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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Day 243; Qur’an 43:21-44, page 491-492

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan
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 491 Arabic Qur’an.

1. In our last Reading, after idolatrous Qureish had alleged that the custodians/angels were ‘daughters of God,’ the verses asked them whether they had witnessed their creation.  Today, Verse 21 asks Qureish another rhetorical question with regard to their adherence to their traditions (similar to that posed to them in HQ 35:40), ‘inquiring’ whether God had sent them an earlier Compilation which they were now holding onto.  This is important because they had received nothing prior to the Qur’an, which was now coming to them in ‘their tongue’ (see HQ 14:4 and 46:12).  

We hear their irrational response in Verse 22:
They assert that that they had found their forefathers ‘upon an Ummah’ / a 'multitude of singular direction,’ and that they were on their trail, ‘guided’ by their lead.

Dear Reader: 
This is a common argument put forward by anyone who does not like change, even when it is for the better.  Change for the better should be paramount on every cognizant human’s mind, but it seems that the older we get the less we accept any kind of change.  It is this mindset which alienates young people from the practices (and faith) of their elders who often adhere to their ways no matter how detrimental this might be to the faith itself or to the community.  How else can we explain what we were introduced to in our last Reading:  Qureish’s fathers feeling dishonored by the birth of a daughter, subsequently burying their newborn infant alive?  This practice was called ‘wa’d’ وأد, and is one which any sane person would abhor, and which the Qur’an severely condemned.  And how else can we explain all the injury humans commit against one another in the name of ‘Religion?’  If we look around us today, we will find that most followers -of any conviction- have deviated from the ideals of their faith into ‘custom’ which they justify in one way or another. 
No less than 18 times does the Qur’an speak of this!  The Qur’an asks those who follow forefathers lacking in knowledge and guidance TO FOLLOW WHAT GOD HAD SENT (HQ 2:170; 5:104), adding that (by blindly following forefathers) it is Sheytaan/ the Deviant who is actually inviting them to the suffering of the Fire (HQ 31:21).

Verses 23-25 address this issue, asking them again whether or not they would follow what is more rightly guided than the ways of their forefathers, to which they respond that they are DENIERS (kafiroon) of the Message being brought to them.
Verse 26 presents the consequence (عاقبة) of those who belie God’s Message.

As we mentioned earlier:

The Qur’an addresses Resident Tradition.  It is the powerful conditioning force that implants itself in human consciousness and transmits itself from one generation to another, making wrong seem right just by habit.  Rote repetition of the Tradition of parents or forefathers is viewed negatively in the Qur’an…and we are asked to re-evaluate everything by the light of Awareness.  It is easy to shrug off responsibility by saying, that we were only following our forefathers or that, “Had God willed, things would have been different..” as in HQ16:35.

2. Interestingly, the verb ‘naqama’ (نقم[i]) is primarily about DENUNCIATION and condemnation, after which the consequence of the denounced action might be implemented.  Compare that with our common understanding, that this verb means ‘exacting retribution/ avenging,’ which is inaccurate.  Some of us have even called God ‘the Avenger’ or ‘al Muntaqim,’ although He only says of Himself that He is ‘Invulnerable, OF denunciation/condemnation and retribution (عزيز ذو انتقام).  By the way, upon searching the Qur’an to find what God is ‘OF’ (thoo-ذو) we find that He is mostly OF great Bounty/Generosity /faDdl فضل…. Subhanal-Lah!

3. Verses 26- 28 are about Prophet Abraham, peace upon him, who distances himself from the practices of his father and people, announcing that ‘I am ‘clear/ free/ innocent (براء[ii]) of what you worship,’ except for He Who first Created me and Who shall guide me...’ Then we are told that Abraham rendered this statement an ever-present ‘word’ among his progeny, as we saw in HQ 2:132-133.     

Verses 29- 31 allude to a period of respite; see Muhammad Asad’s note:

“God did not impose on them any moral obligations before making the meaning of right and wrong clear to them through a revealed message. Primarily, this is an allusion to the pagan contemporaries of the Prophet, and to the prosperity which they had been allowed to enjoy for a long time (cf. 21:44); in its wider sense, however, this passage implies that God would never call people to task for any wrong they may have done so long as they have not been clearly shown how to discriminate between good and evil..”

