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Offline Wakas

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2013, 04:45:41 PM »
Salaam all,

I just wanted to add a note to this discussion. I recently completed an extensive research on "qiblah" and "al masjid al haram", as per Quran, and found an alternative to those shown below:


The main views that range are:

          (1) The original sanctuary built by Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was in Makkah (Traditional position)
          (2) The original sanctuary built by Prophet Abraham (pbuh) was towards the Holy Lands (My position)
          (3) The original Masjid al Haram was not in Makkah but in Jerusalem
          (4) The original Masjid al Haram was not in Makkah or Jerusalem but in Jabal al-Lawz
          (5) The original Masjid al Haram was in Makkah (My position and the traditional position)
          (6) The different locations of the first Qibla


The term "qiblah" means, in terms of likelihood:
1) focal-point - focus/centre of interest or activity
2) direction - general aim or purpose; a general way in which someone/something is developing
3) point-of-approach - a way in which to approaching something
4) counteraction - to oppose and mitigate the effects of by contrary action

"masjid" means "time of SJD/acknowledgement".

"al masjid al haram" means "the inviolable time of acknowledgement" (i.e. the term referring to the time-period/event of the inviolable months).

The above can provide a perfect fit with The Quran, and consequently renders much of this debate/controversy moot.

Link can be provided upon request.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2013, 10:25:54 PM »
Dear Wakas,

May peace be with you.

Thank you for sharing the outcome of your study with the readers of this forum. Much appreciated.

I have a few academic questions to ask regarding your understanding of the terms.

Please can you cite any Arabic literary source / lexicons which corroborates / supports your understanding of the terms as you have defined them, or do you respectfully acknowledge that this is merely a synthesis of your own Quranic study but has no support in any Arabic literary source / spoken Arabic language?


Furthermore:

MASJID:

Personally, I find that verse 18:21 clearly implies that a masjid is a structure / building. For example:

""Construct (ib'nu) over them a structure (bun'yanan).  Their Lord knows best about them". Those who prevailed in their matter said "Surely, we will take over them a Masjid""

I also see tension in other verses where I have slotted your understanding. Please kindly assist to clarify.

002:114
"And who is more unjust than the one who prevents from the Masjid of God that His name should be remembered IN THEM (Arabic fiha)"
Your understanding slotted: "And who is more unjust than the one who prevents from the 'time of SJD/acknowledgement' of God that His name should be remembered IN THEM (Arabic fiha)"

What is your understanding of 'fiha' in this context? How can God's name be prevented 'fiha' (in them) when masjid according to yourself is a 'time of SJD/acknowledgement'

009:017
It is not for the polytheists that they maintain / inhabit the Masjid of God
Your understanding slotted: "It is not for the polytheists that they maintain / inhabit 'time of SJD/acknowledgement' of God"

The verb 'amara' means to build upon something, maintain, inhabit or visit a thing often.

How can one 'inhabit' / maintain (ya'muru) God's 'time of SJD/acknowledgement'? Can time be inhabited / maintained? Please explain your understanding on this.

Similarly,

009:018
“Only he will maintain / inhabit (ya'muru) the masjid of God who believes ...”
Your understanding slotted: "Only he will maintain / inhabit (ya'muru) the 'time of SJD/acknowledgement' God who believes ..."
 

002:187
Your understanding slotted: "And do not have relations with them while you are secluded / resident IN (fi) 'time of SJD/acknowledgement'"

How can one be resident / secluded in a time of SJD?

017:007
Your understanding slotted: And to enter (liyadkhulu) the 'time of SJD/acknowledgement'.

How can one 'enter' a time of SJD?

In the following verse, Masjid seems to be a place of worship, given that Masjid appears with monasteries, churches and synagogues. Please can you clarify.

022:040
"Surely would have been demolished monasteries (sawami'u) and churches (wabiya'un) and wasalawatun (and synagogues) and masajid (time of SJD?)"



Al-MASJID AL HARAM

I have slotted your understanding into some of the Quranic verses. With respect, once I have done so, I find difficulty in the understanding of those verses. Please assist to clarify if you kindly will.


002:144 - So turn your face towards the DIRECTION (Arabic: shatra) of "the inviolable time of acknowledgement" - How can one turn towards the direction of a time? - Please clarify.
002:191 - And do not fight them NEAR (Arabic: inda) "the inviolable time of acknowledgement" until they should fight you IN IT (Arabic: fihi)
009:007 - Except those with whom you made a covenant NEAR (inda) the "the inviolable time of acknowledgement"
009:028 - So let them not come near the "the inviolable time of acknowledgement" after this year of theirs
017:001 - Glory be to Him, who carried His servant by night from the "the inviolable time of acknowledgement"
048:027 - Surely, you will enter "the inviolable time of acknowledgement", if God wills, secure"


With respect, as always,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Orange

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2013, 10:53:47 AM »
Jabal al-Lawz in Saudi Arabia is the true Mount Sinai.

http://www.bobcornuke.com/content/mount-sinai

Disclaimer Statement

The research and site survey being investigated by the BASE Institute has strong potential. Is it the Biblical Mt. Sinai? The BASE Institute does not make the claim that we have found Mount Sinai. We'll let you draw your own conclusions. In our opinion, it's a candidate. The research continues.

Offline Wakas

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #48 on: January 17, 2013, 05:28:41 AM »
Dear Joseph,
w/salaam.

Quote
Please can you cite any Arabic literary source / lexicons which corroborates / supports your understanding of the terms as you have defined them, or do you respectfully acknowledge that this is merely a synthesis of your own Quranic study but has no support in any Arabic literary source / spoken Arabic language?

