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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.'


Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 204; Qur’an 33:36-62; Page 423- 426

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

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 423 Arabic Qur’an.
1.   Verse 36 is an important, oft-quoted verse.
(I’ve hyperlinked Arberrry’s interpretation here because neither Yusuf Ali’s nor Muhammad Asad’s is accurate.  They both use the word ‘Apostle’ for ‘Messenger’ which not only carries Biblical connotation, loses its Arabic meaning, but most significantly: BLURS THE IMPORTANT DISTINCTION between ‘Rasool/ Messenger’ and ‘Nabi/ Prophet.’)

This verse is commonly considered one of the most binding verses in the Qur’an- one which is seen by some (at the very least) to ‘bind’ Believers to ‘Qur’anic injunctions,’ and seen by others (at the very most) to also ‘bind Believers’ to the Prophet’s Sayings/ Hadeeth AND the opinions of Scholars.  

(I’ll try to explain further, but please note that this is only a general assessment.  There will be varying ‘sub-groups’ to each category.)

Generally speaking, this verse is oft-quoted to highlight ‘Believers’ personal belief in one of the following:

·     “That they should obey the directives of God and His Messenger
which are in the Qur’anic Compilation… and should not seek other alternatives on such issues.”

·     “That they should obey the directives of God and His Messenger which are in the Qur’anic Compilation, including those which were put into practice by the Messenger (such as Prayer, Charitable deeds, and also details related to Fasting, Pilgrimage), all of which were transmitted in practice from one generation to another (and can also be found among the universally accepted reported deeds/ sayings of the Prophet narrated by verified chains of transmitters) …. and they should not seek other alternatives on such issues.”

·     “That ‘Believers’ should obey the directives of God and His Messenger which are in the Qur’anic Compilation, including those which were put into practice by the Messenger (such as Prayer, Charitable deeds and details related to Fasting, Pilgrimage), and should also obey all other reported sayings of the Prophet narrated by their approved chain of transmitters, as well as their own Scholars’ implementation of both the Qur’anic directives and the approved Sayings of the Prophet … and should not seek other alternatives on such issues.”
Knowing that, Readers won’t be surprised to find that each group or sub-group considers itself the sole group of ‘Believers.’ 

2.    We do not denounce anyone here.  We respect all people’s efforts in seeking God, and our increased understanding of the Qur’an tells us that Judgment has always been His, alone.

Our quest at iqrathechallenge focuses on bettering ourselves.

We believe that this is best accomplished by understanding the Qur’an as revealed, and we attempt to do so by implementing the first Qur’anic directive of ‘Iqra!’ which reactivates its dynamic and renders our static Compilation into the interactive Qur’an which raises our Awareness and helps us progress and transform on all levels. 
We also attempt to put our faith into practice by following the Messenger Muhammad (in ‘worship’ HQ 24:56 as well as other issues mentioned in the Qur’an), considering the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, our ‘best example’ (HQ 33:21). 
We study and benefit from the vast wealth of information painstakingly left to us by predecessors, including their compiled ‘Sayings of the Prophet,’ the opinions of Scholars, and their understanding and explanation of the Qur’an.

We always bear in mind that the Arabic Qur’an is on a level of its own, distinct from all compilations: 

The Qur’an alone is THE Message of The Ever-Living, The Self-Subsisting God الحي القيوم, and it is sent to us, living, Cognizant Humans. 
It is up to every generation to do whatever it can to understand its intent, using an approach closest to that of its First Recipients, who applied their full faculties, while adhering to its language and context. 
The Advancement which it brought to them might be repeated, if each of us became a Reader/ Qaare’[i] of the Qur’an. 
3.    Now, since we consider ourselves ‘Readers of the Qur’an’ who take its word as final authority with regard to the Prophet’s life, we must admit that Verse 37 has been explained ‘fictitiously’ by most Commentators.  I will try not to add to the large body of spiced-up ‘explanations’ and fervent arguments concerning these verses; I’ll convey what I understand:

