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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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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 239; Qur’an 42: 17- 31, page 485-486

Today’s Reading took me so much time!
It begins with the ‘Scale/ Criterion’ which measures our achievement/earnings, and goes on to the Final ‘Hour’ where we come face to face with what we have achieved/earned in life.
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.

New Readers:  Please make use of ‘Search this Site’ for any unfamiliar word!

PAGE 485 Arabic Qur’an.

1. Verse 17 tells the Messenger (and listeners), that it is God Who has sent down the Compilation in Truth and Justice (نزل الكتاب بالحق) as well as the ‘Scale/Criterion,’ and tells him that he (Muhammad) would not/ cannot determine, but perhaps the Hour is near (put 'daraa' in 'Search this Site').
In this verse and in HQ 57:25 we find mention of the Compilation (kitaab) and the ‘Scale/Criterion’ (meezaan) TOGETHER.  In HQ 57:25, their combined ‘purpose’ is mentioned: (li) /‘for/ so that’ people would uphold/stand upright to EQUITY (fair and just dealings with each other[i]- قسط)
But if the scale/criterion happens to be what our interactions areweighed or measured’ against…. it is Our Lord Who has demanded of Humanity Fairness and Justice (HQ 7:29).  It is He Who reminds Those who have attained Faith to always stand for Fairness and Justice (HQ 2:282, 4:135, 5:8), and it is He Who promises dire suffering to anyone who kills people who demand Fairness and Justice (HQ 3:21).
This is an ultimatum with direct consequence.  It is delivered in the present continuous to indicate: 

Tidings of dire suffering being conveyed to anyone who is killing people demanding Fairness and Justice!
We know that Human history is a series of cycles, where young generations grow, age and depart, as their offspring replace them.  Being the ‘generation of the Information Age’ however, we have actually witnessed the ‘cycles’ taking place in various parts of our earth, and are therefore able to draw a more accurate picture of how Humanity develops as we draw reference from our observations. 
Everything we learn about ourselves or others helps us understand the Qur’an a little better: 

People are people, and since ‘Adam’s time,’ we have always shared BASIC motivations:  Our ‘quest’ has always been for ‘eternal life and a kingdom/ realm that never decays’ (شجرة الخلد وملك لا يبلى).  
Within this earth’s limits, the best of this quest is seen in a legacy of service, exemplified by constructive deeds and fine offspring, while the worst of this quest is seen in a legacy of self-interest, exemplified by destructive deeds and corrupt offspring. 
Beyond the limits of this earth, these basic motivations have helped many of us transcend this existence to seek the ‘eternal Hereafter,’ while a few of us may continue past the legendary rewards of the Hereafter, seeking God Himself. 

Yet, in this transient Life, many people tend to forget that ‘kingdoms/ realms which do NOT decay’ simply do NOT exist. 
Everything must run its course towards ‘decay’ from the moment of its inception, and even as ‘kingdoms’ or ‘realms’ seem to be ‘growing and flourishing,’ ‘decay’ is settling in their weakest foundations.  And although THE central foundation for any community is Fairness and Justice among people (‘QisTt’ ‘القسط بين الناس’), people ‘in power’ often become too arrogant to admit to that need, or even to notice its existence.  Pharaoh’s story is the best testimony to that cycle, which is one reason why it is highlighted in the Qur’an[ii].

2. Verse 18 shows the difference between ‘Those who do not Believe’ in the Hour, and ‘Those who Believe,’ in both their feelings and behavior.  Being cautious is natural for people who know that their actions are being assessed!  We know that, after all is said and done and the Final ‘Hour’ is upon us, our ‘scales’ (mawaazeen) would reflect our achievement.

And one of our supreme earthly achievements is:

Upholding the Scale/Criterion of Fairness and Justice! 

Indeed, that is THE Human Deed focused upon, in the Chapter entitled ‘al Rahmaan!’ 

[1] Al Rahmaan!
[2] He manifested the Qur-an.
(3] He created the Human.
[4] He taught him self-expression.
[5] The sun and the moon in Calculation.
[6] And the shrubs and the trees in Reverence.
[7] And the exalted expanse He raised, and He set down/founded the Scale/Criterion.
[8] That you (should) not transgress in the Scale/Criterion.
[9] And (that you should) uphold due measure/balance in Fairness/Justice, and not cause deficiency in the Scale/Criterion.

الرَّحْمَـٰنُ ﴿١﴾ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ ﴿٢﴾ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ ﴿٣﴾ عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ ﴿٤﴾ الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ بِحُسْبَانٍ ﴿٥﴾ وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ ﴿٦﴾ وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ ﴿٧﴾ أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ ﴿٨﴾ وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ ﴿٩﴾

Notice that this ‘fairness/justice’ is related to the Insaan’s relationship with The Rahmaan, and is about this entire earth!
(New Readers:  Put new words in ‘Search this Site.’)

