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Offline Joseph Islam

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Saum is not fasting
« on: December 28, 2011, 02:28:48 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 16:48 (1 hours, 38 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Brother Quasim,

Salamun Alaikum

Thank you for kindly parting your view on Saum which I would respectfully have to completely disagree with on numerous accounts including language, contextual and theological. However, I'd like this to be an inclusive discussion, so please do excuse me if my participation on this thread is measured.

I'd like to ask some humble questions to get the ball rolling as I know you've attempted a similar post on this topic already which I felt sadly went a little by the wayside.

You assert:
"The term "kulu wa-ishrabu" translated as "eat and drink" is used five times in the Quran in 7:31, 52:19, 69:24, and 77:43. In all these instances this term refers to being at ease, being satisfied. I understand this term to mean to relax and rejoice, charge your physical and emotional batteries, and prepare for the next day."

[Bold emphasis mine]

Question 1:
Assuming your fifth reference to be 2:187, you have missed 2:60 where 'kulu wa-ishrabu' is used. In this verse there is clear mention where Prophet Moses asked for water (istasqa) and 12 springs gushed forth and everyone knew of their 'dinking place' (mashrabahum) and then God says 'kulu wa'ishrabu' from God's provisions (rizq). Do you still think that 'kul' and 'ishrab' here fits in completely with your understanding of relax and rejoice?

Question 2:
You have also missed another crucial phrase "kulli wa isharabi" in 19:26. The only difference between this and the ones you have noted is that the phrase 19:26 makes use of refers to a female . So, having noted this verse in conjunction with the previous verses which refer to 'rutab' (fresh dates - 19:25) and 'sariyaa' (stream - 19:24), [food and a drink] do you still think that 'kul' and 'ishrab' fits in completely with your understanding of relax and rejoice?

I look forward to your responses and others.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 11:45:01 PM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 12:29 (3 hours, 9 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Dear brother Quasim,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for your response.

With a view to move the discussion forward, by your own admission you say:

"Mary is inspired to "kulu wa-ishrabi wa-qarri aynan" implying "eat the dates and drink the water and cool your eyes (recover from the experience of child birth and be glad)."

Would you then agree with me that the 'kul' (eat) and 'ishrab' (drink) here is directly linked with the fresh dates and water as indicated by the Arabic text and as you have yourself described. If so, would you agree that the phrase 'kul and ishrab' is more likely to literally read and mean 'eat and drink'?

Please note that you assert in your brackets (recover from the experience of child birth and be glad). This is an interpretation which doesn't exist in the Arabic.

Also, to touch briefly upon a theological contention, you say that "...the practice of Saum has everything to do with re-committing ourselves to the Quran: reading it, debating it, practicing its injunctions, using it to determine the validity of our traditions, and engage in introspection of our beliefs and habits. This abstinence from, and verification of, status quo is the Saum program".

Now, according to a definition which I noted in a thread on this forum, you respectfully implied that salaat= follow the Quran. Therefore, the status quo should be in many respects what you are implying Saum to be (i.e. committing ourselves to the Quran: reading it, debating it, practicing its injunctions etc).

If salaat is prescribed for mu'mins at all times throughout the year which should be part of the status quo, why is there an abstinence in the month of Ramadan from this status quo (in your understanding) to recommit ourselves to the Quran?

Furthermore, why would one stop practicing the Quran's injunctions, studying the traditions, engaging in introspection of one's beliefs and habits etc after sunset during the month of Ramadan?

I look forward to your response.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2011, 03:27:55 PM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Saturday, December 31, 2011, 00:57 (6 hours, 27 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Brother Quasim,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for sharing your perspective on the contentions I have hitherto raised.

As you will no doubt be aware of, in different verses of the Quran, one encounters the Arabic word 'fidya'.

'Fidya' as you know means a ransom, redemption, an exchange (like for like) or something similar, or to free one from an obligation by way of compensation, or even an exchange (man for man) etc.

One can see this term used in the Quran in contexts of war where a ransom may be appropriate (47:4) or used as an argument on the Day of Judgment where even if one had everything on earth one would not be able to offer this as a ransom (5:36), even one's own children (70:11). There are also other examples.

In verse 2:184, a direct 'fidya' (ransom) has been cited by the Quran for those who do not engage in 'saum'. The direct 'ransom' (like for like) is the 'feeding'of the indigent / poor (miskeen). The word used for feeding is 'ta'amu' which in its classical sense is a reference to anything which can easily be swallowed such as food or water.

