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


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day 250; Qur’an 46: 21-35; page 505-506

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan
Well, we are in ‘November’ in real time, although it is 2011!

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 505 Arabic Qur’an.

1.   The first five verses in today’s Reading (Verses 21-25) transport listeners back to the story of Prophet Hud, peace upon him, reminding them of this early Messenger’s experience with his people and the result of their refusal to worship none but God (please see previous posts, here and here).
As Regular Readers know, not only were the Messages delivered by various Messengers based on a singular Truth, but there also has been much similarity in these Messengers’ experiences with their people.  And now, as these verses were being revealed, it should have been obvious to Quraish that they were treating Prophet Muhammad no differently, and that his warning too shall eventually befall them…. but the reminder fell on many deaf ears.
‘The Penalty of a Mighty Day/ the Suffering of an Awesome Day’ (Ali/Asad) عذاب يوم عظيم is a warning mentioned eight times in the Qur’an.  

Note that Hud’s people challenged him to ‘bring it on,’ to which he responded that they were behaving ignorantly. 
It is interesting to note that Prophet Noah had also accused his people of behaving ignorantly, and Prophet Moses too when, after having been delivered from Pharaoh, his people asked him to provide them with idols to worship (see these verses).  Shouldn’t the similarity have dissuaded Quraish, who already believed in God and knew all about these previous Messengers, peace upon them?  Perhaps they couldn’t understand that ascribing ‘partners’ to God was, in fact, a denial of Who God Is.

2. Then, Verses 26-28 actually address Quraish directly in the second person plural ‘you,’ speaking to their intellect and sense of observation,  reminding them of the townships in their vicinity which had all expired, and of the powerlessness of the deities which they worship as a means of ‘closeness’ to God.

This, dear Reader, is the COMPASS for those of us who seek closeness to God: There is no means of closeness to God other than seeking Him Alone, as in HQ 28:88:

“And do not call upon another deity besides God, there is no God but He, everything expires except his Direction…” 

وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّـهِ إِلَـٰهًا آخَرَ‌ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْ‌جَعُونَ ﴿القصص: ٨٨﴾

(New Readers:  Put ‘expire direction’ in ‘Search this Site.’)

PAGE 506 Arabic Qur’an.

3.   Dear Readers:
We now arrive at verses which should be carefully looked at and explained.  We shall do so by following the definitions of Arabic words and thinking ‘out of the box,’ so as to hopefully regain original Qur’anic intent.  The results are surprising, to say the least!

New Readers:  Put ‘jinn’ in ‘Search this Site’ for the Arabic definition of this crucial word and so as to understand its full spectrum and not narrow it down to its limited, traditional explanation.

Below we have the definitions of نفر ‘nafara)[i](’ Ssarafa  [ii]صرفand naSsaTta نصت [iii].

Let us read Verses 29- 32:

“And when We brought back to you a forth-going group of Those in concealment/ Incognito, listening to the Qur’an, and as they attended it, they said: ‘Be quiet (and listen)!’ And after it had ended, they returned to their people, warning.

They said:  O our People!  We have indeed heard a Compilation sent down after Moses, confirming that which came before it, guiding to the Truth and to the Straightened Path.

O our People!  Respond to the Caller to God, and have faith in him/Him; He (God) will absolve you of a part of your misdeeds and deliver you from painful suffering.

And whoever does not respond to the Caller to God, shall find no escape through the earth, and shall have no Protector other than Him; these are in manifest Loss!”

So, about whom are these verses?
These were obviously cognizant beings who had made their way to the Messenger, whose community did not live nearby, who knew well the Compilation of Moses, and who did not interact with anyone while listening attentively to the Qur’an.  They returned thereafter to their own people with eloquent warning.  Their entire meeting with the Messenger seems to have been a ‘covert’ operation on their part (they were ‘jinn’: unseen/incognito). 

Q. Could they have been the imperceptible ‘non-human’ creatures ‘jinn’?

A. I don’t think so because these particular verses provide the word ‘qawm-قوم [iv] -which means ‘People’ - repeated three times, twice in their own address to their people. 
I see them simply as persons who were believers in the Compilation of Moses and had come covertly to see the Messenger.  This is to be expected, seeing how many verses in the Qur’an speak to those who believed in previous Messages.  Also, since Quraish was ostracizing and persecuting anyone who followed Muhammad, only God knows if that was one reason for their covert encounter in Mecca.

(I did my research BEFORE reading Asad’s ‘tentative’ opinion on this, but he seems to have arrived at a similar conclusion.... see footnote [v].  I find his interpretation of ‘jinn’ as ‘strangers’ quite interesting … )

4. Verse 33 questions those who deny Resurrection, showing God’s power at creation and at re-creation.
5.  In Verse 34, Deniers are given a glimpse of themselves, displayed to the Fire, acknowledging (too late) the Truth which they had been denying in life.

