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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 27, 2010

Day 287; Qur’an 80: 1-42, page 585

Welcome Friends:  Ahlan wa sahlan!
Yusuf Ali’s explanation of this Chapter.
Muhammad Asad’s explanation of this Chapter..
Laleh Bakhtiar’s explanation of this Chapter.

سورة عبس
'He Frowned’
From Introduction of Yusuf Ali:
This is an early Makkan Surah, and is concerned with an incident which reflects the highest honour on the Prophet's sincerity in the Revelations that were vouchsafed to him even if they seemed to reprove him for some natural and human zeal that led him to a false step in his mission according to his own high standards (i).
From Introduction of Muhammad Asad:

REVEALED at a very early stage of the Prophet's mission, this surah has always been designated by the predicate with which its first sentence opens. The immediate cause of the revelation of the first ten verses was an incident witnessed by a number of the Prophet's contemporaries.”


This Chapter takes its name from the incident mentioned in the first two verses, telling the listener ABOUT someone who did the following:

'He frowned and turned aside * When the Blind man came to him.'

Most Commentators think that the pronouns 'he/ him' refer to the Prophet himself, and they narrate a reported 'Saying of the Prophet/ Hadith' as evidence (although that 'Hadith' is non-specific and could just as well be referring to Verses 8-10 or any other verses). Then they tone down the seriousness of the inconsiderate deed itself, saying that the blind man would not have been able to see the Prophet's frown. The reason they give for the Prophet not being directly spoken to, is that God did not want to deride him personally.
Other Commentators disagree, quoting the Qur'an's high endorsement of the Prophet's character and his exemplary treatment of his followers as evidence that these verses could NOT have been referring to him at all (HQ 3:159).
The fact that these two groups belong to opposing 'schools' has polarized the issue, as 'followers' of each group quote and believe what their 'scholars' have told them.

Today, we shall take a look at these verses, regardless of the views of both parties (whose endless political squabble has got us where we are today).
When we do so we'll find that this chapter is NOT about frowning at all, and even perhaps that scholars should have chosen another name as 'title' to it.

PAGE 585 Arabic Qur’an
1.  This Chapter begins with Verses 1-2, which tell listeners:
'He frowned and turned away * when the Blind Man came to him'
The negative acts of frowning and turning away are performed by AN UNIDENTIFIED PERSON (third person singular 'he/ him') in response to the advent of the blind man.
After that, Verses 3- 4 address the Listener (who is probably the Messenger Muhammad), in the the SECOND person masculine singular: 'You.' They ask him:

'How could you determine, perchance he would grow in purity?'
'Or he might remember, and Remembrance would then benefit him.'

Which means that our story has at least THREE characters.
---The one who frowned.
---The blind man.
--- The Addressee/ Muhammad.

When we continue reading Verses 5-10, we note that Prophet Muhammad was questioned with regard to two characters, and reproved for having paid undue attention to the one who was 'self-sufficient' (most probably a rich Qureish chieftain), at the expense of the one seeking guidance with awe in his heart (probably the Blind man). Note that this self-sufficient person does not suddenly appear on the scene; he was there with the Prophet and the man who 'came' to the Prophet, so unless the Prophet is the one who had clearly indicated to him (by frowning at the blind man and turning away) that he preferred his company to the blind man's, then the 'self-sufficient' man MUST be the one who had frowned and turned away, as the Prophet CONTINUED TO SPEAK TO HIM. No matter how we think of it, THAT is what we understand once we get rid of preconception.

As for a famous 'Saying' of the Prophet which is used as 'evidence' for this explanation:
Some scholars tell us that it does NOT have a chain of narrators. Others tell us that it may be, at best, a 'weak Hadeeth (ii).
Furthermore, the 'Sayings/ Hadeeths' on this issue do NOT implicate the Prophet of the specific act of 'frowning and turning away'..! When we try to look at everything in proper context, we realize that this was all about his being distracted by the powerful person at the expense of the humble on, just as the Qur'an had put it. The Prophet was reproved for that. To be outright rude, on the other hand (especially to someone with an affliction) and to demean him in front of others is not only 'out of character' for the Prophet (who was NEVER reported to show sign of his feelings beyond becoming pale or red in the face), but most importantly, it would go against the Qur'an and what God Himself said of his character and behavior (HQ 68:4).