Please can you share with me your perspective of how you would deal with my assertion that the 'fidya' (ransom) being linked with 'ta'amu' (feeding) in the context of 'saum' is a strong indication that 'saum' is linked with 'food and drink'.

I look forward to your response.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 03:30:07 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Sunday, January 01, 2012, 16:16 (3 hours, 12 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani
edited by Quasim Hamdani, Sunday, January 01, 2012, 19:13

Brother Quasim

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for your response.

There is no condition of 'difficulty' in the Arabic of 2:184. This is a traditional secondary source based interpolation with no warrant from the Quran.

The phrase "alladhina utiqunahu' simply reads those that are capable of it, or are able to do it (with the implication - but choose not to). In this case there is a ransom (fidya).

In its classical definition, a 'fidya' is implied as a like for like exchange or something similar. For example, the term 'mufadat' is the exchange of one man with another.

My focus was not so much on the category 'miskeen' but rather the 'ta'amu' (feeding) which was the direct ransom for those that do not undertake 'saum' (fasting - abstaining from food and drink).

If you note verse 5:95, a penalty is cited for killing game on Hajj. One is to make an offering of a similar animal.

If this is not possible, then in the same verse, there is another expiation (kaffara); that is of feeding the poor or an equivalent recompense (adhlu). The equivalent recompense given is fasting.

Here the feeding is once again given direct equivalence to fasting in a similar way to one animal (the one killed) is being given to another (the one that is offered as an atonement).

Therefore, I note a strong connection between fasting and food and drink not only in this verse, but throughout the Quran.

With regards your question:

"If Saum is fasting, then are the poor (miskeen) exempt from it? I can not point to such an exemption in the Quran"

With respect, I am not quite sure if I have understood how that is related, but just because 'feeding the poor' has been given as a fidya (ransom) for those that do not undertake fasting does not mean that fasting is not prescribed for the poor. The poor can certainly be fed at the break of the fast or at other times. The Quran does not prescribe when the feeding is to be initiated, in the month of Ramadan or outside it. It just says that equivalent feeding of the poor becomes due as a ransom.

A believing poor person is subject to the same verse of fasting. If they are ill or on a journey, they are given choices. If they too do not want to undertake fasting, then a fidya also becomes due as feeding in the same manner of what they would have eaten (For equivalent feeding - See 5:89).

The poor (miskeen) as you will appreciate are not a monolithic category. There is always someone more 'miskeen' than another.

In summary

A lot of the problems here in interpretation I feel stem from the interpolation of 'difficulty' into the translation of the verse 2:184. If one admits that there is no 'difficulty' in the Arabic text, then I feel one can better understand why the 'fidya' (ransom) is 'feeding' the poor (i.e. if one does not want to abstain from eating and drinking, then one is obligated to feed the poor (food and drink) in a like manner).

Having noted the above perspective, would you be prepared to agree that there is indeed some evidence (at least) in the Quran to suggest saum is linked to feeding and in turn food and drink and that fasting can be argued as the abstinence of food and drink?

I look forward to your response.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 02:43:12 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Monday, January 02, 2012, 16:38 (1 hours, 59 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Dear Brother Quasim.

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you so much for your response.

If we are going to take well established meanings from classical lexicons, then I assert that 'Saum' has never been understood as a 'refresher course' in the exact manner that you understand it by any classical Arabic authority that I know.

Also if Edward Lanes is read completely, the meaning of being enabled,or able to do or accomplish is clearly cited.

I find it difficult to accept that you are willing to choose out of the two descriptions given by Abdul Mannan Omar on the strength of Edward Lanes to refer to the secondary description at the expense of his other primary description, 'Those who are able to'. This is especially when neither Abdul Mannan Omar nor Edward Lanes have ever understood 'Saum' in the way that you do. With all due respect, I find this intellectually unacceptable.

Either we accept well established meanings as given to us by the Arabic language or we do not. If I were to cite classical Arabic authorities to support my understanding of 'Saum', with all due respect, I feel my participation in this thread would have been complete in my first post as I'm sure you will appreciate.

My understanding of the verb form (IV) 'ataqa' used in verse 2:184 in the imperfect 'yutiqu' is to mean 'those who are able to' in its primary sense. I felt this would be clear to any Arabic linguist and hence why I cited it. The word 'difficultly' is implicit and not 'explicit' as a suitable term for 'difficulty' could have been used.

