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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 28, 2010

Day 258; Qur’an 51: 1- 60, page 520-523

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.
سورة الذاريات
‘The Scatterers’
From the Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“This is an early Makkan Surah, the second of the seven Surahs forming a group dealing with revelation and the Hereafter. See introduction to Surah 50. this Surah deals with the varying ways in which Truth prevails irresistibly even against all human probabilities.”
From the Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
“THE TITLE of this surah - (The Dust-Scattering Winds) revealed; according to Suyuti, about two years before the Prophet's exodus to Medina - is based on the adjectival participle adh-dhariyat occurring in the first verse.”

1. This Chapter, revealed in Mecca, begins with a forcefulness that is intended to astound listeners, challenging them, making them listen and think.  Vowing by the Forces which run our existence on earth, the Qur’an tells deniers that everything they are being warned about is True:  Accountability shall befall!
PAGE 520 Arabic Qur’an.
The first four verses in this Chapter contain a ‘vow;’ the Chapter beginning with the word “By...”  
Regular readers already know that the object of an oath is of utmost importance, and here, it is that Accountability shall indeed befall.  The ‘Qur’an seems to be doing that by naming natural phenomena, but there have been different opinions as to what ‘Scatterers,’ the ‘Carriers,’ the ‘Gliders,’ and the ‘Distributers’ are.  These nouns refer to functions -and not to anything we know by such names in Arabic today- hence the different explanations.  Some have said that The ‘Scatterers,’ the ‘Carriers,’ the ‘Gliders,’ and the ‘Distributers’ are ‘Custodian/ Angels,’ each group fulfilling its designated assignment, while others have said that they are ‘the Wind,’ the Clouds,’ the ‘Rivers,‘ the ‘Rains.’
Read the ‘oath’ in Arberry’s explanation to get a ‘feel’ for these four verses, which only serve to highlight and introduce the gravity of what comes next  
(Arberry translates ‘Deen’ as ‘Judgement’):
“By those that winnow with a winnowing
And those that bear the burden
And those that glide with ease
And those who distribute by command:
Lo! that wherewith ye are threatened is indeed true,
And lo! the judgment will indeed befall.”

2. Dear Reader:
‘Deen’ means ‘Accountability/ standard of Accountability’ and does NOT mean ‘Religion.’  In fact, religion is about a certain ‘institution’ which has its own beliefs, rituals, and teachings, and being so, it is neither universal, general, nor inclusive, but rather, it is quite exclusive and is also usually divisive.  This is why we now have so many ‘religions‘ (plural).  In the oldest Arabic lexicon, the word ‘deen‘ has no plural, yet Arabs today have two plurals for 'deen': ‘adyaan' and 'dayanaat.’  Regular readers will remember that the verses in HQ 12:76 said that Prophet Joseph, peace upon him, would not have been able to take his  brother by the King’s ‘deen’/ accountability standard.  It was only by applying the standard/ Deen of his brothers themselves that he could keep his youngest brother with him as prisoner, and not send him back with them.  We also know that they day/time of Accountability is called ‘yawm el Deen’ in Arabic... which can never be translated or understood as the Day of ‘religion.’  So let us get the word ‘religion’ out of our vocabulary once and for all, and understand that God is One, and He holds us ALL to one standard of Accountability.
PAGE 521 Arabic Qur’an.

3. Then, we note that Verse 7 clearly ‘vows’ by the ‘Exalted expanse/ sky’ (similar to HQ 85:1; 86:11, which seems to indicate that the first verses were also about natural phenomena).  The ‘oath‘ here however, is about they (Qureish) being at ‘variance’ in what they say (and deceive themselves with, regarding the Message, Resurrection, Accountability.  See Asad Verses 8-9). 
In Verse 10 we get the first incidence of the word ‘qutila’ in the Qur’an.  This is a word of admonishment, which berates a person as he is committing a certain misdeed by saying: ‘May he be brought to disgrace and death,’ as we see in our 1,000 year old definition below.