After that period, God sent the Messenger Muhammad of whom Qureish announced its denial, calling him ‘a sorcerer/ spell-binding,’ and whose status they did not seem to have much consideration for (they wonder why ‘this Qur’an’ was not sent down to someone great).

Verse 32 asks them whether it is they who apportion God’s Mercy?  It is God Who has apportioned their livelihoods amongst them and elevated some of them above others in varying darajaat,[iii] so that they would take one another in employment (retain one another), and God’s Mercy is of greater good than all they amass.

As we learnt earlier, the variant ‘daraja’ is literally about motivation in ‘stepping up or proceeding forward /upward.’

4.    For Verses 33- 35, see the explanations of Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad.
Here we discover the insignificance of material wealth, and learn that whatever we obtain on this earth is totally unrelated to our worth.  Indeed, were it not that Cognizant Humans would (be deceived and would) become one multitude of single inclination, God would have rendered unimaginable riches unto those who deny the Unique Creator! 
Isn’t that surprising?  Riches would be given to the Deniers simply because such conveniences are so limited in their advantage that they become totally worthless in comparison to the Hereafter.

Verse 35 mentions the ‘adornment/ zukhruf’ for which this Chapter is named, asserting that all the aforementioned opulence (‘homes with silver ceilings and elevators, gateways and recliners, and adornments..) are nothing but the temporary convenience of this immediate/ lowly Life - while the Hereafter is for the Aware. 

See all similar mention in the Qur’an where we find this immediate life mentioned as a ‘time of advantage/ mataa,’ when people ‘make use’ of what they get. 
Here we must remember that the people of Qureish were merchants who traded far and wide, and certainly understood ‘affluence.’  Actually, our verses today seem to tie in with Verse 23, about the affluent (‘mutraf’) ‘following in their forefathers’ footsteps and not accepting change, even when it is for the better!   

PAGE 492 Arabic Qur’an.
5.   In Verses 36- 39 we encounter the word ‘qareen,’ which is mentioned 6 times in the Qur’an, and which we discussed in depth when we read HQ 41:25.  ‘Qareen’ literally means ‘comrade’ or peer, someone of the same generation. 
We discussed this word earlier where we said:

“In HQ 37: 50- 53 we find the Purified Worshippers of God asking each other about their earlier life on earth.  One of them mentions a close contact he had, a ‘qareen,’ one of his generation, peers, or comrades (see ‘qarn below[iv] قرن-) This ‘comrade’ had argued about the ‘unlikelihood’ of being resurrected to face accountability after having died and become dry bone and dust, which shows us that he was obviously human.

Yusuf Ali calls them the ‘Devout’ and the ‘Skeptic.’
Interestingly  a ‘qareenah’ (feminine) is taken to mean one’s ‘Self’ or ‘Nafs,’ and can also be used to denote one’s wife.

In today’s Reading we are told of a certain action and its consequence: 
Whoever ‘dulls himself’ to the Remembrance of God shall be matched with a Deviant/ Sheytaan who will be his comrade.  Such (comrades) do indeed prevent from pursuing the (correct) route, all the while such persons assume themselves ‘guided.’  When such a person eventually appears before God with his comrade -who shall join him in suffering - he tells his comrade that he wishes that great distances could have separated them, and calls him a bad comrade… but at that time, of course, it is to no avail.  
So who/what is this comrade? 
Is it another person, as in HQ 37: 50-53, whom Yusuf Ali calls ‘a life companion,’ or is it one’s ‘evil impulse’ as Muhammad Asad explains it?

In a previous verse (HQ 41:25) we were told that such comrades ‘embellish’ what is in front of, and what is behind, people, making them ‘Losers’ in the end.

The word ( قيض[v]) ‘qayDd’ is primarily related to cracking, fracturing, making chinks in (an egg-shell or a wall), and also has the connotation of things being almost identical. 
This is very interesting, and reminds us of an earlier Reading:

“And relate to them the report of He who, having received Our Signs, then stripped himself of them (like skin would be stripped from flesh انسلخ--).  The Deviant/Sheytan ‘followed him/caught up with him’ (Ali/Asad) and he became one of those who strayed (into darkness and devastation غوي-).
Here we note that this person was not followed by Sheytan until after he had skinned himself from his soul/consciousness; until after he had chosen to separate himself from his NATURAL, INBORN ties with God and His Signs!

