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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!


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


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 251; Qur’an 47:1-19; page 507-508

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan
This Chapter is so beautiful!  Its verses are clear and direct, with Persuasion and Dissuasion taking turns at pulling our heartstrings… in a breathtaking cadence.

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.

سورة محمد
From the Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“We have now finished more than five-sixth of the Quran. The remaining sixth consists of short Surahs, but these are again grouped according to subject matter.
We begin the first of such groups with a group of three Surahs (47 to 49), which deal with the organisation of the Muslim Ummah or community both for external defence and in internal relations. The present Surah deals with the necessity of defence against external foes by courage and strenuous fighting, and dates from about the first year of the Hijrah, when the Muslims were under threat of extinction by invasion from Makkah.”

From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad::
THIS IS undoubtedly one of the earliest revelations - perhaps the earliest - of the Medina period; as pointed out in the note on verse 13 below, may have been revealed during the Prophet’s hijrah. The view of Ad-Dahhak and Said ibn Jubayr (cited by Zamakhshari) that it is a Meccan surah lacks both internal and external evidence, and cannot be accepted. The title is based on the mention of the name of the Prophet Muhammad in verse 2; but since the surah deals prominently with various aspects of fighting (qital) in God’s cause, it was often designated by the Prophet’s Companions and their immediate successors as Surat al-Qital.

Before we begin, I’d like to make 3 comments for the benefit of New Readers:
Firstly, that this chapter is named ‘Muhammad,’ after the Messenger, peace upon him.  As we may have noted, five other Qur’anic chapters are named after Messengers: Noah, Hud, Jonah, Abraham, Joseph.

We discussed something similar earlier and said:

The Qur’an mentions ‘Muhammad’ by name 4 times only, and once as ‘Ahmad.’ 
As for Moses and Jesus, peace upon them, the Qur’an discusses their lives and beautiful teachings in many, many verses, PLUS it:

·     Mentions Moses by name - with reverence- no less than 136 times.
·     Mentions Jesus by name - with reverence- 25 times.

The second comment I’d like to make, is about the first part of Verse 4, which led this Chapter to be dubbed by some ‘the Chapter of Qitaal,’ or ‘Battle/ Mutual fighting.’  I don’t think that this Chapter deserves to be so dubbed; the rest of its 38 verses are not about ‘combat’ at all! 

Anyway, Verse 4 seems to have been among the first to give the ‘green-light’ to the Faithful, allowing them to put up a fight when assaulted by Those Who Denied, especially in battle.

Thirdly,  many of these verses seem to have been revealed at a time of great difficulty with calls for steadfastness as some contemplated desertion, which leads to the conclusion that they were probably revealed very early-on, in Yathrib/ Medina.  But it is also true that the subject-matter of certain verses might be expected of something revealed during the three years of ‘the Ban,’ when the Believers were put virtually under siege and not allowed to buy provision or interact with anyone, so much so that their state was one of famine (see the verses that speak of the life of this lowly/immediate world, contrasting it with Heaven and its bountiful ‘rivers of water, milk, and honey).  This uncertainty stems from the fact that only one generation would know for sure what was revealed where and when, while subsequent generations are NOT supposed to think of Qur’an as ‘Meccan versus Medenite’ verses, but as one unit -contemporary for all time- revealed for its own benefit.

PAGE 507 Arabic Qur’an.

1.  The verses begin by contrasting Those who had Denied and barred people from the path of God, on one hand, with Those who Attained Faith, performed good deeds, and had faith in what was sent down upon Muhammad, on the other. 
‘Those who had Denied’ eventually end up with ‘lost’ works, while ‘Those Who had attained Faith’ end up with their  misdeeds ‘covered’ by their Lord, and their   concerns بال[i] put aright. 

Verse 3 informs us what each category had been doing, telling us that this is how God ‘strikes,’ for Cognizant Humans, their examples. 

Actually, ‘Those who had Denied and barred people from the path of God’ are mentioned 5 times in the Qur’an, three times here,  in this chapter alone,  الذين كفروا وصدوا ةعن سبيل الله  see Verses 32 and 34.

2.  Verse 4 begins by stating that (in a war scenario -as it says later), when ‘you do encounter Those who Denied, then 'the striking/restraining/falling upon the necks' until when you have DISARMED them, tighten the bond, after which there is either generosity or ransom (for captives) until the war has released its burden…’ Isn’t it interesting that the connotation of ‘disarming’ has never been mentioned by any commentator, although this is one important meaning of the word 'thakhana'?  See  [ii] ثخن  below…. this falls in with other connotations of the word 'Ddaraba' (see entire page about this word), where we realize that 'Ddarb al riqaab' is a NOUN, indicating a measure or an action to be taken whereby one gains the upper hand and has the enemy 'by the neck.'  What commentators have overlooked is that there is NO VERB (as in 'strike') and no SUBJECT (as in 'you') and NO OBJECT (as in 'them').  This gives us an entirely different perspective on the issue, where it is left up to the defenders/fighters themselves, to decide how best to enact that measure, and how best to overpower their enemy!  THIS IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT than both Ali and Asad's explanation, where they make it into a direct command: 'Smite (at) their necks!'  Readers who know Arabic would translate such words as: اضربوا رقابهم -iDdribu riqaabahum- which the Qur'an does NOT say, but rather leaves the 'the striking/restraining/falling upon the necks' as a term which includes the full spectrum of actions taken in one-to-one combat, with the intention of overpowering and disarming the enemy, and NOT annihilating them.

