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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.'


Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 280; Qur’an 73: 1-20, pages 574-575

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 الُمزَّمِّل
'The Burdened/ Enfolded One’

From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:

This is one of the earliest Surahs to have been revealed. This first was Surah 96:1-5 (Iqra), in the fortieth year of the Prophet's life, say about 12 years before the Hijrah.”

From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:
THIS SURAH is almost certainly the fourth in the order of revelation. Although some of its verses may have come at a slightly later date, the whole of it belongs to the earliest Mecca period.”

How does it FEEL for a mere human to receive 'exclusive information/ waHi/ وحي ' from God Himself, and then be entrusted to deliver it to people who are UNwilling to receive it?

The Qur'an DOES give us an idea of how burdened Muhammad, peace upon him, felt by this responsibility (HQ 20: 1-8). We are told of his initial unease (put 'unease' in 'Search'), of the Deniers' efforts at intimidating him (HQ 39: 36), how their allegations hurt him, making his chest feel tight (HQ 15: 97) in many other such verses.

Anyone could imagine that a high level of EMOTIONAL STRENGTH would be required for a person to withstand something like that, but those of us who understand the command “Iqra'!” would better appreciate the psychological RESILIENCE required for him to fulfill the command: Accepting it, bearing it, retaining it, exemplifying it, and disseminating it without any bias to everyone ... and to continue doing so for the rest of his life, broadcasting it in its entirety, including the self-related matters which could well have remained private. Yet he was human, just like everyone else, so WHERE would such seemingly 'super-human' strength and resilience come from?

I think Regular Readers also know the answer to that. We saw it, again and again, throughout the Qur'an, as he was told to “Persevere in patience واصبرفاصبر"... and we noted how Perseverance was always accompanied by a form of Remembrance, whether in thought, worship, or deeds.


Remembrance supports Perseverance.
Remembrance and Perseverance effect AND sustain Accomplishment.

This is, in fact, the 'Extension/حبل ' which God advised us to secure ourselves onto (اعتصموا), altogether, and not drift apart.
This kind of strength and resilience comes from his relationship with God.

PAGE 574 Arabic Qur’an

1. The first verse begins by addressing Muhammad with the title, 'O you Muzzammil.' Although this title is commonly explained as 'the one folded in garments/ enwrapped' (similar in meaning to the title 'Muddathir.' given to him in the next chapter), our 1030+ year old Lexicon tells us that they are NOT alike, and that (unlike 'dathara') the root-verb 'zamala-زملi' is more about FEELING BURDENED, than about being 'enfolded in one's garments.' Indeed, the definition explains that 'wrapping oneself in one's garments' is only a symptom exhibited by someone who feels overburdened!
So here, Verses 1-4 call upon the person who feels over-burdened, telling him to stay up the night reciting Qur'an 'tarteela/ in sequential recital'... all the night except for a part of it... half of it... a little less or a little more.
One might ask: Would that lessen his burden?
The answer is 'Yes.' Anyone who has worshipped, in solitude, by night, knows this to be true. What we gain by daytime worship cannot be compared to what we gain by night; although equally valuable, they are different. The next four verses explain:
    Verses 5-6 indicate what he is to prepare himself for, telling him that 'We' (God) shall be sending upon him a hefty, weighty communication, and that the 'Rising by night' is firmer in preparedness /وطأ ii (for such a Message) and better-standing in communicativeness (of it).
    This answers our question:
    Q. 'Why the rising by night?'
    A. The Communication about to be relayed to the Messenger is of such great import, that it requires him to recite it carefully, in sequence, at a TIME when he would be best-prepared (to process the information and fulfill the six components of 'Iqra'...) and that is by NIGHT.
    Then Verse 7 tells him that, during daytime, he can spend long (hours of) activity/ motion/ 'sabH -سبح' while Verse 8 commands him to remember his Lord's attribute, and to devote himself solely to Him in solitary devotion/ in seclusion (بتل iii- probably in reference to 'consecrating oneself' to worship by night.)

  1. Which attribute-s of God is he told to remember?
    Verse 9 seems to point to it:
    God's Lordship over East and West, that there is no god but He, and that he should take him as sole 'Trustee/ Wakeel/ Source of Dependability.'
    Then, Verse 10 tells him to 'iSbir/ to forbear/ to withstand' their accusations, and 'to remove himself from their presence/ to abandon them' graciously.
    'Sabr,' or 'forbearance' is one of the most highly commendable traits, demanded of believers collectively (HQ 3: 200), and of individuals no less that 19 times in the Qur'an.
    Indeed, the combination of worship by night, positive activity by day, remembrance of God AND forbearance throughout, is a veritable 'MIRACLE-MAKER.' There is no way that our life won't change for the better if we do all four.
    After telling Muhammad to distance himself from them, he is assured that God shall shortly be giving them their due; in Verse 11 those who bely (God's Message) are described as 'Those of luxury,' pointing to the fact that most Deniers were among the rich.

