CLICK IMAGE: Tanzil Website

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.'


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 275; Qur’an 68: 1-52, pages 564-566

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 القلم
‘Filing/ The Pen’

From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
“This is very early Makkan revelation. The general opinion of Muslim Commentary is that a great part of it was second in order of revelation, the first being Surah 96 (Iqra) verses 1-5.
The last Surah having defined the true Reality in contrast with the false standards set up by men, this illustrates the theme by an actual historical example. Our Holy Prophet was the sanest and wisest of men: those who could not understand him called him mad or possessed. So, in every age, it is the habit of the world to call Truth Falsehood and Wisdom Madness, and, on the other hand, to teach Selfishness as Planning, and Arrogance as Power. The contrast is shown up between the two kinds of men and their real inner worth.” ‘

From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:

“The Pen is undoubtedly one of the oldest parts of the Qur'an."


We now arrive at one of the FIRST revealed chapters, and a very special one too.  This chapter shows us the interconnectedness of Human experience, since its ancient beginnings, up to the Messenger Muhammad, peace upon him.  It shows us the unity of God’s Message to mankind over the ages.

PAGE 564 Arabic Qur’an

1.     From the very first verse we are alerted to the importance of the subject at hand:
·      The sound ‘N/ Noooon’- presented in the form of the letter ن in Arabic seems to refer to the Beginnings of Creation, when all Life developed out of water (HQ 21:30). 
The Arabic letter ‘noon’ as you can see above, looks like a vessel or hull transporting a single seed.  This is very interesting, since that is how we see life reborn all around us, be it the human/ animal young, growing inside their mothers’ bellies, or fruits growing on plants:  All life originated in water, and all life grows in receptacles. 
This information about our beginnings is not new to Humanity… although it may have been ignored during the Dark Ages, a quick look will show us that even the ancient Egyptians knew that, as exemplified by their mythology:

'Before the first moment of Time, there was Nun.  Nun, the primordial waters, darker than the darkest night, deeper than the deeper abyss and vaster than all imaginings ... ' 

Watch this very short video, which seems to tell us how our universe came about; the mist, the water, reproduction...etc..
Egyptians called The Creator: ‘Nun’ (pronounced Noon), and related Him to Consciousness, representing him by sacred lakes (see more of what is found in Egyptian ‘Legends).
We spoke earlier of Prophet Jonah, peace upon him, also called ‘Thal Noon/ He of the Water.’
We also spoke of disjointed letters/ sounds (put words in ‘Search’).  
Wouldn't it be worthwhile to see how mythology is related to what we know of 'Divinely Revealed Messages,' and how languages inter-relate?
·      After referring to the Beginning of Creation, the first Verse vows by the ‘Qalam,’ which is NOT merely ‘the pen’ (the writing-tool which is fast becoming obsolete!). 
The root verb ‘qalama’ (according to our 1030 year old Lexicon), is to smoothen, set straight, arrange by filing,’ and ‘Qalam’ is something filed, formed by filing, into a pencil, reed, stick, column (see Etymology below- [i]), yet Qur’anic context shows us that this term is about how the consciousness ‘files’ and records the differences between one entity and another to facilitate recognition and reference [ii]!  Indeed, all creatures learn and mark out everything around them by ‘qalam,’ as is clear in HQ 96: 1-4.  We see children differentiate colors, shapes, and sounds by ‘qalam,’ and know how well animals recognize different scents by ‘qalam.’  We’ll discuss this in more detail when we reach Chapter 96, God-willing.

Let’s return to our verse, where one single letter, the ‘noon’ refers to the beginning of all creation and then, another, the ‘waw-وvows by the cognitive process of Differentiation (it is called ‘the waw of qassam/ oath), ‘waw-و’ appearing a second time to vow ‘by what they align/ record in alignment.’
(See ‘SaTaraسطر/’ -[iii], mentioned earlier, and Etymology -[iv]).

What are these 2 vows about, and how do they relate to the beginning of Creation?

Any ‘vow/ qassam’ is usually made to highlight something of great importance, the subject-matter which comes after it, called in Arabic ‘the response to the vow/ jawaab el qassam.’  The important subject-matter of these two vows are in the following Verses 2-4: 

‘You are not (O Muhammad), by the Favor of your Lord, (in any way) a madman/ possessed!
And yours indeed is a recompense unfailing.
And verily you are of a character magnificent!’