What we can gather from this is that by failing to remember God we cause ‘chinks’ in our natural armor which allows us to fall prey to negativity both from within ourselves and from others.

6. Verses 40- 42 are addressed to the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him, showing him his limitations in that he cannot ‘make listen’ any who are deaf, or guide any who are blind and evidently astray.  The verses also denounce his people (who so far had not believed in him) and remind him that he might or might not witness their fate.

Verses 43- 44 command him to hold onto what he was exclusively informed (wahi) and assure him that he is indeed upon a Straightened Path… also that this is but a Reminder to him and to his people, and that they shall all be questioned!      

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 43:45-73.

Peace unto all!

[i] نقم: يدلُّ على إنكارِ شيءٍ وعَيبه. ونَقَمْتُ عليه أَنْقِمُ: أنكرتُ عليه فِعلَه. والنِّقْمة من العذاب والانتقام، كأنَّه أنْكَر عليه فعاقَبَه.

[ii] برأ: أصلان: أحدهما الخَلْق، يقال بَرَأَ الله الخلقَ يَبْرَؤُهم بَرْءَاً. والبارئ الله جَلَّ ثناؤه. قال الله تعالى: {فَتُوبُوا إلى بَارِئِكُمْ} [البقرة 54]، والأصل الآخَر: التباعُد مِن الشيء ومُزايَلَتُه، من ذلك البُرْءُ وهو السَّلامة من السُّقم، يقال بَرِئْت وبرَأْتُ.
[iii] درج:
 معجم المقاييس: يدلُّ على مُضِيِّ الشّيءِ والمُضيِّ في الشّيء. من ذلك قولُهم دَرَجَ الشّيءُ، إذا مَضَى لسبيله. ورجَع فُلانٌ أدراجَه، إذا رَجع في الطّريق الذي جاء منه. ودَرَج الصَّبيُّ، إذا مَشَى مِشْيته.
لسان العرب: دَرَجُ البناءِ ودُرَّجُه، بالتثقيل: مَراتِبُ بعضها فوق بعض. والدَّرَجَةُ واحدةُ الدَّرَجات، وهي الطبقات من المراتب. والدَّرَجَةُ: المنزلة، والجمع دَرَجٌ. ودَرَجاتُ الجنة: منازلُ أَرفعُ من مَنازِلَ. والدَّرَجانُ: مِشْيَةُ الشيخ والصبي. ويقال للصبي إِذا دَبَّ وأَخذ في الحركة: دَرَجَ. ودَرَج الشيخ والصبي يَدْرُجُ دَرْجاً ودَرَجاناً ودَرِيجاً، فهو دارج.

[iv] قرن:  أصلانِ صحيحان، أحدهما يدلُّ على جَمعِ شيءٍ إلى شيء، والآخَر شيءٌ ينْتَأ بقُوّة وشِدّة.
فالأوّل: قارنتُ بين الشَّيئين. والقِران: الحبلُ يُقرَن به شيئانِ.
والقَرَن في الحاجبين، إذا التقَيا. وهو مقرونُ الحاجِبين بيِّنُ القَرَن. والقِرْن: قِرنُك في الشَّجاعة. والقَرْن: مثلُك في السِّنِّ. وقياسُهما واحد، وإنَّما فُرِق بينهما بالكسر والفتح لاختلاف الصِّفتين. والقِرَان: أن تقرن بين تَمرتين تأكلهما. والقِرانُ: أن تَقْرِن حَجَّةً بعُمرة. والقَرُون من النُّوق: المُقرَّنة القادِمَين والآخِرَين من أخلافها. والقَرون: التي إذا جَرَتْ وضعت يديها ورجليها معاً. وقولهم: فلان مُقْرِنٌ لكذا، أي مطيقٌ لـه. قال الله تعالى: ]سُبْحَانَ الَّذي سَخَّرَ لنا هذا وما كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ[ [الزخرف 13]؛ وهو القياس، لأنَّ معناه أنَّه يجوز أن يكون قِرناً له. والقَرِينة: نَفْس الإنسان، كأنهما قد تقارَنَا. ومن كلامهم: فلانٌ إذا جاذبَتْه قَرينةٌ بَهَرَها، أي إذا قُرِنت به الشَّديدة أطاقَها. وقَرِينةُ الرَّجُلِ: امرأتُه. ويقولون: سامحته قَرِينته وقَرُونته وقَرُونه، أي نفسه. والقارِنُ: الذي معه سَيفٌ ونَبْل.
والأصلُ الآخر: القَرْن للشّاةِ وغيرها، وهو ناتئ قويّ، وبه يسمَّى على معنى التشبيه الذَّوائبُ قروناً. ومن هذا الباب: القَرْن: عَفَلة الشَّاة تخرج من ثَفْرها. والقَرْن: جُبَيْلٌ صغيرٌ منفرد. ويقولون: قد أقرَنَ رُمحَهُ، إذا رفَعَه. ومما شذَّ عن هذين البابين: القَرْن: الأمَّة من الناس، والجمع قُرون. قال الله سبحانه: ]وَقُرُوناً بَيْنَ ذلكَ كَثِيراً  [الفرقان 38].
والقَرْن: الدُّفعة من العَرَق، والجمع قُرون.

