Thursday, 31 March 2011

Justifying the Quranist / Quranism labels

Having previously been so very aware of sects within "Islam" and trying my hardest to avoid them, I fear I may have overcompensated by saying ' muslims don't need a new name of "Quranist" ' as was my initial reaction to the term.  Whilst saying "I am an not sunni, I am not shia, I am not in any sect, I am muslim alhamdulillah" which on the face of it is true, it avoids the core truth of the matter. 

After understanding what it means to be a Quranist or to use one of the Quranist methodologies, it has become apparent to me that on a practical level, having a name/label/tag is essential for effective communication in a non-misleading way. I have had to think long and hard about this, and have done word studies  on sects / parties / groups / divisions/dividing to come to my conclusion. I think what swung it for me in the end was the example of Musa and Aaron in 20:92 to 20:94 and also when I read about the "party of Allah" (58:22)  

The sects that divide the deen mentioned in (6:159 and 30:32), were the reason I thought sects were a big no-no. After further investigation, I now read these verses and think of people who believe in a portion of the book and reject part of it (2:85) or I think of people who literally say "this is half the deen, that is half the deen"  I was also quite amazed to see Musa and Ibrahim mentioned with the word shīʿatihi  (28:15)  and (37:83)   respectively.

I believe that 6:159 is informing us that the ones who split the deen AND become sects; you are not with them in anything. Which I take to mean each person is accountable for their own actions and beliefs and that no-one has back-up from schools of thought or support from people who follow the tenets of the organised sectarianism. Our own individual thoughts and beliefs are what matter. 

Quranism may at first appear to be a sect (depending on your definition of what a sect is!), given that it is an alternative to being Sunni or Shia. I believe that despite first appearance, Quranism is NOT a sect. Quranism was there before sects came to split the deen. Logically and by default when 2 things split off from the main thing, the original thing is left in place. This example is known as "cake-ology" (!) whereby a chocolate cake is cut and a couple of slices are taken away from the plate - the original cake is still on the plate - it did not move, but by default it has become a "piece" of cake due to the other pieces being cut. The cut pieces are still chocolate cake, they are just not on the plate because they have moved away from the source. The main "piece" still on the plate did not choose to become a "piece", it is only a "piece" through no fault of its own. Another example is : a dog gives birth to 2 pups; the mother is still there. Now there are 3 dogs - one adult and 2 pups. The original dog did not get divided - she is still whole and complete. Components/features/genes of the mother are in the pups. The pups are still dogs, they are just outside of the womb of the mother now. 

Why is the "Quranist" label difficult to accept for many? I think the reason for my own hesitation to embrace the "Quranist" label (after I came to understand that Quranism is not a sect), is that adopting a label for oneself, requires commitment, courage and strength. Was it a "stage of denial"? Maybe. When you label yourself as something, and introduce yourself as it, you can be met with enthusiasm and welcomed by fellow people who share the common interest BUT at the same time you become vulnerable to exposure and at risk of being ridiculed, rejected or persecuted by those who oppose your interests/beliefs.  

See these 2 examples:
1. There are 2 people: One enjoys watching Star Trek, the other is a self-proclaimed "Trekkie".  
2. There are 2 people: One drives a Skoda, the other is a self-procalimed "Skoda Driver".  

What's the difference? It's ALL in the labels. You may notice one is active the other is passive. Describing what you do and describing who you are are sensitive issues. One "happens" to drive a Skoda and it's not a big issue. The Skoda Driver is PERCEIVED to wear a Skoda T-Shirt, sport the keyring, duffle bag, and umbrella and goes to the all the Skoda meetings and clubs up and down the country and has pictures of Skoda vehicles up at home and in the office. 

The person who "happens" to watch Star Trek watches lots of other things on TV too. The Trekkie is PERCEIVED to go to clubs, conventions, wear the Com Badge and have posters and books and all sorts of merchandise, possibly perceived also to be a geek with no social life. No offence to Trekkies or Skoda Drivers. I am just giving examples of stereotypes when one associates a label to a person to describe WHO they are and what their personality is like when the INTENTION of the label is actually there to help unite people who share common interests and beliefs. 

So to "admit" you are a "Trekkie" or a "Skoda Driver" requires commitment and courage, and the strength to stand up and come out and say, "Hey, this is my passion, this is what I believe, this is what I love, and I don't care who knows it." 

