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Offline Duster

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Men of the Heights?
« on: October 01, 2012, 05:59:46 PM »
salaam / peace / shalom all


In 7/46, who are these men of the heights? Any thoughts welcome.

Offline HOPE

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Re: Men of the Heights?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 08:21:24 PM »
Peace

  I'd like to know also. I was told that they were the ones whose credit and debit are the same and hoping for God's mercy to tip the scale.

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline HOPE

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Re: Men of the Heights?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 03:18:22 AM »
Peace,

I think there are two views regarding this group of men:  1. those who are tied in good and bad deeds, waiting for a tiebreaker. [ 57:13] a wall with a door will be put between munafiqs and believers.  Inside will be mercy, outside torment.  I do not know if this soor is the same as the barrier mentioned in surah 7 because  others say it is a lofty bridge suspended between Heaven and Hell.  I cannot tell if the elevation points to the wall or the wall has elevated places meaning different  grades, degrees.

Then the second opinion, proposed by Hasan Basri, is that ashabal-araf is related to marifa, the  intuitive knowledge, that includes the group of saints, prophets, angels that assume human form who are able to recognize the two groups. http://quransmessage.com/forum/Smileys/default/embarrassed.gif
"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark"

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Men of the Heights?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2012, 10:32:08 PM »
Dear Duster, Hope / all,

Peace to you all.

This passage has been the source of much diverse interpretation.

Key words are highlighted in bold red and black.
 
007.044-49
[44] "And the companions of the garden will call out to the companions of the fire that "Indeed we have found what our Lord promised us to be true. So have you too found what your Lord promised to be true?" They will say "Yes". Then an announcer will anounce among them that "The curse of God is on the wrongdoers. [45] Those who hinder (people) from God's way and seek in it crookedness and they are disbelievers in the hereafter. [46] And between the two there shall be a veil / partition (Arabic: hijabun), and on the heights / most elevated places (Arabic: Al-araf) there shall be men (Arabic: rijalun) who know all by their marks and they will call out to the companions of the garden that "Peace be on you". They shall not have yet entered it, though they hope. [47] And when their eyes shall be turned towards the companions of the fire, they will say "Our Lord! Do not place us with the people of the wrong-doers. [48] And the dwellers of the heights / most elevated places shall call out to men whom they will recognize by their marks saying "Of no avail were to you your amassings and your behaving haughtily / with arrogance" [49] Are these they about whom you swore that God will not bestow mercy on them? "Enter the garden; you shall have no fear, nor shall you grieve."
 
There are numerous interpretations that have been advanced with regards to these passages. Two prevailing, most popular interpretations are cited below.
 
  • These are people whose good and bad deeds have been deemed as equal and thus their fate is undecided as they remain in limbo.
  • These are people who are honourable, righteous people who remained steadfast in religion constantly striving to lead people to the path of God such as prophets and messengers.

 
I find the second interpretation agreeable with my own perspective of the Quran. Please find below my reasons why.
 
  • I find the proposition of an undecided fate difficult to accept from a Quranic perspective. The decision maker is ultimately God. God demands perfect retribution by His very nature and would never leave requital in a state of flux or insinuating any need of continuing deliberation. Even if one's case were finely balanced on tenterhooks, God's overriding mercy is well established in  the Quran - (Kataba ala nafsihi l-rahma 6:12, 6:54) [1]. Furthermore, the Quran provides a very graded view of requital depending entirely on one's deeds on Earth. The premise that good and bad deeds are in any way equal albeit opposed (i.e. one bad deed nullifies one good deed etc) is also difficult to accept from a Quran's perspective. We note from verse 2:81, that it is in fact the weighted dominance of one's bad deed's on their soul that renders a person an inhabitant of hell and not the 'quantity' of bad deeds. 002:081"Yes, whoever earns evil and his sins surround him, these are the companions of the fire. In it they shall abide."
  • The term 'al-araf' carries the nuance of recognition, discernment which is also carried by the verb 'arafa' (2:89, 5:83, ya'rifu (16:83) or yu'rafu (55:41)) or verb 'arrafa' (47:6, 66:3)  of the same root. It also means ramparts, something indicating height, something higher / highest or something which became high. See also the mention of 'Arafat' in verse 2:198. Therefore, there appears to be something of significance or an elevated status attached to the usage of such a phrase.
  • There is mention of 'rijalun' which in this context literally means 'men'. Please see 4:1. Another reference can be seen in verse 33:23 which also refers to men or possibly men of high status. This is possibly an allusion to Prophets of God or other great men.
  • In verse 7:46, these men have the ability to recognise people by their marks which insinuates an ability to discern as part of an elevated status. These could also be a people of the elevated category as alluded to in verse 56:10-11.
  • They speak to the dwellers of the Garden offering salutations of 'peace'. They shall not have yet entered it, though they hope. Again this appears to be a special category of people that have some assurance of entry to a state of felicity.
  • In verse 7:47, they turn to the dwellers of the fire and pray not to be made part of the wrong doing folk. This may appear difficult to reconcile with the point above where some assurance of felicity is alluded to. However, the difficulty is immediately removed once one considers the characteristics of the righteous who always remained humble even under persecution and never exhibited haughtiness or overt confidence that they were deserving of heaven (26:82). 026.082 "And the One Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Judgment.
  • Given the nature of the discourse of verse 7:48, it is clear that those of 'al-araf' were clearly a separate category to those that amassed and behaved haughtily on earth. There is a clear allusion that the arrogant clearly didn't attribute any good to those of the 'al-araf' and possibly mocked them on Earth. However, the mocked were indeed the righteous and the ones on whom God showed mercy and were clearly shown sanction to enter the gardens of bliss.

In my humble perspective, these are men of elevated status such as Prophets of God.

I find such an interpretation supported not only from a literal, linguistic rendition of the Quranic verses, but also from a theological perspective of the Quran.
 
I hope that helps, God willing.
 
Joseph
 
REFERENCE:

[1] A GENEROUS, LOVING AND FORGIVING LORD
http://quransmessage.com/articles/generous,%20forgiving%20lord%20FM3.htm

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

Offline Duster

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Re: Men of the Heights?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 11:15:38 AM »
peace bro Joseph

Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. Very helpful indeed!!!  ;D

I guess my only concern with the 'elevated status' point of view was 7/47 as to why they were praying not to be part of the hell-fire people when they knew they had some knowledge that they were righteous. But then the explanation of the remaining humble and supporting verse 26/82 you have given is convincing ...... at least for me. I also note that in 17/79, no guarantees were given even to the prophet. This is possibly so that Allah's righteous servants always remain humble and continue to strive.








UPDATE BY QM FORUM MODERATOR

13th March 2013

This thread is now closed and a direct link to this post is now available at the dedicated Q&A page.

http://quransmessage.com/articles/q&as%20FM3.htm

Thanks.