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Messages - Athman

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61
General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 11, 2018, 10:12:34 PM »
Dear Br. Student,

Wa alaikumus salaam,

Without overlooking what has been shared by Br. Duster (Jazakallah for the contribution), see my responses below.

You say:

"I did not raise question on 2nd part of the story at all - whether the command was/wasn't from God"

Originally, you said, I quote “...passage seems to clearly implies it was from God as I see it

In my opinion, the follow-up phrases you cited were earlier aptly responded to by Br. Duster, to which I feel you haven’t given a befitting rebuttal. See my response below to your question “Did Quran say the dream was from Satan?

"I did not raise question on 2nd part of the story at all - whether the command was/wasn't from God"

Kindly refer to my response to your question ‘1.’ above please.

"I am here as a humble student of the Quran befitting my user/profile name , not other way around  "

Nor is anyone claiming to be a teacher dear brother. We all are students of the Qur’an which, in the main, should be the criterion (teacher for that matter) as God’s word in our midst - the Prophet (pbuh) is not here to rest authority over a particular position on certain issues (16:44). Therefore, please, let’s keep the discussions. Where we seem not to reconcile, let’s just simply agree to disagree.


"This is exactly what I wanted to see as an answer to my question (rephrasing here): Whom/what do you think the source of the dream was?"

My response was given above to which you even expressed some little conviction as quoted below.


"I must admit the answer is more convincing than all those lengthy discussions...however I'm still not 100% convinced it wasn't from God simply because I don't see/take this command as an evil/unethical/immoral at all. It was a momentary but momentous test for a lesson for believers captured in OT and Quran for posterity."

Respectfully, I find it strange that you seem to expect short responses yet some of your comments appear much protracted like this one which has covered other acutely unrelated topics below. One can’t always have set pet replies that address specific subjects. Even where there is, elaborations are essential since different people could interpret a particular verse differently given their theological backgrounds, lines of thought, information so far accessed, etc. Anyways, you may choose to pass over some if you feel obliged to.

Being seemingly evil or not, the contention is that it was not from God (6:151, 4:29, 5:32). You haven't either substantiated your claim that it "was a momentary but momentous test for a lesson for believers captured in OT and Quran for posterity"


If you still disagree with that argument then how would you explain the following?


Did Quran say the dream was from Satan?

With due respect, I see this as actually a case of shifting the burden of proof. The original position is that it was just a dream that was never meant to be interpreted as a command from God. Now, if your response is on the affirmative as regards whether the command in the dream was from God, you are the one to prove it. As for the dream in itself as a dream (inherently), I think Br. Duster clarified above. Even if somethings is as a result of Satan’s whispers, God is the ultimate Decreer of its manifestation. Now, this doesn’t amount to ‘it was from God.’

What was the original dream before Satan's corruption? In your words: He makes prevail His will (no actual sacrifice) - what was God's original will in this whole incident?

I didn’t say that there was an ‘original will’ of God nor an ‘original dream.’ I just meant that the ‘decision’ made out of the dream was never approved by God and therefore, this (disapproval) was actually actioned through preventing it (the sacrifice) happening.

Why did God allow satanic inspiration to the point of slaughtering?

As believers, I don’t think it is appropriate for us to question God why He does decree things at certain points of time and not others. The basic and vital understanding is that He actually does such and such things, no matter where and when. For that matter, one could even ask as to why God allowed Prophet Yusuf (pbuh) to get to the verge of being given into his Master’s wife (wahamma biha) where he was ‘shown’ his Lord’s proof (12:24).

Why didn't God correct the corrupted story of OT in the Quran and allowed to remain ambiguous for dual interpretation?

For the sake of the discussion, I would be more inclined to ask as to why God would even cite Prophet Isa’s (pbuh) verbatim mentioning the Prophet (pbuh) by his name (Ahmad) in the Qur’an (61:6) whereas it was never captured in any historical manuscript before in that form. As a result, ‘multiple’ interpretations are made and read into the Bible by Muslim apologetics. See also Br. Duster’s citation of Br. Joseph’s argument in another thread above.

Anyways, as a believer, I do find respite in 5:15.

O People of the Scripture, there has come to you Our messenger making clear to you much of what you used to hide of the scripture and overlooking much (waya’fu ‘an kathirin)...” (Qur’an, Al-Ma’idah 5:15)

Did Quran say they "submitted in purpose" or simply"submitted"?

Now, this seems to be an act of academic dishonesty on your part. It appears odd denouncing/dismissing this position while you actually used the same interpretation earlier when you vouched for a particular understanding. I quote:

Why can’t we interpret the dream was shown from God (as a lesson for posterity) to demonstrate Ibrahim’s AS true love & devotion in purpose and never in actuality as in His knowledge God would have intervened the slaughter anyway?

After all, the word is ‘aslama’ literally ‘submitted.’ In this case, it would mean that they had ‘mutually agreed on a particular decision into something.’ Purely with the term ‘submitted,’ one would say ‘in purpose’ or ‘submitted unanimously into it’ just with a view to get an appropriate meaning/best interpretation. 

If the command was from Satan and not God as captured in OT, why Quran only corrected the direct command part and said it was a dream without mentioning the source (which was implied in Ismaeel's words as is the style of Quran)?

af’alu ma tu’maru’ - ‘do as you are commanded’ still has to do with the ‘aslama’ (a unanimous decision into carrying out the sacrifice). In fact, this is the only place in the narration that points to the fact that both (Prophet Ibrahim and his son (pbut)) had mistaken the dream to be a command from God. However, the ‘aslama’ in this context should not necessarily be translated as ‘submission’ to God’s command rather, a ‘unanimous decision/submission’ into something (carrying out the sacrifice).

When Christian Monks took upon themselves celibacy Quran not only mentions it but corrected it saying God never imposed but allowed it - why did God not say the similar to Ibrahim AS or addressing us saying Ibrahim associated it to Us while it wasn't from Me or something of that sort?

Again, this is another acutely inconsistent analogy if assessed carefully. While Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) case is that of submission into mistaken God’s command (not of personal ‘volition’), the ‘Christian monks’ monasticism was a matter of ‘volition’ to seek God’s approval - not done as a ‘command’ from God though (57:27). Kindly see also my response below to your ‘Purpose of creation’ argument for this issue of ‘volition.’

Lastly, in Sir Joseph's words Furthermore, the Quran often states that it is also a 'confirmation' (musaddiq) of the previous scriptures, certainly implying the overlap of narratives and the theological understanding prevalent during the Prophetic ministry amongst the People of the Book.

'tasdiq' – “but it is a confirmation of what is before it”  (10:37); 'musaddiq' – “that I have sent down, confirming that which is with you” (2:41), et al.

Therefore, one may ask the valid question whether the Quran was confirming the prevalent views of the Jewish and Christian communities with regards the source of the command (being divine & direct) to Ibrahim AS??

Actually, you can relate this contention to the response given by Br. Duster above.

You may find parallel in the grand scheme/purpose of creation (creation of Satan and his progeny as they're and Adam and his progeny as we're) - isn't creation of Satan and allowing him to mislead mankind to the brim of Hell more evil (Nauzubillah) than a father's test of love and loyalty?

Respectfully, what you cite is relatively an orthogonal instance of an event to that one under discussion. Firstly, I actually find this approach of yours one that casts God into the similitude of His creation. Secondly, as I shared earlier, as believers, we do restrictively understand God from what is said about Him in the Scriptures. Other than that, it is just ‘speculative’ thoughts. We can thus not claim to fully grasp the wisdom behind the vast ‘grand scheme’ of creation other than what is pointed out to us in scripture.

Now, particularly on the above incident;

1). God did not inherently create beings evil/wicked

2). God did not order ‘Iblis’ to resort to wickedness or vow to mislead humankind (7:16-17)

This whole narrative revolves around ‘free will’ or rather ‘volition’ (15:32-40).