3.    Verses 19-20 inform us about God’s Provision:
First, Verse 19 tells us that God Is ‘most gently and subtly’ Gracious/ LaTteef  ([iii]لطف) with regard to His Worshippers providing whomever (He) wills, and He Is The Strong, The Invincible.  

Then, Verse 20 gives us the general ‘rule’ with regard to the Provision He grants us:
Whoever seeks ‘to earn the benefits/ Hharth’  ([iv]حرث) of the Hereafter, God increases (all) his Benefits for him, while whoever seeks to earn the benefits of the (lowly, lesser) ‘world’ God gives him a part of it, and he will have no share in the Hereafter.

Verse 21 asks such persons wherefrom they got their ‘Standard of Accountability’:  ….Did they happen to have ‘associates/ partners’ who extended to them a standard which God had NOT announced (and made known to everyone)?  If not for the ‘Distinguishing Word’ (لولا كلمة), Judgment would have taken place between them, and certainly the Wrongdoers shall have painful suffering.

Verse 22 then gives us a glimpse into the Hereafter, contrasting the ‘Wrongdoers’ to ‘Those Who had attained Faith and performed Goodness.’
Dissuasion versus Persuasion; ill earnings versus God’s ‘Great Bounty’ الفضل الكبير.   

Note how Verse 21 relates to Verse 13 (شرع من الدين), highlighting the fact that our Standard of Accountability throughout the ages has been one and the same, reintroduced by different Messengers.  Also, remember that ‘ithn’ does not mean ‘permission’ as is commonly thought, but rather: ‘knowing and making known/ announcing,’ as in the ‘athaan’ to prayer (see definition August 6th).

PAGE 486 Arabic Qur’an.

4.   Verse 23 begins by telling us that such bounties (mentioned in the preceding verse) are ‘glad tidings’ given, by God, to His Worshippers ‘who had attained Faith and performed Goodness.’
Then we hear something VERY important (see ‘The Marriage Union’ where we said):

“The Qur’ an tells us that Prophet Muhammad and other Prophets (peace upon them) always told their people “I ask of you no personal reward/compensation”; ما أسألكم عليه من أجر . However, there was one thing God had told Prophet Muhammad to ask Quraish, his own tribe, for:

“..……Say: ‘No recompense for this do I ask of you, only the love in kinship..”

This ‘mawadda’ is a shared construct of love and devotion which extends beyond the parent-child relationship to one’s larger family (see definition of ود).  That shared construct is what the Messenger was told to ask of Quraish, but as we shall see in later Chapters… many members of his extended family remained his direst aggressors.

(Asad translates it as the ‘love of fellow-men’ in general.)  

The verse ends with an assurance of ample reward to any who does a good deed, for indeed God is Forgiving (of us) and Enhancing (to us) ‘Shakoor.’ 

As we said earlier, ‘Shukr’ means accepting what is little and making the most of it until it ‘appreciates’ (opposite of depreciates) and achieves abundance.  Since God is ‘Shakoor/ Enhancing’ He would, among His other attributes (35:30; 35:34; 42:23; 64:17), accept the little we do, and multiply/ appreciate the rewards we reap!

Verse 24 mentions a most grievous accusation which Quraish seems to have leveled against the Prophet, peace upon him.  We also hear ‘the voice’ of God, Who assures everyone that, had it been true (that Muhammad had lied) and had it been God’s Will in such a case, He would have placed a ‘seal’ upon Muhammad’s ‘heart/ mind’  (rendering him incapable of receiving Revelation, according to ‘Qataadah’).
See (ختم قلب) and note that the ‘seal’ is related to the ‘blindness’ people incur by indiscriminately following their ‘hawa’ (plummeting desire).  Indeed, human nature is such that people who initially close their minds usually end up ‘sealing themselves in.’
When we look at all these verses in the Qur’an (افترى كذبا), we realize how preposterous it is for Prophet Muhammad to be accused of ‘fabricating a lie!’

Indeed, anything which is NOT true, does NOT deserve to last… and is therefore ‘VOIDED.’

The verse ends with a statement informing us that He (God) ‘voids’ whatever is (in itself) Void, and brings Truth into effect by His ‘words,’ He Is indeed All-Knowing of what is within the Heads/ Chests.

God’s ‘words’ refer to His Laws; the unchangeable laws which govern Creation (see (كلمات.  These laws tell us that nothing can endure unless it is True.  Everything untrue gets ‘voided’ in time.

