Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
Faced with the refusal of the chieftains of Qureish to accept this Message despite all the persuasion and dissuasion it contained, the Messenger was told to tell them to carry on working ‘according to their station.’ He too would carry on his work (and he did), may God’s peace and blessings be peace upon him and all God’s Messengers.
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 463 Arabic Qur’an.
1. After verses of persuasion and dissuasion directed at Qureish and any other ‘reluctant’ persons, Verse 41 speaks directly to the Messenger. It announces that this Compilation was sent down to him FOR THE PEOPLE- for (the benefit of) ‘Naas’/ Cognizant Humans- and that any of them who are guided, will be doing so for (li-ل ) their own selves, whereas any who stray do so against (‘ala-على) their own selves.
The verse ends by absolving him of any responsibility regarding whatever choices they end up making. In fact, this is one of the four times he is told that he is NOT ‘guardian over them’ (....وما أنت عليهم بوكيل)
2. Verse 42 is a very important verse which describes ‘Death,’ in both its states of ‘mawt[i]’ and ‘wafaat[ii],’ and also describes a condition we spend half our earthly lives in, and that is ‘Sleep.’
“God takes the Selves (wafaat) at the time of their death (mawt) and that which has not died (mawt), in its sleep, then retains that upon which He has determined death (mawt), and releases the other to a defined term. Indeed, in that are Signs for a people who reflect.
Here we learn several important things, which are SIGNS for people who Reflect:
· That God ‘yatawaffaa/ takes unto Himself our (spiritual) Selves at the time of our (physical) ‘mawt/ death’.
· That Sleep is a state when our (spiritual) Self is also taken unto God, and is then either retained (and we die physically) or released to a defined time (to go through this cycle every night, until circumstances define this occurrence).
We obtain similar understanding of these phenomena in HQ 6:60 and 10:104, and of the entire ‘life-cycle,’ in HQ 22:5 and 40:67.
We think of ‘Mawt’ as the ‘demise’ of physical bodies, human as well as others, but according to our 1,000 year old Lexicon ‘Mawt’ denotes the ‘departure of strength.’ I find this VERY interesting:
Now we can better understand ‘mawt,’ which takes place gradually, whatever the circumstance: Physical death requires nothing to make it happen; we simply ‘die a little’ with every breath we take!
No wonder the Qur’an had just told the Messenger in Verses 30-31:
إنك ميِّت وإنهم ميِّتون
‘You are indeed dead/ dying and they are indeed dead/ dying!!
At length (thumma) you shall (all) at the time of Resurrection be settling your disputes in the presence of your Lord.”
We are all dead/ dying.
As for ‘wafaat,’ on March 24th we read that God ‘yatawaffaa’ our Selves at night (HQ 6:60), and we said that Muslim scholars have dubbed our ‘sleep’ a ‘minor Death/wafaat sughraa,’ reserving the term the ‘major Death الوفاة الكبرى’ for the time when the spirit/consciousness is delivered unto its Creator (after the physical ‘mawt/ death’).
Sleep is a temporary surrender of our Spirits unto our Creator; it is a comfortable and welcoming ‘visit’ into another level of existence, after which (if we’d slept well, of course) we feel relaxed, replenished and rejuvenated.
I don’t presume to understand Death, nor do I think it possible to do so before experiencing it. Sleep, on the other hand, we might begin to understand, which may be the reason for the Qur’an mentioning it to us in this context: to help us better understand Death. Read: ‘Sleep: Understanding the Basics:’
· “Sleep is essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human body.
· It is a complicated physiological phenomenon that scientists do not fully understand.
· Historically, sleep was thought to be a passive state. However, sleep is now known to be a dynamic process, and our brains are active during sleep.
· Sleep affects our physical and mental health, and is essential for the normal functioning of all the systems of our body, including the immune system.”
3. Verses 43-45 speak to those who have taken someone to be their ‘intercessor with’ God, and describe the ‘hearts/ minds’ of such persons. They seem to refuse a direct relationship with God, are repelled by the concept of God being mentioned /remembered Alone الله وحده… and rejoice when the remembrance/ mention is of lesser ‘beings.’
Verse 46 is so comforting: It tells the Messenger (in the face of all the troubles he was facing and his people’s refusal) to direct himself to God, ‘Allaahumma اللهم-’ .. and mention three of His attributes, the first related to Creation, which He initiated by ‘cleaving it’- He is the ‘Originator/ FaaTtir’ (put faTtara in ‘Search this Site’)… the second to His Knowledge of all in existence, and the third, to His judging between His disputing Worshippers.
I can only imagine how it must have felt to the Messenger, peace upon him, to be instructed in affecting a ‘handover’ of his problems… to God!
4. Verses 47- 48 give us a glimpse into the Wrongdoers’ desperation at the time of Resurrection as they attempt to get out of the consequence they had created for themselves... and we are told how their ‘evil earnings’ become evident to them, and how what they had been mocking before… now closes in, upon them.
PAGE 464 Arabic Qur’an.
5. Verse 49 tells us of human behavior when affliction ‘touches’: Most would call upon God for relief, after which, when they are living in abundance, they (begin to feel superior to others and) say that they were given this abundance because of (knowledge of) their merit! We are told that, to the contrary, this abundance is a ‘Fitnah,’ an extreme trial… a ‘trial by fire’ (and has nothing to do with a person’s ‘merit’ at all).