I have not checked all Classical Arabic dictionaries but I am not aware of this specific meaning in them. However, I do know traditional translators such as Shakir, Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad use "time of prayer/prostration" for "masjid", but I do not know if they simply made this up or based it on earlier commentaries. They likely based it on earlier commentaries, so the "time" aspect likely has some support in sources.

Further, grammarians openly acknowledge that the form "ma3fil" (same as "masjid") is known as a "noun of time and place", indicating when and/or where the verb occurs. I discuss this in my article.

Thus, the meanings I have stated are theoretically possible, there is no doubt about that.

In my analysis of occurrences, I discuss every one. I will quote from my articles in regard to the verses you cite as potentially problematic:




18:21 And like that We made known about them that they might know that God's promise is true and that the Hour there is no doubt in it. When they disputed amongst themselves about their issue, so said: "Build over/upon them a building". Their Lord knows best about them. Those who prevailed on their issue said: "Surely we will take* (to ourselves) over/upon them a maSJD."
*verb form 8, reflexive.

Interestingly, almost all translators seemingly neglect certain aspects of this verse:
    Firstly, they imply a physical building was built (worse still, a Mosque) over them (i.e. their graves), as some sort of shrine in their memory, which is completely against the message of The Quran (i.e. no saint/human reverence). Some commentators do not distinguish whether this was a good or bad thing, i.e. do not clarify who "prevailed" in the dispute, the right view or wrong view. The flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right, otherwise there would be little point ending on this note. It seems most commentators have this view also.
    Secondly, it clearly states there is a dispute and some said "build a building over/upon them" yet it later says those who prevailed said "surely we will take (to ourselves) a maSJD over/upon them" clearly implying there must be a significant difference between each side's position. If traditionally understood, the only difference is one argues for a building, the other argues for a Mosque. What kind of building would have been built by the former side? It would most likely be a communal building, i.e. a Mosque-type building, thus trying to determine the difference in their arguments is difficult going by the traditional understanding. As a side note, Asad makes a reasonable interpretation of the term "over/upon them" as "in their memory", which seems plausible.
    Thirdly, the former expression uses "build a building..." and the latter uses "take (to ourselves) a maSJD...", as if they were both about building why not use the same word? Not to mention "take to ourselves (a building)" doesn't quite make sense, as it implies a pre-existing thing. To check this, out of 128 occurrences of this specific verb form there are five occurrences that may refer to "taking for/to oneself a structure/building" and they are:

29:41 (implies pre-existing thing)
9:108 (unclear)
7:74 - "take FROM (partitive) its plains palaces" (plains are pre-existing) or from context may refer to existing Thamud structures
26:129 (implies pre-existing thing)
16:68 (implies pre-existing thing)

Thus, the evidence is weighted in favour of a pre-existing thing. To use a reflexive verb such as this, to refer to building/creating something anew seems odd. To refute this, evidence to the contrary would have to be brought. Interestingly, this simple observation helped illuminate the parable of the spider: click to read.
    Lastly, since it implies the ones who prevailed had it right, we must ask ourselves what is the message of this verse? Well, clearly for the people in question God gave them a sign in this story. After this lesson, they disputed, some said "build a building over them" and in-between the other side's argument it says 'Their Lord knows best about them' (also mentioned in subsequent verses), implying their number or who they were is not the point, thus no need for a building, as their Lord knows best about them, and it is the outcome/lesson of the story or God's will prevailing that is important. Also, in 18:22 it says "do not dispute about them except with an argument obvious/apparent", and since AQ does not clarify their number which seems to be the main dispute, the primary obvious/apparent argument is the lesson of their story, and this is what people should be reminded of and take to themselves.
May be interesting to read in conjunction with 2:125, for a comparison of a similar phrasing "...take (to yourselves) from the status/position of Abraham a time/place of bonding/blessing/honour/commendation...".

#####

2:113 And the Jews said: "The Nazarenes have no basis," and the Nazarenes said: "The Jews have no basis," while they are both reciting the decree/writ! Like that, those who do not know said a similar thing. So God will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection in what they were differing in.
2:114 And who is more wicked/unjust than one who prevented God's maSaJiD to be remembered/mentioned His name in them and strived in their ruin/waste/uncultivation? Those! Not it was for them that they enter/dKhl them except as those fearing; they will have humiliation in this world and in the Hereafter a painful retribution.

Note the use of "those!" in 2:114, implying those previously mentioned are doing this. Are the previous incidences examples of ruining and preventing God's maSaJiD to be mentioned His name in them? If so, the salat mentioned in 2:110 may be of relevance to the context, as it could be argued the regular/timed salat is an example of a maSJD, i.e. a time of SJD/acknowledgement. (Background: salat article)
    Note the use of "enter" implying whatever maSJD is it can be entered, but this is not necessarily an entering of a building, e.g. see how the word dKhl is used in 5:61, 72:17, 2:208, 7:151, 17:80, 27:19, 49:14, 110:2.
    The phrase "not it was for them that they enter them except as those fearing" is a little unusual. For a comparison, this perhaps should be read in conjunction with 48:27, in which an example of entering "al masjid al haram" not fearing is given. Possibly implying they (believers) may have feared previously when entering. If we imagine one group is in a minority and they attempt to disrupt something the majority are trying to uphold then it would be natural to "fear" doing so - of what may happen, e.g. the consequences, e.g. humiliation, or worse. See 41:26, 7:204, 17:46, 15:91, 23:67, 43:31, 25:32 - for ways in which people cause problems or prevent others from the message.
The traditional understanding is related to attempting to destroy Mosques, however, there is no clear evidence of this taking place in AQ as far as I'm aware.

