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Theme Changer

 Topic: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation

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  • My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     OP - May 26, 2010, 03:54 PM

    This thread is only intended for translators as a folder to add their translated texts to.
    Nothing else is allowed here.

    For discussions and comments please use the original thread, that started everything off.

    Links:

    My_Ordeal_With_The_Quran-en-latest.pdf (Always the latest version of the PDF file)

    My_Ordeal_With_The_Quran.tex (Used to generate the PDF file)

    Found a mistake you want to me to correct?

    Folder with project related files.


    TODO: Somebody should make a list of links to all the pieces Hassan has already translated in the other thread.

    German ex-Muslim forumMy YouTubeList of Ex-Muslims
    Wikis: en de fr ar tr
    CEMB-Chat
    I'm on an indefinite break...
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #1 - May 28, 2010, 09:30 PM

    Chapter 4 (cont...)

    Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an.

    We must now ask: Is the Qur'an really miraculous?

    The belief in the Miraculous nature of the Qur'an does not withstand scrutiny in any way. There are numerous fallacies that surround this belief. We have seen some clear examples of that from Ibn al-Rawandi and Abu Bakr al-Razi and in a little while we shall see many other examples that refute this belief so long as we look impartially and objectively at the issues so we are not swayed by the majority or the prevailing views, for scientific facts are not discovered by voting as in Parliaments no matter how large the number of votes support it.

    Miraculousness is of two types in my opinion: Language and Meaning.

    As for Miraculous Language, it's conditions are clarity of expression, fluency of wording, being free from complexity, weak composition and disharmony. The speech must have a uniform level of quality, excellence, and perfection.

    But miraculous language has no value if it is not accompanied by miraculous meaning. If not then it's just an arrangement of words cobbled together, good-looking gibberish, meaningless padding. For that reason eloquent speech must have consistency and symmetry in it's ideas and packed with meaning. It must be free from error and contradiction.

    But the verses of the Qur'an are uneven in quality in both language and meaning and this was noticed by the classical scholars as confirmed by al-Suyuti.

    Although a large portion of verses are the height of excellence and beauty, another portion of verses fall far below that, while others are weak and flawed.

    In the same way ambiguity and riddles envelope a significant number of the verses to the extent that one is confused when trying to understand the intended meaning of this or that verse. While some appear to have no meaning at all, despite the fact that the exegetes (Mufassirun) and scholars of Eloquence "discovered" a thousand and one meanings.

    Indeed the books of (the scholars) of Eloquence are full of chapters that have no meaning and have been contrived simply to provide an escape route and justification for the babble in some of the verses that confront the reader. Using the pretext of delving deeply for the secrets and sublime miraculousness of the Qur'an.

    In my opinion the whole science of Balagha (Eloquence) was contrived in order to defend the Qur'an. In other words, only for ideological reasons, not to find the truth. Indeed, Ideology is the governing factor in all the treaties of our scholars in this field at the expense of objectivity and scientific methodology.

    Finally, in addition to what we see in the Qur'an of fragmentation and disarray, not to mention blatant scientific mistakes.

    So does all that correspond with the belief in the miraculous (nature of the Qur'an) in any way? Or are there locks on hearts? (Reference to Qur'an 47:24 ). This is what we shall investigate now.

    The majority of those who studied the Qur'anic text are not Westerners - if not all of them. They treat it on the basis that it is a holy text. That it cannot be criticised. Since no falsehood comes to it from the front nor the back. The presumption of it's authenticity and infallibility is a prerequisite that places a barrier that comes between us and it. It deprives us of much of the wealth that may accrue from (their study of) it. In that way we close all the doors that were open in front of us before we begin. And nothing remains for us to do in this case, but pour everything we possess of effort into embellishing, and polishing the text and imposing upon it that which is unlikely and defend it - right or wrong - and to "discover" what is in it of hidden treasures and secrets and wisdoms and meanings that boggle the mind and astound the intellect and thus begins the journey of searching for the the pearls.


    to be continued...
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #2 - May 31, 2010, 01:32 PM

    Chapter 4 (cont...)

    Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an (cont...)

    The text may not be more than a collection of bombastic speech that does not mean anything, but the exegete (Mufassir) - with his believing background and generous expectations - presupposes there is the wisdom of the ages in the text, because it is from the a wise all-knowing one. "The Trustworthy Spirit has descended with it, to thy heart so that you may be of the warners." (26:193-194). I say, if the text didn't mean anything, then indeed the exegetes ended up seeing everything in it!  It became the protected pearl and the hidden jewel. But this is a profoundly bankrupt method of dealing with the Qur'anic text. It doesn't reap anything other than hot air and does not result in anything other than waffle, double-talk, concoction, and falsely attributing to the text that which never occurred to it's original author at all!

    Indeed! The Qur'an is not amongst the secrets of the gods, it is not connected in any way to divine inspiration that would take it outside historical trends. It is purely a human achievement that complies with human principles. Like all human efforts it is subject to strength & weakness, accuracy & error, agreement & contradiction, cohesion & disarray, consistency & inconsistency, originality & imitation, depth & superficiality, lucidity & brittleness...

    The direct result of all that is that the Qurʾan is a very ordinary book. For that reason it is necessary to remove it from its safe and secure refuge, outside Human history and return it to the world of people. After that it will no longer be storehouse for timeless wisdom, nor a divine book protected from error that no falsehood can approach it from either front or behind. In that way, it and its time and its context become part of the historical process and unfolding events. (NB: This is paragraph and part of the last is repeated from the beginning of this chapter.)

    If you read the Qur'an you will find ample evidence of the Divine Being, acts of worship, exhortations, morals, legislation, injunctions, wisdoms, parables, stories and legends... but you with hardly come across one page where ideas correlate or or flow in a connected sequence or follow on from one another, unless the text is recounting the narrative of a story, or establishing a rule, which requires a certain amount of elaboration. But as soon as it finishes, it jumps to another subject that has no connection to it. That is then interspersed with digressions that interrupt the narrative flow leaving it without a point. So our waffling exegetes (mufassirun) are forced to come up with a point for it. If they find a point then it is only stumbled across after strenuous excavation that the wafflers attribute to profound wisdom.

    There are complete pages in the Qur'an that are full confusion, as well as offensive words and weak expressions. It contains hollowness, affectation, artifice, fabrication, and ambiguity. Words that have meanings that conflict with one another, making it hard for one to decide which of the two conflicting aspects is the intended one. If that was simply confined to insignificant secondary issues it would be less important, but it extends also to issues of belief and legislation.

    Not forgetting, that in addition to these the errors and flaws, the Qur'an contains contradictions that they eye cannot miss. How much effort the wafflers spent in trying to conceal them and give them strange meanings that they don't have, to make them the epitome of wisdom and sobriety!

    In addition to this series of drawbacks that the Qur'an is packed with and which we shall see detailed for ourselves, is the mixing of the speech of Allah with the speech of man within a single verse. So while the first half of the verse starts off in the words of the prophet or one of the pious, we find the second half ending in speech that cannot be a human speaking, but must be attributed to Allah. So either this portion has been inserted into the text or the verse is incomplete, half of it being lost, so the scribe completed it - and most of them didn't understand what they were transcribing - according to whatever words came to their minds, repairing the verse and filling it's gap. This is despite all that is commonly disseminated about the authentication of the text and close attention to detail during it's recording process.

    Last but not least, the scholars find very great difficulty in accepting many verses from the "Wise Reminder" (a name of the Qur'an) due to its complete opposition to scientific facts in the present time. These verses are true as long as science, philosophy, and myths are all approximately one and the same thing. But today the situation has changed and the position has become clear as to the extent of the naivety of the Qur'an when we see that it accepted all and sundry of handed-down knowledge of ancient times and then attributed it to the "treasure" of Divine knowledge about the secrets of the universe, life and destiny.


    (To be cont...)
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #3 - June 05, 2010, 03:21 PM

    Chapter 4 (cont...)

    Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an (cont...)

    Despite all this they want us to believe that the Qur'an; "Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy" (4:82) but the patching-up of the Wafflers is a guarantor by which every conflict is reconciled and the reply to every objection and bestows on the Qur'an a fluent, harmonious unity free from defects so they can produce in front of them: "An Arabic Qur'an without any crookedness" (39:28).

    We shall discuss all that in the widest scope possible as well as detailing, clarifying and illustrating as the situation permits so we can open covered hearts and deaf ears and remove the veil over eyes (NB: Ironic references to Qur'an) that cannot see other than what they want to see, and let loose the tongues so that they do not say anything about the truth except the truth and express nothing but the truth.

    In this regard, and whatever our verdict on the Qur'an, it does contain bouquets of masterpieces and marvels that the fair-minded - regardless of where their loyalties lie or what their beliefs and convictions are - cannot fail to be moved by them and bow in prostration. But is the whole Qur'an like that? No and a thousand times no! For indeed these verses and those that surround them are spectrums of light and rings of radiance that captivate the mind, heart and emotions. But because of the ink they caused to be shed, pens they aroused, energies they let loose and passions they stirred - I say because of spotlights they were put under - these verses hid another portion of verses from sight and cast them into the dark. As a result we only see that which catches the sight and are blind to anything else. But if we remain in this state - whether we realise it or not - we will pass the same verdict on them both and how foolish is that! Thus we would put the dull verses in the same category as the glittering verses and be oblivious to the huge gap between them simply because they share the same name; Qur'an. Just like one who puts mud ( الثرى ) in the same category as the Pleiades stars cluster  ( الثريا ) because they share he same root ( ث ر ي ).

    So never think that the whole Qur'an is of the same quality, cast in the mold of these outstanding verses that we presented in the previous pages - certainly not. These are instances of pearls and gems being found amongst earth and pebbles. Like neighbouring pieces of land with a sprinkling of grape vines here and there while in other places grow poisonous shrubs, gum trees, flowers and date palms between sand dunes that are scattered with weeds, cane stalks, and harmful herbs. Are these the same, for example?

    This is what the Qur'an is like. It is - as we mentioned before and as we shall see in more detail - not on one level of quality, brilliance or splendour. but contains the poor as well as the rich and all that lies in-between that. Such a mixture of things that it is very difficult for the mind to see how to reconcile them. But they are reconciled by force and coercion and when concoction and waffling (of the mufassirin) gets involved in sewing together the tears, mending the cracks and plugging the holes, some of them easy to accomplish and some so intractable they require huge effort and resources and some are enigmatic mysteries as though the mind was fettered by them. We shall remove from you your covering, oh reader, so that your vision tomorrow will be sharp! (NB: Ref to Qur'an 50:22) and tomorrow is near for he who envisages it! (NB: Ref to a line of poetry that has become a saying).