To start with, God seldom does intervene to prevent an evil act intended at ‘voluntarily’ from taking place. ‘Volition’ is a great virtue that is entrusted to some of His creation. It is this same ‘virtue’ that shall mainly be the standard upon which we shall be judged. This is left for that Day (of Recompense).

Therefore, for a sin committed, a befitting recompense awaits one in the Hereafter and thus, God is not obliged to prevent it from transpiring, only for where He wishes. As a result, while Iblis’s vow and pledge was purely out of ‘volition,’ Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) decision was mistaken for Allah’s command. These are completely two different unrelated scenarios.


Your explanation of 18:74 is still unsatisfactory from ordinary human and even from a great Prophet's perspective and to your own standard of "justified killing", regardless of theme killing an innocent boy is still shocking and an event of mocking God for the atheist and disbelievers alike for the same reason as yours. 

As regards 18:74, on my part, I don’t find a need to explain it any other way when the verses (18:80-81) are clear on what justified such a ‘killing.’

...and we feared he would overburden them (his parents) with transgression (thwughyanan) and disbelief (kufran). So we wanted their Lord to replace him with someone better in purity, and closer to mercy.” (Qur’an, Al-Kahf 18:80-81)


Other than that, we can never get the ‘full’ picture of the ‘future’ (3:179) of the boy nor get privy to the remit of the set of parameters upon which God made such an order. These are matters of ‘ghayb’ which we can’t fully fathom (10:20, 6:59).


Seeing this conundrum people like br Wakas are forced to interpret the whole event completely out of box   


In the end we're all good Alhumdulillah, those who see it as evil disassociate it from God and those (like me) in the grand scheme of things doesn't necessarily see it as an evil at all but a test (2:155) for ordinary and direct and severe for extra-ordinary like Ibrahim AS.


Respectfully, as a student of the Qur’an and more importantly as a believer, albeit I admit that we can simply agree to disagree on some issues, I don’t think we should rest our sincere academic viewpoints on the perceptions of ‘good.’ This is especially if we assert that our views are purely qur’anic.

In conclusion, dear brother Student, can I kindly ask you to please provide proof from the Qur’an for the claims in those two questions I raised above. The burden of proof is on you and not me, Br. Joseph, or any other one who holds the position I do regarding the topic at hand. You seem to dismiss or rather not rebut responses made to you as regards your contentions. In my opinion, you have also hitherto not given any unambiguous qur’anic reference to back up your claims. Instead, you reply with additional questions each time you comment without defending your previous ones. This is unwarranted in my opinion.

With all due respect, if you can’t provide any references for your claimed position above, may I kindly end our discussion here. Possibly, Br. Joseph (to whom you originally solicited his opinion) and other members can proceed with the discussion.


Regards,
Athman.

62
General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 10, 2018, 08:54:00 PM »
Dear Student,

Peace,

With all due respect, I am quite baffled that with the arguments presented hitherto in response to your contentions, you cast my humble position to that of a ‘simplicity’ undertone.

You contend:

"It's not from God simply because it's "unethical and evil" so may I what/who's the source of the dream in your understanding?"

Honestly, I do recognize the seriousness of the incident and its derived sensibilities amongst Muslims which basically stem from individuals’ own theological leans. This is why my shared humble thoughts appear as above.

As regards to what God ‘can’ do or not do, you may agree with me that you and I have once been through a similar discussion [1] in which we never reached an agreement. Therefore, I’m kindly inclined to make this discussion not pursue that route. It does seem that from your theological lean, God does anything. In the main, albeit I somehow basically agree with you on this, I do admit that we actually don’t share a common ground for the notions held [1]. I think this is our main point of theological disparity which if not bridged, I am afraid that we mutually can't go on an any constructive discussion. We can as such just agree to disagree on issues pertaining to our theological leans. You can refer to my basic understanding of ‘capability’ in the context of God in a thread [2] below.

From my humble perspective, as a particular example in this case, God does not instruct immorality/evil/excessive sin (fahishatan) (7:28).

And when they commit an immorality (fahishatan), they say, ‘We found our fathers doing it, and Allah has ordered us to do it.’ Say, ‘Indeed, Allah does not order immorality (la ya’muru bil fahshai). Do you say about Allah that which you do not know?’ ” (Qur’an, Al-A’raf 7:28)

In contrast, Satan does whisper evil (2:268).

Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality (wa ya’murukum bil fahshai), while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:268)

To ascertain His orders/commands, Allah always confirms them (22:52) over Satan’s, for His will always prevail (58:21). In Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) case, while God intercedes a possible Satan’s guile for a concession (37:107), He makes prevail His will (no actual sacrifice). However, the piety/reverence/submissiveness (taqwa) portrayed by Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) is acknowledged and rewarded (37:105) as is always (22:37).

Dear Br. Student, my contention still remains:

(1). If it is to be understood that God can instruct 'anything' including evil/unethical things in the sense unjustifiably for purposes of tests, with the condition that it would otherwise be intervened, can one cite at least a single unequivocal instance of such a possibility from the Qur'an to substantiate such a claim?

In addition;

(2). If it is asserted that it was God who commanded the sacrifice via the ‘dream vision,’ can one unambiguously point out particularly where in the Qur’an?

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCES:

[1]. seeing  allah in jannah

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=2421.msg12889#msg12889
[2]. Can God create another God like himself if he wanted to
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=2576.msg13355#msg13355

63
General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 10, 2018, 03:21:44 AM »
As-salaam alaikum,

Dear Hamzeh,

It is my pleasure seeing that you were resonating a similar sentiment in your last comments. As for your first one, it was even better you re-highlighted that argument.


Dear Br. Joseph,

Wa alaikumus salaam,

Thanks for the acknowledgement and space granted. May Allah shower His blessings and grace upon you and your family too insha Allah.

Regards,
Athman.

64
General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 10, 2018, 03:03:42 AM »
Dear Student,

Peace,

You say:

"However, I'm still not convinced why God being God could/would not ask to lay one's life or one's loved ones life in order to test."

From my humble view, I encounter a theological impasse where God is said to have unjustifiably sanctioned an 'evil' action, which He heavily detests and prohibits due to His infinite mercy (4:29, 6:12), in the name of a mere 'trial.' A soul (nafs) is said to be 'sacred' and taking it should only be for a just course - wala taqtulu nafsa al-lati harramallaha illa bilhaqi (6:151).

You again ask:

"Are we not restricting God's realm (Nauzubillah) of what He can and cannot ask? God in His infinite knowledge and wisdom would have intervened and stopped it."

Respectfully, no true believer can even think of a limit to God's infinite capacity. However, as believers, we understand God's essence and qualities from what is informed of us in the Qur'an. Ascribing to God things that would conflict with how we understand about Him would be unjustifiable.

Acknowledging that God would have 'stopped' a certain evil undertaking given His infinite knowledge and wisdom is in essence agreeing to the fact that nothing would have been justifying that particular undertaking for Him to intervene. However, in His infinite wisdom, God would still qualify a particular seemingly morally unethical undertaking for it to even be instructed as of a 'test' or "legal law." I earlier on shared the following, " 'legal laws' always guide objective morality." In this case, not only is the alleged 'killing' command unqualified but also, nothing specific is cited as being proved nor is any particular truth being attested to/manifested. Appealing to a test of faith in Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) appears inconclusive.

It is then said:

"So, my humble understanding is 
The dream was from God Himself to test Ibrahim AS to the point of sacrifice and not to allow the sacrifice itself (this doesn't conflict with 5:32 or associating anything immoral with God)
"

The ascription of an immorality aspect to God is not the issue here, we do have objective morality after all. Certain legal injunctions would a times not feel palatable to some people. This is not an issue though. To believers, religious legal laws always supersede our worldviews. Nonetheless, the contention is on the unqualified instruction to 'kill,' no matter if the actual action was later intervened.

You share:

"The sacrificial son was Ishaaq ASThis way not only does Quran corrects Biblical narrative but it also confirms it. The dream was never a command to kill or a sacrifice as a religious rite (for Ibrahim AS and posterity) and was never meant to be of that nature."