Here, it is about those who devise falsehoods ؛خرّاصون  Yusuf Ali translates the word ‘qutila’ as ‘Woe to ....’  Keep the word in mind, dear Readers; it is important, and it occurs in HQ 51:10; 74:19, 20; 80:17; 85:4.
Verses 11- 14 deal with these specific persons from Qureish, describing their incredulousness with regard to the ‘Day/Time’ of Accountability, and assuring them that at that time, it will be ‘your’ turn to be tried by Fire (fitnah), tasting what ‘you’ had been meting out to to others!  Here, dear Reader, we get a glimpse of the torture methods which idolatrous Qureish was using in its desperate attempt to dissuade people from entering the new Faith, and believing in God Alone. 
Verses 15-19 describe the position of the Aware in the Hereafter, within Gardens and among springs, partaking of what their Lord has offered them, for ‘they were, before that, Doers of utmost Goodness/ Muhsineen...’  
And then, dear Reader, we get a description of what a ‘Muhsin’ is!
Read it in Yusuf Ali’s explanation:

‘As to the Righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs,
Taking joy in the things which their Lord gives them, because, before then, they lived a good life.
They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night,
And in the hour of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness;
And in their wealth and possessions (was remembered) the right of the (needy,) him who asked, and him who (for some reason) was prevented (from asking).’

These are deeds we should think about, if we wish to be counted among them.  Note that these deeds show utter sincerity, since one is alone during nightly-prayers and dawn supplication (no room for self-aggrandizement or hypocrisy,) and the amount given to the needy is considered a RIGHT by the giver, and not generosity!  
May we learn to be such persons!  

4. Verses 20- 22 speak of the Earth, in which are Signs for The Confident/ for People of Certitude (those who have ‘yaqeen,’ mentioned 4 times in Qur’an).  The Qur’an tells us that the Signs are within ourselves, if we were to observe. And also that our sustenance emanates from the exalted Expanse, as does all that we are promised.
What eloquence, dear Reader.  We do not need to search for God’s Signs; they are in us, and all around us.
Then Verse 23 closes this section with the oath: 

‘Therefore, by the Lord of the Exalted Expanse and the Earth, this is indeed True, just as is your articulation!

After these strong, eye-opening verses, the rest of the chapter discusses past incidents, reminding listeners and the Messenger of previous Messengers before him, characters they were all familiar with.  The Messenger drew strength from their experiences, retold by the Sole Living Witness to all that had then transpired.

5. That is how we learn from Verses 24-30 of the Custodian/Angels who had visited Prophet Abraham, peace upon him, to give him glad tidings of a son and to inform him that the end had come for the People of Lot (Prophet Lot, peace upon him, was Abraham’s nephew, as is commonly understood but not mentioned in the Qur’an).
Now, the Qur’an retells each story several times, each a narrative on its own, resplendent with new details we hadn’t heard before.  Here, we learn of Abraham’s generosity to those whom he had thought were traveling strangers passing by, and his fear of them when they refused to eat.  They are called his ‘honored/mukram’ guests.
We note his wife’s surprise at the glad tidings they bore her.  The narrative is somewhat similar to HQ 11:71, only there she was reported as being ‘qaa’imah--قائمة..’ which I did not explain at the time.  Now I understand that it meant she was ‘standing with child’ already.  Even today, Arabs in the Levant call a pregnant woman ‘mistqeemeh.’
You see, dear Reader, ‘qaa’imah--قائمة..’ is the opposite of ‘qa’ida- قاعدة’.... and we already explained how the ‘qawaa’ed’ women in HQ 24:60 are those who are not candidates for bearing child, having been declared ‘sedentary/ inactive,’ earning that label either due to illness or age.  And our more than 1,000 year old Lexicon tells us that ‘qa’id’ denotes a female who is inactive with regard to the monthly menses and to mating’ (قاعد عن الحيض والأزواج).
And there is more: Arabic is SUCH a rich language!

By comparison:  The wife of Prophet Zachariah, peace upon him, was described three times in the Qur’an as ‘aaqir- عاقِر’ - as opposed to the wife of Abraham who was ‘aqeem عقيم.’ Both were translated as ‘barren,’ but what a difference between a woman who was permanently sterile, incapable of bearing child (Zachariah’s wife), and another who, up to that point in time, had simply been ‘barren’ and not borne child (Abraham’s wife).  That is why the Qur’an says that God أصلحنا, with regard to Zachariah’, making his wife fit to bear child, correcting what needed correction!  So, while that pregnancy necessitated divine intervention, this one, Abraham’s wife’s, did not. 
PAGE 522 Arabic Qur’an.

