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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day 240; Qur’an 42: 32- 43, page 487

In real time it is July 14th 2011, and so many weeks have gone by without posting. 
Life happens.
Please pray with me, dear Reader, for the successful completion of this endeavor.
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 487 Arabic Qur’an.

1.   Verse 32 mentions, as one of God’s ‘Signs,’ the ‘runners/ coursers’ (jawaar) through the ocean as ‘markers’ أعلام [i]. 
See definition of جري[ii]…..
‘Jawaar’ جوار is one plural of ‘jaariyah.’  Another plural is ‘jaariyaat.’  Both plurals are mentioned in the Qur’an.  Since no two words have identical connotations, I must ask about this issue before I form an opinion.

Traditionally[iii], ‘jawaar’ is thought to refer to ships that run/course through the oceans, but I think that both the word’s origin as well as its Qur’anic uses may refer to more than just ships.  In the definition below, the singular جارية refers to something that ‘runs a course’ which is why the ‘sun’ is called by that name. 
In the Qur’an, the singular ‘jaariyah’ describes both the flow of rivers as well as something that ‘conveys’ us and take us places.  In today’s verse, we are told that the plural ‘jawaar’ ‘have been raised/ built’ منشآت IN the sea as ‘markers.’ 
Also, these ‘jawaar’ are said to be, in and of themselves, ‘one of His Signs,’ while HQ 31:31 clearly speaks of vessels (‘fulk’) ‘coursing through the ocean’ by God’s Grace so that He may SHOW us some OF His Signs.  When we think about it, how can we consider the ‘Signs’ we see when we are in the vessels to simply be the vessels themselves?

So are we still talking ‘ships?’

I think that, although sea-vessels are crucial to expanding our horizons, we still CANNOT consider them THE spectacular ‘Signs’ which we sail the oceans to observe.  I think that this word may relate to something else quite spectacular… something ‘raised/ built’ in the ocean itself, serving as a ‘marker.’ 
As Verses 33- 34 indicate, these ‘jawaar’ seem to be ‘mobile,’ and are brought to ‘stillness’  (ركد)when the wind calms.  They are also brought to destruction (وبق) by our misdeeds, while much of what we do is ‘absolved’ (due to natural laws of self-restoration). 
Could this be about icebergs, or about currents and tidal waves which we influence by our lack of environmental awareness? 
We need specialists to answer these questions, but I suspect that the phenomenon mentioned here is a veritable ‘Sign’ out there, to be discovered and marveled at.
I also see this as yet another invitation to Travel, Observe, Learn, and Grow in Awareness!

Readers who don’t know Arabic might be interested to know that several Arabic words in the Qur’an were commonly translated as ‘ship/s’:  We have already mentioned ‘fulk’ and ‘jaariyah,’ and there also is ‘safeenah.’  Each Arabic word has its particular connotation:.
Our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us that a ‘Safeenah’ is a vessel which seems to ‘peel/ safana’[iv] the waves; this is what our generation might call: a ‘speed-boat!’  Based on this new information, we can now better understand HQ 18: 71-79:  When I first read those verses, I thought that the unjust king was confiscating ALL sea-vessels, which did not make much sense to me:  Remember that Moses (after damaging it) had explained that he had only wanted to ‘flaw’ it because of a king who was forcefully confiscating every ‘safeenah…’  If so, how could he be ‘saving’ it for their use?  Wasn’t the king going to confiscate every ‘safeenah’ anyway?  But now we get it:  Moses did not destroy the vessel; he only dented   ([v]خرق) it, removing its ‘safana’ quality, meaning that its rightful owners would still find it sea-worthy, although it no longer qualified as a ‘speed-boat.’

2.   After Verse 35 mentions the ‘bind’ in which those who dispute God’s Signs will find themselves([vi]حوص) , with no way out, Verse 36 highlights the difference between everything we might be granted in this immediate, lowly Life on one hand… and between what God Has, on the other.  The latter is better and more enduring for Those who have Attained Faith and Relied on their Lord.
3. Verses 36-43 inform us of beautiful characteristics, all of which are related to one VERY important characteristic which we should all aspire to, one of the ‘azm- عزم category.  Indeed this is THE characteristic most praised by God and which certain Messengers of His were known to have represented, so much so, that they alone achieved the status of ‘Those of the ‘Azm’-“ulul ‘azm-أولوا العزم ”. 

