Welcome Friends: Ahlan wa sahlan!
I’ve missed you!
(In 'real time' today is Sept 1st., 2011).
This ‘Blog’ was and still is a Piority… but when dependents need us… our dependents come before all else.
Please pray for me to be able to complete this endeavor by the end of this year (in which case I’d only be a year later than originally planned).
From Yusuf Ali’s Introduction to this Chapter:
This is the fourth Surah of Ha Mim series of seven Surahs. This Surah deals with the contrasts between the real glory of Truth and Revelation and the false glitter of what people like to believe and worship. It cites the examples of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, as exposing the False and holding up the truth. The keyword (Zukhruf, Gold Adornments) occurs in verse 38, but the idea occurs all through the Surah.
From Muhammad Asad’s Introduction to this Chapter:
DERIVING its title from the incidental mention of the word zukhruf in verse 35, this surah is almost entirely devoted to the principle that to attribute divinity, in whatever form, to anyone or anything but God is not only spiritually destructive but also logically inadmissible. Furthermore, stress is laid on the fact that all such spiritual aberration is, as a rule, due to people’s blind adherence to what they regard as the faith of their forebears: “Behold, we found our forefathers agreed on what to believe - and, verily, it is in their footsteps that we find our guidance”
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.
PAGE 489 Arabic Qur’an.
1. From its very first verses, this Chapter tackles its Readers with a statement, then a challenge and an invitation, as well as an assessment of their past history as ‘people who committed excesses’ (مسرفين).
Verses 1-2: As we said at the beginning of Chapter 40:
“This Chapter is one of seven which begin with a ‘set’ of disjointed sounds/ letters: Hhaa-meem…حم… as we can see here in Tanzil.
When we look at context, we note that all these ‘sounds/ letters’ precede (5 times) the mention of ‘al Kitaab/ the Compilation,’ and (once) of ‘Tanzeel/ a ‘Transmission’ sent by God to Cognizant Humans,’ and (once) of ‘wahi / exclusive information’ conveyed to Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, in chapters which are all thought to be late Meccan.”
Today, we note that these sounds/ letters precede mention of ‘al Kitaab al mubeen/ ‘the clarifying’ or ‘expounding’ Compilation[i],’ a statement of fact regarding the single compiled Message which God has sent to mankind by way of His Messengers, all of whom were on a single mission.
New Readers: Please put ‘one compilation’ in ‘Search this Site’ to grasp the importance of this fact. There is only One God, one ‘Standard of Accountability/ Deen,’ and one ‘Compilation’ sent to Mankind at different stages of our history.
Then, the Verse 3 tells the Meccan Arabs of the time, and us all, that the Compilation was rendered a ‘clearly coherent/ Arabi’ Quraan so that ‘you may secure knowledge.’ For those who had prided themselves on being the most eloquent in the ‘Arabi/ Arabic tongue, this was a clear challenge, and it remains a challenge for us, as our Regular Readers will remember: How did we feel when we found out that the definition of ‘Arabi’ was not about ‘language’ but rather about ‘expression’ and ‘coherence,’ …and that ‘Quraan’ was not a static ‘Reading/ Recital’ but rather a ‘dynamic’ entity, awaiting a ‘Qaare’/ Reader who is capable of interacting with it?
It became a challenge for us too; a fulfilling, lifelong challenge which helps us actually hear and understand what God is saying!
(New Readers: Put ‘components iqra,’ ‘Quraan,’ and ‘secure knowledge’ in Search this Site).
The Qur’an tells us in four instances[ii] that God ‘makes apparent’ His Signs for us so that we might ‘secure knowledge.’
· The AIM is that we ‘secure knowledge.’
· The MEANS to that aim is ‘making His Signs apparent.’
· The CONDITION in which His Signs would be apparent to Humanity is that they are rendered ‘clearly coherent/ Arabi.’