#####

Note the plural, not singular:

9:17 It was not for the polytheists that they develop/cultivate/enliven* God's maSaJiD (while) witnessing over their own rejection/concealment. For these, their works have fallen, and in the Fire they will abide.
9:18 Only will develop/cultivate/enliven* God's maSaJiD is one who believed in God and the Last Day, and upheld/established the bond/salat, and brought forth betterment/zakat, and does not fear except God. Then perhaps these that will be of the guided ones.
*Arabic: ya'muru, root: Ayn-Miim-Ra, other occurrences of this form lessen the possibility of "maintain" as a meaning, e.g. see 30:9. Please note the difference between "maintain" and "develop".

These verses likely refer to the mix of polytheists, i.e. those who did and did not break the treaty, see chapter 9. In 9:18 note the use of imperfect and perfect verbs, implying in future only those who did X, Y, Z will be able to develop/enliven God's maSaJiD.
    Note the important and very interesting use of the word "asa/perhaps" in 9:18 which clearly shows even if you believe and do the aforementioned things you may not be of the guided ones. This notion ties in with verses such as 7:28 in which those who believe in a diety/Allah are doing things not authorised by Him, in other words, one can believe in God but still be on a Quranic journey, purifying their beliefs/practices as they go.

#####

2:187 Lawful for you nights (of) the abstinence is sexual approach* to your women, they are a garment for you and you are a garment for them. God knows that you used to betray/deceive yourselves so He turned towards you and He forgave you; so now approach** them and seek what God has decreed/written for you. And eat and drink until becomes distinct the white thread from the black thread, of dawn. Then you shall complete the abstinence until the night, and do not approach** them while you are devoting/cleaving in the maSaJiD. These are God's boundaries, so do not transgress them. It is thus that God makes His revelations clear to the people that they may be righteous/God-concious.
*Arabic: RaFaTh (root: Ra-Fa-Tha)
**Arabic: BaShiR (root: Ba-Shin-Ra)

IF one takes masajid=mosques then if women were not allowed in them, it would make this statement illogical, thus clearly implying women could be present in the mosques. It also implies men and women are unlikely to be segregated, as they could approach one another, i.e. interact.
    Who in their right mind would approach their wife in a sexual manner in a public Mosque? Was this such a temptation or common practice that AQ had to tell them not to do it? According to history/tradition mosques in those early days were very basic or simply courtyards thus unlikely to have multiple rooms so it seems even more odd to suggest such a thing taking place in a Mosque. This traditional understanding verges on the nonsensical.
    IF masajids=mosques, why even mention mosques, when there is much greater chance of sexual temptation in the homes during abstinence? The traditional commentators attempt an explanation for this, e.g Jalalayn/Ibn Kathir say this is referring to 'itikaf' (spiritual retreat in the mosque) when believers would leave the mosque for sex then return, when they are meant to reside at the mosque for a certain number of days. This is a complete insertion of course, and hardly "clear" as it implies at the end of the verse, and the obvious error as it says "...WHILE YOU are devoting/cleaving IN the masajid" not when one leaves them. So, it would seem they interpret it as "...while you are staying in the masajid (for itikaf)...".
    If it did mean 'itikaf' then this is not explained elsewhere in AQ, e.g. how many days, what does it involve, why, is it obligatory, examples of anyone actually doing it etc. If we are relying upon AQ only for our understanding of this verse, then 'itikaf' must be rejected outright. The consequence of this however, is that it renders the understanding of masajid=mosques illogical, or at least very unusual.
    Another explanation put forth for this verse is that sexual approach to your women is permitted in the nights of the abstinence but not when one is staying in the mosques, e.g. The Sacred Mosque (in Mecca). Not for "itikaf" per se but simply a spiritual/devotional retreat there, e.g. travellers to The Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) may have come from afar and thus set up tents there, and this verse is referring to them (a verse cited to support this notion of "residency/staying" is 22:25). Not that I necessarily agree with this explanation, but it is at least more plausible than the Traditional explanation, which advocates a specific practice of "itikaf" rather than an undefined one. It is debatable whether the word "akif" means "reside/stay" according to Quran usage, but in any case people staying-over in the mosque seems odd/impractical if one takes "tawaf" as "circumambulation" for example, and the "hadiy" (gifts/offerings) are also to be taken to such a venue. It could make "circumambulation" rather awkward, and if many residents/gifts/animals, perhaps impossible.

#####

I consider 22:40 perhaps the best example of a non-time understanding, however even this does not provide concrete counter-evidence:

22:39 It is permitted for those who have been persecuted to fight. And God is able to give them victory.
22:40 Those who were expelled from their homes without right, except that they said: "Our Lord is God!" And if it were not for God checking/defending the people, some by others, surely would have been overturned/demolished monasteries and churches/synagogues and synagogues/blessings/bonds/petitions and maSaJiD in which the name of God is mentioned/remembered much. And surely God will help those who help Him. Indeed God is Powerful, Noble.
22:41 Those who if We empower them in the land, they uphold/establish the salat/bond, and give forth betterment, and enjoin the right and forbid from the wrong. And to God is the conclusion of matters.

According to CAD "salawatun" (the plural of 'salat') can mean "synagogues", hence translators opting for this. Interestingly, it should be noted that if "salawatun" were translated as "prayers", as it is elsewhere in AQ by most translators, it would not fit as "prayers" are not destroyable. Coincidence? The word "biya'un" can also mean "synagogues" hence putting it twice above.
The implication of 22:40 is that God does not want these things to be ruined. Somewhat unusually, it singles out 'maSaJiD' saying "in which the name of God is mentioned/remembered much", implying the others listed do not have this or some maSaJiD do not have this. A more detailed study into the possible CAD meanings of "sawami" and "biya'un" may need to be done.
24:36 may be interesting to note as it uses "buyoot/houses" not "masajid". IF masjid=mosque, it seems that could have been more appropriate to use.