    1. Look at this wonderful pearl where the Qur'an describes uncovering the secrets of the wrong-doers and exposing their affair in front of God who makes their body-parts speak on the day of Judgment. So that they bear witness against them about what they have committed of sins that they thought were been brushed under the carpet, never to return but they were recorded and able to articulate the truth:

    "On the Day that the enemies of Allah will be gathered together to the Fire, they will be marched in ranks. At length, when they reach the (Fire), their ears and their eyes and their skins testify against them as to what they used to do. They will say to their skins: "Why are you bearing witness against us?" They will say: "Allah who makes everything speak has made us speak: He created you for the first time, and to Him you are returned. You did not hide yourselves lest your ears and your eyes and your skins should bear witness against you, but you thought that Allah did not know much of what you did. But this thought of yours which you did entertain concerning your Lord, has brought you to destruction, and (now) have you become of those utterly lost!" (41:19-23)

    So if this is a "divine" masterpiece is of inimitable style, the like of which cannot be achieved - and that is true, then is it possible to achieve the same as this "human" masterpiece by al-Jahiz? (781-868) which he states in his unique and delightful style, in his book; "Squaring the Circle", which overflows with style, eloquence, clarity and illumination:

    "Nay why do their sayings concern you or or their dispute weigh upon you? Those of understanding and who speak from knowledge, know that the abundance of your width detracts from the height of your stature and what shows of your width absorbs what shows of your height. Although they differ about your height, they agree about your width, and since they spitefully concede to you a part and unjustly deny from you a part, you have gained what they conceded, while you stand by your claim regarding what they didn't concede. I swear that the eyes make mistakes and the senses lie and there is no conclusive verdict other than that given by intellect and no true enlightenment except by way of the mind since it is the rein for the limbs and the measure for the senses." (43)

    One cannot mention the princes of speech without mentioning Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi (923–1023). For he wrote comprehensive works, and on his tongue wisdoms gushed forth and deep meanings swarmed, yet his age deprived him the acclaim he deserved. I present to you here this text which is from the beginning  of (his book) "Enjoyment and Conviviality" in which he describes the world, in the most briefest of ways, so full of meaning and in concise expressions as though he is describing his burning soul and faltering fortune:

    "Indeed this fleeting (world) is beloved, it's luxury sought after, and a place amongst those of high council is solicited by any means and manner. For this world is sweet and verdant, delectable and lush. He who is timid, his task will be arduous, while he who's pressing is passionate, his coming and going will advance continually, while he who is held captive by his expectations, his hardship will be long and his misfortune great, while he who's greed and desire are inflamed, his impotence and deficiency will be exposed." (44)

    Badi' al-Zaman (al-Hamadani) (967 - 1007) was intricate just as al-Jahiz and al-Tawhidi were (NB: Their work had layers of meaning), he was a master at delighting (the reader), words in his hands were obedient and compliant, redolent with fragrance and aroma, diffusing the scent of perfume. A great deal of his work has reached us that one never finishes contemplating. They are no less excellent and eloquent than many of the verses of the "Reminder of the Wise" (The Qur'an). But many of the readers take it (the writings of al-Hamadani) for granted. Let us read this beautiful artistic piece where he describes his hunger during a year of famine in Baghdad, and how all his hopes of obtaining food evaporated, and he ended up with nothing but pain and grief. He uses the (fictional character) 'Isa ibn Hisham to relate it:

    "'Isa ibn Hisham related to us and said: I was in Baghdad the year of famine, and so I approached a group, huddled like the stars of Pleiades, in order to ask something of them. Amongst them was a youth with a lisp in his tongue. He asked: 'What do you want?' (NB: Qur'anic ref to 20:95). I replied: 'There are two conditions in which a man prospers not; that of a beggar wearied by hunger, and that of an exile to whom return is impossible.' The boy then said: 'Which of the two gaps would you like me to fill first?' I answered: 'Hunger, for it has become extreme with me.' He said: 'What would you say to a loaf of bread on a clean table, picked herbs with sour vinegar, fine almonds with strong mustard, roast meat ranged on a skewer with a little salt, brought to you now by one who will not procrastinate with promises nor torture you with waiting, and who will afterwards follow it up with golden goblets of grape? Is that preferable to you, or a large company, full cups, variety of dessert, spread carpets, brilliant lights, and a skilful minstrel with the eye and neck of a gazelle? 'If you don't want this or that, then what do you say about some fresh meat, river fish, fried aubergines, the wine of Qutrubbul, freshly harvested apples, a soft bed on a high apartment, opposite a flowing river, a bubbling fountain, and a garden with streams in it?' 'Isa ibn Hisham related: So I said: 'I am the slave of all three (options you have given me).' The boy said: 'And so am I their servant, if only we had them!!' I said: 'May God not bless you! You have revived desires which despair had killed, then you snatched away the object of its relish?!"

    Can you see this captivating beauty that the Qur'an does not have a monopoly over? Al-Jahiz, al-Tawhidi, Badi' al-Zaman and many other greats of prose and poetry such as Ibn Muqaffa', Abu Nuwas, Abu al-'Ala al-Ma'arri from the classical literati and al-Mazini, al-Rafi'i, al-Aqqad, and Ta Ha Hussein from the moderns - they and their like have left us masterpieces that are as good as - if not better, at times, than some of the verses of the Qur'an. They left us a massive legacy full of profound wisdoms and clear signs (NB: Ref to the words for 'clear verses' in the Qur'an). But which one of them claimed that he is speaking under heavenly inspiration or that he encompasses the secrets of the Divine?



    (43) "Squaring the Circle", edited by Charles Pellat, p 5

    (44) "Enjoyment and Conviviality", edited by Ahmad Amin and Ahmad al-Zayn, Cairo, p 13.



    (To be cont...)
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #4 - June 09, 2010, 07:18 PM

    Chapter 4 (cont...)

    Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an (cont...)

    So the Qur'an as we have mentioned previously is not on one level of quality. On the contrary it is characterised by mediocrity, banality, weakness, disarray, fragmentation, confusion, ambiguity, and disclaimers alongside excellent verses that exhibit majesty, greatness, eloquence, cohesion, clarity and complete accountability. The exegetes were at their wits end in trying to explain this phenomena and so embarked on desperate efforts to ignore them and push them out of the spotlight so that we wouldn't come upon any of them during the discussions about eloquence, rhetoric, beauty, marvels, linguistic artistry of the others that adorn the Qur'an.

    They focussed on the masterpieces in books about miraculousness of the Qur'an and used them to illustrate it in every chapter, section and page - almost in every line - of their forced books, whether appropriately or inappropriately, until ears were sick of them and the mind was bored of them. Indeed the degree that the spotlight was concentrated on some verses was equalled by the degree that another portion of verses were swept under the carpet. They imposed an invisible barrier around them, so that attention skips over them swiftly and lightly leaving no time for pondering or contemplation.

    All our readings of the Qur'an are readings done as acts of worship that only increase blindness upon blindness each time more is committed to memory and the tongue perfects recitation. It is not a recitation that involves analysis, critique, understanding or penetrating appraisal.

    Yes, indeed the exegetes were hard pushed to explain these verses and create ways out for them. They ignored them whenever citing examples (of eloquence) and resorted to their "contortion" every time they came across them in their writings and forcing them to encompass meanings they didn't encompass in order to preserve it's (the Qur'an's) integrity.

    They were the knights in shining armour, ever present, never tiring of a challenge, never finding it too burdensome to come up with a reply, never letting any objective defeat them, never letting weariness weigh them down. They were standing by the door answering every visitor. The students of Hermeneutics can find fertile ground and expansive pasture, amongst them, to support their analytical theories. You know them by their signs (Qur'anic reference). They are people of waffle, carriers of the the incense. Some of them went to such absurd extremes that they became a laughing stock. They "discovered" amongst the confusing, bewildering, fluctuating, disordered, disturbed, incomprehensible, contradictory verses, eloquent nuances and sublime connotations that are too subtle for the ordinary mind, that escape people's understanding and challenge the intellect to the extent that no-one can fully perceive them other than those 'firm in knowledge' (ref to Qur'an) - even if they can perceive them!!

    Give me a lunatic and I will unearth pearls, jewels and timeless gems of wisdom from his speech.

    They were able to extract meaning from that which had no meaning, they never found it hard to make the barren fertile, the mute articulate, incoherence eloquent and every old man into the prime of his youth. In their hands everything is brilliant and fluid, excellent and magnificent and hence comes from Heaven. Even if it is a thorn, bitter gourd, deadly poison or the like of such scourges.

    For Heaven cannot stand up on it's own except with the help of the one-eyed, the lame, the scrawny and every decrepit moronic dim-wit. Repent to the Dim-Wits, for indeed they hold the keys to Heaven!

    The judgment of the critic becomes defective the stronger is his faith (in that which he is analysing/critiquing), until he only sees in the Qur'an what he wants to see and is blind to what he doesn't want to see. If you expose to him the extent of the flaws in the Qur'an and the abundance of contradictions and his handling of them, he will fume and seeth with rage, and insult and curse. He will block his ears to you as he has blocked his mind and make the most vile accusations against you. Woe to you, for you have come to create Fitna and turn him away from his religion unless Allah makes him steadfast and blesses him with the blessing of strong faith.

    Watch how he will block his ears as though saying "This is a manifest lie" (24:12) as the people of Noah did when he said - speaking to his lord;

    "And every time I have called to them, that Thou mightest forgive them, they have (only) thrust their fingers into their ears, covered themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate, and given themselves up to arrogance." (71:7)

    And this is what the Polytheists of Mecca did, so the Qur'an said to them:

    "Had we sent down unto thee (Muhammad) (actual) writing upon parchment, so that they could feel it with their hands, those who disbelieve would have said: This is naught else than mere magic" (6:7)

    Woe upon woe to he who utters a single word of criticism against the truth of Islam and what a catastrophe and calamity of calamaties if if this criticism harms a single word of the Qur'an. So I wonder what is the difference between us and what we see today and between the people of Noah and the polytheists of Mecca? (45)

    In summary, those who prattle on about the Qur'an, heaping praises on it, raving about it's eloquence and sublime beauty, filling the world with clamour about the miraculousness of the Qur'an, and that it is the 'Greatest Miracle' (46) of the Qur'an only cite the amazing and excellent (verses) that grace the Qur'an and which form the basis of the magic of the Qur'an. Their attention was poured on selected verses where there is no doubt about their eloquence and hieght of excellence and beauty.

    But how many of them didn't turn their attention to the weak and poor (verses) of the Qur'an of which we shall give examples of shortly, and if they did turn their attention to them, they undertook the task of polishing, refinement and improvement inorder to repair their defects and cover their flaws so that they leave their hands as protected gold nuggets or hidden pearls befitting the Lord of Might and Majesty - the Cleaver of daybreak (ref to Qur'an) until the day of judgement!

