right out of the earth (25).

We must read these verses carefully to understand the importance of these ‘Signs.’  Notice how some verses end by telling us FOR WHOM these Signs are intended: 
For People who Reflect لقوم يتفكرون-; for the Knowledgeable للعالِمين-; For People who Listen/ Hear لقوم يسمعون- ; For people who use their intellects (to secure knowledge)لقوم يعقلون- .  We also note that these are but a few OF His Signs, which encompass Creation from its early beginning… to its very end.

7. Verses 26- 27 conclude today’s Reading with two statements: 
First we are told of God’s full Possession versus everyone’s full compliance, and then of the fact that repeating the process of Creation is inferior to having initiated it in the first place!  
His is the Highest example in the Heavens and the Earth, and He is The Omnipotent, The Wise.    

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 30:28-60.

Peace unto all!

[i] لون:  هي سَحْنَة الشَّيء: من ذلك اللَّون: لونُ الشَّيء، كالحمرة والسواد، ويقال: تلوَّن فلانٌ: اختلفت أخلاقُه. واللَّوْن: جنسٌ من التَّمْر. واللِّينَة: النَّخلة، منه، وأصل الياء فيها واو. قال الله تعالى: {ما قَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ لِينَةٍ} [الحشر 5]. والله أعلم بالصَّواب.

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