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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.'


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 278; Qur’an 71: 1-28, pages 570-571

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!

Yusuf Ali’s explanation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s explanation of this Chapter.
NEW: Laleh Bakhtiar’s explanation of this Chapter.

سورة  نوح

From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:

This is an early Makkan Surah… The theme is that while Good must uphold the standard of Truth and Righteousness, a stage is reached when it must definitely part company with Evil, lest Evil should spread its corruption.
The story of Noah's agony is almost a Parable for the Holy Prophet's persecution in the Makkan period.”

From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:

“DEVOTED in its entirety to Noah's preaching to his erring fellow-men, this surah depicts symbolically every conscious believer's struggle against blind materialism and the resulting lack of all spiritual values.
The story of Noah as such is mentioned in several places in the Qur'an, and particularly in 11:25.”


Notable for its refrain and rhythm, this Chapter is almost a soliloquy, with most of the statements we hear being ‘voiced’ by Noah who seems to be giving his Lord his final assessment regarding his progress – or lack of it- with his people.
This narrative is retold for the benefit of its recipients, strengthening Prophet Muhammad as it persuades and dissuades listeners.  

We shan’t spend much time explaining these verses; Readers can see the full explanation by any of our three Commentators above.  We shall only highlight the important facts interspersed within.

PAGE 570 Arabic Qur’an

1.  Verses 1-4 relate a part of Prophet Noah’s story with his people; we did encounter similar verses in HQ 11: 25.  It is interesting to note that God’s Messengers, peace upon them, bear the same message which asks people mainly to be aware of God, and obey the Messenger.  The promise is that, should people comply, they would earn forgiveness for part OF their wrongdoing (‘min’) and be granted respite.  But in the case of Noah, is people chose not to.

2.   In Verses 5- 9 Noah shows his Lord his own dedication in calling his people to Him, day and night, loudly and softly, in public and in private; he laments that they would try to bar their senses from seeing or hearing him, and that his calls only made them flee further away, in stubborn arrogance.

PAGE 571 Arabic Qur’an

3.   In Verses 10- 12 Noah’s monologue gives us a few important facts (they ARE facts or else they would not have been mentioned).  One such fact is that Our Lord is ‘Ghaffaar/ Oft-Forgiving,’ and that when we ask His Forgiveness, we not only get it, but we ALSO get much bounty from Him.

4.   In Verses 13- 14 Noah asks his people, what the matter with them is, that they do not reflect highly on God/ realize His magnitude…. while it is He Who created them in stages?
It is important to remember this verse, which mentions our creation taking place in stages ‘aTwaar,’ and what it indicates, that this should lead us Cognizant Humans to recognize God’s ‘waqaar;’ the weighty, immense, significance of God being The CreatOR (‘waqaar’ literally means ‘weightiness’).  We’ve already encountered verses which speak, more generally, of people who do not hold God in rightful ‘esteem/ qadr.’
Dear Reader:
Can we ever truly realize God’s esteem?  I don’t think we can know it, but I think that we can feel it.  I think that, while we are always attempting to know more, all that is required of us is feeling it.
To know more about the Creator, look to His Creation.  Life.  He is The Source, The Origin, Al RaHmaan.
Look at the facts.  It is scientifically indisputable, that all Life, including human, is an evolution.  However, what IS now scientifically disputed, is the 150 years old Darwinian theory of natural selection!  In the 19th century, scientists were expecting that future studies on complex living organisms will only reveal the simplicity of their structure.  What has happened is the exact opposite:  The closer they were able to look at living organisms, the more detail they saw, and the greater complexity.  One highly complex organism is the bacterium, which contains the most efficient machine in the entire universe, the ‘Bacterial Flagellum’ (see pic) with an RPM of 10,000! ([i])  
Watch this 7 min. video ‘What Darwin Didn’t Know.’  How did this microscopic machine come about?  How did everything else come about?    
He is The Creator of Everything, and He is, over everything, Guardian and Disposer (HQ 39:62)
Such information has spurred the ongoing debate between Evolutionism, Creationism, and Intelligent Design, behind which lurks the timeless question: Does ‘The Creator’ exist?
My answer to that, dear Reader, is: 
I am more certain of The Creator’s Existence than I am of my own.