###

And as for 17:7 and 2:144 the quotes are rather lengthy, thus it would be better to view them directly on the article pages, article 3 in the series:

Articles:
1) http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/meaning-of-SuJuD-from-Quran.html
2) http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/meaning-masjid-quran.html
3) http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/meaning-masjid-al-haram-Quran.html


I thought you had already read the above articles, but if not, please take your time, and if/when you have time to respond, please do so.
Even if you prefer not to respond at length, you may wish to tackle the multiple problems I highlight for an understanding of "place of sujud, i.e. Masjid" and "The Sacred Masjid" which I assume are your understandings.



Offline HOPE

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2013, 07:08:35 AM »
Salaam Wakas,

Quote
Interestingly, almost all translators seemingly neglect certain aspects of this verse:
    Firstly, they imply a physical building was built (worse still, a Mosque) over them (i.e. their graves), as some sort of shrine in their memory, which is completely against the message of The Quran (i.e. no saint/human reverence). Some commentators do not distinguish whether this was a good or bad thing, i.e. do not clarify who "prevailed" in the dispute, the right view or wrong view. The flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right, otherwise there would be little point ending on this note. It seems most commentators have this view also.
    Secondly, it clearly states there is a dispute and some said "build a building over/upon them" yet it later says those who prevailed said "surely we will take (to ourselves) a maSJD over/upon them" clearly implying there must be a significant difference between each side's position. If traditionally understood, the only difference is one argues for a building, the other argues for a Mosque. What kind of building would have been built by the former side? It would most likely be a communal building, i.e. a Mosque-type building, thus trying to determine the difference in their arguments is difficult going by the traditional understanding. As a side note, Asad makes a reasonable interpretation of the term "over/upon them" as "in their memory", which seems plausible.

My understanding of this verse is different.  When the youth went to the cave, Christianity was not adopted as the religion of the Roman empire.  People knew where they were.  Some suggested to erect a building over the cave to bury them.  309 years later, christianity is accepted and when the story is discovered, people wanted to build a monument or a house of worship in the location.  In Roman Catholics, there is a concept of saint worship
In both instances, there is an activity of building, with different time periods with different purposes.

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Offline islamist

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #50 on: January 18, 2013, 03:30:43 AM »
#####

2:187 Lawful for you nights (of) the abstinence is sexual approach* to your women, they are a garment for you and you are a garment for them. God knows that you used to betray/deceive yourselves so He turned towards you and He forgave you; so now approach** them and seek what God has decreed/written for you. And eat and drink until becomes distinct the white thread from the black thread, of dawn. Then you shall complete the abstinence until the night, and do not approach** them while you are devoting/cleaving in the maSaJiD. These are God's boundaries, so do not transgress them. It is thus that God makes His revelations clear to the people that they may be righteous/God-concious.
*Arabic: RaFaTh (root: Ra-Fa-Tha)
**Arabic: BaShiR (root: Ba-Shin-Ra)

IF one takes masajid=mosques then if women were not allowed in them, it would make this statement illogical, thus clearly implying women could be present in the mosques. It also implies men and women are unlikely to be segregated, as they could approach one another, i.e. interact.
    Who in their right mind would approach their wife in a sexual manner in a public Mosque? Was this such a temptation or common practice that AQ had to tell them not to do it? According to history/tradition mosques in those early days were very basic or simply courtyards thus unlikely to have multiple rooms so it seems even more odd to suggest such a thing taking place in a Mosque. This traditional understanding verges on the nonsensical.
    IF masajids=mosques, why even mention mosques, when there is much greater chance of sexual temptation in the homes during abstinence? The traditional commentators attempt an explanation for this, e.g Jalalayn/Ibn Kathir say this is referring to 'itikaf' (spiritual retreat in the mosque) when believers would leave the mosque for sex then return, when they are meant to reside at the mosque for a certain number of days. This is a complete insertion of course, and hardly "clear" as it implies at the end of the verse, and the obvious error as it says "...WHILE YOU are devoting/cleaving IN the masajid" not when one leaves them. So, it would seem they interpret it as "...while you are staying in the masajid (for itikaf)...".
    If it did mean 'itikaf' then this is not explained elsewhere in AQ, e.g. how many days, what does it involve, why, is it obligatory, examples of anyone actually doing it etc. If we are relying upon AQ only for our understanding of this verse, then 'itikaf' must be rejected outright. The consequence of this however, is that it renders the understanding of masajid=mosques illogical, or at least very unusual.
    Another explanation put forth for this verse is that sexual approach to your women is permitted in the nights of the abstinence but not when one is staying in the mosques, e.g. The Sacred Mosque (in Mecca). Not for "itikaf" per se but simply a spiritual/devotional retreat there, e.g. travellers to The Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) may have come from afar and thus set up tents there, and this verse is referring to them (a verse cited to support this notion of "residency/staying" is 22:25). Not that I necessarily agree with this explanation, but it is at least more plausible than the Traditional explanation, which advocates a specific practice of "itikaf" rather than an undefined one. It is debatable whether the word "akif" means "reside/stay" according to Quran usage, but in any case people staying-over in the mosque seems odd/impractical if one takes "tawaf" as "circumambulation" for example, and the "hadiy" (gifts/offerings) are also to be taken to such a venue. It could make "circumambulation" rather awkward, and if many residents/gifts/animals, perhaps impossible.
Salaam!

I am not interfering in this discussion between two very learned brothers.  But would like to make some comments in just one post.  Brother waqas,  I had a quick look through your points; hope to go in detail at some other stage.  You seem to have done lot of homework.  Some of your points make really good sense, but some are not as such.  I agree there may be some valid points in your claim of ‘theoretical  possibility of the meanings' you have stated, however, according to me, in majority of cases,  Masjid has an implication of a “structure” as JI has pointed out.  May be at some places like 2:187 there is possibility it can have a different connotation and your study might be relevant.   

