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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, October 12, 2010

Day 213; Qur’an 36:1-30; Page 440- 441

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Congratulations are in order:  Today we begin what is termed “Rebe’ Yaasseen” - (ربع ياسين)- THE FINAL QUARTER of the Qur’an.

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.

From Yusuf Ali’s Introduction, and his comment to the first verse:

“This particular Surah is devoted to the Holy Prophet and the Revelation which he brought.  The Abbreviated Letters Ya Sin are usually construed as a title of the Holy Prophet.  But it is not permissible to be dogmatic about the meaning of Abbreviated Letters.

This Surah is considered to be "the heart of the Quran", as it concerns the central figure in the teaching of Islam and the central doctrine of Revelation and Hereafter.  As referring to the Hereafter, it is appropriately read in solemn ceremonies after death.
In chronology it belongs to the middle or early Makkan period.

In Surah 37:130…occurs the word Ilyasin.”

“Some Commentators take ‘Ya’ to be the vocative particle, and ‘Sin’ to be the abbreviation of Insan….   In that case it would be an address to man. "O man!"  But "man" in this connection is understood to mean the Leader of man, the noblest of mankind. Muhammad the Prophet of God. For this Sura deals mainly with the holy Prophet and his Message. ..”

From Muhammad Asad Introduction, and his comment to the first verse:

“FOR an explanation of my rendering of the title Ya Sin as "O Thou Human Being," see …below. Revealed in the early part of what is termed the "middle" Mecca period…this surah is almost entirely devoted to the problem of man's moral responsibility and, hence, to the certainty of resurrection and God's judgment: and it is for this reason that the Prophet called upon his followers to recite it over the dying and in prayers for the dead (cf. several Traditions to this effect quoted by Ibn Kathir at the beginning of his commentary on this surah).”

“Whereas some of the classical commentators incline to the view that the letters y-s (pronounced yā sīn) with which this sūrah opens belong to the category of the mysterious letter-symbols (al-muqatta‘āt) introducing a number of Qur’anic chapters …, ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abbās states that they actually represent two distinct words, namely the exclamatory particle yā (“O”) and sīn, which in the dialect of the tribe of Tayy’ is synonymous with insān (“human being” or “man”)….. This interpretation has been accepted by ‘Ikrimah, Ad-Iahhāk, Al-Hasan al-Basrī, Sa‘īd ibn Jubayr, and other early Qur’ān-commentators (see Tabarī, Baghawī, Zamakhsharī, Baydāwī, Ibn Kathīr, etc.). According to Zamakhsharī, it would seem that the syllable sīn is an abbreviation of unaysīn, the diminutive form of insān used by the Tayy’ in exclamations.  (It is to be borne in mind that in classical Arabic a diminutive is often expressive of no more than endearment: e.g., yā bunayya, which does not necessarily signify “O my little son” but, rather, “my dear son” irrespective of the son’s age.)  

On the whole, we may safely assume that the words yā sīn apostrophize the Prophet Muhammad, who is explicitly addressed in the sequence, and are meant to stress – as the Qur’ān so often does – the fact of his and all other apostles’ humanness.”


PAGE 440 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  This is the most oft-recited Chapter after the Opener / الفاتحة- and it would be hard to find a ‘Muslim’ who is unfamiliar with it.
As both Ali and Asad mention above, this is the Chapter which people usually recite at deathbeds and while offering prayers for the departed.  It is also recited in other times of need[i].

But this is also a Chapter which –from its very first verses- discusses the major Qur’anic concepts: Beginning with TWO syllables, comes a ‘call of endearment:’

·  To each Cognizant Human/ to Muhammad.
·  Vowing by the ‘Wise’ Qur’an….that: 
·  ‘You,’ (Muhammad) are of the Emissaries/ Messengers.
·  On a Straightened Path.
·  Sent down from God.
·  To warn Unaware people, whose forefathers received no warning.

2.  Verse 1 (Ali/ Asad).
Note that the Qur’an is called ‘Hakeem’ in Verse 2.  This characteristic applies to the ‘Qur’an’ and to the Remembrance/ Thikr,’ (mentioned once each), and also to the ‘Kitaab/ Compilation (mentioned twice).
Verses 3- 13 are a direct address to the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, informing him of his responsibility (to warn) and the limits of his responsibility: Most of the people he attempts to warn, will simply not heed his call.  Why? 
Such persons are described as being bound by yoke and shackle, blinded and deafened by the ‘barriers’ which surround them.  This is descriptive of human nature, which prefers ‘bondage’ accustomed to, over unaccustomed freedom.  ‘Why use our own minds and effort, when we can lay back and let our heritage guide us through life?’  This applies to MOST OF US. 
On the other hand, the verse assures the Messenger, that the person whom he will succeed in warning, is one who follows the ‘Remembrance,’ and holds the Creator/ ‘Al Rahmaan’ in awe, beyond perception (someone both mentally and physically active).  ‘Following Remembrance’ entails Memory, Thought, and Reflection, after which comes the effort of following through, with Consciousness of God.
THAT is Freedom!

