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Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« on: July 22, 2012, 03:30:15 AM »
Question by Mubashir Inayat
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Dear Brother, Salam

[Asad] 87:7 save what God may will [thee to forget] - for, verily, He [alone] knows all that is open to [man's] perception as well as all that is hidden [from it]

The above is being quoted in support of Bukhari ahadees which claim that upon hearing someone reciting certain verses of the Qur'an, the Messenger told Ayesha that it reminded him of certain verses that he was made to forget !!

What is the correct translation of the above verse? Thanks.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 03:41:50 AM »
Salamun Alaikum,

In my humble opinion, brother Asad captures the correct nuance of the verse.

87:7 must be read in the context of the previous verse of which it is a part.  'Illa ma shaa'llah' roughly translates to except what God wills. (Which would be an exception to the previous statement re: forgetfulness). Innahu ya'lamu (Indeed / surely - He knows or has knowledge of) al-jah'ra - (what is apparent / manifest), wama yakhfa - (and what is concealed or hidden).

At a particular time of the Prophet's ministry in a certain situation or context, if God wanted the Prophet not to be able to recall a particular verse then this would have been part of His will, in His complete wisdom and overarching authority. He does what He wills with good reason. As for someone else reminding him or supporting this with a particular narrative in a book of hadith, such an assertion has no basis in the Quran. One could potentially read anything where there is Quranic silence. We are told to rely on matters which are obvious / apparent (zahir - 18:22).
 
I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 01:30:12 PM »
Response by Mubashir Inayat
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Thanks Brother. Curious to explore it further, instead going through Muhammad Asad's translation (without footnotes) on the web, I picked up a hard copy of his "The Message of the Qur'an" and just read an explanatory footnote that says:

4 The classical commentators assume that the above words are addressed specifically to the Prophet, and that, therefore, they relate to his being taught the Qur'an and being promised that he would not forget anything thereof, "save what God may will [thee to forget]". This last clause has ever since given much trouble to the commentators, inasmuch as it is not very plausible that He who has revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet should cause him to forget anything of it. Hence, many unconvincing explanations have been advanced from very early times down to our own days, the least convincing being that last refuge of every perplexed Qur'an-commentator, the "doctrine of abrogation" (refuted in my note 87 on 2:106). However, the supposed difficulty of interpretation disappears as soon as we allow ourselves to realize that the above passage, though ostensibly addressed to the Prophet, is directed at man in general, and that it is closely related to an earlier Qur'anic revelation - namely, the first five verses of surah 96 ("The Germ-Cell") and, in particular, verses 3-5, which speak of God's having "taught man what he did not know". In note 3 on those verses I have expressed the opinion that they allude to mankind's cumulative acquisition of empirical and rational knowledge, handed down from generation to generation and from one civilization to another: and it is to this very phenomenon that the present passage, too, refers. We are told here that God, who has formed man in accordance with what he is meant to be and has promised to guide him, will enable him to acquire (and thus, as it were, "impart" to him) elements of knowledge which mankind will accumulate, record and collectively "remember" - except what God may cause man to "forget" (in another word, to abandon) as having become redundant by virtue of his new experiences and his acquisition of wider, more differentiated elements of knowledge, empirical as well as deductive or speculative, including more advanced, empirically acquired skills. However, the very next sentence makes it clear that all knowledge arrived at through our observation of the external world and through speculation, though necessary and most valuable, is definitely limited in scope and does not, therefore, in itself suffice to give us an insight into ultimate truths.
-----------------
Wonder if Br Asad has a point here?


Response by Mubashir Inayat
(On Quransmessage.com Facebook Page)
http://www.facebook.com/Quransmessage

‎"The Message of the Qur'an" complete in PDF format can be read here:

http://asadullahali.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/the-message-of-the-quran.pdf


Response by Mubashir Inayat
(On Quransmessage.com Facebook Page)
http://www.facebook.com/Quransmessage

To get another perspective, I also looked up Parwez, who says:

87:7 - If it were the will of Allah, you could have forgotten something from it (or ignore it), but (as has been mentioned earlier in 17:86) that was not His will. That is why you cannot forget or ignore anything from it. This has been so ordained.