One point I must admit here.  I have heard and read verse 2:187 hundreds of times, but you made me to have a close look at this verse (many thanks to you).  I was checking, particularly this verse, how different translators have translated, and I agree with you a traditional understanding does not make sense and going through different translations we can notice some sort of difficulty the translators faced while interpreting the verse;
 
But do not have sexual intercourse with them/ associate with wives/ touch them not/ do not go into them/ but do not lie with them skin to skin/ do not have contact with them;
 
while you are in retreat in the mosques – Yousuf Ali / touch them not, but be at your devotions in the mosques – Pickthall / when you are about to abide in meditation in houses of worship - Mohamed Asad /  while you keep to the mosques – Shakkir / while you remain in the Mosques for devotion – Sher Ali/ when you have decided to stay in the mosques for assiduous devotion/ while you dwell in confinement in the mosques/ while you perform I`tikaf (- while you are secluding in the mosque for prayer and devotion to God) / while you are consecrating yourselves in the mosques/ as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques/ during I‘htikaf (retreat in the mosques in last ten days of Ramadhan), etc


One odd explanation, not verbal translation as such, I found was from Parwez who has ‘explained’ the verse as follows, “From dawn to dusk you are required to fast. If after dusk you are detained at your centre (of training or activity e.g. Masjid) in order to ponder or resolve some important issue or problem, then you should devote your total attention to the task in hand and refrain from going home”!!  This 'explanation' not actually justifying the verbal meaning as such, however there is possibility that it could be the intended meaning of the verse.  Allahu Ahlam!
 
Also I have a few comments (critical) for your following statements
 
Quote
Firstly, they imply a physical building was built (worse still, a Mosque) over them (i.e. their graves), as some sort of shrine in their memory, which is completely against the message of The Quran (i.e. no saint/human reverence). Some commentators do not distinguish whether this was a good or bad thing, i.e. do not clarify who "prevailed" in the dispute, the right view or wrong view. The flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right, otherwise there would be little point ending on this note. It seems most commentators have this view also.

I do not think the flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right due to; (1) The Quran is  making a point here about the people who came after them getting involved in unnecessary disputes; (2) Building a place of worship over graves/ or at any place in memmory of any human being cannot be an Islamic act.  So there is no question of majority being right.

Quote
Secondly, it clearly states there is a dispute and some said "build a building over/upon them" yet it later says those who prevailed said "surely we will take (to ourselves) a maSJD over/upon them" clearly implying there must be a significant difference between each side's position. If traditionally understood, the only difference is one argues for a building, the other argues for a Mosque. What kind of building would have been built by the former side? It would most likely be a communal building, i.e. a Mosque-type building, thus trying to determine the difference in their arguments is difficult going by the traditional understanding.

I think the significant difference between each side’s positions is very clear since one group is for a monument without being a place of worship and the other group for a place of worship.
 
Quote
Thirdly, the former expression uses "build a building..." and the latter uses "take (to ourselves) a maSJD...", as if they were both about building why not use the same word? Not to mention "take to ourselves (a building)" doesn't quite make sense, as it implies a pre-existing thing.

Again, the first expression is just to build building without being a place of worship.  Also, even admitting your argument that it is a pre-existing thing, one thing you can not deny that the building was constructed only at a later stage after their story became known to others (since it is masjid ‘over them’).  It could be that majority wanted to convert a pre-existing building over their grave into a place of worship! May be (Allahu Ahlam)

Offline Duster

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2013, 04:08:30 AM »
Shalom / Peace

I did a search on verse 2.187 on this forum and I find brother Joseph Islam's response on this quite convincing with the problem raised.

I think if the role of the mosque is understood properly (as brother JI explains) then there isn't a problem in interpretation I feel.

Please see >>>

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=274.msg848;topicseen#msg848

Offline islamist

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2013, 01:45:57 PM »
Shalom / Peace

I did a search on verse 2.187 on this forum and I find brother Joseph Islam's response on this quite convincing with the problem raised.

I think if the role of the mosque is understood properly (as brother JI explains) then there isn't a problem in interpretation I feel.

Please see >>>

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=274.msg848;topicseen#msg848

Good! Some points are clarified.  However, at the least in case of Masjid ul Haram,  it seems, the term “Masjid” has a wider connotation rather than just a building or structure, primarily because its role includes (as JI pointed out); a place of return (mathabatan), a place of security (aman),  a place of stay (to be resident (akifina) and a place of worship! -  and especially (quoting 22:25) its role “We have made (open) to (all) men - equal is the dweller there / inhabitant (Arabic: akifu) and the visitor from the country (which country?)”.  I prefer Muhammad Asad translation here as ‘those who dwell there and those who come from abroad’.  It is clear a distinction is made between dwellers/ residents in Masjid ul Haram and the visitors (from all countries including its surrounding places) – we can’t expect people permanently residing/ dwelling with their families inside Masjid ul Haram (in the sense of a building/ stucture) and dwellers/ residents cannot be said to be temporarily residing there as 'visitors' due to visitors issue is separately mentioned.  Allahu Ahlam

Offline Wakas

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2013, 06:20:00 AM »
w/salaam islamist,

I agree that some points made in my article are significant, whilst some are minor. I state so in the introduction.

Can you clarify what you mean by point 2:
Quote
I do not think the flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right due to; (1) The Quran is  making a point here about the people who came after them getting involved in unnecessary disputes; (2) Building a place of worship over graves/ or at any place in memmory of any human being cannot be an Islamic act.  So there is no question of majority being right.