You are right that the dream was never to be interpreted as God's 'command' that would give rise to a religious rite nor was it to be in the nature of 'actual slaughtering.' However it is argued that it was not even to be interpreted as a command from God, in the first place.

You then say:

"It was a mere test from God, otherwise it's hard to swallow as to how Ibrahim AS being a person of immense rationality would go this far to slaughter his son on a mere non-Divine or obscure dream."

It was truly a 'manifest trial' yes, but only in the sense that Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) and Prophet Isaac (pbuh) had 'submitted in purpose' that it was from God and that they were about to actually undertake such a grave action.

You conclude:

"The words of Ismael AS ""O my father, do as you're commanded" is a strong indicator of the source/story he heard from his father."

From my humble view, the son's (pbuh) captured utterances in the verse (37:102) only support the notion that he submitted in purpose to what was thought of to be a command from God. Though the Qur'an supports the idea that a times 'dream visions' could be from God (48:27, 8:43), in 22:52, God ascertains to the fact that Satan's whispers could also challenge His prophets. However, He confirms inspirations from Him and abolishes Satan's whispers.

"And We did not send before you any messenger or prophet except that when he spoke [or recited], Satan threw into it [some misunderstanding]. But Allah abolishes that which Satan throws in; then Allah makes precise His verses. And Allah is Knowing and Wise." (Qur'an, Al-Hajj 22:52)

In summary, my main contention would be:

If it is to be understood that God can instruct 'anything' including evil/unethical things in the sense unjustifiably for purposes of tests, with the condition that it would otherwise be intervened, can one cite at least a single unequivocal instance of such a possibility from the Qur'an to substantiate such a claim?

Regards,
Athmani.

65
General Discussions / Re: Ismaeel or Ishaaq (PBUT)
« on: September 09, 2018, 04:05:44 AM »
Dear Student,

Peace be upon you,

I think Br. Duster has aptly responded to your original arguments against the position assumed by Br. Joseph on this remarkable incident captured in the Abrahamic scriptures, which in the main, is also mine. It is within this common acknowledgement that I share to you my thoughts on two of your last contentions. As to who was to be the sacrificed son, Br. Joseph has appreciated the fact that this has long been classically debated over though he argues for the position of Isaac (pbuh) based on a counter-argument to the traditional Ismaeel’s position founded on mainly the following contentions:

In the story regarding Prophet Abraham and his son, if we are to take verses 37:101 -113 and understand them to capture three personalities, i.e. Prophets Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac, why does the Quran only mention the blessing on two personalities at the end of the narrative (i.e. Prophets Abraham and Isaac - 37:113)? 

Why is this reference 'exclusive' only to Prophets Abraham and Isaac and not 'cumulative' with a view to include Prophet Ishmael, who after all, was ready to be sacrificed and is subject the continuing theme of what the Quran seems to be narrating?

037.113
"We blessed him and Isaac..."

Verse 37:109 even recognises specific salutations on Prophet Abraham for his trial, however there is no mention whatsoever of Prophet Ishmael
.” [1]

“...it becomes difficult to reconcile why a name would be necessary in 37.112 when it is absent in 37.101, if both verses are capturing the birth of new children...” [1]

God willing, maybe Br. Joseph will share more contentions against the traditional view when available and where necessary.

Kindly see my views on two of the arguments you raise which I find opposed to the way I do understand the subject matter.

You say:

1. Why he's rejecting OT's narration (it was God's command) which Quran strongly and implicitly confirmed whilst correction (a dream and not direct) (All of which is part of beauty and style of the Quran)

Firstly, I think one has to appreciate that arguing on a matter from a Qur’an’s perspective foremost is not automatically ‘rejecting’ a particular stand of another source on that issue. Rather, it is actually establishing the same from a muslim’s/believer’s primary religious authority. Whether an opposing view is extracted as a result is a separate issue - the Qur’an’s stand has to be established first, especially considering its overarching perspective on the same.

Clearly, as you have rightly pointed out, the Qur’an confirms the incident while at the same time clarifies on it being as resultant from a mere dream and not as a direct command from God as the New Testament seems to suggest.

...when he was tested, offered up Isaac...” (NKJV, Hebrews 11:17)

The above 'test,' slaughtering of Prophet Isaac (pbuh) by Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh), is elsewhere understood as an actual command from God where it is suggested that his faith (to God) was justified by his works (submitting into carrying out the sacrifice). 

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?” (NKJV, James 2:21)

However, the Qur’an’s position on it being a ‘vision’ in a ‘dream’ can also implicitly be supported by the Old Testament in the narration you shared. In Genesis 22:3, Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) is said to have ‘risen’ early in the ‘morning’ the following day, ready for the sacrifice. One could argue that he may have possibly envisioned it in a dream that night before waking up the following morning.

In totality, the Qur’an confirms what is actually truly captured in the older scriptures (3:3) and clarifies/rectifies where it was not clear (5:48), where necessary (5:15). In this case, it says that the sacrifice was witnessed in a dream (37:102).

I have seen in a dream (araa filmanami) that I sacrifice you...” (Qur’an, As-saffat 37:102)

You share:

3. Why he think God would not command killing/sacrificing anyone (4:66 gives that possibility and 18:74 preemptive killing) in order to test their faith and true love and loyalty? Why can't we interpret the dream was shown from God (as a lesson for posterity) to demonstrate Ibrahim's AS true love & devotion in purpose and never in actuality as in His knowledge God would have intervened the slaughter anyway?

About the ‘manifest trial’ (balau al-mubeen) on Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) to slaughter Prophet Isaac (pbuh), the contention here is not on the ‘submission in purpose’ acknowledging the dream as from God, of which God Himself appreciates (qad swadaqta ar-ru'ya), rather, it is against the mere alleged ‘command’ from God to Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) and Prophet Isaac (pbuh) on the same.

Often, God qualifies commands associated with grave undertakings as like that of killing. For example, in 5:33, ‘killing’ (qital) is cited for believers as a retribution option to those waging war against God and His Prophet (yuharibuna Allaha warasulahu), striving to spread corruption in the land (fil ardhwi fasadan). In 2:178, ‘killing’ is cited as a legal retribution to a murderer. Again in 2:190-194, one notes that the killing or mere fighting (qital) in the context ‘against fitnah’ is qualified by ‘but do not transgress.’

On the other hand, if read in context, 4:66 is in the remit of mobilization (4:71) into fighting to the possible point of being martyred (4:69 (as-shuhadai), 4:72 (shahidan)). It is not only ‘kill yourselves’ but also ‘leave your homes,’ suggesting mobilization - to those hypocritically retiring to their homes - into fighting where a possibility of some being ‘killed’ in the process is given.

And if We had decreed upon them, ‘Kill yourselves’ or ‘Leave your homes,’ they would not have done it, except for a few of them. But if they had done what they were instructed, it would have been better for them and a firmer position [for them in faith].” (Qur’an, An-Nisa 4:66)

However, if one is to read ‘kill yourselves’ out of the scope of mobilization of the hypocritical lot at home into fighting, a viable context has to be identified to justify the ‘killing.’ In this case, it is not directly given, and therefore, to claim a random unqualified order to killing themselves (one another) seems non-sequitur. To support such a position, we see a similar illustration in the case of the People of Prophet Musa’s (pbuh) time where he ordered a mass killing amongst themselves (2:54). To get a clear position as to who were to be the subject of such a recompense, one only notes from the narration how transgressing the people were to a point of worshipping a calf despite the many signs conveyed to them (this is utter ‘kufr,’ with a Prophet in their midst - 5:33). Therefore, clearly, the ‘victims’ were to be the transgressors amongst themselves. Nevertheless, the Qur’an says that they were forgiven. See also 4:153. This is contrary to what is captured by the bible where a 3,000-people massacre is cited (Exodus 32:27-29).