God Himself, in this verse, gives the divorced wife of Zeyd in marriage to the Prophet so as to remove constraints from Believers who, from now on, may wed the spouses of persons who are NOT their children (genetically or by nursing), even if they once carried their names, substantiating His earlier command in Verses 4-5:

This underscores two things:

·     Adoption does NOT make people relatives (unless infant-nursing is involved).
·     Marriage-termination does NOT dissolve a parent/child-in-law relationship:
The spouses of our parents and children are forever inviolable to us.  It is considered incestuous to think in sexual terms of a parent-in-law or a child-in-law, even after their marriage is dissolved by death or divorce. 

Indeed, one of the most beautiful things in a Muslim marriage, is that our mothers and fathers-in-law become literally our parents.  Later, when we get older, our sons and daughters-in-law become our children in every sense of the word.  This means that we can care for each other wholeheartedly without worrying about propriety. 
In-laws can house each other, feed and clothe each other in times of need, and can otherwise go about their daily lives in comfort with each other.  Furthermore, when divorced or widowed, their relationship with parents and children-in-law could be maintained at the same level of love and intimacy:
NOTHING can dissolve a parent-child relationship, which is what this verse helps underscore. 

Furthermore, what the 58 year old Prophet, peace upon him, was ‘hiding inside himself’ was unlikely to be his taking a sudden liking to Zeyd’s wife, Zeynab:  
-Firstly, he was the one who had pushed her to marry Zeyd.
-Secondly, he had known Zeynab for her entire life- she being the daughter of his paternal aunt- and he could have married her himself, had he wanted to.
-Thirdly, God ‘made manifest/ brought to light’ (Ali/Asad) whatever it was that the Prophet was hiding inside, being apprehensive of people تخشى الناس.
Perhaps, if we focused on what was brought to light, we’d know what it was that he was apprehensive about and hid inside (see the next verse).    

Verse 38 continues, saying that there ‘was no’ or ‘should be no’ constraint upon the Prophet in what God has bequeathed/allotted TO him.. (فرض له –وليس "عليه")- for the difference between ‘to’ and ‘upon’ see Aug 17th. 
(I prefer Ali’s explanation.  Asad’s ‘blame’ for ‘harajحرج- ’ is incorrect.)

Doesn’t it seem that the Prophet was hiding his ‘constraint’ ([ii]حرج) from his community at an ‘allotment’ which he had to undertake, even after he had conveyed to them that Zeyd couldn’t use his name any more?

Anyway, the verse goes on to indicate that such bequeathal/ allotment is the way/manner ‘sunna’ of those who passed aforetime, as in HQ 4:26-28:

God wants to make [all this] clear unto you, and to guide you onto the [righteous] ways of life of those who preceded you, and to turn unto you in His mercy: for God is all-knowing, wise.
And God wants to turn unto you in His mercy, whereas those who follow [only] their own lusts want you to drift far away from the right path.
God wants to lighten your burdens: for man has been created weak.

In summation: 
We see these verses as simply overturning a practice which was common in Arabia at the time, returning parent/child-in-law relationships to how they were advocated by previous Messengers, according to God’s Messages (Verse 39).  

As Cognizant Humans, we feel saddened whenever people prefer Sensationalism to the Truth.

4.    Verse 40 seems to bring the issue of the Prophet’s ‘adopted son’ Zeyd to a conclusion:  Muhammad never fathered any of your men…”

It also settles another important issue, which is that Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was the Seal of, and the Conclusion to, all Prophets. 
This means that there shall be no other Prophet after him (all believers in the Qur’an agree upon this).
But what this also means, is that there shall be no other Messengers after him! This is because every Messenger of God was a Prophet among his people, although not every Prophet among his people had a new Message to deliver.  In other words, ‘Messenger’ is a ‘higher’ rank than ‘Prophet.’  Imagine a pyramid, where being ‘Prophet’ is a mission assigned to a few of the people on this earth, while being ‘Messenger’ is a mission assigned to a few of the Prophets.  This means that there are far fewer Messengers than Prophets.   