This is a lesson for us all, dear Reader!
Verse 52 is the eighth time (out of ten) that the Qur’an mentions how God extends, or lays out some bounties for us يبسط, even as He ‘projects’ others (which require effort to be reached يقدر), in which is a Sign for people who Believe.
Unfortunately, there has been a huge MISTAKE in the Traditional explanation of these verses, because scholars have missed the distinction between the two words ‘qadr’ (قدر)- which the Qur’an mentions… and ‘qatr’(قتر) which it does not; a mistake which resulted in depicting God as being ‘scant’ in giving! Arab scholars have made this mistake, as have both Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad.
Although ‘Qatr’ with a ‘T’ does mean ‘scant,’ it is nowhere in these verses, and in the five times it is mentioned in the Qur’an, it is describes humans only.
The crucial word in these verses is ‘Qadr,’ with a ‘D’. See Posting of July 2nd.
What a difference between God giving us only a little, or giving us the potential for much. Note how this verse in fact does become a Sign, when we understand what it says:
Another example of the static Compilation becoming a live Qur’an!
6. Verse 53 is a beautiful, oft-quoted verse, in which God calls to His worshippers who have committed ‘excesses’ سرفagainst their own Selves NOT to despair of God’s Mercy, telling them that God indeed forgives conceals[iii] ALL the ‘Thunoob.’
‘Thunoob’ is plural of ‘Thanb,’ which denotes a certain type of ‘misdeed.’
Scholars in translation -AND in explanation- have not differentiated between the many types of ‘misdeeds’ we might commit, and have called them all ‘sins’ (Ali/ Asad).
The six types of ‘misdeeds’ counted so far are:
‘thanb, sayyi’ah, ithm, khaTa’, khaTee;ah, ma;Ssiyah
ذنب- سيئة- إثم- خطأ- خطيئة- معصية ’
‘Thanb’ usually takes place between our Selves and God: It could be the failure to perform a duty, or the commitment of an unfavorable act which harms us first and foremost. When we commit a ‘Thanb’ (on its own) it means we have done something that does not infringe upon other people’s liberties or rights. It remains a ‘private affair,’ between us and God until it affects someone else, in which event it couples with a ‘sayyi’ah.’
A ‘sayyi’ah’ is a bad ‘deed’ committed against others.
So, what is this verse about? It is about ‘Thunoob.’
Thunoob are all the deeds we do, or fail to do, which wrong our own selves.
Although we should never despair of God’s Mercy, it is especially in these cases that sincere Repentance absolves us (see HQ 3:135) BECAUSE NO REPARATION TO OTHERS IS REQUIRED (unlike the ‘sayyi’ah,’ where reparation to the wronged party is required!).
In this case, because the misdeed was between us and God, He pardons us without ever exposing our wrongdoing.
If you are interested, we could touch upon this again as your questions come in. Otherwise, we’ll do so when the subject presents itself.
Our next Reading is from HQ 39:54-67.
[i] موت: ذهاب القوة من الشيء. منه الموت خلاف الحياة. يقال رجل موتان الفؤاد وامرأة موتانة.
[ii] وفي: كلمةٌ تدلُّ على إكمالٍ وإتمام. منه الوَفاء: إتمام العَهْد وإكمال الشَّرط. ووَفَى: أوْفَى، فهو وفِيٌّ. ويقولون: أوْفَيْتُكَ الشَّيءَ، إذا قَضَيْتَه إيّاهُ وافياً. وتوفَّيْتُ الشَّيءَ واستَوْفَيْته إذا أخذتَه كُلّه حتَّى لم تتركْ منه شيئاً. ومنه يقال للميِّت: تَوفَّاه الله.
[iii] غفر: عُظْمُ بابِه السَّتْر، ثم يشِذُّ عنه ما يُذكر. فالغَفْر: السَّتر. والغُفْران والغَفْرُ بمعنَىً. يقال: غَفَر الله ذنبه غَفْراً ومَغفِرةً وغُفراناً.
الساتر لذنوب عباده المتجاوز عن خطاياهم وذنوبهم. يقال: اللهمَّ اغفر لنا مَغْفرة وغَفْراً وغُفْراناً، وإنك أَنت الغَفُور الغَفّار يا أَهل المَغْفِرة. وأَصل الغَفْرِ التغطية والستر. غَفَرَ الله ذنوبه أَي سترها؛ وقد غَفَرَه يَغْفِرُه غَفراً: ستره. وكل شيء سترته، فقد غَفَرْته؛ ومنه قيل للذي يكون تحت بيضة الحديد على الرأْس: مِغْفَرٌ. وغَفَرْتُ المتاع: جعلته في الوعاء. ابن سيده: غَفَرَ المتاعَ في الوعاء يَغْفِرُه غَفْراً وأَغْفَرَهَ أدخله وستره وأَوعاه؛ وكذلك غَفَرَ الشيبَ بالخِضاب وأَغْفَرَه؛
والغَفْرُ والمَغْفِرةُ: التغطية على الذنوب والعفوُ عنها.