I could go to an exhibition about basket weaving and I would be there as someone with an interest as to how it works along with my many other hobbies, but I wouldn't introduce myself to someone as a "Basket Weaver". That would imply some level of deep interest, passion and commitment which trumps all other hobbies (and that I actually know the all the ins and outs...) Smiley  

But the Qur'an is not a hobby neither is it for entertainment. The Star Trek analogy and the Skoda Driver and the basket weaving examples serve only to show the difference of the IMPLICATIONS and CONNOTATIONS between "being someone with an interest in doing something" and "being someone who is proud and committed to their cause." 

The term Quranist as a label will probably always have that "stumbling block" element that makes people hesitate before using the term due to the above negative stereotypes associated with labelling oneself. It's like getting a tattoo. Once it's on, it's on forever. The beauty of this tattoo, however, is that there are many different angles from which you can view it, and the imagery, the colours and the swirls and the intrigue of the pattern leave you mesmerized.

I am a Quranist. I am also a passionate and enthusiastic one. Contrary to the examples I gave which show the reasons why people shy away from using labels, being a Quranist does not automatically by definition mean that passion and enthusiasm for the Quran are pre-requisite. Quranism is not a sect, or a fan club. It is an approach - it contains my methodology.         

Why is so much courage and strength required to "come out"? I am a revert/convert to islam and it was difficult enough as it was, "coming out" to tell people I had changed my religion. Having to answer questions, justify decisions, back up answers with sound reasoning. Not an easy job for the ill-prepared. There are a lot of convert stories that depict the typical loneliness and rejection  and the disappointment / negativity from family / friends / acquaintances who had preconceptions about islam, stories which end happily ever after when they meet fellow muslims / converts who become new "family" - the brotherhoods and the sisterhoods of Islam. Imagine then having to "come out" to them too and face the loneliness and rejection and negativity all over again. We are weak as human beings. We crave support from friends and family, it takes strength and courage to stand up for what you believe in, even more so when you are doing that on your own. Inshaa'Allah "coming out" will get easier, the more Quranism is recognised and acknowledged. 

For a long time, I perceived Quranism (not knowing it was called that) to be "underground", taboo, not socially acceptable.  Now I feel Quranism is raising its profile and becoming recognised as a key player in the realms of free-thinking, philosophising and approaches to spiritual well-being.  And I am proud to be on the team, Alhamdulillah.


Go Back to Quranists.net


Further reading Metaphor of the House from Quranist Islam blog by Farouk A. Peru

yu'rafna

(33:59:15)
yuʿ'rafna

I got the feeling today that this could be the opposite of adhan.

33:59 O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of those who acknowledge that they should yud'nīna upon themselves their jalābībihinna. That is better so that they would be yuʿ'rafna and not yu'dhayna. God is Forgiver, Compassionate.

Watr

The Word study for Watr is here

It seemed odd for 89:3 to mention the words wal Shaf'i wal Watri  as opposites (translated as even and odd) where all the other places l-shafi root is translated as Intercession / intercede / interceding

Watr upon closer inspection seems to me to imply unassisted, denied or deprived.

discuss in the forum

Monday, 28 March 2011

adhan

The word study for adhan is here


I get the feeling that adhan is a mental harm or a stress or an emotional affliction as opposed to a physical harm. 


Mental as opposed to physical as I infer from :


3:111 "They will not yaḍurrūkum you except in being an adhan, and if they fight you they will turn and flee; then they will not be supported."


where yaḍurrūkum seems to be a physical harm and adhan is the exception.


The mental aspect of "adhan" could also be backed up from 2:196 which indicates the adhan could be mental due to the use of "rasihum" (head)


So the adhan can be something you hear: 
3:186 "We will test you with your wealth and with yourselves, and you will walatasmaʿunna (hear) from those who have been given the book before you and from those who set up partners much adhan. If you strive and be aware, then these are affairs of great resolve".36


or something that is said:
33:69 "O you who acknowledge, do not be like those who ādhaw Moses, but then God cleared him of all they qālū (said), and he was honorable before God."


.  Some of the things that may cause mental harm or stress could be : 

  • insults (9:61)
  • requests to go against your beliefs (33:48)
  • impossible demands from your ability, wealth or time, intrusion into personal life (33:53 ?)
  • reprimands,  being told you are wrong (4:16)
  • objections,  being denied (6:34 ) 
  • being made to feel guilty, contradictions (3:186)
  • people giving you fit'nata (29:10)
  • given ultimatums, being driven out of homes (3:195)
  • bad words and verbal punishment (2:263) (the opposite of good words and forgiveness, perhaps?)
In summary "adhan" seems to be what we are so often asked to overcome with Sabr (6:34) and natawakkala (trust -  from 14:12)  

So maybe the overall message here is that Patience and Trust in Allah combats stress, mental harm, oppression, trials, hardships and emotional difficulties.    


