    ***

    _______________________________

    (45) Perhaps you have heard of the ministerial crisis in Kuwait and the demand for the dismissal of the Minsiter of Awqaf. Why? Because of the issue of a new edition of the Qur'an containing some unintentional mistakes, which will send the minister to Hell on a day when no intercession will be had except one who has taken a promise from Allah. The printing mistakes came to light while he was minister - 'Perish his hands!' - and appeared in a number of copies  - May Allah humiliate him, he has brought a terrible thing, the heavens almost shatter, the earth split, the mountains collapse that he allowed the book of God to have flaws enter it and didn't prevent or avoid it - may God destroy him. He thought it was a trivial matter. He didn't see it - Woe to him! - as a grave, serious, obligation. So return him to Allah - him and his like - for that is more pure and fitting. If he desists not then he and his like will burn long in the Fire of Hell. And none shall come to the Merciful, except as a slave, and each one will come to him on the Day of Judgment alone! (NB: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/335404.stm)

    (46) The name of a book by Muhammad Abu Zahra that is extolled by the masses - nay, by the select and the select of the select.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #5 - June 11, 2010, 10:26 PM

    Chapter 4 (cont...)

    Part 3 - The Eloquence of the Qur'an (cont...)

    Eloquence is composing words in such a way that they correspond to the meanings and embellish them with radiance. Eloquence is not simply to address people according to what they understand. Eloquence is to raise them up to reach your objectives by clarifying them in ways that make (people) comprehend everything you want to enlighten them with.

    Addressing people according to their mentality and understanding, sacrifices meaning, depth and comprehension. It gives precedence to a loose meaning over a precise and complete meaning. It distances what is said from it's objectives. Thus it is the job of the literary master to aspire for something higher through his artistic expression and not to resort to facile speech.

    But we find many verses of the Qur'an are vague and based on ambiguous imprecise concepts that do not deliver clarity of underlying meaning, because the words in them lack precision and accuracy and some more like puzzles and quizzes.

    For precise language helps mold precise ideas, while ambiguous language confuses the mind and muddles one's thinking. For that reason if we want speech to be eloquent then we must fulfill the condition of clarity and transparency and effectiveness to reach the ear in the most beautiful language and most lucid speech not to mention soundness of meaning, being error free and having no contradictions. It does not befit the writer of eloquent speech that his meanings should be disordered or contradictory or to make mistakes in wording and meaning.

    Amongst the things that contribute to clarity are candor, conciseness, soundness, using moving words without being too abstract. Using short sentences without overstatement and having preference for subtlety over coarseness. Avoiding padding, obscureness, concoction, and using words with multiple meanings and in particular words that have contradictory meanings.

    Clear, eloquent speech must also have all it's parts linked with each other and flow harmoniously and in succession and sequence with each other part. It should not jump from one sentence to another before fully dealing with and completing it's components. This means each sentence should carry the same seed as the following sentence and the following sentence concludes and completes the previous sentence. In this way each part flows naturally from each other part, aesthetically unified, coalescing and integrated as if they were a solid cemented structure.  (ref to Qur'an)

    In short: Eloquence (al-Balagha) is from al-Buloogh which means to reach and in relation to our subject here it is for the meaning to reach those for who it was intended. The crux of the matter is reaching the meaning and arriving at it. However, the meaning only becomes apparent if it has been demonstrated clearly and likewise it is not clear when it has not been demonstrated well. So whenever it (the meaning) is hidden or abstruse then the speech has lost it's purpose and becomes just babble with no use or benefit behind it.

    ***

    Now, after this short tour round the subject of Eloquence and it's conditions and the difference between eloquent speech and speech that is not eloquent we are justified in asking: What is the position of the Qur'an in all this? What is it's degree of eloquence in it? Is it on one level of eloquence or is there a disparity between it's verses? What is the degree of this disparity? This is what we shall discuss in the following section.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #6 - June 13, 2010, 04:37 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān?

    There are red lines that all Muslims who study the Qur'an do not allow themselves to cross. None of them start from zero. On the contrary they start off with absolute faith in His words - Exalted is He!

    "Indeed it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One full of wisdom, worthy of all praise." (41:41-42)

    And His saying:

    "Do they not then ponder on the Qur'an? Had it been from any other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy." (4:82)

    So falsehood cannot creep into the Qur'an in any way just as it is free from discrepancy. These two unassailable principles are not open to discussion. We can also add a third verse that emphasises the infallibility and Inviolability of the the Qur'an:      

    "Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support." (17:88)

    Would that I knew how a person can analyse the Qur'an in an objective, dispassionate, independent way when his hands are tied by these three verses? Remove these shackles and you will immediately see that falsehood has indeed found its way into the Qur'an, just like any human accomplishment. That it resounds with contradictions and all types of disparity. That it is possible to bring the like of it and even better than it also. Remove the covering from your eyes and and free yourselves from restrictions. 'But to whom are you singing your Psalms to Oh David?' (Arabic proverb, i.e. 'Will anyone listen?') No one wants to risk playing with fire, it simply doesn't enter the mind and if it does, then it cant entertain it, and if it does entertain it then it cannot act upon it. Nay, even those who are beset by doubts about the soundness of the Qur'an do not dare declare their true opinion. If they do then they do it apologetically and behind a veil (Qur'anic ref.) - a thousand and one veils.

    Thus he who wants to know their views about this, must use a level of ingenuity and intelligence that would enable him to bring out the suppressed in their writings and reveal the repressed by reading between the lines. As I said previously, they don't want to play with fire, choosing health and desiring peace, instead. As for me I love playing with fire and there will be many more after me. It is fire that burns out the blemishes on gold, and destroys all spots and stains. If you aspire for something higher, you must live dangerously!!

    ***
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #7 - June 14, 2010, 08:50 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    The first thing that strikes one in the Qur'an is it's disjointed nature. Yet this disjointedness is not felt by the believer, firstly because of his long familiarity with the text and secondly because his faith is a protective armour, shielding him from paying attention to the flaws this text contains. As for the non-Muslim, and especially if he is an Orientalist studying the Qur'an for the first time, he will be stunned when he sees this strange cocktail in a single chapter - in fact, in a single page - of the word of the Lord of the Worlds. He may have been taken aback by many things, but not a cocktail like the Qur'an.

    1. Continuity is rare in the Qur'an. In fact it is non-existent apart from Sura Yusuf and some of the short stories, then it reverts to it's original style of interruption and disjunction. Even Sura Yusuf which contains one hundred and eleven verses, has the last nine verses disjointed from those before it, not to mention that these nine verses between them are a strange cocktail with no connection between the elements that they are made of. However the waffling exegetes had no problem in uniting this untidy hem into one piece and creating all kinds of links and ties between its elements.  And no wonder! For each one of them - like Allah - is 'able to do all things'! That is when they turn their attention to any disjointedness or disarray in the Qur'an  - or at least - when they admit to it!!

    2. Look at these jumping verses and show me what links them together? (NB: Verses 70 to 88 of Sura al-Isra')

    Indeed we have honoured the children of Adam. We carry them on the land and the sea, and have made provision of good things for them, and have greatly preferred them above many of those whom we created

    On the day when We will call every people with their Imam; then whoever is given his book in his right hand, these shall read their book; and they shall not be wronged in the least

    Whoever is blind here will be blind in the Hereafter, and most astray from the Path.

    And they indeed strove hard to beguile you (NB: Singular, i.e. addressing Muhammad) away from that which We have revealed to you, that you should invent other than it against Us; and then would they have taken you as a friend.

    And if We had not made you firm you might almost have inclined to them a little.
     
    In that case We would certainly have made you to taste double (punishment) in this life and double (punishment) after death, then you would not have found any helper against Us.

    And surely they purposed to unsettle you from the land that they might expel you from it, and in that case they will not tarry behind you but a little.

    (Such was Our) way in the case of those whom We sent before you, you will find no change in Our ways.

    Establish regular prayers, at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning recitation; surely the morning recitation is witnessed.

    And some part of the night awake for it, an extra one for you, maybe your Lord will raise you to a praised position

    And say: My Lord! make me to enter a goodly entering, and cause me to go forth a goodly going forth, and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me).

    And say: Truth has come and Falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is ever bound to perish

    And We reveal of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy for believers though it increase the evil-doers in nothing but ruin.

    And when We bestow Our favours on man he turns away and behaves proudly, and when evil afflicts him, he is despairing

    Everyone acts according to his own disposition, but your Lord best knows who is best guided in the path

    They ask you concerning the soul, say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given anything of knowledge but a little.

    And if We wanted, We could certainly take away that which We have revealed to you, then you would not find anyone to to plead your case against Us.

    Except for Mercy from your Lord: Indeed his bounty is to you great.

    Say: If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others.

    (17:70-88)

    Indeed the whole of Sura al-Isra' is like this. Jumps that the Qur'an makes from one place to another, without traversing the wide roads or intersections between them or covering the vast spaces that lead to them. Does this have the slightest connection with eloquence, oh princes of eloquence? Answer me, oh champions of twisting, turning and apologetics? I cannot see in all that other than an insult to the mind and lulling it into unhealthy consequences and a terrible end! (ref to Qur'an). What is the difference between you and the journalists of the third world that sell themselves to the ruler and promote his decree in every place without conscience or integrity? 
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #8 - June 16, 2010, 11:07 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    Disjointedness and imbalance in verses of the Qur'an are the rule, while cohesion, continuity and consistency are the exception.

    3. What do you say, please, about the following verses? Give me your opinion on the matter oh masters of clear speech and eloquence, oh guardians of logic and evidence. Allah - Exalted is He - said during the story of Yunus (Jonah) when the whale swallowed him up:

    But had it not been that he was of those who glorify,

    He would certainly have remained in its belly till the day when they are raised.

    Then We cast him on to the bare shore in a state of sickness.

    And We caused to grow up for him a gourd-plant.

    And We sent him to a hundred thousand, or more.

    And they believed, so We gave them comfort for a while.

    Now ask them their opinion: Is it that your Lord has daughters while they have sons?

    Or did We create the angels females while they were witnesses?
    (37:143-150)

    What do angels and their gender have to with the story of Yunus, here? How about adding a new section to the subdivisions of eloquence called the Section of Dissonance or the Section of Incongruity or such headings that signify the upside-down standards in the Qur'an?

    4. Perhaps the cocktail quality here won't show too much after a bit of patching-up, making it possible to link these disparate verses in the usual style of the people (the Mufassirun). But what sort of patching-up can link the elements of this cocktail which the eye cannot miss? A verse from the East and a verse from the West, and 'from every valley a stick', as they say. (NB: Arabic saying meaning; 'hotchpotch'; a confused mixture.)

    On the Day when the excuse of the wrongdoers will not benefit them and they will be cursed and have an evil abode.

    And We indeed gave Moses the guidance, and We made the children of Israel inherit the Book,

    A guide and a reminder for men of understanding.
     

    Then have patience, surely the promise of Allah is true, and ask forgiveness for your sin and sing the praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning.

    Lo! those who wrangle concerning the revelations of Allah without a warrant having come unto them, there is naught else in their breasts save pride which they will never attain. So take thou refuge in Allah. Lo! He, only He, is the Hearer, the Seer.
     