As for the ‘preemptive killing’ in 18:74, one immediately notes from the Qur'anic narrative that it was not arbitrary but qualified. The boy would have been an overburden to his parents into ‘transgression’ (thwughyanan) and disbelief (kufr). In my opinion, this would amount to dire ‘fitnah' to the parents, a possible equivalent of a 'fasad' to the wider society/ in the land. After all, the narration here captures the incident while progressing on a particular theme, not the theme of ‘justified killing’ per se but that of 'wisdom and foreknowledge' granted to some of God’s chosen servants (72:26-27).

And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy.” (Qur’an, Al-Kahf 18:80-81)

You conclude:

...(Had that been the case I would believe Ibrahim AS wouldn't even blink for a moment).

I respectfully disagree with your underlying premise on this. Suicide and unjustified massacre is actually detested (6:151) and prohibited in the Qur’an (4:29). In fact, one who unjustifiably kills themselves/believer is doomed to eternal Hell and indefinite punishment from God (4:93).

O you who have believed, do not consume one another's wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.” (Qur’an, An-Nisa 4:29)

As to killing for ‘fasad fil ardh’ or ‘hadd/qisas against murder’ (5:32), in my humble opinion, a believer should always bear in mind that a ‘legal retribution’ law supersedes a seemingly ‘morally’ inhumane view on recompense. In fact, legal laws always guide objective morality.

Regards,
Athman.

REFERENCE:

[1]
. Qur’an 11:71 Isaac and Ishmael
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=976.15

66
General Discussions / Re: 27:40 Throne carrier?
« on: August 17, 2018, 08:11:38 PM »
Dear Student,

As-salaam aleikum,

From my humble view, I first share with Br. Joseph the following sentiment to you from a thread [1] below.

Arguably, whether the need to elicit finer details beyond the narratives present is relevant to future generations of believers can be argued as moot (debateable).

With such Qur’anic narratives that seem to be devoid of details of some aspect as like that of a particular figure in 27:40, I would advise one to heed whatever wisdom extractable and avoid dwelling on details that the Qur’an deemed not relevant for future guidance. This is with recognition that nowhere else in the Qur’an is such an identity hinted despite the spectacular event associated with them.

On the other hand, apart from the various debates amongst traditional muslims concerning such an identity as to whether they were a ‘human being’ or a ‘jinn,’ others have even suggested that it was an ‘angel.’ Some specific human identity of such a personality commonly alluded to by various scholars and traditional muslims goes by the name ‘Asif Bin Barkhiya, an alleged pious person from the Bani Isra’eel, believed to be Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) minister and in fact his sister’s son[2]. Those who understand it to be a reference to a ‘jinn’ personality do seek support from the preceding verse 27:39 which mentions of an ‘ifrit’ among the ‘jinn’ hence reading 27:40 within the same context of ‘among the jinn.’ For some who propose an ‘angelic’ personality, they do identify him as the ‘angelic messenger’ sent to Prophet Musa (pbuh), allegedly ‘Khidri.’

As regards to what you cite as suggestion made by the late scholar Fakhruddin Razi from what was referenced to you, unless you present here the claimed grammatical argument from the reference, I personally can’t find an interpretation that would extract such an understanding from 27:40. In fact, it is clear from the verse that two different 'persons' were involved, the one [Person 1] who volunteers to go fetch the throne and the one [Person 2] to whom the throne is to be presented. Since Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) happens to be the one who requested for a volunteer to fetch him the throne, hence the one to whom the throne is to be presented [Person 2], he can’t again be the one who volunteered to fetch the same throne [Person 1]. See below an illustration of mine (black box-bracketed) for the same:

"Said one [Person 1] who had knowledge from the Scripture, 'I [Person 1] will bring it to you [Person 2] before your [Person 2] glance returns to you [Person 2].' And when [Person 2] saw it placed before him [Person 2], he [Person 2] said, 'This is from the favor of my [Person 2] Lord to test me [Person 2] whether I [Person 2] will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is grateful - his [Person 'Any'] gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself [Person 'Any']. And whoever [Person 'Any'] is ungrateful - then indeed, my [Person 2] Lord is Free of need and Generous.' "(Qur'an, An-Naml 27:40)

In my humble view, the identity could either be of a ‘jinn’ or a ‘human being.’ Firstly, we note from 27:17 that Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) troops were comprised of ‘al-jinni,’ human beings (al-insi) and birds (at-thwayri). In 27:38, he is addressing the ‘notables’ (al-malau) among his army members. From this, any ‘angelic’ personality is ruled out. Again, the ‘one who had knowledge of the Book’ (alladhi indahu ‘ilmun mina al-kitabi) - 27:40 could not be from among the ‘birds’ since birds do not read of ‘scripture.’ We however are sure about ‘jinn’ (46:30, 72:1) and ‘human beings’ (7:174) as being the subjects of revelations as reminders for the sole purpose of 'Ibada (51:56). Thus, from among Prophet Sulaiman’s (pbuh) troops notables, we are only left with the possibility of either a ‘human being ‘or a ‘jinn.’

For a ‘man,’ we can possibly attribute the immense power to bring the throne from that far distance in an eye’s blink moment to his wisdom as from his ‘knowledge of the Book.’ Beyond that, nothing else is hinted from the verse concerning his capacity. However, from 2:102, we learn that those ‘shayathwin - wicked’ (could be ‘men’ or/and ‘jinn’) learnt some powerful knowledge from Harut and Marut which, coupled with ‘black magic’ (sihra), could cause spousal separation. This knowledge which was also taught to ‘human beings’ (an-nasa) was also a ‘fitnah’ and thus could possibly be utilized wickedly at volition. One can also surmise that if used wisely, it could do great things. If we allow the possibility that the personality in 27:40 was a man that had this ‘knowledge’ (2:102) apart from the ‘knowledge of the Book’ (27:40), we can see a greater possibility of him to have swiftly brought the throne that fast. However, not only does such an approach entail a mere extrapolation of the verse (27:40) but also employs a far-fetched idea.

As regards to the personality of a ‘jinn,’ as stated earlier, reading 27:40 as a continuation of the context of 27:39, we see a possibility of the identity as that of one ‘among the jinn.’ Again, this one could possibly also be an ‘ifrit’ and in addition, ‘well versed with the Book.’ Also, though we see the general inference in 21:82 and 38:37-38 of those who worked for Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) as ‘shayathwin - wicked,’ we can infer from  34:12-13 where we see the ‘jinn’ the ones tasked in making and handling huge and heavy structures. In 72:6, we are informed of some ‘men’ (rijalun mina al-insi) who used to seek power through some ‘male jinn’ (rijalun mina al-jinni) hence supporting the idea that ‘jinn’ possessed some more powerful capacity than their counterpart ‘men.’ We also see from the previous verse (27:39) the prowess and capacity of such typical ‘jinn’ i.e, ‘ifrit.’ Coupled with the ‘knowledge of the Book,’ this lends support to the suggestion that the identity of 27:40 could be that of a ‘jinn.’

In the main, as believers, we ought to take heed of the wisdom imparted in 18:22 staying cautious on matters that are not clear. The spiritual wisdom one could extract from 27:40 especially as regards what is uttered by Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) is very obvious "this is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful - his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful - then indeed, my Lord is free of need and Generous." This is despite either knowing or not knowing the exact identity of the figure referred to in 27:40.

As to the idea of inquiry into the details of the incident, one could in turn ask several questions regarding the same. For instance people ask; what exact typical knowledge did the figure in 27:40 possess for them to bring the throne in that shortest time possible? What Book did he have some knowledge of? Some suggest the Book sent to Prophet Musa (pbuh), some refer to the reference in 43:4. One could even ask as to why Prophet Sulaiman (pbuh) asked for a volunteer to go bring him the throne while he himself possessed such wisdom (21:79) and knowledge (27:15), majesty, might and power to even command the wind (21:81, 38:36) by God’s leave (34:12). Some suggest that it was a way to point out to his heir. However, all these suggestions cannot be directly substantiated from a Qur’anic perspective.

