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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!


Image: 14th C. Qur'an, Mamluk origin, Library of Congress; Rights obtained.

A BREAKTHROUGH project which helps understand the Qur'an AS REVEALED -not just 'as explained.'


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 246; Qur’an 44:17-59; page 497-498

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan
Our last Reading was tough. 
Try as we might, I think it is impossible for us to grasp the magnificence of the ‘Night of Utmost Projection/ Laylatul Qadr!’
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 497 Arabic Qur’an.

1. Our last Reading ended by describing the conclusion to life on this earth, showing ‘suffering’ and ‘forceful seizure’ faced by those who were ‘toying around in doubt.’ Pointing to Quraish, these verses mentioned those who had called the Messenger an ‘indoctrinated person’ who also was ‘mad,’ or ‘possessed.’

Today’s Reading (Verse 17) reminds such persons of others before them, who were also ‘tested so that their true character was exposed’ (put ‘fatana’ in ‘Search this Site).  These were the people of Pharaoh to whom had (also) come an eminent and magnanimous Messenger. 

The next verses (18- 21) quote him (Moses) asking for the Worshippers of God to be delivered to Him, asserting that he is a trustworthy Messenger and that they (Pharaoh’s people) should not attempt to ‘rise above’ God, ‘overruling’ the manifest evidence of His authority; the 'SsulTtaan’ which Moses had brought them. 

He ends by seeking refuge in his Lord and THEIR Lord from whatever abuse they intend (put ‘rajama’ in ‘Search this Site’), telling them that if they do not trust and believe in him, they should at least hold their distance.

2.  Then, Moses calls upon his Lord in Verse 22, asserting that these people are indeed ‘Extractors/ Mujrims.’  (They certainly earn that title, having not only extracted themselves from Faith, but also having extracted the basic right of others, which is Freedom!)
We hear His Lord’s response in Verses 23- 24, commanding him to depart with His Worshippers by night, assuring him that they shall be followed, but that the soldiers pursuing them shall be drowned.
The next five verses (25- 29) seem to lament the misguided choices of such people, describing the beauty and bounty they leave behind for others to enjoy, and the fact that they shall not be missed, with neither sky nor earth shedding a tear for their untimely departure!

Verses 30- 33 show how Bani Isra-eel were saved from the painful suffering of Pharaoh, and were presented with Signs that were a manifest trial (بلاء[i]).

In Verse 32 we have the words ‘we selected them,’ related back by most commentators to Verse 30, which mentions Bani Isra-eel.  They tell us that this indicates God having –at that time- ‘selected’ Bani Isra’eel from among all other people, full-stop.
But there is no full-stop:  Verse 33 continues and the sequence is clear that this ‘khiyara[ii]’ or ‘bounty which God selected them for,’ is in the many Signs they received (not only from Moses, but from so many other Messengers), and that in these Signs there is Manifest TRIAL for them.  Does this sound like ‘preferential treatment,’ or more like a responsibility which Bani Isra-eel should have upheld?  In fact, the Qur’an speaks of these responsibilities, which many of Bani Isra-eel failed to fulfill (HQ 2:83, 246; 5:32, 70).
Anyway, it is interesting to read Muhammad Asad’s take on this, especially since he had a rabbinical Jewish background. 

P.S. Regular Readers will remember (see March 10th) that Asad’s explanation of what he calls the ‘Promised Land’ is incorrect.

3.   Verses 34- 36 are about Quraish’s allegations that there is only one death -with no resurrection.  They ask that their forefathers be resurrected, as proof of the Hereafter, after which Verse 37 reminds them of earlier peoples who had likewise ‘extracted themselves,’ only to be ‘expired.’

Then, Verses 37- 38 speak of God’s creation:  He did not create the Exalted Expanses and the Earth idly.  He created them solely in Truth/ Justice (see 10 occurrences), but most of them do not know.

PAGE 498 Arabic Qur’an.

4. After mentioning the Truth/Justice in which the Exalted Expanses and the Earth were created, Verse 40 speaks of the time of ‘faSsl,’ or ‘the Day of Distinction’ (see six instances in Qur’an).  At that time, erstwhile patrons will be of no help to their protégées, except for those upon whom was God’s Mercy, for He is the Invulnerable, The Unceasingly Compassionate.

5.  Verses 43- 46 speak of the horrendous fruit of the ‘zaqqoom tree,’ the hellish ‘boil-in-stomach’ diet for persons who, in life, had been ‘hindering and impeding.’  Note that such a person had earned ‘aathim’ as title.
(‘Zaqqoom’ is mentioned three times in the Qur’an.)

Dissuasion continues in verses 47- 50 (perhaps the Qur’an’s most fiery and fierce), reminding the persons who taste this suffering, that this is indeed what they had earlier been doubting.