Tuesday, 15 March 2011

By Products

I was thinking about Animal by-products (gelatin in particular but also other animal by-products included ) Here is what I found :

Vocabulary from Noble Qur'an:

"la?ma" is MEAT
"juludu" is SKIN
"shu?umahuma" is FAT
"l-?awaya" is ENTRAILS
"ma  ikh'tala?a bi?a?min" what is joined to the BONE
"a?wafiha" WOOL
"wa-awbariha" FUR
"wa-ash?ariha" HAIR
"warishan" FEATHERS


From Wikipedia: "GELATIN (spelled gelatine in the UK and some Commonwealth countries) is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), nearly tasteless solid substance, derived from the COLLAGEN inside animals' SKIN and BONES."

from Wikipedia "COLLAGEN, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as TENDON, LIGAMENT and SKIN"

from Wikipedia "A TENDON (or sinew) is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects MUSCLE to BONE"

from Wikipedia "MEAT is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal MUSCLE and associated FAT,"

From Noble Qur'an :
"6:145 Say, "I do NOT find in what is inspired to me forbidden EXCEPT that it be already dead, or blood poured forth, or the meat (LAHMA) of PIG, for it is foul; or what is corruptly dedicated to other than God." Whoever is forced without seeking disobedience or transgression, then your Lord is Forgiving, Compassionate."

From Noble Qur'an :
"6:146 For those who are "hadu", We forbade all that have claws; and from the cattle and the sheep We forbade their FAT except what is attached to the back, or entrails, or what is joined to/mixed with BONE. That is a punishment for their rebellion, and We are truthful. "


AFAICS Animal by-products are specifically targetted in 6:146 for "those that are hadu"

From Noble Qur'an :
"6:148 Those who set up partners will say, "If God wished, we would not have set up partners, nor would have our fathers, nor would we have FORBIDDEN anything." Those before them lied in the same way, until they tasted Our might. Say, "Do you have any knowledge to bring out to us? You only follow conjecture, you only guess."

From Noble Qur'an :
"16:115 He only made FORBIDDEN for you what is already dead, blood, the meat of pig, and what was sacrificed to any other than God. But whoever is forced to, without disobedience or transgression, then God is Forgiving, Compassionate."

From Noble Qur'an :
"16:116 You shall not INVENT LIES about God by attributing lies with your tongues, saying: "This is LAWFUL and that is FORBIDDEN." Those who invent lies about God will not succeed."

From Noble Qur'an
"2:173 He has only forbidden for you what is already dead, the blood, the meat of pig, and what was dedicated to other than God. Whoever finds himself forced out of need and WITHOUT DISOBEDIENCE or animosity, there is no sin upon him. God is Forgiving, Compassionate."

So I have a weird/bad feeling about calling the animal by-products "Haram" - it does not feel right to me. Isn't it enough to know where the gelatine came from to decide whether you want to eat hydrolyzed collagen or not, without calling it "Haram"? To me from reading what Qur'an says, it seems it would be a WORSE sin  to "attribute lies"  basically saying "God said that gelatine is Haram" when He only said the "meat of pigs" and the other things mentioned in 5:3 was haram.




Just thinking out loud and sharing my thoughts. Allah knows best.





Search.QuranAddict

Monday, 14 March 2011

Im'ra-atu

The word study for im'ra-atu is here: Search.QuranAddict


After pondering the places that the words from root mim-ra-alif appear, I am sensing that something these verses have in common (not all but most) is that wherever im'ru-on or im'ru-ata are mentioned, it is usually to do with whether they have had children or not... which makes me think of capability to reproduce, and also makes me think of the women who are past child-bearing age. Some women mentioned are "ajuzun" (possibly either simply old age, weakened, powerless, incapable or confused) 51:25, 11:72, 26:171 and 37:135, all described as im'ra-atu) , and therefore could be at risk of starting to become forgetful, as well as possibly no longer fertile.


An old man is mentioned in 28:23 (I think that would be Moses' father in law) as an old man (a sheikh not an imrun)


4:176 mentions a im'ru-on that has no children.  19:28  Maryam was told her father (Imran) was not an im'ra-a sawin  and her mother was not baghiyyan (possibly seeking to get pregnant?). Mary is the daughter of Imran (66:12)  Imran's im'ra-atu is the mother of Mary but she was never unchaste (19:28) so it could be that she was infertile and was granted a daughter by the Will of Allah. In 3:35 she dedicated what was in her womb to Allah. Maryam went to be taken care of by Zakariya whose wa-im'ra-atī was sterile (3:40), and then they received Yahya. 