I emphasize this, because there are a few believers in the Qur’an who think that this particular verse implies the likelihood of further ‘Messengers.’  In our discussions, they indicated their belief that a ‘Messenger’ was a lesser rank than ‘Prophet,’ and that there were other ‘Messengers of God’ among us.  I cited the Qur’an itself to explain to them why this could not be, but don’t think I was able to convince them at the time, despite their obvious heart-felt search for enlightenment, and the love they clearly had for God, the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, and Humanity in general. 
We discussed the distinction between ‘Messenger’ and ‘Prophet’ on Feb 4th where we said:

“As for the (human) Messenger of God himself, well, he IS ALSO a Prophet, as is very clear in HQ4:69 (and there are many other verses to prove that), for without that understanding, we'd find the heavenly company of the Hereafter, listed below, excluding Messengers!

"And whoever obeys God and the Messenger, such people shall be with those upon whom God has bestowed His Blessings: of the Prophets, the Truthful, the Witnesses, and the Righteous, and how goodly are such for company!" (HQ 4:69)

Where are the 'Messengers' in this Blessed company? 
They are either missing completely, or are among the 'Prophets.' 
Of course the latter is more likely, which proves that Messengers of God indeed, ARE Prophets to their people.
Therefore, let us at least arrive together at the following conclusion:
In verse (HQ33:40), when God said that Muhammad His Messenger was the Seal, the Conclusion, the Final of Prophets, He was speaking to humanity so, as is indeed relative to us, there will NOT be any other person bearing Divine inspiration.
And if this verse does not say, in so many words, that he is the final 'messenger,' isn't that possibly due to the Qur'an's precision, seeing that Angels ARE indeed 'messengers' too? (HQ22:75; 35:1)

5.   Verses 41- 42 speak directly to Those who have attained Faith, telling them/us to be oft-remembering of God, and motivated in devotion to Him.
Put ‘tasbeeh’ in Search this Site, and see its poetic ‘definition’ in the sidebar so as to realize its importance to our development, as Cognizant Humans!

6.   Verses 43- 44 are absolutely beautiful:  After urging us to remember God and be motivated, Verse 43 tells us that it is God Himself Who is ‘connecting’ to us, and supporting of usيصلي عليكم-!! 
Notice the verb ‘yusalliيصلي- ’ in the present continuous. 
Now read the rest of the verse: 

‘It is God Himself and His Angels Who are in constant ‘connection/ relationship to you / supporting you (all)’ so that He may take you (all) out of the Darkness-es into the Light, and He is, to the Believers, Unceasingly Compassionate.’

Dear Reader:
Take a moment to allow the meaning of this verse to sink in. 
In our next Reading we will encounter Verse 56 which mentions something similar with regard to the Prophet, whom God and His Angels ALSO support and maintain a connection/ relationship to. 
We discussed the meaning of ‘salla’ on May 6th where we said, in reference to HQ 9:103:

“We tend to forget the original meaning of the word, which denotes connection and commitment.  In other words, being involved and engaged (AND praying), which brings us closer to God and to each other.

As the Qur’an quite clearly shows us, ‘salla’ is the opposite of ‘tawalla,’ which means to ‘turn away.’ 
The Qur’an presents the two opposites in HQ 75:31 and 32:

فَلَا صَدَّقَ وَلَا صَلَّىٰ ﴿٣١﴾ وَلَـٰكِن كَذَّبَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ ﴿٣٢﴾

Truth versus Falsehood, and Involvement versus Detachment. 
Proper involvement includes prayer, but is not limited to it.” 

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 33:45-73.

Peace unto all!

[i] A Qaare’ قارئ is someone who has activated the six components of ‘Iqra!’

[ii] (حرج) تجمُّع الشيء وضِيقُه. فمنه الحَرَج جمع حَرَجة، وهي مجتمع شجرٍ. ويقال في الجمع حَرَجات. ويقال حِراجٌ أيضاً.

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