6.   Then come verses of Persuasion; such a contrast!
The next ten verses (47-57) tell us of the Aware, secure in their beautiful state, protected from suffering, tasting only the physical death which returns them to the first point of reference الموتة الأولى- which probably indicates the return to God. 
It is they who have received the Bounty of their Lord (faDdl); it is they who are in a state of great Deliverance/Salvation (fawz). 

(Actually, the verse says ‘your’ Lord (masculine singular), which reminds us that it is the Messenger these verses are speaking to!) 

Within these verses we see the splendor of their clothing… their face-to-face assembly … their being paired with (companions) most honored/noble[iii] (‘Een), who ‘are pure’ /‘return to them’/ ‘conversant’ (Hhoor)…. and their summoning of all kinds of fruit.

The word ‘Een’ عين was discussed earlier

As for the word ‘Hhoorحور- ’:
When asked, the renowned authority on Arabic language and poetry, 'Abu Sa'eed al Assma'i الأصمعي (740- 831 AD/ 121- 216 AH) replied that he did NOT KNOW what these two words meant, and that there IS NO ‘Hhawar’ in a human’s eye (when others may have been alleging that the verse is about maidens, describing the whiteness of the area surrounding the cornea of their eyes.  When we see exactly what the Qur’an says, we find these explanations quite far-fetched and mostly ‘wishful thinking’ on the part of certain males who spoke many centuries after the time of Revelation.  Listen to the TED talk by Lesley Hazleton).

Since no one is certain what the word ‘Hhoor’ indicates, we’ll check our 1,000 year old Lexicon[iv] which gives us three connotations of this word, related to:

·  Whiteness in eyes of deer and cows (only in these animals; not in humans); ‘whiteness’ of color, mostly related to clothing.  Arabs still say ‘Hhawwaar حوّار- meaning ‘chalk.’
The Lexicon ‘Lissaan al ‘Arab’ tells us that ‘Hhawaree’ is related to being free of impurities, as in ‘pure flour,’ which may better explain the Qur’anic title given to the disciples of Prophet Jesus, peace upon him (plural: Hhawareeyoon .(حواريون- 

I think that the connotation of clothing/flour ‘being free of impurities’ somehow got mixed up with the ‘color white,’ which is why- after a passage of time- people came to that understanding. 
See what we said earlier about the ‘color’ we call ‘white’[v].

·   Returning back (Hhaar-yaHhoor حار- يحور-).

·   Moving in a circle around a fixed point (miHhwar); common usage of this connotation relates to dialogue ‘Hhiwaar حِوار-.’

7. The last two verses address the Messenger directly (and Quraish indirectly), telling him that God has indeed ‘eased’ this (Message) in his own tongue so that they (Quraish) would remember.  Then he is told to expect and observe, as they do indeed expect and observe ارتقبThis ties in with Verse 10 which told the listener to expect and observe the evident 'smoke' brought on from the exalted expanse; painful suffering which shall envelop people. Unlike the Messenger (who had only the best to expect for himself, peace upon him), to Quraish this was an ultimatum!

Dear Reader: (رقب[i])

Our 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us that the verb ‘raqaba’ indicates standing erect so as to attend to something, and a ‘marqab’ is a high elevation where an observer stands. Most of us already know that ‘raqabah’ is Arabic for ‘neck,’ but we might not have known that its name comes from both its form and function: 

To best see and observe, our necks must be raised straight! 

Isn’t the Arabic language amazing?

[i] رقب: يدلّ على انتصابٍ لمراعاةِ شيءٍ. من ذلك الرَّقِيب، وهو الحافِظ. يقال منه رَقَبْتُ أرْقَب رِقْبة ورِقْباناً.
والمَرْقَب: المكان العالي يقِفُ عليه النَّاظِر.
والرَّقِيب: الموكَّل في الميْسِر بالضَّريب. ومن ذلك اشتقاق الرَّقَبةِ، لأنَّها منتَصِبة، ولأنّ النّاظرَ لابد ينتصبُ عند نظره.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 45:1-22; a new Chapter!

Peace unto all!

[i] بلو/ي: أصلان: أحدهما إخلاق الشيء، *والثاني نوعٌ من الاختبار، ويحمل عليه الإخبار أيضاً.
فأمّا الأوّل فقال الخليل: بَلِيَ يَبْلى فهو بالٍ. والبِلَى مَصْدَرُه. وإذا فتح فهو البَلاَء، وقال قوم هو لُغةٌ.  قال الخليل: تقول ناقةٌ بِلْوُ سفرٍ، مثل نِضْو سفَر، أي قد أبْلاَها السَّفر. وبِلْيُ سَفَر، عن الكسائيّ.
وأمّا الأصل الآخَر فقولهم بُلِيَ الإنسانُ وابْتُلِيَ، وهذا من الامتحان، وهو الاختبار. ويكونُ البَلاءُ في الخير والشرّ. والله تعالى يُبْلِي العَبْدَ بلاءً حسناً وبلاءً سيئاً، وهو يرجع إلى هذا؛ لأن بذلكَ يُختبَر في صَبْرِه وشُكْرِه.