5.   Then Verses 15-16 continue to speak directly to listeners (in the first person plural, showing them the magnitude of the Creator), asking them of the creation of the seven ‘mantled/ layered’ Exalted Expanses, in which the moon is a shining light, while the sun is a burning torch.  This description (more detailed than HQ 10:5) is considered a scientific ‘marvel,’ seeing that its accuracy is beyond what was ‘common knowledge’ at the time of Revelation.
Verses 17-18 continue, referring to the wonder which is their own beginning, and also referring to their end on this earth; how humans ‘sprouted out’ from this earth and propagated in a manner similar to all Life upon it, only to return back to the earth and be brought out of it ‘in an expelling’ ([ii]).
Dear Reader:
Do check out the following links; they are worth your while.
The Qur’an uses the word ‘nabaata’ ([iii]) which seems to refer to a process of ‘sprouting and propagating’ FROM earth-matter.  It is very interesting to see this taking place in the ongoing cycle which sustains all Life, called Mytosis
Seeing Mytosis in action is quite an experience (more detail here -6 min.). 
Meiosis, on the other hand, is a special type of cell-division necessary for reproduction.  Check this out too; it is just as remarkable.
Verses 19-20 continue, mentioning how God rendered the Earth a ‘spread’ for them to course through its passage-ways (gullies).

6.    Then, in Verses 21- 24, Prophet Noah turns to his Lord, telling Him how his people disobeyed him (with regard to worshipping God Alone and being Aware of Him) and followed someone whose wealth and offspring only took him deeper into loss/ruin, and they misconstrued an enormous ‘misconstruction/ makr,’ discouraging others from leaving their ‘deities’ (naming 5 specific ones).  He then states a fact as to the many people they have misguided, and asks God to increase them in nothing but Misguidance.
Then Verse 25 tells us that, because of their Wrongs, they were drowned and made to enter Fire, finding none to save them other than God.

7.   In Verses 26- 27 we find Prophet Noah asking God not to leave a single Denier on Earth, because they would mislead His worshippers and only breed blatant Deniers.  
We may wonder at this, and see it as ‘pessimistic and cold-hearted,’ but it may simply be an assessment of Noah’s, based on God’s telling him (HQ 11:36) that after his extensive efforts and dedication, he has reached a dead-end:  He shall not win another person over; no one else shall believe in him, other than those whom he had already won over.
The last verse in this Chapter has Noah asking God to forgive him and his parents and any who enters his house in faith, and to all Men and Women of Faith, and to only increase the Wrong-doers in ruination.

At the end of this chapter, let us pause for a moment and reflect on our Creator’s magnificence and magnitude.  I don’t know about you, dear Reader, but today’s post made me desire, from the deeeeeeeepest recesses of my being… it made me desire and hope and wish and yearn and look forward to… meeting Him!
Hold that thought as we leave these pages.
Peace unto all!

The Rotation Per Minute of a car is around 6,000.  Only ‘Formula One’ cars can surpass this in speed- but NOTHING can surpass it in efficiency!

‘Expelling’ is Laleh Bakhtiar’s choice, which I like.

نبت:  يدلُّ على نماءٍ في مزروع، ثم يستعار. فالنَّبت معروفٌ، يقال نَبَت. وأنْبَتَتِ الأرض. ونَبَّتُّ الشَّجرَ: غَرستُه. ويقال: إنَّ في بني فلانٍ لنابِتَةَ شرّ. ونبَتَتْ لبني فلانٍ نابتةٌ، إذا نشَأ لهم نَشْءٌ صِغار من الوَلَد.

Day 248; Qur’an 45:23-37; page 501-502

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan
Our last Reading was so interesting!
We learnt about what the Qur’an calls shari’ah’ (the open stretching course), ‘min al amr’ (of affairs) upon which the Messenger was rendered.  He was commanded to pursue it (as a course or system) and NOT to pursue the plummeting desires of those who do not know.

This is not to be mistaken for what –centuries later- Islamic scholars came to name ‘Shari’ah,’ which is the body of laws compiled by Muslim Jurists, based on their understanding of the Qur’an and the Sayings/Hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him. 
It is misleading when Qur’anic terminology is used outside original connotation!

When we stop to think about it we realize that, although the Qur’anic ‘shari’ah’ (open stretching course) may be wide and extensive by definition, it cannot remain so IN APPLICATION, unless it is maintained by dedicated people generation after generation, clearing away what naturally accumulates upon the trodden path, threatening its closure. 

We suddenly realize that we had understood it all…. backwards: 
The threat is in no way related to the ‘shari’ah’ expanding or extending generation after generation (it does so by definition) but rather:

The threat is in allowing ‘shari’ah’- in application- to gradually ‘narrow-down’ until it reaches a standstill.


This is another example of a Qur’anic term losing its original connotation, making us inadvertently do the OPPOSITE of what the Qur’an tells us.

Perhaps now, after we’ve understood the openness and extensiveness of the course ‘shari’ah’ which our Messenger was rendered upon… perhaps now we can better understand his advice to the first two emissaries he sent as ambassadors of the faith:

“Facilitate and do not complicate!
Advocate and do not intimidate!
Cooperate and do not separate!”

Unfortunately, what many of us have been doing generation after generation, is placing sandbags in defense of imaginary borders, narrowing open space down to a tightness which few can squeeze through… all the while: complicating, intimidating and separating!