Therefore, instead of dwelling on details that are not deemed relevant as to the overall purport of the verse (27:40) and such-like ones in the Qur’an, it is better to extract the best available meaning and wisdom possible. After all, God knows best.

I hope that somehow helps God willing.

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCES:

[1]. Cleansing Power Of The Rain, in Qur'an 8:11?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=2464.0
[2]. https://www.al-islam.org/enlightening-commentary-light-holy-quran-vol-13/section-3-solomon-and-queen-sheba

67
General Discussions / Re: Understanding 27:44
« on: July 30, 2018, 05:17:21 PM »
Dear Br. Student,

Peace be upon you,

Thanks for highlighting on your prerogative. I do respect that. I trust that none in this forum would overlook the great wisdom coupled with a lifelong academic pursuit in the Abrahamic scriptures and other academic disciplines that is also evident from the works of Br. Joseph. I need not mention the academic honesty portrayed therein. Therefore, I understand your take on this from that context.

As regards your question, kindly briefly follow on my humble view below.

In 27:44, I see the style used just as an expression that clearly draws on a picture of the real scenario. It depicts the extent of awe to which the Queen was overwhelmed. In 68:42, it expresses the graveness of the situation and the aura of the Day of Recompense - a dire period to be dreaded!

In the general, I find such scenarios as among those that basically remind one of the Might, Power and Control of God over all affairs. He shows some of His greater favors granted to some of His servants over others and guides whom He wills thereby (27:44) and He manifests His signs to whoever He wills and when He wills (68:42).

This is to remind an individual that they should not hasten into making some decision before gathering the necessary evidence or before considering all available facts.

I hope that may assist inshaAllah.

Regards,
Athman.

68
General Discussions / Re: Names of the 12 mths
« on: July 26, 2018, 02:52:39 PM »
As salaam alaikum,

Dear Hamzeh,

I think I do concur with your interpretation. Also, regarding such a tale amongst generations later to the Prophet’s time, it is noteworthy that three groups gave some guesswork over their numbers as seen in 18:22. One can also relate to the wisdom imparted at the end of that verse ‘...and do not inquire about them among them [the speculators] from anyone.

Otherwise, it is also noted in 18:12 that 'two groups' were involved in the reckoning of their stay in the cave.

Then We awakened them that We might show which of the two factions was most precise in calculating what [extent] they had remained in time.” (Qur’an, Al-Kahf 18:12)

I hope that also slightly helps.


Regards,
Athmani.

69
General Discussions / Re: Understanding 27:44
« on: July 24, 2018, 07:55:13 PM »
Dear Student,

As-salaam alaikum,

I find it somehow inappropriate responding to your questions which are mostly specifically directed to Br. Joseph. Yet, am just giving this as a kind contribution which you may wish to ignore at your own discretion, sorry for any possible inconvenience. I hope Br. Joseph will be giving you pertinent replies when he is available where necessary.

In my humble view, I think I concur with what you cite as an understanding proffered by Dr. Shabbir. ‘wakashafat 'an saqayha’ in 27:44 literally translates to ‘and she uncovered her shins.’ As an idiom, it has a deeper meaning not obvious from the literal wording, which, as you may agree, is always the case with idioms.

Though ‘kashafa’ would imply ‘uncover/lay open/remove’ (50:22) and ‘suqin’ means ‘calves’ (38:33), as used in 27:44, the combination of the two words is classically understood to form an idiom which based on the context of its usage, could mean ‘become spell bound, dumbfounded, gobsmacked’ or ‘become prepared to meet the difficulty, become perplexed/taken aback[1]. The combination is also used somewhere else in the Qur’an in 68:42 where the context is well attested as that of ‘being taken aback,’ ‘overwhelmed with astounding truth’ and ‘prepared to meet the difficulty’ such that the disbeliever will be humiliated, confounded with truth, unable/ashamed to actually bow down.

The Day the shin will be uncovered (yukshafu an saqin) and they are invited to prostration but the disbelievers will not be able, their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. And they used to be invited to prostration while they were sound.” (Qur’an, Al-Qalam 68:42-43)

Reading the above together with 36:51-52 and 22:2, the context above is clearly that of ‘impending difficulty’ unfolding and through which those addressed will be bound to face the situation. The phrase ‘...and you will see the people intoxicated while they are not intoxicated...’ (watara nasa suqara wama hum bi suqara) - 22:2 actually depicts a heavy situation/scene. You may want to appreciate how those ‘appearing drunk/bewildered/pertubed’- ‘suqara’ (22:2) due to what has dawned on them would compare to those ‘spellbound/perplexed’ - ‘yukshafu an saqin’ (68:42) due to what is unfolding and yet to still confront the impending difficulty.

Therefore, similarly, the queen of Saba 'thought it was a body of water and was taken aback/spellbound (wakashafat 'an saqayha)' by the amazing palace that was ‘paved with glass (mumarradu min qawarira).’

Hopefully that gives some little insight.

Regards,
Athman.

REFERENCE:
[1]
. LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 4, Pages 1470-1473

70
General Discussions / Re: confusion
« on: July 15, 2018, 08:49:43 PM »
Dear ilker,

As salaam alaikum,

From my humble view, I find broadly 'two' aspects of the verse 47:35 that underpin such an understanding given by that popular translation. The 'context' and 'syntax' of the whole passage. In effect, I see such an understanding loosely related to the aspect of Quranic prohibitions taking the form of repeated 'la.'


"So do not weaken and (nor) call for peace while you are superior; and Allah is with you and will never deprive you of [the reward of] your deeds." (Qur'an, Muhammad 47:35)

Firstly, I see the 'context' of such a passage as given by verses 47:4 and 47:20. As also rightly noted by you, 3:139 which resonates a similar sentiment is in the context of 'fighting' (3:140,143,146). With 47:4,28,32,33; one would note that the believers had to take heed of the instructive injunctions from God and His Prophet (pbuh) into 'fighting' (47:4) lest their deeds get obliterated. This is also resonated in 47:4 (falan yudhwila a'malahum) as well as in 3:195.

Secondly, in my humble opinion, supported with such a context above, I see the 'syntactical' aspect of the whole verse emphasizing on the theme of continuous striving. Being on the upperhand, God being on their side, the believers had nothing to fear at the warfront. Thus, they were not to falter (8:15-16) but strive strenuously against their combatants (47:4) even if it meant some dying in the long run (3:157), for whom a deserved reward still awaits (3:169-171). Therefore, calling for peace in such an environment (battlefield) wouldn't sound appropriate. The only qualifying contexts would be those of surrender (2:192-193), conquer after war (8:67), amnesty (9:6, 60:10), calling off fighting (peace by the enemies themselves) - 8:61, for those non-enemy (60:8), etc.

Therefore, on one hand, given such 'context' and 'syntax,' the believers were not to waver in their stand to fight their enemies given their upperhand (3:123-4) and God being with them (8:64-66). If they die, their deserved fate is still reserved for them (3:158) and thus were also not to 'call for peace' unless such peace is sought from the other side in the first place (4:90-91) or after the war lays its burdens (47:4). Calling for peace disrupts such a harmonious theme (of persistent struggle) that seems to be developed within the passage.

On the other hand, I see the particle 'la' that oftenly appears with certain quranic prohibitions to have a function of 'emphasis' and 'reinforcement' in certain religious negative imperatives. The recursive nature of particles and clauses has a strong effect to emphasis in literature as you may agree. In the Qur'an, one would only observe how in effect for example the repeated clause in chapter 55 spiritually and thoughtfully captivates, 'So which of your Lord's marvels will you deny?' (55:13).

However, the 'la' is not a must that it is repeated. I trust that the 'context' in which and 'significance' of whatever is prohibited serves to play part to its usage. You may for instance find a list of persons outlined in 68:10-13 that one is not supposed to obey. The negative imperative uses particle 'la' only at the beginning of the injunction. In chapter 31, while verse 18 starts with 'wa la,' with another 'wa la' intermediating, prohibiting whatever follows, verse 19 which is in the positive does not carry the previous 'la' effect.