Also implying 'hardship' would be in contradiction with the very next verse, 2:185 with regards fasting, where the Quran clearly says that "God desires ease and intends no hardship". So to assert that 'yutiqu' in 2:184 implies hardship is unacceptable for me from a Quranic perspective. I am sure you will appreciate that the Quran is the final authority in any given contention, not a lexicon.

Furthermore, the primary meaning that I have cited I feel, is also supported by the authority you have mentioned not only with the primary explanation given of the root word, but also the primary explanation given with regards the term 'Yutiquna' as used in 2:184 (Those who are able to, those who find extremely hard)

In Abdul Mannan 'Omar's Dictionary of the Holy Qur'an, Page 347, it says:

Taqa:

To be able, be in a position to do something. Tâqatun - Ability; Power; Strength. Atâqa: IV. To be able to do a thing Tawwaqa (II.): To twist a collar, put a neck-ring on, impose a difficult task on a person, enable, hang around neck, impose, lay upon, encircle. Atâqa (IV.): To be able to do a thing find extremely hard and difficult to bear (as Tâqat means the utmost that 0a person can do), do a thing with great difficulty.

[bYutîqûna: Those who are able to. [/b]Those who find extremely hard (2:184).

I have advanced my view to the best of my abilities and I thank you for participating in the respectful, academic way that you have.

I wholly respect your view that my contentions were not agreeable to yourself, but I am sure you will respect my opinion that I find your understanding of saum to be a 'refresher course' in the manner that you understand it with no support from classical Arabic lexicons / authorities equally unacceptable. Furthermore, I find your understanding in contention with the Quran not only on linguistic grounds, but theological grounds (2:185 was one example cited above).

Thank you so much for sharing your views regarding this topic and allowing my posts to appear unedited. I believe this manner of debate with opposing views (and in other posts on this forum) to be an example for other similar platforms to emulate.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 05:30:24 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 17:59 (3 hours, 28 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Dear All,

Salamun Alaikum.

Saum means abstinence in its absolute, primary significance. Siyam and Saum are verbal nouns. This is well attested by the best classical Arabic lexicons we know and the Arabic language that has reached us. The particular abstinence can be of food, drink, speech, intimate relations etc. The type of 'saum' needs to be qualified in the language of the Arabs.

It has been asserted that if God is asking one to perform 'saum' in Ramadan then the nature of this 'saum' is qualified by the information that once 'saum' is complete, one can 'kulu wa ashrabu' (eat and drink - 2:187). The nature of the 'saum' is established in this context. In 19:26, the nature of the 'saum' is qualified as an abstinence of speech.

If one is to assert that 'kulu wa-ishrabu' is an idiomatic phrase with regards Ramadan, then the burden of proof is on the one asserting the claim to:

(a) Provide concrete support from Classical lexicons in the language of the Arabs where this phrase is cited as an idiomatic phrase in this context and

(b) To explain what the 'saum' (i.e. abstinence) refers to in the Arabic text with regards Ramadan by explicit qualification from the text.


It is of little use to say 'eat' is used idiomatically. This is well known to the Arabic language. This is not the contention. The contention is what support is there in notable classical sources that 'kulu wa-ishrabu' is used idiomatically in this context and if so, what is the qualification of the 'saum' in relation to Ramadan.

I humbly await any suitable evidence with a view to move the discussion forward, certainly from my perspective.

Thanks to you all in advance and hitherto, for a great respectful discussion.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 05:06:26 PM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Thursday, January 05, 2012, 03:45 (5 hours, 21 minutes ago) @ Damon

Dear brother Damon,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you so much for sharing your views which I truly appreciate as I am sure others do too.

I have raised some humble points against those you have shared which I trust you will receive with the sincerity with which they have been imparted.  :)


RESPONSES

(1) I fail to see the relevance of expecting the term 'food' in the verses of Ramadan when the focus is either to 'eat' or not to 'eat'.

(2) This is implausible to contest as you have unduly ring-fenced the criteria. You mention that eat is always qualified. Yet, when eat is not qualified you infer it to be an idiomatic expression. This is a simple case of 'heads I win, tails you lose'. Regardless, this can easily be contested. The command to eat needs no qualification as it is not the intention to stipulate what is to be eaten. The command to 'eat' is encountered as there was an abstinence of eating which presupposed it. So the purpose of the verse is to instruct a resumption of eating as opposed to the instruction of what should be eaten in a lawful manner.

(3) This is accepted. However, the contention is not the term 'kul', but rather the phrase 'kulu wa-ishrabu' as an idiomatic phrase within the contexts under scrutiny.

(4) Please can you provide concrete evidence from well attested classical Arabic lexicons that support your argument in this context.