[ii] خير:  أصله العَطْف والميْل، ثمَّ يحمل عليه. فالخَير: خِلافُ الشّرّ؛ لأنَّ كلَّ أحدٍ يَمِيلُ إِليه ويَعطِف على صاحبه. والخِيرَةُ: الخِيار. والخِيرُ: الكَرمُ. والاستخارة: أن تَسْألَ خيرَ الأمرين لك.
  ثم يُصَرّف الكلامُ فيقال رجلٌ خَيِّرٌ وامرأةٌ خَيِّرة: فاضلة. وقومٌ خِيارٌ وأخيار.. ويقال خايَرْتُ فلاناً فَخِرْتُه. وتقول: اخْتَرْ بَني فُلاَنٍ رَجُلا. قال الله تعالى: {واختارَ مُوسَى قومَهُ سَبْعِينَ رَجُلاً} [الأعراف 154].

[iii] ‘Een’ عِين- عَين[iii]
We saw in our 1,000 year old Lexicon, that this word is:
-Primarily related to the ‘eyes’ and what we ‘observe’ or what is transparent to the eye, as in a clear water-spring.
-Also, cows are called ‘een’ because of their wide eyes.
-And in the language of ‘Ttayi’[iii][vi]  طيء the word means ‘new.’
-Also, the most ‘honored’ among people are called ‘ayn,’ plural ‘a’yaan' الأعيان.

The following story from our 1,000 year old Lexicon is quite telling

When asked the meaning of the word ‘Eenعين- ’ (and 'Hhoor') a renowned authority on Arabic language and poetry, ‘Abu Sa’eed al Assma’i الأصمعي (740- 831 AD/ 121- 216 A.H.) replied that he did NOT KNOW.  The compiler of our Lexicon (Ibn Faris) adds that this gentleman probably said that he did not know out of humbleness and awe in God, because he was unwilling to explain Qur’an. 

[iv]  معجم المقاييس في اللغة:
حور: ثلاثة أصول: أحدها لون، والآخَر الرُّجوع، والثالث أن يدور الشيء دَوْراً.
  فأما الأول فالحَوَر: شدّةُ بياض العينِ في شدّةِ سوادِها. قال أبو عمرو: الحَوَر أن تسودَّ العين كُلُّها مثلَ الظباء والبقر. وليس في بني آدمَ حَوَرٌ. قال وإنما قيل للنساء حُورُ العُيون، لأنهن شُبِّهن بالظِّباء والبقر قال الأصمعيّ: ما أدري ما الحَوَر في العين. ويقال حوّرت الثيابَ، أي بيّضْتُها، ويقال لأصحاب عيسى عليه السلامُ الحواريُّون؛ لأنهم كانوا يحوِّرون الثِّياب، أي يبيّضونها. هذا هو الأصل، ثم قيل لكلِّ ناصر حَوَاريٌّ. قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وآله: "الزُّبير ابنُ عمَّتي وحَوارِيَّ من أمّتي".
  والحُوَّارَى من الطَّعام: ما حُوِّر، أي بُيِّض. واحورَّ الشيءُ: ابيضّ، احوراراً.
وبعضُ العرب يسمِّي النَّجم الذي يقال لـه المشترِي "الأحورَ".
  وأمّا الرجوع، فيقال حارَ، إذا رجَع. قال الله تعالى: {إنَّهُ ظَنَّ أَنْ لَنْ يَحُورَ. بَلَى} [الانشقاق 14- 15]. والعرب تقول: "الباطلُ في حُورٍ" أيْ رَجْعٍ ونَقْصٍ، وكلُّ نقص ورجوع حُورٌ.
  والحَوْر: مصدر حار حَوْراً رَجَع. ويقال: " [نعوذ بالله من الحَوْر بعد الكَوْر". وهو النُّقصان بعد الزيادة.
  ويقال: "حارَ بعد ما كارَ. وتقول: كلَّمتُه فما رجَعَ إليّ حَوَاراً وحِوَاراً ومَحُورَةً وحَوِيراً.
  والأصل الثالث المِحْور: الخشبةُ التي تدور فيها المَحَالة. ويقال حَوّرْتُ الخُبْزَةَ تحويراً، إذا هيّأتها وأدَرْتَها لتضعَها في المَلَّة.

لسان العرب :
الحواريين في اللغة الذين أُخْلِصُوا ونُقُّوا من كل عيب؛ وكذلك الحُواَّرَى من الدقيق سمي به لأَنه يُنَقَّى من لُباب البُر.

[v] When we look at the 12 instances in the Qur’an where ‘abyaDd’ أبيض is mentioned, we find the word clearly related to Light.

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