Furthermore, clear coherence is that which can only be delivered by the ‘Arabi’ tongue (لسان عربي).
‘Arabi’ is the timeless MEDIUM due to the characteristics of the Arabic language, where each sound has a meaning that goes as far back as the earliest human communication and has remained unchanged since the Qur’an was revealed around 1400 years ago.
Put ‘Arabic language’ in ‘Search this Site.’
2. Verse 4 brings us a very important piece of information: It tells us of the ‘stature’ of the ‘Arabi Qur’an:
It is in God’s ‘Tenure’ (held by Him), at the Source of the Compilation, indeed ‘Exalted and Decisive’ (exalted in rank and decisive in wisdom).
This verse also indicates that whatever was presented to Humanity throughout the ages had come to them from a SINGLE SOURCE, a single Compilation in God’s tenure, and that this Compilation was rendered, in its final presentation, as a coherent, explicit, forever dynamic ‘Reading’ -a Qur’aan rather than a qiraa’ah هو قرآن وليس قراءة)).
It is THIS Compilation/ Evocation-Reminder (Kitaab/ Thikr) which is of abiding benefit (Mubarak) to any Cognizant Human who interacts with it, with the six components of Iqra’ كتاب / ذكر مبارك) هذا).
For New Readers who might ask, “Why did God not send this final Message, complete as it is, from the beginning of Time?” we say that everything was relative to our stages of development as Cognizant Humans, and to our rising degree of accountability. Please look up your search-words, and check earlier posts where we spoke of the ‘Inviolables’ of the Straight Path (the Ten Commandments) and said:
“Each of the Prophets, in his time, dealt with one or more of these ‘Inviolables,’ attempting to raise people to a higher level of accountability relative to humanity’s advancement.”
Other verses relate to the Qur’an being in a shielded compilation (في كتاب مكنون) – HQ 56:78, and in secured radiance[iii] (في لوح محفوظ-) –HQ 85:22 (see our 1,000 year old Lexicon below).
(Many of us are familiar with the traditional reading of the word ‘lawHh,’ which is explained as a ‘tablet’ or an inscribed ‘plaque,’ with obvious Biblical bias. On the other hand, we do find Zamakhshari recording an interpretation which says that it means in the ‘air’ (see below). Anyway, even if we do not fully understand ‘Gheyb’ concepts, we can explain such words linguistically by relying on the amazing connotations of the ‘Arabi tongue’ and coming that much closer to the Truth!)
The compound word ‘Umm-ul-Kitaab’ appears three times in the Qur’an (HQ 3:7, 13:39, 43:4). Read these verses and note that, since the Source of the Compilation itself is in His Tenure, it is according to His Leave whether there would be dissolution of certain parts, or affirmation of others.
New Readers: See June 9th.
3. Verse 5 asks a rhetorical question, giving Qureish an assessment of their past history as ‘people who committed excesses’ (مسرفين), and asking them directly whether God should ‘overlook them’ (صفح[iv]) with regard to the Thikr/ Evocation/ Reminder.
Then Verses 6-8 remind listeners of the many Prophets whom God had sent to previous communities; others far stronger than they were, who were destroyed for ridiculing their Prophets.
4. Verse 9 helps us understand the nature of their idolatry: If the Messenger were to ask them WHO had created the Elevated Expanses (skies/ heavens) and the Earth, they would indeed say that they were created by The Invulnerable, The All-Knowing.
(So they did know that God was The Creator -which is also clear in other verses such as HQ 29:61; 31:25; 39:38, and is asserted twice in this Chapter, in Verses 9 and 87.)
Verse 10 elaborates, asserting that God is He Who has rendered the Earth a ‘mahd[v]’; literally a ‘smooth, cradling’ place for ‘you,’ and rendered pathways therein so that ‘you’ may find guidance.
PAGE 490 Arabic Qur’an.