Then comes Verse 12, giving us awe-inspiring details about how well Our Creator knows us: Every single thing we do AND every repercussion which results from it, is listed in an evident ‘forerunner’ to us- a record of our deeds which shall precede us to Judgment!
Ali calls the ‘Imaam’ a ‘book (of evidence)’ while Asad calls it ‘record.’

Our Lexicon[ii] tells us that ‘Imaam’ is a ‘forerunner;’ someone/ something at the forefront of others, gathering to itself whatever follows; or a person worthy of being emulated. 

This, dear Reader, is more than simply ‘awe-inspiring.’  Quite frankly, it makes one tremble with awe. 
As we speak, we are unaware of the ripples, the waves, the constructive change of tide, or the destructive tsunamis we generate by the little deeds we do.  But we shall come to know. 

We shall live eternally in the consequence.

PAGE 441 Arabic Qur’an.

3.  Verses 13- 30 narrate an ‘example’ which the Messenger is told to convey.  Read these verses, and note the beautiful dialogue!

We realize that this particular township belied THREE consecutive Messengers, simply because they were of the human race, ‘bashar.’  They cited ‘superstition’ as one reason for disbelieving these Messengers when they said, ‘We indeed draw (ill) omen from you…’ 

The response to this is important: ‘Your (ill) omen is with you…’

Q. Why is this important? 
A. Because there is no such thing as an ‘omen,’ except one which could pertain to us, residing ‘with us,’ in our own thinking, and of our own imagination.
Believers in God would not be superstitious, and would not see ‘omens.’

Q. What does all this mean?
A. It means that we should open our hearts and minds to what the Qur’an really says.  The Qur’an educates and empowers us against all deviation, and in its Light are all ‘darknesses’ dispersed.

Let us always remember that ‘all omens are our own!’
4.  Verses 20- 25 are beautiful, as they describe the amazing soliloquy/ speech of this ‘striving man’ who rushed to his people from the end of town.  He was valiant despite the risks, driven by one desire: to raise his people’s awareness in God and His Messengers, before it was too late.  Although we only have a report of what he was saying here, his sentences were responsive; his responses give us clear indication as to what they were saying to him!

It is only when we finish reading his story that we realize: 
This most beautiful declaration of Faith was made with his final breath.

Yes.  They killed him.  It is obvious, although never mentioned. 

See Verse 26- 27 where, even as he is invited into The Garden (of Paradise)…. he is thinking of his people!
(Asad sees this as a parable, while I see it both as a parable AND a true story.)

5.  Dear Reader:
Even Death does not seem to exist for such a person, who is driven by pure Love:  Love of God, and love for the wayward people of his own community (who were intent on doing him harm!).

No wonder this Chapter is often recited during times of distress!  It does bring comfort …however:
No chapter of the Qur’anic Compilation is of higher merit than the rest, or of greater intrinsic power.  It is we who are positively affected by different parts of it in different ways or at different times, depending on our own inconsistencies.  It is we who, with true ‘tarteel,’ can activate, in ourselves, its potential and ours. 
Ultimately, it is we who choose the quality of our relationship with God and His Words, whether it is:
·  Static, as in a ‘Compilation’…. or
·  Dynamic, as in Qur’an.

Readers may have noticed what certain satellite channels (dedicated to superstition), and similar internet sites say about this Chapter, and others. 

We must keep two things in mind:
-Firstly, that ‘Islamic’ scholars agree that all the reported Hadeeth (or sayings of the Prophet, peace upon him) which give this Chapter prominence among the other Qur’anic chapters are NOT ‘authentic.’ 
-Secondly, that ‘Ruqya,’ when applied, is about focusing on healing and the generating of hope and well-being, on one hand, AND supplication, on the other… while using the best of prayers: God’s words.  It is NOT about ‘supernatural’ phenomena (we have already discussed ‘magic’ and ‘jinn’ and shan’t deal with such issues here; for more info on these matters: ‘Search this Site’).

What we’d like to stress here however, is that the gradual revival of these concepts through the ages AMONG MUSLIMS are an example of the dynamic turning to static:  

When hospitals and custom-built asylums were established in Muslim Andalusia to treat patients and ‘jinn’ were identified as ‘unseen’ ailments, Europe was in the Dark Ages and mental illness was considered ‘satanic possession.’  What the church treated by Exorcism, at that time, Muslims treated by Medicine. 

Today: Exorcism is still in practice! 
But, we must mention that the Vatican has conducted ‘revisions’ to help its devotees. 
It is time we Muslims recognized the Qur’an for the Dynamic it is, and got out of the hole we have for dug ourselves!
6.  The next verses show us the consequence of his people’s crimes:  No ‘heavenly hosts’ were sent to warn them, and they were literally stopped in their tracks with one ‘Ssey-ha صيحة-’ or ‘overwhelming blast.’  As we can see in our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon, this word denotes a mighty sound that peals at length[iii].’  Furthermore, of the 13 times this word is mentioned in the Qur’an, THREE are in this Chapter alone!