  2. Verses 12- 14, and 17- 18 warn Deniers of what awaits them, also giving us a brief description of the horrific destruction of our world at the end of its days.
    Verses 15-16 warns these listeners directly, that the Messenger sent to them is ALSO a WITNESS AGAINST them! Then we are told that this is similar to the Messenger sent to Pharaoh, which shows us that Moses' story with Pharaoh was quite familiar to listeners at the time (one more piece of evidence that there were Jews and Christians in Mecca, despite the fact that history does not speak of that).
    Verse 19 announces that this is indeed a Reminder, and that all are free to make their way towards their Lord, if they should so desire.

PAGE 575 Arabic Qur’an

4.  Most Commentators believe that Verse 20 was revealed at least ONE YEAR LATER, after the Messenger had indeed fulfilled the requirements mentioned in Verses 1- 11. That seems quite true, simply because of the command 'qum il-leyl/ rise by night!' (in the earlier part), becoming acknowledged as something ALREADY taking place 'annaka taqoom... al-leyl/ that you (singular) do indeed rise by night (in the final part). Added to that, is the EASENING of their burden to ANY duration, as long as they do 'iqra' the Qur'an, dependent on what comes with ease for each.

Let us take a closer look at this beautiful verse:
It starts with a direct address, telling the Worshipper that 'his Lord knew/ marked out' the duration which he was (consistently) spending, up every night, together with a 'Taa'ifah/ an action-team' (!) of those who were with him. As we can see, the duration was impressive: One-third to TWO-thirds of every night.
The Traditional explanation of this verse is heart-warming, showing how God 'eased' the burden required initially in the first verses, still encouraging us all however to wake up for nightly prayers. This is indeed a highly commendable act, characteristic of the best of us. Some of us may know that early Muslims used to pride themselves on being 'Hermits of the night, Horse-riders of the day '؛رهبان الليل فرسان النهار
Then, the dynamic of 'iqra' adds more depth to this verse.
Here we find that, their attention (plural!) is drawn to the fact that it is God Who PROJECTS night and day! Regular Readers will remember the meaning of 'qadara,' which is an amount capable of projection to its utmost, embedded in E V E R Y T H I N G. What this statement seems to indicate, is that whatever time we might spend in worship at night, or in activity by day, has a projected value which is NOT measured in 'hours.'
Dear Reader:
Please pause with me to reflect on THREE important points here:
  • Night and Day:
    While we measure night and day by hours, God PROJECTS night and day beyond our 'time-frame:' It seems that Night and Day, to us, are measured by what WE have put into them, by whatever effort we've dedicated to them. Unbeknownst to us, the WORTH of each day and each night are enhanced by the QUALITY of our deeds, until anything worthy which we might aspire to, no matter how ambitious, becomes possible.
We can see that 'projection' in 'Sleep.' The benefit of Sleep is measured not by the number of hours we succumb to it, but by the quality of sleep... and a few minutes could be of far more benefit to us than many hours' worth. How ONLY deep sleep repairs the body, while REM repairs the mind, and how meditation -which slows our brain-waves- provides an excellent alternative to sleep on a fatiguing day.
(New Readers: Put 'adda aHSa' in 'Search.' ).