The following requires the meaning of "ibnu" to mean "convert" which does not fit with its other occurrences:
Quote
Also, even admitting your argument that it is a pre-existing thing, one thing you can not deny that the building was constructed only at a later stage after their story became known to others (since it is masjid ‘over them’).  It could be that majority wanted to convert a pre-existing building over their grave into a place of worship!

Please bear in mind the following statements in my articles:
Quote
Place of SJD (i.e. mosque) and institution of SJD/obedience fare most poorly in 18:21 and 2:187.
and
'The Sacred Mosque' fares most poorly in 17:1, 2:142-150, 2:217, 9:28, and relatively poorly in 2:196, 22:25, 9:19. Also,
Quote
please note that traditional commentators (e.g. Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Al-Jalalayn, Ibn Abbas) frequently switch their understanding of AMAH depending on verse, e.g. it can mean 'the sacred site/area of prostration' in 17:1, 'kaaba (cuboid)' in 2:144/2:149/2:150, 'the sanctuary / Mecca' in 2:196, 2:217, 22:25, 9:28. Usually, when one forces an incorrect understanding into AQ it will  result in inconsistency/variance/contradiction, see the important test of 4:82. If the problems discussed in this work can be answered then it recommended for those advocating such a view to put forth their answers.

In my view, whilst 18:21 and 2:187 fare most poorly out of the "masjid" occurrences for such an understanding, the "al masjid al haram" occurrences are more problematic.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #54 on: January 19, 2013, 09:24:21 AM »
Dear Wakas,

Thank you so much for responding.

I feel it apt to acknowledge from the outset that albeit there exists at times differences in our approach to the Quranic narratives, there are also many areas of thought that we both share. 

Please see below a sincere critique of your contentions imparted with academic sincerity. I trust that you will acknowledge this with the same sincerity with which it is imparted and take anything you find plausible and good in it, God willing.

I understand from your posts above that you have specific contentions with the traditional understanding. 

You assert that:

Quote
“18:21 and 2:187 fare most poorly out of the "masjid" occurrences for such an understanding,”

Therefore, I will deal with these contentions directly.

Please see my responses in black to your contentions reproduced in brown below.


VERSE 18:21

Interestingly, almost all translators seemingly neglect certain aspects of this verse:

As I’m sure you will appreciate, the strength of the evidence of one’s position should not be argued merely on the basis of the perceived weakness of another’s position. There should be unequivocal evidence for one’s own position. Therefore, I have taken your statement as a general sentiment as I trust you will take mine.

Firstly, they imply a physical building was built (worse still, a Mosque) over them (i.e. their graves), as some sort of shrine in their memory, which is completely against the message of The Quran (i.e. no saint/human reverence).

The Quran simply narrates an incident with a view to explain what happened. It doesn’t take a theological stance in what they decided nor did the people in question follow the Quran. Therefore, your appeal to something being incongruent with the Quran’s message is respectfully, non sequitur.

Furthermore, it is well known to Christendom that places of devotion have often been associated with revered or respected personalities. 'Martyriums' have often known to have turned to churches in later periods.

Some commentators do not distinguish whether this was a good or bad thing, i.e. do not clarify who "prevailed" in the dispute, the right view or wrong view.

In my humble view, there is no basis for such an expectation, hence I do not see the reason why any commentator needs to elucidate. The Quran merely intends to narrate an incident in truth.

The flow and logic of the verse would imply those who prevailed were in the right, otherwise there would be little point ending on this note. It seems most commentators have this view also.

Again, best evidence for one’s own position is not dependent on human commentary. The Quran merely intends to focus on the end result which is that a place of devotion was finally built. In the process it captures an aspect of the dispute, but I do not see that to accept an absence / ambiguity of a theological stance by the Quran on the issue to be interpreted as illogical. The Quran simply captures an incident culminating at what was built.

Secondly, it clearly states there is a dispute and some said "build a building over/upon them" yet it later says those who prevailed said "surely we will take (to ourselves) a maSJD over/upon them" clearly implying there must be a significant difference between each side's position.

Not necessarily. I find the Quran simply captures some views that were put forth. I think to read into this an 'extent' in disparity of opinion is humbly, unwarranted. Many people often argue over the most insignificant of matters avoiding the wider context where there can be mutual agreement.

After all, the discussion could merely be whether a Martyrium should be built or a church outright which would double as a place of worship (i.e. type of building). Please remember, those that decided on the matter were not followers of the Quran.

If traditionally understood, the only difference is one argues for a building, the other argues for a Mosque. What kind of building would have been built by the former side?

I have already posited one suggestion, a Martyrium. But whatever the proposal was, this does not contradict the assertion that a ‘Masjid’ remains a building. The intent was to erect some sort of structure / a building (bunyanan) in commemoration.. Those that prevailed, decided on a place of devotion (Masjid). Hence, why I have maintained, that Masjid remains a building.

It would most likely be a communal building, i.e. a Mosque-type building, thus trying to determine the difference in their arguments is difficult going by the traditional understanding. As a side note, Asad makes a reasonable interpretation of the term "over/upon them" as "in their memory", which seems plausible.

Granted. However, once again in my humble view, presentation of human commentaries should not be considered sine qua non for determining best Quranic evidence.

Thirdly, the former expression uses "build a building..." and the latter uses "take (to ourselves) a maSJD...", as if they were both about building why not use the same word?

Because buildings can have different purposes.

Not to mention "take to ourselves (a building)" doesn't quite make sense, as it implies a pre-existing thing. To check this, out of 128 occurrences of this specific verb form there are five occurrences that may refer to "taking for/to oneself a structure/building" and they are:

29:41 (implies pre-existing thing)
9:108 (unclear)
7:74 - "take FROM (partitive) its plains palaces" (plains are pre-existing) or from context may refer to existing Thamud structures
26:129 (implies pre-existing thing)
16:68 (implies pre-existing thing)



‘yattakhidhu’ simply means to take something which does not need to imply a pre-existing thing. It can imply taking something after it has been 'created'. For example, in the following verse, the intoxicants are a derivative product that is created afterwards which did not 'pre-exist'.