In 5:2, a series of prohibitions is made with subsequent 'wa la' in the first part. However, a positive injunction is made in the middle (wata'awanu 'alal birri) then a negative one imparted in the end (wa la ta'awanu 'alal ithmi). The positive injunction is obvious from the context and grammatical structure of the phrases. Verse 5:8 also illustrates a similar case with the distinction between the negative and positive phrases re-emphasized by the scriptural indicator recital pause mark (ج).

In my opinion, while in 47:35 the 'tahinoo' can ultimately lead to 'tadoo' to 'salmi' and in this case the believers are not to succumb to both, I see the two not necessarily twinned and one cannot necessarily occur simultaneously with the other. Thus, I find a repeated 'wa la' unnecessary. However, in 3:139, 'tahinoo' is twinned to 'tahzanoo.' They even almost mean the same thing and therefore would also occur simultaneously. It only serves to emphasize as the 'wa la' is. Anyway, Allah knows best.

With 6:150, 75:31 and 20:112, I think a similar case is illustrated. Even without the 'la' one would use 'context' to arrive at the intended meaning. Thus, the 'la' is used for its contextual emphasis given the nature of the commands.

In 10:62, 12:60, 20:123, 21:40, 3:88 and 7:34 (also 16:61), given the grammatical construction of the clauses, the opposite meaning would result without the 'la.' Thus, it grammatically calls for presence.

For 9:55, a similar case is illustrated in 3:116, 63:9 and 26:88. In addition, 34:37 also employs the negation though first uses 'ma' then 'la'. However one would note that the same text of 9:55 is repeated in 9:85 except for the 'la' and interchange of the introductory 'fa' with 'wa,' though arriving at the same meaning. This would only prove the function of 'la' as that of emphasis in the text of the former.

In 22:67, the 'context' and 'syntax' would warrant an understanding that sees the two clauses as independent, as the opposite has been seen in 47:35 above using the same two aspects. With the scriptural Quranic text, there's even an indicator recital pause mark (ج) which not only introduces a different clause independent of the preceding instruction 'falaa' but also as an imperative addressing the Prophet (pbuh) directly as opposed to an indirect address to the disbelievers in the first clause.

In 2:42 and 11:47, the context is similarly used to infer the intended meaning as that one carrying the introductory 'la' effect even in the absence of an accompanying 'la.'

You ask:

In summary, what do you think is the correct translation of 47:35 when you look similar ayat in the Quran ? Does Allah(swt) want us to call for peace when we are superior, or doesn't he ?

From my humble perspective, 47:35 doesn't instruct believers to call for peace in the context of 'qital' (fighting) even if they have the upperhand. Rather, it encourages them to strive (without call to peace) unless their combatants vouch for such peace, or the war lays it's burdens, especially where their enemies are the ones who had incited them into defence, retaliation or fight in the first place.

As regards the employment of 'la' in the general negative imperatives, I trust that context and semantics of the qur'anic text giving such instructions would harmoniously dictate the intended meaning. On the whole, it is used for 'emphasis.'

Hopefully that helps in some small way.

Regards,
Athman.

71
Dear miracle114,

Salaamun alaikum,

From my humble view, 'fatwa' from verb 'fataya' in the Islamic legislative structure refers to a formal legal decree/order, divine sacred decree (4:127) or judgment/decision in a matter of law (27:32), consulted pronouncement/opinion/explanation/interpretation/instruction (12:46). See the reference [1] below.

As to who should give the divine legislative and sacred laws (e.g, 4:176), in my view, only Allah has that authority. For judgmental purposes (27:32), the injunctions should be laid out by the governing judicial council (42:38) in an Islamic state. For consultative advice and explanation of various religious things, including interpretations of dreams (12:41), the veracity and reliability of the one who can do so or who to do so with depends on individual assessment of the same. In the general, the Qur'an should be the primary reference and criterion (25:1, 5:48).

In God's eyes, I find failure in heeding the 'fatawa' in the context of 'divine sacred decrees' to have spiritual repercussions (2:38-39). As for denying 'judicial verdicts' over for instance legal retributions, I don't think one can spell a sweeping spiritual consequence over some victim. A number of factors would need to be considered in the wider scope, e.g, the state governing council (Islamic or non-Islamic), the faith of the victim, etc. See the article [2] below by Br. Joseph on 'consultative committees' - 'shura' in Islam.

Hopefully that helps a little in sha Allah.

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCES:

[1]. LANE. E.W, Edward Lanes Lexicon, Williams and Norgate 1863; Librairie du Liban Beirut-Lebanon 1968, Volume 6, Pages 2336, 2337
[2]. CONSULTATION
http://quransmessage.com/articles/consultation%20FM3.htm

72
Dear miracle114,

As salaam alaikum,

First of all, in my humble opinion, I think that it has to be clear what one means by 'incapability' in the context of God - 'things God can't do.' I find what is many a times referred to as 'incapability' of God to be 'falsehood' in the sense of 'that which is nonsense by definition.' Something that makes no sense, insensible, nothing at all for real. This has nothing to do with ones power, or ones capacity at large. The latter is somehow what is frequently confused with 'falsehood.' That is, it is one thing to claim that God 'can do something - unintelligible,' which is not true, and another to say that God 'does true, intelligible and substantial things that by definition make sense.'

For example, ultimately, God manifests truth at all avenues. Nothing limits Him from that. However, it is actually silly and futile to claim that God is powerless because He 'can't manifest falsehood.' In itself, this statement is 'false,' since it actually means nothing. By definition, 'falsehood' is not an attribute of God, 'truth' is (22:62). He infact always advocates for it (21:18, 34:49, 2:42).

With that being said, one has to distinguish such a concept of 'falsehood' from that of 'incapability' in actually doing something true. The latter, which a times is narrowly falsely attributed to God can for instance be depicted by such illustrations as 'suspension of Laws of nature' (2:259, 26:63), 'manifestation of miracles' (20:20, 28:32), etc. Br. Joseph touches on such a distinction in a thread [1] below. See the following quote:

Indeed, God cannot create falsehood like creating another God. However, to temporarily suspend a law that He Himself created to manifest a particular truth to a people is not falsehood. It is an attempt to show God's reality. Please see verse 12:76 where God assisted Prophet Joseph to circumvent a law (the kings law – dini l-maliki) to manifest a truth. The question remains - Did God make Joseph lie and 'manufacture' falsehood? This would not be possible.

012:076
"Thus did We plan for Joseph. He could not take his brother by the law of the king except that God willed it (so)"

God is not bound by human laws or laws that He has created for His creatures. He can suspend them to manifest truths. This would remain my central assertion.


As regards the condemned 'multiple Gods concept,' I think you may be referring to verse 23:91. See also 21:22.

"Allah has not taken any son, nor has there ever been with Him any deity. [If there had been], then each deity would have taken what it created, and some of them would have sought to overcome others. Exalted is Allah above what they describe [concerning Him]." (Qur'an, Al-Mu'minun 23:91)

I see such an illustration to actually be cited as a plausible scenario that would possibly rise given the multiple 'Gods' concept. This is to bring the point home that God can essentially and truthfully only be 'one' - ahad. This points to one of the qualities of God that are subtly summarized in 'suratul Ikhlas,' 112:1-4.

In another verse, 17:42, God seems to also assert the truth of 'God' being the ultimate 'One' (112:1). That is, if one were to even allow the idea of many 'Gods,' one wouldn't escape the fact that those 'Gods' would require an ultimate referential one - now the true One God Himself.