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 501 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  We’ve already spoken of ‘hawaa,’ translating it as ‘plummeting desire leading to emptiness.
We’ve also discussed Verse 23earlier:

“Have you (sing.) observed the person who took his Desire as his Deity, and whom God [thereupon] let stray despite (his) knowledge, and sealed-over his hearing and heart/mind and rendered upon his sight a veil?  Who then can guide him, (of all who are) lesser than God? Will you not (pl.) then, think back and bring to mind? (HQ 45:23)

Verses 24- 26 are about such persons; we hear their ignorant declaration on life and death -with nothing but presumption to back them up- and then their weak argument, asking that their forefathers be brought back as proof of the Hereafter.  The Messenger is told to say that it is God who grants them life and later death, and eventually gathers them all at the Time of Resurrection in which there is no doubt, and that most Humans do not know.

2.   The rest of this Chapter takes place in the Hereafter:

Verse 27 announces that to God belongs the dominion of the Exalted Expanses and Earth, and that when the Hour arises, at that time, all shall be lost to Those who Devoided; those who considered the Hereafter ‘null and void.’  See 5 instances mentioning ‘mubTtiloon’)

Muhammad Asad explains:

“The participial noun mubtil is derived from the verb abtala, “he made a false [or “vain”] claim,” or “tried to disprove the truth [of something],” or “to reduce [something] to nothing,” or “to prove [it] to be of no account,” or “null and void,” or “unfounded,” “false,” “spurious,” etc., irrespective of whether the object is true or false, authentic or spurious, valid or unfounded (Lisān al-‘Arab and Tāj al-‘Arūs).”
3.   Then Verse 28 shows us each ‘Ummah’ huddled….

·  ‘Ummah’ (mentioned 48 times) is a multitude of singular direction, indicating that, upon Resurrection, people will be grouped according to their previous ‘direction’ in life (see ‘Important Note 1’ below).

·  They will ‘huddle’ in apprehension as each group is called to its compilation; they shall be recompensed according to what they were doing (see ‘Important Note 2’ below).

Important Note 1:

Our given life-titles will be totally irrelevant upon resurrection, so we won’t find groups defined by ‘religious identity’ as in ‘Jews,’ ‘Christians,’ ‘Moslems,’ etc.. We will find groups defined by DIRECTION, as in who and what each of us had been directing ourselves towards when we were alive. 

Let us read three verses and attempt to understand this concept: 

The Qur’an tells us that, of people whom God created there is an ‘Ummah’ or ‘multitude of singular direction’ who ‘are guiding to Truth and acting justly upon it’ (HQ 7:181).

The Qur’an tells us that both Abraham and Ishmael (peace upon all God’s Messengers) prayed to God asking, among other things, that He render them both ‘Pure in Reverence/ Muslimeyn’ TO HIM and also of their descendants AN UMMAH Pure in Reverence/ Muslimah TO HIM…(HQ 2:128)

The Qur’an tells us that, of Moses’ people (of means: some, not all) there is an Ummah’ or ‘multitude of singular direction’ who ‘are guiding to Truth and acting justly upon it’ (HQ 7:159).

So, here we are looking at ONE UMMAH of singular direction gathered from amongst others who are unlike it.  This is the best Ummah, as we can see; one whose objective is God, whose position is Pure Reverence to Him, whose mission is guiding to Truth, and whose intention is acting justly upon it!

What we identify ourselves with today is irrelevant, unless it happens to be the Truth/Reality of our Direction.

At the beginning of our daily prayers, do we truly mean and follow up on our declaration?  Many of us find ourselves echoing Prophet Abraham’s prayer HQ 6:79:

“I have indeed directed (aimed) my Direction to Him Who has brought into being the Exalted Expanses and the Earth, as a Haneef (a person with self-correcting awareness), and I am not of the Associat-ers (associating others with God)" (79)

Remember what we were told in HQ 6:79:
Abraham was neither a ‘Jew’ nor a ‘Christian,’ but rather ‘a person of Self-correcting awareness ‘haneefan,’ who was Purely Reverent ‘musliman,’ and was not of the Associat-ers ‘Mushrik.’

Regular Readers know that both Qur’anic words ‘haneefan’ and ‘musliman’ are descriptive of his faith and actions, and are unrelated to us as a group, or to others who called themselves ‘Muslims’.
It is important for us to realize that we’ll be joined in the Hereafter with people whose direction was just like ours, regardless of what life-labels we or they had been wearing.  This is so dangerous, especially for those of us who might identify ourselves with what seems best, yet follow in our real direction what happens to seem ‘cool’ or ‘popular.’  The problem is that, as part of that ‘ummah,’ we’d be sharing with them a collective compilation (other than our own individual one) which records our combined deeds and their impact… which brings us to the second important note:

Important Note 2:

After all, God Alone knows the unseen ‘gheyb’ but:
It seems that there shall be several single compilations recording -and bearing witness for or against- certain groups of people who were similar in life.  Hence we read about two opposite groups, each with a single compilation:  the ‘kitaab’ of ‘fujjaar,’ the group of ‘Destructive persons,’ and the ‘kitaab’ of ‘abraar,’ the group of ‘Forthcoming persons’ (HQ 83:7, 18).