5. Verse 11 continues, asserting that it is He Who causes the water to descend time and again from the sky with a projected end (qadar), after which He brings the lifeless land to life. The verse ends by informing listeners that in such manner shall ‘you’ be brought out (of this earth, upon Resurrection).
· ‘Anshara’ literally means to cause something to emerge openly (put ‘nushoor’ in ‘Search this Site’).
· ‘Qadara’: An oft-misunderstood word! The ‘qadar’ of something is its ‘projected end,’ rather than being limited by ‘due measure’ (Ali/Asad).
Put ‘qadr’ in ‘Search this Site.’
6. Verses 12- 13 continue, asserting that it is He Who created all the ‘pairs’ and rendered for us what we ride of the vessels and animals, so that when we are ‘secured, sustained, and balanced’ upon their helm, we subsequently remember The One Who subjected this to our service, acknowledging – while we are riding it and feeling in command - that we are no match in its mastery (to God).
What beautiful verses which tell us to remember our rightful place as recipients of God’s Bounty, moments before we spur our steeds or our engines into action, and run the danger of feeling almighty!
But then Verse 14 goes a little farther, reminding us to announce, even as we set ourselves in our seat ‘of command,’ that we shall indeed return unto our Lord…
Think, dear Reader, how different this must have sounded 1400 years ago when the only modes of transportation were a horse or a sailboat.
Don’t you feel dear Reader, that these words speak to us? It is our ‘vessels’ which, with a thrust of the pedal or a push of a button, are transformed into lethal killing-machines!
‘Azwaaj’ was translated by Yusuf Ali as ‘pairs’ and by Muhammad Asad as ‘opposites.’ See Asad’s excellent note on this.
7. In Verses 15- 20 we learn more about the nature of their idolatry:
Knowing that God was The Creator (Al Rahmaan) did not stop them from associating ‘partners’ to Him. Here Qureish ascribes to God ‘daughters/ banaat.’ See such allegations, mentioned clearly six times in the Qur’an.
Here, they even consider the ‘custodians/ angels’ female, while in reality they are ‘Worshippers of the Creator.’ The idolaters are asked another rhetorical question about whether they had witnessed the creation of these ‘custodians/ angels?’ Then they are warned that their assertions shall be compiled and they shall be questioned.
Notice how they consider God ‘responsible’ for their worshipping of other deities: Yusuf Ali calls their argument ‘dishonest sarcasm.’
Verses 17-18 reproach them for their sullenness upon receiving glad tidings of a newborn daughter, and then asks a rhetorical question with regard to a person (a masculine person هو) who is raised with this trait (receiving newborn daughters with sullenness) and who is not clear in disputes.
See الحلية[vi] and note that the ‘hilyeh’ of something is its characteristic: وهذه حِلية الشيءِ أي صفتُه.
The traditional explanation is not only unmindful of the masculinity of the pronoun ‘he/ hua,’ and overlooking of the grammatical rule that the pronoun should relate to the closest masculine noun (‘someone’/ ‘ahaduhum’), but it also explains ‘hilyah’ as adornments/ jewelry/trinkets. Traditional interpretation turns masculine words into feminine explanations, stereotyping females as being raised in baubles, lacking in their capacity to articulate in disputes. Furthermore, traditionalists consider this less a description of that father’s mindset, and more a Qur’anic statement of fact (!). Anyway, this might be one explanation why girls are often less desirable as offspring.
In these verses we have learnt something strange:
Qureish ascribed ‘daughters’ to God although they undoubtedly considered females ‘less’ coveted offspring than ‘males.’
Our next Reading is from HQ 43:21-44 .
[i] Zamakhshari tells us that this compilation ‘clarified,’ or ‘made obvious’ the paths to Guidance from the paths to Error.
الزمخشري: ".....وقيل: (المبين) الذي أبان طرق الهدى من طرق الضلالة..."
[ii] HQ 2:242, 3:118, 24:61, 57:17.
