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Offline Lobotomize94

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Is this a Quran contradiction? "Thumma" vs "Fa"
« on: December 23, 2019, 12:55:20 AM »
Background: So "thumma" means "then" in English, but it means a long period of time has commenced before the two events. "fa" also means "then" in English, but it means a short period of time has commenced before the two events.

If that is the case, then this would necessarily be a contradiction:

[Quran 40:64]...formed you, then ("fa") perfected your forms...

vs

[Quran 7:11]...created you, then ("thumma") fashioned your forms...

So the first verse says that the time between human formation and human form perfection is brief ("fa")
The second verse says that the time between human formation and human form perfection is long ("thumma")

On the surface it looks like a direct contradiction. Which is it, did our creation and perfection of our forms take a short period of time or a long period of time?

But, maybe I'm missing something in the Arabic language?

Offline Wakas

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Re: Is this a Quran contradiction? "Thumma" vs "Fa"
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 07:54:12 PM »
Background: So "thumma" means "then" in English, but it means a long period of time has commenced before the two events. "fa" also means "then" in English, but it means a short period of time has commenced before the two events.


Do you have a classical Arabic reference for that?

Offline Lobotomize94

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Re: Is this a Quran contradiction? "Thumma" vs "Fa"
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 08:39:17 PM »
I believe I first heard of this here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIiVlO88D5o

I don't have access to Arabic works because I don't speak Arabic. Maybe you can let me know?

Offline Athman

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Re: Is this a Quran contradiction? "Thumma" vs "Fa"
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2019, 12:24:06 PM »
Dear Labotomize94,

As salaam alaikum,

In my opinion, I rather find the premise that is laid down as an axiom at the outset one that renders the two verses and probably many more others contradictory. In the context of the Qur'an as a recitation/ narration, I would find the restrictive linguistic imposition on the usages of the two particles unwarranted. In that respect, I would have a difficulty in objectively determining the 'shortness' or 'lengthiness' of the period in question. As an example, in 23:13, by the same principle, I would find the use of thumma contradictory if we consider that the diploid cell - fertilized egg (nutfah) takes at least 3 to 4 days (short period according to me) before it gets to the uterus for implantation. I would rather find 'longer' (relative to that of nutfah) the periods during which the 'mudhwghan' is formed into bones ('idhwam) then bones clothed with flesh (lahm) and into a fully grown infant (thwiflan), ranging from weeks to months. The particle used here is however 'fa' rather than thumma. Now with 22:5, the same periods are described in sequence but employing the particle thumma.

In contrary, to clarify on this, I would argue for an occasional interchangeability of 'fa' and 'thumma' in some contexts.

With regards the particle 'fa' in relation to 'thumma,' Lane notes in his Lexicon in page 2321 of Volume 6:

 "_and it is said to occur
sometimes in the sense of 'thumma,' (Mughnee, K, *
TA, *) denoting conjunction in an absolute manner,
with delay; (TA;) as in the saying [in the Kur
xxiii. 14]  Thumma khalaqna an-nutfata 'alaqatan fakhalaqna al-'alaqata mudhwghatan fakhalaqna al-mudhwghata 'idhwaman fakasawna al-'idhwama lahman  [Then
we made the sperm a lump of clotted blood, then
we made the lump of clotted blood a bit of flesh,
then we made the bit of flesh bones, then we
clothed the bones with flesh
]: (Mughnee, I,
TA:)
"

From the several functions of the particle thumma, in the capacity of a conjunction, Lane notes in Volume 1 page 351 of his Lexicon:

"... [meaning Then, i. e., afterward, or afterwards,] a
particle, (M, K,) or conjunction, (Zj, T, S, Msb,
Mughnee,) denoting order (Zj, T, S, M, Msb,
Mughnee) and a delay, (S, Msb,) or having three
properties, namely, that of virtually associating
in the same case [the latter of the two members
which it conjoins with the former of them], and
denoting order and denoting a delay; but respecting all of these there is a difference of opinions.
(Mughnee, K. *)
"

In relation to the particle 'fa' it is then noted:

"_The Koofees allow its being used in the
manner of 'fa' and 'wa' so as that the aor. immediately
following it after a conditional verb may be mansoob: and Ibn-Malik allows its being thus used
so as that the aor. immediately following it after
the expression of a desire that the thing shall not
be done may be marfooa and mejzoom and mansoob.  (Mughnee.)
"

Therefore, the particles thumma and fa can a times be used interchangeably despite any inherent nuance that each may represent. I therefore personally find it unjustified to limit the scope of employment of any of them in relation to another and in fact of no use to consequently use that as a normative against any text of the Qur'an.

Hopefully that helps God willing.

And Allah knows best.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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Re: Is this a Quran contradiction? "Thumma" vs "Fa"
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2019, 05:40:35 PM »
I believe I first heard of this here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIiVlO88D5o

I don't have access to Arabic works because I don't speak Arabic. Maybe you can let me know?

Thanks. I watched the video, and I have seen his videos before. He did not cite a reference and the example he gave from Quran was weak when looking at the surrounding verses that use thumma also. We must remember that formalisation of grammar rules are post-Quran.