‘Wamin thamarati-nakhili wal-a’nabi tattakhiduna min’hu sakaran wariz’qan hasanan’ or loosely translated, “And from fruits (and) the date-palm and the grapes, you take intoxicants and a provision. (16:67).

With respect, I do not see the tension.

Thus, the evidence is weighted in favour of a pre-existing thing.

With respect, I find your conclusion non-sequitur, in at least what has been presented hitherto.

Lastly, since it implies the ones who prevailed had it right,

I do not agree. There is no such conclusion drawn by the Quran which does not take an unequivocal theological stance on the matter. At best, both positions can be argued for.

we must ask ourselves what is the message of this verse?

Let me humbly posit a few suggestions of my own which are by no means intended to be comprehensive.

  • Those that prevail in their disputes 'may not' always be correct. Consider the outcome of the Council of Nicaea.
  • The decision to construct a 'masjid' was the result of a 'possible' unanimous decision.
  • How successive generations have often inclined to personality reverence / saint worship.
  • Places of worship possibly existed in the name of revered personalities or near burial sites. Once again, possible lean to overt human reverence / intercession of revered personalities
  • The notion of consultations existed (irrespective of the outcome and it at times, resulting in communal discord). Where consultations generally are encouraged by the Quran 42:38, 3:159, one should endeavour to ensure they don't end up in disputes.
  • To leave to posterity signs to ascertain the location of the narrative in question. See verse 18:17 for example. The wisdom behind this is further open to interpretations. Please see my article below [1] which for me at least, speaks volumes of the authenticity of scripture. Question could be asked, if the location of the incident is at Ephesus, Turkey, how did an Arabian Prophet from the desert describe the location so vividly given that he likely had no access to the site given the arguable political inaccessibility and geographical separation?

THE SLEEPERS OF THE CAVE - THE QURAN, HISTORICAL SOURCES AND OBSERVATION
http://quransmessage.com/travelogues/seven%20sleepers%20FM3.htm


Well, clearly for the people in question God gave them a sign in this story. After this lesson, they disputed, some said "build a building over them" and in-between the other side's argument it says 'Their Lord knows best about them' (also mentioned in subsequent verses), implying their number or who they were is not the point, thus no need for a building, as their Lord knows best about them, and it is the outcome/lesson of the story or God's will prevailing that is important. Also, in 18:22 it says "do not dispute about them except with an argument obvious/apparent", and since AQ does not clarify their number which seems to be the main dispute, the primary obvious/apparent argument is the lesson of their story, and this is what people should be reminded of and take to themselves.
May be interesting to read in conjunction with 2:125, for a comparison of a similar phrasing "...take (to yourselves) from the status/position of Abraham a time/place of bonding/blessing/honour/commendation...".


With respect, I cannot see that your contention based on 18:21 warrants a re-analysis of the Arabic word 'masjid', which remains of well established meaning not only from both Arabic literary sources and common parlance, but also in my humble view, the Quran.


VERSE 2:187

With regards the above, I believe that a possible inability to reconcile the understanding is based on limiting the scope of the role of a Masjid from a Quranic perspective. Duster has already shared my perspectives on this on a related thread (Thanks Duster). I will reproduce associated links:

http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=274.msg848;topicseen#msg848
http://quransmessage.com/forum/index.php?topic=198.0


FINAL THOUGHTS

Dear brother Wakas, with respect, for me to even consider an alternative rendition of a well established word of a language, or any theological concept, I have to be absolutely, unambiguously and unequivocally convinced / certain that a problem exists in the first place. I am sure you will at least, appreciate this sentiment. This is long before I embark upon an intricate journey of surveying possible alternative meanings and theological positions.

Hence why I have, with respect sought direct input from you to show me where the problem even exists. I really would like to be convinced so that I may assess the matter for myself with sincerity. At the moment, I humbly find that there is no justification in conducting a study to survey possible alternative meanings as the difficulties you have with the verses you cite are based on your problematic assumptions which are not allowing you to reconcile the verses appropriately.

Once again, thank you so much for sharing your perspectives / study with the readers of this forum and please take anything from this critique which you find useful.

With respect and warm regards as always.
Joseph.


REFERENCE:

[1] THE SLEEPERS OF THE CAVE - THE QURAN, HISTORICAL SOURCES AND OBSERVATION
http://quransmessage.com/travelogues/seven%20sleepers%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Peaceful

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #55 on: January 19, 2013, 11:44:38 AM »
Isn't this all with the presupposition that the Mecca was a physical location at the Prophet's time?
What if later 'Muslims' had that verse re-interpreted so as to lead the true believers away from the real Qibla?

24   And He it is Who hath withheld men's hands from you, and hath withheld your hands from them, in the valley of Mecca, after He had made you victors over them. Allah is Seer of what ye do.   
 25   These it was who disbelieved and debarred you from the Inviolable Place of Worship, and debarred the offering from reaching its goal.


The Arabic word for Valley is Wadi. Why is this translated so many different ways? It appears as if Makkah was a stronghold for the disbelievers. All the Quran states about the 'Meccans' is that they prohibited worship and donations from reaching another physical location. There is no evidence that the Sacred Mosque is inside Mecca.

(SI) within [the area of] Makkah
(Khan/Ali)the midst of Makkah
(Pickthall/Shakir)the valley of Mecca
(Ghali)hollow (Literally: the belly, i.e., the midst of makkah) of Makkah

The very first mention of the word "Mecca" appears this year in the Continuatio Byzantia Arabica (Crone-Cook 1977 page 22,171). Before this Mecca did not appear in any literature, nor on any maps of Arabia.

