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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.'


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 202; Qur’an 33:1-15; Page 418- 419

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

This chapter, as Yusuf Ali puts it, takes us ‘back to the hard facts of life,’ dealing with what were then contemporary issues of the Prophet’s life and time.

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 الأحزاب
The Confederates

From the Introduction of Yusuf Ali:

The series of mystic Surahs beginning with Surah 26, having been closed with the last Surah, we now come back to the hard facts of this life.
Two questions are mainly considered here, viz., the attempt by violence and brute force to crush the truth, and  the attempt by slander or unseemly conduct, to poison the relations of women with men.
As regards the first, the story of Al Ahzab or the Confederates, who tried to surround and annihilate the Muslim community in Madinah, is full of underhand intrigues…”


“The pagan customs in human relationships should be abandoned, and men and women should be held in honour according to natural relationships and spiritual positions (33:1-8, and C. 186).
The Battle of the Trench and its lessons; hypocrites and their fears; Truth and examples to be followed (33:9-27, and C. 187).
High position and seemly conduct for the Prophet's wives unhappy marriage (like Zaynab's) not to be perpetuated on false scruples; Prophet's wives to be treated kindly and gently (33:28-52, and C. 188).
Respect due to Prophet and his family; slander to be avoided and punished; guard your words and your responsibilities (33:53-73, and C. 189).”

From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad:


“THE DESIGNATION of this surah is derived from the references in verses 9-27 to the War of the Confederates, which took place in the year 5 H. (see note on verse 9 below). …… In brief, it can be stated with certainty that the surah was revealed in small segments at various times between the end of the first and the middle of the last third of the Medina period. This, together with the fact that a considerable portion of it deals with the personal history of the Prophet, the relationship between him and his contemporaries - in particular, his family - and certain rules of behaviour which applied explicitly, and specifically, to his wives alone, explains why this surah is so complex in its structure and so diversified in its modes of expression.”

PAGE 418 Arabic Qur’an.
1.  This is one of three unique Chapters which start with the address: ‘O Prophet!’ يا أيها النبي  (HQ 65, 66; the other ten contain this expression within). 
With this opening address, the tone is set from the very beginning:  The Prophet, peace upon him, is told in Verses 1- 2- 3 not to obey the Deniers or the Hypocrites, and given other advice related to family relationships, where we also find reference to his wives (‘Mothers’ of the Faithful).

Regular Readers will note that God is addressing him here as ‘Prophet’ and not as ‘Messenger,’ and will also remember the major distinction between the two nouns:

While ‘Messenger of God’ describes a chosen person’s relationship to God, Prophet’ describes a chosen person’s relationship to the people from amongst whom he was chosen.

This is why the duty of a Messenger is to DELIVER the Message (see  بلغand  رسالات (, while the duty of a Prophet (and us all) is to FOLLOW the Guidance/  Light/ etc.. (see (واتبع.

We discussed the distinction between ‘Messenger’ and ‘Prophet’ on Feb 4th,  where we said:

“It is a significant distinction because, when we search the Qur’an, we find that we are told to obey Muhammad (رسول الله) Rasoolul-Lah; to obey him in his capacity as Messenger of God, peace upon him.  Not once are we told to obey (النبي) al-Nabi, the Prophet.
On the other hand, when God reproaches him for something that he could have done differently, or says he forgives him, and speaks to him of his marriage or divorce, He always addresses him as ‘O Prophet!’ (يا أيها النبي)  -or with regard to his family, the Qur’an says (يا نساء النبي)…O women of the Prophet, or when his companions are given the etiquettes of entering his home, or how they should speak to is ALL about the 'Nabi'- Prophet. 

Indeed, everything in daily life, and in what goes around him, is relevant to a Prophet, but what is relevant to a Messenger of God has to be related to the Message itself and its Source.

In his existence there is an awareness that is achieved in his capacity as Messenger.  It is that awareness which receives Divine Revelation.  In that capacity he is God’s, he will not make mistakes, he need never be reproached, he can bear no blame.
God will correct what that chosen person might say or do in his capacity as a Prophet, but what he delivers from God in his capacity as Messenger is by definition flawless, because the Message is God’s and He delivers it, safeguarded throughout.

Therefore, the main difference between the two terms is that ‘Prophet’ describes the relationship of a chosen person to other people from amongst whom he was chosen, while ‘Messenger of God’ describes the relationship of this chosen person to God.”

2.  Verses 4- 5- 6 set the record straight: Who people really are, versus the ‘labels’ they are given.  At the time, this related mainly to:
·  Women, whose husbands were not to invoke the Arab custom of the time, whereby a husband could sexually abandon his wife by stating: ‘You are as inviolable to me as the back of my own mother.’
·  Adopted children, who were not to lose their original names.
·  The community of the Faithful, who were to recognize both the Prophet’s patronage of them, and that his wives were literally their ‘mothers’ (made ‘inviolable’ in Verse 53- so that no male would think of them in any other terms).
·  Each person’s blood relatives (‘those of the womb’), who were to gain precedence over other persons in eligibility for his/her benevolence.
Notice the statement at the center of Verse 5, which states that people are responsible for what their hearts/ minds intend.

Food for Thought:

Doesn't Verse 4 clearly indicate that SEXUAL ABANDONMENT was no longer acceptable, although this had long been a common measure which husbands took against their wives?
Indeed, sexual abandonment had become FORBIDDEN, and verses HQ58:2-3 are quite clear in CONDEMNING this act, which when committed must be expiated by 'freeing another person's yoke' (تحرير رقبة).
How is it that many people understand HQ4:34 (...واهجروهن في المضاجع) to be specifically: 'A Qur'anic injunction granting husbands the 'right' to sexually abandon their wives AS A PUNITIVE MEASURE'? 