(5) Verse 185 of Chapter 2 does indeed mention the Quran. Agreed.

(6) This neither proves nor disproves a particular understanding of 'eat and drink' if that is what you intend. It can easily be argued that a clarification has been cited in this verse with regards the nights of the month of Ramadan in which conjugal relations have been permitted. The eating and drinking is linked to the period in which it applies which has been elaborated by the verse.

(7) The theme of the verse deals with Ramadan, so I do not accept your assertion that there is no linkage between the subjects being discussed.

[8] This assertion is based on subjective criteria and in my humble view, inadmissible as an academic Quranic argument.

(9) I respect your opinion. However, when 'shahru' (month) has clearly been cited as a month in which fasting has to be observed, I find it superfluous to expect any further elucidation.

(10) Permission to eat and drink does not imply that one has to eat all night. I find your conclusion based on your premises non sequitur.

(11) I am not sure what 'jumped out' at you from the verse. Please can you assist me to understand your point better if you deem appropriate.

(12) To any person that speaks Arabic, given the two contexts of the two verses that you have given, in my humble view, there would be no need to expect identical language in the manner you suggest.

My apologies as I am not too familiar with the personalities that you have mentioned, though I do receive a number of emails which attempt to cite a Dr. Qamar Zaman and Astaana for support of their arguments. I am not sure if the two personalities are identical. However, as I have not scrutinised their works in any great detail, I would have to humbly decline any comment. I hope you will appreciate this.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2012, 05:08:45 PM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Thursday, January 05, 2012, 08:27 (39 minutes ago) @ Damon
edited by Joseph Islam, Thursday, January 05, 2012, 09:04

Dear brother Damon,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you so much for your warm response and the pleasant demeanour with which you have imparted it. It truly speaks volumes of your character.

I completely understand the ambit in which your first post was written, which I duly respect. I also trust that you took my views in the sincere spirit in which it was intended.

Personally, let me also welcome you to this forum which I have felt belongs to us all to participate (thanks to both Quasim and Laurie for their efforts).

I really do look forward to your posts on various other topics. Truly meant!  :)

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2012, 03:23:00 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Friday, January 06, 2012, 18:44 (33 minutes ago) @ Laurie Hamdani

Dear sister Laurie,

Salamun Alaikum.

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I liked your analogy with music.

I have some related questions. Sometimes to understand whether one has the 'correct' bigger picture, how important is it for you to analyse the details? With respect, to use your idiomatic analogy, is it important (in your view) to undertake some form of scrutiny to ascertain the type of trees one's forest is made of? After all, if we never examined the foundation of our views would we not risk misguided belief?

Is it not the purpose of forums of this kind to allow for such extensive discourses to analyse the trees with a view to understand the true nature of one's forest better?

One of the main reason I ask is that the Quran often asks us to do 'tadabbar' (4:82, 23:68, 38:29, 47:24) i.e. research, examine, ponder, study repeatedly till the matter is clear. I suppose I'm trying to understand if there is such a thing as an 'informed bigger picture' as anyone can argue that their 'bigger' picture is correct and the legitimacy of their view, 'obvious'.

I keenly look forward to reading your perspective on this.

Regards,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2012, 02:28:11 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Saturday, January 07, 2012, 02:27 (15 hours, 59 minutes ago) @ Laurie Hamdani

Sister Laurie,

Salamun Alaikum.

As always, you provide a very important perspective to this forum. Thank you for your comments. Much appreciated.

Your brother in faith,
Joseph.

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2012, 02:29:18 AM »
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Only God knows best who has conveyed the message clearly and to whom.

Let us leave it at that.

In your own translation:

10:108 Say, "O Mankind! Now has come to you the truth from your Lord. So whoever chooses to follow the right path, follows it for the good of his own 'self'. And whoever chooses to go astray, goes astray to the hurt of his own 'self'. And I am not a guardian over you."

Regards,
Joseph

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Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Saum is not fasting
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2012, 02:31:17 AM »
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by Joseph Islam  , On God's Earth, Saturday, January 07, 2012, 16:11 (2 hours, 19 minutes ago) @ Quasim Hamdani

Brother Quasim,

Salamun Alaikum.

You say:
"Your entire post is about proving me wrong and set yourself as being right"

It saddens me that you have felt like this. This was certainly not my intention. If you have felt my academic contentions unwarranted, then please do ignore them. I have only attempted to impart what I felt was the truth.

In the end, only God knows best.

Regards.
Joseph.

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