Ultimately, I think one has to carefully take note of the different ways by which 'conceptualization' of God is made amongst people. Most of them are built on a faulty premise. From a believer's perspective, I find the '4' qualities of God captured in 112:1-4 to actually subtly be criterial for a true God. Thus, the idea of 'creating another God' doesn't even come into question. It actually shies away from the quality of being 'incomparable' (112:4). 'Comparability' is a quality of 'creation.' By definition, God creates, and the created is His creation. Creating God is thus 'falsehood' since it undoes the whole definition of God - the Creator, the Uncreated.

Hopefully that somehow helps insha Allah.

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCE:

[1]. Does Allah Change His Laws?
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=446.0

73
General Discussions / Re: What is Yusala in 13:21?
« on: July 04, 2018, 12:48:32 AM »
Dear Student,

Peace,

Of course, I think I do agree with your opinion. That appears to collectively be the case.

Verses 7:172-173 - from which appears to be a summary of all covenants to mankind, some of which are detailed from the previous narratives in that 'surah,' among Prophet Nuh's (pbuh) people, Aad, Thamud, Prophet Lut's (pbuh) people, Median, and Prohet Musa's (pbuh) people, (7:59-171) - capture our 'yes,' that is, 'Qalu, balaa' (7:172). It seems to point to some 'amanat' which we accepted to 'carry' - 'hamala' in our previous primeval existence (33:72). Verses 7:181-182 also seem to actually point to the main two categories of people that would always be formed in a given community for some given covenant via a sent messenger. That is, those who would 'adjoin' to the truth of the revelation (7:181) and those who would deny the revelations (7:182), hence 'disjoin' themselves from such a covenant.

Thanks.

Regards,
Athman.

74
Dear Br. Joseph,

As-salaam alaikum,

I wish to present my understanding of the place where Prophet Musa (pbuh) was summoned and thereby share what ‘thwur’ also seems to indicate from the Qur’anic usage as also coupled with ‘sinai.’ I as a result find some inconsistencies with your analysis [1] of the term ‘thwur.’ Would you kindly clarify where necessary.

"
From my perspective, the place where Prophet Musa (pbuh) perceived a fire, by the Mount side - ‘janibi thwuri’ (28:29) was a Holy valley referred to as ‘Thuwa’ (20:12). See also (79:16). It was from this place that Prophet Musa (pbuh) heard God’s voice from the RHS direction at the blessed spot (28:30). Some of the signs were initiated here. As to whether this is the same venue where the covenant in (20:80), the ‘miqat’ in (7:143) for the Law and another one in 7:155 (2:55) took place is something that could be of a separate discussion. This is with notice that the 1st one is described as ‘RHS’ of the mount - ‘janibi thwuri al-aymana’ (20:80), while the 2nd one as ‘western’ side - 'bijanibi al gharbiyya' (28:44) or ‘Mount’ side (janibi al-thwur) -28:46.

Thus the Qur’an identifies the position where Prophet Musa (pbuh) was summoned as being at the Holy valley of Thuwa (20:12). On the other hand, the Qur’an interchanges ‘thwur’ with ‘jabal’ in the verses captured below to implicate the synonymy of the two terms, especially as understood classically, as for instance as ‘a mountain, or any mountain that produces trees’ [2].

“And when We raised the mountain (al-jabala) above them (fauqahum) as if it was a dark cloud and they were certain that it would fall upon them, [and Allah said], ‘Take what We have given you with determination and remember what is in it that you might fear Allah.’ ” (Qur’an, Al-A’raf 7:171)

“And when We took your covenant, [O Children of Israel, to abide by the Torah] and We raised over you (fauqakumu) the mount (al-thwura), [saying], ‘Take what We have given you with determination and remember what is in it that you might fear Allah.’ ” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:63)

See also 2:93 and 4:154

Apart from the one connection of ‘thwur’ and ‘siniin’ in 95:2, another one occurs in 23:20 as captured below. A tree sprouting from Mount Sinai could possibly be linked to that olive (zaitun) one mentioned just before it in 95:2 or that one in 28:30 (mubarakat mina shajara). It could also possibly be that referred to in 24:35 (shajarati mubarakati zaituna).

“And [We brought forth] a tree issuing from Mount Sinai (thwuri saina-a) which produces oil and food for those who eat.” (Qur’an, Al-Mu’minun 23:20)


" [2]

Regards,
Athman.

REFERENCES:
[1]. MOUNT SINAI - BEHIND THE TRANSLATIONS
http://quransmessage.com/articles/tur%20FM3.htm
[2]. Miqat in 7:142
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=2548.0


75
General Discussions / Re: 5:38 how many hands?
« on: July 02, 2018, 06:22:55 AM »
Dear Wakas,

Peace be upon you,

Briefly, I think what 'Hope' asks has to do with the linguistics of the term 'aydiyahuma' as interpreted as one hand of each of the two thieves (male - 'sariqu' and female - 'sariqatu'). Ipso facto, one assumes that it should be addressed from the point of view of one who understands such a directive in 5:38 as that of 'cutting off' hands. Because you also seem to partly accept such an interpretation given some reservation, which in the main is also my view, it would have been more appropriate if you share your view concerning the same.

From my humble perspective, firstly, it is noteworthy that 'aydiyahuma' simply translates to 'their hands.'  This doesn't outright rule out 'one hand of each of the two accused.' As shared in my previous response, 'if the power or hands are attributed to individuals more than or equal to two in number, then ‘aydi’ is used as in many of the Qur’anic verses making use of the word. This is irrespective of whether it is one hand of each individual or both. If the address is an individual, his/her hand is referred to as ‘yad’ or rather his/her two hands are referred to as ‘yada.’ '

With a view to possibly extract some best deduction, one would expect to 'cut off' the 'hands of might' of the accused. It could be 'right hand' for some, and 'left hand' for others. It could even be the other hand for an unrelenting frequented such thief who is being re-punished. Thus, a combination of 'two hands' - 'yadayni' at a time, of all these possibilities for two individuals, would yield 'their hands' - 'aydi.'

Pertaining to your exposition, kindly see my responses in italics to your comments below.

It should be noted that like all punishments relating to members of a society, they are only enforceable if such a society is governed by the laws of The Quran.

Albeit I agree with you that the stipulated laws of equitable retribution for believers in the Qur'an can practically be enforced in an 'Islamic state,' I see such laws as providing general guidance on the same. It is within the discretion of a general state governance, except for an Islamic one, to either employ it or not. The Qur'an is for all times, and given advancements in the wider context of progressiveness, humankind would never surpass the wisdom behind the Qur'anic edicts in all spheres of life. In fact, they are bound to conform to the same. However, professing to actually follow the Qur'an regarding the same is a separate issue (41:53).

The male thief, and the female thief, you shall mark, cut, or cut-off their hands/means as a recompense for what they earned, and to serve as a deterrent from God. God is Noble, Wise. Whoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes amends, then God will relent on him. Truly, God is Forgiving, Merciful. [5:38-39]

Respectfully, I disagree with your probable interpretation of 'qata'a' to mean 'mark.' For the several instances the term appears in the Qur'an in its different constructs, I find it not used once to suggest 'marking.' Inherently, it also carries no nuance of marking. Therefore, unless some additional text would elaborate the nature of some 'qata'a' as that meant for 'marking' purposes, I would just default its meaning to 'cut/cut off/terminate/end/cross, etc' depending on context. For a lasting deterrent 'sealing' mark, I would expect use of such terms as 'khatama' as in (2:7, 6:46, 45:23), or 'seema' in (48:29, 55:41, 2:273) if not 'alama' - mark.

Firstly, it should be noted that the verse makes clear whoever commits theft but repents after and makes amends, then this is acceptable to God, thus no punishment can be administered in this case. This of course would only apply to those who do this before they have to be tried and found guilty.

I do concur. To highlight the intended context more precisely for the same, repentance when smelling possibility of trial or just before trial is never accepted. Rather, true repentance should be done soon after the crime/evil. See 4:17-18.

It is interesting to note that even though 12:31 uses the more intensive verb form and both "cut" and "hands" together, it does not mean "cut off". The less intensive form is used in 5:38.