After introducing us to the difference between a person who does not want to listen and another who seeks guidance, and showing us -by example- the gentleness with which we should deal with anyone who seeks our help, Verses 11-12 announce that this is a 'Reminder/ Tathkirah' (تذكرة), and that any person who wishes to, can 'remember.' THAT, dear Reader, is THE ISSUE here.

Rememberance... Reflection on Life, while we still can.
What Life is, and where we began.
The Potential we have, and the means to get there.
The EFFORTS we made to achieve our potential.
The final destination we were steering ourselves to.

Indeed, at the time when the Abyss (Hell) is brought forward, THAT is the time when people shall certainly remember and lament themselves, but it would be too late (HQ 89:24):

'Oh! Would that I had offered more towards my Life'...

* وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الْإِنسَانُ وَأَنَّىٰ لَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ 
يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِي 

2. Verses 13- 16 then help us understand something quite interesting about this Reminder:

It only is a 'reminder' when we interact with it!
In its intrinsic state, it is held in Eminently-held 'SsuHuf صُحُف (iii) receptacles/ plates/ sheets/ records'; see 9 occurrences in Qur'an), Exalted and Purified. These 'SsuHuf' are retained by (Cognizant Beings who are) 'Safara iv/ Retainers and Revelators' (and are) Eminent, generous and Forthcoming (which seems to refer to the Custodians/ Angels in charge of holding/ revealing them).

So: Since this is a 'Reminder/ Tathkirah' which any person who wishes to, can 'remember'..... I must say, dear Reader, that I am one of those who so wish.
How about you?

Verse 17 berates the Cognizant Human for the intensity of his Denial, using the word 'qutila' which we explained earlier, to mean something like this:
'To disgrace and death shall the Cognizant Human be brought,
how great a Denier is he!'

The word ('qutila' mentioned 5 times in Qur'an) is a word of DENUNCIATION usually said to someone WHILE they are committing a misdeed. The misdeed here is 'Denial.'

    3. In response to this 'denial,' Verses 18- 22 remind listeners of the beginning of their creation, then the 'sabeel/ Way' which God had EASED for them .... then their death and burial, then to the time of their 'open emergence/ nushoor/ resurrection' to face the consequence of their deeds.
    Regular Readers will remember Chapter 76, and how people earn the label of 'shakir' or 'kafoor' (after having remained on 'the Sabeel' which God gifted/ guided us to, or deviated from it). Indeed, every choice we make helps keep us on -or take us off- it (see 19 verses).
    While Verse 23 quite expressly announces that the Cognizant Human has NOT performed/ executed what God had commanded him to, Verses 24- 32 ask him to look around, behold his food and drink... the earth, its crevices and its growth of all kinds, all of which are 'advantage/ mataa' for humans and their livestock (grain, vines, tender stalks, olives, palms).

    4. After reminding us of the earth's bounties, Verses 33- 37 take us to the 'coming of the Ssaaaaakh-khah-صاخّة' (that is how it is pronounced, dear Reader), which is a final scene of dejection for some, and elation for others.
    At that time, a person shall fully DISENGAGE/ flee (farra v) from everyone; sibling, mother, father, love-partner, and children. Each person shall then be dealing with an issue which 'suffices'...!
    Regular Readers will remember when we spoke earlier (in Chapter 70: 11- 14) of something close, but not entirely similar. What POWERFUL verses those were, when they told us about the ‘Mujrim,' showing us how alone such a person is when nobody on earth matters anymore, and one is ready to ‘ransom’ oneself, in exchange for all those who were dearest in life, beginning with children, love-companion, sibling, family, and EVERYONE else on earth, all put together… to save one's own skin. But, dear Reader: Knowing that it was the 'Mujrim' whom the verses in Chapter 70 were talking about, made us feel that it had nothing to do with us, God-willing. But in today's verses, there seems to be no exception... EVERYONE shall disengage from loved ones and think only of one person: Oneself!
    Something to think about....
    But then, after the verses have prodded us to attention, we get comforting Persuasion and stark Dissuasion!