[v] قيض

لسان العرب: القَيْضُ: قِشرةُ البَيْضة العُلْيا اليابسةُ، وقيل: وتَقَيَّضَتِ البيضةُتَقَيُّضاً إِذا تكسرت فصارت فِلَقاً، وانْقاضَت فهي مُنْقاضةٌ: تَصدَّعَت واتشقَّقت ولم تَفَلَّقْ، وقاضَها الفرْخُ قَيضاً: شقها، وقاضَها الطائرُ أَي شقها عن الفرخ فانقاضت أَي انشقّت؛
والقَيْضُ: ما تَفَلَّقَ من قُشور البيض. والقَيْضُ: البيض الذي قد خَرج فرْخُه أَو ماؤُه كله.
وقاضَ البئرَ في الصخْرةِ قَيْضاً: جابَها. وبئر مَقِيضةٌ: كثيرة الماء، وقد قِيضَتْ عن الجبلة. وتَقَيَّضَ الجِدارُ والكَثِيبُ وانْقاضَ: تهدَّم وانْهالَ.
وتقَوَّضَ تقَوُّضاً وأَنا قوّضْتُه. وانْقاضَ الحائطُ إِذا انهدمَ مكانه من غير هَدْمٍ، فأَمّا إِذا دُهْوِرَ فسقط فلا يقال إِلا انْقَضَّانْقِضاضاً. وقُيِّضَ: حُفِرَ وشُقَّ.
وقايَضَ الرجلَ مُقايضةً: عارضه بمتاع؛ وهما قَيِّضانِ كما يقال بَيِّعانِ. وقايَضَهُ مُقايضةً إِذا أَعطاه سِلْعةً وأَخذ عِوَضَها سِلْعةً،
وباعَه فرَساً بفرسَيْن قَيْضَيْن. والقَيْضُ: العِوَضُ.
والقَيْضُ:التمثيلُ. ويقال: قاضَه يَقِيضُه إِذا عاضَه. وفي الحديث: إِن شئتَ أَقِيضُكَ به المُخْتارةَ من دُروعِ بدْر أَي أُبْدِلُكَ به وأُعَوِّضُكَ عنه.
الأَزهريُّ: ومن ذوات الياء. أَبو عبيد: هما قَيْضانِ أَي مِثْلان.
وقَيَّضَ اللّه فلاناً لفلان: جاءه به وأَتاحَه له. وقَيَّضَ اللّه قَرِيناً: هَيَّأَه وسَبَّبَه من حيث لا يَحْتَسِبُه. وفي التنزيل:وقَيَّضْنا لهم قُرنَاء؛ وفيه: ومَن يَعْشُ عن ذِكر الرحمن نُقَيِّضْ له شَيْطاناً؛ قال الزجاج: أَي نُسَبِّبْ له شيطاناً يجعل اللّه ذلك جَزاءه. وقيضنا لهم قُرناء أَي سبَّبْنا لهم من حيث لم يَحْتَسِبوه، وقال بعضهم: لا يكون قَيَّضَ إِلا في الشرّ، واحتج بقوله تعالى: نقيض له شيطاناً، وقيضنا لهم قرناء؛
أَبو زيد: تَقَيَّضَ فلان أَباه وتَقَيَّلَه تقَيُّضاً وتقَيُّلاً إِذا نزَع إِليه في الشَّبَه. ويقال: هذا قَيْضٌ لهذا وقِياضٌ له أَي مساوٍ له. ابن شميل: يقال لسانه قَيِّضةٌ، الياء شديدة.

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