The Wahi has been revealed from Allah Who knows what the latent potentialities in a human being are and how these can be developed. (Therefore this Wahi is complete in every way and sufficient for the purpose it has been revealed.) Wahi is revealed for the development of human self (personality).

http://www.tolueislam.org/Parwez/expo/expo_087.htm

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 02:31:09 PM »
Salamun Alaikum

With all due respect to our late brother Asad (who I feel was an outstanding exegetic), the difficulty is in the premise in which Asad states "not very plausible that He who has revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet should cause him to forget anything of it."

I would respectfully incline to disagree with this premise and would beg the question ‘why is it not plausible?’ Do we simply reject God’s clear testimony because they are not palatable to us and reinvent meanings?

The general attribution of this clause that brother Asad makes is just as implausible in my humble opinion simply because the phrase 'Except what God wills' of verse 87:7 is directly connected with 87:6 and is clearly a reference to the theme concerning the Prophet.

The Quran is a continuous dialogue and early scriptures had no such verse endings. Many narratives in the Quran actually straddle verses. (Please see 2.183-184, 2.218-219, 3.33-34, 38.18-19, 54.34-35, 3.87-88, 3.166-177, 6.162-163, 4.140-141, 18.23-24 etc). Hence this is why it is imperative to read the complete context of the verses.

This also has nothing to do with the protection of the message or of abrogation. There is no warrant for these interpretations either.  If at a time, in a particular situation for some reason the Prophet could not recall a passage then this does not mean that God failed in His promise (87:6), but such an occurrence would only happen in God’s wisdom and with His will (87:7). God retains ultimate authority over man.

What many people often forget is that the Quran was also for the Prophet for guidance, consolation and instruction. If one allows themselves a moment to see it from the Prophet's point of view when he read this passage, how consoled he must have felt with a pressure off His shoulders to recall from memory all narratives a 100% of the time?

The Prophet was not a robot and throughout the Quran he has been repeatedly consoled, encouraged, his resolve bolstered and at times, chastised. This clause in my view would have served as an immense blessing for the Prophet.

In other words God is simply saying to the Prophet ... I will teach you and assist you to remember, but don't worry if you do forget, because nothing happens without My will."... This would be such a comforting statement to hear for the Prophet who at times in the Quran clearly felt difficulty in his ministry for many reasons. The nuance of the verses need to be fully appreciated to whom it is primarily directed (in this case to the Prophet). Furthermore, this is not a confirmation that the Prophet was actually made to forget anything.

It is also useful to remember that Satanic interference is acknowledged by the Quran in the past even during Prophetic ministries (22:52) which God subsequently nullifies.

022:052
"We did not send any Messenger or any Prophet before you but when He desired something, Satan insinuated / cast / threw / injects something in his desires. But God revokes / abolishes whatever Satan insinuates / throws and then God confirms His verses and God is All-Knowing, All-Wise"

A method of interference could well be to cause one to forget something at a crucial moment which can be seen in other narratives. For example, Satan caused a prisoner to forget a crucial piece of information which resulted in Prophet Joseph to stay incarcerated for an extended period (12:42). Also in another narrative, Prophet Moses's servant was caused to forget by Satan which meant that they both had to retrace their steps back (18:63). This of course does not happen without God's will or knowledge, but is important to remember that Satan too has also been given reign to exercise interference and corruption (7:17, 17:64-65). However, any such 'interference' (22:52), if it did occur concerning Prophetic ministry, would have been nullified by God.

But how many would even be prepared to consider this perspective when many see the Prophet as a superhuman being?

The premise which brother Asad identifies "not very plausible that He who has revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet should cause him to forget anything of it." gives rise to all sorts of interpretations least the one brother Asad advances himself.

But the premise is respectfully in my humble opinion, patently false as the Quran itself makes clear in 87:7. God retains complete authority to do what He wills in His wisdom.

As far as brother Parwez's interpolation is concerned - once again, I find him simply inserting words which don't exist in the Arabic. He has simply and conveniently in support for his theological interpretation, reversed the whole meaning of the sentence where the Quranic Arabic gives him no warrant. Please Note how he inserts parts as highlighted in RED which do not exist in the Arabic to completely reverse the message of the verse.

87:7 - If it were the will of Allah, you could have forgotten something from it (or ignore it), but (as has been mentioned earlier in 17:86) that was not His will. That is why you cannot forget or ignore anything from it. This has been so ordained.