How can this be:
  • Despite all the above verses.
  • Despite the fact that husbands are nowhere mentioned or addressed in these verses (the verses are general, addressed to the larger society of men and women).
  • Despite the meaning of 'Madhaaji’ مضاحع which is 'resting places,' as in HQ3:15. 
  • Despite the meaning of 'Hajara' هجر which is: 'to leave, to send away, to pull something tightly together, to speak to someone in a severe way.'
See our Posting of Feb 17th.

Let us now NOTE the ‘Scientific Marvel’ discovered recently:

The statement in Verse 4, says that God has not rendered for any (‘rajul’ active) person TWO hearts/ minds in his ‘bowel/ gut.’  This tells us indirectly that there is ONE such ‘heart/mind’ located in the ‘gut.’ 
When the New York Times first wrote about Dr. Michael Gershon’s discovery in 1996, this verse immediately came to mind, and I emailed this article to all my friends.

“The gut's brain, known as the enteric nervous system, is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Considered a single entity, it is a network of neurons, neurotransmitters and proteins that zap messages between neurons, support cells like those found in the brain proper and a complex circuitry that enables it to act independently, learn, remember and, as the saying goes, produce gut feelings.”

Q. So, what are the implications of that with regard to these verses? 
A. I think it implies that Cognizant Humans are complex creatures, whose relationships with family members are governed by emotional, mental, and physical background, with COGNITION being the controller. 
To keep these relationships at their most healthy, each should be recognized and assigned its proper role and responsibility, one which was designated from the very beginning in God’s Compilation (of how He created us). 
Any other thoughts, dear Reader?   

PAGE 419 Arabic Qur’an.

3. Verses 7- 8 were referred to in ‘The Marriage Union’ where we explained these verses as follows:

‘And We took from the Prophets their Covenant and from you and from Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary and we took from them a Solemn Covenant ميثاقاً غليظا.
So that He may question the Truthful صادقين concerning the Truth they were charged with ( صدقهم) while for the Deniers He prepared a painful suffering.’
And then the research continued:

“What is a ‘solemn covenant’ (غليظا ميثاقا ‘meethaqan ghaleetha’)?
ميثاقاً (meethaqan) from the root verb وثق (wathaqa) ‘tied together,’ ‘entrusted’.
غليظا(ghaleetha) thick, strong, solemn.
ميثاقاً غليظا ‘meethaqan ghaleetha’ most closely translated as ‘solemn covenant’;
A grave, momentous agreement between two or more parties.Here it relates to the Covenant between Prophets (or their followers), and God:
It seems that this original Solemn Covenant is the ‘Truth’ that humanity’s prophets (and humanity itself) are charged with and shall be answerable for, and we understand its import and gravity.  We also infer that the gravity of this former, original Solemn Covenant, lends itself to the gravity of the latter, Solemn Covenant of marriage. 
But what is the original Solemn Covenant?

Many scholars believe it is in the following primordial exchange between the offspring of the children of Adam and their Lord;

“And recount how thy Lord brought forth from the Children of Adam, from their loins, their offspring and made them testify regarding themselves: Am I not your Lord? They said, “Yes! We do testify,” Lest you say on the Day of Resurrection, “We were unaware of this”. Or lest you say, “Our fathers ascribed partners to God, and we were descendants after them. Will You then destroy us because of what the falsifiers did?”---”

(Qur’an: 7:172).

This verse seems to refer to a primordial exchange between all offspring of the children of Adam and their Lord; an exchange between human souls and their Divine Source before souls were embodied in their transitory earthly form.  At that primordial stage of its existence the human soul acknowledged its Lord Creator and testified to His Uniqueness.

Muslim scholars have postulated that humanity’s yearning for spiritual meaning to life is actually the soul’s innate quest for its Divine Source. The Human Soul remembers at a subconscious level its own primordial testimony to seek and worship God alone. The above verse refers to that first and foremost ‘solemn covenant’ undertaken by the human soul as it prepared to embark upon its journey commencing from, gliding away, and returning back, to its Creator.

An interesting fact should be mentioned here.  Jungian psychology has put forward the theory of the ‘collective unconscious’ to explain certain inexplicable psychological phenomena, shared by humanity, but unrelated to individual knowledge or experience.  Jung believed that humans share with each other what has been imprinted upon their psyches from the experience of all their collective ancestors.  If we were to take Jung’s concept of shared ancestral knowledge all the way back to primordial existence, it might provide one of the best explanations of this verse, to date.”

This is what we’ve been talking about, dear Reader.  (Remember when we learnt that ‘muneeb’ indicated our return to a place we loved and were accustomed to?). 
In our primordial existence we knew God, we are OF God’s ‘Spirit’ (من روحه), and certainly are capable of higher level of consciousness.
The Qur’an helps us tap into that Consciousness, but we have to be AWARE in order to do that.  That is why our Awareness is most highly guarded; no intoxicants, no pollutants, and the bare minimum of distraction.

4. Verses 9- 10- 11 remind the Believers of God’s Bounty upon them, with regard to the Battle of the Confederates and the ‘Siege of Medina,’ (see Ali for his account).
We notice how the Believers were shaken by the assault.

5. Verses 12- 13 recount what the Hypocrites said, and we notice that those who were reluctant to go out to battle called their houses ‘awra-عورة .  This is one of three times this word appears in the Qur’an (here singular, in the others pluralعورات- ).  This word implies ‘vulnerability,’ as we mentioned on Aug 25th.

6. Verses 14- 15   tell us more about such persons, whose hearts were against the Believers, and who were not keeping true to the promise they had made to God.

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 33:16-30.

Peace unto all!

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