I infer from 4:12 that a man can be a recipient of the whole inheritance if he has offspring who are no longer around to receive their share of it, and if he does not have offspring, then they are im'ra-atun. But in either case they may have brothers and sisters they can share the inheritance with.



4:128 gives me the impression that if there is a couple who do not have offspring and the im'ra-atun      thinks her  baʿlihā does not want to stay with her because of her inability to conceive, then there is no junāa for them to reconcile. Junaha could be inclination/reason (see the same word in 4:101 which would change the meaning of that verse - the famous shortening of the salat) 

In 28:9 we see that Pharaoh's im'ra-atu wants to take Moses as her own son (maybe because she can't have children of her own)  The same thing happens in 12:21

Another clue about the im'ra-ata is in 66:10 both im'ra-atu of Lot and Nuh are described as "taḥta ʿabdayni min ʿibādinā"

In 66:11 is another clue that a im'ra-atu is someone (here the Wife of Pharaoh) who is being oppressed or is helpless in some way 

In 11:71 the  wa-im'ra-atuhu reacted in that way possibly because it was a shock to be told she will have offspring after she thought she was infertile/no longer fertile.

19:5 ... my im'ra-atī is infertile ...

19:8 He said, "My Lord, how can I have a son when my im'ra-atī is infertile, and I have reached a very old age?"

51:29 His im'ra-atuhu then approached in amazement. She slapped upon her face, and said, "I am a ʿajūzun ʿaqīmun!"

In 28:23 two im'ra-atayni are mentioned and later on Moses marries one of them.

In 2:282  3 adjectives are used to describe what could possibly be the im'ra-atani safīhanaʿīfan or yastaīʿu anyumilla huwa  which explains why one would need to be reminded if the other  tailla, if the 2 wa-im'ra-atāni are old or senile or not in complete control of all their faculties



16:7016:70 God created you, then He will take you. Some of you will continue to the most miserable age so that he will not know anything after knowledge. God is Omniscient, Omnipotent.
 22:522:5 O people, if you are in doubt as to the resurrection, then We have created you from dirt, then from a seed, then from an embryo, then from a fetus developed and undeveloped so that We make it clear to you. We settle in the wombs what We wish to an appointed time, then We bring you out a child, then you reach your maturity, and of you are those who will pass away, and of you are those who are sent to an old age where he will not be able to learn any new knowledge after what he already has. You see the land still, but when We send down the water to it, it vibrates and grows, and it brings forth of every lovely pair.*

Qasiratu

The word study of Qasiratu is on Search.QuranAddict


I am definitely sensing a connection between these passages is something to do with water flowing underground, possibly through a tunnel or a pipe, something to do with wells or springs.


There are a lot of unknown words there which I will have to add to my list for further study, inshaa'Allah.


Discuss this post on the forum

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Fasala



I just posted the fasala word study on search.quranaddict


Whilst pondering these verses I am getting the strong sense that before something can be separated or dissected or explained it has to be collected, huddled, gathered, emcompassed, encircled or compiled first. The "weaning" in 2:233, 31:14 and 46:15 now makes sense to me because the child cannot be separated from the mother unless it was already joined first. And it seems to me the relatives or kindred in 70:13 could not be relatives unless they shared a common ancestor, also along the same lines of having been connected or joined at one point before being separated. On Yawm al Fasli l-faṣli  (37:21:3)  (42:21:15)  (44:40:3)  (77:13:2)  (77:14:5)  (77:38:3) (78:17:3) as far as I understand it, people will be separated/judged but not until they have all been gathered together first - another name for Yawm alFasli is  yawma l-jamʿi in 42:7 and 64:9 (jam'i being gathering or assembly)






In 77:38 I see gathering and separation together:
77:38 This is the day of l-fali where We have jamaʿnākum you with the ancient people.


In 2:233 I also get the sense of coming together before agreeing to part
excerpt from  2:233  .... So if they wish to fiālan out of mutual agreement and council, ....


In 6:55 I get a notion that the "walitastabina"  is to show that the "nufaṣṣilu" is a clarification/explanation. If they are being divided/separated too, that also works in the sense that the ayats are divided into Surahs or Chapters.
 6:55 It is such that We nufaṣṣilu the l-āyāti, and walitastabīna the way of the criminals.


And I get a similar feel from 12:111 - where "taṣdīqa alladhī bayna yadayhi" could be what is being encompassed and explained:
12:111 In their stories is a lesson for the people of intelligence. It is not a hadith that was invented, but an taṣdīqa alladhī bayna yadayhi, a watafīla of all things, and a guidance and mercy to a people who acknowledge.