Dear Reader: 
Relationships come to nothing when they are not true/ genuine to begin with:  They are not ‘real’ and therefore cannot endure.  Seeing this every day in our own ‘human’ relationships, how can we imagine our relationship with God to be any different?  

God initially created us as ‘bashar’(creatures who project Goodness and Beauty- ‘bishr/ bishara’.  Then, at length (thumma-ثم)…  and after we had undergone stages of development (aTtwaarأطوار- ), Our Creator gave us ‘Cognizance’ by ‘quickening’ in us of ‘HIS Spirit.’  Our Cognizance is therefore ‘of His Spirit,’ and is what rendered us ‘insaan’ (cognizant ‘interactive’ creatures who find companionship and homogeneity in one another, and wholeness in knowing God). 
Our unique relationship with God is ‘spiritual,’ proven to the world by our deeds, yet ultimately validated by our own Cognition, where each intention is the TRUTH behind the deed.

Therefore, our Cognition, which is OF GOD, is our Reality; our Truth… which originally emanated from God Who IS THE TRUTH!
5. Verses 25- 26 tell of our repentant return and response… and of God’s Acceptance, Absolution, Knowledge, and Magnanimity, even as it dissuades the Deniers.

6. Verse 27 helps us understand Verse 12, as well as other verses which mention how God’s provision to His Worshippers is extended or projected .(يبسط- يقدر)  But here we are told the reason WHY God ‘projects,’ rather than fully ‘extends’ Provision to His Worshippers.  Had He ‘fully extended’ it to them, they would have ‘corrupted/ fouled up’ this Earth بغوا; of them He is Fully-Acquainted All-Seeing.

Then, Verse 28 tells us of the ‘Relief’ (see footnote ([v]غوث which God ‘sends down,’ and the Mercy which He spreads out after people had despaired; He is The Praiseworthy Protector.
Both Ali and Asad have translated ‘gheyth’ simply as ‘rain,’ which is how Arab commentators have also explained it.  Although not wrong, the word ‘rain’ does not give the full connotation of the word:


To Arabs today, the word ‘gheythغيث- [vi]’ is understood as ‘rainfall,’ and so is the more commonly-used word ‘maTtar-مطر’… but the Qur’an uses NEITHER to indicate rainfall.’ 

The Qur’an denotes ‘Rainfall’ by calling it ‘water descending/brought down from the sky-أنزل من السماء ماء  (see 20 occurrences).

On the other hand, the Qur’an is quite explicit in showing us the positivity of ‘gheyth’ versus the negativity of ‘maTtar.’

·   ‘Gheyth’ or ‘Relief’ is a ‘positive’ occurrence which people yearn for and IMPLORE يستغيثون غيث-… and might or might not be related to rain. 
I find it sad that commentators have narrowed-down this beautiful, all-encompassing concept!

·  ‘MaTtar’ is a ‘negative’ occurrence which people dread, as all 9 occurrences of its root-verb show!
Our 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us that the word ‘مطر[vii]’ has two connotations: 
o   ‘Raining,’ but related ONLY to suffering.
o   Hurtling/running at great speed.

No wonder it is a negative word!  The precision of the Arabic Language continues to amaze me, and my attempts at better understanding the Qur’an only increase my faith and my awe.
Now, we can better observe the beauty of Verse28 which indicates that:  

It is God Alone Who sends all aspects of relief to people who have already abandoned all prospects of Hope!

7. Verse 29 mentions, as one of God’s ‘Signs,’ the Creation of Heavens and Earth and His propagation upon it of everything ‘which moves’ (daabbaدابّة- ) and the fact that He is capable of bringing them all together at will.

Verse 30 tells us something VERY important about what Ali/ Asad have called ‘misfortunes/ calamities.’  

Every ‘Blow’ to hit and linger upon us as a human community is from what our own ‘powers/ hands’ have earned, and God absolves (us) of much.

See definition of Ssawabaصوب- [viii]- below.   
Indeed, the word ‘muSseebahمصيبة- ‘ as we can see in context, seems related only to ‘fatal’ irreparable blows (among which is untimely ‘Death’). 

Q. What does this mean? 
A. It means that we, as Cognizant humans, are responsible for the blows we deal ourselves…. ‘ourselves’ here including ‘each other,’ causing irreparable damage.  As a specie, we dish out much more injury than we end up receiving; that difference is what God has ‘absolved’ us of.  Perhaps a good example would be in what He Has instilled in our bodies and in nature, of recuperative and regenerative powers.

See difference between Ali/Asad explanations; the latter considers the calamity one which befalls us on Judgment Day!

Verse 31 concludes today’s Reading with a statement of fact, which should serve as a call to Humanity.  We can never elude God on this earth, and should actually be seeking Him to Protect us, and Help us conduct our affairs to the best of our ability!