When we see this word’s occurrences in Qur’an, and then realize its direct connection to Patient Forbearance (‘Ssabr’- صبر), we understand why the Qur’an announced that it was ‘found to be lacking’ in Adam  ....ولم نجد له عزما- who was still at the initial stages of behavioral awareness and development.
‘Azm (from ‘azama – عزم[vii]) is about Decisiveness and will-power, crucial in exercising self-control.  Indeed, gaining self-control and self-discipline is a key developmental task, related to our development, regardless of age.
No wonder Decisiveness and Patient Forbearance (عزم+صبر) go hand-in-hand!

4.   After mentioning ‘Those who have Attained Faith and Relied on their Lord,’ we find eight verses mentioning three beautiful categories of persons.  It is important to note that although different verses may be speaking of different people in whom the characteristics mentioned are most prominent, the characteristics IN EACH of the verses are TIED TOGETHER, meaning that whatever is listed within a single verse is a single package, prominent in that group of persons (we’ll soon grasp the importance of this detail, dear Reader!).
·      And Those Who constantly steer away from the greater Hindrances and pervasive Atrocities, and in situations when they happen to be strong and severe (in their position against others), they do pardon.
(Put ghadhab in ‘Search this Site.’)

·       And Those Who have responded to their Lord and upheld and maintained the Relationship/ Prayer, their affairs conducted amongst them by mutual Consultation; constantly spending out of the Sustenance He has bestowed on them.

Note the position of ‘shuraa beynahum’ /mutual consultation, packaged with THREE central characteristics which highlight an individual’s relationship to God, then to peers, and finally to the world at large!

Dear Reader:  This word, ‘shuraa,’ is the title of our chapter.  No one can be considered a Believer without this package of FOUR!

·       And Those Who, when inflicted by ‘an oppressive wrong/ tyranny ‘(Ali/ Asad), do defend against it (and triumph).  

‘Baghi,’ as we mentioned earlier, is a wrong which takes place whenever persons seeking their own interests resort to corrupt actions:  ‘Baghi’ is not only forbidden, but is one of the Inviolable ‘Muharramaat’!  That is why it is so important for us to defend against it until triumph is achieved. 
Note that the Qur’an does not state to whose benefit is the defense (or triumph); there is no ‘li’ here, as in لنفسه), which is both Ali and Asad’s ‘defend themselves’ seems to limit the broader, communal benefit of this stance against corruption.

Today, we understand the value of such a stance, and have witnessed its repercussions.  We know all too well how the ‘baghi’ of a single person or group can bring down nations, both economically and politically. 
In our small world, everyone’s well-being and livelihood is at stake, which is why the valiant act of confronting ‘baghi’ … stands alone in this verse! 

5. However, before we get carried away on how we would like to deal with persons who commit ‘baghi,’ we are reminded in the next two verses that God does NOT love Wrong-Doers (so we should tread very carefully).  We also find these verses limiting our options to what is right:  Our reparation must equal the deed committed, no more and no less, OR we have another option:

Pardoning plus Setting aright! (عفو + إصلاح).

‘ISslaah’ إصلاح is a broad term referring to all good actions EXPEDITED to help set things aright.  Linguists tell us that expediting, or dispatching good actions promptly and without delay is denoted by the hamza أ at the beginning of the word- صلح versus أصلح  :(تفيد الإسراع)

In a relationship of mutual enmity, the best course for ‘setting aright’ might be through expediting reparation and conciliation, while in other cases of wrongdoing, the best course might be through expediting reform with regard to corrupt individuals. 

At any rate, since it is not easy to pardon and immediately begin setting things aright, and since this constitutes great selflessness …. God has taken it UPON Himself to grant recompense to such persons, (أجره على الله)

Here, it is important to remember that corrupters will never find their work ‘set aright’ by itself, as we saw in this Qur’anic statement (HQ 10:81):

“…indeed God does not set aright the work of Corrupters.”

This statement indicates that corruption can only spiral into further corruption, which is one reason why it is up TO US to set it aright.  Also, we said earlier that this verse indirectly informs us that God actually DOES set aright the work of others, and then when we read  HQ 33: 70-71 we found out that these fortunate persons were those who:
·        Have attained Faith.
·        Are Aware of God.
·       Who say what is just and true.

May we be among them!

6.  Verses 41- 42 tell us whom we, as a society, would be rightful in charging with wrongdoing.

Verse 43 concludes today’s Reading with a most desirable trait each of us should aspire to.  Here, it appears as a duo:  ‘Ssabara + ghafara’ (patiently forbearing + forgiving). 
Patient forbearance, as mentioned earlier, is a most important characteristic we should all aspire to.  As we have seen, it is of the ‘azm- عزم category most praised by God.