In (7:124, 20:71, 26:49), use of the 'qatta'a' is made coupled with 'aydi' to still suggest 'cutting off.' The less intensive form 'qata'a' is employed in 59:5 not with 'aydi' but still to mean 'cut off.' 

Secondly, the Arabic word for "hands" (aydi) is often used in The Quran in a metaphorical/metonymical manner [some examples are 2:195, 2:237, 3:3, 3:73, 5:64, 6:93, 8:70, 9:29, 23:88, 28:47, 30:36, 38:45, 48:10, 48:24, 111:1], and often has a meaning of power/means/sustenance. Interestingly, when it means "sustenance" the plural is always used, as used in 5:38.
It should also be noted that this word is in the Arabic plural meaning 3 or more hands, whilst only two people are referenced: the male and the female thief. Some have commented that this plural usage causes problems for the common interpretation of hand cutting.

As for reference to 'sustenance/provision,' not only does the Quran use 'aydi,' verse 5:64 captures 'yad' and 111:1 'yada' for the same. Regarding commentary by some suggesting problems for the employment of 'aydi' for the two hands of the 'sariqs,' I would encourage one to criticize the same internally within the Qur'an rather than bet appropriateness of it via external commentary. One would not be doing the Qur'an its deserved justice. The Qur'an should speak for itself.

Thirdly, the word يَد (singular: yad, plural: aydi) in Arabic can refer to any part of the human arm; up to and including the shoulder joint. Therefore, it can refer to the hand from the fingertips up to the wrist, or up to the elbow, or up to the shoulder joint. There is no specification in verse 5:38 as to the point at which the aydi should allegedly be severed - which is unusual - whereas for ablution in 5:6 it specifies how much is to be washed (e.g. it says "wash your aydi upto the elbows").

As regards explicit details of some Qur'anic edicts, I would contend that the Qur'an highlights such details if it deems necessary, and overlooks the same if some wider wisdom is meant to be twinned with some implicitness. However, to claim or deny such implicit derivations is a separate matter. For instance, as I have noted in my previous comment, the punishing authority could possibly determine the extent of the hand-cut given some set criterion of discretion before them prior to such a punishment being meted out. A considerable list of parameters could possibly be at their disposal to effect the same. For instance, magnitude of theft, its overall impact on society, frequency of stealing, hand employed in stealing, actual part of hand that takes/steals, etc.

On the other hand, if we employ your rationale above over various Quranic commandments, for the 'extent' of such edicts, we can still question other commandments given somewhere else, e.g, those concerning 'numbers.' For example, while 24:2,4 explicitly stipulate the exact number of lashes to be flogged on the accused, the 'swalawat' verses do not explicitly specify an exact number of the same per day.


One other potential problem is created if 5:38 means to physically cut off the hand or hands of the thief, when we consider what were to happen if a person had no hands or had been punished before hence had no more hands to cut/mark or cut off.

Conversely, it can also be argued as to how an amputated believer or one born with 'amelia' would carry out such a commandment in 5:6.

Also, when lashes are given as punishment for proven adultery, The Quran states not to let pity/compassion prevent you from carrying out such a punishment [24:2], but it says no such thing for the alleged hand cutting-off verse, when many consider this punishment to be worse. This adds to the possibility that it should not be taken to mean this.

However, for those who wage war against God and His prophet (5:33), engage in adulterate prostitution (4:15) or homosexuality (4:16), no pity/compassion is suggested not to prevent the believers from dispensing with the deserved punishments either. However, only true repentance and amendments soon after a crime/evil can absolve dispensation of such punishments (4:17-18). I see 5:33 which may also involve 'death' as a punishment option to be 'worse' than 5:38. Therefore, I find 'cutting off' of the hand to still be a binding deliberation for such a crime.

Thus, it is possible to understand the punishment for thieves in four alternative ways:
(1) cutting off their hands
(2) cutting or marking their hands
(3) cutting their means/power to steal, e.g. detention/jail.
(4) cutting their sustenance, e.g. in order to compensate the value of the theft.

It does seem the punishment could be flexible depending upon the time, circumstances and severity of crime - it is up to the society to choose one of these meanings or a combination of them depending on the severity of the crime and their ability to enforce the penalty. 

I somehow do concur. However, what is contended is the context of such a punishment for such a typical 'thief.' Br. Joseph mentions in a thread [1] below:

"I am strongly swayed by two conditions: 'Nakalan' as a term used in 5:38 and the context of 'fasad fil ard' in the previous verses which I humbly feel should not be overlooked. These are no ordinary 'thief's' in my humble opinion given the conditions just cited, but those whose repeated transgressions are so indiscriminate and a serious deprivation to others which amount to clear 'fitna' in the land.  This would be no different from the kind of highway indecent robbery which was possibly commonplace amongst the people of Lot for which along with other lewd acts, were taken for severe retribution by God (29:29).
"

Thus, in my opinion, I find such a context to strongly advocate for an understanding given by your first intepretation (1).

It should be said however that the only working example given in The Quran of theft and its punishment is in the story of Joseph:

Thus, one possible meaning of 5:38 is to apply it in the manner provided by Joseph's example: the suspected thief is given a chance to confess and return the stolen goods, if not, then if found guilty, would be detained, for a set time and/or in order to work off the cost.

I do agree that some wisdom can be extracted from the narrative of Prophet Joseph (pbuh) and his brothers. It could also possibly be incorporated into a today's Islamic judicious system. However, I find such a narrative illustrating an equivalent retribution of a particular theft scenario in Islam for the time. I see such a deliberation as one dealing with a specific level of stealing and not as a sweeping dispensation for theft cases per se. With 12:73, one can argue that a distinction was made between one that unduly causes 'corruption in the land' (nafsidi fil ardhi) and a conditioned thief (sariqin).

I see such a suggested recompense in 12:75 to exact an ordinary 'thief' as was the case in that scenario, and also as implied in 12:77. On a different note, I see such a punishment to somehow be meted out in the spirit of your suggested interpretation (4), that is, detention for 'service' that is meant to compensate for the evil done; and not interpretation (3) that hints on penitentiary conditioning. Such recompense (3) would exact a higher degree of theft. With a heightened level of theft that would create undue insecurity and restlessness to the society, causing 'corruption in the land,' I see the 'cutting off' of hands to be appropriate.

To conclude, when all the above information is taken into account, it is clear that to physically cut off the hand or hands of the thief is not the only possible understanding and taking into account the law of equivalence would perhaps only be reserved for significant theft which led to harming others, hence harming the perpetrator. If a Muslim in authority, like Joseph was, were to apply the punishment for theft like Joseph did, then they would be following the example of one of the guided and a good doer, as stated by The Quran.

I do concur. However, it still has to be pointed out that the context of the punishment to be dispensed with such a typical 'thief' in 5:38 has to be carefully identified as that of a 'fasad fil ardh' and one that serves to act as a 'nakal.' With such tyrannical regime coupled with claims of Lordship by Pharaoh, with such violation of a binding Covenant coupled with unrelenting rigid character of the Sabbath breakers among Children of Israel, such formidable recompense to act as lasting deterrents - 'nakalan' (79:25, 2:66) are no doubt not for ordinary transgressions.

Thus, as a continuation of narratives that seem to draw on a particular theme as from 5:33, the punishment for the advanced 'thieves' in 5:38 would be 'cutting off' their hands, as a 'nakalan' - deterrent to them and others who tend to steal 'making mischief in the land,' e.g, causing undue insecurity and restlessness. This is in the capacity of the authoritative governance that seeks to secure its borders and the rights of the community it is meant to safeguard. Unwarranted wanton eccentricities that seek to threaten security and wellbeing of its subjects have to be dealt with squarely. In the main, God is stronger in might and stronger in deterrent punishment - ashaddu tankila (4:84).


Hopefully that clarifies my position.

Regards,
Athman.


REFERENCE:

[1]. Cutting off the Hands http://quransmessage.com/foru
m/index.php?topic=106.msg273#msg273

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