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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 19, 2010

Day 220; Qur’an 38:1-26; Page 453-454

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

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 ص
The Chapter of Š Ã Ð

From the Introduction and Commentary of Yusuf Ali:

For the place of this Surah in the series of six, dealing with some of the mysteries of the spiritual world, see Introduction to Surah 34.
This Surah, both in chronology and subject matter, is cognate to Surah 37, and carries forward the same argument. But here the emphasis is laid on the working of earthly power when combined with spiritual power, and it is pointed out how much more significant (and real) spiritual power is. For this reason the illustrative stories are mainly those of David and Solomon who were kings as well as prophets, and a parallel is suggested with the unfolding public life of our Holy Prophet.”

This Surah is concerned mainly with the stories of David and Solomon as illustrative of the relative positions of spiritual and worldly power.
Sale's note (about the letter ص): "it may stand for Solomon": is a real howler; for in Arabic the letter Sad does not occur at all in the name of Solomon.”

From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad::

“REVEALED comparatively early - probably towards the end of the fourth or the beginning of the fifth year of the Prophet's mission - this surah is devoted almost entirely to the problem of divine guidance and its rejection by those who are "lost in false pride, and (hence] deeply in the wrong" (verse 2).
The only "title" or, rather, key-word - applied to this surah since the earliest times is the letter s (Sad) which introduces: the first verse.”


This Chapter is characteristic of Meccan chapters, as it establishes the Message and reinforces its Messenger, peace upon him.

PAGE 453 Arabic Qur’an.

1.    The tone is set from the very first letters/ words of this Chapter:

For the letter ‘Ssص-’- put ‘disjointed letters’ in ‘Search this Site.’
After that, we find the next letter ‘wawواو القسم-’ ‘vowing’ by the Qur’an of Remembrance…’ 

We had earlier explained ‘Thikr’ (July 14th) as ‘evocation,’ but I think we should specify WHAT it evokes, which is ‘Remembrance.’  At that time we also explained today’s verse saying:

“In HQ 38:1 we find the Qur’an affirmed/ pledged -by the letter ‘wawو-’ -which is called ‘waw of qassam, or pledgeواو القسم- ’….. as being ‘OF The Thikr
(ص والقرآن ذي الذكر) This offers us another important clue as to the distinction between the ‘Compilation/ Kitaab’ and the ‘Qur’an:’

·   In the Kitaab, certain issues are drawn attention to, as the Messenger is commanded to ‘recall/ evoke’ them (أذكر في الكتاب" ’).  Therefore, as we can see, he/we are supposed to recall/ evoke something in the ‘Kitaab.’

·   As for the Qur’an, the Qur’an ITSELF IS ‘of Evocation’ (ذي الذكر)- meaning that it is evocative, in and of itself.”

It is important to understand that God has ‘facilitated’ (yassarna-يسّرنا ) the Qur’an FOR (our) Remembrance (as we see here). 
The next question which the Qur’an asks us is, where does each of us stand with regard to Remembrance?

Yusuf Ali explains Thikr (Zikr) by saying:
 “The word zikr is far more comprehensive than any single word or phrase that I can think of in English: it implies
·         remembrance in a spirit of reverence;
·         recital, celebrating the praises of God;
·         teaching, admonition, warning;
·         Message, Revelation, as in Ah-luz-zikr, "those who possess the Message" (16:43, and n. 2069).
·         Devotional exercises are also called zikr, with reference to meaning (2) above.”

I think we can safely say that ‘Thikr’ is related to REMEMBRANCE, whether we are receiving admonition, teaching, reciting, or doing any type of mental/spiritual exercise related to the Qur’an or to God. 
The important thing for a Commentator to do, is NOT to use different English words to stand-in for a single Arabic word.  Commentators usually do so to arrive at their perceived context, but the problem is that their explanation becomes even more subjective, and Readers (who do not know Arabic) become misled.
New Readers:  Put ‘thikr’ in ‘Search this Site.’ 

2.     Verses 1- 11 describe the Deniers, who ‘(are steeped) in Self-glory and Separatism’ (Ali).  Here we also find the usual arguments put forward by Deniers (even today) against Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him. 
It is interesting to note their advice to one another, to show ‘forbearance’ in holding onto their deities!

3.     In Verse 8 they seem to resent the fact that, of all other ‘higher ranking’ personalities in their system, it was this person to whom ‘the Reminder/ Remembrance’ was bestowed.  They are responded to by way of questions (Verses 9-10), asking whether anything of God’s Mercy and Dominion was under their control to begin with.