    Indeed the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of the men, but most people do not know
    (40:52-57)

    Indeed it appears that the disjointedness in the verses of the Qur'an is part of the necessary requirements of the Wise Revelation! Turn the pages of the Qur'an as you like, you will not find one page free of disjointedness. They jump out at you without any effort to search and hunt for them. So is there some profound wisdom in that which eludes our inadequate minds? That only the 'firm in knowledge' can comprehend, and 'how few are they!' (Qur'anic references.)
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #9 - June 19, 2010, 05:32 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    5. Continuity is almost never maintained except in the stories and some of the legislative verses. Beyond that you see the verses scattered to the four winds (Qur'an, Sura 18, verses 46-51):

    Wealth and sons are adornment of the life of this world,but the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of your Lord, as reward, and  and better in respect of hope.

    On the Day We shall remove the mountains, and you will see the earth protruding and We shall gather them, all together, and We shall not leave out any one of them.

    And they shall be brought before your Lord, standing in ranks: Now certainly you have come to Us as We created you at first. Nay, you thought that We had not appointed to you a time of the fulfillment of the promise.

    And the Book shall be placed, then you will see the guilty fearing from what is in it, and they will say: Ah! woe to us! what a book is this! it does not omit a small one nor a great one, but numbers them (all); and what they had done they shall find present (there); and your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone.

    And when We said to the angels: Make obeisance to Adam; they made obeisance but Iblis (did it not). He was of the jinn, so he transgressed the commandment of his Lord. What! would you then take him and his offspring for friends rather than Me, and they are your enemies? Evil is (this) change for the unjust.

    I did not make them witnesses of the creation of the heavens and the earth, nor of the creation of their own souls; nor could I take those who lead (others) astray for aiders.

    One Day He will say: Call on those whom you considered to be My associates. So they shall call on them, but they shall not answer them, and We will cause a separation between them.

    (18:46-51)

    6. Strangely this disjointedness is not confined to imbalance in the sequence of the verses on a single page making it into an amazing assemblage of disparate verses, but this imbalance intrudes upon a single verse separating it's two ends and resulting in the last part being at odds with the first part

    "To Him is referred the knowledge of the hour, and there come not forth any of the fruits from their sheaths, nor does a female bear, nor does she give birth, except with His knowledge. And on the day when He calls out to them: Where are My partners? They will say, we confess to you, not one of us is a witness (for them)." (41:47)

    What has the end of this verse got to do with the first part? Why is it that those who harp on about the eloquence and miraculous nature of the Qur'an ignore this verse and its like and limit themselves to the excellent verses which no-one - regardless of his position on the Qur'an - can avoid warming to willingly or not? As for the other verses - the shaky, unstable and disordered verses that don't withstand scrutiny, they pass over them, oblivious and feigning to be oblivious. While if they do deal with them, they repair them and weave threads like a spider's web to camouflage them and conceal their flaws. The masses fall for that and even the select do, but it's inconceivable that a rare, selective shortcoming could make the truly critical eye fall for it: Even though this shortcoming obscures the truth and makes one turn a blind eye, in order to play safe.

    For the believer - even if he is amongst the experts, or experts of experts - he will see things through his desire and not his senses, with his heart and not his mind. Only the unbiased inquiring eye - and few are they! - is able to penetrate deeply into matters and probe into the truth of things, until in a few blinks of an eye, the full radiance of the sun is revealed, or the true essence of things. A spider's web is indeed a spider's web. A building cannot stand upright with it, nor can it keep the suppressed in check. There is no substance to it, nor can it withstand scrutiny. However our silence dignifies it. So who is with me in removing the silence from it. Indeed the weakest of houses is the house of the spider! (Qur'anic ref)
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #10 - June 19, 2010, 09:51 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    7. Now I present to you these verses (4:2-3), please help me to understand them - May Allah help you:

    "And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute something worthless for something good, and do not devour their property into your own property, that is indeed a great sin."

    "And if you fear you cannot deal fairly with the orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you two and three and four, but if you fear that you will not do justice, then only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course."

    (4:2-3)

    This last verse is amongst the strangest of things, for it combines within it two matters that it is not possible to combine unless it's possible to combine oil and water. Despite all that I have read in the books of Tafsir, and what they contain of reasonable and atrocious and empty waffle and forced meanings, until now, I am still unable to understand the connection between justice to orphans and marriage.

    It is most likely that between the opening clause "If you fear..." and the concluding clause "Then marry..." in the second verse, there is a missing third verse, or a deleted (verse), omitted either unintentionally or intentionally. As long as there isn't some 'profound wisdom' or 'eloquent significance' that the waffling exegetes have got us accustomed to expecting!!  If not then everything in their bag of tricks to rescue the verse is of no use.

    For the verse as it stands and the way it is, makes no sense! Indeed the rigidity (of the exegetes) was unable to shed light upon this verse and could only leaves it as it is - as it was revealed - fearing alteration or saying something about the word of God that it doesn't contain.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #11 - June 22, 2010, 11:01 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    8. There is a significant stylistic error that I used to consider the Qur'an should be above falling into.  After the Qur'an describes the comforts of paradise and things the believer can look forward to, 'that no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor mind encompassed' (from Hadith) - and this proceeds from the premise of creating the world into a new creation - it then turns to back to the premise (of creating a new creation) instead of starting with the premise and ending with it's consequence, or rather, one of it's consequences! This is a back-to-front way of doing things that the Qur'an should not slip into (21:101-104):

    Those for whom the good from Us has gone before, will be removed far from it (Hell).

    They will not hear its faintest sound, and they shall abide forever in that which their souls long for.

    The Supreme Horror will not grieve them, and the angels will meet them (saying): 'This is your day which you were promised.'

    The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books, as We originated the first creation, (so) We shall produce a new one, a promise (binding on Us); surely We will bring it about.

    (21:101-104)

    Shouldn't it have started with the rolling up of the heavens then mentioned what follows on from that, of rewards and punishments people will get? Oh masters of eloquence, which sub-division of eloquence does this upside-down sequencing fall under? Is breaking up continuity with a conflicting verse that has no link with what went before it, then resuming the narrative after that, an aberration, anomaly and disharmony or is it amongst the sublime signs of miraculousness? Please only speak the truth about miraculousness. Miraculousness is precision in narrative, continuity and harmony, each part adhering to and supporting the other so as to arrive exactly at what the author intends and desires, without interruption, aberration or anomaly in the eloquent, miraculous speech.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #12 - June 22, 2010, 09:40 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    9. After relating the story of the People of the Cave and how God raised them from their sleep, the Qur'an turned to the question of their number and the people's dispute about it. But instead of telling us this number - this mystery, this unusual curiosity, this hidden secret - He withheld it from us, so that it would make our hearts sad.

    "(Some) will say: three, the fourth being their dog; (some) say: Five, the sixth being their dog, making conjectures at what is unknown; and (some) say: Seven, and the eighth their dog. Say: My Lord best knows their number, none knows them but a few; therefore enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about them (the Sleepers). (18:22)

    If only He had completed the final part of the story and bestowed upon us the knowledge of how long they stayed in the cave - them and their beloved dog. But He preferred - Glorified is He - for the sake of a wisdom no-one knows except Him - to dash our hopes to know the truth of this curious affair. I cannot see, and I am only a poor servant, any reason for that, even if our masters, the exegetes (mufassirun), can see a thousand and one reasons.

    Then it says, straightaway after the previous verse:

    "And don't say about anything that I will do that tomorrow! Unless (saying) if Allah wills it, and mention your Lord if you forget and say perhaps my Lord will guide me to a nearer course to the right than this." (18:23-24)

    And now you have the pleasing item and the happy surprise after this long wait;

    "And they remained in their cave three hundred years and (some) add (another) nine." (18:25)

    If only He - May He be Glorified - would settle on this number, but He insists on it remaining wrapped-up in the unseen things of the Heavens and the Earth;

    "Say God knows best how long they remained; to Him are (known) the unseen things of the heavens and the earth; how clear His sight and how clear His hearing! They have no protector other than Him; nor does He share His Command with any person whatsoever." (18:26)

    Who knows? Maybe He - May He be Glorified - doesn't know their number - them and their auspicious dog - nor how long they remained in the cave. Instead we have extravagant polemical conjectures and broad idiosyncratic flip-flopping and loose, unrestrained linguistic flapping-about. Would that He had never mentioned this story at all, for it is a story that is cut-off, I don't know what the masters of the art of storying telling think about it.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #13 - June 23, 2010, 01:00 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    10. Amongst the strangest verses of the Qur'an and most disordered, confused and furthest from fluency, soundness, and harmony, are those that are that way because of the numerous parenthetical sentences in them, of which there is no end to. So much so that their edges become entangled with other verses so that one finds it hard to come across the conclusion of the original verse - if there is a conclusion - and distinguish it from the rest of the verses. This was a matter that weighed heavily on the poor exegetes and forced them to  approximate a conclusion for them, so as to at least preserve the integrity! (of the Qur'an) Indeed amongst the strangest of these and furthest from unity and cohesion are these verses - a sprawling long cocktail that is talking about the Jews: (4:155-161)

    "Then because of their breaking of their covenant, and their disbelief in the revelations of Allah, and their slaying of the prophets wrongfully, and their saying: Our hearts are hardened, nay, Allah set a seal upon them for their disbelief, so they believe not save a few.

    Because of their disbelief and of their saying against Mary a tremendous lie.

    And their saying, we slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger. They slew him not nor crucified him, but it was made to appear so to them, and indeed those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not, for certain

    Nay Allah took him up unto Himself, Allah was ever Mighty, Wise.

    And There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.

    Because of wrongdoing of the Jews We forbade them good things which were lawful to them, and because of their hindering many from Allah's way.

    Their taking usury and they were forbidden it, and of their devouring people's wealth by false pretences, We have prepared for those of them who disbelieve a painful punishment."

    (4:155-161)

    Is this mish-mash part of the marvelous eloquence? Why doesn't anyone cite these verses when talking about the beauty of the Qur'an, the precision of the Qur'an and sublime melody of the Qur'an? No, they limit themselves to the excellent verses. Then again perhaps mixing things into a hodgepodge is part of the Miraculous nature of the Qur'an.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #14 - June 24, 2010, 09:29 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 4 - Where is the Eloquence of the Qurʾān? (cont...)

    11. Finally I present to you these two verses - without comment - for you to decide for yourself what comment they deserve: (17:60-61)

    "And when We said to you: Surely your Lord encompasses men; and We did not make the vision which We showed you but as a trial for men and the cursed tree in the Quran as well; and We put terror into them, but it only adds to their great inordinacy. And when We said unto the angels: prostrate before Adam and they prostrated except Iblis, he said: Shall I prostrate before that which you created of clay?"

     (17:60-61)


    ***


    (This completes section 4 - next is section 5 "Disorder in the Distribution of  Topics")
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #15 - June 24, 2010, 07:54 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 5 - Disorder in the Distribution of  Topics

    This feature of glaring fragmentation in the Qur'an resulted in considerable anarchy in the distribution of verses and inability to pursue and explore topics properly. The Qur'an is not an academic book divided into chapters that deal with a specific issue in each one. Just as the names of the Suras do not signify anything important. The chapter of the Cow (Al-Baqara) for example does not talk about cows. It was only named thus because it contains a short story about it and it could have been named any other name. Likewise the chapter of the Bee (Al-Nahl) and the Ant (Al-Naml) etc...

    Since the Qur'an is not divided into topics or sections or chapters, you will find one topic sprinkled over multiple suras and a variety of verses, inserted here and there. I don't know the reason for that other than this must be amongst the requirements of eloquence and miraculousness. Who knows, maybe behind this bizarre design is a mighty wisdom that minds cannot comprehend.

    1. Here's the chapter of Women (Sura al-Nisa') for example. Chapter number 4 with 176 verses. It only deals with the subject of women in 32 verses. What remains of the Sura is a fragmented varied assortment that meanders around individual religious issues, such as prayer, zakat, kindess to parents, family ties, inheritence, forgiveness, accepting the decree of God, Jews, Christians, worshipping Jesus as God, rejection of Polytheism. Plus long narratives about fighting and jihad and making migration in the way of God, which in my view should be attached to Sura Al-Tawba or Sura al-Ahzab, since there is no place for it in this Sura, in fact it is totally out of place in it.

    It's odd that after talking about women in the first twenty five verses, the Qur'an then jumps suddenly to talking about repentance and family ties from verse 26 to 33, then it returns to speaking about women from verse 34 to 35.

    Then it talks about a variety of other topics which are not connected to each other by any single theme, then it stops at verse 126 to resume talking about women, and that is from verse 127 until 130.

    Then it moves on to other topics and matters until the penultimate verse of the sura, i.e. until verse 175. Then it remembers that in the bow is one last arrow so saves it to talk about another subject  that has nothing to do with women, but is shared between women and men and that is inheritance which it didn't complete in the previous verses and I'm referring to Al-Kalala (someone with no heirs), which it left off talking about, until the very last verse of the sura who's number is 176.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #16 - June 27, 2010, 11:44 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 5 - Disorder in the Distribution of  Topics. (Cont...)

    2. There are many other Suras in the Qur'an that talk about women, such as Sura al-Ahzab for example, Chapter 33, containing 73 verses. This Sura begins with a general preamble from verse 1 to 3 and then from 4 to 6 it speaks about marriage and adoption. Then comes an interjected seventh verse that has no connection to what precedes it nor what comes after. From verse 8 to 27 it talks about fighting and jihad. Then it returns to talking about about women and marriage and adoption from verse 28 until 38. Then it jumps to an interjected verse, which is verse 39. From verse 40 until 48 is some beautiful speech about Muhammad which in my opinion is amongst the occasional outstanding pieces that we find in the Qur'an - In my opinion these verses should be in Sura Muhammad, which is chapter 47 in the Qur'an, but God's wisdom demands that it should be here. From verse 49 to 59 it returns to talking about women, marriage and adoption, and wives of the prophet with some interjections that the Qur'an has got us accustomed to expecting. From verse 60 until the end of the Sura is an assorted cocktail that hardly one page of the Qur'an is free from.

    Regarding the presence of the passage about Muhammad in this sura, in verses which I said are amongst the outstanding verses, indeed it's presence in this place detracts from it's excellence and takes away much of it's beauty. Perhaps this is part of eloquence and signs of miraculousness! This can be applied to a large number of the Qur'an's excellent verses, for many excellent verses have had their radiance hidden through poor choice of positioning - lost under a huge pile of incongruous material that has no theme, substance, shape, nor purpose. Like a beautiful woman from a bad origin.*

    Likewise we see that the the arrangement of the verses in the Qur'an is very primitive and we can find the explanation for this strange phenomena in the Abrogator and the Abrogated in the Qur'an. God Almighty said:

    "None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?" (2:106)

    For indeed a great deal of the Qur'an has gone, (47). In fact Al-Suyuti praised Abrogation saying that it is amongst the wisdoms that God favoured this Ummah with, to make things easier.

    Suyuti relates many examples of what Uthman left out when he was collecting the Qur'an, on the basis that it was abrogated. Regarding this is the Hadith of Aysha who said: "When Sura al-Ahzab was recited at the time of the prophet it had two hundred verses," (48) Though now it has 73 verses only. Just as al-Suyuti also mentioned that a whole sura was revealed and then removed. (49)

    This Abrogation has distorted the Qur'an and left it fractured, making it impossible to stitch together or coalesce its parts. These shreds are what constitutes the Qur'an that has reached us today.

    The disarray and glaring fragmentation we see in the Qur'an, could be the inevitable result of multiple suras in one sura. Or the remainder of deleted suras of which only these fragments remain. Or perhaps they are drafts of verses that should have been revised and reviewed, but the sudden death of the prophet, afflicted by the poison that the the Jewish woman slipped into his food, didn't allow him to complete the required revisions.

    My view is that this disarray in the Qur'an must to be faced by firm, brave action to return order to the disordered verses that have no link between them and the ones scattered here and there in hundreds of pages that the Mushaf (NB: name for the Qur'an) contains between it's covers. There must be an initiative to sort the muddle of these wildly disparate verses and re-unify them into a new, rational layout of order, composition and arrangement of chapters that responds to the demands of the age and create unity between this huge quantity of disparate muddle and sweep away the staleness between its parts which have no beginning nor end, nor head nor foot.

    Throughout fourteen centuries not one voice was raised to rectify this defect, just as in India not one voice was raised in protest over bathing in the holy river at religious festivals or seeking healing, even though it's a filthy river that increases the sickness of the sick. Likewise no voice was raised in complaint against the cows who are let free to come and go as they please, grazing in the streets and public places, wandering between houses and shops without anyone being allowed to touch them, in a country where the starving see his livestock assets destroyed in front of him but silently does nothing. This despite that my comparison with Hindus is not a precise one.

    Is this disorder in the Qur'an from the All-Wise, All-Knowing One? Oh people use your minds and don't get left behind in the race. Is this amongst the signs of miraculousness? Is there not a rational one amongst you?

    How much we are in need of a new Qur'an that will do away with the old Qur'an and pull it up by the roots! Yes indeed we are in need of a new Qur'an that will keep pace with the age and progression and evolution of events after Nietzsche declared the death of the old God and the defeat of his dominion and sovereignty. Forget the old Qur'an, for there is no use in trying to patch-up the decrepit if we can bring about something new.

    Indeed the Qur'an was once a breakthrough, but now it has become burnt-out. It was the revolution of revolutions in a time that lacked revolutions. The Qur'an, in it's time, was amongst the most important factors for progress. But today it has become an obstacle to all progress. This astonishing, baffling and peculiar hopping about that our Arab ancestors transmitted to us from the margin of history to the dawn of history, and once inspired them to become innovators of the age, masters of their time. If it wasn't for the Qur'an they would have remained groping about aimlessly in their stagnant plight till the day of Resurrection. It is as though the Qur'an propelled them to engage with the events of the time and threw them into the vast ocean of world affairs and helped them conquer new horizons.

    Yes the Qur'an was once a a revolution, but, like all revolutions, it is a revolution for a limited time only. Then it must make it's way to the museum. Like all revolutions, it eventually becomes reactionary. The revolution has been replaced by a non-revolution. Yet we stubbornly insist on deluding ourselves that the revolution is still taking place. We are now sitting with our Qur'an in the darkness of the museum, brooding over memories of our life when we existed outside the museum. Every time we raise our heads and try to get out of the museum we are thrown back in it. It has been centuries since we lived in the time of revolution. We will never be able to see the truth unless we believe in truth and embrace it, for that alone will enable us to see the true nature of things without the pretense and self-deception.

    The problems of the present generations of this nation cannot be solved in the same way as they were for the first generations. This time is a different time and the people are a different people and the needs and expectations are not the needs and expectations of the past. But the regressive ones amongst us insist  on living with ghosts and flirting with the spirits of the past, and refusal to believe that the ghosts are ghosts. That is the power of ghosts to those who believe in ghosts!

    ***


    * Reference to the hadith: “Beware of the green manure.” The Companions asked: “What is the green manure?” He said: “A beautiful woman of bad origin (i.e. upbringing).” (Al-Daraqutni)

    (47) Jalal al-Din Al-Suyuti, The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur'an, 2/25.
    (48) The previous reference.
    (49) The previous reference.



    _____________________


    This completes section 5 of chapter 4. Next is section 6 "Ambiguity in the Qur'an."

    @Aziz if you see this:* then that means it is my own note - I will leave it to you to add them to our appendix if you see fit.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #17 - June 29, 2010, 10:14 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an.

    Clarity of speech comes from clarity of vision and clear vision is formulated by lucid thought and expression. But ambiguous expression only leads to ambiguous meaning. Many verses in the Qur'an are the constructed of ambiguous material and so it doesn't appeal to the mind or become clear to the intellect. Enigmas that strut about in front of you without you knowing what they are about. Words transformed into unintelligible cryptic messages that baffle the mind. They opened the door wide to folk tales, mythical fantasies, Isra'iliyat (NB: Tales originating from Judeo-Christian traditions), the study of secret knowledge and all manner of weird meanings, and strange accounts. Every commentator who dived in to discover their meaning came out with a precious pearl of wisdom!!

    1. The first of these puzzles are the the Abbreviated Letters (al-Muqatta`at) at the beginning of some of the Suras.

    Alif, Lam, Mim. (The Cow, The Family of 'Imran, the Spider, the Romans, Luqman, the Prostration.)

    Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad. (the Heights)

    Alif, Lam, Ra'. (Jonah, Hud, Joseph, Abraham, The Rocky Tract,)

    Alif, Lam, Mim, Ra'. ( Thunder)

    Kaf, Ha', Ya', 'Ain, Sad. (Mary)

    Ta', Ha'. (Ta Ha)

    Ta', Sin, Mim. (The Poets, The Stories.)

    Ta', Sin. (The Ant.)

    Ya', Sin (Yasin)

    Sad (Sad)

    Ha', Mim, 'Ain, Sin, Qaf. (The Consultation)

    Qaf (Qaf)

    Ha', Mim. (Forgiver, Expounded, the Ornaments, the Smoke, the Crouching, The Winding Sand-Tracts.)

    Nun. (the Pen.)

    What are these puzzles? Is this part of the Qur'an 'whose verses have been expounded in a clear Arabic tongue' ? (Qur'anic ref). Where is the clarity, Oh people? Is it in the conundrums? Has eloquence in the Qur'an been transformed into a collection of letters that don't mean anything to us, or perhaps He got confused - May He be Glorified - and thought that we are like Him and encompass all things with knowledge as if we are Him and He is us? Is miraculousness to baffle people? One of the most important conditions of eloquence is that people must understand what you are saying. Perhaps the one who revealed this has an opposite opinion to that? Enlighten me, please, if you can?
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #18 - July 01, 2010, 04:34 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    2. The matter doesn't stop there. For if the ambiguity here surrounds letters, we shall see, shortly, that it surrounds the "clear" verses also. Indeed I have tried to read certain verses and just pure reading is quite pleasurable, but it is also a burden. For the words come in a constant stream that don't relate to each other, but instead hop over one another and clash with each other. Converging and diverging, corrsponding and contrasting and contradicting, halting and then resuming.

    Narratives that end abruptly, and then look! Here they are suddenly returning! Wonders of expression and manipulation of words that draws before your eyes what looks like an elaborate embroidery covered in ambiguity.  The words are able to create from letters something that more closely resembles an intangible vision and visions have no clear boundaries. For the rhetorical art has the power to turn the narrative into an ambigious melody that has no precise significance but is able to take you out of reality and it's burdens and horrors and transport you to the garden of Eden.

    This is the power of words. For words can be insidious, devious and multi-faceted. They thrill with their interplay, interaction, and clashing... They are an overflowing flood, either you drown in them or either you swim like a proficient swimmer who saves himself by detaching himself from the dominating power of words.

    In my opinion, this is what explains the strange effect of the Qur'an on the minds and souls of the general populace. Nay, even the minds of the elite and the elite of the elite, and upon the scholars and literati and poets and philosophers and their like who cannot swim well. But instead come out with - on a daily basis - scientific discoveries that the Qur'an was the first to discover fourteen centuries ago on the tongue of an illiterate man who cannot read or write and grew up in a remote desert far from the centres of learning and civilisation. This is what seduces the general populace and increases their faith in the miraculousness of the Qur'an.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #19 - July 02, 2010, 10:30 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    3. It is strange that the Qur'an often launches into unnecessary details that have no meaning, while it lacks details in other places where they should be clarified without hesitation. Take this verse as an example:

    And mention in the Book, Moses, he was one purified, and he was a messenger, a prophet.
    And we called him from the right side of the Mount, and drew him near to Us, in communion.
    (19:51-52)

    I can't understand any meaning for the word "right" in connection to an expansive mountain terrain that has no distinguishing marks and everything in it could be described as on the right or the left of something else. For direction is subjective, it has no objective meaning but is relative. It's meaning is defined in relation to something else.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #20 - July 06, 2010, 09:11 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    4. Likewise when the Qur'an presents the story of the People of the Cave and their faithful dog, we see it listing details to a ridiculous extent, despite not settling on a specific number for them. So it says - just as we human beings would when unable to specify something precisely - "Some say seven and some say eight" even though God is the knower of the unseen!

    5. In this respect it hasn't escaped me to mention also these verses - the puzzles related from Moses after he descended from the Mount and found his people worshiping the calf. He lost his temper and grabbed his poor brother, Harun's neck:

    "So Moses returned to his people in a state of anger and sorrow. He said: O my people! did not your Lord promise you a goodly promise: did then the time seem long to you, or did you wish that displeasure from your Lord should be due to you, so that you broke (your) promise to me?

    They said: We did not break (our) promise to you of our own accord, but we were made to bear the burdens of the ornaments of the people, then we threw them, and thus did the Samiri suggest.

    So he brought forth for them a calf, a (mere) body, which had a mooing sound, so they said: This is your god and the god of Musa, but he forgot.

    Could they not see that it did not return to them a reply, and (that) it did not control any harm or benefit for them?

    And certainly Haroun had said to them before: O my people! You are only being tested by it. Surely your Lord is the Merciful One, therefore follow me and obey my order.

    They said: We will by no means cease to keep to its worship until Musa returns to us.

    He (Musa) said: O Haroun! what prevented you, when you saw them going astray,

    So that you did not follow me? Did you then disobey my order?

    He said: O son of my mother! Seize me not by my beard nor by my head; surely I was afraid lest you should say: You have caused a division among the children of Israel and not waited for my word.

    He said: And what do you have to say, O Samiri?

    He said: I saw something they did not see, so I took a handful from the footsteps of the messenger, and so I threw it; thus did my soul commend to me

    (20:86-96)

    These verses are a collection of puzzles. As in the case of the abbreviated letters, the exegetes were forced to bring out all their reserves of myths and legends and waffle according to their desires to decipher these mysterious inscriptions and sweep away the ambiguity which surrounds them. Yet it is obvious that in the field of eloquence, brevity in the wrong place impairs the meaning, just as over-elaboration spoils the meaning.

    What is the meaning of:

    "But we were made to bear the burdens of the ornaments of the people, then we threw them." (20:87)

     Where did they throw them? The exegetes say that they threw them in the fire. How do they know that if it wasn't for the stories from the Torah which the Qur'an says is corrupt? What would be the harm in mentioning the word "fire"? Why make us resort to a "corrupt" book to understand one that is not corrupt?

    But the big puzzle is the one that stands out in the last verse where the disorder reaches it's height:

    "I saw something they did not see, so I took a handful from the footsteps of the messenger, and so I threw it." (20:96)

    What is this handful? And which prophet is it talking about? What fertile ground is this to resurrect the isra'illyat (NB: Narrations from the Bible) and pile myths in layers upon layers, and as a result, the myth of those who believe in an Arabic Qur'an "That has no crookedness in it, that they may fear God." (39:28)
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #21 - July 07, 2010, 12:18 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    6. If you would like more of these puzzles in the verses of the Qur'an, then here is this verse:

    And certainly We tried Sulaiman, and placed on his throne a body. Then did he repent. (38:34)

    There's nothing like a good old fable to bestow meaning on this verse. Oh joy! Oh joy! At these verses that nothing can be compared to in respect of feeding the minds of Muslims with myths, and crippling their intellect, and diverting them from the world that is turning around them. So that they swim along in the world of the invisible far away from, the world of the visible!! Do you know what is this body which God placed on Sulayman's throne? He was a Jinn who appears to be an Arab because his name is "Sakhr" and sat on the throne of Sulayman who had married a woman he desired but worshipped idols. His kingdom was contained in his famous ring. One time he removed it when he wanted to go to the toilet and gave it to his wife to hold. Then that Jinn came in the form of Sulayman and took it from her and sat on this throne. Then Sulayman came out (of the toilet) but in an appearance that was different from his real form which the Jinn had stolen from him, and he saw the Jinn on his throne and said to the people "I am Sulayman so reject him (the Jinn)." Then he repented to God and his kingdom was returned after a few days!!
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #22 - July 08, 2010, 12:25 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    7. It is as though this huge seam of ambiguity that surrounds the Qur'an, and which puts the concept of its miraculousness in serious doubt, is not enough and so it adds another handicap. For amongst that which burdens the Qur'an with ambiguity and adds more ambiguity on top of it's ambiguity, is it's frequent usage of conflicting words. Words that contain two opposing meanings at the same time, even in doctrinal matters and legislative verses, even though this should be amongst those things are are totally off-limits in a book that is supposed to be inimitable.

    Take the verb (غَبَرَ "Ghabara") for example. It has two conflicting meanings: "To go" and "To stay". Yet this word appears seven times in seven verses that talk about the wife of Lot:

    And when Our messengers came to Ibrahim with the good news, they said: Surely we are going to destroy the people of this town, for its people are unjust. He said: Surely in it is Lut. They said: We know well who is in it; we shall certainly deliver him and his followers, except his wife; she shall be of the Ghaabireen. (29:31-32)

    "Thus the angels of punishment did indeed take Lot and his family out from the village and made his wife to remain, for she was of the Ghaabireen, meaning, 'those who remained' in the village to earn her portion of the punishment."

    8. Perhaps using this word that reflects two conflicting meanings is unimportant here because it doesn't concern a matter of faith. But the situation is quite different regarding another word that also has two completely contradictory meanings and in this case it pertains to a fundamental matter of faith. I am referring to (ظَنّ "Thanna"). This verb can give a meaning of doubt and also give a meaning of certainty. Despite this, the Qur'an has no problem using it:

    "And seek help through patience & prayer, and indeed it is a hard task except upon the humble, who know (يظنون) they will certainly meet their Lord and to him they shall return." (2:45-46)

    Is it right to use the word (ظَنّ "Thanna") in this case? Perhaps the meaning here is that it is not necessary for one to have complete conviction in the Day of Judgment? Perhaps Allah is content for the servant in this case to have doubt and weak faith? So what is to stop the meaning of this verse being like that, for the text doesn't exclude that.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #23 - July 09, 2010, 04:02 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 6 - Ambiguity in the Qur'an. (cont...)

    9. There is another word in the Qur'an that has two contradictory meanings and it is related to a fundamental legal ruling in religion and I'm referring to the word (قرء "Qur' ") which is amongst those conflicting (words), since it's meaning is both the menstruating of a woman as well as becoming free from menstruating, i.e. coming out of menstruation - at the same time! So since that is the case then how are we to interpret His saying - Most High is He:

    "Divorced women shall wait, keeping themselves apart, for three menstruations, (or three periods of being free from menstruation.) (2:228)

    So which of the conflicting meanings is the intended one here? The matter has two possibilities!

    10. In this respect also is the word (إحصان "Ihsaan") and it's derivatives. For it means chastity, as in not being married:

    "And Maryam the daughter of 'Imran who kept chase her privates" (66:12)

    and it means marriage:
    "...And when they are taken in marriage..." (4:25)

    As it also means emancipation and freedom:

    "...then if they are guilty of indecency, their punishment is half that for free women..."  (4:25)

    Indeed this word has been used here (in 4:25) in two different meanings in a single verse. Who knows, maybe this is the height of miraculousness!

    Tell me by your Lord: Who is responsible for this ambiguity? What can the exegetes do in the face of these verses - the Puzzles? I wonder was it in their ability to do anything other than what they did? And who forced them to resort to that? Had the Qur'an been clear, would ambiguity have been glorified in this way by the books of tafseer? Or are baffling puzzles amongst the aspects of eloquence and signs of miraculousness?

    If the Qur'an was truly clear, and if the people related what they understand and not what they don't understand, and if it was more sober and rational, it would have bestowed upon the exegetes a sturdy and sound mentality with which to deal with the Qur'an much more earnestly and Muslims wouldn't have drowned in mythological fantasies that never leaves them for a day. On the contrary they have grown and become evermore grandiose the more we become distant from the moment of the first inspiration. Until we have arrived at where we have arrived of ignorance and backwardness with no hope of escaping - in the near future at least!

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  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #24 - July 11, 2010, 10:19 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 7 - Obscurities of the Qurʾān.*

    In (the Science of) the Miraculousness of the Qur'an, the branch (known as) "Obscurities" has contributed a great deal to the ambiguity of the Qur'an. It is more a source of incapacitation (تعجيز) than it is a source of miraculousness (إعجاز). This branch (of science of the Qur'an) is called "The Obscurities of the Qur'an."