3.    The last part of Verse 4, together with Verses 5-6, show us the recompense of Those who are killed in the path of God.  I find it interesting that when the Qur’an says that God will ‘yahdeehim' commentators have explained this as ‘God will guide them…’  which seems strange for someone who has already departed this life!  But the definition of the word, as we stated earlier, is not just about 'guiding’ but about 'gifting, and granting' us… as in a ‘hediyyahهدية-  .’

 Then the verses challenge Those Who Denied, to travel the earth and see the consequence which befell their predecessors, upon whom was destruction and loss because they spurned/disliked what God had sent down.

4. Then come the verses which always strike at my heart-strings, Verses 7-11, which call upon Those who had Attained Faith, asking them/us to succor/ make successful the cause of God, promising them/us success if they/we did that. … asking Those Who Denied to travel the earth and see the consequence which befell their predecessors.  These beautiful verses end with:

ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّـهَ مَوْلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَأَنَّ الْكَافِرِ‌ينَ لَا مَوْلَىٰ لَهُمْ ﴿١١

“That is because God is Protector of Those who have attained Faith, 
and The Deniers have no Protector.”  

PAGE 508 Arabic Qur’an.

5. Verse 12, on its own, has beautiful Persuasion and dismaying Dissuasion, comparing Those Who Denied to ‘cattle grazing!’

Verses 13-14 draw yet further comparison, and mention ‘your town which evicted you.’  Speaking to prophet Muhammad, this township was ‘Mecca.’

6.   Verse 15 is beautifully Persuasive, telling us about ‘Jannah’ the Garden, letting us know that this information is only a ‘likeness’ (mathal مثل-), and then it get Dissuasive, telling us about the lot of those snug in the Fire, those who are drinking a fiery liquid which cuts, again and again, at their bowels!

7.   Verses 16 and 18 inform the Messenger about those who come to listen to him, then leave him, wondering at what they had heard… (and they actually don’t seem to get the Message) because they continue to ‘follow their plummeting desires.’  They are asked whether they are ‘awaiting the Hour which comes suddenly upon them’…?

Verse 17 gives us a wonderful statement regarding Those who are Guided; God shall increase their guidance/ gift and bring them their Awareness.  This is VERY important as it shows us how guidance can only evolve into further guidance, begetting us the most precious gift of all:  ‘Awareness!’
But this cannot happen unless we start out upon the right path. 
New Readers:  Put ‘taqwa awareness’ in ‘Search this Site,’ and note how ‘awareness’ is the opposite of ‘aggression.’  This is quite fitting, in a Chapter which gives the Faithful ‘the green light’ to take up arms:  Fight those who fight you, but without being the Aggressors!

In the final verse to today’s Reading, we clearly hear the ‘voice of God’ as He speaks to the Messenger, telling him to ‘know’ that there is no God but God.  He tells him to ask God to forgive his misdeed, as well as the misdeeds of the Believers, men and women…. but then God addresses us all in the first person plural as He says”…for God Alone knows ‘your’ movement, and your’ repose.

Put the ‘voice of God’ in ‘Search this Site.’

Finally, dear Readers, do try to listen to this Chapter.  Although its full impact can only be felt by those who understand Arabic, listening to it while reading the interpretation is also powerful.

How to do that:
Click Tanzil here, go down to ‘Recitation’ and highlight Al-Afasy, go down to ‘Translation’ and choose Muhammad Asad, then go back to ‘Recitation’ and click to begin listening, hovering your mouse over the Arabic highlighted verses to get the English interpretation. 
Yusuf Ali’s interpretation is also good, but I am upset by the fact that certain governments, when reprinting his work, have taken the liberty of supplanting Ali’s choice of wording - ‘God’ -with their choice of wording- ‘Allah.’  This single act is the main reason for the wedge driven between the Qur’an and non-Arabic speakers! 

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 47: 20-28.

Peace unto all!

[i] وأما الأصل الثاني فالبَال: بالُ النفس. ويقال ما خَطَر بِبالي، أي ما أُلْقِيَ في رُوعي. فإنْ قال قائل: فإنَّ الخليلَ ذكَرَ أنّ بال النَّفْس هو الاكتراث، ومنه اشتقَّ ما باليتُ، ولم يخْطِر ببالي. قيل له: هو المعنى الذي ذكرناه، ومعنى الاكتراث أن يَكْرُثَه ما وقعَ في نفسه، فهو راجعٌ إلى ما قلناه. والمصدر البَاَلةُ والمبالاةُ. ويقولون: لم أُبَال ولم أُبَلْ، على القصر.
وممّا حُمِل على هذا: البال، وهو رَخَاء العَيْش؛ يقال إنه لَرَاخي البال وناعِمُ البال. 

[1] [ii] ثخن: يدلُّ على رَزَانة الشيءِ في ثِقَل. تقول ثَخُنَ الشيءُ ثَخَانَةً. والرّجُل الحليمُ الرّزِين ثَخِين. وقد أثْخَنْته أي أثْقَلْته، قال الله تعالى: {حَتَّى يُثْخِنَ في الأَرْضِ} [الأنفال 67] وذلك أنّ القتيلَ قد أُثْقِل حتى لا حَرَاكَ به. وتركتُه مُثْخَناً، أي وَقِيذاً. وقال قومٌ: يقال للأعزل الذي لا سِلاحَ معه: ثخين؛ وهو قياسُ الباب، لأنّ حركتَه تَقِلُّ، خوفاً على نَفْسه

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