  • Iqra' / Qur'an:
    The command here, to all listeners (plural), is to 'iqra' the Qur'an. Notice that this command is repeated twice. Also note that listeners were NOT told to 'RECITE the Qur'an in sequence/ rattil AL Qur'an,' as the Messenger was commanded to do at the beginning of this chapter. Why? Because the term 'tarteel' of The Qur'an seems to be related to its delivery (from God) and its receipt (by the Messenger. See HQ 25:32; 73:4)iv. Rather than that, what Believers are told to do with regard to Qur'an, is 'iqra.'
    We are commanded to 'iqra,' which includes gathering, retaining, proceeding with purpose and timeliness, bearing witness, and finally SHARING Qur'an.... in real time, activating it by night AND by day (notice that 'night' is not the focus here, as it was in earlier verses). But before you feel burdened by this, dear Reader, note that God tells us TWICE in the same verse that NOT all of the Qur'an is demanded of us..... only whatever we can 'iqra' OF it, with EASE- 'maa tayassara.' What comes easily.
    Why is this requirement so relaxed?
    Because the goal is to be consistent, processing its valuable information, being enlightened by it.... by day AND by night, for our entire lives.... activating the dynamic of 'iqra,' gaining momentum as we grow every day in achievement and closeness to God. So it is for the sake of 'sustainability' that we are told to 'iqra' with ease!
    And we WILL end up achieving more. Just like in any exercise, we will naturally become more adept at what we do, and whatever may have seemed hard at first, later comes with ease.
  • The Reassurance:
    In this Verse, listeners are reassured that God, Who knows our limitations, knows that we cannot reckon the WORTH/ 'Qadr' of all this, and He 'returns' upon us/ 'taaba 'aleykum' in mercy, forgiveness, and enhanced gains.
    Here we learn that none is exempt from the responsibility of activating the 'iqra' dynamic of the Qur'an; neither the infirm, the business travelers, nor those fighting back in God's way: No one is exempt, yet they may all do 'iqra' of the Qur'an, at ease, in the midst of their other responsibilities which are:
    --Maintaining Relationship/ prayer.
    --Extending Zakaat (cultivating what is pure and helping it grow to maturity).
    --'Loaning' God a beautiful loan (defined in other verses as 'a genuinely-given gift extended to the less fortunate- a Sadaqa').

5.  At the end of this magnificent Chapter we are shown how our deeds PRECEDE US to God: Whatever we 'present/ send FORWARD' for our Selves, we shall find with God, better and greater in reward.
Finally, we are urged to seek God's forgiveness -perhaps in compensation for whatever we may have done or failed to do- for indeed He is The Forgiving, the Unceasingly Compassionate.... and so:

Peace unto all!


.زمل: أصلان: أحدهما يدلُّ على حَملِ ثِقْل من الأثقال، والآخر صوتٌ
فالأول الزَّامِلة، وهو بعيرٌ يستظهِرُ به الرَّجل، يحملُ عليه متاعَه. يقال ازدَمَلْت الشّيءَ، إذا حملتَه. ويقال عِيالاتٌ أَزْمَلَةٌ، أي كثيرة. وهذا من الباب، كأنَّهُمْ كَلُّ أحمالٍ، لا يضطلعون ولا يطيقون أنفسَهم. ومن الباب الزُّمَّيل، وهو الرجل الضعيف، الذي إِذا حَزَبهُ أمرٌ تَزَمَّلَ، أي ضاعَفَ عليه الثِّياب حتَّى يصير كأنّه حِمْل. والمُزَامَلة: المعادلة على البعير.فأمّا الأصل الآخَر فالأزْمَلُ، وهو الصّوتُ ومما شذّ عن هذين الأصلين الإِزْمِيل: الشَّفْرَة. ومنه أخذت الشيءَ بأَزْمَلِ.

(وطأ: كلمةٌ تدلُّ على تمهيدِ شيءٍ وتسهيله. ووطَّأْتُ لـه المكان. والوِطاءُ: ما توطّأْتَ به من فِراش. ووَطِئْتُه برجلي أطَؤُه. وفي الحديث: "اشدُدْ وَطأتَك على مُضَرَ" والمواطَأة: الموافَقَةُ على أمرٍ يوطِّئه كلُّ* واحدٍ لصاحبه.‏

Interesting fact:
Mary, peace upon her, is often called by Arabs 'Al-Batool, a designation given to someone who is unattached to anyone other than God; someone who has consecrated oneself to God!  
بتل: يدلُّ على إبانةِ الشيء من غيره. يقال بتَلْتُ الشيءَ، إذا أبَنْتَهُ من غيره. ويقال طلّقها بَتَّةً بَتْلَةً. ومنه يقال لمريمَ العذراء "البَتُول" لأنها انفردت فلم يكن لها زوج. ويقال نخلةٌ مُبْتِلٌ، إذا انفردت عنها الصغيرة النابتةُ معها.
والبَتِيلة: كلُّ عضوٍ بلحمه مُكْتَنِزِ اللّحم، الجمع بتائِل، كأنه بكثْرةِ لحمه بائنٌ عن العضو الآخر. ومنه قولهم: امرأةٌ مبَتَّلَةُ الخلق. والتَّبَتُّل: إخلاص النية لله تعالى والانقطاعُ إليه. قال الله تعالى: {وتَبَتَّلْ إلَيْهِ تَبْتِيلاً} [المزمل، أي انقطِع إليه انقطاعاً.
In other words, 'Tarteel' did NOT apply to anyone else. I think it is the 'Muslims' focus on 'tarteel' which made us oblivious to the real thing, which is 'iqra.' 

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