One could potentially re-write the Quran and pass it off as a viable interpretation. One wonders how Parwez dealt with the particle ‘illa’ as a clear exception to the condition in 87:6 as with the phrase ‘innahu yalamun’aljahra wama yakhfa’?

Personally and with respect, the latter interpretation would be difficult to support from an academic / Quranic perspective. From the perspective of theology, one is of course free to advance what they feel inclined to from their perspective. Whether it has any academic merit or Quranic warrant is another matter of course.

I hope that helps, God willing.

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

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2012, 09:09:23 PM »
As far as brother Parwez's interpolation is concerned - once again, I find him simply inserting words which don't exist in the Arabic. He has simply and conveniently in support for his theological interpretation, reversed the whole meaning of the sentence where the Quranic Arabic gives him no warrant. Please Note how he inserts parts as highlighted in RED which do not exist in the Arabic to completely reverse the message of the verse.

87:7 - If it were the will of Allah, you could have forgotten something from it (or ignore it), but (as has been mentioned earlier in 17:86) that was not His will. That is why you cannot forget or ignore anything from it. This has been so ordained.

One could potentially re-write the Quran and pass it off as a viable interpretation. One wonders how Parwez dealt with the particle ‘illa’ as a clear exception to the condition in 87:6 as with the phrase ‘innahu yalamun’aljahra wama yakhfa’?

Personally and with respect, the latter interpretation would be difficult to support from an academic / Quranic perspective. From the perspective of theology, one is of course free to advance what they feel inclined to from their perspective. Whether it has any academic merit or Quranic warrant is another matter of course.

Salamun alaikum,

I am not trying to defend or promote parwez here, but it would be helpful to better appreciate the view of a scholar if we know the reason for this translation.

I agree with you Parwez seems to have completely reversed the whole meaning of the verse and as you said it seems like he simply inserting words which don't exist in the Arabic.  The reason he himself stated for this translation as far as I could gather is given below in brief.  He has given a detailed scholarly discussion on this point in his work Kitabu-Taqdeer (Book of destiny) - Chapter 10,  which I kindly request you to read for a detailed verification if there is any substance in his interpretation.

The phrase الا ما شاء الله  (except what Allah wills) should not be taken to mean: “you may forget of it only as much as Allah allows”. The Messenger was not to forget any of the revelation at all! (17:86). Mufti Mohammed Abdu writes in his al-Manar: “In the Quran, ‘exception to Allah’s will مشيئةalways means consistency and occurrence of event – i. e., the opposite of what has been said will never happen. الا  (except or but) in this phrase means that Allah will (مشيئة) won’t  be contrary to what has been said – He would have had it otherwise if He wanted it so. Therefore, the verses above (87/6-7) mean: “You will never be able to forget it”.

Supportive of this interpretation of the phrase in question are the verses from sura Hood, which talk about permanent occupancy of Paradise and Hell, saying: “They shall be in it till the universe is – except (this) what you Preserver wants …” (11/109, 11/108),  also: (6/120). It means that they will stay there according to the Law of Allah’s will (for ever).

“Sura  Baqara  says:  ‘Man  can have no knowledge of things except for whatever (Allah) wills” (2:255) إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ It should be taken as to mean that Man can obtain knowledge through laws already established by Allah (His will - مشيئة); even then his knowledge will be limited as compared to Allah’s.   

Also verse; “Say [O Prophet]: "It is not within my power to avert harm from, or bring benefit to, myself, except as God may please.   إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ "(10:49).   It means prophet is not empowered (even) to hurt or benefit himself outside the bounds of laws established by Allah.   The verse continues; “there is a law for everything. When the period of respite is over, the (destruction) comes right on time”! 10:49
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 02:17:44 AM »
Salamun Alaikum,

Quite simply, the use of the exception 'illa' is superfluous if the same meaning without it would have been intended. God does not make use of words unnecessarily. Those that speak Arabic know exactly how 'illa' is used in this context and it is not intended to ratify but to provide an exception.

In my humble opinion, anyone without bias would find Parwez's interpolation quite fantastic including the use of 17:86 which he makes on the basis of his preconceived interpretation. He is simply orchestrating interpolations to fit his theology. I feel all the examples you have kindly shared have been presented with an equally inherent interpretive bias in support of Parwez's work for which the text of the Arabic Quran provides no warrant.