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 42: 32- 53.

Peace unto all!

[i] Qist/ QisTt- قسط is related to an upright approach to justice, and how a Provider of justice metes out to a Recipient what is rightfully owed.  Qist is therefore between the Provider and the Recipient only.

[ii] See Sept 7th, where we said:

“As King, as Ruler leading his people, Pharaoh had the responsibility of guiding them, but as the statement in HQ 20:79 assured us:

‘Pharaoh led his people astray instead of leading them aright!

It comes to mind, to compare him, as Ruler of his people, to the Queen of Sheba, as Ruler of her people!  Where he was an arrogant tyrant, she was an advice-seeking peacemaker.  He couldn’t handle the fact that Bani Isra’eel were free, and went after them even after having witnessed the Nine powerful Signs sent by God, even as his own wife was praying for an abode in Heaven!  The Queen of Sheba needed no forceful Signs; she had become a Believer by simple observation.”

[iii]  لطف:  يدلُّ على رِفق ويدلُّ على صغَر في الشيء. فاللُّطف: الرِّفق في العَمل؛ يقال: هو لطيفٌ بعباده، أي رؤوف رفيق.

[iv] حرث: الحاء والراء والثاء أصلانِ متفاوتان: أحدهما الجمع والكَسْب، والآخر أنْ يُهْزَل الشيء.
  فالأوّل الحَرْث، وهو الكَسْب والجمع، وبه سمِّي الرجل حارثاً. وفي الحديث: "احْرُثْ لدُنْياكَ كأنَّك تعيش أبداً، واعمَلْ لآخرتِك كأنك تموت غداً".
  ومن هذا الباب حرث الزَّرع. والمرأة حرث الزَّوج؛ فهذا تشبيه، وذلك أنه مُزدَرَع ولده. قال الله تعالى: {نساؤُكُمْ حَرْثٌ لَكُمْ} [البقرة 223]. والأحرِثة: مَجارِي الأوتار في الأفواق لأنّها تجمعها.
  وأمّا الأصل الآخر فيقال حَرَثَ ناقتَه: هَزَلها؛ أحرثها أيضاً. ومن ذلك قول الأنصار لمّا قال لهم معاوية: ما فعلَتْ نواضحُكم؟ قالوا: أحْرثْنَاها يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ.

[v] غوث: الغوث من الإغاثة، وهي الإغاثة والنُّصرة عند الشِّدة.

[vi] غيث: الحَيَا النّازِلُ من السَّماء. يقال: جادَنا غيثٌ، وهذه أرضٌ مَغِيثَةٌ ومغيوثة. وغِثْنا، أي أصابنا الغَيْث، قال ذو الرُّمَّة: "ما رأيتُ أفصَحَ مِن أَمَةِ آل فلان، قلتُ لها: كيف كان المطر عندكم؟ قالت: غِثْنا ما شِينا".

[vi] مطر: فيه معنيان: أحدهما الغَيث النّازل من السَّماء والآخر جِنْسٌ من العَدْو.
فالأوَّل المطَر، ومُطِرْنا مَطراً. وقال ناسٌ: لا يقال أُمْطِرَ إلاّ في العَذاب. قال الله تعالى: {أُمْطِرَتْ مَطَرَ السَّوْءِ} [الفرقان 40]. وتَمَطَّرَ([7]) الرَّجُل: تعرَّض للمطَر.
والثاني قولُهم: تمطَّرَ الرَّجُل في الأرض، إذا ذَهَب. والمتمطِّر: الرَّاكب الفرس يجري به. وتمطَّرَتْ به فرسُه: جَرَتْ.

[viii] صوب: يدلُّ على نزولِ شيءٍ واستقرارِهِ قَرَارَه. من ذلك الصَّوَابُ في القول والفعل، كأنَّه أمرٌ نازلٌ مستقِرٌّ قرارَه. وهو خلاف الخطأ. ومنه الصَّوْب، وهو نزول المطر. والنازل صَوبٌ أيضاً. والدّليلُ على صحّة هذا القياس تسميتُهم للصَّواب صَوْباً. ويقال الصَّيِّب السّحاب ذو الصَّوْب. قال الله تعالى: {أَوْ كَصَيِّبٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ} [البقرة 19]. والصَّوْب: النُّزول.
ويقال للأمر إذا استقرَّ قرارَه على الكلام الجارِي مَجْرى الأمثال: "قد صابت بِقُرّ".
والتَّصويب:  حَدَب في حَدور، لا يكون إلاَّ كذا. فأمَّا الصُّيَّابة فالخِيار من كلِّ شيء، كأنَّه من الصَّوب، وهو خالصُ ماءِ السَّحاب، فكأنَّها مُشْتقّةٌ من ذلك.

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