Enough said!

Our next Reading is from HQ 42: 44-53.

Peace unto all!

[i] علم: يدلُّ على أثَرٍ بالشيء يتميَّزُ به عن غيره. من ذلك العَلامة، وهي معروفة. يقال: عَلَّمت على الشيء علامة. ويقال: أعلم الفارس، إذا كانت له علامةٌ في الحرب. وخرج فلانٌ مُعْلِماً بكذا. والعَلَم: الراية، والجمع أعلام. والعلم: الجَبَل، وكلُّ شيءٍ يكون مَعْلَماً: خلاف المَجْهَل. وجمع العلَم أعلامٌ أيضاً.

[ii] جري: هو انسياحُ الشيء. يقال جَرَى الماء يَجْري جَرْيَةً وجَرْياً وجَرَياناً. فأمّا السفينة فهي الجارية، وكذلك الشَّمس، وهو القياس. والجارية من النِّساء من ذلك أيضاً، لأنَّها تُسْتَجْرَى في الخِدمة، وهي بيِّنة الجِراء. ويقال: كان ذلك في أيّامِ جِرائها، أي صباها.

[iii] الراغب الأصفهاني: الجري: المر السريع:، وأصله كمر الماء ولما يجري بجريه. يقال: جرى يجري جرية وجريانا. قال عز وجل: }وهذه الأنهار تجري من تحتي{ [الزخرف/51]، وقال تعالى: }جنات عدن تجري من تحتهم الأنهار{ [الكهف/31]، وقال: }ولتجري الفلك{ [الروم/46]، وقال تعال: }فيها عين جارية{ [الغاشية/12]، وقال: }إنا لما طغى الماء حملناكم في الجارية{ [الحاقة/11]، أي: السفينة التي تجري في البحر، وجمعها: جوار، قال عز وجل: }وله جوار المنشآت{ [الرحمن/24]، وقال تعالى: }ومن آياته الجوار في البحر كالأعلام{ [الشورى/32]
[iv] سفن: يدلُّ على تنحية الشيء عن وجه الشيء، كالقَشْر، قال ابن دريد: السفينة فعيلة بمعنى فاعلة، لأنَّها تسفِن الماء، كأنّها تقشِره. والسَّفّان: ملاّح السفينة. وأصل الباب السَّفْن، وهو القشر، يقال سَفَنْتُ العودَ أسفِنُه سَفْناً. والسَّفَن: الحديدة التي يُنحَت بها.

[v]  خرق: هو مَزق الشَّيء وجَوْبُه. فيقال: خَرَقْتُ الأرضَ، أي جُبْتُها. واخترَقَتِ الرِّيح الأرضَ، إذا جابَتْها. والمخْتَرَق: الموضع الذي يَخترقه الرِّياح.
  والخَرْق: المَفَازة، لأنّ الرّياح تخترقُها.

[vi] حوص: كلمة تدلُّ على ضِيق الشيء. فالحَوْص الخِياطة؛ حُصْت الثّوبَ حَوْصاً، وذَلك أن يُجمَع بين طرَفَيْ ما يُخاط. والحَوَصُ: ضِيقُ مُؤْخِر العينين في غَوْرها. ورجلٌ أحوص. ويقال بل الأحوص الضيِّق إحدى العَينَيْن.

الراغب الأصفهاني:
أصله من حيص بيص أي: شدة، وحاص عن الحق يحيص، أي: حاد عنه إلى شدة ومكروه.

[vii] عزم: يدلُّ على الصَّريمة والقَطْع. يقال: عزَمت أعزِمُ عزماً. ويقولون: عزمت عليك إِلاَّ فعَلْتَ كذا، أي جعلتُه أمراً عَزْماً، أي لا مَثْنويّة فيه . قال الخليل: العَزْم: ما عُقِد عليه القلبُ من أمرٍ أنت فاعلُه، أي متيقِّنه. ويقال: ما لفلانٍ عزيمةٌ، أي ما يَعزِم عليه، كأنَّه لا يمكنه أن يَصْرِمَ الأمر، بل يختلط فيه ويتردَّد.
واعتزم السائر، إذا سَلَك القصدَ قاطعاً لـه. والرجل يَعزِم الطَّريق: يمضِي فيه لا ينثني.

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