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Offline Wakas

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peace all,

Please see here for a much better formatted article (with helpful links embedded):
http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/qiblah.html

Please use above link but article cut and pasted below without formatting for reference:

It has recently come to my attention that many people misread these verses and erroneously conclude that the difficulty discussed in 2:143 was the change in "qiblah" (which is what Traditional explanations tend to focus on). In some ways it is understandable that a misreading occurs as we are likely clouded in thinking by the traditional discussions surrounding these verses. I will outline the multiple problems with this traditional understanding:

1) Please pay careful attention to the tense of the words highlighted (green is present/future/imperfect tense, red is past/perfect tense):

2:142 The foolish from the people will say* "What has turned them from the qiblah/focal-point which they were on it**?" Say: "To God is the east and the west, He guides whomever He wishes to a straight/establishing path."
2:143 And as such We have made you a balanced community so that you will be witnesses over the people, and the messenger will be a witness over you. And not We made the qiblah/focal-point which thou were on it** except that We make evident he who follows the messenger from he who will turn back on his heels. And indeed it was certainly a great/difficult (thing/test) except for those whom God guided; And not was God to let go waste your belief. Indeed, God is over the people Fully-Kind and Merciful.
2:144 Indeed, We see thy face/consideration moving in the sky/heaven; so surely We will turn thee (onto/to) a qiblah/focal-point that will please thee: so turn...
*i.e. they will say in the future, obviously AFTER the change in qiblah/focus occurs. This is also made clear by use of the prefixed future particle "sa" in the Arabic.
**compare these occurrences.

Hopefully it should now be clear that the great/big (thing/test) was being on the 1st qiblah (i.e. the one prior to the change). However, we can also verify this using what else The Quran says.

2) It is clear from 2:144 that the change in qiblah (or the 2nd qiblah) will please the messenger. Therefore if you think that the change in qiblah was the difficult thing (as is traditionally discussed) then this will conflict with the messenger being pleased about it. Is he pleased for him (and his community) to undergo a great difficulty? Yes/No.

3) If, for some reason, you answer "yes" to the above it is refuted by 2:144 when it says "Indeed, We see thy face/consideration moving in the sky/heaven; so surely We will turn thee (onto/to) a qiblah/focal-point that will please thee...". This is taken by everyone (that I have read) to mean the messenger was seeking guidance, he was somewhat unsettled/uncomfortable, and we may even say not as pleased (relatively speaking) on the 1st qiblah (prior to the change). To make it even clearer:

We see thy face/consideration moving in the sky/heaven (i.e. currently on the 1st qiblah, less pleasing)
so
surely We will turn thee (onto/to) a qiblah/focal-point that will please thee (i.e. on/to the 2nd qiblah, more pleasing)

This matches with 2:143 in which it is said the 1st/prior qiblah was difficult. It ties together perfectly.

4) Furthermore, this is confirmed in 2:150 when it gives us the reasons for the change (or what the change in qiblah will result in) e.g. "so that not will be for the people against you debate/argument". Obviously being in a situation of less argument/hostility would be more pleasing i.e. a positive, further solidifying that the 1st qiblah which they were on (probably involving more argument/hostility) was the difficult one.


All information confirms and reinforces each other, that being on the 1st qiblah was the difficulty spoken of in 2:143.


Note: I am simply using the terminology "1st qiblah" and "2nd qiblah" to make this article easier to follow. In the article on "al masjid al haram" it is highlighted that The Quran tells us there could be many qiblah, each person could have their own qiblah etc. This makes sense with the term qiblah being related to wijhatun (course, goal, motive, direction) in 2:148. To read further discussion please see the article.
After reading these articles you may wish to try slotting in whatever understanding you have of "qiblah" and "al masjid al haram" and what the 1st qiblah was etc to see if you can make sense of the verses. There is a high chance you will fail and/or be unable to explain the various issues brought up in these verses. If you come up with something that fits (different to my own understanding) please share it here.

It is ironic to think that some may read the above, ignore the problems and stick with their current view. Akin to turning back on their heels unable to face the truth. Maybe it's time to change direction?

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

This work reflects my personal understanding, as of 17th July 2020. Seeking knowledge is a continual process and I will try to improve my understanding of the signs within 'the reading' (al quran) and out with it, unless The God wills otherwise. All information is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should always seek knowledge and verify for themselves when possible: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11.

More articles: http://mypercept.co.uk/articles/




Offline Wakas

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Brother Joseph do you have feedback on this issue?

I can't quite tell your position based on this article:
http://quransmessage.com/articles/qibla%20FM3.htm

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

As salaam alaikum,

If you note the whole discourse by brother Joseph with regards Qibla change, it is well summarized in his final thoughts as:

Two Qibla changes are noted from the Quranic verses.

This should be clear to you in his exposition.

It has been suggested in the above article that the original Qibla was indeed the Makkan sanctuary (the Ka'ba). This was later changed for the reasons cited by verse 2:143 to possibly a location in the Holy Lands such as Jerusalem which was the centre of devotion for the people of the previous scriptures.

This is the 1st Qibla change which is also well elaborated in Joseph's exposition in the article. Therefore, accordingly, verse 2:142 is linked to verse 2:143 talking of the 1st Qibla change both of which have no connection with verses 2:144 and 2:145 which otherwise talk of the 2nd Qibla change.

The second Qibla change was a reversion back to the Ka'ba from the Holy Lands.

As already noted above, in Joseph’s article, this is the subject of verses 2:144 and 2:145 and not 2:142 nor 2:143. This is regardless of the particle ‘sa’ (denoting future) in 2:142 which you seem to connect with the instruction in 2:144 to the Prophet (pbuh) to another Qibla hence implying a single Qibla change from verses 2:142 to 2:144.

Consequently, I find your analysis of verses 2:142-145 to yield an understanding of them being a block unit of verses that discuss a single Qibla change from one direction (Qibla) to another (Qibla). On the other hand, Joseph’s article and analysis of the relevant verses enshrines the idea of two Qibla changes.

Therefore, points 3) and 4) in your article and as noted above are in agreement with Joseph’s take on the relevant verses. As with point 2), there is no conflict in brother Joseph’s view. In his view, while it was ‘a great thing’ (kabiratan) except for the God guided, this pertained the first Qibla change. However, what would please the Prophet (pbuh) in 2:144 had to do with the second Qibla change and not the first one that had proven ‘a great thing’ except for the God guided.

Point 1) on the other hand is a matter of difference in interpretation. While you link 2:142 to 2:144 owing to the particle ‘sa’ in 2:142, brother Joseph doesn’t link the two verses and instead already notes a change in 2:142 in connection with 2:143 hence reading 2:144 as introducing another Qibla change. As a result, the ‘great thing’ to you becomes the original Qibla while for brother Joseph, it pertains the new Qibla in the first Qibla change or the first Qibla change itself.

I hope that will at least give you hint as to where to start with the contentions you have.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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peace Athman,

Thanks for clarifying. I did think that was the case but wasn't sure. I personally found brother Joseph's article quite convoluted with too many interpolations.

I dont think it works with the Arabic due to the future particle "sa" and the tenses used. Even in brother Joseph's article he makes improper use of tense, e.g. "It is also clear that some assertions had been made by a section of the community who clearly questioned the Qibla change." This is simply not true. It is more accurate to say assertions will be made.

There are further issues, e.g. what does the "it" refer to in these verses?
2:144 ... and indeed those who have been given the writ/decree know that it is the truth from their Lord.
2:146 ...Those to whom We have given the decree/writ recognise it like they recognise their sons

etc.

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

Peace to you,

You remarked:

It is more accurate to say assertions will be made.

I personally don’t dispute this.

There are further issues, e.g. what does the "it" refer to in these verses?
2:144 ... and indeed those who have been given the writ/decree know that it is the truth from their Lord.
2:146 ...Those to whom We have given the decree/writ recognise it like they recognise their sons


From the context of verse 2:146, ‘it’ is the fact that to each (ummah) was a focal prayer point (wijhatun) to turn to (2:148). This was the truth (2:147) the People of the Book knew (2:144) with certainty (2:146) which some of them inclined to obfuscate (2:146). This is the same truth confirmed by the next verse 2:149.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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But "wijhatun" is a feminine noun, the "it" in 2:144, 2:146 and 2:149 is in the masculine singular, i.e. it refers to a masculine noun. Thus I do not see how your view is possible unless I have misunderstood.

To clarify what word is the "it" referring to in 2:144, 2:146, 2:149?

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

"To clarify what word is the "it" referring to in 2:144, 2:146, 2:149?"

Why should it be a specific word. I do repeat: 'From the context of verse 2:146, ‘it’ is the fact that to each (ummah) was a focal prayer point (wijhatun) to turn to (2:148).' This is different from saying that the 'it' refers to the noun 'wijhatun' which is not my claim.

I do assert that the fact that the followers of the Prophet (pbuh) under Quranic guidance had a right to their own 'Qibla' or 'wijha' (2:148) is what was clearly known by those People of the Book. It is this fact that some of them were bent on obfuscating.

I hope that clarifies.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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Thank you for clarifying, however I consider your view implausible. For it to even be an option, in my eyes, I'd have see several clear examples from Quran showing that pronouns can refer to concepts/ideas/situation (things unmentioned) and not words in context. Pronouns are used thousands of times in Quran, thus I would imagine if you struggle to find even one you will have to reject your view.

You may be interested to know that there is much variance when it comes to this issue of "it" which I discuss in the article.

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

I am quite baffled that you ignore the explicit Arabic text of 2:149 which clearly shows what the truth referred to by the masculine ‘hu’ in ‘innahu’ is, i.e, the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) was to incline to ‘Masjid al-Haram’ in direction. I am again surprised that this is taken to be ‘things unmentioned.’

I am even more surprised that this is based on the premise that pronouns such as the masculine ‘hu’ can’t refer to concepts/ideas/situation which are themselves ‘nouns.’ For instance, an inclination to a former Qibla with the Prophet (pbuh) by his followers is deemed by the Qur’an to be ‘a great thing’ - kabiratan (2:143), a feminine ‘noun.’ The Qur’an also deems the ‘seeking of help’ (ista’inu) a feminine ‘concept’ (kabiratun) more so using the feminine ‘ha’ to refer to it in 2:45 (wa innaha).

You write:

…thus I would imagine if you struggle to find even one you will have to reject your view.”

I don’t think I have to struggle to do anything in this based on the subjective assumptions someone posits as a standard. I think I must demand contextual explanation of the relevant issue of contention in the verses from whoever seeks to depart from what the verses clearly say and an explanation of how the grammatical restriction pertaining usage of ‘hu’ or ‘any pronoun’ is derived.

I hope that clarifies my position.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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Yes it clarifies your position but it doesn't further your argument.

Perhaps I could have worded it better. I simply mean your position means a pronoun referring to something (e.g. a noun) not explicitly mentioned in context.
I provided a simple way for you to demonstrate viability of your position. I think it's a very good suggestion since pronouns are used thousands of times in Quran.

You claim 2:45 somehow supports your view but the feminine "ha" obviously refers to the closest preceding feminine noun which is "salat". Pronouns referring to the closest preceding noun is extremely common in Arabic (probably its most common usage) and likewise in every language in the world.




Offline Wakas

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To make it even simpler:
I simply mean your position means a pronoun referring to something (e.g. a noun) not explicitly mentioned in context.

Reworded to:
I simply mean your position means a pronoun not referring to an explicit word/noun in context.

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

Peace to you,

Kindly see below my replies to your comments in purple.

You wrote:

…but it doesn't further your argument.

Yet you too don’t. I do repeat: Why should it be a specific word?

I am quite baffled that you ignore the explicit Arabic text of 2:149 which clearly shows what the truth referred to by the masculine ‘hu’ in ‘innahu’ is, i.e, the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) was to incline to ‘Masjid al-Haram’ in direction. I am again surprised that this is taken to be ‘things unmentioned in context.

I provided a simple way for you to demonstrate viability of your position.

I do repeat: I don’t think I have to struggle to do anything in this based on the subjective assumptions someone posits as a standard.

I think it's a very good suggestion since pronouns are used thousands of times in Quran.”

I do repeat: I think I must demand contextual explanation of the relevant issue of contention in the verses from whoever seeks to depart from what the verses clearly say and an explanation of how the grammatical restriction pertaining usage of ‘hu’ or ‘any pronoun’ is derived.

..but the feminine "ha" obviously refers to the closest preceding feminine noun which is "salat”.

I do repeat: I think I must demand contextual explanation of the relevant issue of contention in the verses from whoever seeks to depart from what the verses clearly say.

To clarify, I find verse 2:45 to focus on the act of ‘seeking help’ (ista’inu) whether it be via prayer (swalat) or patience (swabr). That is actually ‘a great thing’ (kabiratun) save for the devout. To me, to dissect the first part of the verse into two and connect the second part of the verse to the second of the two sections is to exhibit naivety in understanding syntax. Such an interpretation as a result pronounces ‘a great thing’ (kabiratun) to the non-devout the ‘seeking of help’ (ista'inu) via prayer (swalat) but not the ‘seeking of help’ (ista'inu) through patience (swabr).

Pronouns referring to the closest preceding noun is extremely common in Arabic…

True. However, I am afraid to say that unfortunately this is not a rule. Again, I think I must demand contextual explanation of the relevant issue of contention in the verses from whoever seeks to depart from what the verses clearly say. I do add; a pronoun referring to a preceding concept or action is extremely common in Arabic and likewise in most languages in the world.

For example: Brush your teeth in the morning and before you go to bed. This should be your daily routine.

Action (noun): brushing your teeth
Referencing particle (pronoun): this

Now, to connect the demonstrative pronoun 'this' in the above example to the immediate preceding noun 'bed' is in my view to exhibit naivety in understanding syntax.
 
Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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Thanks for clarifying.

Your example in English is welcome but English doesn't really have grammatical gender. We are dealing with Arabic of Quran which does. As I said pronouns are used thousands of times in Quran thus checking viability of your position can be tested. My approach is to apply a robust and ideally falsifiable methodology.

I am happy for others to read and make up their own minds based on what we've discussed. Peace.

Offline Athman

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Dear Wakas,

You wrote:

…but English doesn't really have grammatical gender.

True. However, that was simply to acknowledge and in line with my previous assertion '...is extremely common in Arabic and likewise in most languages in the world' for which an English example was propounded. As with the Arabic, to this stage, with all due respect, I am afraid I must confess that for you not to note even one, if not a dishonest one (which I hope is not), I find yours to actually be a lazy contention. The Qur’an also has similar instances in its narratives.

…pronouns are used thousands of times in Quran…

Sure. Thus, for you not to note even one, I must re-iterate: if not a dishonest one (which I hope is not), I find yours to actually be a lazy contention.

Again, I think I must demand contextual explanation of the relevant issue of contention in the verses from whoever seeks to depart from what the verses clearly say and an explanation of how the grammatical restriction pertaining usage of ‘hu’ or ‘any pronoun’ is derived.

…thus checking viability of your position can be tested.

Again, I don’t think I have to struggle to do anything in this based on the subjective assumptions someone posits as a standard.

My approach is to apply a robust and ideally falsifiable methodology.”

As much as the content in the link is appreciated, I find the above italicized hyperlink label/ tag quite subjective.

I am happy for others to read and make up their own minds based on what we've discussed

Me too. In addition, since I see no responses from you to the concerns I raise with regards your expectations and what I find as your inadequacies, nor any further input, kindly consider this as my last response to you on this matter in this thread. Thus far, I think my sentiments have been clear with regards the original issue of concern as the title of this thread.

Just for the record and readership, Qur’anic examples are cited below:

PRONOUNHU’:

HU referring to ‘consumption of their properties into your own

And give to the orphans their properties and do not substitute the defective [of your own] for the good [of theirs]. And do not consume their properties into your own. Indeed that (innahu) is ever a great sin.” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 4:2)

See also 4:22 where HU refers to ‘marrying women whom your fathers married

PRONOUNHA’:

HA referring to ‘the Divine decree to the Sabbath breakers to become apes

And you had already known about those who transgressed among you concerning the sabbath, and We said to them, ‘Be apes, despised.’ And We made it (faja’alnaha) a deterrent punishment for those who were present and those who succeeded [them] and a lesson for those who fear Allah.” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:65-66)

See also 22:32 where HA refers to ‘veneration of the sacraments of God

PROUNOUNHADHA

HADHA referring to ‘worshipping my Lord and your Lord

Indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This (hadha) is the straight path." (Qur'an, Al-Ma'idah 3:51)

See also 6:153 where HADHA refers to the ‘virtues outlined in previous verses 6:151-152


PRONOUNDHALIKA

DHAALIKA referring to ‘God showing you His signs in the incident of resurrecting a dead body’ in the verses 2:72-73

So We said, ‘Strike him with part of it.’ Thus, does Allah bring the dead to life, and He shows you His signs that you might reason. Then your hearts became hardened after that (dhalika), being like stones or even harder...” (Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:73-74)

In addition, see 2:85 where DHALIKA refers to ‘believing in part of the Scripture and disbelieving in part.’ See also 2:178 where DHALIKA refers to ‘a concession (tahfeef) which is also a mercy (rahmatun) from your Lord’


FINALLY:

For the PRONOUN 'HU' under discussion, as additional references to the usage of , the following verses are cited for one to verify that they depict similar occurrences/ instances: 2:282, 12:28, 51:23, 3:126 and 10:53.

I hope that helps.

Regards,
Athman.

Offline Wakas

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Thanks for providing examples. That actually gives us something to work with. I will look into them further, except for the demonstrative pronouns, since we are dealing with object pronouns. I prefer a like-for-like comparison.