Now we can better understand the picture in the Hereafter when the Hour arises, and all shall be lost to Those who considered the Hereafter ‘null and void.’  When EVERY ‘ummah’ or ‘multitude of singular direction’ will be ‘huddling’ ‘jaathiyah’ in apprehension… each called to ITS OWN COMPILATION, and recompensed according to what good or ill each had collectively accomplished.

No wonder this Chapter is called ‘Al Jaathiyah!’
If you have time, see all 70 occurrences of ‘kitaab.’

4. The next verse (Verse 29) mentions an all-encompassing Record: ‘Our’ meaning God’s Compilation (kitaabuna).  
It is described as being a physical record ‘nuskha’ of  what people were doing, as it both ‘reports’ on them and ‘straps’ them in; the verb ‘yanTtuqu’ from (نطق[i]) bears both connotations (‘niTtaaq’ in Arabic is a ‘belt,’ and ‘minTtaqah’ is a territory within borders).

So, God’s Compilation does both in Truth/Justice. 
Then the Verses 30- 31 tell us that Those who have attained Faith are entered into their Lord’s Mercy, an evident Deliverance, whereas Those Who had Denied are questioned regarding their arrogance and how they were a people who had ‘extracted themselves’ (mujrim).

PAGE 502 Arabic Qur’an.

5. Verse 32 takes us back to Life, when they (Qureysh) are told that God’s Promise is True and that there is no doubt in the Hour… to which they respond with doubt and total disbelief.  
Then, Verses 33-35 place them inside that which they had doubted, when all the ills they had committed become apparent to them (in the Hereafter) and they are ‘overwhelmed by the implementation of Reality’ (حاق) which they were earlier ridiculing (see similar verses in Qur’an).
As we said earlier about ‘Hhaaqa’ حاق:

“When something becomes ‘Hhaaqa’ to someone, it is implemented upon them and brought into existence; literally ‘made Real’ and overpowering.
Another name for the Hereafter is ‘al Hhaaqqah’ (الحاقّة).. ‘THE (Overwhelming) Implementer of Reality/ Truth.’
Indeed, upon reading the chapter by that name (Ch. 69) we feel overwhelmed!” 

In summary:
They are shown that their recompense is an extension of their own deeds, and that they shall become ‘forgotten’ just as they ‘forgot’ the meeting of this Day, and that they shall NOT be further addressed so as to appeal, and after having taken God’s Signs in ridicule and been beguiled by the lowly Life, they shall have no one to help them out of their Fiery abode.

Read these verses in Muhammad Asad’s explanation.

6.   The final two verses in this Chapter glorify God with due Praise –al Hhamdu lil Lah’ Lord Sustainer of the Exalted Expanses, Lord Sustainer of the Earth, and Lord Sustainer of the Worlds! 
In Asad’s words:

“AND THUS, all praise is due to God, Sustainer of the heavens and Sustainer of the earth: the Sustainer of all the worlds!

And His alone is all majesty in the heavens and on earth; and He alone is almighty, truly wise!”

As we wrap up today’s Reading, dear Reader, let each of us ask: 

What is MY true direction, and with what ‘ummah’ will I most likely be joined?

Let us think back to the early generations of Believers who understood the Qur’an. 
Think of their accomplishments, and then compare that with ours. 

Accomplishment is related to motivation, and a Believer’s motivation is umbilically related to what s/he understands of God’s words.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 46:1-20; a new Chapter!

Peace unto all!

[i] نطق:  أصلانِ صحيحان: أحدهما كلام أو ما أشبهه، والآخَر جنسٌ من اللِّباس.
الأوَّل المَنْطِق، ونَطَق يَنطِق نُطْقَاً. ويكون هذا لما لا نفهمه نحن. قال الله تعالى في قِصّة سليمان: {عُلِّمْنَا مَنْطِقَ الطَّيْر} [النمل 16].
والآخَر النِّطاق: إزارٌ فيه تِكَّة. وتسمَّى الخاصرة: الناطقة، لأنَّها بموضع النِّطاق. والمِنْطَق: كلُّ ما شَدَدتَ به وَسَطك. والمِنْطَقة: اسمٌ لشيء بعينه.
وجاء فلانٌ منتطِقاً فرسَه، إذا جانَبَه ولم يركبْه، كأنَّه عِندَ النِّطاق منه، إذْ كان بجَنْبه.

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