So these vows address Muhammad, peace upon him, and are about endorsing and validating his person and his role within the framework of creation and history, past, present and future!

New Readers:
Put ‘majnoon’ in ‘Search,’ and then put ‘janna’- each on its own.
‘…by your Lord’s Favor/ Grace بنعمة ربك   appears three times in the Qur’an.)
This verse draws attention to the beginning of Creation, reminding us of the Creator’s magnificence reflected in His Creation, bearing fruit to this present time.  Then it vows by the most marvelous of His Creation, which is the capacity for Discernment within each being, and then it vows by the peak product of such discernment, which are the Records of past experience, aligned in Consciousness… all to: Endorse the Messenger, validate his role, and bring him reassurance.

THAT is what this is all about:  A call to see the Truth, not just by using our sight, but also through our INSIGHT: 
Our personal and collective conscious and unconscious would lead us to the Truth, provided we do not barricade its path with Denial. 

2.  Verses 5- 6 continue to address the Prophet, as they indirectly warn listeners who’ve been belying him, that they shall come to know who is being tried here (and has failed).   
Then Verses 7-8 tell him not to ‘comply with/ obey’ Those who Belie (him and his Message; see six similar verses), adding that they would love it, if he would soften and be pliant (regarding their deities), so that they could soften (as well to him and his Message.  The root-verb ‘dahana’ is about applying an ointment, or being pliant- [v]). 
Notice that there is to be NO compromise whatsoever with regard to the acceptance of ANY deity besides God.

3.   Verses 9-16 continue (showing us to whom we should never comply in general), telling the Prophet NOT to comply with any person who is …
and then we have NINE of the most derogatory adjectives describing such a person:  
From being a contemptible person whose many oaths/ allegiances are worthless حلف  ([vi]), to being someone who oft-sows discord among people through frequent slander, to being one who constantly prevents whatever is good from taking place, to being also an aggressor and a hinderer, and also a person who is gross عتل ([vii]) …..who is a social climber (attaching himself and trailing behind the high and mighty-زنم ([viii]
‘It may be because/ It is of no consequence that’ he is of material wealth and progeny.  When Our Signs are recited to him (in sequence), he calls them ancient history. WE SHALL BRAND HIM (mark him with his attributes) ON THE SNOUT!’
These few verses show us the WORST character that a person can have, and inform us that such a person shall be so branded (come Judgment) like an animal.  The last characteristic (describing someone kowtowing to the high and mighty) is also about NOT BEING INDEPENDENT IN ONE’S THINKING!  Isn’t THAT worth thinking about.   
No wonder the Prophet, who was of MAGNIFICENT character, was told NOT to comply or deal whatsoever with such persons!
See interesting notes of Yusuf Ali and Muhammad Asad; click on other verses to see more.

PAGE 565 Arabic Qur’an
4.   Verses 17- 33 gives us an example of ‘balwa,’ which is about trial through exertion which builds character ([ix]):
It is about people who had a garden (an orchard) which they vowed to harvest/ reap entirely the next morning without making exception.  ‘Making exception’ would have been allowing entry to poor people to have a share, as Verse 24 clearly indicates ([x]).
While they were asleep (and knew nothing of it), a tornado (literally: ‘that which moves in circles’) came upon the garden, so it was like a harvest already reaped (barren, with nothing left to pick).  This indicates that there was nothing lying on the ground either! 
They called out to each other early in the morning, to go to their tilth, if they were to harvest/ reap (without anyone finding out).  Then they spoke in low tones about not allowing a single ‘miskeen/ poor and incapacitated person’ ([xi]) to enter upon them into the garden, and they were resolved and capable of that.  But when they saw it (in ruin), they first said that they were lost (perhaps thinking that this was not their land, or in distress).  Then they said that it is not so, but they are indeed deprived/ bereaved!
That is when the most ‘equitable/ balanced’ among them, reminded them of what he had told them earlier: 
‘Didn’t I tell you, that you should have been ‘moving in devotion/ tasbeeH?’
He had indeed tried to warn them, questioning their INTENTION, and telling them what their motivation should have been.  It seems that no sooner had he spoken than they realized how reprehensible their intention had been!  They then turned to their Lord in repentance, acknowledging their wrong-doing and reproaching each other.  Finally, after they’d acknowledged that they’d transgressed all bounds, they sought their Lord and hoped that He would grant then a garden better than the one they had just lost. 