In 2:249 "So when Saul (Talut) faala with the soldiers,....."
 I take this to mean that he rounded them up in a team huddle and then they parted ways, and the verse shows what he advised them before they left. The similar kind of logic would apply to 12:94 "When the caravan faalati,...."


discuss the topic of weaning/separating on the forum


Search.QuranAddict

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Impatience

I have been reading about l-'ijl and put the Word Study up on search.Quran Addict


I pondered, how the "biʿij'lin" as something to eat (takulūna) (from 51:26-27) could fit in with the premise of hastening and impatience. It makes sense to me that  l-'ijl could be the opposite of "sabr" (2:61 naṣbira, 7:128 wa-iṣ'birū, 14:5 ṣabbārin) and also 76:24-27 mentions fa-iṣ'bir and l-ʿājilata

2:93 uses the words "wa-ush'ribū fī qulūbihimu l-ʿij'la" so I infer the drinking (ush'ribu) here to be metaphorical in the sense of consuming, spiritually because of "fi qulubihimu". So I wondered whether the eating (takuluna) is metaphorical too.  



Having said that, it is interesting that in German, "Schnellimbiss" is a "snack" or "quick/fast snack". So I imagined the possibility that maybe Ibrahim served his guests entrees, or appetisers. This link to Lanes Lexicon, right hand column, 13 lines down does not disagree with this hypothesis. http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume5/00000249.pdf 


In 15:52 - Ibrahim was afraid (wajilūnaof his  guests (ḍayfi), and in 11:69 Ibrahim returned to his  guests  "biʿij'lin anīdhin" which makes me think possibly "sweating with haste/panic" (if not with the hospitable snacks) see http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume2/00000292.pdf middle column, half way down. 
11:74 shows Ibrahim was shocked/frightened/alarmed (l-rawʿu)
In 51:26 Ibrahim came to his honoured guests (ḍayfi l-ib'rāhīma muk'ramīna 51:24) with biʿij'lin  samīnin. Samin usually means "plump" or "fat". If one were sweating in haste/distress, that could  be described as a "full"  panic or one could even be considered "moist" as that is another possible use of the word "samin" according to : http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume4/00000156.pdf  


Another way of looking at it is if the "snacks" were prepared with butter/fat, if food was indeed present.


If there is no food, then asking them in 51:27 (alā takulūna"do you not eat?" seems senseless unless asking whether they eat is a way of establishing if they are mortal or not (compare with 21:8, and 5:75 establishing Messengers as mortals because they eat, and 23:51; and 25:7 which implies angels do not eat)   Also see http://www.studyquran.org/LaneLexicon/Volume1/00000108.pdf middle column which shows an expression of saying that someone has died is that he has stopped eating, which could lead one to believe (by some stretch of the imagination, admittedly)  that asking whether someone eats is a way of asking if they are alive/mortal. Either way, in 11:70 we see that the guest's hands were not taṣilu (reaching - from waw-sad-lam!) it shows they didn't want to eat and that's when Ibrahim started to feel nakirahum (uneasiness) and wa-awjasa (apprehension) and khīfatan (fear)



14:21 shows another good word for the opposite of ṣabarnā :  ajaziʿ'nā


discuss this post on the forum

Friday, 11 March 2011

Conquer

I recently looked at this root word: naqban, nun-qaf-ba


and posted the Word Study on Search.Quran Addict


The root is used in 3 places in the Qur'an, 


in 5:12 God sent.... naqīban...
in 18:97 So they could not yaharūhu it, and they could not naqban it 
and in  50:36 ...they were stronger in power, (so?) they had fanaqqabū the land. Did they find any sanctuary (maḥīṣin)?


So "conquer" seems to fit for 18:97 and 50:36 and leaders/conquerors for 5:12 


At first I saw this from a different angle where instead of in 18:97 yaharūhu and naqban being synonyms of each other, they would be opposites. For example 18:97 I pondered: "So they could not go over it, and they could not go under it" or even "they could not confront it and they could not hide from it/run away"


50:36's clue with the "mahisin" or place or refuge/escape/sanctuary seemed to indicate there was some kind of fleeing or going into hiding, and the "fa" in fanaqqabu seemed to indicate it is not "and" which is "wa", rather maybe "so".


But if they were stronger/mightier/more severe (ashaddu ) in  power (baṭshan)
then why would they flee or hide? It does not make sense. It would make more sense to conquer or over-rule given the strength and power.


And then I saw a lesson that even though the land (in this world) is "conquered", it is still not really a place of refuge... because the other passages pertaining to mahisin/ mahisan (14:21)(41:48) , (42:35),(4:121), talk about there being no refuge/escape from Rabbilalameen's punishment in the hereafter.