7.  Today’s Reading ends with Regret for the Worshippers who mock every Messenger who comes to them.

How can such persons be called ‘worshippers’ when they are not ‘worshipping God?’

-Firstly, as ‘living entities’ everyone is worshipping God at the ‘cellular level.’  The sad part is when a human’s so-called ‘Cognizance’ is ‘incognizant’ of this worship.
-Secondly, although some of us might deny God, God does not disown us as His ‘worshippers.’  To the contrary:  Our Loving God calls out to us with ‘O my worshippers,’ even when some might think that that we do not deserve any endearment.

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 36:31-54.

Peace unto all!

[i] Many people consider this Chapter -together with the Opener and the last 3 Chapters of the Qur’an- to be the best ‘Ruqya’ or ‘Reqi’ recited for self-healing or healing of others, sometimes with one’s hand over the affected person, or the ailing  part of the body.  The verb to this noun is ‘yerqi’ see Arabic definition below.  Note the similarity- in BOTH form and function- of the Arabic ‘Reqi/ Yerqi’ to a word we all recognize today: ‘Reiki.’ 
The Etymology of this word is not readily available, but according to Wikipedia:

Reiki (霊気?, English pronunciation: /ˈreɪkiː/) is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui.  It uses a technique commonly called palm healing as a form of complementary and alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some professional bodies.

The English word reiki, meaning "an alternative healing method", derives from the Japanese loanword reiki 霊気 "mysterious atmosphere or feeling", which derives from the Chinese loanword lingqi 靈氣 "spiritual atmosphere; cleverness.”

Come on, people!
How could this word be only ninety years old (‘roots’ in the Chinese word ‘lingqi’ …?) when Arabs have known it for centuries, and it appears in our more than 1,000 year old Arabic Lexicon?  Actually, not just ‘Arabs’ but ‘Muslims’ are familiar with this word- together with Chinese MUSLIMS who probably used it 8 hundred years ago and knew it as ‘Reqi’ (I am not discussing here the process itself; I am interested in Linguistics and Humanity, ie: Where the name originated from, and the overlapping of Human experience which created  today’s concepts).

By putting ‘etymology’ in ‘Search this Site,’ Readers can see other such words and might realize how often Etymology disregards Arabic influences, although Arabic was the language of innovation and  information during the ‘Islamic’ Golden Age, similar to English today. 

I believe that this Arabic word had become part of Chinese vocabulary during the 3 centuries when the Ming Dynasty -1368-1644- ALL Muslim emperors- were in power.  I am not familiar with the history of ‘reiki’ in China, but the practice may not have gained widespread fame until developed in 1922.
I feel certain however, that Muslims knew about it in China (and I would appreciate a response from Chinese Readers).

Anyway, ‘Ruqya’ is common- knowledge to us, although unfortunately, it has become corrupted today by certain people’s superstitions, certain unscrupulous practitioners’ greed, and certain media moguls’ hidden agendas.  But many of us shall continue to cherish memories of its simple, straight-forward and positive use, having seen our grandmothers or grandfathers, after their ‘ritual’ prayers, cup their hand to the pain and recite Qur’an with supplications to God.

رقي: أصولٌ ثلاثة متباينة: أحدهما الصُّعود، والآخر عُوذَةٌ يُتعوَّذ بها، والثالث بقعةٌ من الأرض.
  فالأول: قولك رَقِيتُ في السُّلّم أَرْقَى رُقِيّاً. قال الله جلّ ثناؤه:{أَوْ تَرْقَى فِي السَّماءِ وَلَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ} [الإسراء 93].
  والثاني: رقَيْت الإنسانَ، من الرُّقية.
  والثالث: الرَّقْوَةُ: فُوَيْقَ الدِّعص من الرمل.. وأكثرُ ما يكونُ إلى جانب وادٍ.

[ii] الإمام: كلُّ من اقتُدِي به وقُدِّم في الأمور. والنبيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إمام الأئمة، والخليفة إمام الرّعية، والقرآن إمام المسلمين. قال الخليل: كلُّ شيءٍ يُضّمُّ إليه ما سواه مما يليه فإنّ العربَ تسمّي ذلك الشيءَ أُمّاً. ومن ذلك أُمُّ الرأس وهو الدّماغ.

[iii] صيح: الصَّوت العالي. منه الصِّياح، والواحدة منه صَيْحة.. وممّا يُستعار من هذا قولهم: صاحت الشَّجرةُ، وصاحَ النَّبْت، إذا طال، كأنَّه لمَّا طالَ وارتفعَ جُعِلَ طولُهُ كالصِّياح الذي يدلُّ على الصَّائح.

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