Dear Reader:
Let us stop for a moment and think about this.  Many of us would agree that the orchard was theirs, and they had the right to pick their own fruit and prevent others from entering it.  So these people were not planning to DO something wrong. 
On the other hand, our God-given wealth is not ours in its entirety, as a part of it belongs to the less fortunate and should be given to them without our feeling generous about ourselves!  So, in fact, they were planning NOT TO DO something right. 
See the difference? 
It is so easy to WITHOLD what is right, and convince yourself that you are not doing anything wrong. 
We are accountable not only for what we do, but also for our intentions.  Intention, which is only known by ourselves and by God, validates and invalidates all our actions, and withholding from a ‘miskeen’ is one of the worst things we can do (see 11 mentions, and especially HQ 74: 44, where we realize that it is a common lament heard in Hell:  ..and we were not feeding the ‘miskeen’…!!
No wonder ‘zakaat’ is so named (put word in ‘Search’)!
Verse 33 end this story by telling listeners that this is what SUFFERING is like, and the suffering of the Hereafter is greater if they only knew.
We should remember these verses whenever the word ‘suffering/ ‘athaab’ appears in the Qur’an.  Note that it is basically about one’s acknowledgment of committed wrongs, PLUS deep REGRET that one hadn’t listened to warning! 
Rebuilding is possible in life, but not in the Afterlife, when ‘Dominion in Truth is The Creator/ Al RaHmaan’s (Alone),’ and the wrongdoer is in a state of utter remorse and lamentation, bewailing himself, biting his own hands in regret (put ‘wrongdoer lament’ in ‘Search;’ see HQ 25: 26-29).
Dire Dissuasion… to be followed by: Persuasion of course!

5.   Verses 34-36 first present a brief, contrasting statement, then ask a question to highlight the absurdity of a certain supposition, and finally reprimand those who could even think it!
‘Indeed, (waiting) for The Aware, with their Lord, are Gardens of ultimate Favor.
Would we then render the Muslims/ ‘Purely Reverent,’ akin to
the Mujrims ‘Those Who Extract themselves from Faith’?
What is the matter with you?  How is it that you judge?’

The next few verses ask direct questions: ‘Or is it that you (pl) have…أم لكم” … AND indirect questions: ‘Or is it that they have…أم لهم…/ ‘Or is it that they possessأم عندهم
These questions highlight the absurdity of blind denial.  The Message was being denied by someone who had nothing to the contrary!  No compilation to study or quote from, no Promises from God transcending life to the Resurrection, and no associates/ partners who could bear witness to their truth.

6.   Verses 42-43 describe Resurrection, that ‘day/ period’ of returning to life, when ‘the leg is bared’ in full stride and effort, and they are called to prostrate but cannot do so, having not responded to the same call earlier, when they were safe and sound.
The Arabic term about ‘the leg being bared’ is as familiar as the term related to ‘baring one’s arms’… both indicate actively getting down to business.  This term has been well-explained by countless traditional commentators who have disregarded the alleged ‘Saying/ Hadeeth’ attributed to the Prophet which says that it is ‘God’s leg which is bared’…(!)  Furthermore, the fact that this ‘hadeeth’ is of the ‘SaHeeH/ authenticated’ level does NOT validate it, since the ‘hadeeth/ sayings’ of the Prophet were often recounted (from person to person) by meaning, rather than ad verbatim, and what does not agree with Qur’an can be safely disregarded.  Most Readers do not know that the term ‘SaHeeH/ authenticated’ is NOT related to the actual ‘quote/ saying’ itself, but rather, it is only about validating the ‘Chain of Transmitters.’
Indeed, the next Verses 43- 52, which are all addressed to the Messenger, seem to indicate that, so let us read them carefully.

PAGE 566 Arabic Qur’an
7.    In Verses 43- 45 God begins by telling the Messenger to ‘let Me be,’ as well as those who belie THIS HADEETH.  This ‘Hadeeth’ is THE QUR’AN (see 4 times appearing in Qur’an)!  Then it is asserted that those who belie this Hadeeth will be allowed to proceed deeper (into wrong), being virtually drawn in, without ever feeling from which direction this is happening.  It is interesting to hear that God will extend for such persons (give them extension, to seal their own fates).
These verses tell us that:
·      The Qur’an is not only defined as ‘THIS HADEETH’… it is the BEST Hadeeth of all (HQ 39: 23).
·      It is not anyone’s business but God’s, to deal with those who belie God’s Hadeeth/ Message (see three instances of ‘Let Me be…’).
·      Such persons will be getting themselves into a deeper, lower state of existence with each of their misguided efforts.
·      God will extend them more rein; His strategy is powerful and expansive (‘mateen’-[xii]- (see HQ 7:183).

The next two Verses 46- 47 ask two more questions, as to why these people belie the Message: 
‘Do you ask recompense of them, so they are overwhelmed by unshakable obligations/ bonds/ debt?
Or do they possess the Unseen/ Gheyb, and therefore compile (it)?’
These two verses seem identical to others of the chapter titled ‘The Mount.”  Read the full series of questions there; it speaks to the same kind of people and is beautiful (HQ 52: 39-43).

8.     Verse 48 tells the Prophet to be patient in awaiting God’s judgment, and NOT to be like ‘He of the Water’ (Prophet Jonah), who ‘called out in constraint.’  
(Remember that Jonah, after he had despaired of his people and abandoned them, had been taken as a morsel by the ‘water-creature.’  It was then that he called out to God, redeemed himself, was saved, returned to his people, and ultimately succeeded in his mission.  New Readers: Put ‘Jonah prayer’ in ‘Search.’ See HQ 37: 144)
So Jonah was mentioned as a reminder to Muhammad (peace upon them both), for him to be patient and persevere despite all the signs which indicate failure.  In severe circumstances, it is one’s struggle against initial failure which brings success!
Verse 49 asserts that he (Jonah) would have been thrown/flung into the Barenness in a blameworthy state, had he not been overtaken by God’s Favor/ Grace. 
In Verse 50 we learn that it was THEN (after his ordeal) that God ‘drew him to Himself’ and rendered him of the ‘Doers of Good.’
The word ‘jabaa,’ is commonly understood as ‘choose’ because it is used mostly in the Qur’an in reference to Prophets and Messengers.  But it isn’t always just about them!  It CAN be about us (as in HQ 6:87; 22:78; 42:13), and its definition, as we said earlier, means to ‘draw one close, to contain’ (put ‘jawaab’ in ‘Search’ to see explanation of HQ 42: 13).
Dear God: Draw us to You!
After all the convincing arguments, lessons, and advice, the last two Verses 51- 52 bring this Chapter to a close with two concise statements.

·      The first statement tells the Prophet about the intention of Those Who Deny:
When they hear the ‘Thikr/ Reminder,’ their intention is to ‘slide you down’ with their sight (demean you, by ‘looking down’ at you, so as to abort your mission), but they fail, after having got close to their aim by saying that you are possessed.  See definition of ‘zalaqa’-[xiii]- which is about ‘sliding’ and ‘aborting.’ This verse is NOT about what superstitious people call ‘the evil eye.’  This is about the power of intention coupled with words… about the fact that, after wishing someone ill, spreading rumor and slander CAN bring that person to ruin, and often does!  How many examples of that can we cite today, especially among the famous? 

·      The second statement closes by asserting that:
It (the ‘Reminder’ which you are reciting to everyone), is no other than a Thikr/ Reminder for all worlds/ Peoples…! 
And so ends this beautiful chapter which confirms Muhammad, peace upon him, as the Messenger of God by showing his place in the historic continuum, praising his exceptional character, warning those who belie God’s Message that they shall realize their loss, informing him of their intention, telling him not to comply with them, and finally reinforcing him in his monumental role by example, encouragement, and promise.

Peace unto all!

Middle English columne, from Old French colombe, from Latin columna, from columen top. First Known Use: 15th century.

Check out how writing all over the world evolved from ‘pictograph’ to ‘sonograph’ in this FANTASTIC video which ALSO shows us how the Japanese phonetic alphabet came about, thanks to ingenious womanhood!  After being barred from learning or writing Chinese script, women found a way to express themselves by devising their own cursive form, called ‘Hiragana.’

سطر: اصطفافِ الشيء، كالكتاب والشجر، وكلِّ شيء اصطَفَّ. فأمَّا الأساطير فكأنها أشياءُ كُتبت من الباطل فصار ذلك اسماً لها، مخصوصاً بها. يقال سَطَّر فلانٌ علينا تسطيراً، إذا جاء بالأباطيل. وواحد الأساطير إسطار وأُسطورة.