103.001
"By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except (Arabic: illa) such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy"
[Tr. Y. Ali]

I feel the above clearly shows one without theological bias how the word 'illa' is understood. It is an exception particle and not a source of ratification.

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

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 09:04:14 AM »
Quite simply, the use of the exception 'illa' is superfluous if the same meaning without it would have been intended.
Salamun alaikum,

One can forget a thing due to many reasons.  It is the responsibility of Allah to see that divine revelation is communicated to the prophet and properly preserved.   So the term “illa” in 87:6 (thou shalt not forget except as Allah wills) is NOT superfluous.   It is to establish complete control of Allah over the revelation to prophet and Allah’s will to preserve the verses.  This statement is not to show prophet may forget revelation as much as Allah allows to forget.   It is similar to Quran says in 2:255  ‘Man  can have no knowledge of things except for whatever (Allah) wills”. It is to show complete control of Allah over the capabilities to achieve knowledge.   Your explanation will ONLY support concepts like traditional satanic concept of abrogation theory, though you yourself view that this is not a confirmation that the Prophet was actually made to forget anything.  Assuming (not admitting) your analysis is correct as per your understanding, let me ask you, if prophet was not made to forget anything why this statement??   I hope you will take an effort to read the scholarly analysis I pointed out and I really want to see you make a counter to the work. 

Kind regards
The meaning which was lost in all our divisions will not be understood until our perceptions become untainted -  Allama Iqbal

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Verse 87:7 and Support for Hadith
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 01:10:09 PM »
Salamun Alaikum Optimist / Abdul Samad,

I clearly mentioned that if as you seem to assert, the exception 'illa' was merely intended to provide a confirmation, then the exception would be superfluous. Any Arabic speaking person or anyone who has remotely studied the Quran would know what 'illa' means in the Quran. It is used to provide an exception not ratification. I have respectfully demonstrated it, yet I sadly find that you will go to any lengths to protect a theological position propounded by Parwez even when it has no basis in the Quran.

Secondly you seem to equate 'forgetfulness' with abrogation in an absolute sense. You make no allowance for the fact that there could have been a temporary loss where one may not be able to recall a verse for a few moments. It does not mean he forgot verses in toto or in parts during his revelation or whether his forgetfulness was intended to abrogate earlier verses.

Indeed, the Quran doesn't confirm whether he ever forgot, but even if he did, it would not be outside God's control and authority. I have clearly argued from my perspective that the verse could have served as an immense source of consolation given the intensity of the ministry to alleviate pressure from the Prophet.

However, your precepts are clearly highlighted and why you incline to interpret the Quran in the manner that you do. I myself have written an article attempting to refute the concept of abrogation from a Quran's perspective [1].

Finally to your question which I respectfully find is another Achilles heel of your lean to interpret the Quran in a certain way:

Quote
"Assuming (not admitting) your analysis is correct as per your understanding, let me ask you, if prophet was not made to forget anything why this statement??"

I posited reasons in my earlier post. I find not only is the Quranic statement a confirmation of God's overarching authority over His creation and man's inherent fallibility, such a verse also serves to console the Prophet who himself at times harboured doubts of various kinds during his Prophethood (See surahs 93 and 94). It was for God to make use of techniques which He deemed fit to ensure that the message reached its intended audience strengthening the Prophet in multifarious ways.

With respect, I once again feel that I have exhausted my perspective on this matter and have made my academic views clear. Sadly, I find nothing that you provide has any academic warrant but is once again permeated with emotion and an unrelenting desire to protect, propound and defend Parwez's works. 

I also feel that it would be fruitless for me to make any counter to Parwez's works for individuals like your kind self as I feel you will not be open minded enough to welcome it. This is sadly my view hitherto given the many discussions I have had with you on this board on this matter thus far and your extreme bias towards Parwez in your own words.

Quote
On a BLESSED DAY, I accidently came across the writings of Allama Parwez and it has now completely changed my life. He is now close to my life and I love this man After Allah and His Messengers......more than I love my family.

I feel such sentiments do not allow you to discern from Parwez's works objectively.

Please take my post as my last say on this matter. May I remind you that you have already been kindly warned on forum policy and the moderators will be quick to act if your actions are deemed to consistently be in violation of it.

Regards,
Joseph.

REFERENCES

[1] ABROGATION - A FALSE DOCTRINE
http://quransmessage.com/articles/abrogation%20FM3.htm
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell