"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Book & Notes on Quran - Suras 34 & 35

Although I've made good timing on reading the translation of the Quran that I got from my local library, I haven't quite had time to finish it so I went by the library yesterday to renew it. I was lured to the "new books" shelf and there was a National Geographic book that just jumped into my hands and forced me to take it home! Yeah, really! You should have seen how acrobatic that book was! So now I have yet another book to read. But this one seems also exciting. It's The Letter and the Scroll and it's about what archaeology tells us about the Bible. It talks about the ancient cultures and cities and people.Really cool! It's got a lot of colorful pictures so I'm making good time reading it! I spent a few hours last evening enjoying reading about Abraham and the places he lived and traveled. I stand amazed at anyone who saw a clay tablet and decided it was cuneiform. I would have taken it as some fancy basket-weave d├ęcor, I think. And major kudos to the ones who figured out how to translate it! There were tablets with divorce and adoption decrees - wow! Impressive! I want to go outside soon and read some more. I've already read my sura of the day (# 41).

Thanks to all of you reading and leaving feedback on my Quran posts. I've learned so much from you and enjoy all the thought-provoking comments and questions and information you leave!

Sura 34 - Saba'

1. ALL PRAISE BE to God to whom belongs whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth, and His the praise in the world to come. He is all-wise and all-knowing.

Loved this!

This sura mentions David, Solomon and Sol's jinns. It had a peculiar story of Solomon dying and the jinn not knowing until a worm ate Solomon's cane which cause his body to fall. In the meantime the jinn had been "suffering demeaning labor." (vs. 14) Not sure why this was necessary or the point of the story.

23. No intercession avails with Him except his He allows, so that when their hearts are freed of fear, they ask (one another): "What did your Lord say?" They will answer: "What is expedient. He is the all-mighty and supreme."

Does this mean there IS an intercessor or not? Couldn't tell about the "his" in the first part ("except his He allows"). Is "his" the intercessor? Who is "his"?

Around verse 31 you find weak and arrogant sinners arguing and blaming each other for being tossed into hell.

Sura 35 -- al-Fatir

Nice sura with much talk about God being the creator - originator - of all things. Mostly pleasant reading with nothing new that stood out except maybe this verse.

43. As did their arrogance in the land, and their plotting of evil. But their evil plots will turn back on the plotters themselves. So can they expect any thing but what befell the earlier people? You will not find any change in the law of God, nor will you find divine law mutable.

The last phrase about the law of God is what took my attention. I know there was something I read about God abrogating things. I found it here...it's in a different translation.

Surah 2:106 says: “We do not abrogate a verse or let it be forgotten without bringing a better or similar one. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?”


Hijabis On Ranting Tour. said...

nice, i am enjoying reading your quran posts, i cant really tell about the meaning of the "his", i dont actually understand the sentence properly, but i do know the arabic word "huwa" for he sometimes is translated in so many different ways and causes problems in many translations so was the word for this "his" huwa? in the arabic version? that can explain your question maybe but in islam there is no intecessor between god and his creation, and if you pray you havr to pray directly to god, oh and another thing it says somewhere in the quran or hadeeths im sorry not good with pinpointing exact stuff, that your goods deeds intercess is that a word on your behalf on judgement day and in the grave e.g. people who memorise the quran etc and act upon it, the quran acts as their inteccesor , the verse could be talking about that as well , the book your reading sounds so interesting id love to read it, haha btw reading the quran is much simpler in arabic and much more beautiful sounding too like rhytmic and poetic wish you could read it like that, why dont you try some online listening translations where you can hear the recitation with the arabic and the translation in english? haha just a suggestion because i love listening to it.
take care

Hijabis On Ranting Tour. said...

oh i just realised i contradicted myself in my other comment but basicaly no inteccesors as in no humans no oraying to angels or idols , or anything like that but the quran and your deeds can inter whatever the word is, i hope that makes sense :)

Susanne said...

Naz, you're so cute. :) I think I get what you are saying. Your deeds speak for you - "intercede" for you to an extent. Kind of like a testimony of what you did while on earth. I guess I had a different thought of interceding also based on some other verses I've read that seemed to point toward intercession. I will bring them to attention when I post those sura notes. (I have finished up through 42 and have my notes saved in Gmail drafts.)

I have heard some of the Quran in Arabic and agree that it's very pretty recited as they do. Sadly, it doesn't really touch me as a message from God since I cannot understand though! So English it is! :)

I really appreciate your comments. Thank you so much!

Suroor said...

Haha @ at your book's acrobatics!

Susanne said...

Suroor, yeah, it was wild! :)

How do you explain the "his" in that one verse? Is that God or I am totally misreading the verse? Is intercession a part of Islam besides what Naz mentioned?

Durriyyah said...

Solomon's story - here's some commentary from Abdullah Yusuf Ali

C3808. This allegory illustrates three points:
1. however great and glorious human power and grandeur may be, it is only for a time, and it may fade away even before people know of its decline;
2. the most remarkable events may be brought to light, not by a flourish of trumpets, but by a humble individual, unknown and unseen, who works imperceptibly and undermines even so strong a thing as staff, on which a great man may lean;
3. work done by men merely on the basis of brute Strength or fear, as in the case of the Jinns, will not endure.
This is brought up in strong contrast against the Power and Majesty of Allah, which will endure, which cannot be sapped, and which can only be fully appreciated by a training of the will and heart.
In the same way, in David's story above, his mighty strength as a warrior (see 2:251) and his skill in making armour are only to be valued when used, as it was used, in the service of Allah, in righteous works (34:11).

You can find his full commentary here: http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsiraya/Index.htm

I understand some find his translation to be hard to read through, and there are always going to be talk of a lean in one direction or another from any translator, but his commentary is quite good.

34:23 - There can be intercessors, such as Prophets, on our behalf. Essentially, this is granted to the pious as an extra reward for their faith and practice. This will be the most pious of people, if it is people themselves. Like Naz said, the Qur'an will be an intercessor for you, each place you pray will speak for you, etc.

34:43 - I have this translated as Allah's way. In this context, it makes perfect sense as the same message has been sent since the beginning of time. If we understand law in the sense of "worship God alone," then it still applies. Especially in this textual context where it is talking about people who plot evil in the land, the same end is for them throughout time, and that does not change.

Oh, and for Naz, hula is in the last part (at least in my very basic ability to read Arabic, it seems like it… it is spelled ha (with damma) and wow (with fatha). God knows best.

Susanne said...

Durriyyah, ah, that story makes more sense when I see it as an allegory! Thank you! :) Nice lessons there!