6. We find that Lot’s people had earned the labels Mujrim/ Those who had ‘extracted themselves from Faith, and Musrif/ those who had exceeded all norms/ the Insatiable, here referring to their sexual appetite (remember they were not only having homo-sexual relationships with each other, but were also doing so in public, AND laying in ambush for youths so as to force themselves upon them HQ 29:29). 
In Verses 35- 36, we hear the Custodians/ Angels say that they got out of the town (rescued) ‘all who were Faithful/Mu’min’ and that they could not find in that town ‘except one house of the purely Reverent/ Muslim.’ Regular Readers will remember the difference between the terms Mu’min and Muslim:
  • In Belief and Behavior every ‘Mu’min’ is a ‘Muslim,’ but not vice versa: Some people might be reverent (to a Higher Authority or Standard), yet might not believe in God’s Message through the ages, or in all His Messengers.  That person might technically be considered a ‘Muslim,’ but not a ‘Mu’min.’  Such people can be trusted to safeguard the peace, security, safety, and health of others, despite lacking in what others might define as ‘faith.’ 
  • On the other hand, a ‘Mu’min/ Faithful’ person is someone who is purely reverent to God, has faith and trust in Him and His Message through the ages, believes in all His Messengers AND can be fully trusted!

Think with me, dear Reader, of the many, many, so-called ‘Mu’mins’...  who have SHED BOTH Islam AND Imaan by narrowing that definition or by harming others.  Tragic misunderstanding!

(We may recall the famous reported saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him: “The ‘Muslim’ is someone from whose tongue and hand the ‘Muslims’ are safe/secure... ‘salima’.”  Here, both the person AND the people around him/her, being entitled ‘Muslim,’ have earned that title.  In other words, no one can be called ‘Muslim’ unless s/he safeguards the security of other such persons.  It is a circle of trust, in a law-abiding community!)
Back to our verses:
The way I understand these verses (yet God knows best) is that, before the destruction, the Custodians/Angels whisked out of that town all those who had faith in God and in His Messenger Lot, peace upon him, and - as they said- they found only ONE HOUSEHOLD IN THAT ENTIRE TOWN which was ‘Muslim,’ trusted to safeguard the peace, security, safety, and health of others... ie... one household which would have protected youths rather than handed them over to be raped!  Commentators have said that this refers to the family of Lot himself, minus his wife of course, who had attempted to give the youths away.
Verse 37 tells us that what was left was a Sign for those who fear the painful suffering.
Verses 38- 46 remind listeners of other peoples who had belied their Messengers and ‘breached faith,’ and what happened to them; the people of Pharaoh who disbelieved Moses, the people of ‘Aad and Thamud who disbelieved Hud and Salih, and the earliest people, who disbelieved Noah.

7. After those historical reminders, Verses 47-49 ask us to look around and be reminded by the amazing natural phenomena surrounding us: 
The Exalted Expanse, built by POWER (aid أيد), and continuously expanding (look up ‘expanding universe’ in Google)... the Earth spread out... everything created in pairs... all of these reminders serve to redirect us towards SEEKING GOD as our refuge, running towards Him, in His Direction and none else.. and the Messenger is told to command listeners to do just that.. run towards God, seek no other deity besides Him for ‘I am, from God, an evident Warner!’

PAGE 523 Arabic Qur’an.

8. Then, Verse 52 provides the Messenger with solace, assuring him that the previous Messengers were also called ‘sorcerers’ and ‘madmen/ possessed’ by the people who had transgressed, and that he should turn away from them, and would not be blamed for doing so (note that once he had delivered the message, there was nothing else to do).

Verse 55 tells the Messenger to keep reminding, for this will benefit the Faithful (even those who have already earned the label will need reminding!).

Then, Verses 56- 58 inform us, in the first person 'I,' that God did not create the ‘Invisible and Visible’ Beings except to (have the choice of) worship 'Me,' and that 'I' have no need of them to sustain or feed 'Me,' while it is God who is THE Sustainer, the Holder of All Power, The Ever-Strong.
Therefore, just as God is absolutely in NO need of our sustenance, He is in NO need of our worship. It is WE who need Him both for physical and spiritual sustenance, and it is we who would benefit by consciously worshipping Him.  

Note: Most scholars explaining Verse 56 have said that 'God had not created the Unseen and Seen Beings except to worship Him,' grappling with the dilemma that not everyone is worshipping Him (for if that is what God had intended then it should have happened). Some have then highlighted their understanding that 'worship' here means everything in life following its nature as God created it, with the conclusion that they actually 'worship' Him by nature, not necessarily by cognizance.

But what they did not mention is the fact that there are a few Arabic words, each of which holds OPPOSITE connotations and that the word ‘abada عَبَدَ is one of them (New Readers: see what we said earlier):

‘Abada’ is of the ‘aDdaad أضداد’ category of words, which could carry a connotation AND its opposite, its meaning derived from the context (which early Arabs would have had no problem recognizing):

So, ‘Abada’ could mean either of these two opposites:
·         servility and acceptance.
·         disdain and rejection.

Amazing.  This forgotten linguistic fact presents us with a statement which tells us that God 'had not created the Unseen and the Seen Beings' except to either accept God in worship, OR to reject His worship.  In other words, He created us FREE to go either way!  This fact agrees with everything else we read in the Qur'an about freedom of choice (put 'free will choice' in 'Search').

Note:  The 'Custodian/ Angels' are not specifically mentioned here.  Regular Readers will remember that they are included in the category of the 'Unseen,' as our old Lexicons asserts.  See earlier post and footnote 3.
The last two verses then tell the Messenger to speak to the Wrongdoers, dissuading them, warning all Deniers of the ‘wailing’ that shall come upon them on the Day which they are promised of.

Enough said!
Our next Reading is from HQ 52: 1-49

Peace unto all!

قتل:   يدلُّ على إذلالٍ وإماتةٍ. يقال: قتَلَهُ قَتْلاً. والقِتْلَة: الحالُ يُقْتَلُ عليها. يقال قَتَله قِتلةَ سَوء. والقَتْلة: المرّة الواحدة. ومَقاتِلُ الإنسان: المواضع التي إذا أُصِيبت قَتَله ذلك. ومن ذلك: قتلتُ الشيءَ خُبراً وعِلْماً. ويقال: تقتَّلت الجاريةُ للرّجُل حتَّى عَشِقَها، كأنَّها خَضَعَتْ له.وأقتَلتُ فلاناً: عرَّضْته للقَتل.
2 عقم: غموض، ضيق، شدة... والعقل العقيم ضد المثمر.
عقر: أصلان متباعدان: الجرح من الهزم في الشيء أو الثبات والدوام.

3 جن: من معجم مفردات ألفاظ القرآن للراغب الأصفهاني:
- أصل الجن: ستر الشيء عن الحاسة يقال: جنة الليل وأجنة وجن عليه، فجنه: ستره، وأجنه جعل له ما يجنه، …والجنان: القلب، لكونه مستورا عن الحاسة، والمجن والمجنة: ….
والجنة: كل بستان ذي شجر يستر بأشجاره الأرض، قال عز وجل: }لقد كان لسبإ في مسكنهم آية جنتان عن يمين وشمال{ [سبأ/15]، }وبدلناهم بجنتيهم جنتين{ [سبأ/16]، }ولولا إذ دخلت جنتك{ [الكهف/39]، قيل: وقد تسمى الأشجار الساترة جنة، وسميت الجنة إما تشبيها بالجنة في الأرض - وإن كان بينهما بون - ؛ وإما لستره نعمها عنا المشار إليها بقوله تعالى:}فلا تعلم نفس ما أخفي لهم من قرة أعين{ [السجدة/17]. ….
والجنين: الولد ما دام في بطن أمه، وجمعه: أجنة. قال تعالى: }وإذ أنتم أجنة في بطون أمهاتكم{ [النجم/32]، وذلك فعيل في معنى مفعول….
والجن يقال على وجهين: أحدهما للروحانيين المستترة عن الحواس كلها بإزاء الإنس، فعلى هذا تدخل فيه الملائكة والشياطين، فكل ملائكة جن، وليس كل جن ملائكة.....

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