[iii] Zamakhshari quotes a reading saying that: ‘LooHh’ is the ‘air:’
الزمخشري: وقرأ يحيى بن يعمر: «في لُوح» واللُوح: الهواء.
As for our 1,000 year old Lexicon, the word ‘lawaHha’ is all about RADIANCE!
معجم المقاييس في اللغة:
لوح: أصلٌ صحيح، مُعظَمه مقاربةُ بابِ اللَّمعان. يقال: لاحَ الشَّيء يلوح، إذا لمَحَ وَلَمَع. والمصدر اللَّوْح.
ويقال: ألاحَ بسَيفهِ: لمَعَ به. وألاحَ البرقُ: أومَضَ.
إنَّ الألواح: ما لاح من السلاح، وأكثر ذلك السُّيوفُ.
ومن الباب لَوّحَهُ الحرُّ، وذلك إذا حرَّقه وسوّدَه حتَّى لاح من بُعدٍ لمن أبصَرَه. ومن الباب اللَّوح: الكَتِف. واللَّوح: الواحد من ألواح السَّفينة؛ وهو أيضاً كلُّ عظمٍ عريض. وسمِّي لَوحاً لأنَّه يلُوح.
ومن الباب اللُّوح بالضم، وهو الهواء بينَ السّماء والأرض.
[iv] صفح: أصلٌ صحيحٌ مطَّرد يدلُّ على عَرْض وعِرَض. من ذلك صُفْح الشَّيء: عُرْضُهُ. ويقال رأس مُصْفَحٌ: عريض. والصفيحة: كلُّ سيفٍ عريض. وصَفْحَتا السَّيف: وَجْهاه. وكلُّ حجرٍ عريضٍ صفيحةٌ، والجمع صَفائِح. والصُّفَّاح: كلُّ حجرٍ عريض
ومن الباب: المُصافحةُ باليد، كأنَّه ألصقَ يدَه بصَفحةِ يدِ ذاك. والصَّفْح: الجنْب. وصَفحا كلِّ شيء: جانباه. فأمَّا قولهم: صَفَح عنه، وذلك إِعْراضُهُ عن ذنْبِهِ، فهو من البابِ؛ لأنَّه إِذا أعرضَ عنه فكأنَّه قد ولاَّه صَفْحتَه وصُفحه، أي عُرضه وجانِبَه.
[v] مهد: توطئةٍ وتسهيلٍ للشّيء. ومنه المَهْد. ومهَّدْتُ الأمرَ: وطَّأته. وتمَهَّد: تَوطَّأ والمِهاد: الوِطاء من كلِّ شيء.
لسان العرب: والمِهادُ: الفِراش. وقد مَهَدْتُ الفِراشَ مَهْداً: بَسَطْتُه
ووَطَّأْتُه. يقال للفِراشِ: مِهاد لِوِثارَتِه.
[vi] حلو:، ثلاثة أصول: فالأوّل طِيب الشيء في مَيْل من النّفس إليه، والثاني تحسين الشيء، والثالث-وهو مهموز- تَنْحِيَة الشيء.
فالأوّل الحُلْو، وهو خلاف المرّ. يقال استحليت الشيءَ، وقد حلا في فمي يحلو، والحَلْوَاء الذي يؤكل يمدّ ويقصر. ويقال حَلِيَ بعيني يَحْلَى. فشأنَكَها إنِّي أمينٌ
والأصل الثاني: الحُلِيّ حُلِيُّ المرأة، وهو جمع حَلْيٍ. وهذه حِلية الشيءِ أي صفتُه. ويقال حِلْية السيف، ولا يقال حُلِيّ السيف.
والأصل الثالث: وهو تنحية الشيء، يقال حَلأّتُ الإبل عن الماء؛ إذا طردتَها عنه.
الزمخشري: وقرىء «ينشأ»، وينشأ ويناشأ. ونظير المناشأة بمعنى الإنشاء: المغالاة بمعنى الإغلاء.