It is interesting to note the Etymology of the English words ‘story,’ and ‘history:’ “From O.Fr. historie, from L. historia "narrative, account, tale, story," from Gk. historia "a learning or knowing by inquiry, history, record, narrative.”
Again we find, in the origins of this word, that Old French, Latin and Greek are mentioned, but not Arabic!  The word أساطير  ‘asaat-heer’ from أسطورة ‘ust-hoora’ from the root verb ‘satara’سطر   which means to align[iv][vi].
In narrative, it indicates adaptation and modification (mixing truth with falsehood).

  دهن:  يدلُّ على لِينٍ وسُهولةٍ وقِلَّة. من ذلك الدُّهْن. ويقال دَهَنْتُه أَدْهُنُه دَهْنا. والدِّهان: ما يُدْهَن به. قالوا: هو دُرْدِيُّ الزَّيت.
  ومن الباب الإدهان، من المُداهَنَة، وهي المصانَعة. داهَنْتُ الرجُلَ، إذا واربْتَه وأظهرْت له خلاف ما تُضْمِرُ له، وهو من الباب، كأنّه إذا فعل ذلك فهو يدهُنُه ويسكِّن منه. ودهَنَ المطرُ الأرضَ: بَلَّها بَلاًّ يَسيراً.

 حلف: أصلٌ واحد، وهو الملازمة. يقال حالف فلانٌ فلانا، إذا لازَمَه. ومن الباب الحَلِفُ؛ يقال حَلَف يحلِفُ حَلِفاً؛ وذلك أنّ الإنسان يلزمه الثّبات عليها. ومصدره الحَلِف والمحلُوف أيضاً. ويقال هذا شيء مُحْلِفٌ إذا كان يُشَكُّ فيه فيُتَحالف عليه.

عتل: قوة وشدة في الشيء، والعُتُلّ القوي الشديد. والعَتَلَة الهراوة الغليظة من الخشب.

زنم: يدلُّ على تعليق شيء بشيء. من ذلك الزَّنيم، وهو الدَّعِيُّ. وكذلك المُزَنَّمُ؛ وشُبّه بزنَمَتَي العنز، وهما اللتان تتعلَّقان من أذنها. والزَّنَمة: اللَّحمة المتدلّية في الحلْق.

As we said earlier, بلو/ى is literally about being under a certain degree of ‘wear and tear/ exertion/ strain,’ which drives us to action, bringing both our character and performance to light, helping us to know ourselves and change (for better or for worse).

This is how most commentators understand it.  It is NOT about ‘saying insha Allah/ God-willing,’ as some have posited.  If that had been the case, the verb would have been in the past tense ‘wa lam yastathnoo’ so as to be conjunctive to ‘aqsamoo.’  As it stands however, ‘laa yastathnoon’ is conjunctive with ‘la yaSrimunnaha,’ present-tense verbs, indicating future.

We spoke earlier of difference between ‘miskeen’and ‘faqeer.’

متن:  يدلُّ على صلابةٍ في الشيء مع امتدادٍ وطول. منه المَتْن: ما صَلُبَ من الأرض وارتفعَ وانقاد، والجمع مِتانٌ.
ورأيته بذلك المَتْن. ومنه شبِّه المتنانِ من الإنسان: مُكتنِفا الصُّلْب من عصَبٍ ولحم. ومَتَنْتُه: ضربت مَتْنَه.
والمُماتَنة: المباعَدة في الغاية. وسارَ سيراً مُماتِناً: شديداً بعيداً. وماتنه: ماطله. ومن الباب مُماتَنة الشَّاعرَين، إذا قال هذا بيتاً وذلك بيتاً، كأنَّهما يمتدَّان إلى غايةٍ يريدانِها.

الزَّلَق. ويقال أَزْلَقَتِ الحامل، إذا أَزْلَقَتِ ولدَها. ويقال ـ وهو الأصحُّ ـ إِذا ألقَتِ الماء ولم تقبَلْهُ رَحِمُها. والمَزْلَقَة والمَزْلَق: الموضع لا يُثْبَت عليه. فأمَّا قَولُه جلَّ ثناؤُه: {وَإِنْ يَكَادُ الَّذينَ كَفَرُوا لَيُزْلِقُونَكَ بِأَبْصَارِهِمْ} [القلم 51]. فحقيقة معناه أنَّه مِنْ حِدّة نظرِهما حَسَدَاً، يكادون يُنحُّونَك عن مكانِك.

Let's TWEET this!

Tweet me!