What evidence do we, using the Quran alone, have that the modern Mecca includes the actual Sacred Mosque mentioned in it. Isn't just like traditions passed down. What if it's a long-forgotten city or Jerusalem?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #56 on: January 19, 2013, 01:48:36 PM »
What evidence do we, using the Quran alone, have that the modern Mecca includes the actual Sacred Mosque mentioned in it. Isn't just like traditions passed down. What if it's a long-forgotten city or Jerusalem?

Dear Peaceful,

May peace be with you.

Please see the following article below where I present evidence from a Quranic perspective to argue that the Sacred Mosque was originally located in Makkah.

IS MAKKAH THE ORIGINAL LOCATION FOR THE MASJID AL-HARAM?
http://quransmessage.com/articles/original%20sanctuary%20FM3.htm

I hope that helps in some small way, God willing.

Regards,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline islamist

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #57 on: January 20, 2013, 02:26:22 AM »
Can you clarify what you mean by point 2:

I believe the decision of the majority to make/construct/'take to ourselves' a mosque "عَلَيْهِمْ" (over them) can not be regarded as an Islamic act since the focus is on honoring the youth لَنَتَّخِذَنَّ عَلَيْهِمْ مَسْجِدًا

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #58 on: January 20, 2013, 03:02:31 AM »
You provided strong evidence that the Sacred Mosque is in Mecca. But on what basis is the modern Mecca, KSA the Mecca of the Quran?

"However, it is accepted that even though there seems to be connection given the proximity of the two verses, that this not incontrovertible evidence that they are part of one location."

As you stated:
1. a location of a Main City which had an established community settlement.
2. We can also deduce that the 'mother tongue' of this town was 'Arabic'
3. Town B is most likely known as 'Yathrib'
4. A powerful community
5. clear evidence (at least in archaeological finds)

This can refer to at least 3 cities prior to the seventh century:
1. Petra (2 Earthquakes: prior and after Islam's spread across Asia) The Sunnat of Allah is the destruction of the towns where the Messengers were rejected.

2. Madi'an Saleh

3. Al-'Ula: 380 km North of Medina. It used to be an important trade centre for the old caravan route.... first led to Babylon passing through Taima and the second route led to Petra and Syria. Al Ula was under controlled by four civilizations namely Didan, Labyan, Maeen and most famous the Nabateans.
Mabiyat archaeological sites occur at 15 km to the south of Al Ula near Mugheira village. Its history goes back to the Umayyad and Abbasid periods. Ruins of buildings, remains of an irregular wall enclosure and pottery shreds can be seen on the site area. The Antiquities Department conducted excavations in 1948-1985 and covered the buildings of A LARGE ISLAMIC CITY.

Doesn't the Quran say that the Quraish were among the descendants, or successors, of the people of 'Ad, Thamud and Midian. The Quraish, according to the Quran, should have been able to SEE the remnants of these nations. This is physically impossible with modern Mecca, so the true Mecca must be North of Yathrib.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Original Sanctuary, Masjid al-Haram and the Qibla Change
« Reply #59 on: January 20, 2013, 04:04:45 AM »
Dear Peaceful,

May peace be with you.

Thank you for your post.

As you may have respectfully noted, I have humbly shared the following contention in my article against the suggestion of an alternative location.

Quote
A claim for another town as the original site for the Masjid al-Haram must be corroborated with clear evidence (at least in archaeological finds) which has been known to possess such a vibrant settled community as indicated by the Quran. It is difficult to accept that this location refers to some isolated location erased from common human memory.
 
Given that a Prophet had arisen in the midst of this town and Islam was accepted by many as attested by the Quran (110:2), communities must have continued to flourish in these localities. It is difficult to accept that if the original location of the Masjid al-Haram had been moved, that no furore took place amongst successive generations to capture such a momentous event.
 
SUPPORT 2      DESCRIPTION OF THE LOCALITY
 
  • A place called 'Arafat' was a well known place (2:198).
  • Near Arafat there was a well known sacred monument (mash'ari haram - 2:198).
  • Safa and Marwa were well established places which were ratified by the Quran as God's 'sha'airi' (indications / signs / symbols - 2:158). The practice of circumambulation (tawaaf) around them was allowed to continue during Hajj.

With respect, I do not find the suggestion of Petra, Madain Saleh and Al-Ula satisfying the above contentions, especially the sentiments highlighted in bold black above.

You respectfully contend that:

Quote
"The Quraish, according to the Quran, should have been able to SEE the remnants of these nations."


037.137-38
"And indeed, you surely pass by (the ruin of) them (latamurruna) in the morning and at night. Then will you not use your reason / intellect?"

The verb 'yamurru' from the verb 'marra' clearly indicates to me something in motion, to pass, or passing by and not fixed. Some from the audience of the Quran 'passed by' these locations and not necessarily resided in / inhabited them.

Given that they did this day and night, it clearly implies to me that these locations were on or near well known trade routes which they often used. With respect, your contention would not ipso facto provide sufficient evidence for me that modern day Makkah in KSA is not the original Makkah of the Quran.

Your comment:

Quote
Doesn't the Quran say that the Quraish were among the descendants, or successors, of the people of 'Ad, Thamud

Whereas a linkage can be argued between Thamud and Aad (7:74), may I respectfully ask for Quranic evidence to support your claim that the Quraish were descendants of Aad and Thamud?

I would rather be inclined to posit that the Quraish were simply familiar with the histories of the two communities of bygone people (14:9) as well others.


I trust that even if you may not agree, you will still understand the academic gist of my perspective.  :)

I hope that helps, God willing.

With utmost respect,
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell