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Offline Reader Questions

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'Laa Misaasa' - Touch Me Not (20:97)
« on: June 29, 2012, 12:06:52 AM »
Dear br. Joseph,

Salamun alaikum,

I have a query regarding the translation of the Arabic construction “Laa misaasa” (20:97) as “touch me not”.  I do not see any part of this construction that could be translated as “me”, and that it could just be “no touching”. 

What is your view on this?  Thanks.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: 'Laa Misaasa' - Touch Me Not (20:97)
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2012, 12:11:38 AM »
Salamun Alaikum

'La mIsaasa' (la mIsaas) literally means 'no touching'. So this implies that there will no mutual touching of one another or 'I will not touch nor will I be touched'. [1] It is a two way process (i.e. don’t touch me and I won’t touch you). This can also be argued for ‘La mAsaas’ [2]

However, if the implication was to only imply 'me' [one way], then the pronoun''-NI' would be grammatically expected after the verb.

So I am not sure why the 'exclusive' 'Me/I' is read into the Quran by some. Therefore, I agree with you that such a ‘reading’ is not definitive by the grammar construct.

I attach an excerpt from Edward Lane's lexicon in support of my understanding.

I hope that helps, God willing.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
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