    5. Verses 38- 40 speak of two groups of people:
    Those whose Faces are Illuminated ('clear/ bright'), 'laughing/ beaming' (ضحك vi), anticipating (what is to come).
    Those whose Faces are Overcast (vii) with 'ghabara/ dust/ inertia' (viii), and with 'qatara/ constraint (ix) overbearing upon them.... These are the Deniers who (in life) had erupted into violence (put 'fajara' in 'Search')!
Dear Reader:
Do make time to look up what we've discussed today. Our final recompense is an extension of the deeds we commit in life... good for good and bad for bad. It is important to know that there never is any excuse fo us to wrong others. Indeed, the worst deeds committed in life happen when we lose control of ourselves and 'erupt into violence,' as we can see from these verses about 'Fujjaar.' Regular Readers will remember that 'Aggression/ 'Udwaan' and 'Awaareness/ Taqwa' can NEVER be present at the same time, therefore anyone who shows aggression HAS NO TAQWA.
Or do We render Those who attained Faith and performed Good deeds akin to the Corruptive in the earth? Or do We render The Aware akin to the Those who erupt (into violence)?” (HQ: 38:28)

Peace unto all!
Yusuf Ali:
He was once deeply and earnestly  in trying to explain the Holy Quran to Pagan Quraysh leaders, when he was interrupted by a blind . 'Abd Allah ibn Umm Maktum, one who was also poor, so that no one took any notice of him. He wanted to learn the Quran. The Holy Prophet naturally disliked the interruption and showed impatience. Perhaps the poor man's feelings were hurt. But he whose gentle heart ever sympathized with the poor and the afflicted, which forms part of the sacred scripture of Islam, as described in verse 13-16. And the Prophet always afterwards held the man in high honour.
The incident was only a passing incident, but after explaining the eternal principles of revelation, the Surah recapitulates the Mercies of Allah to man, and the consequences of a good or a wicked life here, as seen in the  world to come, in the Hereafter.”

لكن روى أبو يعلى في ((مسنده)) بإسناد ظاهره الصحة عن أنس رضي الله عنه؛ قال: ((جاء ابن أم مكتوم إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وهو يكلِّم أبي بن خلف، فأعرض عنه، فأنزل الله: {عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّى})). قال: ((فكان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بعد ذلك يكرمه)).انظر: ((مسند أبي يعلى))(5/431/رقم3123)
أما الحديث أدناه فلا سند له أو هو ضعيف:
حديث: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم كلما رأى ابن أم مكتوم يقول: ((أهلاً بمن عاتبني فيه ربي))

.صحف: يدلُّ على انبساطٍ في شيءٍ وسَعَةٍ. يقال إنَّ الصَّحِيفَ: وجهُ الأرضِ. والصَّحِيفة: بَشَرَةُ وجهِ الرجل.
ومن الباب الصَّحيفة، وهي التي يُكتَب فيها، والجمع صحائف، والصُّحفُ أيضاً، كأنَّه جمع صحيف.
والصَّحْفَة: القَصْعة المُسْلنطِحَة. وقال الشَّيبانيّ: الصِّحاف مَناقِعُ صغارٌ تُتَّخَذ للماء، الجمع صُحُف.

سفر: يدلُّ على الانكشاف والجَلاءمن ذلك السَّفَر، سمِّي بذلك لأنَّ الناس ينكشفون عن أماكنهم
والسَّفْرالمسافرونقال ابن دريدرجلٌ سَفْرٌ وقوم سَفْرٌ .يسمَّى ما يسقُطُ من ورق الشّجر السَّفِير وإنّما سمّي سفيراً لأنَّ الرّيح تسفرهوأما قولهمسَفَر بَيْن القوم سِفارة، إذا أصلح، فهو من الباب؛ لأنَّه أزال ما كان هناك من عَداوة وخِلافوسَفَرتِ المرأةُ عن وجهها، إذا كشفَتْهُوأسفر الصبح، وذلك انكشاف الظّلام، ووجه مُسفِر، إذا كان مُشرِقاً سروراًويقال استفَرَت الإبلتصرفت وذهبَتْ في الأرضويقال للطعام الذي يُتّخذ للمسافر سُفْرةوسمِّيت الجِلدة  سُفْرةويقال بعير مِسفَر، أي قويٌ على السَّفر.
والسَّفْر: الكتابة. والسفَرَة: الكَتبة، وسُمّي بذلك لأنَّ الكتابة تُسفِرُ عما يُحتاج إليه من الشيء المكتوب.