    The term "Obscurities of the Qur'an" refers to words, phrases and constructions in the Qur'an that are obscure and appear in a manner that was not used in the Arabic language before. They are (words) that are not used in the regular meaning that the original forms of the word convey. As Al-Rafi' says they are: "Perplexing to interpret because they are not understood in the same way by those who use them as well as the majority of people. Altogether their number in the Qur'an amounts to 700 words or slightly more." (50) Just as al-Suyuti says when emphasising the obscureness of these words, that the Arabs who "Were the masters of pure language, (both) those who were present at the revelation of the Qur'an or who it reached, were at a loss with the words they didn't know the meaning of." (51)

    The obscurities in the Qur'an usually occur as strange words. Some of these words are not from the language of the Quraysh, and some are not even from the language of the Arabs at all. They also occur in other things which al-Suyuti mentions, though it's not the place to cover them here. They appear in the way pronouns, declensions, correlations, and constructions are used in a manner unheard of in the speech of the Arabs.

    Though the obscure words in the Qur'an number into the hundreds, I will suffice here with mentioning only a few examples.

    Abu 'Ubayda related from Ibrahim al-Taymi that Abu Bakr al-Siddique was asked about (the meaning of) His saying - Exalted is He:

     (80:31)  وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا
    "And fruits and fodder/straw/grasses/weeds/herbage"

    He replied: "Which sky will shield me and which ground will bear me, if I was to say something about the book of God of which I know not?" (52)

    Al-Gharyabi related from Ibn Abbas who said: "I understand the whole of the Qur'an except four (things/words):

     (69:36)  غِسْلِينٍ
    "washing of wounds/filth/refuse"

    (19:13)  وَحَنَانًا
    "And piety/compassion/tenderness"

      (9:114)  لَأَوَّاهٌ
    "Tender/Soft-hearted/Pious/Given to prayer"

    (18:9)  وَالرَّقِيمِ
    "Valley called Raqeem/Tablet/Letter/Inscription."

    Amongst the other obscure words also are:
    "قلوبنا غُلف"
    "ما ننسخ"
    "مثابة"
    "جِنَفًا"
    "بهتانًا"
    "غير متجانفٍ"
    "مدرارًا"
    "يضاهئون"
    "صنوان"
    "جُذاذًا"
    "كَطيِّ السجلِّ"
    "ثاني عِطْفه"
    "هيهات هيهات"
    "الأجداث"
    "زخرفًا
    "برزخ"
    "رواكد"
    "يوبقهن"
    "ذي المعارج"
    "سبلًا"
    "جَدُّ ربنا"
    "فلا يخاف بخْسًا"
    "ولا رهقًا"
    "كثيبًا مهيلًا"
    "وبيلًا"
    "شواظ"
    "يطمثهن"
    "نضّاختان"
    "رفرفٍ خضر"
    "مترفين"
    "فَرَوْح ورَيحان"
    "نبرأها"
    "لا تجعلنا فتنة للذين كفروا"
    "انفقوا"
    "ومن يتّق الله يجعل له مخرجًا"
    "عتت"
    "فسحقًا"
    "لو تُدهن فيدهنون"
    "زنيم"
    "يوم يُكشف عن ساق"
    "مكظوم"
    "مذموم"
    "ليزلقونك"
    "طغى الماء"
    "يوم عسير"
    "أمشاج"
    "مستطيرًا"
    "قَمْطريرًا"
    "رواسي"
    "ألفافًا"
    "جزاء وفاقًا"
    "فُراتًا"
    "المعصرات"
    "كواعب"
    "الرادفة"
    "سَفَرة"
    "قَضْبًا"
    "عسعس"
    "عِلِّيِّين"
    "ضريع"
    "حسير"
    "يتمطّى"
    "أترابًا"
    "مرساها"
    "ممنون"
    "أرائك"
    "معاذيره"
    (54)

    All of these are Arabic words that appear in the Qur'an, the dialect of the Quraysh mixed with the dialects of other Arab tribes, but there are also foreign non-Arabic words that exceed in number 100 that appear in the Qur'an, for example:
    "سندس"
    "إستبرق"
    "أباريق"
    "أبْ"
    "الأرائك"
    "الأسباط"
    "أكواب"
    "الأوّاه"
    "ربّانيّون"
    "الرَّقيم"
    "زنجبيل"
    "سجِّيل"
    "سرادق"
    "غسَّاق"
    "القسطاس"
    "مشكاة"
    "صراط"

    ***

    *I have translated "Gharib al-Qur'an" as "Obscurities of the Qur'an. However it could also be translated as: "Strange", "Rare", "Foreign" etc... "Gharib al-Qur'an" is an established branch of Qur'anic Sciences ("Uloom al-Qur'an") and about which much was written by the classical Islamic scholars. It came about due to the number of odd - and often - incomprehensible words that Muslims found themselves faced with when reading the Qur'an. These words were not part of ordinary Arabic language. Some were rare or unusual Arabic words or spellings. Some were from closely linked languages like Hebrew and some from more distant foreign languages.

    _____________________________

    (50) Mustafa Sadiq al-Rafi'i, "The Miraculousness of the Qur'an", p 34.

    (51) Jalal al-Din Al-Suyuti "Perfection in the Sciences of the Qur'an", 1/119

    (52) The previous reference 1/119

    (53) The previous reference 1/119

    (54) The previous reference 1/119-142

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  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #25 - July 12, 2010, 07:37 PM


    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 7 - Obscurities of the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Now are these obscure words - whether they are Arabic or Foreign - signs of the miraculousness of the Qur'an? How is it right for the Qur'an to make the challenge of bringing the like of it when it contains jargon that is unknown? Is this inimitability or just inability?

    Where is the clarity in this? In the very terminology of the Qur'an, where is the 'making things clear' in this?

    "Alif Lam Ra' these are the verses of the book that makes thing clear." (12:1)

    How can the Qur'an be described as making things clear when it is not clear? Or is lack of clarity, making things clear whether we like it or not in the fashion of "Believe Allah and disbelieve the stomach of your brother."*?

    The strange thing is that instead of being assailed by doubts about these anomalies, the first Muslims carried the beacon to every corner they reached and strove gallantly to defend them. Here the patching-up and the "Waffling" reached its furthest extent without them being aware of it, while naturally they thought they were doing good. But with some of them the matter didn't stop at defence and they started to extol the virtues of every obscure verse, in fact they made this obscureness amongst the signs of miraculousness!

    One of the most astonishing things said about this miraculousness is what Ibn Jarir related through an authentic chain from Abu Maysara the renowned Tabi'i (follower), who said: "The Qur'an contains every language." (55)

    A similar thing is related from Sa'id ibn Jubayr and Wahb ibn Munabbih: "This is an indication of the wisdom behind the appearance of these words in the Qur'an because it encompasses the knowledge of the first and the last and relates everything and so it must have in it a reference to all the various dialects and languages so as to complete the fact that it encompasses all things. So the most sweet of them, the most sublime of them and most well-used by the Arabs, were selected for it." (56)

    Al-Suyuti adds that Ibn al-Naqib expressed that (view) and said: "Amongst the special qualities of the Qur'an over and above all the other revealed books of Allah Most High which were only revealed in the language of the people who it was revealed to, and contained nothing of the language of others, is that the Qur'an encompasses all the dialects of the Arabs and much was also revealed in the languages of others such as the Romans and Persians and Abyssinians." (57)

    Al-Suyuti reiterates this by saying that: "The prophet (pbuh) was sent to every nation and He Most High said:

    'We have not sent a prophet except in the language of his people.' (14:4)

    So the book sent (to all nations) had to contain the languages of every nation." (58)

    Can you see this clowning about, this logic which, by my life, is more strange than the spurious obscure words of the Qur'an? Can you see this unjust disarming of the people of the clear Arabic language by the spurious speech that they do not know, from every language, and if they know its meaning they cannot savour it properly for it is not from the foundations of their clear language?

    ________________________
    *Hadith previously referred to.

    (55) The previous reference 1/142
    (56) The previous reference
    (57) The previous reference 1/143-142
    (58) The previous reference 1/143


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  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #26 - July 13, 2010, 07:37 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 8 - Weakness of the Qurʾān.

    The final nail in the coffin regarding the inadequacy of the Qur'an is it's (linguistic) weakness. Yes, weakness! Indeed we find it very hard to accept this and you will accuse me of bias against the book of Allah. For the Qur'an is the epitome of eloquence, pure speech and elucidation to the extent that millions upon millions believe that its language is of super-human nature. So how can it be weak when the enemies of the Qur'an did not notice that when they were all hankering after flaws? This is unreasonable, this is unreasonable!

    However, these enemies either died in the battles that broke out between the Muslims and the Polytheists and so their objections were lost or destroyed and have not reached us. Or they entered Islam amongst those who entered and were absorbed into the general pious atmosphere with its enormous defensive imperatives and apologetic mechanisms and they resorted to quoting evidence from Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islamic) poetry to attest to the soundness of the weak text. They even celebrated that it contains eloquent nuances and great wisdoms that our minds cannot comprehend.

    By itself faith is able to do wonders, but what if it is aided by a mind well versed in study and speculation. On top of that, (what if) this weak (speech) was repeated continuously to the extent that daily usage polished it and constant repetition sanctified it with sacredness and smoothed out its unevenness and covered it's flaws with embellishment. After this, it then reaches the status of the inherited legacy, the intimately familiar, and the cultural conventions. Thus, despite me or you or despite even the greatest scholars of language and masters of eloquence and experts in their field, it gains access to the very heart of the Arabic language and its innermost sanctity, with no-one having any say or choice about it. It then becomes part of linguistic good-taste and is produced as an example and yardstick for comparison. So take heed oh those of insight!!

    1. He Most High said in his detailing His bounty towards man and the ungratefulness of man to this bounty:

    "He it is Who makes you travel by land and sea; until when you are in the ships, and they sail on with them in a pleasant breeze, and they rejoice, a violent wind overtakes them and the waves come on them from everywhere, and they become certain (or think) that they will be overwhelmed, they call to Allah, making their faith pure for Him. If you deliver us from this, we will most certainly be of the grateful ones.  But when He delivers them, lo! behold! they rebel in the earth wrongfully." (10:22-23)

    The aspect of weakness - nay feebleness - in the previous verses is the poor use of pronouns which if had come from you or I would be attributed to our ignorance, and they would accuse us of lack of linguistic knowledge and advise us to study the science of grammar afresh. But if it comes from the Qur'an then it is eloquence - nay, they dedicate to it, its very own branch, from the branches of eloquence.

    The branch that concerns us here is the branch of Iltifaat (Sudden Transition/Change)!!  Here is the previous verse again so you can see where the error is, that is if you haven't already noticed it by yourself, because it is a screaming error that it is not possible for anyone to hear without it jarring in his ears:

    "He it is Who makes you travel by land and sea; until when you are in the ships, and they sail with them" - Instead of, "and they sail with you", and "you rejoice" instead of "they rejoice".

    Believe it or not this jarring is part of the eloquence of the Qur'an. If it wasn't for these two lame (words) the eloquence of the Qur'an would not be be apparent. It's not jarring, except in our twisted minds. It is "Iltifaat" (Sudden Transition/Change) and "Iltifaat" is a branch of the branches of eloquence that was invented so as to provide an escape route for this verse and its like.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #27 - July 15, 2010, 10:23 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 8 - Weakness of the Qurʾān (cont...)

    2. There is another branch called "The Style of the All-Wise". The prophet was asked about the phases of the moon, i.e. the changing appearance of the moon from one day to another. Instead of explaining it to them in a way they could understand - and if he did that, then that would have been a real miracle - he evaded the answer they hoped to hear from the One who created the phases of the moon and instead received from him a disappointing reply that both the old and young already know:

    "They ask you concerning the phases of the moon, say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for Pilgrimage." (2:189) (59)

    What an extraordinary astonishing answer! God created the phases of the moon so that people can count time for (their affairs such as) agriculture, trade, menstrual periods of their women, when to fast and break fast and for their pilgrimage to the sacred house - as the exegetes say! Fine. If that is the case, then I wonder how we can we explain the changing appearance of the moon - nay the moons - around Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the other planets? Are there humans like us on these planets who perform Hajj to the Holy Ka'ba and have concerns and affairs as we do, such as our women who have menstruation cycles and (count the time when) they are free from menstruation, ready for prayer and fasting?

    The truth is that the worst method of counting time is to count it by Lunar phases which we have suffered from and which has caused a division which there is no hope of repairing. Not to mention that this reply is a glaring affirmation of a geocentric universe, and a single sun and a single moon, and single form of worship and religious rites. Thus the Qur'an diverted them from what they were actually asking about, towards that which they were not asking about and (diverted them) from gaining knowledge about things they didn't know to things they already knew.

    The knowledgeable in eloquence were truly shocked by this reply and yet they couldn't be shocked. How could they be shocked when it has come from the presence of an All-Wise and All-Knowing? So they retreated (like sheep) to the pen and exchanged the duty to be critical so that truth and correct understanding may prevail in exchange for idiocy and stupidity. Indeed Allah avoided the answer, on the pretext of disciplining, guiding and teaching them the right way to ask a question, never mind that this reply displays contempt and scorn towards the questioner. In my view it is a reply that has no meaning other than an attempt to stifle questioning. It's as though asking questions is an unforgivable sin. It is a blatant disregard for mankind's longing to understand the reasons behind what we see. Allah is the All-Wise who knows the needs of his servants and he makes clear to us the style by which we must address Him. This is the "Style of the All-Wise" and it is also a branch from amongst the branches of Eloquence.

    This poor (art of) eloquence! How many have spoken falsely in it's name!! How many have told lies and fabrications about it!!

    It seems al-Mutanabbi was well aware of this game (played by the scholars of language) for his poetry was criticised by some of the grammarians   when he made a grammatical mistake. Al-Mutanabbi fumed with rage and replied to the grammarian, saying with audacious self-confidence: "It is up to me to say (what I like) and up to you to cite (evidence of it being correct)", with the implication: "Isn't that what you do with the Qur'an? Rules are for the little people as for the masters, they can get away with what the little people can't.  Get lost!  Go back to your tribe and people of little ones!"

    In my opinion the most important reason for the flourishing of the science of eloquence in Islam is the defence of the Qur'an in any way possible and to provide solutions to the flaws in it - not for the pure sake of knowledge or truth or elucidation. For they came across so much in it (the Qur'an) that bewildered them and troubled their minds. If it was in any other book it would have caused them to doubt it, and it would have been publicly defamed to an extreme extent. But what can they do, for it has been revealed by an Almighty, All-Knowing One. "An Arabic Qur'an without crookedness" (39:28) This is the incontestable of incontestables that no Muslim can forsake.

    Every Muslim of sincere faith will doubt himself rather than doubt his Qur'an, no matter what thoughts come to his mind about the Qur'an, it is not possible to defame the Qur'an or even pause to question it. So here comes the science of eloquence, and elucidation and marvels... to repair what has ruptured, mend what has broken, fill in the holes, and fix what is broken, come apart and disordered. So that there is no rupture nor gaps, nor cracks, nor holes in the Qur'an. It is only the shortcomings of our human minds. The science of Eloquence and Elucidation can vouch for complete verification in this matter.

    With nonsense and sophistry and waffling you can discover what you want and hide what you want. You can do what you want and explain what you want, and convey what you want and smooth out every crookedness you want.

    I always say: Give me a madman and I can bring out the wisdoms of the first and last, from his speech. But it appears that the exegetes (mufassirun) who have been raised on more than one school of the schools of pure speech and eloquence and bore the responsibilities of the embellishment of eloquence and marvels and meanings... beat me to it by a long way!

    _______________________

    (59) Note this verse does not strictly fall into the category of weak speech but is cited here to highlight the sophistry, waffling and patching-up.
  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #28 - September 04, 2010, 07:49 AM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 8 - Weakness of the Qurʾān (cont...)

    3. "Whoso disbelieves in Allah after his belief save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is content with the Faith but whoso opens (his) breast to disbelief on them is wrath from Allah and for them a mighty punishment." (16:106)

    I implore you by all you hold dear: Did you understand anything of that? I said to myself perhaps this verse has a mistake in transcription, or perhaps there is a word missing or corrupted. So I went to examine many different copies of manuscripts that were written at different periods to see if I could find some difference between them. But it was in vain. For there is complete accord between the all the manuscripts in all the times and places. Is this really the speech of the Lord of the worlds who challenged man and Jinn to bring the like of it? May God help the exegetes ho have to chisel through rock with their fingernails to get a tiny bit of water!

    All Muslims from the East to the West recite this verse every day morning and evening in their prayers and worship and they hear it in recitations of the Noble Qur'an, without any of them sensing any weakness in it or confusion or jarring.

    Indeed the blades of arrows are breaking the against blades of arrows*  (i.e. he has become 'punch-drunk'), so that the believer no-longer cares on which side falls his mortal blow. His linguistic sensitivity has become dulled, his taste slipshod, his instinct feeble. Indeed his awareness of the grating disharmony has died where verses of the Qur'an are concerned, but remain intact and healthy regarding everything else. Everything in him is still in it's original natural disposition. Nay, it has become more refined and accomplished. He has acquired skills, expertise and gifts in all things except here in this. For when faith reigns supreme reason diminishes and faith can do what reason can't!!

    I confess in all honesty that I wasn't fully attentive to this verse and many like it until now. If it hadn't been for the fact that I - in a pragmatic way - studied the Qur'an critically and analytically, examining it verse by verse. If I hadn't divided them into categories and indices for this purpose, the veil would have remained over my eyes. So what do you say about the faithful who pay no attention to this!? Don't you see that large number of Muslim thinkers and university professors who are no less ardent in their conviction in the fairytale of the Miraculous Nature of the Qur'an than any ordinary person? They are not in a position to dissect the Qur'an and tear open the shrouds that envelope it. No, they are not capable of doing that.

    Reading (the Qur'an) is of two types: Firstly there is devotional reading that is blind to flaws that the eye almost pops out at, due to their contradicting what is reasonable and acceptable. If there is any deep thinking in this type of reading, then it is the deep thinking of defense and justification that sees in the verse the wisdom of the ages. Secondly there is investigative, critical and analytical reading that exposes flaws and puts our hands on that which the faithful do not want to see or acknowledge and for that reason they try to dodge and maneuver to conceal its defects with all kinds of excuses, pretexts and justifications! Perhaps this book can bring about within them - or within some of them at least - a painful jolt. For there is a new form of therapy, which is therapy through shocks!

    4. Here is another verse for you that is similar to the previous verse in weakness and feebleness even though understanding it is not difficult. So let your eyes peruse it in the hope that you may be more skilled linguistically and more eloquently capable than I. But distance yourself from the blessed exegetes who do not find any flaw nor fault in it. There's no harm in consulting the books of Tafseer to a degree. In fact you should consult them, so long as it's with extreme caution:

    "It is He Who sends down water from the skies, then We bring forth with it buds of every kind, then we bring forth from it green (foliage) from which We bring forth grain piled up." (6:99)

    Would that I knew if you notice anything odd when you hear this verse? This verse contains two divine secrets - or two examples of exemplary eloquence, if you will. The eloquence of "Iltifaat" (sudden transition of pronoun) "It is He Who sends down water from the skies, then We bring forth...", that is the first, while the second is repetition of the the verb "bring forth" three times. A repetition that tears at the ear and makes it feel uneasy and uncomfortable - unless uneasiness and discomfort are amongst the signs of Miraculousness! Had Ibn Muqaffa' or al-Jahiz or others from amongst the princes of eloquence fallen to such depths of feebleness they would have ripped them apart and heaped upon them criticism and vitriol. But what can one do when polishing, repetition and devotional recitation has bequeathed to the faithful dullness of taste and inability to sense the jarring.

    * From a line of poetry by al-Mutanabbi - it means he has been struck by so many arrows (of misfortune and sorrow) that the ones that strike him now have no place to pierce and are just hitting the ones already there. In other words he can no-longer defend himself, nor cares.

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  • Re: My Ordeal With The Quran - Actual Translation
     Reply #29 - September 06, 2010, 03:31 PM

    Chapter 4  - The Miraculous Nature of  the Qurʾān (cont...)

    Part 8 - Weakness of the Qurʾān (cont...)

    5. "And when your Lord called out to Musa: Go to the unjust people - the people of Pharaoh. Will they not guard (against evil)?" (26:10-11)

    And in his dialogue with Pharaoh, he asked him this:

    "(Pharaoh) said: Did we not bring you up as a child among us, and you tarried among us for (many) years of your life? And you did your deed which you did... He (Moses) said: I did it... So I fled from you when I feared you, then my Lord granted me wisdom and made me of the messengers. And that is a favour of which you bestowed upon me* that you have enslaved the children of Israel." (26:18-22)

    The puzzle here is in the last verse, the verses that precede it lead to it. Read it and then read it again, two, three, four and ten times and keep on reading it as long as you want. Then tell me honestly and sincerely if you understand anything - and I will be most grateful.

    I don't understand how enslavement can be a blessing bestowed by Pharaoh upon Moses? If I want to give this verse meaning then it should something like the following: "And that is a favour of which God has bestowed upon me," meaning "That He made me one of the messengers is a blessing that He bestowed upon me."

    As for the last bit of the verse: "...that you have enslaved the children of Israel." it is a distortion that has no meaning to it. Or it may be the remainder of an abrogated verse or something similar. Yet the scribes, and reciters and readers have accepted it in the manner it appears in the Qur'an, just as the deaf, dumb and blind would accept what is presented to them without objection or opposition. Indeed they say, "All of it is from our Lord" and the exegetes follow in their footsteps and do not dare to make any change in it. They become masters at inventing all sorts of meanings for it. Not one of them says; don't sweat over it for the verse as it is phrased has no meaning!!


    **The verb "Manna" ( مَنَّ ) means; "To bestow favours, blessings, be kind, gracious etc..." The verse says: "And that is a favour which you bestowed upon me" ( وتلك نعمةٌ تمنُّها عليَّ ).  Obviously this makes no sense and so some translators have translated it as "And that is a favour which you <reproach> me". Apart from being a strange translation - it too makes no sense. How can one reproach someone for something they didn't do? Not to mention that the person doing the reproaching is the one who did the act himself!!??

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