Actually, Verse 8 is one of the verses in the Qur’an where derivations of the root-verb ‘thakara’ appear twice (HQ38:8; 51:55; 80:4; 87:9; 89:23).  Click on ‘E.’

When root-verbs and their derivations appear more than once in a single verse, we are offered an opportunity to understand the meaning even better.  By looking at these 5 verses together we note that the Messenger is told to ‘remind ذكِّر--,’ and we note that Remembrance-الذكرى-  is of benefit (even to the Faithful).  We also note that when ‘Hell’ is brought forth, every Cognizant Human shall ‘remember,’ but by that time it would be too late to gain any benefit from Remembrance!

4.    Verses 12- 13 mention six different communities, before Qureish (‘Pharaoh’ is called ‘He of the Stakes/ Poles;’ see Ali/ Asad).
They all received Messengers and belied them, literally: causing the consequence عقاب to become Reality حق- .

Dear Reader: This verse shows us that whatever results we are left to contend with, are related to our own ‘choice’: 

We have a certain situation to deal with.  Of all the possible actions in dealing with it, we choose to perform one à that action (or inaction) brings on à its own consequence:

Its consequence = our Reality.

5.    Verses 14- 15 warn of the ‘Ssey-haصيحة-’ or ‘overwhelming blast’ which they are, in fact, awaiting. 
Meanwhile, what do they do? 
They ask for their ‘portion’ to be rushed to them, even before the Time of Reckoning.  
Sarcasm in the face of truthful warning!

PAGE 454 Arabic Qur’an.

6.    After Verses 1- 16 had affirmed the relationship between ‘Remembrance’ and the Qur’an, and drawn comparison between contemporary Deniers and those of old, who (all) belie their Messengers and await the consequence… the next verse (17) indicates one of the PURPOSES of this affirmation and comparison as it addresses the Messenger Muhammad directly, commanding him:
“Forbear (show perseverance and tolerance with regard to) what they say, and remember our worshipper, David of the ‘Aid/ Power’ he is oft-returning!”

We defined the Arabic word ‘aid’ on Jan 24th and discussed it being the origin of the English ‘aid’ (see below[i]).
I find it interesting that the Qur’an says that Prophet David ‘IS’ not ‘was.’

Verses 18- 24 narrate a lesson undergone by Prophet David, peace upon him.  I prefer the explanation of Ali to Asad’s.  I would rather NOT be influenced by Biblical or ‘Islamic’ stories to explain the Qur’an!

Verses 25- 26 conclude the story of Prophet David. 
7.     Notice the commands with regard to ‘hawaa’ which leads astray from God’s path.  هوى Hawaa’ can be literally defined as ‘Plummeting Desire leading to Emptiness,’ and it is this ‘hawaa’ which causes us to forget the ‘Time of Reckoning.’
In the Qur’an, this word is ALWAYS negative and indicative of a ‘falling(put ‘hawa’ and ‘hawaa’ in ‘Search this Site’).

The Qur’an tells us that David learnt his lesson, asked his Lord for Forgiveness, bowed to him, and returned wholeheartedly (to Him: to a place he loved and was accustomed to -put ‘muneeb’ in ‘Search this Site’).

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ38:27- 48.

Peace unto all!

[i] ‘Aid’and (أيد) are indeed the same word! In Arabic, it means (to have and offer) strength and security, from which the Arabic word 'yad,' or 'hand' is derived.  'To lend a hand' means to 'aid'!

أيد: القوة والحِفْظ. يقال أيّدَه الله أي قوّاه الله. قال تعالى: {والسَّماءَ بَنَيْنَاهَا بِأَيْدٍ} [الذاريات 47]. فهذا معنى القوّة. وأمّا الحفظ فالإياد كلُّ حاجزٍ الشيءَ يَحفَظه

‘Aid’ is one of those words that has its roots in Arabic, despite accepted ‘etymology’ (which habitually disregards Arabic influence):  Etymology: Middle English eyden, from Anglo-French aider, from Latin adjutare..”   
Scholars should look into this:  What is the Middle English ‘eyden’ if not (أيدٍ) with ‘tanween,’ the diacritic mark?  
As we continue our Qur’anic Readings we will come across many other such words, CLEARLY of Arabic origin, when Arabic was, similar to English today, the Lingua Franca (the vehicular language that traversed the boundaries of its original community, to transfer information to other communities).

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