فر: أصول ثلاثة: فالأوّل الانكشاف وما يقاربُهُ من الكَشْف عن الشَّيء، والثاني جنسٌ من الحيوان، والثالث دالٌّ على خِفّة وطَيْش.
--فالأوّل قولهم: فَرّ عن أسنانه. وافتَرَّ الإنسان، إذا تبسَّمَ. ويقولون: فُرَّ فلاناً عمَّا في نفسه، أي فتِّشْه. وفُرَّ عن الأمر: ابحثْ. ومن هذا القياس وإن كانا متباعدَين في المعنى: الفِرار، وهو الانكشاف، يقال فَرَّ يَفِرّ، والمَفَرّ المصدر. والمَفَرّ: الموضع يُفَرُّ إليه. والفرّ: القَوم الفارُّون.
--والأصل الثاني: الفَرير: ولد البقرة. ويقال الفُرَار من ولد المَعْز: ما صَغُر جسمُه،
--والثالث: الفَرْفَرة: الطَّيْش والخِفَّة. يقال: رجلٌ فَرْفارٌ وامرأةٌ فرفارة. والفَرفارة: شجرة.

ضحك: دليل الانكشاف والبروز. من ذلك الضَّحِك ضَحِك الإنسان. ويقال أيضاً الضَّحْك، والأوَّل أفصح. والضَّاحكة: كل سنٍّ تبدو من مُقَدَّم الأسنان والأضراس عند الضَّحِك. قال ابنُ الأعرابيّ: الضَّاحِك من السَّحاب مثلُ العارض، إلاَّ أنَّه إِذا بَرَقَ يقال فيه ضَحِك. والضَّحُوك: الطَّريق الواضح. ويقال أَضْحَكْتَ حوضَك، إِذا ملأتَه حتى يفيض.

 رهق:  أصلان متقاربانفأحدهما غِشيان الشّيءِ الشيءَ، والآخر العَجلة والتأخير.
  فأمَّا الأوّل فقولُهمرَهِقَه الأمرُغَشِيَهوالرَّهُوق من النُّوقالجوادُ الوَسَاعُ التي تَرْهَقُك إِذا مددتَها، أي تغشاك لسَعَة خَطْوهاوالمرَاهِقالغلام الذي دَانَى الحُلُموأرهق القومُ الصّلاةَأخَّروها حتى يدنُوَ وقتُ الصّلاةِ الأُخرىوالرَّهَقالعَجَلة والظُّلموالرَّهَقعجلةٌ في كذب وعَيب.

غبر: أصلانِ صحيحان، أحدُهما يدل على البقاء، والآخرُ على لونٍ من الألوان.
فالأوَّل غَبَر، إذا بَقِيَ. قال الله تعالى {إلاَّ امْرَأَتَكَ كَانَتْ مِنَ الغَابِرِينَ} [العنكبوت 33]، ويقال بالناقة غُبْر، أي بقيَّة. وبِهِ غُبَّرٌ من مرض، أي بقِيَّة.
والأصل الآخر الغُبار سمِّي لغُبْرته. وهي لونُه. والأغْبر: كل لونٍ لونُ غُبَار.
فبَنِي غَبراءِ هم المَحَاوِيجُ الفُقَراء، وذلك أنَّهم مغبَّرةٌ ألوانُهم، وهم أهلُ المَتْرَبَة. والغَبْراء: الأرض.
(قتر:  يدلُّ على تجميعٍ وتضييقٍ. والإقْتار: التَّضييق. يقال: قَتَرَ الرجلُ على أهله يَقتُر، وأقْتَر وقَتَّر. قال الله تعالى{والذَّينَ إذَا أَنْفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا} [الفرقان 67]. ومن الباب: القَتَر: ما يَغْشى الوجهَ من كَرْب. قال الله تعالى: {وَلاَ يَرْهَقُ وُجُوهَهُمْ قَتَرٌ وَلا ذِلَّة[ [يونس 26].والقَتَر: الغُبار.

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