6.     Verse 35 addresses the Messenger directly, beginning by telling him to persevere as did certain Messengers of God who achieved the status of ‘Those of the ‘Azm’-“ulul ‘azm-أولوا العزم ”. 

As we said earlier, we should all aspire to embody this characteristic most praised by God:
“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 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!”

Here there is Dissuasion for ‘deserters’ who have ‘extracted themselves’ from Faith.
The chapter ends by showing us the relativity of Time, and that the ‘when’ does not matter at all.  All that matters is our faith, our deeds, and the consequence.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 47: 1-19; a new Chapter!

Peace unto all!

[i] نفر:  يدلُّ على تجافٍ وتباعد. منه نَفَر الدّابّةُ وغيرُه نِفاراً، وذلك تَجافِيهِ وتباعُدُه عن مكانِه ومَقرِّه. ونَفَر جلدُه: وَرِمَ. قال أبو عبيد: وإنَّما هو من نِفَار الشَّيءِ عن الشَّيءِ وتَجافِيهِ عنه؛ لأنَّ الجلد يَنفِر عن اللَّحم للدَّاء الحادثِ بينهما. والمنافرة: المحاكمة إلى القاضي بين اثنَين، قالوا: معناه أنَّ المُبتغَى تفضيلُ نَفَر على نفر. وأنفرت أحدَهما على الآخر. والنَّفَر أيضاً من قياس الباب لأنَّهم يَنفِرون للنُّصْرة. والنَّفير: النَّفَر، وكذا النَّفْر والنَّفْرة: كلُّ ذلك قياسُه واحد.

[ii] صرف: يدلُّ على رَجْع الشيء. من ذلك صَرفْتُ القومَ صَرْفاً وانصرفوا، إذا رَجَعْتَهم فرَجَعوا.
قال الخليل: الصَّرْف فَضْل الدِّرهم على الدِّرهم في القِيمة. ومعنى الصَّرف عندنا أنَّه شيءٌ صُرِف إلى شيء، كأنَّ الدِّينارَ صُرِف إلى الدراهم، أي رُجِع إليها، إِذا أخذتَ بدلَه. قال الخليل: ومنه اشتُقَّ اسمُ الصَّيرفيّ، لتصريفه أحدَهما إلى الآخَر. قال أبو عُبيدٍ: صَرْف الكلام: تزيينهُ والزِّيادةُ فيه، وإِنَّما سُمِّيَ بذلك لأنَّه إِذا زيِّن صرف الأسماعَ إلى استماعه.
ومما شذَّ أيضاً الصِّرْف: شيء من الصِّبْغ يُصبَغ به الأديم. وعلى هذا يُحمَلُ قولهم: شرِب الشَّرابَ صِرْفَاً، إذا لم يمزُجْه؛ كأنَّهُ تُرِكَ على لونِهِ وحُمْرَتِه.

[iii] نصت:  كلمةٌ واحدة تدلُّ على السُّكوت. وأنصَتَ لاستماعِ الحديث، ونَصَتَ يَنْصِت. وفي كتاب الله تعالى:{وَأَنْصِتُوا} [الأعراف 204].

[iv] قوم:  أصلانِ صحيحان، يدلُّ أحدهما على جماعةِ ناسٍ، وربِّما استعير في غيرهمْ. والآخَر على انتصابٍ أو عَزْم.
فالأوّل: القوم، يقولون: جمع امرئٍ
وأمّا الآخر فقولُهم: قامَ قياماً، والقَوْمة المَرَّةُ الواحدة، إذا انتصب.

“As regards the various meanings attributable to the plural noun jinn (rendered by me here as “unseen beings”), see Appendix III. As pointed out there, the jinn are referred to in the Qur’ān in many connotations. In a few cases – e.g., in the present instance and in 46:29-32 – this expression may possibly signify “hitherto unseen beings,” namely, strangers who had never before been seen by the people among and to whom the Qur’ān was then being revealed. From 46:30 (which evidently relates to the same occurrence as the present one) it transpires that the jinn in question were followers of the Mosaic faith, inasmuch as they refer to the Qur’ān as “a revelation bestowed from on high after [that of] Moses,” thus pointedly omitting any mention of the intervening prophet, Jesus, and equally pointedly (in verse 3 of the present sūrah) stressing their rejection of the Christian concept of the Trinity. All this leads one to the assumption that they may have been Jews from distant parts of what is now the Arab world, perhaps from Syria or even Mesopotamia. (Tabarī mentions in several places that the jinn referred to in this sūrah as well as in 46:29 ff. hailed from Nasībīn, a town on the upper reaches of the Euphrates.) I should, however, like to stress that my explanation of this occurrence is purely tentative.”

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